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Natarajan Muthukumar and Vedantam Rajshekhar

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Jonathan Huang, Erik E. Rabin, Geoffrey P. Stricsek, and Kevin N. Swong

OBJECTIVE

Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS-TLIF) may be used to treat degenerative spinal pathologies while reducing risks associated with open procedures. As an increasing number of lumbar fusions are performed in the aging United States population, MIS-TLIF has been widely adopted into clinical practice in recent years. However, its complication rate and functional outcomes in elderly patients remain poorly characterized. The objective of this study was to assess complication rates and functional outcomes in elderly patients (≥ 65 years old) undergoing MIS-TLIF.

METHODS

The PubMed, Embase, and Scopus databases were searched for relevant records in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines. Inclusion criteria were peer-reviewed original research; English language; full text available; use of MIS-TLIF; and an elderly cohort of at least 5 patients. Risk of bias was assessed using the ROBINS-I (Risk of Bias in Nonrandomized Studies—of Interventions) tool. Pooled complication rates were calculated for elderly patients, with subgroup analyses performed for single versus multiple-level fusions. Complication rates in elderly compared to nonelderly patients were also assessed. Postoperative changes in patient-reported outcomes, including Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and visual analog scale (VAS) back pain (BP) and leg pain (LP) scores, were calculated.

RESULTS

Twelve studies were included in the final analysis. Compared to nonelderly patients, MIS-TLIF in elderly patients resulted in significantly higher rates of major (OR 2.15, 95% CI 1.07–4.34) and minor (OR 2.20, 95% CI 1.22–3.95) complications. The pooled major complication rate in elderly patients was 0.05 (95% CI 0.03–0.08) and the pooled minor complication rate was 0.20 (95% CI 0.13–0.30). Single-level MIS-TLIF had lower major and minor complication rates than multilevel MIS-TLIF, although not reaching significance. At a minimum follow-up of 6 months, the postoperative change in ODI (−30.70, 95% CI −41.84 to −19.55), VAS-BP (−3.87, 95% CI −4.97 to −2.77), and VAS-LP (−5.11, 95% CI −6.69 to −3.53) in elderly patients all exceeded the respective minimum clinically important difference. The pooled rate of fusion was 0.86 (95% CI 0.80–0.90).

CONCLUSIONS

MIS-TLIF in elderly patients results in a high rate of fusion and significant improvement of patient-reported outcomes, but has significantly higher complication rates than in nonelderly patients. Limitations of this study include heterogeneity in the definition of elderly and limited reporting of risk factors among included studies. Further study of the impact of complications and the factors predisposing elderly patients to poor outcomes is needed.

Open access

Carmen R. Holmes, Giuseppe Lanzino, and Kelly D. Flemming

BACKGROUND

Little is known about whether coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) influences cavernous malformation (CM) formation or hemorrhage risk.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present the case of a 31-year-old patient who developed a hemorrhagic, de novo CM in the setting of a developmental venous anomaly within 3 months of COVID-19 respiratory disease. The authors speculate that COVID-19 disease stimulated formation of the CM through TLR4 inflammatory pathways and subsequently led to the hemorrhagic presentation because of hypercoagulability related to the disease.

LESSONS

This case raises the possibility that COVID-19 may be a risk factor for de novo development of CMs in predisposed patients.

Open access

Orgest Lajthia, Mithun G. Sattur, and Abhay K. Varma

BACKGROUND

Dural reconstruction to achieve expansion duraplasty is important in suboccipital decompression for Chiari malformation type 1 (CM1). Although various dural substitutes are available, including synthetic collagen matrix grafts and dural xenografts, they have the potential to induce an inflammatory response. In this case series, the authors present their experience and discuss the incidence and possible mechanism of aseptic meningitis after the use of bovine collagen matrix graft as a dural substitute in patients with CM1 after suboccipital decompression.

OBSERVATIONS

Three consecutive adult female patients who underwent suboccipital decompression at a single institution by a single neurosurgeon were retrospectively reviewed. They all presented with signs of aseptic meningitis in a delayed fashion, responded well to steroid administration, but had recurrence of their symptoms. Bovine collagen dural substitutes are resorbed in a process that induces an inflammatory response manifesting with signs of aseptic meningitis and is only alleviated with removal of the dural substitute.

