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Vincent Dodson, Neil Majmundar, Vanessa Swantic and Rachid Assina

OBJECTIVE

The use of vancomycin powder in spine surgery for prophylaxis against surgical site infections (SSIs) is well debated in the literature, with the majority of studies demonstrating improvement and some studies demonstrating no significant reduction in infection rate. It is well known in certain populations that vancomycin powder reduces the general rate of infection, but its effects on reducing the rate of infection due to gram-negative pathogens are not well reviewed. The goal of this paper was to review studies that investigated the efficacy of vancomycin powder as a prophylactic agent against SSI and demonstrate whether the rate of infections by gram-negative pathogens is impacted.

METHODS

An electronic search of the published literature was performed using PubMed and Google Scholar in accordance with the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines. A variety of combinations of the search terms “vancomycin powder,” “infection,” “spine,” “gram-negative,” “prophylaxis,” and “surgical site” was used. Inclusion criteria were studies that 1) described an experimental group that received intraoperative intrawound vancomycin powder; 2) included adequately controlled groups that did not receive intraoperative intrawound vancomycin powder; 3) included the number of patients in both the experimental and control groups who developed infection after their spine surgery; and 4) identified the pathogen-causing infection. Studies not directly related to this review’s investigation were excluded from the initial screen. Among the studies that met the criteria of the initial screen, additional reasons for exclusion from the systematic review included lack of a control group, unspecified size of control groups, and inconsistent use of vancomycin powder in the experimental group.

RESULTS

This systematic review includes 21 studies with control groups. Vancomycin powder significantly reduced the relative risk of developing an SSI (RR 0.55, 95% CI 0.45–0.67, p < 0.0001). In addition, the use of vancomycin powder did not significantly increase the risk of infection by gram-negative pathogens (RR 1.11, 95% CI 0.66–1.86, p = 0.701).

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this systematic review suggest that intrawound vancomycin powder is protective against SSI. It is less clear if this treatment increases the risk of gram-negative infection. Further studies are required to investigate whether rates of infection due to gram-negative pathogens are affected by the use of vancomycin powder.

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Lorenzo Rinaldo, Harry J. Cloft, Giuseppe Lanzino and Leonardo Rangel-Castilla

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André Beer-Furlan, Hormuzdiyar H. Dasenbrock, Krishna C. Joshi and Michael Chen

Acute basilar artery occlusion is one of the most devastating subtypes of ischemic stroke with an extremely high morbidity and mortality rate. The most common causes include embolism, large-artery atherosclerosis, penetrating small-artery disease, and arterial dissection. The heart and vertebral arteries are the main source of emboli in embolic basilar occlusions. The authors present an uncommon acute basilar occlusion secondary to a fusiform aneurysm with intraluminal thrombus. The patient underwent a mechanical thrombectomy with successful recanalization, but persistent intraluminal thrombus. The authors discuss the management dilemma and describe their choice for placement of flow diverter stents.

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

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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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Anthony M. DiGiorgio, Rachel Stein, Kevin D. Morrow, Jared M. Robichaux, Clifford L. Crutcher II and Gabriel C. Tender

OBJECTIVE

Few studies have been published specifically examining intravenous drug abuse (IVDA)–associated spinal epidural abscesses (SEAs), an unfortunate sequela of the opioid crisis in the United States. Here, the authors examined a series of patients with IVDA-associated SEAs in order to shed light on this challenging disease entity.

METHODS

This study is a retrospective chart review of patients presenting with IVDA-associated SEAs at the authors’ institution from 2013 to 2018, spanning the statewide implementation of opioid-prescribing restrictions.

RESULTS

A total of 45 patients presented with IVDA-associated SEAs; 46.5% presented with a neurological deficit. Thirty-one patients underwent surgery for neurological deficit, failure of medical therapy, or both. Nineteen surgical patients underwent a fusion procedure along with decompression. The complication rate was 41.9%, and the mortality rate was 6.7%. The average length of stay was 27.6 days. Patients who underwent surgery within 24 hours of onset of neurological symptoms trended toward more improvement in their American Spinal Cord Association Impairment Scale grade than those who did not (0.5 vs −0.2, p = 0.068). Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus was isolated as the causative pathogen in 57.8% of patients. Twenty-three patients (51.5%) kept their scheduled clinic follow-up appointments. Of the fusion patients with adequate follow-up, 5 showed bony arthrodesis and 3 had pseudarthrosis. The rate of IVDA-associated SEAs increased after opioid-prescribing restrictions were put in place, from 0.54 cases per month to 1.15 cases per month (p = 0.017).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with IVDA-associated SEAs are challenging to treat, with high complication rates and poor follow-up. This disease is increasing in frequency, and opioid-prescribing restrictions did not slow that rise. Community outreach to promote prevention, early medical attention, and medication compliance would benefit this largely publicly funded patient population.

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Bedjan Behmanesh, Florian Gessler, Katrin Schnoes, Daniel Dubinski, Sae-Yeon Won, Jürgen Konczalla, Volker Seifert, Lutz Weise and Matthias Setzer

OBJECTIVE

The incidence of patients with pyogenic spinal infection is increasing. In addition to treatment of the spinal infection, early diagnosis of and therapy for coexisting infections, especially infective endocarditis (IE), is an important issue. The aim of this study was to evaluate the proportion of coexisting IE and the value of routine transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) in the management of these patients.

METHODS

The medical history, laboratory data, radiographic findings, treatment modalities, and results of TEE of patients admitted between 2007 and 2017 were analyzed.

