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Mohamad Bydon, Anshit Goyal, Aaron Biedermann, Allie J. Canoy Illies, Travis Paul, Abdul Karim Ghaith, Bernard Bendok, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, Robert J. Spinner, and Fredric B. Meyer

In an era when healthcare “value” remains a much-emphasized concept, measuring and reporting the quality of neurosurgical care and costs remains a challenge for large multisite health systems. Ensuring cohesion in outcomes across multiple sites is important to the development of a holistic competitive marketing strategy that seeks to promote “brand” performance characterized by a superior quality of patient care. This requires mechanisms for data collection and development of a single uniform outcomes measurement system site wide. Operationalizing a true multidisciplinary effort in this space requires intersection of a vast array of information technology and administrative resources along with the neurosurgeons who provide subject-matter expertise relevant to patient care. To measure neurosurgical quality and safety as well as improve payor contract negotiations, a practice analytics dashboard was created to allow summary visualization of operational indicators such as case volumes, quality outcomes, and relative value units and financial indicators such as total hospital costs and charges in order to provide a comprehensive overview of the “value” of surgical care. The current version of the dashboard summarizes these metrics by site, surgeon, and procedure for nearly 30,000 neurosurgical procedures that have been logged into the Mayo Clinic Enterprise Neurosurgery Registry since transition to the Epic electronic health record (EHR) system. In this article, the authors sought to review their experience in launching this EHR-linked data-driven neurosurgical practice initiative across a large, national multisite academic medical center.

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Robert J. Spinner, Holly S. Gilmer, and Gregory R. Trost

If a single picture is worth a thousand words, then a video, by logical extension, would be priceless. This edition showcases peripheral nerve surgery in all its grandeur and preserves it for posterity. Classic and novel surgical techniques are shown related to tumor biopsy or resection; nerve decompression for entrapment; and nerve reconstruction with direct repair or nerve transfer. Akin to a nautical chart filled with detailed maps for sailors, this Neurosurgical Focus Video Atlas provides navigational tools for neurosurgeons. The shared underlying message is that a sound knowledge of anatomy can lead to innovation (i.e., creative approaches or solutions) and excellence (i.e., improved patient outcomes).

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Jonathan J. Stone, Megan C. Kaszuba, and Robert J. Spinner

Patients who present with a history of cancer and the new onset of lumbosacral or peripheral neuropathy should be evaluated for the potential of metastasis. Targeted fascicular biopsy can be useful to diagnose atypical lesions within peripheral nerves in patients with major or progressive neurological deficits. In this video, the authors demonstrate the technique of targeted fascicular biopsy of the sciatic nerve in a 63-year-old man with a history of prostate cancer.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/PTOX9XxNBDU.

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Mark A. Mahan, Wilson Z. Ray, Lynda J. S. Yang, and Robert J. Spinner

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Thomas J. Wilson, Marie-Noëlle Hébert-Blouin, Naveen S. Murthy, Joaquín J. García, Kimberly K. Amrami, and Robert J. Spinner

OBJECTIVE

The authors have observed that a subset of patients referred for evaluation of peroneal neuropathy with “negative” findings on MRI of the knee have subtle evidence of a peroneal intraneural ganglion cyst on subsequent closer inspection. The objective of this study was to introduce the nearly invisible peroneal intraneural ganglion cyst and provide illustrative cases. The authors further wanted to identify clues to the presence of a nearly invisible cyst.

METHODS

Illustrative cases demonstrating nearly invisible peroneal intraneural ganglion cysts were retrospectively reviewed and are presented. Case history and physical examination, imaging, and intraoperative findings were reviewed for each case. The outcomes of interest were the size and configuration of peroneal intraneural ganglion cysts over time, relative to various interventions that were performed, and in relation to physical examination and electrodiagnostic findings.

RESULTS

The authors present a series of cases that highlight the dynamic nature of peroneal intraneural ganglion cysts and introduce the nearly invisible cyst as a new and emerging part of the spectrum. The cases demonstrate changes in size and morphology over time of both the intraneural and extraneural compartments of these cysts. Despite “negative” MR imaging findings, nearly invisible cysts can be identified in a subset of patients.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors demonstrate here that peroneal intraneural ganglion cysts ride a roller coaster of change in both size and morphology over time, and they describe the nearly invisible cyst as one end of the spectrum. They identified clues to the presence of a nearly invisible cyst, including deep peroneal predominant symptoms, fluctuating symptoms, denervation changes in the tibialis anterior muscle, and abnormalities of the superior tibiofibular joint, and they correlate the subtle imaging findings to the internal fascicular topography of the common peroneal nerve. The description of the nearly invisible cyst may allow for increased recognition of this pathological entity that occurs with a spectrum of findings.

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Pierre Laumonerie, Stepan Capek, Kimberly K. Amrami, P. James B. Dyck, and Robert J. Spinner

OBJECTIVE

Nerve biopsy is useful in the management of neuromuscular disorders and is commonly performed in distal, noncritical cutaneous nerves. In general, these procedures are diagnostic in only 20%–50%. In selected cases in which preoperative evaluation points toward a more localized process, targeted biopsy would likely improve diagnostic yield. The authors report their experience with targeted fascicular biopsy of the brachial plexus and provide a description of the operative technique.

