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### OBJECTIVE

Radiological progression occurs in 50%–60% of residual nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs). Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a safe and effective management option for residual NFPAs, but there is no consensus on its optimal timing. This study aims to define the optimal timing of SRS for residual NFPAs.

### METHODS

This retrospective, multicenter study involved 375 patients with residual NFPAs managed with SRS. The patients were divided into adjuvant (ADJ; treated for stable residual NFPA within 6 months of resection) and progression (PRG) cohorts (treated for residual NFPA progression). Factors associated with tumor progression and clinical deterioration were analyzed.

### RESULTS

Following propensity-score matching, each cohort consisted of 130 patients. At last follow-up, tumor control was achieved in 93.1% of patients in the ADJ cohort and in 96.2% of patients in the PRG cohort (HR 1.6, 95% CI 0.55–4.9, p = 0.37). Hypopituitarism was associated with a maximum point dose of > 8 Gy to the pituitary stalk (HR 4.5, 95% CI 1.6–12.6, p = 0.004). No statistically significant difference was noted in crude new-onset hypopituitarism rates (risk difference [RD] = −0.8%, p > 0.99) or visual deficits (RD = −2.3%, p = 0.21) between the two cohorts at the last follow-up. The median time from resection to new hypopituitarism was longer in the PRG cohort (58.9 vs 29.7 months, p = 0.01).

### CONCLUSIONS

SRS at residual NFPA progression does not appear to alter the probability of tumor control or hormonal/visual deficits compared with adjuvant SRS. Deferral of radiosurgical management to the time of radiological progression could significantly prolong the time to radiosurgically induced pituitary dysfunction. A lower maximum point dose (< 8 Gy) to the pituitary stalk portended a more favorable chance of preserving pituitary function after SRS.

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## From white to blue light: evolution of endoscope-assisted intracranial tumor neurosurgery and expansion to intraaxial tumors

### OBJECTIVE

Intraoperative use of the endoscope to assist in visualization of intracranial tumor pathology has expanded with increasing surgeon experience and improved instrumentation. The authors aimed to study how advancements in endoscopic technology have affected the evolution of endoscope use, with particular focus on blue light–filter modification allowing for discrimination of fluorescent tumor tissue following 5-ALA administration.

### METHODS

A retrospective analysis of patients undergoing craniotomy for tumor resection at a single institution between February 2012 and July 2021 was performed. Patients were included if the endoscope was used for diagnostic tumor cavity inspection or therapeutic assistance with tumor resection following standard craniotomy and microsurgical tumor resection, with emphasis on those cases in which blue light endoscopy was used. Medical records were queried for patient demographics, operative reports describing the use of the endoscope and extent of resection, associations with tumor pathology, and postoperative outcomes. Preoperative and postoperative MR images were reviewed for radiographic extent of resection.

### RESULTS

A total of 52 patients who underwent endoscope-assisted craniotomy for tumor were included. Thirty patients (57.7%) were men and the average age was 52.6 ± 16.1 years. Standard white light endoscopes were used for assistance with tumor resection in 28 cases (53.8%) for tumors primarily located in the ventricular system, parasellar region, and cerebellopontine angle. A blue light endoscope for detection of 5-ALA fluorescence was introduced into our practice in 2014 and subsequently used for assistance with tumor resection in 24 cases (46.2%) (intraaxial: n = 22, extraaxial: n = 2). Beyond the use of the surgical microscope as the primary visualization source, the blue light endoscope was used to directly perform additional tumor resection in 19/21 cases as a result of improved fluorescence detection as compared to the surgical microscope. No complications were associated with the use of the endoscope or with additional resection performed under white or blue light visualization.

### CONCLUSIONS

Endoscopic assistance to visualize intracranial tumors had previously been limited to white light, assisting mostly in the visualization of extraaxial tumors confined to intraventricular and cisternal compartments. Blue light–equipped endoscopes provide improved versatility and visualization of 5-ALA fluorescing tissue beyond the capability of the surgical microscope, thereby expanding its use into the realm of intraaxial tumor resections.

