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Hemispherectomy at The Hospital for Sick Children: expanded indications and lessons learned over 35 years

Karim Mithani, Jennifer L. Quon, Sara Breitbart, Patrick E. Steadman, Ladina Greuter, Oliver L. Richards, Ann K. Schmitz, Hrishikesh Suresh, Noor Malik, Abdullah AlRamadan, George M. Ibrahim, and James T. Rutka

OBJECTIVE

Functional hemispherectomy is an effective surgical intervention for select patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. The last several decades have seen dramatic evolutions in preoperative evaluation, surgical techniques, and postoperative care. Here, the authors present a retrospective review of the medical records of 146 children who underwent hemispherectomy between 1987 and 2022 at The Hospital for Sick Children, providing a unique overview of the evolution of the procedure and patient outcomes over 35 years.

METHODS

The medical records of all children who underwent hemispherectomy at The Hospital for Sick Children between 1987 and 2022 were reviewed. Demographic information, preoperative clinical features, short-term and long-term seizure outcomes, and details regarding postoperative complications were recorded.

RESULTS

The seizure outcomes of 146 children were analyzed. There were 68 females and 78 males with a mean age of 5.08 years, 123 of whom demonstrated seizure freedom (Engel class IA) in the short-term postoperative follow-up period and 89 in the long term. The effectiveness of hemispherectomy in achieving long-term seizure control has improved over time (β = 0.06, p < 0.001). Factors associated with overall seizure freedom included younger age at the time of hemispherectomy and stroke as the etiology of seizures, as well as complete disconnection during the first surgery. Additionally, the etiologies of epilepsy for which hemispherectomy is performed have expanded over time, while complication rates have remained unchanged.

CONCLUSIONS

Hemispherectomy is an increasingly effective treatment for certain cases of drug-resistant epilepsy. The etiologies of epilepsy for which hemispherectomy is performed are broadening, with no change in its safety profile. Seizure outcomes are better when the etiology of epilepsy is an ischemic injury, and the most common complication after the procedure is hydrocephalus. These findings reinforce the ongoing use of hemispherectomy as a safe and effective treatment option for certain individuals with drug-resistant epilepsy, support its application to a broader range of etiologies, and highlight areas of future investigation.

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Editorial. AtlasGPT: dawn of a new era in neurosurgery for intelligent care augmentation, operative planning, and performance

Benjamin S. Hopkins, Bob Carter, Jesse Lord, James T. Rutka, and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

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Letter to the Editor. An additional pitfall in the practice of neurosurgery: healthcare policies

Naci Balak

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The AANS/CNS Section on Tumors: a summary of 40 years of advocacy to advance the care of patients with brain and spine tumors

Ian F. Parney, Ronald E. Warnick, Frederick F. Lang, James T. Rutka, Steven Kalkanis, Roberta Glick, Mark L. Rosenblum, and Isabelle M. Germano

The AANS/CNS Section on Tumors was founded 40 years ago in 1984 to assist in the education of neurosurgeons interested in neuro-oncology, and serves as a resource for other national organizations regarding the clinical treatment of nervous system tumors. The Section on Tumors was the first national physicians’ professional organization dedicated to the study and treatment of patients with brain and spine tumors. Over the past 40 years, the Section on Tumors has built solid foundations, including establishing the tumor section satellite meetings, founding the Journal of Neuro-Oncology (the first medical journal dedicated to brain and spine surgical oncology), advancing surgical neuro-oncology education and research, promoting neurosurgical involvement in neuro-oncology clinical trials, and advocating for patients with brain and spine tumors. This review provides a synopsis of the Section on Tumors’ history, its challenges, and its opportunities, drawing on the section’s archives and input from the 17 section chairs who led it during its first 40 years.

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Complications following resection of primary and recurrent pediatric posterior fossa ependymoma

Armaan K. Malhotra, Liana Nobre, George M. Ibrahim, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, James M. Drake, James T. Rutka, Michael D. Taylor, Vijay Ramaswamy, Peter B. Dirks, and Michael C. Dewan

OBJECTIVE

Extent of resection (EOR) is the most important modifiable prognostic variable for pediatric patients with posterior fossa ependymoma. An understanding of primary and recurrent ependymoma complications is essential to inform clinical decision-making for providers, patients, and families. In this study, the authors characterize postsurgical complications following resection of primary and recurrent pediatric posterior fossa ependymoma in a molecularly defined cohort.

METHODS

The authors conducted a 20-year retrospective single-center review of pediatric patients undergoing resection of posterior fossa ependymoma at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. Complications were dichotomized into major and minor groups; EOR was compared across complication categories. The association between complication occurrence with length of stay (LOS) and mortality was also assessed using multivariable regressions.

