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Caroline Chung, Dheerendra Prasad, Michael Torrens, Ian Paddick, Patrick Hanssens, Douglas Kondziolka and David A. Jaffray

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Jonathan A. Forbes

OBJECTIVE

Active-duty neurosurgical coverage has been provided at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan since 2007. Early operative logs were reflective of a large number of surgical procedures performed to treat battlefield injuries. However, with maturation of the war effort, the number of operations for battlefield injuries has decreased with time. Consequently, procedures performed for elective neurosurgical humanitarian care (NHC) increased in number and complexity prior to closure of the Korean Hospital in 2015, which resulted in effective termination of NHC at Bagram. Monthly neurosurgical caseloads for deployed personnel have dropped precipitously since this time, renewing a debate as to whether the benefits of providing elective NHC in Afghanistan outweigh the costs of such a strategy. To date, there is a paucity of information in the literature discussing the overall context of such a determination.

METHODS

The author retrospectively reviewed his personal database of all patients who underwent neurosurgical procedures at Bagram during his deployment there from April 17 to October 29, 2014. Standardized clinical parameters had been recorded in the ABNS NeuroLog system. All cases of nonelective surgical care for battlefield injuries were identified and excluded. Records of all other procedures, which represented elective NHC delivered during this period, were accessed to extract salient clinical and radiological data.

RESULTS

During the 6-month deployment, 49 patients (29 male and 20 female, age range 18 months to 63 years) were treated by the author in elective NHC. Procedures were performed for spinal degenerative disease (n = 28), cranial tumors (n = 11), pediatric conditions (n = 6), Pott’s disease (n = 2), peripheral nerve impingement (n = 1), and adult hydrocephalus (n = 1). The duration of follow-up ranged from 3 to 23 weeks. Complications referable to surgery included asymptomatic, unilateral lumbar screw fracture detected 3 months postoperatively and treated with revision of hardware (n = 1); wound infection requiring cranial flap explantation and staged cranioplasty (n = 1); and unanticipated return to the operating room for resection of residual tumor in a patient with a solitary metastatic lesion involving the mesial temporal lobe/ambient cistern (n = 1). There were no instances of postoperative neurological decline.

CONCLUSIONS

Elective NHC can be safely and effectively implemented in the deployed setting. Benefits of a military strategy that supports humanitarian care include strengthening of the bond between the US/Afghan military communities and the local civilian population as well as maintenance of skills of the neurosurgical team during the sometimes-lengthy intervals between cases in which emergent neurosurgical care is provided for treatment of battlefield injuries.

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Myung Soo Youn, Jong Ki Shin, Tae Sik Goh, Seung Min Son and Jung Sub Lee

OBJECTIVE

Various minimally invasive techniques have been described for the decompression of lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS). However, few reports have described the results of endoscopic posterior decompression (EPD) with laminectomy performed under local anesthesia. This study aimed to evaluate the clinical and radiological outcomes of EPD performed under local anesthesia in patients with LSS and to compare the procedural outcomes in patients with and without preoperative spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

Fifty patients (28 female and 22 male) who underwent EPD under local anesthesia were included in this study. Patients were assessed before surgery and were followed up with regular outpatient visits (at 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months postoperatively). Clinical outcomes were evaluated using the visual analog scale (VAS), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and the 36-Item Short Form Survey (SF-36) outcome questionnaire. Radiological outcomes were assessed by measuring lumbar lordosis, disc-wedging angle, percentage of vertebral slippage, and disc height index on plain standing radiographs.

RESULTS

The VAS, ODI, and SF-36 scores were significantly improved at 1 month after surgery compared to the baseline mean values, and the improved scores were maintained over the 2-year follow-up period. Radiological progression was found in 2 patients during the follow-up period. Patients with and without preoperative spondylolisthesis had no significant differences in their clinical and radiological outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

EPD performed under local anesthesia is effective for LSS treatment. Similar favorable outcomes can be obtained in patients with and without preoperative spondylolisthesis using this approach.

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Satoshi Suehiro, Takanori Ohnishi, Daisuke Yamashita, Shohei Kohno, Akihiro Inoue, Masahiro Nishikawa, Shiro Ohue, Junya Tanaka and Takeharu Kunieda

OBJECTIVE

High invasiveness of malignant gliomas frequently causes early local recurrence of the tumor, resulting in extremely poor outcome. To control such recurrence, novel therapies targeted toward infiltrating glioma cells around the tumor border are required. Here, the authors investigated the antitumor activity of sonodynamic therapy (SDT) combined with a sonosensitizer, 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA), on malignant gliomas to explore the possibility for clinical use of 5-ALA–mediated SDT (5-ALA-SDT).

