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MirHojjat Khorasanizadeh, Yu-Ming Chang, Alejandro Enriquez-Marulanda, Satomi Mizuhashi, Mohamed M. Salem, Santiago Gomez-Paz, Farhan Siddiq, Peter Kan, Justin Moore, Christopher S. Ogilvy, and Ajith J. Thomas

OBJECTIVE

Middle meningeal artery embolization (MMAE) is an increasingly utilized approach for the treatment of chronic subdural hematomas (CSDHs). The course of morphological progression of CSDHs following MMAE is poorly understood. Herein, the authors aimed to describe these morphological changes and assess their prognostic significance for the outcomes on follow-up.

METHODS

A single-institution retrospective cohort study of CSDH cases treated by upfront MMAE, without prior or adjunctive surgical evacuation, was performed. Clinical outcomes, complications, and the need for rescue surgery on follow-up were recorded. Hematomas were categorized into 6 morphological subtypes. All baseline and follow-up head CT scans were assessed for CSDH structural appearance, density, and loculation. Changes in CSDH size were quantified via 3D reconstruction for volumetric measurement.

RESULTS

Overall, 52 CSDHs in 45 patients treated with upfront MMAE were identified. Hematomas were followed for a mean of 92.9 days. Volume decreased by ≥ 50% in 79.6% of the CSDHs. The overall rescue surgery rate was 9.6%. A sequence of morphological changes after MMAE was identified. Hematomas that diverged from this sequence (5.4%) all progressed toward treatment failure and required rescue surgery. The CSDHs were categorized into early, intermediate, and late stages based on the baseline morphological appearance. Progression from early to intermediate and then to late stage took 12.7 and 30.0 days, respectively, on average. The volume of early/intermediate- and late-stage hematomas decreased by ≥ 50%, a mean of 78.2 and 47.6 days after MMAE, respectively. Early- and intermediate-stage hematomas showed a trend toward more favorable outcomes compared with late-stage hematomas. The density of homogeneous hypodense hematomas (HSDHs) transiently increased immediately after MMAE (p < 0.001). A marked decrease in density and volume 1 to 3 weeks after MMAE in HSDHs was detected, the lack of which indicated an eventual need for rescue surgery. In HSDHs, a baseline mean density of < 20 HU, and a lower density than baseline by 1 month post-MMAE were predictors of favorable outcomes. The baseline hematoma volume, axial thickness, midline shift, and loculation were not correlated with MMAE outcomes. Loculated, trabecular, and laminar hematomas, which are known to have unfavorable surgical outcomes, had MMAE outcomes similar to those of other "surgical" hematomas.

CONCLUSIONS

The current study was the first to describe the nature, sequence, and timing of morphological changes of CSDHs after MMAE treatment and has identified structural features that can predict treatment outcomes.

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Ayoub Dakson, Michelle Kameda-Smith, Michael D. Staudt, Pascal Lavergne, Serge Makarenko, Matthew E. Eagles, Huphy Ghayur, Ru Chen Guo, Alwalaa Althagafi, Jonathan Chainey, Charles J. Touchette, Cameron Elliott, Christian Iorio-Morin, Michael K. Tso, Ryan Greene, Laurence Bargone, and Sean D. Christie

OBJECTIVE

External ventricular drainage (EVD) catheters are associated with complications such as EVD catheter infection (ECI), intracranial hemorrhage (ICH), and suboptimal placement. The aim of this study was to investigate the rates of EVD catheter complications and their associated risk factor profiles in order to optimize the safety and accuracy of catheter insertion.

METHODS

A total of 348 patients with urgently placed EVD catheters were included as a part of a prospective multicenter observational cohort. Strict definitions were applied for each complication category.

