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S. Harrison Farber, Komal Naeem, Malika Bhargava, and Randall W. Porter

OBJECTIVE

Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) via a transpsoas approach is a workhorse minimally invasive approach for lumbar arthrodesis that is often combined with posterior pedicle screw fixation. There has been increasing interest in performing single-position surgery, allowing access to the anterolateral and posterior spine without requiring patient repositioning. The feasibility of the transpsoas approach in patients in the prone position has been reported. Herein, the authors present a consecutive case series of all patients who underwent single-position prone transpsoas LLIF performed by an individual surgeon since adopting this approach.

METHODS

A retrospective review was performed of a consecutive case series of adult patients (≥ 18 years old) who underwent single-position prone LLIF for any indication between October 2019 and November 2020. Pertinent operative details (levels, cage use, surgery duration, estimated blood loss, complications) and 3-month clinical outcomes were recorded. Intraoperative and 3-month postoperative radiographs were reviewed to assess for interbody subsidence.

RESULTS

Twenty-eight of 29 patients (97%) underwent successful treatment with the prone lateral approach over the study interval; the approach was aborted in 1 patient, whose data were excluded. The mean (SD) age of patients was 67.9 (9.3) years; 75% (21) were women. Thirty-nine levels were treated: 18 patients (64%) had single-level fusion, 9 (32%) had 2-level fusion, and 1 (4%) had 3-level fusion. The most commonly treated levels were L3–4 (n = 15), L2–3 (n = 12), and L4–5 (n = 11). L1–2 was fused in 1 patient. The mean operative time was 286.5 (100.6) minutes, and the mean retractor time was 29.2 (13.5) minutes per level. The mean fluoroscopy duration was 215.5 (99.6) seconds, and the mean intraoperative radiation dose was 170.1 (94.8) mGy. Intraoperative subsidence was noted in 1 patient (4% of patients, 3% of levels). Intraoperative lateral access complications occurred in 11% of patients (1 cage repositioning, 2 inadvertent ruptures of anterior longitudinal ligament). Subsidence occurred in 5 of 22 patients (23%) with radiographic follow-up, affecting 6 of 33 levels (18%). Postoperative functional testing (Oswestry Disability Index, SF-36, visual analog scale–back and leg pain) identified significant improvement.

CONCLUSIONS

This single-surgeon consecutive case series demonstrates that this novel technique is well tolerated and has acceptable clinical and radiographic outcomes. Larger patient series with longer follow-up are needed to further elucidate the safety profile and long-term outcomes of single-position prone LLIF.

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Megan M. J. Bauman, Kimberly Wang, Archis R. Bhandarkar, Kristen M. Scheitler, and Michelle J. Clarke

OBJECTIVE

At present, females constitute less than 10% of neurosurgeons in the US, despite representing approximately half of all medical students. Multiple barriers have been described for females entering the neurosurgical field, particularly academic neurosurgery. Understanding the environment that female neurosurgeons face and any potential barriers preventing career advancement is needed to recruit, promote, and retain females in neurosurgery.

METHODS

The gender composition of editorial boards for 5 high-impact neurosurgery journals was analyzed from 2000 to 2020. The names of editorial board members were obtained directly from the journal administration, physical copies of the published journal, or publicly available data through each journal’s website. The gender, degrees, academic titles, H-index, and country were determined for each individual and statistical tests were performed to identify significant differences.

RESULTS

Of the 466 identified individuals that served on at least one editorial board between 2000 and 2020, there were 36 females (7.7%) and 430 males (92.3%). There were no significant differences between males and females serving on multiple editorial boards. Most females possessed an additional graduate degree (58.3%), while only one-third of males (33.5%) obtained such a degree (p = 0.002). In addition, males had significantly higher average H-indices than females (p = 0.002). These trends were also observed when analyzing only US-based editorial board members. Although females were more likely overall to be identified as associate professors, males were more likely to be appointed as full professors (p = 0.001); this trend did not remain true in the US-based cohort. When analyzing the editorial boards for individual journals, all 5 journals experienced an increase of female representation since 2000 or since their inception after 2000. The highest proportion of females for a single journal was 27.3% in 2020. All other journals ranged from 11.0% to 13.5% in 2020.

