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Contemporary concepts of pain surgery

JNSPG 75th Anniversary Invited Review Article

Kim J. Burchiel and Ahmed M. Raslan

Pain surgery is one of the historic foundations of neurological surgery. The authors present a review of contemporary concepts in surgical pain management, with reference to past successes and failures, what has been learned as a subspecialty over the past 50 years, as well as a vision for current and future practice. This subspecialty confronts problems of cancer pain, nociceptive pain, and neuropathic pain. For noncancer pain, ablative procedures such as dorsal root entry zone lesions and rhizolysis for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) should continue to be practiced. Other procedures, such as medial thalamotomy, have not been proven effective and require continued study. Dorsal rhizotomy, dorsal root ganglionectomy, and neurotomy should probably be abandoned. For cancer pain, cordotomy is an important and underutilized method for pain control. Intrathecal opiate administration via an implantable system remains an important option for cancer pain management. While there are encouraging results in small case series, cingulotomy, hypophysectomy, and mesencephalotomy deserve further detailed analysis. Electrical neuromodulation is a rapidly changing discipline, and new methods such as high-frequency spinal cord stimulation (SCS), burst SCS, and dorsal root ganglion stimulation may or may not prove to be more effective than conventional SCS. Despite a history of failure, deep brain stimulation for pain may yet prove to be an effective therapy for specific pain conditions. Peripheral nerve stimulation for conditions such as occipital neuralgia and trigeminal neuropathic pain remains an option, although the quality of outcomes data is a challenge to these applications. Based on the evidence, motor cortex stimulation should be abandoned. TN is a mainstay of the surgical treatment of pain, particularly as new evidence and insights into TN emerge. Pain surgery will continue to build on this heritage, and restorative procedures will likely find a role in the armamentarium. The challenge for the future will be to acquire higher-level evidence to support the practice of surgical pain management.

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Mirriam Mikhail, Oliver G. S. Ayling, Matthew E. Eagles, George M. Ibrahim and R. Loch Macdonald

OBJECTIVE

Higher mortality has been reported with weekend or after-hours patient admission across a wide range of surgical and medical specialties, a phenomenon termed the “weekend effect.” The authors evaluated whether weekend admission contributed to death and long-term neurological outcome in patients following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.

METHODS

A post hoc analysis of the Clazosentan to Overcome Neurological Ischemia and Infarction Occurring After Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (CONSCIOUS-1) study was conducted. Univariable and stepwise multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed to assess the associations between weekend admission and mortality and long-term neurological outcome.

RESULTS

Of 413 subjects included in the CONSCIOUS-1 study, 140 patients had been admitted during the weekend. A significant interaction was identified between weekend admission and neurological grade on presentation, suggesting that the outcomes of patients who had initially presented with a poor grade were disproportionately influenced by the weekend admission. On stepwise multivariable logistic regression in the subgroup of patients who had presented with a poor neurological grade (29 of 100 patients), admission on the weekend was found to be independently associated with death (OR 6.59, 95% CI 1.62–26.88, p = 0.009). Weekend admission was not associated with long-term neurological outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

Weekend admission was an independent risk factor for death within 12 weeks following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage in patients presenting with a poor neurological grade. Further work is required to identify and mitigate any mediating factors.

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Mario Zanaty, Susanna Howard, Jorge A. Roa, Carlos M. Alvarez, David K. Kung, David J. McCarthy, Edgar A. Samaniego, Daichi Nakagawa, Robert M. Starke, Kaustubh Limaye, Sami Al Kasab, Nohra Chalouhi, Pascal Jabbour, James Torner, Daniel Tranel and David Hasan

OBJECTIVE

Revascularization of a symptomatic, medically refractory, cervical chronically occluded internal carotid artery (COICA) using endovascular techniques (ETs) has surfaced as a viable alternative to extracranial-intracranial bypass. The authors aimed to assess the safety, success, and neurocognitive outcomes of recanalization of COICA using ETs or hybrid treatment (ET plus carotid endarterectomy) and to identify candidate radiological markers that could predict success.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of their prospectively collected institutional database and used their previously published COICA classification to assess the potential benefits of ETs or hybrid surgery to revascularize symptomatic patients with COICA. Subjects who had undergone CT perfusion (CTP) imaging and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) testing, both pre- and postprocedure, were included. The authors then performed a review of the literature on patients with COICA to further evaluate the success and safety of these treatment alternatives.