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## Imaging-defined necrosis after treatment with single-fraction stereotactic radiosurgery and immune checkpoint inhibitors and its potential association with improved outcomes in patients with brain metastases: an international multicenter study of 697 patients

### OBJECTIVE

Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) are commonly utilized in the management of brain metastases. Treatment-related imaging changes (TRICs) are a frequently observed clinical manifestation and are commonly classified as imaging-defined radiation necrosis. However, these findings are not well characterized and may predict a response to SRS and ICIs. The objective of this study was to investigate predictors of TRICs and their impact on patient survival.

### METHODS

This retrospective multicenter cohort study was conducted through the International Radiosurgery Research Foundation. Member institutions submitted de-identified clinical and dosimetric data for patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), melanoma, and renal cell carcinoma (RCC) brain metastases that had been treated with SRS and ICIs. Data were collected from March 2020 to February 2021. Univariable and multivariable Cox and logistic regression analyses were performed. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to evaluate overall survival (OS). The diagnosis-specific graded prognostic assessment was used to guide variable selection. TRICs were determined on the basis of MRI, PET/CT, or MR spectroscopy, and consensus by local clinical providers was required.

### RESULTS

The analysis included 697 patients with 4536 brain metastases across 11 international institutions in 4 countries. The median follow-up after SRS was 13.6 months. The median age was 66 years (IQR 58–73 years), 54.1% of patients were male, and 57.3%, 36.3%, and 6.4% of tumors were NSCLC, melanoma, and RCC, respectively. All patients had undergone single-fraction radiosurgery to a median margin dose of 20 Gy (IQR 18–20 Gy). TRICs were observed in 9.8% of patients. The median OS for all patients was 24.5 months. On univariable analysis, Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS; HR 0.98, p < 0.001), TRICs (HR 0.67, p = 0.03), female sex (HR 0.67, p < 0.001), and prior resection (HR 0.60, p = 0.03) were associated with improved OS. On multivariable analysis, KPS (HR 0.98, p < 0.001) and TRICs (HR 0.66, p = 0.03) were associated with improved OS. A brain volume receiving ≥ 12 Gy of radiation (V12Gy) ≥ 10 cm3 (OR 2.78, p < 0.001), prior whole-brain radiation therapy (OR 3.46, p = 0.006), and RCC histology (OR 3.10, p = 0.01) were associated with an increased probability of developing TRICs. The median OS rates in patients with and without TRICs were 29.0 and 23.1 months, respectively (p = 0.03, log-rank test).

### CONCLUSIONS

TRICs following ICI and SRS were associated with a median OS benefit of approximately 6 months in this retrospective multicenter study. Further prospective study and additional stratification are needed to validate these findings and further elucidate the role and etiology of this common clinical scenario.

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## Endoscopic endonasal approaches for reconstruction of traumatic anterior skull base fractures and associated cerebrospinal fistulas: patient series

### BACKGROUND

Post-traumatic cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks of the anterior skull base may arise after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Onset of CSF rhinorrhea may be delayed after TBI and without prompt treatment may result in debilitating consequences. Operative repair of CSF leaks caused by anterior skull base fractures may be performed via open craniotomy or endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs). The authors’ objective was to review their institutional experience after EEA for repair of TBI-related anterior skull base defects and CSF leaks.

### OBSERVATIONS

A retrospective review of prospectively collected data from a major level 1 trauma center was performed to identify patients with TBI who developed CSF rhinorrhea. Persistent or refractory post-traumatic CSF leaks and anterior skull base defects were repaired via EEA in four patients. Intrathecal fluorescein was administered before EEA in three patients (75%) to help aid identification of the fistula site(s). CSF leaks were eventually repaired in all patients, though one reoperation was required. During a mean follow-up of 8.75 months, there were no instances of recurrent CSF leakage.

