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Yi Wang, Matthew J. Anzivino, Yanrong Zhang, Edward H. Bertram, James Woznak, Alexander L. Klibanov, Erik Dumont, Max Wintermark, and Kevin S. Lee

OBJECTIVE

Surgery can be highly effective for the treatment of medically intractable, neurological disorders, such as drug-resistant focal epilepsy. However, despite its benefits, surgery remains substantially underutilized due to both surgical concerns and nonsurgical impediments. In this work, the authors characterized a noninvasive, nonablative strategy to focally destroy neurons in the brain parenchyma with the goal of limiting collateral damage to nontarget structures, such as axons of passage.

METHODS

Low-intensity MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS), together with intravenous microbubbles, was used to open the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in a transient and focal manner in rats. The period of BBB opening was exploited to focally deliver to the brain parenchyma a systemically administered neurotoxin (quinolinic acid) that is well tolerated peripherally and otherwise impermeable to the BBB.

RESULTS

Focal neuronal loss was observed in targeted areas of BBB opening, including brain regions that are prime objectives for epilepsy surgery. Notably, other structures in the area of neuronal loss, including axons of passage, glial cells, vasculature, and the ventricular wall, were spared with this procedure.

CONCLUSIONS

These findings identify a noninvasive, nonablative approach capable of disconnecting neural circuitry while limiting the neuropathological consequences that attend other surgical procedures. Moreover, this strategy allows conformal targeting, which could enhance the precision and expand the treatment envelope for treating irregularly shaped surgical objectives located in difficult-to-reach sites. Finally, if this strategy translates to the clinic, the noninvasive nature and specificity of the procedure could positively influence both physician referrals for and patient confidence in surgery for medically intractable neurological disorders.

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Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Rohin Singh, Gregory A. Worrell, and Jamie J. Van Gompel

OBJECTIVE

Due to their deep and medial location, range of seizure semiologies, and poor localization on ictal electroencephalography (EEG), cingulate gyrus seizures can be difficult to diagnose and treat. The aim of this study was to review the available evidence on postoperative outcomes after cingulate epilepsy surgery.

METHODS

A comprehensive literature search of the PubMed/MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, Ovid Scopus, and Cochrane Library databases was conducted to identify studies that investigated postoperative outcomes of patients with cingulate epilepsy. Seizure freedom at the last follow-up (at least 12 months) was the primary endpoint. The literature search was supplemented by the authors’ institutional series (4 patients).

RESULTS

Twenty-one studies were identified, yielding a total of 105 patients (68 with lesional epilepsy [65%]). Median age at surgery was 23 years, and 56% of patients were male. Median epilepsy duration was 7.5 years. Invasive EEG recording was performed on 69% of patients (53% of patients with lesional epilepsy and 97% of those with nonlesional epilepsy, p < 0.001). The most commonly resected region was the anterior cingulate (55%), followed by the posterior (17%) and middle (14%) cingulate. Lesionectomy alone was performed in 9% of patients. Additional extracingulate treatment was performed in 54% of patients (53% of patients with lesional epilepsy vs 57% of those with nonlesional epilepsy, p = 0.87). The most common pathology was cortical dysplasia (54%), followed by low-grade neoplasm (29%) and gliosis (8%). Seizure freedom was noted in 72% of patients (median follow-up 24 months). A neurological deficit was noted in 27% of patients (24% had temporary deficit), with the most common deficit being motor weakness (13%) followed by supplementary motor area syndrome (9.5%). Univariate survival analysis revealed significantly greater probability of seizure freedom in patients with lesional epilepsy (p = 0.015, log-rank test).

CONCLUSIONS

Surgical treatment of drug-resistant focal epilepsy originating from the cingulate gyrus is safe, leads to low rates of permanent adverse effects, and leads to high rates of long-term seizure freedom in carefully selected patients. These data may serve as a benchmark for surgical counseling of patients with cingulate epilepsy.

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Michael J. Strong, Julianne Santarosa, Timothy P. Sullivan, Noojan Kazemi, Jacob R. Joseph, Osama N. Kashlan, Mark E. Oppenlander, Nicholas J. Szerlip, Paul Park, and Clay M. Elswick

OBJECTIVE

In the era of modern medicine with an armamentarium full of state-of-the art technologies at our disposal, the incidence of wrong-level spinal surgery remains problematic. In particular, the thoracic spine presents a challenge for accurate localization due partly to body habitus, anatomical variations, and radiographic artifact from the ribs and scapula. The present review aims to assess and describe thoracic spine localization techniques.

