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Alexander P. Landry, Vincent C. Ye, Kerry A. Vaughan, James M. Drake, Peter B. Dirks, and Michael D. Cusimano

BACKGROUND

Trigeminal schwannoma (TS) is an uncommon and histologically benign intracranial lesion that can involve any segment of the fifth cranial nerve. Given its often impressive size at diagnosis and frequent involvement of critical neurovascular structures of the skull base, it represents a challenging entity to treat. Pediatric TS is particularly rare and presents unique challenges. Similarly, tumors with extension into multiple compartments (e.g., middle cranial fossa, posterior cranial fossa, extracranial spaces) are notoriously difficult to treat surgically. Combined or staged surgical approaches are typically required to address them, with radiosurgical treatment as an adjunct.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors presented the unusual case of a 9-year-old boy with a large, recurrent multicompartmental TS involving Meckel’s cave, the cerebellopontine angle, and the infratemporal fossa. Near-total resection was achieved using a frontotemporal-orbitozygomatic craniotomy with a combined interdural and extradural approach.

LESSONS

The case report adds to the current literature on multicompartmental TSs in children and their management. The authors also provided a simplified classification of TS that can be generalized to other skull base tumors. Given a lack of precedent, the authors intended to add to the discussion regarding surgical management of these rare and challenging skull base lesions.

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Adriana Fonseca, Palma Solano, Vijay Ramaswamy, Uri Tabori, Annie Huang, James M. Drake, Derek S. Tsang, Normand Laperriere, Ute Bartels, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, and Eric Bouffet

OBJECTIVE

There is no consensus on the optimal clinical management of ventriculomegaly and hydrocephalus in patients with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). To date, the impact on survival in patients with ventriculomegaly and CSF diversion for hydrocephalus in this population remains to be elucidated. Herein, the authors describe their institutional experience.

METHODS

Patients diagnosed with DIPG and treated with up-front radiation therapy (RT) at The Hospital for Sick Children between 2000 and 2019 were identified. Images at diagnosis and progression were used to determine the frontal/occipital horn ratio (FOR) as a method to measure ventricular size. Patients with ventriculomegaly (FOR ≥ 0.36) were stratified according to the presence of symptoms and categorized as follows: 1) asymptomatic ventriculomegaly and 2) symptomatic hydrocephalus. For patients with ventriculomegaly who did not require CSF diversion, post-RT imaging was also evaluated to assess changes in the FOR after RT. Proportional hazards analyses were used to identify clinical and treatment factors correlated with survival. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to perform survival estimates, and the log-rank method was used to identify survival differences between groups.

RESULTS

Eighty-two patients met the inclusion criteria. At diagnosis, 28% (n = 23) of patients presented with ventriculomegaly, including 8 patients who had symptomatic hydrocephalus and underwent CSF diversion. A ventriculoperitoneal shunt was placed in the majority of patients (6/8). Fifteen asymptomatic patients were managed without CSF diversion. Six patients had resolution of ventriculomegaly after RT. Of 66 patients with imaging at the time of progression, 36 (55%) had ventriculomegaly, and 9 of them required CSF diversion. The presence of ventriculomegaly at diagnosis did not correlate with survival on univariate analysis. However, patients with symptomatic hydrocephalus at the time of progression who underwent CSF diversion had a survival advantage (p = 0.0340) when compared to patients with ventriculomegaly managed with conservative approaches.

CONCLUSIONS

Although ventriculomegaly can be present in up to 55% of patients with DIPG, the majority of patients present with asymptomatic ventriculomegaly and do not require surgical interventions. In some cases ventriculomegaly improved after medical management with steroids and RT. CSF diversion for hydrocephalus at the time of diagnosis does not impact survival. In contrast, our results suggest a survival advantage in patients who undergo CSF diversion for hydrocephalus at the time of progression, albeit that advantage is likely to be confounded by biological and individual patient factors. Further research in this area is needed to understand the best timing and type of interventions in this population.

