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Rinchen Phuntsok, Chase W. Provost, Andrew T. Dailey, Douglas L. Brockmeyer and Benjamin J. Ellis

OBJECTIVE

Prior studies have provided conflicting evidence regarding the contribution of key ligamentous structures to atlantoaxial (AA) joint stability. Many of these studies employed cadaveric techniques that are hampered by the inherent difficulties of testing isolated-injury scenarios. Analysis with validated finite element (FE) models can overcome some of these limitations. In a previous study, the authors completed an FE analysis of 5 subject-specific craniocervical junction (CCJ) models to investigate the biomechanics of the occipitoatlantal joint and identify the ligamentous structures essential for its stability. Here, the authors use these same CCJ FE models to investigate the biomechanics of the AA joint and to identify the ligamentous structures essential for its stability.

METHODS

Five validated CCJ FE models were used to simulate isolated- and combined ligamentous–injury scenarios of the transverse ligament (TL), tectorial membrane (TM), alar ligament (AL), occipitoatlantal capsular ligament, and AA capsular ligament (AACL). All models were tested with rotational moments (flexion-extension, axial rotation, and lateral bending) and anterior translational loads (C2 constrained with anterior load applied to the occiput) to simulate physiological loading and to assess changes in the atlantodental interval (ADI), a key radiographic indicator of instability.

RESULTS

Isolated AACL injury significantly increased range of motion (ROM) under rotational moment at the AA joint for flexion, lateral bending, and axial rotation, which increased by means of 28.0% ± 10.2%, 43.2% ± 15.4%, and 159.1% ± 35.1%, respectively (p ≤ 0.05 for all). TL removal simulated under translational loads resulted in a significant increase in displacement at the AA joint by 89.3% ± 36.6% (p < 0.001), increasing the ADI from 2.7 mm to 4.5 mm. An AACL injury combined with an injury to any other ligament resulted in significant increases in ROM at the AA joint, except when combined with injuries to both the TM and the ALs. Similarly, injury to the TL combined with injury to any other CCJ ligament resulted in a significant increase in displacement at the AA joint (significantly increasing ADI) under translational loads.

CONCLUSIONS

Using FE modeling techniques, the authors showed a significant reliance of isolated- and combined ligamentous–injury scenarios on the AACLs and TL to restrain motion at the AA joint. Isolated injuries to other structures alone, including the AL and TM, did not result in significant increases in either AA joint ROM or anterior displacement.

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Harry Mushlin, Daina M. Brooks, Joshua Olexa, Bryan J. Ferrick, Stephen Carbine, Gerald M. Hayward II, Brandon S. Bucklen and Charles A. Sansur

OBJECTIVE

The sacroiliac joint (SIJ) is a known source of low-back pain. Randomized clinical trials support sacroiliac fusion over conservative management for SIJ dysfunction. Clinical studies suggest that SIJ degeneration occurs in the setting of lumbosacral fusions. However, there are few biomechanical studies to provide a good understanding of the effect of lumbosacral fusion on the SIJ. In the present study, researchers performed a biomechanical investigation to discern the effect of pelvic versus SIJ fixation on the SIJ in lumbosacral fusion.

METHODS

Seven fresh-frozen human cadaveric specimens were used. There was one intact specimen and six operative constructs: 1) posterior pedicle screws and rods from T10 to S1 (PS); 2) PS + bilateral iliac screw fixation (BIS); 3) PS + unilateral iliac screw fixation (UIS); 4) PS + UIS + 3 contralateral unilateral SIJ screws (UIS + 3SIJ); 5) PS + 3 unilateral SIJ screws (3SIJ); and 6) PS + 6 bilateral SIJ screws (6SIJ). A custom-built 6 degrees-of-freedom apparatus was used to simulate three bending modes: flexion-extension (FE), lateral bending (LB), and axial rotation (AR). Range of motion (ROM) was recorded at L5–S1 and the SIJ.

