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## Racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of applicants and matriculants to neurological surgery residency programs

### OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to identify trends in the demographic constitution of applicants and matriculants to neurological surgery based on race, ethnicity, and gender.

### METHODS

The authors conducted a cross-sectional study using compiled demographic data obtained from the Association of American Medical Colleges. Trends analyzed included proportional changes in race, ethnicity, and gender of applicants and matriculants to neurosurgical residency programs from academic years 2010–2011 to 2018–2019.

### RESULTS

A total of 5100 applicants and 2104 matriculants to neurosurgical residency programs were analyzed. No significant change in the percentage of overall women applicants (+0.3%, 95% CI −0.7% to 1.3%; p = 0.77) or in the percentage of women matriculants (+0.3%, 95% CI −2.2% to 2.9%; p = 0.71) was observed. For applicants, no change over time was observed in the percentages of American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN) men (0.0%, 95% CI −0.3% to 0.3%; p = 0.65); Asian men (−0.1%, 95% CI −1.2% to 1.1%; p = 0.97); Black or African American men (−0.2%, 95% CI −0.7% to 0.4%; p = 0.91); Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish Origin men (+0.4%, 95% CI −0.8% to 1.7%; p = 0.26); White men (+0.5%, 95% CI −2.1% to 3.0%; p = 0.27); Asian women (+0.1,% 95% CI −0.9% to 1.1%; p = 0.73); Black or African American women (0.0%, 95% CI −0.6% to 0.5%; p = 0.30); Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish Origin women (0.0%, 95% CI −0.4% to 0.4%; p = 0.71); and White women (+0.3%, 95% CI −1.1% to 1.7%; p = 0.34). For matriculants, no change over time was observed in the percentages of AI/AN men (0.0%, 95% CI −0.6% to 0.6%; p = 0.56); Asian men (0.0%, 95% CI −2.7% to 2.7%; p = 0.45); Black or African American men (−0.3%, 95% CI −1.4% to 0.8%; p = 0.52); Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish Origin men (+0.6%, 95% CI −0.8 to 2.0%; p = 0.12); White men (−1.0%, 95% CI −5.3% to 3.3%; p = 0.92); Asian women (+0.1%, 95% CI −1.3% to 1.5%; p = 0.85); Black or African American women (0.0%, 95% CI −0.6% to 0.7%; p = 0.38); Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish Origin women (−0.1%, 95% CI −0.7% to 0.5%; p = 0.46); and White women (+0.3%, 95% CI −2.4% to 3.0%; p = 0.70).

### CONCLUSIONS

Despite efforts to diversify the demographic constitution of incoming neurosurgical trainees, few significant advances have been made in recent years. This study suggests that improved strategies for recruitment and cultivating early interest in neurological surgery are required to further increase the diversification of future cohorts of neurosurgical trainees.

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## Cellular allograft for multilevel stand-alone anterior cervical discectomy and fusion

### OBJECTIVE

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is the most common treatment for degenerative disease of the cervical spine. Given the high rate of pseudarthrosis in multilevel stand-alone ACDF, there is a need to explore the utility of novel grafting materials. In this study, the authors present a single-institution retrospective study of patients with multilevel degenerative spine disease who underwent multilevel stand-alone ACDF surgery with or without cellular allograft supplementation.

### METHODS

In a prospectively collected database, 28 patients who underwent multilevel ACDF supplemented with cellular allograft (ViviGen) and 25 patients who underwent multilevel ACDF with decellularized allograft between 2014 and 2020 were identified. The primary outcome was radiographic fusion determined by a 1-year follow-up CT scan. Secondary outcomes included change in Neck Disability Index (NDI) scores and change in visual analog scale scores for neck and arm pain.

### RESULTS

The study included 53 patients with a mean age of 53 ± 0.7 years who underwent multilevel stand-alone ACDF encompassing 2.6 ± 0.7 levels on average. Patient demographics were similar between the two cohorts. In the cellular allograft cohort, 2 patients experienced postoperative dysphagia that resolved by the 3-month follow-up. One patient developed cervical radiculopathy due to graft subsidence and required a posterior foraminotomy. At the 1-year CT, successful fusion was achieved in 92.9% (26/28) of patients who underwent ACDF supplemented with cellular allograft, compared with 84.0% (21/25) of patients who underwent ACDF without cellular allograft. The cellular allograft cohort experienced a significantly greater improvement in the mean postoperative NDI score (p < 0.05) compared with the other cohort.

### CONCLUSIONS

Cellular allograft is a low-morbidity bone allograft option for ACDF. In this study, the authors determined favorable arthrodesis rates and functional outcomes in a complex patient cohort following multilevel stand-alone ACDF supplemented with cellular allograft.