METHODS

The authors performed a literature search using the PubMed database from 1990 to 2020, compliant with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). A total of 27 articles were included in this qualitative review.

RESULTS

A number of pre- and intraoperative strategies have been devised and employed to facilitate correct-level localization. Some of the more well-described approaches include fiducial metallic markers (screw or gold), metallic coils, polymethylmethacrylate, methylene blue, marking wire, use of intraoperative neuronavigation, intraoperative localization techniques (including using a needle, temperature probe, fluoroscopy, MRI, and ultrasonography), and skin marking.

CONCLUSIONS

While a number of techniques exist to accurately localize lesions in the thoracic spine, each has its advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, the localization technique deployed by the spine surgeon will be patient-specific but often based on surgeon preference.

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Grace Y. Lai, William Chu Kwan, Karolina Piorkowska, Matthias W. Wagner, Pouya Jamshidi, Birgit Ertl-Wagner, Thomas Looi, Adam C. Waspe, and James M. Drake

OBJECTIVE

While intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) is associated with posthemorrhagic ventricular dilation (PHVD), not all infants affected by high-grade IVH develop PHVD. The authors aimed to determine clot-associated predictors of PHVD in a porcine model by varying the amount and rate of direct intraventricular injection of whole autologous blood.

METHODS

Seven 1-week-old piglets underwent craniectomy and injection of autologous blood into the right lateral ventricle. They survived for a maximum of 28 days. MRI was performed prior to injection, immediately postoperatively, and every 7 days thereafter. T1-weighted, T2-weighted, and susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI) sequences were used to segment ventricular and clot volumes. Spearman correlations were used to determine the relationship between blood and clot volumes and ventricular volumes over time.

RESULTS

The maximum ventricular volume was up to 12 times that of baseline. One animal developed acute hydrocephalus on day 4. All other animals survived until planned endpoints. The interaction between volume of blood injected and duration of injection was significantly associated with clot volume on the postoperative scan (p = 0.003) but not the amount of blood injected alone (p = 0.38). Initial postoperative and day 7 clot volumes, but not volume of blood injected, were correlated with maximum (p = 0.007 and 0.014) and terminal (p = 0.014 and 0.036) ventricular volumes. Initial postoperative ventricular volume was correlated with maximum and terminal ventricular volume (p = 0.007 and p = 0.014).

CONCLUSIONS

Initial postoperative, maximum, and terminal ventricular dilations were associated with the amount of clot formed, rather than the amount of blood injected. This supports the hypothesis that PHVD is determined by clot burden rather than the presence of blood products and allows further testing of early clot lysis to minimize PHVD risk.

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Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Jakub Godzik, Paul Park, Kai-Ming Fu, Stacie Tran, Juan S. Uribe, Michael Y. Wang, Khoi D. Than, David O. Okonkwo, Adam S. Kanter, Pierce D. Nunley, Neel Anand, Richard G. Fessler, Dean Chou, Renaud Lafage, Robert K. Eastlack, and on behalf of the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Traditional surgery for adult spinal deformity (ASD) is effective but may result in exposure-related morbidity. Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) can potentially minimize this morbidity; however, high-level evidence is lacking. This study presents the first prospective multicenter investigation of MIS approaches for ASD.

METHODS

A prospective multicenter study was conducted. Inclusion criteria were age ≥ 18 years, with at least one of the following radiographic criteria: coronal Cobb (CC) angle ≥ 20°, sagittal vertical axis (SVA) > 5 cm, pelvic tilt (PT) > 25°, and thoracic kyphosis > 60°. Additional inclusion criteria were circumferential MIS, including interbody fusion (transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion [TLIF], lateral lumbar interbody fusion [LLIF], or anterior lumbar interbody fusion [ALIF]) with percutaneous posterior fixation on a minimum of 4 intervertebral levels. Radiographic and clinical outcomes (visual analog scale [VAS], Oswestry Disability Index [ODI], and Scoliosis Research Society–22 [SRS-22]) were collected preoperatively and at 12 months postoperatively; preoperative and postoperative values were compared using paired Student t-tests.