RESULTS

All six operative constructs had significantly reduced ROM at L5–S1 in all three bending modes compared to that of the intact specimen (p < 0.05). In the FE mode, the BIS construct had a significant reduction in L5–S1 ROM as compared to the other five constructs (p < 0.05). SIJ ROM was greatest in the FE mode compared to LB and AR. Although the FE mode did not show any statistically significant differences in SIJ ROM across the constructs, there were appreciable differences. The PS construct had the highest SIJ ROM. The BIS construct reduced bilateral SIJ ROM by 44% in comparison to the PS construct. The BIS and 6SIJ constructs showed reductions in SIJ ROM nearly equal to those of the PS construct. UIS and 3SIJ showed an appreciable reduction in unfused SIJ ROM compared to PS.

CONCLUSIONS

This investigation demonstrated the effects of various fusion constructs using pelvic and sacroiliac fixation in lumbosacral fusion. This study adds biomechanical evidence of adjacent segment stress in the SIJ in fusion constructs extending to S1. Unilateral pelvic fixation, or SIJ fusion, led to an appreciable but nonsignificant reduction in the ROM of the unfused contralateral SIJ. Bilateral pelvic fixation showed the greatest significant reduction of movement at L5–S1 and was equivalent to bilateral sacroiliac fusion in reducing SIJ motion.

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Victoria L. Morgan, Baxter P. Rogers, Hernán F. J. González, Sarah E. Goodale and Dario J. Englot

OBJECTIVE

Seizure outcome after mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE) surgery is complex and diverse, even across patients with homogeneous presurgical clinical profiles. The authors hypothesized that this is due in part to variations in network connectivity across the brain before and after surgery. Although presurgical network connectivity has been previously characterized in these patients, the objective of this study was to characterize presurgical to postsurgical functional network connectivity changes across the brain after mTLE surgery.

METHODS

Twenty patients with drug-refractory unilateral mTLE (5 left side, 10 female, age 39.3 ± 13.5 years) who underwent either selective amygdalohippocampectomy (n = 13) or temporal lobectomy (n = 7) were included in the study. Presurgical and postsurgical (36.6 ± 14.3 months after surgery) functional connectivity (FC) was measured with 3-T MRI and compared with findings in age-matched healthy controls (n = 44, 21 female, age 39.3 ± 14.3 years). Postsurgical connectivity changes were then related to seizure outcome, type of surgery, and presurgical disease parameters.

RESULTS

The results demonstrated significant decreases of FC from control group values across the brain after surgery that were not present before surgery, including many contralateral hippocampal connections distal to the surgical site. Postsurgical impairment of contralateral precuneus to ipsilateral occipital connectivity was associated with seizure recurrence. Presurgical impairment of the contralateral precuneus to contralateral temporal lobe connectivity was associated with those who underwent selective amygdalohippocampectomy compared to those who had temporal lobectomy. Finally, changes in thalamic connectivity after surgery were linearly related to duration of epilepsy and frequency of consciousness-impairing seizures prior to surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

The widespread contralateral hippocampal FC changes after surgery may be a reflection of an ongoing epileptogenic progression that has been altered by the surgery, rather than a direct result of the surgery itself. This network evolution may contribute to long-term seizure outcome. Therefore, the combination of presurgical network mapping with the understanding of the dynamic effects of surgery on the networks may ultimately be used to create predictors of the likelihood of long-term seizure recurrence in individual patients after mTLE surgery.

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Bin Tang, ShenHao Xie, GuanLin Huang, ZhiGang Wang, Le Yang, XuanYong Yang, Shan Xu, ErMing Zeng and Tao Hong

OBJECTIVE

Transinfundibular craniopharyngioma (TC) is one of the 4 subtypes of suprasellar craniopharyngioma. In this study, the authors analyzed the clinical features of and operative technique for TC.

METHODS

A total of 95 consecutive cases of suprasellar craniopharyngioma that had been resected via the endoscopic expanded endonasal approach were retrospectively reviewed. Patients were divided into 2 groups: 34 in the TC group and 61 in the nontransinfundibular craniopharyngioma (NC) group. Clinical and radiographic features, intraoperative findings, histopathological and genetic findings, and surgical outcomes were analyzed and compared between groups.