CONCLUSIONS

When entering the field of neurosurgery, females continue to face significant social and academic barriers. While the proportion of females on editorial boards for neurosurgery journals in 2020 is consistent with the proportion of practicing female neurosurgeons, there is a statistically significantly higher likelihood that females possess additional graduate degrees and lower H-indices compared to their male counterparts. The authors encourage neurosurgical journals to continue expanding female representation on editorial boards.

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Adham M. Khalafallah, Maureen Rakovec, Katemanee Burapachaisri, Shirley Fung, Sharon L. Kozachik, Benita Valappil, Hussam Abou-Al-Shaar, Eric W. Wang, Carl H. Snyderman, Georgios A. Zenonos, Paul A. Gardner, Mustafa K. Baskaya, David Dornbos III, Garret Choby, Edward C. Kuan, Christopher Roxbury, Jonathan B. Overdevest, David A. Gudis, Victoria S. Lee, Joshua M. Levy, Andrew Thamboo, Rodney J. Schlosser, Judy Huang, Chetan Bettegowda, Nyall R. London Jr., Nicholas R. Rowan, Albert W. Wu, and Debraj Mukherjee

OBJECTIVE

Suprasellar meningioma resection via either the transcranial approach (TCA) or the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) is an area of controversy and active evaluation. Skull base surgeons increasingly consider patient-reported outcomes (PROs) when choosing an approach. No PRO measure currently exists to assess quality of life for suprasellar meningiomas.

METHODS

Adult patients undergoing suprasellar meningioma resection between 2013 and 2019 via EEA (n = 14) or TCA (n = 14) underwent semistructured interviews. Transcripts were coded using a grounded theory approach to identify themes as the basis for a PRO measure that includes all uniquely reported symptoms. To assess content validity, 32 patients and 15 surgeons used a Likert scale to rate the relevance of items on the resulting questionnaire and the general Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System–29 (PROMIS29). The mean scores were calculated for all items and compared for TCA versus EEA patient cohorts by using unpaired t-tests. Items on either questionnaire with mean scores ≥ 2.0 from patients were considered meaningful and were aggregated to form the novel Suprasellar Meningioma Patient-Reported Outcome Survey (SMPRO) instrument.

RESULTS

Qualitative analyses resulted in 55 candidate items. Relative to patients who underwent the EEA, those who underwent the TCA reported significantly worse future outlook before surgery (p = 0.01), tiredness from medications 2 weeks after surgery (p = 0.001), and word-finding and memory difficulties 3 months after surgery (p = 0.05 and < 0.001, respectively).

The items that patients who received a TCA were most concerned about included medication-induced lethargy after surgery (2.9 ± 1.3), blurry vision before surgery (2.7 ± 1.5), and difficulty reading due to blurry vision before surgery (2.7 ± 2.7). Items that patients who received an EEA were most concerned about included blurry vision before surgery (3.5 ± 1.3), difficulty reading due to blurry vision before surgery (2.4 ± 1.3), and problems with smell postsurgery (2.9 ± 1.3). Although surgeons overall overestimated how concerned patients were about questionnaire items (p < 0.0005), the greatest discrepancies between patient and surgeon relevance scores were for blurry vision pre- and postoperatively (p < 0.001 and < 0.001, respectively) and problems with taste postoperatively (p < 0.001). Seventeen meningioma-specific items were considered meaningful, supplementing 8 significant PROMIS29 items to create the novel 25-item SMPRO.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors developed a disease- and approach-specific measure for suprasellar meningiomas to compare quality of life by operative approach. If demonstrated to be reliable and valid in future studies, this instrument may assist patients and providers in choosing a personalized surgical approach.

Open access

Konrad Gag, Jonas Müller, Marie Süße, Robert Fleischmann, and Henry W. S. Schroeder

BACKGROUND

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is a rare, acquired demyelination syndrome that causes cognitive impairment and focal neurological deficits and may be fatal. The potentially reversible disease mainly affects children, often after vaccination or viral infection, but may be seen rarely in adults.

