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James T. Rutka

With this landmark issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery (JNS), we celebrate the 75th anniversary of continuous publication of articles in neurosurgery. It is likely not a coincidence that the diamond anniversary of the JNS coincides precisely with the 150th anniversary of the birth of Harvey Cushing. It is possible that some events in life are inextricably and cosmically tied together, such as the birth of the founding father of our specialty, the society named after him that ultimately became the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), and the journal of this organization—the JNS.

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James T. Rutka

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Joao Paulo Almeida, Carlos Velásquez, Claire Karekezi, Miguel Marigil, Mojgan Hodaie, James T. Rutka and Mark Bernstein

OBJECTIVE

International collaborations between high-income (HICs) and low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have been developed as an attempt to reduce the inequalities in surgical care around the world. In this paper the authors review different models for international surgical education and describe projects developed by the Division of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto in this field.

METHODS

The authors conducted a review of models of international surgical education reported in the literature in the last 15 years. Previous publications on global neurosurgery reported by the Division of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto were reviewed to exemplify the applications and challenges of international surgical collaborations.

RESULTS

The most common models for international surgical education and collaboration include international surgical missions, long-term international partnerships, fellowship training models, and online surgical education. Development of such collaborations involves different challenges, including limited time availability, scarce funding/resources, sociocultural barriers, ethical challenges, and lack of organizational support. Of note, evaluation of outcomes of international surgical projects remains limited, and the development and application of assessment tools, such as the recently proposed Framework for the Assessment of International Surgical Success (FAIRNeSS), is encouraged.

CONCLUSIONS

Actions to reduce inequality in surgical care should be implemented around the world. Different models can be used for bilateral exchange of knowledge and improvement of surgical care delivery in regions where there is poor access to surgical care. Implementation of global neurosurgery initiatives faces multiple limitations that can be ameliorated if systematic changes occur, such as the development of academic positions in global surgery, careful selection of participant centers, governmental and nongovernmental financial support, and routine application of outcome evaluation for international surgical collaborations.

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Taylor J. Abel, Emma Losito, George M. Ibrahim, Eishi Asano and James T. Rutka

Epileptic spasms (ES) are a common manifestation of intractable epilepsy in early life and can lead to devastating neurodevelopmental consequences. Epilepsy surgery for ES is challenging because of inherent difficulties in localizing the epileptogenic zone in affected infants and children. However, recent clinical series of resective neurosurgery for ES suggest that not only is surgery a viable option for appropriately selected patients, but postoperative seizure outcomes can be similar to those achieved in other types of focal epilepsy. Increased awareness of ES as a potentially focal epilepsy, along with advances in neuroimaging and invasive monitoring technologies, have led to the ability to surgically treat many patients with ES who were previously not considered surgical candidates. In this study, the authors review the current state of epilepsy surgery for ES. Specifically, they address how advances in neuroimaging and invasive monitoring have facilitated patient selection, presurgical evaluation, and ultimately, resection planning.

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Aviva Abosch and James T. Rutka

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Osama Muthaffar, Klajdi Puka, Luc Rubinger, Cristina Go, O. Carter Snead III, James T. Rutka and Elysa Widjaja

OBJECTIVE

Although epilepsy surgery is an effective treatment option, at least 20%–40% of patients can continue to experience uncontrolled seizures resulting from incomplete resection of the lesion, epileptogenic zone, or secondary epileptogenesis. Reoperation could eliminate or improve seizures. Authors of this study evaluated outcomes following reoperation in a pediatric population.

METHODS

A retrospective single-center analysis of all patients who had undergone resective epilepsy surgery in the period from 2001 to 2013 was performed. After excluding children who had repeat hemispherotomy, there were 24 children who had undergone a second surgery and 2 children who had undergone a third surgery. All patients underwent MRI and video electroencephalography (VEEG) and 21 underwent magnetoencephalography (MEG) prior to reoperation.

RESULTS

The mean age at the first and second surgery was 7.66 (SD 4.11) and 10.67 (SD 4.02) years, respectively. The time between operations ranged from 0.03 to 9 years. At reoperation, 8 patients underwent extended cortical resection; 8, lobectomy; 5, lesionectomy; and 3, functional hemispherotomy. One year after reoperation, 58% of the children were completely seizure free (International League Against Epilepsy [ILAE] Class 1) and 75% had a reduction in seizures (ILAE Classes 1–4). Patients with MEG clustered dipoles were more likely to be seizure free than to have persistent seizures (71% vs 40%, p = 0.08).

CONCLUSIONS

Reoperation in children with recurrent seizures after the first epilepsy surgery could result in favorable seizure outcomes. Those with residual lesion after the first surgery should undergo complete resection of the lesion to improve seizure outcome. In addition to MRI and VEEG, MEG should be considered as part of the reevaluation prior to reoperation.

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Douglas Kondziolka and James T. Rutka