LESSONS

DuraMatrix Suturable, a dural xenograft derived from bovine dermis, though a viable choice for dural repair, is a potential cause of chemical meningitis after duraplasty in Chiari decompression surgery. In patients presenting with delayed and persistent aseptic meningitis after intervention, removal of this dural substitute led to improved symptomatology.

Open access

Zirun Zhao, Saman Shabani, Nitin Agarwal, Praveen V. Mummaneni, and Dean Chou

BACKGROUND

A three-column osteotomy results in dural buckling, which may appear concerning upon intraoperative visualization because it may appear that the neural elements may also be buckled. The authors presented an intraoperative view after intentional durotomy of the neural elements and the relaxed state of the dura after three-column osteotomy.

OBSERVATIONS

A 52-year-old woman with adult tethered cord syndrome and previous untethering presented with worsening leg pain and stiffness, urinary incontinence, and unbalanced gait. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated an arachnoid web at T6 and spinal cord tethering. Spinal column shortening via three-column osteotomy was performed with concomitant intradural excision of the arachnoid web. Dural buckling was observed intraoperatively after spinal column shortening. After the durotomy, the spinal cord was visualized without kinking or buckling.

LESSONS

Dural buckling after spinal column shortening of 15 mm via three-column osteotomy at T6 did not result in concomitant buckling of the underlying neural elements.

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Shadi Al-Afif, Hesham Elkayekh, Mazin Omer, Hans E. Heissler, Dirk Scheinichen, Thomas Palmaers, Makoto Nakamura, Elvis J. Hermann, Madjid Samii, and Joachim K. Krauss

OBJECTIVE

Routine use of the semisitting position, which offers several advantages, remains a matter of debate. Venous air embolism (VAE) is a potentially serious complication associated with the semisitting position. In this study, the authors aimed to investigate the safety of the semisitting position by analyzing data over a 20-year period.

METHODS

The incidence of VAE and its perioperative management were analyzed retrospectively in a consecutive series of 740 patients who underwent surgery between 1996 and 2016. The occurrence of VAE was defined by detection of bubbles on transthoracic Doppler echocardiography (TTDE) or transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) studies, a decrease of end-tidal CO2 (ETCO2) by 4 mm Hg or more, and/or an unexplained drop in systolic arterial blood pressure (≥ 10 mm Hg). From 1996 until 2013 TTDE was used, and from 2013 on TEE was used. The possible risk factors for VAE and its impact on surgical performance were analyzed.

RESULTS

There were 404 women and 336 men with a mean age at surgery of 49 years (range 1–87 years). Surgery was performed for infratentorial lesions in 709 patients (95.8%), supratentorial lesions in 17 (2.3%), and cervical lesions in 14 (1.9%). The most frequent pathology was vestibular schwannoma. TEE had a higher sensitivity than TTDE. While TEE detected VAE in 40.5% of patients, TTDE had a detection rate of 11.8%. Overall, VAE was detected in 119 patients (16.1%) intraoperatively. In all of these patients, VAE was apparent on TTDE or TEE. Of those, 23 patients also had a decrease of ETCO2, 18 had a drop in blood pressure, and 23 had combined decreases in ETCO2 and blood pressure. VAE was detected in 24% of patients during craniotomy before opening the dura mater, in 67% during tumor resection, and in 9% during wound closure. No risk factors were identified for the occurrence of VAE. Two patients had serious complications due to VAE. Surgical performance in vestibular schwannoma surgery was not affected by the presence of VAE.

CONCLUSIONS

This study shows that the semisitting position is overall safe and that VAE can be managed effectively. Persistent morbidity is very rare. The authors suggest that the semisitting position should continue to have a place in the standard armamentarium of neurological surgery.

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M. Harrison Snyder, Natasha Ironside, Jeyan S. Kumar, Kevin T. Doan, Ryan T. Kellogg, J. Javier Provencio, Robert M. Starke, Min S. Park, Dale Ding, and Ching-Jen Chen

OBJECTIVE

Delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) is a potentially preventable cause of morbidity and mortality after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). The authors performed a meta-analysis to assess the effect of antiplatelet therapy (APT) on DCI in patients with aSAH.

METHODS

A systematic review of the PubMed and MEDLINE databases was performed. Study inclusion criteria were 1) ≥ 5 aSAH patients; 2) direct comparison between aSAH management with APT and without APT; and 3) reporting of DCI, angiographic, or symptomatic vasospasm rates for patients treated with versus without APT. The primary efficacy outcome was DCI. The outcomes of the APT versus no-APT cohorts were compared. Bias was assessed using the Downs and Black checklist.