RESULTS

Compared with NC, TC was mostly seen in adult patients (97.1%); it was rare in children (2.9%). Clinical presentations tended toward headache, hydrocephalus, and diabetes insipidus. The relatively smaller volume, midline location (consistent with the stalk position), unidentifiable stalk, no shift of the third ventricle, and greater likelihood to involve the third ventricle and cause hydrocephalus were the characteristic features of TC in the preoperative MRI study. According to the degree of vertical extension of the tumor, the 34 TCs could be classified into 3 subtypes: type 1, entity was limited to stalk (n = 2, 5.9%); type 2, tumor extended up to the third ventricle (type 2a) or down to the subdiaphragmatic cavity (type 2b) (n = 23, 67.6%); and type 3, tumor extended in both directions (n = 9, 26.5%). For TC resection, the chiasm–pituitary corridor, lamina terminalis corridor, and pituitary corridor could be used separately or jointly. Most of the TCs originated from the infundibulum–tuber cinereum, grew within and along the long axis of the infundibulum, and the pituitary stalk was not usually preserved in TCs (20.6%), whereas the rate of preservation was higher (80.3%) in NCs. Bilateral hypothalamic injury was found in nearly all TCs if radical resection was performed, whereas the relationship between NCs and hypothalamus was either compression (32.8%) or unilateral invasion (67.2%). Meanwhile, the postoperative endocrine and neuropsychological function outcomes in patients with TC were worse than in patients with NC. The genetic analysis with whole-exome sequencing studies showed no differential mutations of CTNNB1 (β-catenin) and BRAF (V600E) between TC and NC subtypes, but there was a difference between adamantinomatous craniopharyngioma and papillary craniopharyngioma.

CONCLUSIONS

TC is a special subtype of suprasellar craniopharyngioma, which is remarkably different from NC. Identification of this type of tumor preoperatively is essential for the planning of appropriate surgical approach and degree of excision.

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Benjamin Pulli, Christopher J. Stapleton, Brian P. Walcott, Matthew J. Koch, Scott B. Raymond, Thabele M. Leslie-Mazwi, James D. Rabinov and Aman B. Patel

OBJECTIVE

Several grading systems for procedural risk in the endovascular treatment of brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) have been proposed, including the Buffalo, Puerto Rico, and AVM embocure scoring systems. The authors sought to validate these systems in an independent patient cohort and compare each system to the established Spetzler-Martin (SM) scale.

METHODS

One hundred four consecutive patients underwent adjunctive endovascular embolization of brain AVMs between 2002 and 2016 with the goal of reducing the surgical or hemorrhagic risk before definitive radiosurgical treatment. Baseline clinical and AVM characteristics, complications, and degree of AVM nidus reduction were obtained retrospectively. Univariate and multivariate comparisons and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analyses were performed.

RESULTS

Ten major (9.6%) and 16 minor (15.4%) complications were encountered in 24 patients (23.1%). An arterial pedicle size < 1 mm (p = 0.001) and a greater number of pedicles (p = 0.039) were predictors of complication occurrence. Only the Buffalo score predicted the complication rate on univariate (p = 0.039) and multivariate (p = 0.001) analyses. ROC curve analysis revealed a greater area under the curve (AUC) of the Buffalo score (0.703) compared to the Puerto Rico score (p = 0.028), AVM embocure score (AVMES; p = 0.010), and SM grade (SMG; p = 0.030). The Buffalo score, Puerto Rico score, and AVMES but not the SMG predicted > 85% nidus reduction. The AUCs for the different scoring systems were not significantly different.

CONCLUSIONS

The major complication rate of 9.6% is within the range of rates reported in the literature and emphasizes that brain AVM embolization is not a low-risk procedure. The Buffalo score but not the Puerto Rico score, AVMES, or SMG predicted the endovascular procedural risk. All three endovascular scores but not the SMG predicted a > 85% nidus reduction rate in this cohort embolized as part of a multimodal AVM treatment.

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Jin W. Tee, Carly S. Rivers, Nader Fallah, Vanessa K. Noonan, Brian K. Kwon, Charles G. Fisher, John T. Street, Tamir Ailon, Nicolas Dea, Scott Paquette and Marcel F. Dvorak

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to use decision tree modeling to identify optimal stratification groups considering both the neurological impairment and spinal column injury and to investigate the change in motor score as an example of a practical application. Inherent heterogeneity in spinal cord injury (SCI) introduces variation in natural recovery, compromising the ability to identify true treatment effects in clinical research. Optimized stratification factors to create homogeneous groups of participants would improve accurate identification of true treatment effects.