### LESSONS

Refractory, traumatic CSF leaks may be effectively repaired via EEA using a multilayer approach and nasoseptal flap reconstruction, thereby potentially obviating the need for additional craniotomy in the post-TBI setting.

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## The role of frailty in the clinical management of neurofibromatosis type 1: a mixed-effects modeling study using the Nationwide Readmissions Database

### OBJECTIVE

Frailty embodies a state of increased medical vulnerability that is most often secondary to age-associated decline. Recent literature has highlighted the role of frailty and its association with significantly higher rates of morbidity and mortality in patients with CNS neoplasms. There is a paucity of research regarding the effects of frailty as it relates to neurocutaneous disorders, namely, neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). In this study, the authors evaluated the role of frailty in patients with NF1 and compared its predictive usefulness against the Elixhauser Comorbidity Index (ECI).

### METHODS

Publicly available 2016–2017 data from the Nationwide Readmissions Database was used to identify patients with a diagnosis of NF1 who underwent neurosurgical resection of an intracranial tumor. Patient frailty was queried using the Johns Hopkins Adjusted Clinical Groups frailty-defining indicator. ECI scores were collected in patients for quantitative measurement of comorbidities. Propensity score matching was performed for age, sex, ECI, insurance type, and median income by zip code, which yielded 60 frail and 60 nonfrail patients. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were created for complications, including mortality, nonroutine discharge, financial costs, length of stay (LOS), and readmissions while using comorbidity indices as predictor values. The area under the curve (AUC) of each ROC served as a proxy for model performance.

### RESULTS

After propensity matching of the groups, frail patients had an increased mean ± SD hospital cost ($85,441.67 ±$59,201.09) compared with nonfrail patients ($49,321.77 ±$50,705.80) (p = 0.010). Similar trends were also found in LOS between frail (23.1 ± 14.2 days) and nonfrail (10.7 ± 10.5 days) patients (p = 0.0020). For each complication of interest, ROC curves revealed that frailty scores, ECI scores, and a combination of frailty+ECI were similarly accurate predictors of variables (p > 0.05). Frailty+ECI (AUC 0.929) outperformed using only ECI for the variable of increased LOS (AUC 0.833) (p = 0.013). When considering 1-year readmission, frailty (AUC 0.642) was outperformed by both models using ECI (AUC 0.725, p = 0.039) and frailty+ECI (AUC 0.734, p = 0.038).

### CONCLUSIONS

These findings suggest that frailty and ECI are useful in predicting key complications, including mortality, nonroutine discharge, readmission, LOS, and higher costs in NF1 patients undergoing intracranial tumor resection. Consideration of a patient’s frailty status is pertinent to guide appropriate inpatient management as well as resource allocation and discharge planning.

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## Association between socioeconomic status and presenting characteristics and extent of disease in patients with surgically resected nonfunctioning pituitary adenoma

### OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between zip code–level socioeconomic status (SES) and presenting characteristics and short-term clinical outcomes in patients with nonfunctioning pituitary adenoma (NFPA).

### METHODS

A retrospective review of prospectively collected data from the University of Southern California Pituitary Center was conducted to identify all patients undergoing surgery for pituitary adenoma (PA) from 2000 to 2021 and included all patients with NFPA with recorded zip codes at the time of surgery. A normalized socioeconomic metric by zip code was then constructed using data from the American Community Survey estimates, which was categorized into tertiles. Multiple imputation was used for missing data, and multivariable linear and logistic regression models were constructed to estimate mean differences and multivariable-adjusted odds ratios for the association between zip code–level SES and presenting characteristics and outcomes.