RESULTS

The single-center study revealed 28 subjects who had undergone revascularization of symptomatic COICA. Five subjects had CTP imaging and MoCA testing pre- and postrevascularization and thus were included in the study. All 5 patients had very large penumbra involving the entire hemisphere supplied by the ipsilateral COICA, which resolved postoperatively. Significant improvement in neurocognitive outcome was demonstrated by MoCA testing after treatment (preprocedure: 19.8 ± 2.4, postprocedure: 27 ± 1.6; p = 0.0038). Moreover, successful revascularization of COICA led to full restoration of cerebral hemodynamics in all cases. Review of the literature identified a total of 333 patients with COICA. Of these, 232 (70%) showed successful recanalization after ETs or hybrid surgery, with low major and minor complication rates (3.9% and 2.7%, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

ETs and hybrid surgery are safe and effective alternatives to revascularize patients with symptomatic COICA. CTP imaging could be used as a radiological marker to assess cerebral hemodynamics and predict the success of revascularization. Improvement in CTP parameters is associated with significant improvement in neurocognitive functions.

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Herschel Wilde, Mohammed A. Azab, Abdullah M. Abunimer, Hussam Abou-Al-Shaar, Michael Karsy, Jian Guan, Sarah T. Menacho and Randy L. Jensen

OBJECTIVE

Gliomas occur in 3–4 individuals per 100,000 individuals and are one of the most common primary brain tumors. Treatment options are limited for gliomas despite the progressive nature of the disease. The authors used the Value Driven Outcomes (VDO) database to identify cost drivers and subgroups that are involved in the surgical treatment of gliomas.

METHODS

A retrospective cohort of patients with gliomas treated at the authors’ institution from August 2011 to February 2018 was evaluated using medical records and the VDO database.

RESULTS

A total of 263 patients with intracranial gliomas met the authors’ inclusion criteria and were included in the analysis (WHO grade I: 2.0%; grade II: 18.5%; grade III: 18.1%; and grade IV: 61.4%). Facility costs were the major (64.4%) cost driver followed by supplies (16.2%), pharmacy (10.1%), imaging (4.5%), and laboratory (4.7%). Univariate analysis of cost contributors demonstrated that American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status (p = 0.002), tumor recurrence (p = 0.06), Karnofsky Performance Scale score (p = 0.002), length of stay (LOS) (p = 0.0001), and maximal tumor size (p = 0.03) contributed significantly to the total costs. However, on multivariate analysis, only LOS (p = 0.0001) contributed significantly to total costs. More extensive tumor resection in WHO grade III and IV tumors was associated with significant improvement in survival (p = 0.004 and p = 0.02, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

Understanding care costs is challenging because of the highly complex, fragmented, and variable nature of healthcare delivery. Adopting effective strategies that would reduce facility costs and limit LOS is likely the most important aspect in reducing intracranial glioma treatment costs.

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Dong-Hun Kang, Woong Yoon, Byung Hyun Baek, Seul Kee Kim, Yun Young Lee, Joon-Tae Kim, Man-Seok Park, Yong-Won Kim, Yong-Sun Kim and Yang-Ha Hwang

OBJECTIVE

The optimal front-line thrombectomy choice for primary recanalization of a target artery remains unknown for patients with acute large-vessel occlusion (LVO) and an underlying intracranial atherosclerotic stenosis (ICAS). The authors aimed to compare procedural characteristics and outcomes between patients who received a stent-retriever thrombectomy (SRT) and patients who received a contact aspiration thrombectomy (CAT), as the front-line approach for treating LVO due to severe underlying ICAS.

METHODS

One hundred thirty patients who presented with acute LVO and underlying severe ICAS at the occlusion site were included. Procedural characteristics and treatment outcomes were compared between patients treated with front-line SRT (n = 70) and those treated with front-line CAT (n = 60). The primary outcomes were the rate of switching to an alternative thrombectomy technique, time from groin puncture to initial reperfusion, and duration of the procedure. Initial reperfusion was defined as revealing the underlying culprit stenosis with an antegrade flow after thrombectomy.

RESULTS

The rate of switching to an alternative thrombectomy after failure of the front-line technique was significantly higher in the CAT group than in the SRT group (40% vs 4.3%; OR 2.543, 95% CI 1.893–3.417, p < 0.001). The median time from puncture to initial reperfusion (17 vs 31 minutes, p < 0.001) and procedure duration (39 vs 75.5 minutes, p < 0.001) were significantly shorter in the SRT group than in the CAT group. In the binary logistic regression analysis, a longer time from puncture to initial reperfusion was an independent predictor of a 90-day poor (modified Rankin Scale score 3–6) functional outcome (per 1-minute increase; OR 1.029, 95% CI 1.008–1.050, p = 0.006).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ results suggest that SRT may be more effective than CAT for identifying underlying culprit stenosis and therefore considered the optimal front-line thrombectomy technique in acute stroke patients with LVO and severe underlying ICAS.