METHODS

In vitro cytotoxicity of 5-ALA-SDT was evaluated in U87 and U251 glioma cells and in U251Oct-3/4 glioma stemlike cells. Treatment-related apoptosis was analyzed using flow cytometry and TUNEL staining. Intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) were measured and the role of ROS in treatment-related cytotoxicity was examined by analysis of the effect of pretreatment with the radical scavenger edaravone. Effects of 5-ALA-SDT with high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) on tumor growth, survival of glioma-transplanted mice, and histological features of the mouse brains were investigated.

RESULTS

The 5-ALA-SDT inhibited cell growth and changed cell morphology, inducing cell shrinkage, vacuolization, and swelling. Flow cytometric analysis and TUNEL staining indicated that 5-ALA-SDT induced apoptotic cell death in all gliomas. The 5-ALA-SDT generated significantly higher ROS than in the control group, and inhibition of ROS generation by edaravone completely eliminated the cytotoxic effects of 5-ALA-SDT. In the in vivo study, 5-ALA-SDT with HIFU greatly prolonged survival of the tumor-bearing mice compared with that of the control group (p < 0.05). Histologically, 5-ALA-SDT produced mainly necrosis of the tumor tissue in the focus area and induced apoptosis of the tumor cells in the perifocus area around the target of the HIFU-irradiated field. The proliferative activity of the entire tumor was markedly decreased. Normal brain tissues around the ultrasonic irradiation field of HIFU remained intact.

CONCLUSIONS

The 5-ALA-SDT was cytotoxic toward malignant gliomas. Generation of ROS by the SDT was thought to promote apoptosis of glioma cells. The 5-ALA-SDT with HIFU induced tumor necrosis in the focus area and apoptosis in the perifocus area of the HIFU-irradiated field, whereas the surrounding brain tissue remained normal, resulting in longer survival of the HIFU-treated mice compared with that of untreated mice. These results suggest that 5-ALA-SDT with HIFU may present a less invasive and tumor-specific therapy, not only for a tumor mass but also for infiltrating tumor cells in malignant gliomas.

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Leland Rogers, Peixin Zhang, Michael A. Vogelbaum, Minesh P. Mehta and on behalf of the authors

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Amr M. N. El-Shehaby, Wael A. Reda, Khaled M. Abdel Karim, Ahmed M. Nabeel, Reem M. Emad Eldin and Sameh R. Tawadros

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to assess hearing function after Gamma Knife treatment of cerebellopontine angle (CPA) meningiomas and assess factors affecting hearing outcome. Additionally, the authors opted to compare these results with those after Gamma Knife treatment of vestibular schwannomas (VSs), because most of the information on hearing outcome after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) comes from reports on VS treatment. Hearing preservation, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, has never been separately addressed in studies involving Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) for CPA meningiomas.

METHODS

This study included all patients who underwent a single session of GKRS between 2002 and 2014. The patients were divided into two groups. Group A included 66 patients with CPA meningiomas with serviceable hearing and tumor extension into the region centered on the internal auditory meatus. Group B included 144 patients with VSs with serviceable hearing. All patients had serviceable hearing before treatment (Gardner-Robertson [GR] Grades I and II). The median prescription dose was 12 Gy (range 10–12 Gy) in both groups. The median follow-up of groups A and B was 42 months (range 6–149 months) and 49 months (range 6–149 months), respectively.

RESULTS

At the last follow-up, the tumor control rate was 97% and 94% in groups A and B, respectively. Hearing preservation was defined as maintained serviceable hearing according to GR hearing score. The hearing preservation rate was 98% and 66% and the 7-year actuarial serviceable hearing preservation rate was 75% and 56%, respectively, between both groups. In group A, the median maximum cochlear dose in the patients with stable and worsened hearing grade was 6.3 Gy and 5.5 Gy, respectively. In group B, factors affecting hearing preservation were cochlear dose ≤ 7 Gy, follow-up duration, and tumor control. The only determinant of hearing preservation between both groups was tumor type.

CONCLUSIONS

GKRS for CPA meningiomas provides excellent hearing preservation in addition to high tumor control rate. Hearing outcome is better with CPA meningiomas than with VSs. Further long-term prospective studies on determinants of hearing outcome after GKRS for CPA meningiomas should be conducted.

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Ji Woong Oh, Kyoung Su Sung, Ju Hyung Moon, Eui Hyun Kim, Won Seok Chang, Hyun Ho Jung, Jin Woo Chang, Yong Gou Park, Sun Ho Kim and Jong Hee Chang

OBJECTIVE

This study investigated long-term follow-up data on the combined pituitary function test (CPFT) in patients who had undergone transsphenoidal surgery (TSS) for nonfunctioning pituitary adenoma (NFPA) to determine the clinical parameters indicative of hypopituitarism following postoperative Gamma Knife surgery (GKS).

