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Colin J. Przybylowski, Robert F. Dallapiazza, Brian J. Williams, I. Jonathan Pomeraniec, Zhiyuan Xu, Spencer C. Payne, Edward R. Laws and John A. Jane Jr.

OBJECTIVE

The object of this study was to compare the outcomes of primary and revision transsphenoidal resection (TSR) of nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas (NFPMAs) using endoscopic methods.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of 287 consecutive patients who had undergone endoscopic endonasal TSR for NFPMAs at their institution in the period from 2005 to 2011. Fifty patients who had undergone revision TSR were retrospectively matched for age, sex, and duration of follow-up to 46 patients who had undergone primary TSR. Medical and surgical complications were documented, and Kaplan-Meier analysis was performed to assess rates of radiological progression-free survival (PFS).

RESULTS

The median follow-up periods were 45 and 46 months for the primary and revision TSR groups, respectively. There were no significant differences between the primary and revision groups in rates of new neurological deficit (0 in each), vascular injury (2% vs 0), postoperative CSF leak (6% vs 2%), transient diabetes insipidus (DI; 15% vs 12%), chronic DI (2% vs 2%), chronic sinusitis (4% vs 6%), meningitis (2% vs 2%), epistaxis (7% vs 0), or suprasellar hematoma formation (0 vs 2%). However, patients who underwent primary TSR had significantly higher rates of syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (SIADH; 17% vs 4%, p = 0.04). Patients who underwent primary operations also had significantly higher rates of gross-total resection (GTR; 63% vs 28%, p < 0.01) and significantly lower rates of adjuvant radiotherapy (13% vs 42%, p < 0.01). Radiological PFS rates were similar at 2 years (98% vs 96%) and 5 years (87% vs 80%, p = 0.668, log-rank test).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients who underwent primary TSR of NFPMAs experienced higher rates of SIADH than those who underwent revision TSR. Patients who underwent revision TSR were less likely to have GTR of their tumor, although they still had a PFS rate similar to that in patients who underwent primary TSR. This finding may be attributable to an increased rate of adjuvant radiation treatment to subtotally resected tumors in the revision TSR group.

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Hussam Abou-Al-Shaar, Muhammad M. Abd-El-Barr, Hasan A. Zaidi, Eleanor Russell-Goldman, Rebecca D. Folkerth, Edward R. Laws Jr. and E. Antonio Chiocca

There is a wide group of lesions that may exist in the sellar and suprasellar regions. Embryologically, there is varying evidence that many of these entities may in fact represent a continuum of pathology deriving from a common ectodermal origin. The authors report a case of a concomitant suprasellar craniopharyngioma invading the third ventricle with a concurrent frontal lobe cystic dermoid tumor. A 21-year-old man presented to the authors' service with a 3-day history of worsening headache, nausea, vomiting, and blurry vision. Magnetic resonance imaging depicted a right frontal lobe lesion associated with a separate suprasellar cystic lesion invading the third ventricle. The patient underwent a right pterional craniotomy for resection of both lesions. Gross-total resection of the right frontal lesion was achieved, and subtotal resection of the suprasellar lesion was accomplished with some residual tumor adherent to the walls of the third ventricle. Histopathological examination of the resected right frontal lesion documented a diagnosis of dermoid cyst and, for the suprasellar lesion, a diagnosis of adamantinomatous craniopharyngioma. The occurrence of craniopharyngioma with dermoid cyst has not been reported in the literature before. Such an association might indeed suggest the previously reported hypothesis that these lesions represent a spectrum of ectodermally derived epithelial-lined cystic lesions.

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Timothy R. Smith, David J. Cote, John A. Jane Jr. and Edward R. Laws Jr.

OBJECTIVE

The object of this study was to establish recurrence rates in patients with craniopharyngioma postoperatively treated with recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) as a basis for determining the risk of rhGH therapy in the development of recurrent tumor.

METHODS

The study included 739 pediatric patients with craniopharyngioma who were naïve to GH upon entering the Genentech National Cooperative Growth Study (NCGS) for treatment. Reoperation for tumor recurrence was documented as an adverse event. Cox proportional-hazards regression models were developed for time to recurrence, using age as the outcome and enrollment date as the predictor. Patients without recurrence were treated as censored. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the incidence of recurrence with adjustment for the amount of time at risk.

RESULTS

Fifty recurrences in these 739 surgically treated patients were recorded. The overall craniopharyngioma recurrence rate in the NCGS was 6.8%, with a median follow-up time of 4.3 years (range 0.7–6.4 years.). Age at the time of study enrollment was statistically significant according to both Cox (p = 0.0032) and logistic (p < 0.001) models, with patients under 9 years of age more likely to suffer recurrence (30 patients [11.8%], 0.025 recurrences/yr of observation, p = 0.0097) than those ages 9–13 years (17 patients [6.0%], 0.17 recurrences/yr of observation) and children older than 13 years (3 patients [1.5%], 0.005 recurrences/yr of observation).