RESULTS

During the abovementioned period, 110 of 255 total patients underwent TEE for detection of IE. The detection rate of IE between those patients undergoing and not undergoing TEE was 33% and 3%, respectively (p < 0.0001). Thirty-six percent of patients with IE needed cardiac surgical intervention because of severe valve destruction. Chronic renal failure, heart failure, septic condition at admission, and preexisting heart condition were significantly associated with coexisting IE. The mortality rate in patients with IE was significantly higher than in patients without IE (22% vs 3%, p = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS

TEE should be performed routinely in all patients with spondylodiscitis.

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Mayur Sharma, Nicholas Dietz, Ahmad Alhourani, Beatrice Ugiliweneza, Dengzhi Wang, Doniel Drazin and Maxwell Boakye

OBJECTIVE

Use of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–2 (rhBMP-2) in patients with spine infections is controversial. The purpose of this study was to identify long-term complications, reoperations, and healthcare utilization associated with rhBMP-2 use in patients with spine infections.

METHODS

This retrospective study extracted data using ICD-9/10 and CPT codes from MarketScan (2000–2016). Patients were dichotomized into 2 groups (rhBMP-2, no rhBMP-2) based on whether rhBMP-2 was used during fusion surgery for spinal infections. Outcomes of interest were reoperation rates (index level, other levels), readmission rates, discharge disposition, length of stay, complications, and healthcare resource utilization at the index hospitalization and 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months following discharge. Outcomes were compared using nonparametric 2-group tests and generalized linear regression models.

RESULTS

The database search identified 2762 patients with > 24 months’ follow-up; rhBMP-2 was used in 8.4% of their cases. The patients’ median age was 53 years, 52.43% were female, and 15.11% had an Elixhauser Comorbidity Index ≥ 3. Patients in the rhBMP-2 group had higher comorbidity indices, incurred higher costs at index hospitalization, were discharged home in most cases, and had lower complication rates than those in the no–rhBMP-2 group. There was no statistically significant between-groups difference in complication rates 1 month following discharge or in reoperation rates at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months following the procedure. Patients in the no–rhBMP-2 group incurred higher utilization of outpatient services and medication refill costs at 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months following surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

In patients undergoing surgery for spine infection, rhBMP-2 use was associated with lower complication rates and higher median payments during index hospitalization compared to cases in which rhBMP-2 was not used. There was no significant between-groups difference in reoperation rates (index and other levels) at 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after the index operation. Patients treated with rhBMP-2 incurred lower utilization of outpatient services and overall payments. These results indicate that rhBMP-2 can be used safely in patients with spine infections with cost-effective utilization of healthcare resources and without an increase in complications or reoperation rates.

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Insular glioma surgery: an evolution of thought and practice

JNSPG 75th Anniversary Invited Review Article

Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper and Mitchel S. Berger

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this article is to review the history of surgery for low- and high-grade gliomas located within the insula with particular focus on microsurgical technique, anatomical considerations, survival, and postoperative morbidity.

METHODS

The authors reviewed the literature for published reports focused on insular region anatomy, neurophysiology, surgical approaches, and outcomes for adults with World Health Organization grade II–IV gliomas.

RESULTS

While originally considered to pose too great a risk, insular glioma surgery can be performed safely due to the collective efforts of many individuals. Similar to resection of gliomas located within other cortical regions, maximal resection of gliomas within the insula offers patients greater survival time and superior seizure control for both newly diagnosed and recurrent tumors in this region. The identification and the preservation of M2 perforating and lateral lenticulostriate arteries are critical steps to preventing internal capsule stroke and hemiparesis. The transcortical approach and intraoperative mapping are useful tools to maximize safety.

CONCLUSIONS

The insula’s proximity to middle cerebral and lenticulostriate arteries, primary motor areas, and perisylvian language areas makes accessing and resecting gliomas in this region challenging. Maximal safe resection of insular gliomas not only is possible but also is associated with excellent outcomes and should be considered for all patients with low- and high-grade gliomas in this area.

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Elad I. Levy, Stephan A. Munich, Robert H. Rosenwasser, Peter Kan and B. Gregory Thompson

Remarkable developments in the field of endovascular neurosurgery have been witnessed in the last decade. The success of endovascular therapy for ischemic stroke treatment is now irrefutable, making it an accepted standard of care. Endovascular treatment of cerebral aneurysms is no longer limited to primary coiling but now includes options such as stent or balloon assistance and flow diversion and applications utilizing neck reconstruction, intrasaccular, and bifurcation-specific devices. Balloons, liquid embolic agents, and flow-directed catheters have revolutionized the treatment of arteriovenous malformations and fistulae. The ongoing development of endovascular tools has led to novel and expanding approaches (for example, transvenous arteriovenous malformation embolization and transradial access). With improved technology, transposterior communicating artery access and other endovascular strategies are being applied successfully across the anterior and posterior circulations and to lesions once deemed only surgically approachable. Yet, we would be remiss to attribute the successes of endovascular strategies only to the development of their tools. Improvements in both noninvasive and angiographic imaging (such as three-dimensional road map guidance) have provided a greater understanding of pathologic entities and allowed the pursuit of endovascular cures.

In this issue of Neurosurgical Focus, we present a wide range of endovascular strategies for a variety of neurovascular pathologies. We hope this video supplement will not only demonstrate the applicability of tried-and-true endovascular strategies to difficult clinical situations but also highlight new and developing endovascular technologies. We thank the authors for their outstanding contributions.