RESULTS

The rates of misplacement, ECI/ventriculitis, and ICH were 38.6%, 12.2%, and 9.2%, respectively. Catheter misplacement was associated with midline shift (p = 0.002), operator experience (p = 0.031), and intracranial length (p < 0.001). Although mostly asymptomatic, ICH occurred more often in patients receiving prophylactic low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) (p = 0.002) and those who required catheter replacement (p = 0.026). Infectious complications (ECI/ventriculitis and suspected ECI) occurred more commonly in patients whose catheters were inserted at the bedside (p = 0.004) and those with smaller incisions (≤ 1 cm) (p < 0.001). ECI/ventriculitis was not associated with preinsertion antibiotic prophylaxis (p = 0.421), catheter replacement (p = 0.118), and catheter tunneling length (p = 0.782).

CONCLUSIONS

EVD-associated complications are common. These results suggest that the operating room setting can help reduce the risk of infection, but not the use of preoperative antibiotic prophylaxis. Although EVD-related ICH was associated with LMWH prophylaxis for deep vein thrombosis, there were no significant clinical manifestations in the majority of patients. Catheter misplacement was associated with operator level of training and midline shift. Information from this multicenter prospective cohort can be utilized to increase the safety profile of this common neurosurgical procedure.

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Jason I. Liounakos, Asham Khan, Karen Eliahu, Jennifer Z. Mao, Christopher R. Good, John Pollina, Colin M. Haines, Jeffrey L. Gum, Thomas C. Schuler, Ehsan Jazini, Richard V. Chua, Eiman Shafa, Avery L. Buchholz, Martin H. Pham, Kornelis A. Poelstra, and Michael Y. Wang

OBJECTIVE

Robotics is a major area for research and development in spine surgery. The high accuracy of robot-assisted placement of thoracolumbar pedicle screws is documented in the literature. The authors present the largest case series to date evaluating 90-day complication, revision, and readmission rates for robot-assisted spine surgery using the current generation of robotic guidance systems.

METHODS

An analysis of a retrospective, multicenter database of open and minimally invasive thoracolumbar instrumented fusion surgeries using the Mazor X or Mazor X Stealth Edition robotic guidance systems was performed. Patients 18 years of age or older and undergoing primary or revision surgery for degenerative spinal conditions were included. Descriptive statistics were used to calculate rates of malpositioned screws requiring revision, as well as overall complication, revision, and readmission rates within 90 days.

RESULTS

In total, 799 surgical cases (Mazor X: 48.81%; Mazor X Stealth Edition: 51.19%) were evaluated, involving robot-assisted placement of 4838 pedicle screws. The overall intraoperative complication rate was 3.13%. No intraoperative implant-related complications were encountered. Postoperatively, 129 patients suffered a total of 146 complications by 90 days, representing an incidence of 16.1%. The rate of an unrecognized malpositioned screw resulting in a new postoperative radiculopathy requiring revision surgery was 0.63% (5 cases). Medical and pain-related complications unrelated to hardware placement accounted for the bulk of postoperative complications within 90 days. The overall surgical revision rate at 90 days was 6.63% with 7 implant-related revisions, representing an implant-related revision rate of 0.88%. The 90-day readmission rate was 7.13% with 2 implant-related readmissions, representing an implant-related readmission rate of 0.25% of cases.

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this multicenter case series and literature review suggest current-generation robotic guidance systems are associated with low rates of intraoperative and postoperative implant-related complications, revisions, and readmissions at 90 days. Future outcomes-based studies are necessary to evaluate complication, revision, and readmission rates compared to conventional surgery.

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Xiaopeng Guo, Zihao Wang, Lu Gao, Wenbin Ma, Bing Xing, and Wei Lian

OBJECTIVE

Opioid-minimizing or nonopioid therapy using nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or tramadol has been encouraged for pain management. This study aimed to examine the noninferiority of NSAIDs to tramadol for pain management following transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenomas in terms of analgesic efficacy, adverse events, and rescue opioid use.