RESULTS

The overall cohort comprised 2039 patients from 15 studies. DCI occurred less commonly in the APT compared with the no-APT cohort (pooled = 15.9% vs 28.6%; OR 0.47, p < 0.01). Angiographic (pooled = 51.6% vs 68.7%; OR 0.46, p < 0.01) and symptomatic (pooled = 23.6% vs 37.7%; OR 0.51, p = 0.01) vasospasm rates were lower in the APT cohort. In-hospital mortality (pooled = 1.7% vs 4.1%; OR 0.53, p = 0.01) and functional dependence (pooled = 21.0% vs 35.7%; OR 0.53, p < 0.01) rates were also lower in the APT cohort. Bleeding event rates were comparable between the two cohorts. Subgroup analysis of cilostazol monotherapy compared with no APT demonstrated a lower DCI rate in the cilostazol cohort (pooled = 10.6% vs 28.1%; OR 0.31, p < 0.01). Subgroup analysis of surgically treated aneurysms demonstrated a lower DCI rate for the APT cohort (pooled = 18.4% vs 33.9%; OR 0.43, p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

APT is associated with improved outcomes in aSAH without an increased risk of bleeding events, particularly in patients who underwent surgical aneurysm repair and those treated with cilostazol. Although study heterogeneity is the most significant limitation of the analysis, the findings suggest that APT is worth exploring in patients with aSAH, particularly in a randomized controlled trial setting.

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David T. Asuzu, Jonathan J. Yun, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Andrew K. Chan, Cheerag D. Upadhyaya, Domagoj Coric, Eric A. Potts, Erica F. Bisson, Jay D. Turner, Jack J. Knightly, Kai-Ming Fu, Kevin T. Foley, Luis Tumialan, Mark Shaffrey, Mohamad Bydon, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Paul Park, Scott Meyer, Anthony L. Asher, Oren N. Gottfried, Khoi D. Than, Michael Y. Wang, and Avery L. Buchholz

OBJECTIVE

Degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) results in significant morbidity. The duration of symptoms prior to surgical intervention may be associated with postoperative surgical outcomes and functional recovery. The authors’ objective was to investigate whether delayed surgical treatment for DCM is associated with worsened postoperative outcomes.

METHODS

Data from 1036 patients across 14 surgical centers in the Quality Outcomes Database were analyzed. Baseline demographic characteristics and findings of preoperative and postoperative symptom evaluations, including duration of symptoms, were assessed. Postoperative functional outcomes were measured using the Neck Disability Index (NDI) and modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association (mJOA) scale. Symptom duration was classified as either less than 12 months or 12 months or greater. Univariable and multivariable regression were used to evaluate for the associations between symptom duration and postoperative outcomes.

RESULTS

In this study, 513 patients (49.5%) presented with symptom duration < 12 months, and 523 (50.5%) had symptoms for 12 months or longer. Patients with longer symptom duration had higher BMI and higher prevalence of anxiety and diabetes (all p < 0.05). Symptom duration ≥ 12 months was associated with higher average baseline NDI score (41 vs 36, p < 0.01). However, improvements in NDI scores from baseline were not significantly different between groups at 3 months (p = 0.77) or 12 months (p = 0.51). Likewise, the authors found no significant differences between groups in changes in mJOA scores from baseline to 3 months or 12 months (both p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Surgical intervention resulted in improved mJOA and NDI scores at 3 months, and this improvement was sustained in both patients with short and longer initial symptom duration. Patients with DCM can still undergo successful surgical management despite delayed presentation.

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Nolan J. Brown, Elliot H. Choi, Julian L. Gendreau, Vera Ong, Alexander Himstead, Brian V. Lien, Shane Shahrestani, Seth C. Ransom, Katelynn Tran, Ali R. Tafreshi, Ronald Sahyouni, Alvin Chan, and Michael Y. Oh

OBJECTIVE

Tranexamic acid (TXA) is an antifibrinolytic agent associated with reduced blood loss and mortality in a wide range of procedures, including spine surgery, traumatic brain injury, and craniosynostosis. Despite this wide use, the safety and efficacy of TXA in spine surgery has been considered controversial due to a relative scarcity of literature and lack of statistical power in reported studies. However, if TXA can be shown to reduce blood loss in laminectomy with fusion and posterior instrumentation, more surgeons may include it in their armamentarium. The authors aimed to conduct an up-to-date systematic review and meta-analysis of the efficacy of TXA in reducing blood loss in laminectomy and fusion with posterior instrumentation.