METHODS

All cases of targeted biopsy of the brachial plexus biopsy performed between 2003 and 2015 were reviewed. Targeted nerve biopsy was performed using a supraclavicular, infraclavicular, or proximal medial arm approach. Demographic data and clinical presentation as well as the details of the procedure, adverse events (temporary or permanent), and final pathological findings were recorded.

RESULTS

Brachial plexus biopsy was performed in 74 patients (47 women and 27 men). The patients' mean age was 57.7 years. All patients had abnormal findings on physical examination, electrodiagnostic studies, and MRI. The overall diagnostic yield of biopsy was 74.3% (n = 55). The most common diagnoses included inflammatory demyelination (19), breast carcinoma (17), neurolymphomatosis (8), and perineurioma (7). There was a 19% complication rate; most of the complications were minor or transient, but 4 patients (5.4%) had increased numbness and 3 (4.0%) had additional weakness following biopsy.

CONCLUSIONS

Targeted fascicular biopsy of the brachial plexus is an effective diagnostic procedure, and in highly selected cases should be considered as the initial procedure over nontargeted, distal cutaneous nerve biopsy. Using MRI to guide the location of a fascicular biopsy, the authors found this technique to produce a higher diagnostic yield than historical norms as well as providing justification for definitive treatment.

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Carlos E. Restrepo, Kimberly K. Amrami, Benjamin M. Howe, P. James B. Dyck, Michelle L. Mauermann, and Robert J. Spinner

Intraneural perineurioma is a rare, benign slow-growing lesion arising from the perineurial cells that surrounds the peripheral nerve fibers. Typically it presents during childhood and young adulthood as a motor mononeuropathy. MRI plays an essential role in the diagnosis and localization of the lesion, which appears as a fusiform enlargement of the nerve fascicles that enhances intensely with gadolinium. Despite the typical clinical and radiological features, intraneural perineurioma remains largely underdiagnosed because of the lack of familiarity with this entity, but also as a result of technical limitations with conventional MRI that is typically performed as a screening test over a large field of view and without contrast sequences. The purpose of this article is to present the pitfalls and pearls learned from years of experience in the diagnosis and management of this relatively rare condition.

Clinical suspicion and detailed neurological examination followed by high-quality electrophysiological studies (EPS) must lead to an adequate preimaging localization of the lesion and narrowing of the imaging area. The use of high-resolution (3-T) MRI combined with gadolinium administration will allow adequate visualization of the internal anatomy of the nerve and help in differentiating other causes of neuropathy. In cases where the lesion is not recognized but clinical suspicion is high, possible errors must be assessed, including the EPS localization, area of imaging, MRI resolution, and slice thickness.

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Chandan G. Reddy, Kimberly K. Amrami, Benjamin M. Howe, and Robert J. Spinner

OBJECT

Knee dislocations are often accompanied by stretch injuries to the common peroneal nerve (CPN). A small subset of these injuries also affect the tibial nerve. The mechanism of this combined pattern could be a single longitudinal stretch injury of the CPN extending to the sciatic bifurcation (and tibial division) or separate injuries of both the CPN and tibial nerve, either at the level of the tibiofemoral joint or distally at the soleal sling and fibular neck. The authors reviewed cases involving patients with knee dislocations with CPN and tibial nerve injuries to determine the localization of the combined injury and correlation between degree of MRI appearance and clinical severity of nerve injury.

METHODS

Three groups of cases were reviewed. Group 1 consisted of knee dislocations with clinical evidence of nerve injury (n = 28, including 19 cases of complete CPN injury); Group 2 consisted of knee dislocations without clinical evidence of nerve injury (n = 19); and Group 3 consisted of cases of minor knee trauma but without knee dislocation (n = 14). All patients had an MRI study of the knee performed within 3 months of injury. MRI appearance of tibial and common peroneal nerve injury was scored by 2 independent radiologists in 3 zones (Zone I, sciatic bifurcation; Zone II, knee joint; and Zone III, soleal sling and fibular neck) on a severity scale of 1–4. Injury signal was scored as diffuse or focal for each nerve in each of the 3 zones. A clinical score was also calculated based on Medical Research Council scores for strength in the tibial and peroneal nerve distributions, combined with electrophysiological data, when available, and correlated with the MRI injury score.

RESULTS

Nearly all of the nerve segments visualized in Groups 1 and 2 demonstrated some degree of injury on MRI (95%), compared with 12% of nerve segments in Group 3. MRI nerve injury scores were significantly more severe in Group 1 relative to Group 2 (2.06 vs 1.24, p < 0.001) and Group 2 relative to Group 3 (1.24 vs 0.13, p < 0.001). In both groups of patients with knee dislocations (Groups 1 and 2), the MRI nerve injury score was significantly higher for CPN than tibial nerve (2.72 vs 1.40 for Group 1, p < 0.001; 1.39 vs 1.09 for Group 2, p < 0.05). The clinical injury score had a significantly strong correlation with the MRI injury score for the CPN (r = 0.75, p < 0.001), but not for the tibial nerve (r = 0.07, p = 0.83).

CONCLUSIONS

MRI is highly sensitive in detecting subclinical nerve injury. In knee dislocation, clinical tibial nerve injury is always associated with simultaneous CPN injury, but tibial nerve function is never worse than peroneal nerve function. The point of maximum injury can occur in any of 3 zones.

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Kimberly K. Amrami, Michel Kliot, Martijn J. A. Malessy, and Robert J. Spinner