METHODS

The analysis cohort consisted of patients with acute traumatic SCI registered in the Vancouver Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry (RHSCIR) between 2004 and 2014. Severity of neurological injury (American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale [AIS grades A–D]), level of injury (cervical, thoracic), and total motor score (TMS) were assessed using the International Standards for Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury examination; morphological injury to the spinal column assessed using the AOSpine classification (AOSC types A–C, C most severe) and age were also included. Decision trees were used to determine the most homogeneous groupings of participants based on TMS at admission and discharge from in-hospital care.

RESULTS

The analysis cohort included 806 participants; 79.3% were male, and the mean age was 46.7 ± 19.9 years. Distribution of severity of neurological injury at admission was AIS grade A in 40.0% of patients, grade B in 11.3%, grade C in 18.9%, and grade D in 29.9%. The level of injury was cervical in 68.7% of patients and thoracolumbar in 31.3%. An AOSC type A injury was found in 33.1% of patients, type B in 25.6%, and type C in 37.8%. Decision tree analysis identified 6 optimal stratification groups for assessing TMS: 1) AOSC type A or B, cervical injury, and age ≤ 32 years; 2) AOSC type A or B, cervical injury, and age > 32–53 years; 3) AOSC type A or B, cervical injury, and age > 53 years; 4) AOSC type A or B and thoracic injury; 5) AOSC type C and cervical injury; and 6) AOSC type C and thoracic injury.

CONCLUSIONS

Appropriate stratification factors are fundamental to accurately identify treatment effects. Inclusion of AOSC type improves stratification, and use of the 6 stratification groups could minimize confounding effects of variable neurological recovery so that effective treatments can be identified.

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Marcelo Magaldi Ribeiro de Oliveira, Taise Mosso Ramos, Carlos Eduardo Ferrarez, Carla Jorge Machado, Pollyana Helena Vieira Costa, Daniel L. Alvarenga, Carolina K. Soares, Luiza M. Mainart, Pedro Aguilar-Salinas, Sebastião Gusmão, Eric Sauvageau, Ricardo A. Hanel and Giuseppe Lanzino

OBJECTIVE

Surgical performance evaluation was first described with the OSATS (Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills) and modified for aneurysm microsurgery simulation with the OSAACS (Objective Structured Assessment of Aneurysm Clipping Skills). These methods rely on the subjective opinions of evaluators, however, and there is a lack of objective evaluation for proficiency in the microsurgical treatment of brain aneurysms. The authors present a new instrument, the Skill Assessment in Microsurgery for Brain Aneurysms (SAMBA) scale, which can be used similarly in a simulation model and in the treatment of unruptured middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysms to predict surgical performance; the authors also report on its validation.

METHODS

The SAMBA scale was created by consensus among 5 vascular neurosurgeons from 2 different neurosurgical departments. SAMBA results were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Cronbach’s alpha indexes, and multivariate ANOVA analyses (p < 0.05).

RESULTS

Expert, intermediate-level, and novice surgeons scored, respectively, an average of 33.9, 27.1, and 16.4 points in the real surgery and 33.3, 27.3, and 19.4 points in the simulation. The SAMBA interrater reliability index was 0.995 for the real surgery and 0.996 for the simulated surgery; the intrarater reliability was 0.983 (Cronbach’s alpha). In both the simulation and the real surgery settings, the average scores achieved by members of each group (expert, intermediate level, and novice) were significantly different (p < 0.001). Scores among novice surgeons were more diverse (coefficient of variation = 12.4).

CONCLUSIONS

Predictive validation of the placenta brain aneurysm model has been previously reported, but the SAMBA scale adds an objective scoring system to verify microsurgical ability in this complex operation, stratifying proficiency by points. The SAMBA scale can be used as an interface between learning and practicing, as it can be applied in a safe and controlled environment, such as is provided by a placenta model, with similar results obtained in real surgery, predicting real surgical performance.