METHODS

This was a randomized, single-center, double-blind noninferiority trial. Patients 18–70 years old with planned transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenomas were randomly assigned (in a 1-to-1 ratio) to receive NSAIDs (parecoxib injection and subsequent loxoprofen tablets) or tramadol (tramadol injection and subsequent tramadol tablets). The primary outcome was pain score assessed by a visual analog scale (VAS) for 24 hours following surgery; the secondary outcomes were VAS scores for 48 and 72 hours. Other prespecified outcomes included nausea, vomiting, dizziness, upset stomach, skin rash, peptic ulcer, gastrointestinal bleeding, and pethidine use to control breakthrough pain. Noninferiority of NSAIDs to tramadol was established if the upper limit of the 95% confidence interval (CI) of the VAS score difference was < 1 point and the rate difference of adverse events and pethidine use < 5%. The superiority of NSAIDs was assessed when noninferiority was verified. All analyses were performed on an intention-to-treat basis.

RESULTS

Two hundred two patients were enrolled between November 1, 2020, and May 31, 2021 (101 in the NSAIDs group, 101 in the tramadol group). Baseline characteristics between groups were well balanced. Mean VAS scores for 24 hours following transsphenoidal surgery were 2.6 ± 1.8 in the NSAIDs group and 3.5 ± 2.1 in the tramadol group (−0.9 difference, 95% CI −1.5 to −0.4; p value for noninferiority < 0.001, p value for superiority < 0.001). Noninferiority and superiority were also achieved for both secondary outcomes. VAS scores improved over time in both groups. Incidences of nausea (39.6% vs 61.4%, p = 0.002), vomiting (3.0% vs 42.6%, p < 0.001), and dizziness (12.9% vs 47.5%, p < 0.001) were significantly lower, while incidence of upset stomach (9.9% vs 2.0%, p = 0.017) was slightly higher in the NSAIDs group compared with the tramadol group. The percentage of opioid use was 4.0% in the NSAIDs group and 15.8% in the tramadol group (−11.8% difference, 95% CI −19.9% to −3.7%; p value for noninferiority < 0.001, p value for superiority = 0.005).

CONCLUSIONS

NSAIDs significantly reduced acute pain following transsphenoidal surgery, caused few adverse events, and limited opioid use compared with tramadol.

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Pravesh S. Gadjradj, Nicholas V. R. Smeele, Mandy de Jong, Paul R. A. M. Depauw, Maurits W. van Tulder, Esther W. de Bekker-Grob, and Biswadjiet S. Harhangi

OBJECTIVE

Lumbar discectomy is a frequently performed procedure to treat sciatica caused by lumbar disc herniation. Multiple surgical techniques are available, and the popularity of minimally invasive surgical techniques is increasing worldwide. Clinical outcomes between these techniques may not show any substantial differences. As lumbar discectomy is an elective procedure, patients’ own preferences play an important role in determining the procedure they will undergo. The aims of the current study were to determine the relative preference weights patients apply to various attributes of lumbar discectomy, determine if patient preferences change after surgery, identify preference heterogeneity for choosing surgery for sciatica, and calculate patient willingness to pay for other attributes.

METHODS

A discrete choice experiment (DCE) was conducted among patients with sciatica caused by lumbar disc herniation. A questionnaire was administered to patients before they underwent surgery and to an independent sample of patients who had already undergone surgery. The DCE required patients to choose between two surgical techniques or to opt out from 12 choice sets with alternating characteristic levels: waiting time for surgery, out-of-pocket costs, size of the scar, need of general anesthesia, need for hospitalization, effect on leg pain, and duration of the recovery period.

RESULTS

A total of 287 patients were included in the DCE analysis. All attributes, except scar size, had a significant influence on the overall preferences of patients. The effect on leg pain was the most important characteristic in the decision for a surgical procedure (by 44.8%). The potential out-of-pocket costs for the procedure (28.8%), the wait time (12.8%), need for general anesthesia (7.5%), need for hospitalization (4.3%), and the recovery period (1.8%) followed. Preferences were independent of the scores on patient-reported outcome measures and baseline characteristics. Three latent classes could be identified with specific preference patterns. Willingness-to-pay was the highest for effectiveness on leg pain, with patients willing to pay €3133 for a treatment that has a 90% effectiveness instead of 70%.