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Mandeep S. Tamber, John R. W. Kestle, Ron W. Reeder, Richard Holubkov, Jessica Alvey, Samuel R. Browd, James M. Drake, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, David D. Limbrick Jr., Patrick J. McDonald, Curtis J. Rozzelle, Tamara D. Simon, Robert Naftel, Chevis N. Shannon, John C. Wellons III, William E. Whitehead, Jay Riva-Cambrin, and for the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network

OBJECTIVE

Analysis of temporal trends in patient populations and procedure types may provide important information regarding the evolution of hydrocephalus treatment. The purpose of this study was to use the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network’s Core Data Project to identify meaningful trends in patient characteristics and the surgical management of pediatric hydrocephalus over a 9-year period.

METHODS

The Core Data Project prospectively collected patient and procedural data on the study cohort from 9 centers between 2008 and 2016. Logistic and Poisson regression were used to test for significant temporal trends in patient characteristics and new and revision hydrocephalus procedures.

RESULTS

The authors analyzed 10,149 procedures in 5541 patients. New procedures for hydrocephalus (shunt or endoscopic third ventriculostomy [ETV]) decreased by 1.5%/year (95% CI −3.1%, +0.1%). During the study period, new shunt insertions decreased by 6.5%/year (95% CI −8.3%, −4.6%), whereas new ETV procedures increased by 12.5%/year (95% CI 9.3%, 15.7%). Revision procedures for hydrocephalus (shunt or ETV) decreased by 4.2%/year (95% CI −5.2%, −3.1%), driven largely by a decrease of 5.7%/year in shunt revisions (95% CI −6.8%, −4.6%). Concomitant with the observed increase in new ETV procedures was an increase in ETV revisions (13.4%/year, 95% CI 9.6%, 17.2%). Because revisions decreased at a faster rate than new procedures, the Revision Quotient (ratio of revisions to new procedures) for the Network decreased significantly over the study period (p = 0.0363). No temporal change was observed in the age or etiology characteristics of the cohort, although the proportion of patients with one or more complex chronic conditions significantly increased over time (p = 0.0007).

CONCLUSIONS

Over a relatively short period, important changes in hydrocephalus care have been observed. A significant temporal decrease in revision procedures amid the backdrop of a more modest change in new procedures appears to be the most notable finding and may be indicative of an improvement in the quality of surgical care for pediatric hydrocephalus. Further studies will be directed at elucidation of the possible drivers of the observed trends.

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Mandeep S. Tamber, John R. W. Kestle, Ron W. Reeder, Richard Holubkov, Jessica Alvey, Samuel R. Browd, James M. Drake, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, David D. Limbrick Jr., Patrick J. McDonald, Curtis J. Rozzelle, Tamara D. Simon, Robert Naftel, Chevis N. Shannon, John C. Wellons III, William E. Whitehead, Jay Riva-Cambrin, and for the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network

OBJECTIVE

Analysis of temporal trends in patient populations and procedure types may provide important information regarding the evolution of hydrocephalus treatment. The purpose of this study was to use the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network’s Core Data Project to identify meaningful trends in patient characteristics and the surgical management of pediatric hydrocephalus over a 9-year period.

METHODS

The Core Data Project prospectively collected patient and procedural data on the study cohort from 9 centers between 2008 and 2016. Logistic and Poisson regression were used to test for significant temporal trends in patient characteristics and new and revision hydrocephalus procedures.

RESULTS

The authors analyzed 10,149 procedures in 5541 patients. New procedures for hydrocephalus (shunt or endoscopic third ventriculostomy [ETV]) decreased by 1.5%/year (95% CI −3.1%, +0.1%). During the study period, new shunt insertions decreased by 6.5%/year (95% CI −8.3%, −4.6%), whereas new ETV procedures increased by 12.5%/year (95% CI 9.3%, 15.7%). Revision procedures for hydrocephalus (shunt or ETV) decreased by 4.2%/year (95% CI −5.2%, −3.1%), driven largely by a decrease of 5.7%/year in shunt revisions (95% CI −6.8%, −4.6%). Concomitant with the observed increase in new ETV procedures was an increase in ETV revisions (13.4%/year, 95% CI 9.6%, 17.2%). Because revisions decreased at a faster rate than new procedures, the Revision Quotient (ratio of revisions to new procedures) for the Network decreased significantly over the study period (p = 0.0363). No temporal change was observed in the age or etiology characteristics of the cohort, although the proportion of patients with one or more complex chronic conditions significantly increased over time (p = 0.0007).