METHODS

A systematic review and meta-analysis, abiding by PRISMA guidelines, was performed by searching the databases of PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane. These platforms were queried for all studies reporting the use of TXA in laminectomy and fusion with posterior instrumentation. Variables retrieved included patient demographics, surgical indications, involved spinal levels, type of laminectomy performed, TXA administration dose, TXA route of administration, operative duration, blood loss, blood transfusion rate, postoperative hemoglobin level, and perioperative complications. Heterogeneity across studies was evaluated using a chi-square test, Cochran’s Q test, and I2 test performed with R statistical programming software.

RESULTS

A total of 7 articles were included in the qualitative study, while 6 articles featuring 411 patients underwent statistical analysis. The most common route of administration for TXA was intravenous with 15 mg/kg administered preoperatively. After the beginning of surgery, TXA administration patterns were varied among studies. Blood transfusions were increased in non-TXA cohorts compared to TXA cohorts. Patients administered TXA demonstrated a significant reduction in blood loss (mean difference −218.44 mL; 95% CI −379.34 to −57.53; p = 0.018). TXA administration was not associated with statistically significant reductions in operative durations. There were no adverse events reported in either the TXA or non-TXA patient cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS

TXA can significantly reduce perioperative blood loss in cervical, thoracic, and lumbar laminectomy and fusion procedures, while demonstrating a minimal complication profile.

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Danyal Z. Khan, Imanol Luengo, Santiago Barbarisi, Carole Addis, Lucy Culshaw, Neil L. Dorward, Pinja Haikka, Abhiney Jain, Karen Kerr, Chan Hee Koh, Hugo Layard Horsfall, William Muirhead, Paolo Palmisciano, Baptiste Vasey, Danail Stoyanov, and Hani J. Marcus

OBJECTIVE

Surgical workflow analysis involves systematically breaking down operations into key phases and steps. Automatic analysis of this workflow has potential uses for surgical training, preoperative planning, and outcome prediction. Recent advances in machine learning (ML) and computer vision have allowed accurate automated workflow analysis of operative videos. In this Idea, Development, Exploration, Assessment, Long-term study (IDEAL) stage 0 study, the authors sought to use Touch Surgery for the development and validation of an ML-powered analysis of phases and steps in the endoscopic transsphenoidal approach (eTSA) for pituitary adenoma resection, a first for neurosurgery.

METHODS

The surgical phases and steps of 50 anonymized eTSA operative videos were labeled by expert surgeons. Forty videos were used to train a combined convolutional and recurrent neural network model by Touch Surgery. Ten videos were used for model evaluation (accuracy, F1 score), comparing the phase and step recognition of surgeons to the automatic detection of the ML model.

RESULTS

The longest phase was the sellar phase (median 28 minutes), followed by the nasal phase (median 22 minutes) and the closure phase (median 14 minutes). The longest steps were step 5 (tumor identification and excision, median 17 minutes); step 3 (posterior septectomy and removal of sphenoid septations, median 14 minutes); and step 4 (anterior sellar wall removal, median 10 minutes). There were substantial variations within the recorded procedures in terms of video appearances, step duration, and step order, with only 50% of videos containing all 7 steps performed sequentially in numerical order. Despite this, the model was able to output accurate recognition of surgical phases (91% accuracy, 90% F1 score) and steps (76% accuracy, 75% F1 score).

CONCLUSIONS

In this IDEAL stage 0 study, ML techniques have been developed to automatically analyze operative videos of eTSA pituitary surgery. This technology has previously been shown to be acceptable to neurosurgical teams and patients. ML-based surgical workflow analysis has numerous potential uses—such as education (e.g., automatic indexing of contemporary operative videos for teaching), improved operative efficiency (e.g., orchestrating the entire surgical team to a common workflow), and improved patient outcomes (e.g., comparison of surgical techniques or early detection of adverse events). Future directions include the real-time integration of Touch Surgery into the live operative environment as an IDEAL stage 1 (first-in-human) study, and further development of underpinning ML models using larger data sets.