RESULTS

Seventy-five patients with a minimum 1-year follow-up were identified (75 of 111; 67.6%). The mean ± SD age was 68.8 ± 9.0 years, and 48 patients (64%) were female. Patients underwent a mean of 6.7 ± 2.9 levels of fusion with LLIF (85%), ALIF (55%), and TLIF (9%); the mean estimated blood loss was 547.6 ± 567.2 mL, and the mean length of stay was 7.0 ± 3.7 days. Significant improvements were observed in ODI (−19 ± 12.9, p < 0.001), SRS-22 (0.8 ± 0.66, p < 0.001), VAS back (−4.3 ± 2.8, p < 0.001), and VAS leg (−3.0 ± 3.2, p < 0.001) scores. Significant decreases in SVA (−26.4 ± 53.6 mm; p < 0.001), pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis (−11.3° ± 14.9°, p < 0.001), and CC angle (−12.1° ± 11.8°, p < 0.001) were also observed. Complications occurred in 39 patients (52%); 11 patients (15%) experienced major complications, and 16 patients (21%) required reoperation.

CONCLUSIONS

MIS approaches for ASD resulted in meaningful symptomatic improvement. The complication rates were similar to historic norms, with a fairly high reoperation rate at 1 year. Longer follow-up will be necessary to evaluate the durability of this approach in the treatment of ASD.

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Kathrin Zimmerman, Nathan A. Shlobin, Arsalaan Salehani, and Brandon G. Rocque

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Edwin Nieblas-Bedolla, Fatima El-ghazali, Saman Qadri, John R. Williams, Nabiha Quadri, Amy Lee, and Manuel Ferreira Jr.

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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S. Harrison Farber, Soumya Sagar, Jakub Godzik, James J. Zhou, Corey T. Walker, Kaveh Khajavi, Jay D. Turner, and Juan S. Uribe

OBJECTIVE

Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) used at the lumbosacral junction provides arthrodesis for several indications. The anterior approach allows restoration of lumbar lordosis, an important goal of surgery. With hyperlordotic ALIF implants, several options may be employed to obtain the desired amount of lordosis. In this study, the authors compared the degree of radiographic lordosis achieved with lordotic and hyperlordotic ALIF implants at the L5–S1 segment.

METHODS

All patients undergoing L5–S1 ALIF from 2 institutions over a 4-year interval were included. Patients < 18 years of age or those with any posterior decompression or osteotomy were excluded. ALIF implants in the lordotic group had 8° or 12° of inherent lordosis, whereas implants in the hyperlordotic group had 20° or 30° of lordosis. Upright standing radiographs were used to determine all radiographic parameters, including lumbar lordosis, segmental lordosis, disc space lordosis, and disc space height. Separate analyses were performed for patients who underwent single-segment fixation at L5–S1 and for the overall cohort.

RESULTS

A total of 204 patients were included (hyperlordotic group, 93 [45.6%]; lordotic group, 111 [54.4%]). Single-segment ALIF at L5–S1 was performed in 74 patients (hyperlordotic group, 27 [36.5%]; lordotic group, 47 [63.5%]). The overall mean ± SD age was 61.9 ± 12.3 years; 58.3% of patients (n = 119) were women. The mean number of total segments fused was 3.2 ± 2.6. Overall, 66.7% (n = 136) of patients had supine surgery and 33.3% (n = 68) had lateral surgery. Supine positioning was significantly more common in the hyperlordotic group than in the lordotic group (83.9% [78/93] vs 52.3% [58/111], p < 0.001). After adjusting for differences in surgical positioning, the change in lumbar lordosis was significantly greater for hyperlordotic versus lordotic implants (3.6° ± 7.5° vs 0.4° ± 7.5°, p = 0.048) in patients with single-level fusion. For patients receiving hyperlordotic versus lordotic implants, changes were also significantly greater for segmental lordosis (12.4° ± 7.5° vs 8.4° ± 4.9°, p = 0.03) and disc space lordosis (15.3° ± 5.4° vs 9.3° ± 5.8°, p < 0.001) after single-level fusion at L5–S1. The change in disc space height was similar for these 2 groups (p = 0.23).

CONCLUSIONS

Hyperlordotic implants provided a greater degree of overall lumbar lordosis restoration as well as L5–S1 segmental and disc space lordosis restoration than lordotic implants. The change in disc space height was similar. Differences in lateral and supine positioning did not affect these parameters.