CONCLUSIONS

Over a relatively short period, important changes in hydrocephalus care have been observed. A significant temporal decrease in revision procedures amid the backdrop of a more modest change in new procedures appears to be the most notable finding and may be indicative of an improvement in the quality of surgical care for pediatric hydrocephalus. Further studies will be directed at elucidation of the possible drivers of the observed trends.

Free access

Han Yan, Nebras M. Warsi, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, James M. Drake, and George M. Ibrahim

Free access

Brandon G. Rocque, Bradley E. Weprin, Jeffrey P. Blount, Betsy D. Hopson, James M. Drake, Mark G. Hamilton, Michael A. Williams, Patience H. White, Katie O. Orrico, and Jonathan E. Martin

OBJECTIVE

The number of children with complex medical conditions surviving to adulthood is increasing. A planned transition to adult care systems is essential to the health maintenance of these patients. Guidance has been established for the general health care transition (HCT) from adolescence to adulthood. No formal assessment of the performance of pediatric neurosurgeons in HCT has been previously performed. No “best practice” for this process in pediatric neurosurgery currently exists. The authors pursued two goals in this paper: 1) define the current state of HCT in pediatric neurosurgery through a survey of the membership of the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons (ASPN) on current methods of HCT, and 2) develop leadership-endorsed best-practice guidelines for HCT from pediatric to adult neurosurgical health care.

METHODS

Completion of the Current Assessment of Health Care Transition Activities survey was requested of 178 North American pediatric neurosurgeons by using a web-based questionnaire to capture HCT practices of the ASPN membership. The authors concurrently conducted a PubMed/MEDLINE–based literature review of HCT for young adults with special health care needs, surgical conditions, and/or neurological conditions for the period from 1990 to 2018. Selected articles were assembled and reviewed by subject matter experts and members of the ASPN Quality, Safety, and Advocacy Committee. Best-practice recommendations were developed and subjected to peer review by external expert groups.

RESULTS

Seventy-six responses to the survey (43%) were received, and 62 respondents (82%) answered all 12 questions. Scores of 1 (lowest possible score) were recorded by nearly 60% of respondents on transition policy, by almost 70% on transition tracking, by 85% on transition readiness, by at least 40% on transition planning as well as transfer of care, and by 53% on transition completion. Average responses on all core elements were < 2 on the established 4-point scale. Seven best-practice recommendations were developed and endorsed by the ASPN leadership.

CONCLUSIONS

The majority of pediatric neurosurgeons have transition practices that are poor, do not meet the needs of patients and families, and should be improved. A structured approach to transition, local engagement with adult neurosurgical providers, and national partnerships between pediatric and adult neurosurgery organizations are suggested to address current gaps in HCT for patients served by pediatric neurosurgeons.

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Benjamin Davidson, Nathan Schoen, Shaina Sedighim, Renée Haldenby, Blythe Dalziel, Sara Breitbart, Darcy Fehlings, Golda Milo-Manson, Unni G. Narayanan, James M. Drake, and George M. Ibrahim

OBJECTIVE

Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common childhood physical disability. Historically, children with hypertonia who are nonambulatory (Gross Motor Function Classification System [GMFCS] level IV or V) were considered candidates for intrathecal baclofen (ITB) therapy to facilitate care and mitigate discomfort. Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) was often reserved for ambulant children to improve gait. Recently, case series have suggested SDR as an alternative to ITB in selected children functioning at GMFCS level IV/V. The objective for this study was to systematically review the evidence for ITB and SDR in GMFCS level IV or V children.