CONCLUSIONS

Effect on leg pain is the most important factor for patients in deciding to undergo surgery for sciatica. Not all proposed advantages of minimally invasive spine surgery (e.g., size of the scar, no need of general anesthesia) are necessarily perceived as advantages by patients. Spine surgeons should propose surgical techniques for sciatica, not only based on own ability and proposed eligibility, but also based on patient preferences as is part of shared decision making.

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Sameer A. Kitab, Andrew E. Wakefield, and Edward C. Benzel

OBJECTIVE

Roussouly lumbopelvic sagittal profiles are associated with distinct pathologies or distinct natural histories and prognoses. The associations between developmental lumbar spinal stenosis (DLSS) and native lumbopelvic sagittal profiles are unknown. Moreover, the relative effects of multilevel decompression on lumbar sagittal alignment, geometrical parameters of the pelvis, and compensatory mechanisms for each of the Roussouly subtypes are unknown. This study aimed to explore the association between DLSS and native lumbar lordosis (LL) subtypes. It also attempts to understand the natural history of postlaminectomy lumbopelvic sagittal changes and compensatory mechanisms for each of the Roussouly subtypes and to define the critical lumbar segment or specific lordosis arc that is recruited after relief of the stenosis effect.

METHODS

A total of 418 patients with multilevel DLSS were grouped into various Roussouly subtypes, and lumbopelvic sagittal parameters were prospectively compared at follow-up intervals of preoperative to < 2 years, 2 to < 5 years, and 5 to ≥ 10 years after laminectomy. The variables analyzed included LL, upper lordosis arc from L1 to L4, lower lordosis arc from L4 to S1, and segmental lordosis from L1 to S1. Pelvic parameters included pelvic incidence, sacral slope, pelvic tilt, and pelvic incidence minus LL values.

RESULTS

Of the 329 patients who were followed up throughout this study, 33.7% had Roussouly type 1 native lordosis, whereas the incidence rates of types 2, 3, and 4 were 33.4%, 21.9%, and 10.9%, respectively. LL was not reduced in any of the Roussouly subtypes after multilevel decompressions. Instead, LL increased by 4.5° (SD 11.9°—from 27.3° [SD 11.5°] to 31.8° [SD 9.8°]) in Roussouly type 1 and by 3.1° (SD 11.6°—from 41.3° [SD 9.5°] to 44.4° [SD = 9.7°]) in Roussouly type 2. The other Roussouly types showed no significant changes. Pelvic tilt decreased significantly—by 2.8°, whereas sacral slope increased significantly—by 2.9° in Roussouly type 1 and by 1.7° in Roussouly type 2. The critical lumbar segment that recruits LL differs between Roussouly subtypes. Increments and changes were sustained until the final follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

The study findings are important in predicting patient prognosis, LL evolution, and the need for prophylactic or corrective deformity surgery. Multilevel involvement in DLSS and the high prevalence of Roussouly types 1 and 2 suggest that spinal canal dimensions are closely linked to the developmental evolution of LL.

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Amir Hadanny, Zachary T. Olmsted, Anthony M. Marchese, Kyle Kroll, Christopher Figueroa, Thomas Tagney, Jennifer Tram, Marisa DiMarzio, Olga Khazen, Dorothy Mitchell, Theodore Cangero, Vishad Sukul, and Julie G. Pilitsis

OBJECTIVE

The incidence of hemorrhage in patients who undergo deep brain stimulation (DBS) and spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is between 0.5% and 2.5%. Coagulation status is one of the factors that can predispose patients to the development of these complications. As a routine part of preoperative assessment, the authors obtain prothrombin time (PT), partial thromboplastin time (PTT), and platelet count. However, insurers often cover only PT/PTT laboratory tests if the patient is receiving warfarin/heparin. The authors aimed to examine their experience with abnormal coagulation parameters in patients who underwent neuromodulation.

