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Nikita G. Alexiades, Edward S. Ahn, Jeffrey P. Blount, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Samuel R. Browd, Gerald A. Grant, Gregory G. Heuer, Todd C. Hankinson, Bermans J. Iskandar, Andrew Jea, Mark D. Krieger, Jeffrey R. Leonard, David D. Limbrick Jr., Cormac O. Maher, Mark R. Proctor, David I. Sandberg, John C. Wellons III, Belinda Shao, Neil A. Feldstein, and Richard C. E. Anderson

OBJECTIVE

Complications after complex tethered spinal cord (cTSC) surgery include infections and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks. With little empirical evidence to guide management, there is variability in the interventions undertaken to limit complications. Expert-based best practices may improve the care of patients undergoing cTSC surgery. Here, authors conducted a study to identify consensus-driven best practices.

METHODS

The Delphi method was employed to identify consensual best practices. A literature review regarding cTSC surgery together with a survey of current practices was distributed to 17 board-certified pediatric neurosurgeons. Thirty statements were then formulated and distributed to the group. Results of the second survey were discussed during an in-person meeting leading to further consensus, which was defined as ≥ 80% agreement on a 4-point Likert scale (strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree).

RESULTS

Seventeen consensus-driven best practices were identified, with all participants willing to incorporate them into their practice. There were four preoperative interventions: (1, 2) asymptomatic AND symptomatic patients should be referred to urology preoperatively, (3, 4) routine preoperative urine cultures are not necessary for asymptomatic AND symptomatic patients. There were nine intraoperative interventions: (5) patients should receive perioperative cefazolin or an equivalent alternative in the event of allergy, (6) chlorhexidine-based skin preparation is the preferred regimen, (7) saline irrigation should be used intermittently throughout the case, (8) antibiotic-containing irrigation should be used following dural closure, (9) a nonlocking running suture technique should be used for dural closure, (10) dural graft overlay should be used when unable to obtain primary dural closure, (11) an expansile dural graft should be incorporated in cases of lipomyelomeningocele in which primary dural closure does not permit free flow of CSF, (12) paraxial muscles should be closed as a layer separate from the fascia, (13) routine placement of postoperative drains is not necessary. There were three postoperative interventions: (14) postoperative antibiotics are an option and, if given, should be discontinued within 24 hours; (15) patients should remain flat for at least 24 hours postoperatively; (16) routine use of abdominal binders or other compressive devices postoperatively is not necessary. One intervention was prioritized for additional study: (17) further study of additional gram-negative perioperative coverage is needed.

CONCLUSIONS

A modified Delphi technique was used to develop consensus-driven best practices for decreasing wound complications after cTSC surgery. Further study is required to determine if implementation of these practices will lead to reduced complications. Discussion through the course of this study resulted in the initiation of a multicenter study of gram-negative surgical site infections in cTSC surgery.

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Atsushi Okano and Hideki Ogiwara

OBJECTIVE

Shunt surgery is the most common treatment for hydrocephalus, but it is associated with several long-term complications. Endoscopic choroid plexus coagulation (CPC) and endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) are alternative surgeries that may avoid the need for shunt surgery. Although the short-term efficacy and safety of CPC have been reported in previous studies, long-term outcome, including not only avoiding shunt placement but also intellectual development, remains to be elucidated. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the long-term outcome of CPC.

METHODS

The study population comprised patients who had infantile hydrocephalus treated by endoscopic CPC before the age of 24 months and who were followed until at least 5 years of age. Retrospective review was performed using the medical charts. The authors assessed educational status and the full-scale intelligence quotient (FSIQ) using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) IV as the means to evaluate the intellectual development.

RESULTS

Fourteen patients with infantile hydrocephalus underwent CPC with or without ETV as a primary surgery. There were no intraoperative complications. In 7 patients (50%), hydrocephalus was successfully controlled without shunt placement. Six patients (43%) eventually required shunt placement. In one patient hydrocephalus was controlled by additional ETV. In the shunt-independent group, 4 patients went to age-appropriate school or achieved age-appropriate development according to intelligence quotient (IQ), 1 patient went to specialized school, and 2 patients had disabilities. In the shunt-dependent group, 4 patients went to an age-appropriate school or achieved age-appropriate development by IQ, 1 patient went to specialized school, and 1 patient had disabilities. The mean FSIQ score in 3 patients without shunts was 90 (range 89–91) and the mean FSIQ score in 4 patients with shunts was 80 (range 48–107). There was no significant difference in the rate of normal development between the shunt-independent group and the shunt-dependent group (p = 0.72).

CONCLUSIONS

The CPC with or without ETV can be a safe and effective treatment in children with infantile hydrocephalus. Long-term control of hydrocephalus and normal intellectual development can be achieved in successful cases. Further prospective studies should be required to elucidate appropriate indications.