METHODS

Medline, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane databases were systematically searched. Articles were screened using the following inclusion criteria: 1) peer-reviewed articles reporting outcomes after SDR or ITB; 2) outcomes reported using a quantifiable scale or standardized outcome measure; 3) patients were < 19 years old at the time of operation; 4) patients had a diagnosis of CP; 5) patients were GMFCS level IV/V or results were reported based on GMFCS status and included some GMFCS level IV/V patients; 6) article and/or abstract in English; and 7) primary indication for surgery was hypertonia. Included studies were assessed with the Risk of Bias in Non-Randomized Studies - of Interventions (ROBINS-I) tool.

RESULTS

Twenty-seven studies met inclusion criteria. The most commonly reported outcomes were spasticity (on the Mean Ashworth Scale) and gross motor function (using the Gross Motor Function Measure), although other outcomes including frequency of orthopedic procedures and complications were also reported. There is evidence from case series that suggests that both ITB and SDR can lower spasticity and improve gross motor function in this nonambulatory population. Complication rates are decidedly higher after ITB due in part to the ongoing risk of device-related complications. The heterogeneity among study design, patient selection, outcome selection, and follow-up periods was extremely high, preventing meta-analysis. There are no comparative studies, and meaningful health-related quality of life outcomes such as care and comfort are lacking. This review is limited by the high risk of bias among included studies. Studies of SDR or ITB that did not clearly describe patients as being GMFCS level IV/V or nonambulatory were excluded.

CONCLUSIONS

There is a lack of evidence comparing the outcomes of ITB and SDR in the nonambulatory CP population. This could be overcome with standardized prospective studies using more robust methodology and relevant outcome measures.

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Vivek P. Bodani, Gerben E. Breimer, Faizal A. Haji, Thomas Looi, and James M. Drake

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic resection of third-ventricle colloid cysts is technically challenging due to the limited dexterity and visualization provided by neuroendoscopic instruments. Extensive training and experience are required to master the learning curve. To improve the education of neurosurgical trainees in this procedure, a synthetic surgical simulator was developed and its realism, procedural content, and utility as a training instrument were evaluated.

METHODS

The simulator was developed based on the neuroimaging (axial noncontrast CT and T1-weighted gadolinium-enhanced MRI) of an 8-year-old patient with a colloid cyst and hydrocephalus. Image segmentation, computer-aided design, rapid prototyping (3D printing), and silicone molding techniques were used to produce models of the skull, brain, ventricles, and colloid cyst. The cyst was filled with a viscous fluid and secured to the roof of the third ventricle. The choroid plexus and intraventricular veins were also included. Twenty-four neurosurgical trainees performed a simulated colloid cyst resection using a 30° angled endoscope, neuroendoscopic instruments, and image guidance. Using a 19-item feedback survey (5-point Likert scales), participants evaluated the simulator across 5 domains: anatomy, instrument handling, procedural content, perceived realism, and confidence and comfort level.

RESULTS

Participants found the simulator’s anatomy to be highly realistic (mean 4.34 ± 0.63 [SD]) and appreciated the use of actual instruments (mean 4.38 ± 0.58). The procedural content was also rated highly (mean 4.28 ± 0.77); however, the perceived realism was rated slightly lower (mean 4.08 ± 0.63). Participants reported greater confidence in their ability to perform an endoscopic colloid cyst resection after using the simulator (mean 4.45 ± 0.68). Twenty-three participants (95.8%) indicated that they would use the simulator for additional training. Recommendations were made to develop complex case scenarios for experienced trainees (normal-sized ventricles, choroid plexus adherent to cyst wall, bleeding scenarios) and incorporate advanced instrumentation such as side-cutting aspiration devices.

CONCLUSIONS

A patient-specific synthetic surgical simulator for training residents and fellows in endoscopic colloid cyst resection was successfully developed. The simulator’s anatomy, instrument handling, and procedural content were found to be realistic. The simulator may serve as a valuable educational tool to learn the critical steps of endoscopic colloid cyst resection, develop a detailed understanding of intraventricular anatomy, and gain proficiency with bimanual neuroendoscopic techniques.

