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William W. Ashley Jr., Sonia V. Eden, and James T. Rutka

Restricted access

Grace M. Thiong’o, Thomas Looi, James T. Rutka, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, and James M. Drake

OBJECTIVE

Early adaptors of surgical simulation have documented a translation to improved intraoperative surgical performance. Similar progress would boost neurosurgical education, especially in highly nuanced epilepsy surgeries. This study introduces a hands-on cerebral hemispheric surgery simulator and evaluates its usefulness in teaching epilepsy surgeries.

METHODS

Initially, the anatomical realism of the simulator and its perceived effectiveness as a training tool were evaluated by two epilepsy neurosurgeons. The surgeons independently simulated hemispherotomy procedures and provided questionnaire feedback. Both surgeons agreed on the anatomical realism and effectiveness of this training tool. Next, construct validity was evaluated by modeling the proficiency (task-completion time) of 13 participants, who spanned the experience range from novice to expert.

RESULTS

Poisson regression yielded a significant whole-model fit (χ2 = 30.11, p < 0.0001). The association between proficiency when using the training tool and the combined effect of prior exposure to hemispherotomy surgery and career span was statistically significant (χ2 = 7.30, p = 0.007); in isolation, pre-simulation exposure to hemispherotomy surgery (χ2 = 6.71, p = 0.009) and career length (χ2 = 14.21, p < 0.001) were also significant. The mean (± SD) task-completion time was 25.59 ± 9.75 minutes. Plotting career length against task-completion time provided insights on learning curves of epilepsy surgery. Prediction formulae estimated that 10 real-life hemispherotomy cases would be needed to approach the proficiency seen in experts.

CONCLUSIONS

The cerebral hemispheric surgery simulator is a reasonable epilepsy surgery training tool in the quest to increase preoperative practice opportunities for neurosurgical education.

Free access

Jerry C. Ku, Brian Hanak, Prakash Muthusami, Karl Narvacan, Hidy Girgis, Karel terBrugge, Timo Krings, James T. Rutka, and Peter Dirks

OBJECTIVE

Torcular dural sinus malformations (tDSMs) are rare pediatric cerebrovascular malformations characterized by giant venous lakes localized to the midline confluence of sinuses. Historical clinical outcomes of patients with these lesions were poor, though better prognoses have been reported in the more recent literature. Long-term outcomes in children with tDSMs are uncertain and require further characterization. The goal of this study was to review a cohort of tDSM patients with an emphasis on long-term outcomes and to describe the treatment strategy.

METHODS

This study is a single-center retrospective review of a prospectively maintained data bank including patients referred to and cared for at The Hospital for Sick Children for tDSM from January 1996 to March 2019. Each patient’s clinical, radiological, and demographic information, as well as their mother’s demographic information, was collected for review.

RESULTS

Ten patients with tDSM, with a mean follow-up of 58 months, were included in the study. Diagnoses were made antenatally in 8 patients, and among those cases, 4 families opted for either elective termination (n = 1) or no further care following delivery (n = 3). Of the 6 patients treated, 5 had a favorable long-term neurological outcome, and follow-up imaging demonstrated a decrease or stability in the size of the tDSM over time. Staged embolization was performed in 3 patients, and anticoagulation was utilized in 5 treated patients.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors add to a growing body of literature indicating that clinical outcomes in tDSM may not be as poor as initially perceived. Greater awareness of the lesion’s natural history and pathophysiology, advancing endovascular techniques, and individualized anticoagulation regimens may lead to continued improvement in outcomes.

Free access

Nima Hamidi, Brij Karmur, Stephanie Sperrazza, Julia Alexieva, Liz Salmi, Brad E. Zacharia, Edjah K. Nduom, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol, James T. Rutka, and Alireza Mansouri

OBJECTIVE

Effective use of social media (SM) by medical professionals is vital for better connections with patients and dissemination of evidence-based information. A study of SM utilization by different stakeholders in the brain tumor community may help determine guidelines for optimal use.

METHODS

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were searched by using the term “Brain Tumor.” Platform-specific metrics were determined, including audience size, as a measure of popularity, and mean annual increase in audience size, as a measure of performance on SM. Accounts were categorized on the basis of apparent ownership and content, with as many as two qualitative themes assigned to each account. Correlations of content themes and posting behavior with popularity and performance metrics were assessed by using the Pearson’s test.

RESULTS

Facebook (67 pages and 304,581 likes) was predominantly used by organizations (64% of pages). Top themes on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were charity and fundraising (67% of pages), education and research (72% of accounts), and experience sharing and support seeking (48% of videos, 60% of views, and 82% of user engagement), respectively. On Facebook, only the presence of other concurrent platforms influenced a page’s performance (rho = 0.59) and popularity (rho = 0.61) (p < 0.05). On Twitter, the number of monthly tweets (rho = 0.66) and media utilization (rho = 0.78) were significantly correlated with increased popularity and performance (both p < 0.05). Personal YouTube videos (30% of videos and 61% of views) with the theme of experience sharing and support seeking had the highest level of engagement (60% of views, 70% of comments, and 87% of likes).

CONCLUSIONS

Popularity and prevalence of qualitative themes differ among SM platforms. Thus, optimal audience engagement on each platform can be achieved with thematic considerations. Such considerations, along with optimal SM behavior such as media utilization and multiplatform presence, may help increase content popularity and thus increase community access to neurooncology content provided by medical professionals.