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Tobias Greve, Veit M. Stoecklein, Franziska Dorn, Sophia Laskowski, Niklas Thon, Jörg-Christian Tonn and Christian Schichor

OBJECTIVE

Intraoperative neuromonitoring (IOM), particularly of somatosensory-evoked potentials (SSEPs) and motor-evoked potentials (MEPs), evolved as standard of care in a variety of neurosurgical procedures. Case series report a positive impact of IOM for elective microsurgical clipping of unruptured intracranial aneurysms (ECUIA), whereas systematic evaluation of its predictive value is lacking. Therefore, the authors analyzed the neurological outcome of patients undergoing ECUIA before and after IOM introduction to this procedure.

METHODS

The dates of inclusion in the study were 2007–2014. In this period, ECUIA procedures before (n = 136, NIOM-group; 2007–2010) and after introduction of IOM (n = 138, IOM-group; 2011–2014) were included. The cutoff value for SSEP/MEP abnormality was chosen as an amplitude reduction ≥ 50%. SSEP/MEP changes were correlated with neurological outcome. IOM-undetectable deficits (bulbar, vision, ataxia) were not included in risk stratification.

RESULTS

There was no significant difference in sex distribution, follow-up period, subarachnoid hemorrhage risk factors, aneurysm diameter, complexity, and location. Age was higher in the IOM-group (57 vs 54 years, p = 0.012). In the IOM group, there were 18 new postoperative deficits (13.0%, 5.8% permanent), 9 hemisyndromes, 2 comas, 4 bulbar symptoms, and 3 visual deficits. In the NIOM group there were 18 new deficits (13.2%; 7.3% permanent, including 7 hemisyndromes). The groups did not significantly differ in the number or nature of postoperative deficits, nor in their recovery rate. In the IOM group, SSEPs and MEPs were available in 99% of cases. Significant changes were noted in 18 cases, 4 of which exhibited postoperative hemisyndrome, and 1 suffered from prolonged comatose state (5 true-positive cases). Twelve patients showed no new detectable deficits (false positives), however 2 of these cases showed asymptomatic infarction. Five patients with new hemisyndrome and 1 comatose patient did not show significant SSEP/MEP alterations (false negatives). Overall sensitivity of SSEP/MEP monitoring was 45.5%, specificity 89.8%, positive predictive value 27.8%, and negative predictive value 95.0%.

CONCLUSIONS

The assumed positive impact of introducing SSEP/MEP monitoring on overall neurological outcome in ECUIA did not reach significance. This study suggests that from a medicolegal point of view, IOM is not stringently required in all neurovascular procedures. However, future studies should carefully address high-risk patients with complex procedures who might benefit more clearly from IOM than others.

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Bryan D. Choi, Daniel K. Lee, Jimmy C. Yang, Caroline M. Ayinon, Christine K. Lee, Douglas Maus, Bob S. Carter, Fred G. Barker II, Pamela S. Jones, Brian V. Nahed, Daniel P. Cahill, Reiner B. See, Mirela V. Simon and William T. Curry

OBJECTIVE

Intraoperative seizures during craniotomy with functional mapping is a common complication that impedes optimal tumor resection and results in significant morbidity. The relationship between genetic mutations in gliomas and the incidence of intraoperative seizures has not been well characterized. Here, the authors performed a retrospective study of patients treated at their institution over the last 12 years to determine whether molecular data can be used to predict the incidence of this complication.

METHODS

The authors queried their institutional database for patients with brain tumors who underwent resection with intraoperative functional mapping between 2005 and 2017. Basic clinicopathological characteristics, including the status of the following genes, were recorded: IDH1/2, PIK3CA, BRAF, KRAS, AKT1, EGFR, PDGFRA, MET, MGMT, and 1p/19q. Relationships between gene alterations and intraoperative seizures were evaluated using chi-square and two-sample t-test univariate analysis. When considering multiple predictive factors, a logistic multivariate approach was taken.

RESULTS

Overall, 416 patients met criteria for inclusion; of these patients, 98 (24%) experienced an intraoperative seizure. Patients with a history of preoperative seizure and those treated with antiepileptic drugs prior to surgery were less likely to have intraoperative seizures (history: OR 0.61 [95% CI 0.38–0.96], chi-square = 4.65, p = 0.03; AED load: OR 0.46 [95% CI 0.26–0.80], chi-square = 7.64, p = 0.01). In a univariate analysis of genetic markers, amplification of genes encoding receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) was specifically identified as a positive predictor of seizures (OR 5.47 [95% CI 1.22–24.47], chi-square = 5.98, p = 0.01). In multivariate analyses considering RTK status, AED use, and either 2007 WHO tumor grade or modern 2016 WHO tumor groups, the authors found that amplification of the RTK proto-oncogene, MET, was most predictive of intraoperative seizure (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

This study describes a previously unreported association between genetic alterations in RTKs and the occurrence of intraoperative seizures during glioma resection with functional mapping. Future models estimating intraoperative seizure risk may be enhanced by inclusion of genetic criteria.