CONCLUSIONS

Physiological doses of GH do not appear to increase the recurrence rate of craniopharyngioma after surgery in children, but long-term follow-up of GH-treated patients is required to establish a true natural history in the GH treatment era.

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Edward R. Laws, Judith M. Wong, Timothy R. Smith, Kenneth de los Reyes, Linda S. Aglio, Alison J. Thorne, David J. Cote, Felice Esposito, Paolo Cappabianca and Atul Gawande

OBJECT

Approximately 250 million surgical procedures are performed annually worldwide, and data suggest that major complications occur in 3%–17% of them. Many of these complications can be classified as avoidable, and previous studies have demonstrated that preoperative checklists improve operating room teamwork and decrease complication rates. Although the authors’ institution has instituted a general preoperative “time-out” designed to streamline communication, flatten vertical authority gradients, and decrease procedural errors, there is no specific checklist for transnasal transsphenoidal anterior skull base surgery, with or without endoscopy. Such minimally invasive cranial surgery uses a completely different conceptual approach, set-up, instrumentation, and operative procedure. Therefore, it can be associated with different types of complications as compared with open cranial surgery. The authors hypothesized that a detailed, procedure-specific, preoperative checklist would be useful to reduce errors, improve outcomes, decrease delays, and maximize both teambuilding and operational efficiency. Thus, the object of this study was to develop such a checklist for endonasal transsphenoidal anterior skull base surgery.

METHODS

An expert panel was convened that consisted of all members of the typical surgical team for transsphenoidal endoscopic cases: neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists, circulating nurses, scrub technicians, surgical operations managers, and technical assistants. Beginning with a general checklist, procedure-specific items were added and categorized into 4 pauses: Anesthesia Pause, Surgical Pause, Equipment Pause, and Closure Pause.

RESULTS

The final endonasal transsphenoidal anterior skull base surgery checklist is composed of the following 4 pauses. The Anesthesia Pause consists of patient identification, diagnosis, pertinent laboratory studies, medications, surgical preparation, patient positioning, intravenous/arterial access, fluid management, monitoring, and other special considerations (e.g., Valsalva, jugular compression, lumbar drain, and so on). The Surgical Pause is composed of personnel introductions, planned procedural elements, estimation of duration of surgery, anticipated blood loss and fluid management, imaging, specimen collection, and questions of a surgical nature. The Equipment Pause assures proper function and availability of the microscope, endoscope, cameras and recorders, guidance systems, special instruments, ultrasonic microdoppler, microdebrider, drills, and other adjunctive supplies (e.g., Avitene, cotton balls, nasal packs, and so on). The Closure Pause is dedicated to issues of immediate postoperative patient disposition, orders, and management.

CONCLUSIONS

Surgical complications are a considerable cause of death and disability worldwide. Checklists have been shown to be an effective tool for reducing preventable errors surrounding surgery and decreasing associated complications. Although general checklists are already in place in most institutions, a specific checklist for endonasal transsphenoidal anterior skull base surgery was developed to help safeguard patients, improve outcomes, and enhance teambuilding.

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Timothy R. Smith, M. Maher Hulou, Sandra C. Yan, David J. Cote, Brian V. Nahed, Maya A. Babu, Sunit Das, William B. Gormley, James T. Rutka, Edward R. Laws Jr. and Robert F. Heary

OBJECT

Recent studies have examined the impact of perceived medicolegal risk and compared how this perception impacts defensive practices within the US. To date, there have been no published data on the practice of defensive medicine among neurosurgeons in Canada.

METHODS

An online survey containing 44 questions was sent to 170 Canadian neurosurgeons and used to measure Canadian neurosurgeons’ perception of liability risk and their practice of defensive medicine. The survey included questions on the following domains: surgeon demographics, patient characteristics, type of physician practice, surgeon liability profile, policy coverage, defensive behaviors, and perception of the liability environment. Survey responses were analyzed and summarized using counts and percentages.

RESULTS

A total of 75 neurosurgeons completed the survey, achieving an overall response rate of 44.1%. Over one-third (36.5%) of Canadian neurosurgeons paid less than $5000 for insurance annually. The majority (87%) of Canadian neurosurgeons felt confident with their insurance coverage, and 60% reported that they rarely felt the need to practice defensive medicine. The majority of the respondents reported that the perceived medicolegal risk environment has no bearing on their preferred practice location. Only 1 in 5 respondent Canadian neurosurgeons (21.8%) reported viewing patients as a potential lawsuit. Only 4.9% of respondents would have selected a different career based on current medicolegal risk factors, and only 4.1% view the cost of annual malpractice insurance as a major burden.