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Umeshkumar Athiraman, Diane Aum, Ananth K. Vellimana, Joshua W. Osbun, Rajat Dhar, Rene Tempelhoff and Gregory J. Zipfel

OBJECTIVE

Delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is characterized by large-artery vasospasm, distal autoregulatory dysfunction, cortical spreading depression, and microvessel thrombi. Large-artery vasospasm has been identified as an independent predictor of poor outcome in numerous studies. Recently, several animal studies have identified a strong protective role for inhalational anesthetics against secondary brain injury after SAH including DCI—a phenomenon referred to as anesthetic conditioning. The aim of the present study was to assess the potential role of inhalational anesthetics against cerebral vasospasm and DCI in patients suffering from an SAH.

METHODS

After IRB approval, data were collected retrospectively for all SAH patients admitted to the authors’ hospital between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2013, who received general anesthesia with either inhalational anesthetics only (sevoflurane or desflurane) or combined inhalational (sevoflurane or desflurane) and intravenous (propofol) anesthetics during aneurysm treatment. The primary outcomes were development of angiographic vasospasm and development of DCI during hospitalization. Univariate and logistic regression analyses were performed to identify independent predictors of these endpoints.

RESULTS

The cohort included 157 SAH patients whose mean age was 56 ± 14 (± SD). An inhalational anesthetic–only technique was employed in 119 patients (76%), while a combination of inhalational and intravenous anesthetics was employed in 34 patients (22%). As expected, patients in the inhalational anesthetic–only group were exposed to significantly more inhalational agent than patients in the combination anesthetic group (p < 0.05). Multivariate logistic regression analysis identified inhalational anesthetic–only technique (OR 0.35, 95% CI 0.14–0.89), Hunt and Hess grade (OR 1.51, 95% CI 1.03–2.22), and diabetes (OR 0.19, 95% CI 0.06–0.55) as significant predictors of angiographic vasospasm. In contradistinction, the inhalational anesthetic–only technique had no significant impact on the incidence of DCI or functional outcome at discharge, though greater exposure to desflurane (as measured by end-tidal concentration) was associated with a lower incidence of DCI.

CONCLUSIONS

These data represent the first evidence in humans that inhalational anesthetics may exert a conditioning protective effect against angiographic vasospasm in SAH patients. Future studies will be needed to determine whether optimized inhalational anesthetic paradigms produce definitive protection against angiographic vasospasm; whether they protect against other events leading to secondary brain injury after SAH, including microvascular thrombi, autoregulatory dysfunction, blood-brain barrier breakdown, neuroinflammation, and neuronal cell death; and, if so, whether this protection ultimately improves patient outcome.

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Ilkka Haapala, Markus Karjalainen, Anton Kontunen, Antti Vehkaoja, Kristiina Nordfors, Hannu Haapasalo, Joonas Haapasalo, Niku Oksala and Antti Roine

OBJECTIVE

There is a need for real-time, intraoperative tissue identification technology in neurosurgery. Several solutions are under development for that purpose, but their adaptability for standard clinical use has been hindered by high cost and impracticality issues. The authors tested and preliminarily validated a method for brain tumor identification that is based on the analysis of diathermy smoke using differential mobility spectrometry (DMS).

METHODS

A DMS connected to a special smoke sampling system was used to discriminate brain tumors and control samples ex vivo in samples from 28 patients who had undergone neurosurgical operations. They included meningiomas (WHO grade I), pilocytic astrocytomas (grade I), other low-grade gliomas (grade II), glioblastomas (grade IV), CNS metastases, and hemorrhagic or traumatically damaged brain tissue as control samples. Original samples were cut into 694 smaller specimens in total.

RESULTS

An overall classification accuracy (CA) of 50% (vs 14% by chance) was achieved in 7-class classification. The CA improved significantly (up to 83%) when the samples originally preserved in Tissue-Tek conservation medium were excluded from the analysis. The CA further improved when fewer classes were used. The highest binary classification accuracy, 94%, was obtained in low-grade glioma (grade II) versus control.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ results show that surgical smoke from various brain tumors has distinct DMS profiles and the DMS analyzer connected to a special sampling system can differentiate between tumorous and nontumorous tissue and also between different tumor types ex vivo.