RESULTS

There were 60 patients with primary resection included, 41 (68%) of whom were alive at the time of data collection. Gross-total resection was achieved in 33 (58%) of 57 patients at primary resection. There were no 30-day mortality events following primary and recurrent ependymoma resection. Following primary resection, 6 patients (10%) had posterior fossa syndrome (PFS) and 36 (60%) developed cranial neuropathies, 56% of which recovered within 1 year. One patient (1.7%) required a tracheostomy and 9 patients (15%) required gastrostomy tubes. There were 14 ventriculoperitoneal shunts (23%) inserted for postoperative hydrocephalus. Among recurrent cases, there were 48 recurrent resections performed in 24 patients. Complications included new cranial neuropathy in 10 patients (21%), of which 5 neuropathies resolved within 1 year. There were no cases of PFS following resection of recurrent ependymoma. Gastrostomy tube insertion was required in 3 patients (6.3%), and 1 patient (2.0%) required a tracheostomy. Given the differences in the location of tumor recurrence, a direct comparison between primary and recurrent resection complications was not feasible. Following multivariate analysis adjusting for sex, age, molecular status, and EOR, occurrence of major complications was found to be associated with prolonged LOS but not mortality.

CONCLUSIONS

These results detail the spectrum of postsurgical morbidity following primary and recurrent posterior fossa ependymoma resection. The crude complication rate following resection of infratentorial recurrent ependymoma was lower than that of primary ependymoma, although a statistical comparison revealed no significant differences between the groups. These results should serve to inform providers of the morbidity profile following surgical management of posterior fossa ependymoma and inform perioperative counseling of patients and their families.

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Letter to the Editor. War zone: East? South? Or whole country?

Zoryana Ivanyuk

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Machine learning models for predicting seizure outcome after MR-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy in children

Omar Yossofzai, Scellig S. D. Stone, Joseph R. Madsen, Shelly Wang, John Ragheb, Ismail Mohamed, Robert J. Bollo, Dave Clarke, M. Scott Perry, Alexander G. Weil, Jeffrey S. Raskin, Jonathan Pindrik, Raheel Ahmed, Sandi K. Lam, Aria Fallah, Cassia Maniquis, Andrea Andrade, George M. Ibrahim, James Drake, James T. Rutka, Jignesh Tailor, Nicholas Mitsakakis, and Elysa Widjaja

OBJECTIVE

MR-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (MRgLITT) is associated with lower seizure-free outcome but better safety profile compared to open surgery. However, the predictors of seizure freedom following MRgLITT remain uncertain. This study aimed to use machine learning to predict seizure-free outcome following MRgLITT and to identify important predictors of seizure freedom in children with drug-resistant epilepsy.

METHODS

This multicenter study included children treated with MRgLITT for drug-resistant epilepsy at 13 epilepsy centers. The authors used clinical data, diagnostic investigations, and ablation features to predict seizure-free outcome at 1 year post-MRgLITT. Patients from 12 centers formed the training cohort, and patients in the remaining center formed the testing cohort. Five machine learning algorithms were developed on the training data by using 10-fold cross-validation, and model performance was measured on the testing cohort. The models were developed and tested on the complete feature set. Subsequently, 3 feature selection methods were used to identify important predictors. The authors then assessed performance of the parsimonious models based on these important variables.

RESULTS

This study included 268 patients who underwent MRgLITT, of whom 44.4% had achieved seizure freedom at 1 year post-MRgLITT. A gradient-boosting machine algorithm using the complete feature set yielded the highest area under the curve (AUC) on the testing set (AUC 0.67 [95% CI 0.50–0.82], sensitivity 0.71 [95% CI 0.47–0.88], and specificity 0.66 [95% CI 0.50–0.81]). Logistic regression, random forest, support vector machine, and neural network yielded lower AUCs (0.58–0.63) compared to the gradient-boosting machine but the findings were not statistically significant (all p > 0.05). The 3 feature selection methods identified video-EEG concordance, lesion size, preoperative seizure frequency, and number of antiseizure medications as good prognostic features for predicting seizure freedom. The parsimonious models based on important features identified by univariate feature selection slightly improved model performance compared to the complete feature set.

CONCLUSIONS

Understanding the predictors of seizure freedom after MRgLITT will assist with prognostication.

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Assistance amidst air alerts and angst: Ukraine unbroken

Eisha Christian, Myroslava Romach, and James T. Rutka

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Letter to the Editor. Neurosurgery practice

Bipin Chaurasia

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Expression of Concern

James T. Rutka