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Toshiaki Hayashi, Tomomi Kimiwada, Reizo Shirane, and Teiji Tominaga

OBJECTIVE

Lipoma of the conus medullaris (LCM) causes neurological symptoms known as tethered cord syndrome (TCS). The symptoms can be seen at diagnosis and during long-term follow-up. In this report, pediatric patients with LCMs who underwent untethering surgery, under the policy of performing surgery if diagnosed regardless of symptoms, were retrospectively reviewed to evaluate long-term surgical outcomes. Possible risk factors for retethered cord syndrome (ReTCS) were evaluated in the long-term follow-up period.

METHODS

A total of 51 consecutive pediatric patients with LCMs who underwent a first untethering surgery and were followed for > 100 months were retrospectively analyzed. The surgery was performed with the partial removal technique. Pre- and postoperative clinical and radiological data were reviewed to analyze the outcomes of surgery and identify potential risk factors for ReTCS.

RESULTS

During follow-up, 12 patients experienced neurological deterioration due to ReTCS. The overall 10-year and 15-year progression-free survival rates were 82.3% and 75.1%, respectively. On univariate analysis, a lipoma type of lipomyelomeningocele (OR 11, 95% CI 2.50–48.4; p = 0.0014), patient age at the time of surgery (OR 0.41, 95% CI 0.14–1.18; p = 0.0070), and the mean patient growth rate after surgery (OR 2.00, 95% CI 1.12–3.41; p = 0.0040) were significant factors associated with ReTCS. Cox proportional hazard models showed that a lipoma type of lipomyelomeningocele (HR 5.16, 95% CI 1.54–20.1; p = 0.010) and the mean growth rate after surgery (HR 1.88, 95% CI 1.00–3.50; p = 0.040) were significantly associated with the occurrence of ReTCS.

CONCLUSIONS

More complex lesions and a high patient growth rate after surgery seemed to indicate increased risk of ReTCS. Larger prospective studies and registries are needed to define the risks of ReTCS more adequately.

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Conor P. Lynch, Elliot D. K. Cha, Shruthi Mohan, Cara E. Geoghegan, Caroline N. Jadczak, and Kern Singh

OBJECTIVE

The Physical Component Score of the Veterans RAND 12 Item Health Survey (VR-12 PCS) has been assessed for use at short-term and intermediate-term time points for lumbar fusion populations. This study assesses the long-term validity and establishes minimal clinically important difference (MCID) values of VR-12 PCS in patients undergoing minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS TLIF).

METHODS

A surgical registry was retrospectively reviewed for primary, elective, single-level MIS TLIF procedures with posterior instrumentation. Patients missing preoperative and 2-year postoperative VR-12 PCS survey data were excluded. VR-12 PCS, SF-12 Health Survey Physical Component Summary (SF-12 PCS), Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Physical Function (PROMIS PF), and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) were recorded preoperatively and postoperatively. Responsiveness of the VR-12 measure was assessed in two ways. First, the mean postoperative PROM scores were compared with preoperative baseline values using a paired Student t-test. Second, MCID values were calculated using both distribution-based and anchor-based methods and used to assess improvement in VR-12 score at the 2-year time point. Discriminant validity of the VR-12 was assessed using cross-sectional and longitudinal anchors. Convergent validity of the VR-12 measure was assessed using Pearson’s correlation coefficient and partial time-independent correlation. Floor and ceiling effects were assessed.

RESULTS

A total of 74 patients who underwent MIS TLIF were included. The VR-12 PCS demonstrated significant improvements at all time points from 12 weeks to 2 years (p < 0.001 for all). VR-12 PCSs were significantly different for patients classified using cross-sectional anchors (p < 0.001) and longitudinal anchors (p ≤ 0.005). Calculated MCID values ranged from 4.1 to 8.5, and 4.1 was selected as the optimal MCID, which 87.8% of patients achieved. Strong, significant correlations of the VR-12 PCS with SF-12 PCS and PROMIS PF were demonstrated at all time points (p < 0.001 for all). No significant floor or ceiling effects were detected.

CONCLUSIONS

The VR-12 PCS demonstrated excellent responsiveness, discriminant and convergent validity, and no significant floor or ceiling effects up to 2 years after MIS TLIF. Therefore, VR-12 PCS may serve as a valid measure of long-term physical function.