Free access

Nima Hamidi, Brij Karmur, Stephanie Sperrazza, Julia Alexieva, Liz Salmi, Brad E. Zacharia, Edjah K. Nduom, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol, James T. Rutka, and Alireza Mansouri

OBJECTIVE

Effective use of social media (SM) by medical professionals is vital for better connections with patients and dissemination of evidence-based information. A study of SM utilization by different stakeholders in the brain tumor community may help determine guidelines for optimal use.

METHODS

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were searched by using the term “Brain Tumor.” Platform-specific metrics were determined, including audience size, as a measure of popularity, and mean annual increase in audience size, as a measure of performance on SM. Accounts were categorized on the basis of apparent ownership and content, with as many as two qualitative themes assigned to each account. Correlations of content themes and posting behavior with popularity and performance metrics were assessed by using the Pearson’s test.

RESULTS

Facebook (67 pages and 304,581 likes) was predominantly used by organizations (64% of pages). Top themes on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were charity and fundraising (67% of pages), education and research (72% of accounts), and experience sharing and support seeking (48% of videos, 60% of views, and 82% of user engagement), respectively. On Facebook, only the presence of other concurrent platforms influenced a page’s performance (rho = 0.59) and popularity (rho = 0.61) (p < 0.05). On Twitter, the number of monthly tweets (rho = 0.66) and media utilization (rho = 0.78) were significantly correlated with increased popularity and performance (both p < 0.05). Personal YouTube videos (30% of videos and 61% of views) with the theme of experience sharing and support seeking had the highest level of engagement (60% of views, 70% of comments, and 87% of likes).

CONCLUSIONS

Popularity and prevalence of qualitative themes differ among SM platforms. Thus, optimal audience engagement on each platform can be achieved with thematic considerations. Such considerations, along with optimal SM behavior such as media utilization and multiplatform presence, may help increase content popularity and thus increase community access to neurooncology content provided by medical professionals.

Open access

Ellen L. Air, Katie O. Orrico, Deborah L. Benzil, Alan M. Scarrow, James R. Bean, Catherine A. Mazzola, Linda M. Liau, James T. Rutka, and Karin M. Muraszko

Annual conferences, educational courses, and other meetings draw a diverse community of individuals, yet also create a unique environment without the traditional guard rails. Unlike events held at one's home institution, clear rules and jurisdiction have not been universally established. To promote the open exchange of ideas, as well as an environment conducive to professional growth of all participants, the leading neurosurgical professional organizations joined to delineate the expectations for anyone who participates in sponsored events. The One Neurosurgery Summit Taskforce on Professionalism and Harassment developed a foundational policy that establishes common expectations for behavior and a unified roadmap for the prompt response to untoward events. We hope that publishing this policy will inspire other medical organizations to establish their own meeting and conference policies. More importantly, we wish to bring greater attention to everyone's responsibility for ensuring a safe and respectful space for education, scientific debate, and networking during organized events.

Free access

Catherine Veilleux, Nardin Samuel, Han Yan, Victoria Bass, Rabab Al-Shahrani, Ann Mansur, James T. Rutka, Gelareh Zadeh, Mojgan Hodaie, and Geneviève Milot

OBJECTIVE

Although the past decades have seen a steady increase of women in medicine in general, women continue to represent a minority of the physician-training staff and workforce in neurosurgery in Canada and worldwide. As such, the aim of this study was to analyze the experiences of women faculty practicing neurosurgery across Canada to better understand and address the factors contributing to this disparity.

METHODS

A historical, cross-sectional, and mixed-method analysis of survey responses was performed using survey results obtained from women attending neurosurgeons across Canada. A web-based survey platform was utilized to collect responses. Quantitative analyses were performed on the responses from the study questionnaire, including summary and comparative statistics. Qualitative analyses of free-text responses were performed using axial and open coding.

RESULTS

A total of 19 of 31 respondents (61.3%) completed the survey. Positive enabling factors for career success included supportive colleagues and work environment (52.6%); academic accomplishments, including publications and advanced degrees (36.8%); and advanced fellowship training (47.4%). Perceived barriers reported included inequalities with regard to career advancement opportunities (57.8%), conflicting professional and personal interests (57.8%), and lack of mentorship (36.8%). Quantitative analyses demonstrated emerging themes of an increased need for women mentors as well as support and recognition of the contributions to career advancement of personal and family-related factors.

CONCLUSIONS

This study represents, to the authors’ knowledge, the first analysis of factors influencing career success and satisfaction in women neurosurgeons across Canada. This study highlights several key factors contributing to the low representation of women in neurosurgery and identifies specific actionable items that can be addressed by training programs and institutions. In particular, female mentorship, opportunities for career advancement, and increased recognition and integration of personal and professional roles were highlighted as areas for future intervention. These findings will provide a framework for addressing these factors and improving the recruitment and retention of females in this specialty.

Free access

Mónica Patricia Herrera-Martinez, Ezequiel García-Ballestas, Ivan Lozada-Martinez, Daniela Torres-Llinás, and Luis Moscote-Salazar

Free access

Mónica Patricia Herrera-Martinez, Ezequiel García-Ballestas, Ivan Lozada-Martinez, Daniela Torres-Llinás, and Luis Moscote-Salazar