OBSERVATIONS

A 50-year-old woman presented with loss of visual acuity of the left eye. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed an intra- and suprasellar mass, which was removed successfully. On postoperative day 1, MRI showed gross total resection of the lesion and no surgery-related complications. On postoperative day 2, the patient presented with a progressive left-sided hemiparesis, hemineglect, and decline of cognitive performance. MRI showed white matter edema in both hemispheres. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis revealed mixed pleocytosis (355/µL) without further evidence of infection. In synopsis of the findings, ADEM was diagnosed and treated with intravenous immunoglobulins. Shortly thereafter, the patient recovered, and no sensorimotor deficits were detected in the follow-up examination.

LESSONS

Pituitary gland pathologies are commonly treated by transsphenoidal surgery, with only minor risks for complications. A case of ADEM after craniopharyngioma resection has not been published before and should be considered in case of progressive neurological deterioration with multiple white matter lesions.

Open access

Yunjia Ni, Yuanzhi Xu, Xuemei Zhang, Pin Dong, Qi Li, Juan Shen, Jie Ren, Zhaoqi Yuan, Fei Wang, Anke Zhang, Yunke Bi, Qingwei Zhu, Qiangyi Zhou, Zhiyu Wang, Jingjue Wang, and Meiqing Lou

BACKGROUND

Teratocarcinosarcoma traversing the anterior skull base is rarely reported in literature. The heterogenous and invasive features of the tumor pose challenges for surgical planning. With technological advancements, the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) has been emerging as a workhorse of anterior skull base lesions. To date, no case has been reported of EEA totally removing teratocarcinosarcomas with intracranial extensions.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors provided an illustrative case of a 50-year-old otherwise healthy man who presented with left-sided epistaxis for a year. Imaging studies revealed a 31 × 60-mm communicating lesion of the anterior skull base. Gross total resection via EEA was achieved, and multilayered skull base reconstruction was performed.

LESSONS

The endoscopic approach may be safe and effective for resection of extensive teratocarcinosarcoma of the anterior skull base. To minimize the risk of postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leaks, multilayered skull base reconstruction and placement of lumbar drainage are vitally important.

Open access

Izumi Koyanagi, Yasuhiro Chiba, Genki Uemori, Hiroyuki Imamura, Masami Yoshino, and Toshimitsu Aida

BACKGROUND

Spinal adhesive arachnoid pathology is a rare cause of myelopathy. Because of rarity and variability, mechanisms of myelopathy are unknown. The authors retrospectively analyzed patients to understand pathophysiology and provide implications for surgical treatment.

OBSERVATIONS

Nineteen consecutive patients were studied. Thirteen patients had a secondary pathology due to etiological disorders such as spinal surgery or hemorrhagic events. They received arachnoid lysis (4 patients), syringo-subarachnoid (S-S) shunt (8 patients) with or without lysis, or anterior decompression. Three of them developed motor deterioration after lysis, and 6 patients needed further 8 surgeries. Another 6 patients had idiopathic pathology showing dorsal arachnoid cyst formation at the thoracic level that was surgically resected. With mean follow-up of 44.3 months, only 4 patients with the secondary pathology showed improved neurological grade, whereas all patients with idiopathic pathology showed improvement.

LESSONS

The idiopathic pathology was the localized dorsal arachnoid adhesion that responded to surgical treatment. The secondary pathology produced disturbed venous circulation of the spinal cord by extensive adhesions. Lysis of the thickened fibrous membrane with preservation of thin arachnoid over the spinal veins may provide safe decompression. S-S shunt was effective if the syrinx extended to the level of normal subarachnoid space.

Open access

Ue-Cheung Ho, Koping Chang, Yen-Heng Lin, Yu-Cheng Huang, and Fon-Yih Tsuang

BACKGROUND

Primary intraosseous meningiomas (PIMs) are rare, and PIMs of the vertebrae have not yet been reported. The authors report a case of primary meningioma arising from the vertebrae.