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## The Kempe incision for decompressive craniectomy, craniotomy, and cranioplasty in traumatic brain injury and stroke

### OBJECTIVE

Decompressive craniectomy (DC) is an effective, lifesaving option for reducing intracranial pressure (ICP) in traumatic brain injury (TBI), stroke, and other pathologies with elevated ICP. Most DCs are performed via a standard trauma flap shaped like a reverse question mark (RQM), which requires sacrificing the occipital and posterior auricular arteries and can be complicated by wound dehiscence and infections. The Ludwig Kempe hemispherectomy incision (Kempe) entails a T-shaped incision, one limb from the midline behind the hairline to the inion and the other limb from the root of the zygoma to the coronal suture. The authors’ objective in this study was to define their implementation of the Kempe incision for DC and craniotomy, report clinical outcomes, and quantify the volume of bone removed compared with the RQM incision.

### METHODS

A retrospective review of a single-surgeon experience with DC in TBI and stroke was performed. Patient demographics, imaging, and outcomes were collected for all DCs from 2015 to 2020, and the incisions were categorized as either Kempe or RQM. Preoperative and postoperative CT scans were obtained and processed using a combination of automatic segmentation (in Python and SimpleITK) with manual cleanup and further subselection in ITK-SNAP. The volume of bone removed was quantified, and the primary outcome was percentage of hemicranium removed. Postoperative surgical wound infections, estimated blood loss (EBL), and length of surgery were compared between the two groups as secondary outcomes. Cranioplasty data were collected.

### RESULTS

One hundred thirty-six patients were included in the analysis; there were 57 patients in the craniotomy group (44 patients with RQM incisions and 13 with Kempe incisions) and 79 in the craniectomy group (41 patients with RQM incisions and 38 Kempe incisions). The mean follow-up for the entire cohort was 251 ± 368 days. There was a difference in the amount of decompression between approaches in multivariate modeling (39% ± 11% of the hemicranium was removed via the Kempe incision vs 34% ± 10% via the RQM incision, p = 0.047), although this did not achieve significance in multivariate modeling. Wound infection rates, EBL, and length of surgery were comparable between the two incision types. No wound infections in either cohort were due to wound dehiscence. Cranioplasty outcomes were comparable between the two incision types.

### CONCLUSIONS

The Kempe incision for craniectomy or craniotomy is a safe, feasible, and effective alternative to the RQM. The authors advocate the Kempe incision in cases in which contralateral operative pathology or subsequent craniofacial/skull base repair is anticipated.

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## Pediatric functional hemispherectomy: operative techniques and complication avoidance

Functional hemispherectomy/hemispherotomy is a disconnection procedure for severe medically refractory epilepsy where the seizure foci diffusely localize to one hemisphere. It is an improvement on anatomical hemispherectomy and was first performed by Rasmussen in 1974. Less invasive surgical approaches and refinements have been made to improve seizure freedom and minimize surgical morbidity and complications. Key anatomical structures that are disconnected include the 1) internal capsule and corona radiata, 2) mesial temporal structures, 3) insula, 4) corpus callosum, 5) parietooccipital connection, and 6) frontobasal connection. A stepwise approach is indicated to ensure adequate disconnection and prevent seizure persistence or recurrence. In young pediatric patients, careful patient selection and modern surgical techniques have resulted in > 80% seizure freedom and very good functional outcome. In this report, the authors summarize the history of hemispherectomy and its development and present a graphical guide for this anatomically challenging procedure. The use of the osteoplastic flap to improve outcome and the management of hydrocephalus are discussed.

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## Laser interstitial thermal therapy for pediatric atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor: case report

Herein, the authors describe the successful use of laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) for management of metastatic craniospinal disease for biopsy-proven atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor in a 16-month-old boy presenting to their care. Specifically, LITT was administered to lesions of the right insula and left caudate. The patient tolerated 2 stages of LITT to the aforementioned lesions without complication and with evidence of radiographic improvement of lesions at the 2- and 6-month follow-up appointments. To the authors’ knowledge, this represents the first such published report of LITT for management of atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor.

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## Progress in diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma: advocating for stereotactic biopsy in the standard of care

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a universally fatal pediatric brainstem tumor affecting approximately 300 children in the US annually. Median survival is less than 1 year, and radiation therapy has been the mainstay of treatment for decades. Recent advances in the biological understanding of the disease have identified the H3K27M mutation in nearly 80% of DIPGs, leading to the 2016 WHO classification of diffuse midline glioma H3K27M-mutant, a grade IV brainstem tumor. Developments in epigenetic targeting of transcriptional tendencies have yielded potential molecular targets for clinical trials. Chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy has also shown preclinical promise. Recent clinical studies, including prospective trials, have demonstrated the safety and feasibility of pediatric brainstem biopsy in the setting of DIPG and other brainstem tumors. Given developments in the ability to analyze DIPG tumor tissue to deepen biological understanding of this disease and develop new therapies for treatment, together with the increased safety of stereotactic brainstem biopsy, the authors present a case for offering biopsy to all children with suspected DIPG. They also present their standard operative techniques for image-guided, frameless stereotactic biopsy.