### RESULTS

A total of 637 patients were included in the overall analysis. Compared with patients in the lowest SES tertile, those in the highest tertile were more likely to be treated at a private (rather than safety net) hospital, and were less likely to present with headache, vision loss, and apoplexy. After multivariable adjustment for age, sex, and prior surgery, SES in the highest compared with lowest tertile was inversely associated with tumor size at diagnosis (−4.9 mm, 95% CI −7.2 to −2.6 mm, p < 0.001) and was positively associated with incidental diagnosis (multivariable-adjusted OR 1.72, 95% CI 1.02–2.91). Adjustment for hospital (private vs safety net) attenuated the observed associations, but disparities by SES remained statistically significant for tumor size. Despite substantial differences at presentation, there were no significant differences in length of stay or odds of an uncomplicated procedure by zip code–level SES. Patients from lower-SES zip codes were more likely to require postoperative steroid replacement and less likely to achieve gross-total resection.

### CONCLUSIONS

In this series, lower zip code–level SES was associated with more severe disease at the time of diagnosis for NFPA patients, including larger tumor size and lower rates of incidental diagnosis. Despite these differences at presentation, no significant differences were observed in short-term postoperative complications, although patients with higher zip code–level SES had higher rates of gross-total resection.

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## Code-free machine learning for object detection in surgical video: a benchmarking, feasibility, and cost study

### OBJECTIVE

While the utilization of machine learning (ML) for data analysis typically requires significant technical expertise, novel platforms can deploy ML methods without requiring the user to have any coding experience (termed AutoML). The potential for these methods to be applied to neurosurgical video and surgical data science is unknown.

### METHODS

AutoML, a code-free ML (CFML) system, was used to identify surgical instruments contained within each frame of endoscopic, endonasal intraoperative video obtained from a previously validated internal carotid injury training exercise performed on a high-fidelity cadaver model. Instrument-detection performances using CFML were compared with two state-of-the-art ML models built using the Python coding language on the same intraoperative video data set.

### RESULTS

The CFML system successfully ingested surgical video without the use of any code. A total of 31,443 images were used to develop this model; 27,223 images were uploaded for training, 2292 images for validation, and 1928 images for testing. The mean average precision on the test set across all instruments was 0.708. The CFML model outperformed two standard object detection networks, RetinaNet and YOLOv3, which had mean average precisions of 0.669 and 0.527, respectively, in analyzing the same data set. Significant advantages to the CFML system included ease of use, relatively low cost, displays of true/false positives and negatives in a user-friendly interface, and the ability to deploy models for further analysis with ease. Significant drawbacks of the CFML model included an inability to view the structure of the trained model, an inability to update the ML model once trained with new examples, and the inability for robust downstream analysis of model performance and error modes.

### CONCLUSIONS

This first report describes the baseline performance of CFML in an object detection task using a publicly available surgical video data set as a test bed. Compared with standard, code-based object detection networks, CFML exceeded performance standards. This finding is encouraging for surgeon-scientists seeking to perform object detection tasks to answer clinical questions, perform quality improvement, and develop novel research ideas. The limited interpretability and customization of CFML models remain ongoing challenges. With the further development of code-free platforms, CFML will become increasingly important across biomedical research. Using CFML, surgeons without significant coding experience can perform exploratory ML analyses rapidly and efficiently.

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## 5-Aminolevulinic acid–enhanced fluorescence-guided treatment of high-grade glioma using angled endoscopic blue light visualization: technical case series with preliminary follow-up

### OBJECTIVE

5-Aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA)–enhanced fluorescence-guided resection of high-grade glioma (HGG) using microscopic blue light visualization offers the ability to improve extent of resection (EOR); however, few descriptions of HGG resection performed using endoscopic blue light visualization are currently available. In this report, the authors sought to describe their surgical experience and patient outcomes of 5-ALA–enhanced fluorescence-guided resection of HGG using primary or adjunctive endoscopic blue light visualization.

### METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of prospectively collected data from 30 consecutive patients who underwent 5-ALA–enhanced fluorescence-guided biopsy or resection of newly diagnosed HGG was performed. Patient demographic data, tumor characteristics, surgical technique, EOR, tumor fluorescence patterns, and progression-free survival were recorded.