METHODS

Patients who underwent neuromodulation (SCS, DBS, or intrathecal pump implantation) over a 9-year period and had preoperative laboratory values available were included. The authors determined abnormal values on the basis of a clinical protocol utilized at their practice, which combined the normal ranges of the laboratory tests and clinical relevance. This protocol had cutoff values of 12 seconds and 39 seconds for PT and PTT, respectively, and < 120,000 platelets/μl. The authors identified risk factors for these abnormalities and described interventions.

RESULTS

Of the 1767 patients who met the inclusion criteria, 136 had abnormal preoperative laboratory values. Five of these 136 patients had values that were misclassified as abnormal because they were within the normal ranges at the outside facility where they were tested. Fifty-one patients had laboratory values outside the ranges of our protocol, but the surgeons reviewed and approved these patients without further intervention. Of the remaining 80 patients, 8 had known coagulopathies and 24 were receiving warfarin/heparin. The remaining 48 patients were receiving other anticoagulant/antiplatelet medications. These included apixaban/rivaroxaban/dabigatran anticoagulants (n = 22; mean ± SD PT 13.7 ± 2.5 seconds) and aspirin/clopidogrel/other antiplatelet medications (n = 26; mean ± SD PT 14.4 ± 5.8 seconds). Eight new coagulopathies were identified and further investigated with hematological analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

New anticoagulants and antiplatelet medications are not monitored with PT/PTT, but they affect coagulation status and laboratory values. Although platelet function tests aid in a subset of medications, it is more difficult to assess the coagulation status of patients receiving novel anticoagulants. PT/PTT may provide value preoperatively.

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Joshua S. Catapano, Mohamed A. Labib, Visish M. Srinivasan, Candice L. Nguyen, Kavelin Rumalla, Redi Rahmani, Tyler S. Cole, Jacob F. Baranoski, Caleb Rutledge, Kristina M. Chapple, Andrew F. Ducruet, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Joseph M. Zabramski, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

The Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial (BRAT) was a single-center trial that compared endovascular coiling to microsurgical clipping in patients treated for aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). However, because patients in the BRAT were treated more than 15 years ago, and because there have been advances since then—particularly in endovascular techniques—the relevance of the BRAT today remains controversial. Some hypothesize that these technical advances may reduce retreatment rates for endovascular intervention. In this study, the authors analyzed data for the post-BRAT (PBRAT) era to compare microsurgical clipping with endovascular embolization (coiling and flow diverters) in the two time periods and to examine how the results of the original BRAT have influenced the practice of neurosurgeons at the study institution.

METHODS

In this retrospective cohort study, the authors evaluated patients with saccular aSAHs who were treated at a single quaternary center from August 1, 2007, to July 31, 2019. The saccular aSAH diagnoses were confirmed by cerebrovascular experts. Patients were separated into two cohorts for comparison on the basis of having undergone microsurgery or endovascular intervention. The primary outcome analyzed for comparison was poor neurological outcome, defined as a modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score > 2. The secondary outcomes that were compared included retreatment rates for both therapies.

RESULTS

Of the 1014 patients with aSAH during the study period, 798 (79%) were confirmed to have saccular aneurysms. Neurological outcomes at ≥ 1-year follow-up did not differ between patients treated with microsurgery (n = 451) and those who received endovascular (n = 347) treatment (p = 0.51). The number of retreatments was significantly higher among patients treated endovascularly (32/347, 9%) than among patients treated microsurgically (6/451, 1%) (p < 0.001). The retreatment rate after endovascular treatment was lower in the PBRAT era (9%) than in the BRAT (18%).

CONCLUSIONS

Similar to results from the BRAT, results from the PBRAT era showed equivalent neurological outcomes and increased rates of retreatment among patients undergoing endovascular embolization compared with those undergoing microsurgery. However, the rate of retreatment after endovascular intervention was much lower in the PBRAT era than in the BRAT.

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Brian J. Park, Colin J. Gold, Royce W. Woodroffe, and Satoshi Yamaguchi

OBJECTIVE

The ability to utilize the T1 slope is often limited by poor visibility on cervical radiographs. The C7 slope has been proposed as a reliable substitute but may have similar limitations of visibility. Herein, the authors propose a novel method that takes advantage of the superior visibility on CT to accurately substitute for the radiographic T1 slope and compare the accuracy of this method with previously reported substitutes.

