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Katie L. Krause, James T. Obayashi, Kelly J. Bridges, Ahmed M. Raslan and Khoi D. Than

OBJECTIVE

Common interbody graft options for anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) include structural allograft and polyetheretherketone (PEEK). PEEK has gained popularity due to its radiolucency and its elastic modulus, which is similar to that of bone. The authors sought to compare the rates of pseudarthrosis, a lack of solid bone growth across the disc space, and the need for revision surgery with the use of grafts made of allogenic bone versus PEEK.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed 127 cases in which patients had undergone a 1-level ACDF followed by at least 1 year of radiographic follow-up. Data on age, sex, body mass index, tobacco use, pseudarthrosis, and the reoperation rate for pseudarthrosis were collected. These data were analyzed by performing a Pearson’s chi-square test.

RESULTS

Of 127 patients, 56 had received PEEK implants and 71 had received allografts. Forty-six of the PEEK implants (82%) were stand-alone devices. There were no significant differences between the 2 treatment groups with respect to patient age, sex, or body mass index. Twenty-nine (52%) of 56 patients with PEEK implants demonstrated radiographic evidence of pseudarthrosis, compared to 7 (10%) of 71 patients with structural allografts (p < 0.001, OR 9.82; 95% CI 3.836–25.139). Seven patients with PEEK implants required reoperation for pseudarthrosis, compared to 1 patient with an allograft (p = 0.01, OR 10.00; 95% CI 1.192–83.884). There was no significant difference in tobacco use between the PEEK and allograft groups (p = 0.586).

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this study demonstrate that the use of PEEK devices in 1-level ACDF is associated with a significantly higher rate of radiographically demonstrated pseudarthrosis and need for revision surgery compared with the use of allografts. Surgeons should be aware of this when deciding on interbody graft options, and reimbursement policies should reflect these discrepancies.

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Jacob K. Greenberg, Donna B. Jeffe, Christopher R. Carpenter, Yan Yan, Jose A. Pineda, Angela Lumba-Brown, Martin S. Keller, Daniel Berger, Robert J. Bollo, Vijay M. Ravindra, Robert P. Naftel, Michael C. Dewan, Manish N. Shah, Erin C. Burns, Brent R. O’Neill, Todd C. Hankinson, William E. Whitehead, P. David Adelson, Mandeep S. Tamber, Patrick J. McDonald, Edward S. Ahn, William Titsworth, Alina N. West, Ross C. Brownson and David D. Limbrick Jr.

OBJECTIVE

There remains uncertainty regarding the appropriate level of care and need for repeating neuroimaging among children with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) complicated by intracranial injury (ICI). This study’s objective was to investigate physician practice patterns and decision-making processes for these patients in order to identify knowledge gaps and highlight avenues for future investigation.

METHODS

The authors surveyed residents, fellows, and attending physicians from the following pediatric specialties: emergency medicine; general surgery; neurosurgery; and critical care. Participants came from 10 institutions in the United States and an email list maintained by the Canadian Neurosurgical Society. The survey asked respondents to indicate management preferences for and experiences with children with mTBI complicated by ICI, focusing on an exemplar clinical vignette of a 7-year-old girl with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 15 and a 5-mm subdural hematoma without midline shift after a fall down stairs.

RESULTS

The response rate was 52% (n = 536). Overall, 326 (61%) respondents indicated they would recommend ICU admission for the child in the vignette. However, only 62 (12%) agreed/strongly agreed that this child was at high risk of neurological decline. Half of respondents (45%; n = 243) indicated they would order a planned follow-up CT (29%; n = 155) or MRI scan (19%; n = 102), though only 64 (12%) agreed/strongly agreed that repeat neuroimaging would influence their management. Common factors that increased the likelihood of ICU admission included presence of a focal neurological deficit (95%; n = 508 endorsed), midline shift (90%; n = 480) or an epidural hematoma (88%; n = 471). However, 42% (n = 225) indicated they would admit all children with mTBI and ICI to the ICU. Notably, 27% (n = 143) of respondents indicated they had seen one or more children with mTBI and intracranial hemorrhage demonstrate a rapid neurological decline when admitted to a general ward in the last year, and 13% (n = 71) had witnessed this outcome at least twice in the past year.

CONCLUSIONS

Many physicians endorse ICU admission and repeat neuroimaging for pediatric mTBI with ICI, despite uncertainty regarding the clinical utility of those decisions. These results, combined with evidence that existing practice may provide insufficient monitoring to some high-risk children, emphasize the need for validated decision tools to aid the management of these patients.

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Lucas Alverne F. Albuquerque, Fátima C. Pessoa, Gabryella S. Diógenes, Felipe S. Borges and Stélio C. Araújo Filho

Cavernous angiomas constitute 5%–10% of cerebrovascular malformations and may cause seizure and neurological deficits from bleeding.4 The authors present a case of a 44-year-old man with a 3.5-year history of epilepsy without complete seizure control despite anticonvulsants. Brain MRI showed a 2.8 cm cavernous angioma at the left pars opercularis, also known as the Broca’s area.3 The patient underwent an awake craniotomy for intraoperative cortical–subcortical language and sensory-motor mapping for a complete resection of the cavernous angioma and the hemosiderin rim.1–6 The procedure was uneventful, and the patient evolved seizure free and with no deficits.