### RESULTS

In total, 30 newly diagnosed HGG patients were included for analysis. The endoscope was utilized for direct 5-ALA–guided port-based biopsy (n = 9), microscopic to endoscopic (M2E; n = 18) resection, or exoscopic to endoscopic (E2E; n = 3) resection. All endoscopic biopsies of fluorescent tissue were diagnostic. 5-ALA–enhanced tumor fluorescence was visible in all glioblastoma cases, but only in 50% of anaplastic astrocytoma cases and no anaplastic oligodendroglioma cases. Gross-total resection (GTR) was achieved in 10 patients in whom complete resection was considered safe, with 11 patients undergoing subtotal resection. In all cases, endoscopic fluorescence was more avid than microscopic fluorescence. The endoscope offered the ability to diagnose and resect additional tumor not visualized by the microscope in 83.3% (n = 10/12) of glioblastoma cases, driven by angled lenses and increased fluorescence facilitated by light source delivery within the cavity. Mean volumetric EOR was 90.7% in all resection patients and 98.8% in patients undergoing planned GTR. No complications were attributable to 5-ALA or blue light endoscopy.

### CONCLUSIONS

The blue light endoscope is a viable primary or adjunctive visualization platform for optimization of 5-ALA–enhanced HGG fluorescence. Implementation of the blue light endoscope to guide resection of HGG glioma is feasible and ergonomically favorable, with a potential advantage of enabling increased detection of tumor fluorescence in deep surgical cavities compared to the microscope.

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## Evaluating the predictive value of comorbidity indices in pituitary surgery: a mixed-effects modeling study using the Nationwide Readmissions Database

### OBJECTIVE

Although pituitary adenomas (PAs) are common intracranial tumors, literature evaluating the utility of comorbidity indices for predicting postoperative complications in patients undergoing pituitary surgery remains limited, thereby hindering the development of complex models that aim to identify high-risk patient populations. We utilized comparative modeling strategies to evaluate the predictive validity of various comorbidity indices and combinations thereof in predicting key pituitary surgery outcomes.

### METHODS

The Nationwide Readmissions Database was used to identify patients who underwent pituitary tumor operations (n = 19,653) in 2016–2017. Patient frailty was assessed using the Johns Hopkins Adjusted Clinical Groups (ACG) System. The Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) and Elixhauser Comorbidity Index (ECI) were calculated for each patient. Five sets of generalized linear mixed-effects models were developed, using as the primary predictors 1) frailty, 2) CCI, 3) ECI, 4) frailty + CCI, or 5) frailty + ECI. Complications of interest investigated included inpatient mortality, nonroutine discharge (e.g., to locations other than home), length of stay (LOS) within the top quartile (Q1), cost within Q1, and 1-year readmission rates.

### RESULTS

Postoperative mortality occurred in 73 patients (0.4%), 1-year readmission was reported in 2994 patients (15.2%), and nonroutine discharge occurred in 2176 patients (11.1%). The mean adjusted all-payer cost for the procedure was USD $25,553.85 ±$26,518.91 (Q1 \$28,261.20), and the mean LOS was 4.8 ± 7.4 days (Q1 5.0 days). The model using frailty + ECI as the primary predictor consistently outperformed other models, with statistically significant p values as determined by comparing areas under the curve (AUCs) for most complications. For prediction of mortality, however, the frailty + ECI model (AUC 0.831) was not better than the ECI model alone (AUC 0.831; p = 0.95). For prediction of readmission, the frailty + ECI model (AUC 0.617) was not better than the frailty model alone (AUC 0.606; p = 0.10) or the frailty + CCI model (AUC 0.610; p = 0.29).

### CONCLUSIONS

This investigation is to the authors’ knowledge the first to implement mixed-effects modeling to study the utility of common comorbidity indices in a large, nationwide cohort of patients undergoing pituitary surgery. Knowledge gained from these models may help neurosurgeons identify high-risk patients who require additional clinical attention or resource utilization prior to surgical planning.

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