CONCLUSIONS

Canadian neurosurgeons perceive their medicolegal risk environment as more favorable and their patients as less likely to sue than their counterparts in the US do. Overall, Canadian neurosurgeons engage in fewer defensive medical behaviors than previously reported in the US.

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Hasan A. Zaidi, Kenneth De Los Reyes, Garni Barkhoudarian, Zachary N. Litvack, Wenya Linda Bi, Jordina Rincon-Torroella, Srinivasan Mukundan Jr., Ian F. Dunn and Edward R. Laws Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic skull base surgery has become increasingly popular among the skull base surgery community, with improved illumination and angled visualization potentially improving tumor resection rates. Intraoperative MRI (iMRI) is used to detect residual disease during the course of the resection. This study is an investigation of the utility of 3-T iMRI in combination with transnasal endoscopy with regard to gross-total resection (GTR) of pituitary macroadenomas.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed all endoscopic transsphenoidal operations performed in the Advanced Multimodality Image Guided Operating (AMIGO) suite from November 2011 to December 2014. Inclusion criteria were patients harboring presumed pituitary macroadenomas with optic nerve or chiasmal compression and visual loss, operated on by a single surgeon.

RESULTS

Of the 27 patients who underwent transsphenoidal resection in the AMIGO suite, 20 patients met the inclusion criteria. The endoscope alone, without the use of iMRI, would have correctly predicted extent of resection in 13 (65%) of 20 cases. Gross-total resection was achieved in 12 patients (60%) prior to MRI. Intraoperative MRI helped convert 1 STR and 4 NTRs to GTRs, increasing the number of GTRs from 12 (60%) to 16 (80%).

CONCLUSIONS

Despite advances in visualization provided by the endoscope, the incidence of residual disease can potentially place the patient at risk for additional surgery. The authors found that iMRI can be useful in detecting unexpected residual tumor. The cost-effectiveness of this tool is yet to be determined.

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Ryan Brewster, Wenya Linda Bi, Timothy R. Smith, William B. Gormley, Ian F. Dunn and Edward R. Laws Jr.

Baseball maintains one of the highest impact injury rates in all athletics. A principal causative factor is the “beanball,” referring to a pitch thrown directly at a batter’s head. Frequent morbidities elicited demand for the development of protective gear development in the 20th century. In this setting, Dr. Walter Dandy was commissioned to design a “protective cap” in 1941. His invention became widely adopted by professional baseball and inspired subsequent generations of batting helmets. As a baseball aficionado since his youth, Walter Dandy identified a natural partnership between baseball and medical practice for the reduction of beaning-related brain injuries. This history further supports the unique position of neurosurgeons to leverage clinical insights, inform innovation, and expand service to society.

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Timothy R. Smith, M. Maher Hulou, Kevin T. Huang, Breno Nery, Samuel Miranda de Moura, David J. Cote and Edward R. Laws

OBJECT

The purpose of this study was to describe complications associated with the endonasal, transsphenoidal approach for the treatment of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)–positive staining tumors (Cushing's disease [CD] and silent corticotroph adenomas [SCAs]) performed by 1 surgeon at a high-volume academic medical center.

METHODS

Medical records from Brigham and Women's Hospital were retrospectively reviewed. Selected for study were 82 patients with CD who during April 2008–April 2014 had consecutively undergone transsphenoidal resection or who had subsequent pathological confirmation of ACTH-positive tumor staining. In addition to demographic, patient, tumor, and surgery characteristics, complications were evaluated. Complications of interest included syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion, diabetes insipidus (DI), CSF leakage, carotid artery injury, epistaxis, meningitis, and vision changes.

RESULTS

Of the 82 patients, 68 (82.9%) had CD and 14 (17.1%) had SCAs; 55 patients were female and 27 were male. Most common (n = 62 patients, 82.7%) were microadenomas, followed by macroadenomas (n = 13, 14.7%). A total of 31 (37.8%) patients underwent reoperation. Median follow-up time was 12.0 months (range 3–69 months). The most common diagnosis was ACTH-secreting (n = 68, 82.9%), followed by silent tumors/adenomas (n = 14, 17.1%). ACTH hyperplasia was found in 8 patients (9.8%). Of the 74 patients who had verified tumors, 12 (16.2%) had tumors with atypical features.