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

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Eva Pamias-Portalatin, Ivan Segura Duran, James Ebot, Elird Bojaxhi, William Tatum and Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

Cavernomas make up approximately 8%–15% of all intracranial vascular malformations, and the most common presenting symptom is seizures. Complete resection of the cavernoma and removal of the surrounding gliotic core presents a cure but poses a challenge if an eloquent brain is involved or with incomplete resection of the epileptogenic foci. The authors present the case of a 53-year-old man with intractable seizures from a left posterior temporal lobe cavernoma who underwent an awake craniotomy with intraoperative seizure monitoring via electrocorticography.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/vxaikozg2g4.

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Rafael T. M. Leal and Jose A. Landeiro

Awake craniotomy is a method usually used for brain tumors near or within language and/or sensorimotor areas. Preservation of these important neurological functions, however, may not be enough for a normal life. The authors present a case of a 45-year-old woman with an inferior parietal lobule low-grade glioma who underwent an awake craniotomy with sensorimotor and spatial cognition mapping.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/HMA_pZYg3Ms.

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Thiébaud Picart and Hugues Duffau

A 30-year-old right-handed female medical doctor experienced generalized seizures. MRI showed a left operculo-insular low-grade glioma. Awake resection was proposed. During the cortical mapping, counting and naming task combined with right upper limb movement enabled the identification of the ventral premotor cortex and negative motors areas. The so-called Broca’s area was not eloquent. Subpial dissection was performed by avoiding coagulation until the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus and the junction between the output projection fibers and the anterior part of the superior longitudinal fasciculus III were reached. The patient resumed a normal familial and socio-professional life despite the resection of Broca’s area.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/OALk0tvctQw.

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Ashish H. Shah, Ernest Barthélemy, Yudy Lafortune, Joanna Gernsback, Ariel Henry, Barth Green and John Ragheb

Given Haiti’s longstanding socioeconomic burden and recent environmental and epidemiological catastrophes, the capacity for neurosurgery within Haiti has been limited, and outcomes for patients with neurosurgical conditions have remained poor. With few formally trained neurosurgeons (4) in a country of 10.5 million inhabitants, there is a significant need for the development of formal structured neurosurgical training. To mitigate the lack of neurosurgical care within Haiti, the authors established the first neurosurgical residency program within the country by creating an integrated model that uniquely fortifies existing Haitian neurosurgery with government sponsorship (Haitian Ministry of Health and National Medical School) and continual foreign support. By incorporating web-based learning modules, online assessments, teleconferences, and visiting professorships, the residency aims to train neurosurgeons over the course of 3–5 years to meet the healthcare needs of the nation. Although in its infancy, this model aims to facilitate neurosurgical capacity building by ultimately creating a self-sustaining residency program.

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David Kitya, Maria Punchak, Jihad Abdelgadir, Oscar Obiga, Derek Harborne and Michael M. Haglund

OBJECTIVE

Causes, clinical presentation, management, and outcomes of chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) in low- and middle-income countries are not well characterized in the literature. Knowledge regarding these factors would be beneficial in the development and implementation of effective preventive and management measures for affected patients. The authors conducted a study to gain a better understanding of these factors in a low-income setting.

METHODS

This prospective study was performed at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital (MRRH) in Uganda between January 2014 and June 2017. Patients of any age who presented and were diagnosed with CSDH during the aforementioned time period were included in the study. Variables were collected from patients’ files at discharge and follow-up clinic visits. The primary outcome of interest was death. Secondary outcomes of interest included discharge Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score, ICU admission, wound infection, and CSDH recurrence.

RESULTS

Two hundred five patients, the majority of whom were male (147 [72.8%]), were enrolled in the study. The mean patient age was 60.2 years (SD 17.7). Most CSDHs occurred as a result of motor vehicle collisions (MVCs) and falls, 35.6% (73/205) and 24.9% (51/205), respectively. The sex ratio and mean age varied depending on the mechanism of injury. Headache was the most common presenting symptom (89.6%, 173/193), whereas seizures were uncommon (11.5%, 23/200). Presenting symptoms differed by age. A total of 202 patients underwent surgical intervention with burr holes and drainage, and 22.8% (46) were admitted to the ICU. Two patients suffered a recurrence, 5 developed a postoperative wound infection, and 18 died. Admission GCS score was a significant predictor of the discharge GCS score (p = 0.004), ICU admission (p < 0.001), and death (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Trauma from an MVC is the commonest cause of CSDH among the young. For the elderly, falling is common, but the majority have CSDH with no known cause. Although the clinical presentation is broad, there are several pronounced differences based on age. Burr hole surgery plus drainage is a safe and reliable intervention. A low preoperative GCS score is a risk factor for ICU admission and death.

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Carolyn Quinsey, Jessica Eaton, Weston Northam, Matt Gilleskie, Anthony Charles and Eldad Hadar

Global health research can transform clinical and surgical practice worldwide. Partnerships between US academic centers and hospitals in low- and middle-income counties can improve clinical care at the host institution hospital and give the visiting institution access to a large volume of valuable research data. Recognizing the value of these partnerships, the University of North Carolina (UNC) formed a partnership with Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Lilongwe, Malawi.

The Department of Neurosurgery joined the partnership with KCH and designed a Head Trauma Surveillance Registry. The success of this registry depended on the development of methods to accurately collect head injury data at KCH. Since medical record documentation is often unreliable in this setting, data collection teams were implemented to capture data from head trauma patients on a 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week basis. As data collection improved, pilot groups tested methods to collect new variables and the registry expanded. UNC provided onsite and remote oversight to strengthen the accuracy of the data.

Data accuracy still remains a hurdle in global research. Data collection teams, oversight from UNC, pilot group testing, and meaningful collaboration with local physicians improved the accuracy of the head trauma registry. Overall, these methods helped create a more accurate epidemiological and outcomes-centered analysis of brain injury patients at KCH to date.