OBSERVATIONS

A 49-year-old man presented with lower back pain and numbness in both lower extremities. Lumbar spine magnetic resonance imaging revealed an L2 pathological fracture with epidural and paraspinal invasion. The patient had undergone a first palliative decompression and fixation surgery, and the diagnosis turned out to be a World Health Organization grade III anaplastic meningioma based on histopathology. The tumor had progressed after first operation and radiation therapy, and the patient was referred to the authors’ institute for excision. The patient had an uneventful postoperative course after a revisional total en bloc spondylectomy of L2.

LESSONS

The authors present a rare case of PIM of the vertebrae with epidural and paraspinal invasion. Careful preoperative assessment and surgical planning is crucial for successful patient management.

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Alexandra Lauric, Luke Silveira, Emal Lesha, Jeffrey M. Breton, and Adel M. Malek

OBJECTIVE

Vessel tapering results in blood flow acceleration at downstream bifurcations (firehose nozzle effect), induces hemodynamics predisposing to aneurysm initiation, and has been associated with middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysm presence and rupture status. The authors sought to determine if vessel caliber tapering is a generalizable predisposing factor by evaluating upstream A1 segment profiles in association with aneurysm presence in the anterior communicating artery (ACoA) complex, the most prevalent cerebral aneurysm location associated with a high rupture risk.

METHODS

Three-dimensional rotational angiographic studies were analyzed for 68 patients with ACoA aneurysms, 37 nonaneurysmal contralaterals, and 53 healthy bilateral controls (211 samples total). A1 segments were determined to be dominant, codominant, or nondominant based on flow and size. Equidistant cross-sectional orthogonal cuts were generated along the A1 centerline, and cross-sectional area (CSA) was evaluated proximally and distally, using intensity-invariant edge detection filtering. The relative tapering of the A1 segment was evaluated as the tapering ratio (distal/proximal CSA). Computational fluid dynamics was simulated on ACoA parametric models with and without tapering.

RESULTS

Aneurysms occurred predominantly on dominant (79%) and codominant (17%) A1 segments. A1 segments leading to unruptured ACoA aneurysms had significantly greater tapering compared to nonaneurysmal contralaterals (0.69 ± 0.13 vs 0.80 ± 0.17, p = 0.001) and healthy controls (0.69 ± 0.13 vs 0.83 ± 0.16, p < 0.001), regardless of dominance labeling. There was no statistically significant difference in tapering values between contralateral A1 and healthy A1 controls (0.80 ± 0.17 vs 0.83 ± 0.16, p = 0.56). Hemodynamically, A1 segment tapering induces high focal pressure, high wall shear stress, and high velocity at the ACoA bifurcation.

CONCLUSIONS

Aneurysmal, but not contralateral or healthy control, A1 segments demonstrated significant progressive vascular tapering, which is associated with aneurysmogenic hemodynamic conditions at the ACoA complex. Demonstration of the upstream tapering effect in the communicating ACoA segment is consistent with its prior detection in the noncommunicating MCA bifurcation, which together form more than 50% of intracranial aneurysms. The mechanistic characterization of this upstream vascular tapering phenomenon is warranted to understand its clinical relevance and devise potential therapeutic strategies.

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Yifei Duan, Berje Shammassian, Shaarada Srivatsa, Kerrin Sunshine, Arunit Chugh, Jonathan Pace, Amanda Opaskar, and Nicholas C. Bambakidis

OBJECTIVE

Endovascular mechanical thrombectomy is safe and effective for the treatment of acute ischemic stroke (AIS) due to large-vessel occlusion (LVO). Still, despite high rates of procedural success, it is routine practice to uniformly admit postthrombectomy patients to an intensive care unit (ICU) for postoperative observation. Predictors of ICU criteria and care requirements in the postmechanical thrombectomy ischemic stroke patient population are lacking. The goal of the present study is to identify risk factors associated with requiring ICU-level intervention following mechanical thrombectomy.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed data from 245 patients undergoing thrombectomy for AIS from anterior circulation LVO at a comprehensive stroke and tertiary care center from January 2015 to March 2020. Clinical variables that predicted the need for critical care intervention were identified and compared. The performance of a binary classification test constructed from these predictive variables was also evaluated using a validation cohort.