METHODS

Lateral neutral standing cervical radiographs and cervical CT scans were examined. When the T1 slope was clearly visible on radiographs, the C3–7 slopes and T1 slope were measured. In CT method 1, a direct method, the T1 slope was measured from the upper endplate of T1 to the bottom edge of the CT image, assuming the edge was parallel to the horizontal plane. In CT method 2, an overlaying method, the T1 slope was calculated by superimposing the C7 slope angle measured on a radiograph onto the CT scan and measuring the angle formed by the upper endplate of T1 and the superimposed horizontal line of the C7 slope. A Pearson correlation with linear regression modeling was performed for potential substitutes for the actual T1 slope.

RESULTS

Among 160 patients with available noninstrumented lateral neutral cervical radiographs, the T1 slope was visible in only 54 patients (33.8%). A total of 52 patients met the inclusion criteria for final analysis. The Pearson correlation coefficients between the T1 slope and the C3–7 slopes, CT method 1, and CT method 2 were 0.243 (p = 0.083), 0.292 (p = 0.035), 0.609 (p < 0.001), 0.806 (p < 0.001), 0.898 (p < 0.001), 0.426 (p = 0.002), and 0.942 (p < 0.001), respectively. Linear regression modeling showed R2 = 0.807 for the correlation between C7 slope and T1 slope and R2 = 0.888 for the correlation between T1 slope with the CT method 2 and actual T1 slope.

CONCLUSIONS

The C7 slope can be a reliable predictor of the T1 slope and is more accurate than more rostral cervical slopes. However, this study disclosed that the novel CT method 2, an overlaying method, was the most reliable estimate of true T1 slope with a greater positive correlation than C7 slope. When CT studies are available in patients with an invisible T1 slope on cervical radiographs, CT method 2 should be used as a substitute for the T1 slope.

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Albert Antar, James Feghali, Elizabeth E. Wicks, Shahab Aldin Sattari, Sean Li, Timothy F. Witham, Henry Brem, and Judy Huang

OBJECTIVE

In this study, the authors sought to determine which US medical schools have produced the most neurosurgery residents and to evaluate potential associations between recruitment and medical school characteristics.

METHODS

Demographic and bibliometric characteristics were collected for 1572 residents in US-based and Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)–accredited neurosurgery programs over the 2014 to 2020 match period using publicly available websites. US medical school characteristics were collected, including class size, presence of a home neurosurgery program, number of clinical neurosurgery faculty, research funding, presence of a neurosurgery interest group, and a top 10 ranking via U.S. News & World Report or Doximity. Correlations and associations were then evaluated using Pearson’s correlation coefficient (PCC), independent-samples t-test, and univariable or stepwise multivariable linear regression, as appropriate.

RESULTS

Vanderbilt University produced the most neurosurgery residents as a percentage of medical graduates at 3.799%. Case Western Reserve University produced the greatest absolute number of neurosurgery residents (n = 40). The following factors were shown to be associated with a higher mean percentage of graduates entering neurosurgery: number of clinical neurosurgery faculty (PCC 0.509, p < 0.001), presence of a neurosurgery interest group (1.022% ± 0.737% vs 0.351% ± 0.327%, p < 0.001) or home neurosurgery program (1.169% ± 0.766% vs 0.428% ± 0.327%, p < 0.001), allopathic compared with osteopathic school (0.976% ± 0.719% vs 0.232% ± 0.272%, p < 0.001), U.S. News top 10 ranking for neurology and neurosurgery (1.923% ± 0.924% vs 0.757% ± 0.607%, p < 0.001), Doximity top 10 residency program ranking (1.715% ± 0.803% vs 0.814% ± 0.688%, p < 0.001), and amount of NIH funding (PCC 0.528, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this study have delineated which medical schools produced the most neurosurgery residents currently in training, and the most important independent factors predicting the percentage of graduates entering neurosurgery and the preresidency h-index.