METHODS

Between 2001 and 2015, a total of 971 NFPA patients underwent TSS, and 76 of them (7.8%) underwent postoperative GKS. All 76 patients were evaluated with a CPFT before and after GKS. The hormonal states were analyzed based on the following parameters: relevant factors before GKS (age, sex, extent of resection, pre-GKS hormonal states, time interval between TSS and GKS), GKS-related factors (tumor volume; radiation dose to tumor, pituitary stalk, and normal gland; distance between tumor and stalk), and clinical outcomes (tumor control rate, changes in hormonal states, need for hormone-related medication due to hormonal changes).

RESULTS

Of the 971 NFPA patients, 797 had gross-total resection (GTR) and 174 had subtotal resection (STR). Twenty-five GTR patients (3.1%) and 51 STR patients (29.3%) underwent GKS. The average follow-up period after GKS was 53.5 ± 35.5 months, and the tumor control rate was 96%. Of the 76 patients who underwent GKS, 23 were excluded due to pre-GKS panhypopituitarism (22) or loss to follow-up (1). Hypopituitarism developed in 13 (24.5%) of the remaining 53 patients after GKS. A higher incidence of post-GKS hypopituitarism occurred in the patients with normal pre-GKS hormonal states (41.7%, 10/24) than in the patients with abnormal pre-GKS hormonal states (10.3%, 3/29; p = 0.024). Target tumor volume (4.7 ± 3.9 cm3), distance between tumor and pituitary stalk (2.0 ± 2.2 mm), stalk dose (cutoffs: mean dose 7.56 Gy, maximal dose 12.3 Gy), and normal gland dose (cutoffs: maximal dose 13.9 Gy, minimal dose 5.25 Gy) were factors predictive of post-GKS hypopituitarism (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

This study analyzed the long-term follow-up CPFT data on hormonal changes in NFPA patients who underwent GKS after TSS. The authors propose a cutoff value for the radiation dose to the pituitary stalk and normal gland for the prevention of post-GKS hypopituitarism.

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Richard Menger, Benjamin F. Mundell, J. Will Robbins, Peter Letarte, Randy Bell and in conjunction with Council of State Neurosurgical Societies and AANS/CNS Joint Committee of Military Neurosurgeons

OBJECTIVE

Papers from 2002 to 2017 have highlighted consistent unique socioeconomic challenges and opportunities facing military neurosurgeons. Here, the authors focus on the reserve military neurosurgeon who carries the dual mission of both civilian and military responsibilities.

METHODS

Survey solicitation of current active duty and reserve military neurosurgeons was performed in conjunction with the AANS/CNS Joint Committee of Military Neurosurgeons and the Council of State Neurosurgical Societies. Demographic, qualitative, and quantitative data points were compared between reserve and active duty military neurosurgeons. Civilian neurosurgical provider data were taken from the 2016 NERVES (Neurosurgery Executives Resource Value and Education Society) Socio-Economic Survey. Economic modeling was done to forecast the impact of deployment or mobilization on the reserve neurosurgeon, neurosurgery practice, and the community.

RESULTS

Seventy-five percent (12/16) of current reserve neurosurgeons reported that they are satisfied with their military service. Reserve neurosurgeons make significant contributions to the military’s neurosurgical capabilities, with 75% (12/16) having been deployed during their career. No statistically significant demographic differences were found between those serving on active duty and those in the reserve service. However, those who served in the reserves were more likely to desire opportunities for improvement in the military workflow requirements compared with their active duty counterparts (p = 0.04); 92.9% (13/14) of current reserve neurosurgeons desired more flexible military drill programs specific to the needs of practicing physicians. The risk of reserve deployment is also borne by the practices, hospitals, and communities in which the neurosurgeon serves in civilian practice. This can result in fewer new patient encounters, decreased collections, decreased work relative value unit generation, increased operating costs per neurosurgeon, and intangible limitations on practice development. However, through modeling, the authors have illustrated that reserve physicians joining a larger group practice can significantly mitigate this risk. What remains astonishing is that 91.7% of those reserve neurosurgeons who were deployed noted the experience to be rewarding despite seeing a 20% reduction in income, on average, during the fiscal year of a 6-month deployment.

CONCLUSIONS

Reserve neurosurgeons are satisfied with their military service while making substantial contributions to the military’s neurosurgical capabilities, with the overwhelming majority of current military reservists having been deployed or mobilized during their reserve commitments. Through the authors’ modeling, the impact of deployment on the military neurosurgeon, neurosurgeon’s practice, and the local community can be significantly mitigated by a larger practice environment.