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Garrett N. Cyprus, Jefferson W. Overlin, Rafael A. Vega, Ann M. Ritter, and René Olivares-Navarrete

OBJECTIVE

Cranial suture patterning and development are highly regulated processes that are not entirely understood. While studies have investigated the differential gene expression for different sutures, little is known about gene expression changes during suture fusion. The aim of this study was to examine gene expression in patent, fusing, and fused regions along sagittal suture specimens in nonsyndromic craniosynostosis patients.

METHODS

Sagittal sutures were collected from 7 patients (average age 4.5 months) who underwent minimally invasive craniotomies at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU under IRB approval. The sutures were analyzed using micro-CT to evaluate patency. The areas were classified as open, fusing, or fused and were harvested, and mRNA was isolated. Gene expression for bone-related proteins, osteogenic and angiogenic factors, transforming growth factor–β (TGF-β) superfamily, and Wnt signaling was analyzed using quantitative polymerase chain reaction and compared with normal sutures collected from fetal demise tissue (control).

RESULTS

Micro-CT demonstrated that there are variable areas of closure along the length of the sagittal suture. When comparing control samples to surgical samples, there was a significant difference in genes for Wnt signaling, TGF-β, angiogenic and osteogenic factors, bone remodeling, and nuclear rigidity in mRNA isolated from the fusing and fused areas of the sagittal suture compared with patent areas (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

In nonsyndromic sagittal craniosynostosis, the affected suture has variable areas of being open, fusing, and fused. These specific areas have different mRNA expression. The results suggest that BMP-2, FGFR3, and several other signaling pathways play a significant role in the regulation of suture fusion as well as in the maintenance of patency in the normal suture.

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Sean Sullivan, Pedro Aguilar-Salinas, Roberta Santos, Alexandra D. Beier, and Ricardo A. Hanel

The use of simulators has been described in a variety of fields as a training tool to gain technical skills through repeating and rehearsing procedures in a safe environment. In cerebrovascular surgery, simulation of skull base approaches has been used for decades. The use of simulation in neurointervention to acquire and enhance skills before treating a patient is a newer concept, but its utilization has been limited due to the lack of good models and deficient haptics. The advent of 3D printing technology and the development of new training models has changed this landscape. The prevalence of aneurysms in the pediatric population is much lower than in adults, and concepts and tools sometimes have to be adapted from one population to another. Neuroendovascular rehearsal is a valid strategy for the treatment of complex aneurysms, especially for the pediatric population. The authors present the case of an 8-year-old boy with a fusiform intracranial aneurysm and documented progressive growth, who was successfully treated after the authors rehearsed the placement of a flow diverter using a patient-specific 3D-printed replicator system model.

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John R. W. Kestle, Amy Lee, Richard C. E. Anderson, Barbu Gociman, Kamlesh B. Patel, Matthew D. Smyth, Craig Birgfeld, Ian F. Pollack, Jesse A. Goldstein, Mandeep Tamber, Thomas Imahiyerobo, Faizi A. Siddiqi, and for the Synostosis Research Group

OBJECTIVE

The authors created a collaborative network, the Synostosis Research Group (SynRG), to facilitate multicenter clinical research on craniosynostosis. To identify common and differing practice patterns within the network, they assessed the SynRG surgeons’ management preferences for sagittal synostosis. These results will be incorporated into planning cooperative studies.

METHODS

The SynRG consists of 12 surgeons at 5 clinical sites. An email survey was distributed to SynRG surgeons in late 2016, and responses were collected through early 2017. Responses were collated and analyzed descriptively.

RESULTS

All of the surgeons—7 plastic/craniofacial surgeons and 5 neurosurgeons—completed the survey. They varied in both experience (1–24 years) and sagittal synostosis case volume in the preceding year (5–45 cases). Three sites routinely perform preoperative CT scans. The preferred surgical technique for children younger than 3 months is strip craniectomy (10/12 surgeons), whereas children older than 6 months are all treated with open cranial vault surgery. Pre-incision cefazolin, preoperative complete blood count panels, and an arterial line were used by most surgeons, but tranexamic acid was used routinely at 3 sites and never at the other 2 sites. Among surgeons performing endoscopic strip craniectomy surgery (SCS), most create a 5-cm-wide craniectomy, whereas 2 surgeons create a 2-cm strip. Four surgeons routinely send endoscopic SCS patients to the intensive care unit after surgery. Two of the 5 sites routinely obtain a CT scan within the 1st year after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

The SynRG surgeons vary substantially in the use of imaging, the choice of surgical procedure and technique, and follow-up. A collaborative network will provide the opportunity to study different practice patterns, reduce variation, and contribute multicenter data on the management of children with craniosynostosis.

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Rodolfo Maduri, Viviana Aureli, Vincent Dunet, Roy Thomas Daniel, and Mahmoud Messerer

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Katsuhisa Yamada, Hideki Sudo, Kiyoshi Kaneda, Yasuhiro Shono, Yuichiro Abe, and Norimasa Iwasaki

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this retrospective study was to analyze the influence of upper instrumented vertebra (UIV) translation from the C7 plumb line (C7PL) on the long-term postoperative results of patients with main thoracic (MT) adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS).