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## Variation in hospital charges in patients with external ventricular drains: comparison between the intensive care and surgical floor settings

### OBJECTIVE

Placement of an external ventricular drain (EVD) is a common and potentially life-saving neurosurgical procedure, but the economic aspect of EVD management and the relationship to medical expenditure remain poorly studied. Similarly, interinstitutional practice patterns vary significantly. Whereas some institutions require that patients with EVDs be monitored strictly within the intensive care unit (ICU), other institutions opt primarily for management of EVDs on the surgical floor. Therefore, an ICU burden for patients with EVDs may increase a patient’s costs of hospitalization. The objective of the current study was to examine the expense differences between the ICU and the general neurosurgical floor for EVD care.

### METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of data from 2 hospitals within a single, large academic institution—the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) and Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH). Hospital charges were evaluated according to patients’ location at the time of EVD management: SCH ICU, SCH floor, or UWMC ICU. Daily hospital charges from day of EVD insertion to day of removal were included and screened for days that would best represent baseline expenses for EVD care. Independent-samples Kruskal-Wallis analysis was performed to compare daily charges for the 3 settings.

### RESULTS

Data from a total of 261 hospital days for 23 patients were included in the analysis. Ten patients were cared for in the UWMC ICU and 13 in the SCH ICU and/or on the SCH neurosurgical floor. The median values for total daily hospital charges were $19,824.68 (interquartile range [IQR]$12,889.73–$38,494.81) for SCH ICU care,$8,620.88 (IQR $6,416.76–$11,851.36) for SCH floor care, and $10,002.13 (IQR$8,465.16–\$12,123.03) for UWMC ICU care. At SCH, it was significantly more expensive to provide EVD care in the ICU than on the floor (p < 0.001), and the daily hospital charges for the UWMC ICU were significantly greater than for the SCH floor (p = 0.023). No adverse clinical event related to the presence of an EVD was identified in any of the settings.

### CONCLUSIONS

ICU admission solely for EVD care is costly. If safe EVD care can be provided outside of the ICU, it would represent a potential area for significant cost savings. Identifying appropriate patients for EVD care on the floor is multifactorial and requires vigilance in balancing the expenses associated with ICU utilization and optimal patient care.

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## Blossoming contusions: identifying factors contributing to the expansion of traumatic intracerebral hemorrhage

### OBJECTIVE

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) remains a significant cause of neurological morbidity and mortality. Each year, more than 1.7 million patients present to the emergency department with TBI. The goal of this study was to evaluate the prognosis of traumatic cerebral intraparenchymal hemorrhage (tIPH), to develop subclassifications of these injuries that relate to prognosis, and to provide a more comprehensive assessment of hemorrhagic progression contusion (HPC) by analyzing the rate at which tIPH “blossom” (i.e., expansion), depending on a variety of intrinsic and modifiable factors.

### METHODS

In this retrospective study, 726 patients (age range 0–100 years) were admitted to a level 1 trauma center with tIPH during an 8-year period (2005–2013). Of these patients, 491 underwent both admission and follow-up head CT (HCT) within 72 hours. The change in tIPH volume over time, the expansion rate, was recorded for all 491 patients. Effects of prehospital and in-hospital variables were examined using ordinal response logistic regression analyses. These variables were further examined using multivariate linear regression analysis to accurately predict the extent to which a hemorrhage will progress.

### RESULTS

Of the 491 (67.6%) patients who underwent both admission and follow-up HCT, 368 (74.9%) patients experienced HPC. These hemorrhages expanded on average by 61.6% (4.76 ml) with an average expansion rate of 0.71 ml per hour. On univariate analysis, certain patient characteristics were significantly (p < 0.05) related to HPC, including age (> 60 years), admission Glasgow Coma Scale score, blood alcohol level, international normalized ratio, absolute platelet count, transfusion of platelets, concomitant anticoagulation and antiplatelet medication, the initial tIPH volume on admission HCT, and ventriculostomy. Increased expansion rate was significantly associated with patient disposition to hospice or death (p < 0.001). To determine which factors most accurately predict overall patient disposition, an ordinal-response logistic regression identified systolic blood pressure, Injury Severity Score, admission Glasgow Coma Scale score, follow-up scan volume, transfusion of platelets, and ventriculostomy as predictors of patient discharge disposition following tIPH. A multivariate logistic regression identified several prehospital and in-hospital variables (age, Injury Severity Score, blood alcohol level, initial scan volume, concomitant epidural hematoma, presence of subarachnoid hemorrhage, transfusion of platelets, and ventriculostomy) that predicted the volumetric expansion of tIPH. Among these variables, the admission tIPH volume by HCT proved to be the factor most predictive of HPC.

### CONCLUSIONS

Several factors contribute to the rate at which traumatic cerebral contusions blossom in the acute posttraumatic period. Identifying the intrinsic and modifiable aspects of cerebral contusions can help predict the rate of expansion and highlight potential therapeutic interventions to improve TBI-associated morbidity and mortality.

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