The overall (CD and SCA) rate of minor complications was 35.4%; the rate of major complications was 8.5% (n = 7). All permanent morbidity was associated with DI (n = 5, 6.1%). In 16 CD patients (23.5%), transient DI developed. Transient DI was more likely to develop in CD patients who had undergone a second operation (37.9%) than in those who had undergone a first operation only (12.8%, p < 0.05). Permanent DI developed in 4 CD patients (5.9%) and 1 SCA patient (7.1%). For 1 CD patient, intraoperative carotid artery injury required endovascular sacrifice of the injured artery, but the patient remained neurologically intact. For another CD patient, aseptic meningitis developed and was treated effectively with corticosteroids. One CD patient experienced major postoperative epistaxis requiring another operative procedure to achieve hemostasis. For 2 CD patients, development of sinus mucoceles was managed conservatively. For 1 SCA patient, an abdominal wound dehisced at the fat graft site. No patients experienced postoperative CSF leakage, visual impairment, or deep vein thrombosis.

CONCLUSIONS

Transsphenoidal surgery is the treatment of choice for patients with CD and other ACTH-positive staining tumors. Recent advances in endoscopic technology and increasing surgeon comfort with this technology are making transsphenoidal procedures safer, faster, and more effective. Serious complications are uncommon and can be managed successfully.

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Haley Gittleman, Quinn T. Ostrom, Paul D. Farah, Annie Ondracek, Yanwen Chen, Yingli Wolinsky, Carol Kruchko, Justin Singer, Varun R. Kshettry, Edward R. Laws, Andrew E. Sloan, Warren R. Selman and Jill S. Barnholtz-Sloan

Object

Pituitary tumors are abnormal growths that develop in the pituitary gland. The Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States (CBTRUS) contains the largest aggregation of population-based data on the incidence of primary CNS tumors in the US. These data were used to determine the incidence of tumors of the pituitary and associated trends between 2004 and 2009.

Methods

Using incidence data from 49 population-based state cancer registries, 2004–2009, age-adjusted incidence rates per 100,000 population for pituitary tumors with ICD-O-3 (International Classification of Diseases for Oncology, Third Edition) histology codes 8040, 8140, 8146, 8246, 8260, 8270, 8271, 8272, 8280, 8281, 8290, 8300, 8310, 8323, 9492 (site C75.1 only), and 9582 were calculated overall and by patient sex, race, Hispanic ethnicity, and age at diagnosis. Corresponding annual percent change (APC) scores and 95% confidence intervals were also calculated using Joinpoint to characterize trends in incidence rates over time. Diagnostic confirmation by subregion of the US was also examined.

Results

The overall annual incidence rate increased from 2.52 (95% CI 2.46–2.58) in 2004 to 3.13 (95% CI 3.07–3.20) in 2009. Associated time trend yielded an APC of 4.25% (95% CI 2.91%–5.61%). When stratifying by patient sex, the annual incidence rate increased from 2.42 (95% CI 2.33–2.50) to 2.94 (95% CI 2.85–3.03) in men and 2.70 (95% CI 2.62–2.79) to 3.40 (95% CI 3.31–3.49) in women, with APCs of 4.35% (95% CI 3.21%–5.51%) and 4.34% (95% CI 2.23%–6.49%), respectively. When stratifying by race, the annual incidence rate increased from 2.31 (95% CI 2.25–2.37) to 2.81 (95% CI 2.74–2.88) in whites, 3.99 (95% CI 3.77–4.23) to 5.31 (95% CI 5.06–5.56) in blacks, 1.77 (95% CI 1.26–2.42) to 2.52 (95% CI 1.96–3.19) in American Indians or Alaska Natives, and 1.86 (95% CI 1.62–2.13) to 2.03 (95% CI 1.80–2.28) in Asians or Pacific Islanders, with APCs of 3.91% (95% CI 2.88%–4.95%), 5.25% (95% CI 3.19%–7.36%), 5.31% (95% CI –0.11% to 11.03%), and 2.40% (95% CI –3.20% to 8.31%), respectively. When stratifying by Hispanic ethnicity, the annual incidence rate increased from 2.46 (95% CI 2.40–2.52) to 3.03 (95% CI 2.97–3.10) in non-Hispanics and 3.12 (95% CI 2.91–3.34) to 4.01 (95% CI 3.80–4.24) in Hispanics, with APCs of 4.15% (95% CI 2.67%–5.65%) and 5.01% (95% CI 4.42%–5.60%), respectively. When stratifying by age at diagnosis, the incidence of pituitary tumor was highest for those 65–74 years old and lowest for those 15–24 years old, with corresponding overall age-adjusted incidence rates of 6.39 (95% CI 6.24–6.54) and 1.56 (95% CI 1.51–1.61), respectively.

Conclusions

In this large patient cohort, the incidence of pituitary tumors reported between 2004 and 2009 was found to increase. Possible explanations for this increase include changes in documentation, changes in the diagnosis and registration of these tumors, improved diagnostics, improved data collection, increased awareness of pituitary diseases among physicians and the public, longer life expectancies, and/or an actual increase in the incidence of these tumors in the US population.