METHODS

Twenty-five patients had been treated surgically for AIS with a Lenke type 1 curve and had been followed up for a mean period of 18.2 years. Radiographic parameters, pulmonary function measurements, and clinical outcomes were compared between the patients (n = 15) with UIV translation < 20 mm and those (n = 10) with UIV translation ≥ 20 mm at the final follow-up. Correlations between UIV translation and radiographic or pulmonary function parameters were analyzed.

RESULTS

Patients with ≥ 20 mm UIV translation at the final follow-up had a significantly larger preoperative UIV translation than that in the patients with < 20 mm UIV translation at follow-up. The former group also had a significantly lower correction rate of the MT curve, higher chest cage ratio, and lower radiographic shoulder height (p = 0.01, 0.005, and 0.025, respectively) at the final follow-up. The Scoliosis Research Society (SRS)–30 Questionnaire scores were equivalent between the two groups. Correlation analysis showed that the following parameters were significantly associated with UIV translation: MT curve correction rate (r = -0.481, p = 0.015), chest cage ratio (r = 0.673, p < 0.001), and percent-predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second (r = -0.455, p = 0.033).

CONCLUSIONS

The UIV translation should be considered an important factor that influences postoperative results. In MT AIS patients whose preoperative upper end vertebra (UEV) is distant from the C7PL, the UIV should be selected above the UEV to prevent large UIV translation at the postoperative follow-up.

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Maria-Jesus Lobon-Iglesias, Vicente Santa-Maria Lopez, Patricia Puerta Roldan, Santiago Candela-Cantó, Monica Ramos-Albiac, Marta Gomez-Chiari, Stephanie Puget, Stephanie Bolle, Liliana Goumnerova, Mark W. Kieran, Ofelia Cruz, Jacques Grill, and Andres Morales La Madrid

OBJECTIVE

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a highly aggressive and lethal brainstem tumor in children. In the 1980s, routine biopsy at presentation was abandoned since it was claimed “unnecessary” for diagnosis. In the last decade, however, several groups have reincorporated this procedure as standard of care or in the context of clinical trials. Expert neurosurgical teams report no mortality and acceptable morbidity, and no relevant complications have been previously described. The aim of this study was to review needle tract dissemination as a potential complication in DIPG.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed the incidence of dissemination through surgical tracts in DIPG patients who underwent biopsy procedures at diagnosis in 3 dedicated centers. Clinical records and images as well as radiation dosimetry from diagnosis to relapse were reviewed.

RESULTS

Four patients (2 boys and 2 girls, age range 6–12 years) had surgical tract dissemination: in 3 cases in the needle tract and in 1 case in the Ommaya catheter tract. The median time from biopsy to identification of dissemination was 5 months (range 4–6 months). The median overall survival was 11 months (range 7–12 months). Disseminated lesions were in the marginal radiotherapy field (n = 2), out of the field (n = 1), and in the radiotherapy field (n = 1).

CONCLUSIONS

Although surgical tract dissemination in DIPG is a rare complication (associated with 2.4% of procedures in this study), it should be mentioned to patients and family when procedures involving a surgical tract are proposed. The inclusion of the needle tract in the radiotherapy field may have only limited benefit. Future studies are warranted to explore the benefit of larger radiotherapy fields in patients with DIPG.

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Coleman P. Riordan, Darren B. Orbach, Edward R. Smith, and R. Michael Scott

OBJECTIVE

The most significant adverse outcome of intracranial hemorrhage from an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is death. This study reviews a single-center experience with pediatric AVMs to quantify the incidence and characterize clinical and radiographic factors associated with sudden death from the hemorrhage of previously undiagnosed AVMs in children.

METHODS

A single-center database review of the period from 2006 to 2017 identified all patients with a first-time intracranial hemorrhage from a previously undiagnosed AVM. Clinical and radiographic data were collected and compared between patients who survived to hospital discharge and those who died at presentation.

RESULTS

A total of 57 patients (average age 10.8 years, range 0.1–19 years) presented with first-time intracranial hemorrhage from a previously undiagnosed AVM during the study period. Of this group, 7/57 (12%) patients (average age 11.5 years, range 6–16 years) suffered hemorrhages that led directly to their deaths. Compared to the cohort of patients who survived their hemorrhage, patients who died were 4 times more likely to have an AVM in the posterior fossa. No clear pattern of antecedent triggering activity (sports, trauma, etc.) was identified, and 3/7 (43%) experienced cardiac arrest in the prehospital setting. Surviving patients were ultimately treated with resection of the AVM in 42/50 (84%) of cases.

CONCLUSIONS

Children who present with hemorrhage from a previously undiagnosed intracranial AVM had a 12% chance of sudden death in our single-institution series of pediatric cerebrovascular cases. Clinical triggers of hemorrhage are unpredictable, but subsequent radiographic evidence of a posterior fossa AVM was present in 57% of fatal cases, and all fatal cases were in locations with high risk of potential herniation. These data support a proactive, aggressive approach toward definitive treatment of AVMs in children.