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Kyle W. Eastwood, Vivek P. Bodani, Faizal A. Haji, Thomas Looi, Hani E. Naguib, and James M. Drake

OBJECTIVE

Endoscope-assisted repair of craniosynostosis is a safe and efficacious alternative to open techniques. However, this procedure is challenging to learn, and there is significant variation in both its execution and outcomes. Surgical simulators may allow trainees to learn and practice this procedure prior to operating on an actual patient. The purpose of this study was to develop a realistic, relatively inexpensive simulator for endoscope-assisted repair of metopic and sagittal craniosynostosis and to evaluate the models’ fidelity and teaching content.

METHODS

Two separate, 3D-printed, plastic powder–based replica skulls exhibiting metopic (age 1 month) and sagittal (age 2 months) craniosynostosis were developed. These models were made into consumable skull “cartridges” that insert into a reusable base resembling an infant’s head. Each cartridge consists of a multilayer scalp (skin, subcutaneous fat, galea, and periosteum); cranial bones with accurate landmarks; and the dura mater. Data related to model construction, use, and cost were collected. Eleven novice surgeons (residents), 9 experienced surgeons (fellows), and 5 expert surgeons (attendings) performed a simulated metopic and sagittal craniosynostosis repair using a neuroendoscope, high-speed drill, rongeurs, lighted retractors, and suction/irrigation. All participants completed a 13-item questionnaire (using 5-point Likert scales) to rate the realism and utility of the models for teaching endoscope-assisted strip suturectomy.

RESULTS

The simulators are compact, robust, and relatively inexpensive. They can be rapidly reset for repeated use and contain a minimal amount of consumable material while providing a realistic simulation experience. More than 80% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that the models’ anatomical features, including surface anatomy, subgaleal and subperiosteal tissue planes, anterior fontanelle, and epidural spaces, were realistic and contained appropriate detail. More than 90% of participants indicated that handling the endoscope and the instruments was realistic, and also that the steps required to perform the procedure were representative of the steps required in real life.

CONCLUSIONS

Both the metopic and sagittal craniosynostosis simulators were developed using low-cost methods and were successfully designed to be reusable. The simulators were found to realistically represent the surgical procedure and can be used to develop the technical skills required for performing an endoscope-assisted craniosynostosis repair.

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Han Yan, Taylor J. Abel, Naif M. Alotaibi, Melanie Anderson, Toba N. Niazi, Alexander G. Weil, Aria Fallah, John H. Phillips, Christopher R. Forrest, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, James M. Drake, and George M. Ibrahim

OBJECTIVE

In this systematic review and meta-analysis the authors aimed to directly compare open surgical and endoscope-assisted techniques for the treatment of sagittal craniosynostosis, focusing on the outcomes of blood loss, transfusion rate, length of stay, operating time, complication rate, cost, and cosmetic outcome.

METHODS

A literature search was performed in compliance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Relevant articles were identified from 3 electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CENTRAL [Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials]) from their inception to August 2017. The quality of methodology and bias risk were assessed using the Effective Public Health Practice Project Quality Assessment Tool for Quantitative Studies. Effect estimates between groups were calculated as standardized mean differences with 95% CIs. Random and fixed effects models were used to estimate the overall effect.

RESULTS

Of 316 screened records, 10 met the inclusion criteria, of which 3 were included in the meta-analysis. These studies reported on 303 patients treated endoscopically and 385 patients treated with open surgery. Endoscopic surgery was associated with lower estimated blood loss (p < 0.001), shorter length of stay (p < 0.001), and shorter operating time (p < 0.001). From the literature review of the 10 studies, transfusion rates for endoscopic procedures were consistently lower, with significant differences in 4 of 6 studies; the cost was lower, with differences ranging from $11,603 to $31,744 in 3 of 3 studies; and the cosmetic outcomes were equivocal (p > 0.05) in 3 of 3 studies. Finally, endoscopic techniques demonstrated complication rates similar to or lower than those of open surgery in 8 of 8 studies.

CONCLUSIONS

Endoscopic procedures are associated with lower estimated blood loss, operating time, and days in hospital. Future long-term prospective registries may establish advantages with respect to complications and cost, with equivalent cosmetic outcomes. Larger studies evaluating patient- or parent-reported satisfaction and optimal timing of intervention as well as heterogeneity in outcomes are indicated.