RESULTS

Seventy-six patients (31%) required critical care interventions. A recanalization grade lower than modified Thrombolysis in Cerebral Infarction (mTICI) scale grade 2B (odds ratio [OR] 3.625, p = 0.001), Alberta Stroke Program Early Computed Tomography Score (ASPECTS) < 8 (OR 3.643, p < 0.001), and presence of hyperdensity on postprocedure cone-beam CT (OR 2.485, p = 0.005) were significantly associated with the need for postthrombectomy critical care intervention. When applied to a validation cohort, a clearance classification scheme using these three variables demonstrated high positive predictive value (0.88).

CONCLUSIONS

A recanalization grade lower than mTICI 2B, ASPECTS < 8, and postprocedure hyperdensity on cone-beam CT were shown to be independent predictors of requiring ICU-level care. Routine admission to ICU-level care can be costly and confer increased risk for hospital-acquired conditions. Safely and reliably identifying low-risk patients has the potential for cost savings, value-based care, and decreasing hospital-acquired conditions.

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Nicolò Marchesini, Nicola Tommasi, Franco Faccioli, Giampietro Pinna, and Francesco Sala

OBJECTIVE

Cauda equina ependymoma (CEE) is a rare tumor for which little information is available on the oncological and clinical outcomes of patients. In this study the authors aimed to address functional, oncological, and quality-of-life (QOL) outcomes in a large series of consecutive patients operated on at their institution during the past 20 years.

METHODS

The records of 125 patients who underwent surgery between January 1998 and September 2018 were reviewed. Analyzed variables included demographic, clinical, radiological, surgical, and histopathological features. Neurological outcomes were graded according to the McCormick and Kesselring scales. The QOL at follow-up was evaluated by administering the EQ-5DL questionnaire.

RESULTS

On admission, 84% of patients had a McCormick grade of I and 76.8% had a Kesselring score of 0. At follow-up (clinical 8.13 years; radiological 5.87 years) most scores were unchanged. Sacral level involvement (p = 0.029) and tumor size (p = 0.002) were predictors of poor functional outcome at discharge. Tumor size (p = 0.019) and repeated surgery (p < 0.001) were predictors of poor outcome. A preoperative McCormick grade ≥ III and Kesselring grade ≥ 2 were associated with worse outcomes (p = 0.035 and p = 0.002, respectively). Myxopapillary ependymoma (MPE) was more frequent than grade II ependymoma (EII). The overall rate of gross-total resection (GTR) was 91.2% and rates were significantly higher for patients with EII (98%) than for those with MPE (84%) (p = 0.0074). On multivariate analysis, the only factor associated with GTR was the presence of a capsule (p = 0.011). Seventeen patients (13.7%) had recurrences (13 MPE, 4 EII; 76.4% vs 23.6%; p = 0.032). The extent of resection was the only factor associated with recurrence (p = 0.0023) and number of surgeries (p = 0.006). Differences in progression-free survival (PFS) were seen depending on the extent of resection at first operation (p < 0.001), subarachnoid seeding (p = 0.041), piecemeal resection (p = 0.004), and number of spine levels involved (3 [p = 0.016], 4 [p = 0.011], or ≥ 5 [p = 0.013]). At follow-up a higher proportion of EII than MPE patients were disease free (94.7% vs 77.7%; p = 0.007). The QOL results were inferior in almost all areas compared to a control group of subjects from the Italian general population. A McCormick grade ≥ 3 and repeated surgeries were associated with a worse QOL (p = 0.006 and p = 0.017).

CONCLUSIONS

An early diagnosis of CEE is important because larger tumors are associated with recurrences and worse functional neurological outcomes. Surgery should be performed with the aim of achieving an en bloc GTR. The histological subtype was not directly associated with recurrences, but some of the features more commonly encountered in MPEs were. The outcomes are in most cases favorable, but the mean QOL perception is inferior to that of the general population.