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Ariana Alejandra Chacón-Aponte, Erika Andrea Durán-Vargas, Ivan David Lozada-Martínez, Yelson Alejandro Picón-Jaimes, and Luis Rafael Moscote-Salazar

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Caitlin Hoffman, Alyssa B. Valenti, Eseosa Odigie, Kwanza Warren, Ishani D. Premaratne, and Thomas A. Imahiyerobo

Craniosynostosis is the premature fusion of the skull. There are two forms of treatment: open surgery and minimally invasive endoscope-assisted suturectomy. Candidates for endoscopic treatment are less than 6 months of age. The techniques are equally effective; however, endoscopic surgery is associated with less blood loss, minimal tissue disruption, shorter operative time, and shorter hospitalization. In this study, the authors aimed to evaluate the impact of race/ethnicity and insurance status on age of presentation/surgery in children with craniosynostosis to highlight potential disparities in healthcare access. Charts were reviewed for children with craniosynostosis at two tertiary care hospitals in New York City from January 1, 2014, to August 31, 2020. Clinical and demographic data were collected, including variables pertaining to family socioeconomic status, home address/zip code, insurance status (no insurance, Medicaid, or private), race/ethnicity, age and date of presentation for initial consultation, type of surgery performed, and details of hospitalization. Children with unknown race/ethnicity and those with syndromic craniosynostosis were excluded. The data were analyzed via t-tests and chi-square tests for statistical significance (p < 0.05). A total of 121 children were identified; 62 surgeries were performed open and 59 endoscopically. The mean age at initial presentation of the cohort was 6.68 months, and on the day of surgery it was 8.45 months. Age at presentation for the open surgery cohort compared with the endoscopic cohort achieved statistical significance at 11.33 months (SD 12.41) for the open cohort and 1.86 months (SD 1.1473) for the endoscopic cohort (p < 0.0001). Age on the day of surgery for the open cohort versus the endoscopic cohort demonstrated statistical significance at 14.19 months (SD 15.05) and 2.58 months (SD 1.030), respectively. A statistically significant difference between the two groups was noted with regard to insurance status (p = 0.0044); the open surgical group comprised more patients without insurance and with Medicaid compared with the endoscopic group. The racial composition of the two groups reached statistical significance when comparing proportions of White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, and other (p = 0.000815), with significantly more Black and Hispanic patients treated in the open surgical group. The results demonstrate a relationship between race and lack of insurance or Medicaid status, and type of surgery received; Black and Hispanic children and children with Medicaid were more likely to present later and undergo open surgery.

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Birra Taha, Praneeth Sadda, Graham Winston, Eseosa Odigie, Cristina Londono, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Susan C. Pannullo, and Caitlin Hoffman

OBJECTIVE

A meta-analysis was performed to understand disparities in the representation of female authorship within the neurosurgical literature and implications for career advancement of women in neurosurgery.

METHODS

Author names for articles published in 16 of the top neurosurgical journals from 2002 to 2019 were obtained from MEDLINE. The gender of each author was determined using automated prediction methods. Publication trends were compared over time and across subdisciplines. Female authorship was also compared to the proportionate composition of women in the field over time.

RESULTS

The metadata obtained from 16 major neurosurgical journals yielded 66,546 research articles. Gender was successfully determined for 96% (127,809/133,578) of first and senior authors, while the remainder (3.9%) were unable to be determined through prediction methods. Across all years, 13.3% (8826) of articles had female first authorship and 9.1% (6073) had female senior authorship. Female first authorship increased significantly over time from 5.8% in 2002 to 17.2% in 2019 (p < 0.001). Female senior authorship also increased significantly over time, from 5.5% in 2002 to 12.0% in 2019 (p < 0.001). The journals with the highest proportions of female first authors and senior authors were the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics (33.5%) and the Asian Journal of Neurosurgery (23.8%), respectively. Operative Neurosurgery had the lowest fraction of female first (12.4%) and senior (4.7%) authors. There was a significant difference between the year-by-year proportion of female neurosurgical trainees and the year-by-year proportion of female neurosurgical first (p < 0.001) and senior (p < 0.001) authors. Articles were also more likely to have a female first author if the senior author of the article was female (OR 2.69, CI 2.52–2.86; p < 0.001). From 1944 to 2019, the Journal of Neurosurgery showed a steady increase in female first and senior authorship, with a plateau beginning in the 1990s.

CONCLUSIONS

Large meta-analysis techniques have the potential to effectively leverage large amounts of bibliometric data to quantify the representation of female authorship in the neurosurgical literature. The proportion of female authors in major neurosurgical journals has steadily increased. However, the rate of increase in female senior authorship has lagged behind the rate of increase in first authorship, indicating a disparity in academic advancement in women in neurosurgery.

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Du Cheng, Melissa Yuan, Imali Perera, Ashley O’Connor, Alexander I. Evins, Thomas Imahiyerobo, Mark Souweidane, and Caitlin Hoffman

OBJECTIVE

Craniosynostosis correction, including cranial vault remodeling, fronto-orbital advancement (FOA), and endoscopic suturectomy, requires practical experience with complex anatomy and tools. The infrequent exposure to complex neurosurgical procedures such as these during residency limits extraoperative training. Lack of cadaveric teaching tools given the pediatric nature of synostosis compounds this challenge. The authors sought to create lifelike 3D printed models based on actual cases of craniosynostosis in infants and incorporate them into a practical course for endoscopic and open correction. The authors hypothesized that this training tool would increase extraoperative facility and familiarity with cranial vault reconstruction to better prepare surgeons for in vivo procedures.

METHODS

The authors utilized representative craniosynostosis patient scans to create 3D printed models of the calvaria, soft tissues, and cranial contents. Two annual courses implementing these models were held, and surveys were completed by participants (n = 18, 5 attending physicians, 4 fellows, 9 residents) on the day of the course. These participants were surveyed during the course and 1 year later to assess the impact of this training tool. A comparable cohort of trainees who did not participate in the course (n = 11) was also surveyed at the time of the 1-year follow-up to assess their preparation and confidence with performing craniosynostosis surgeries.

RESULTS

An iterative process using multiple materials and the various printing parameters was used to create representative models. Participants performed all major surgical steps, and we quantified the fidelity and utility of the model through surveys. All attendees reported that the model was a valuable training tool for open reconstruction (n = 18/18 [100%]) and endoscopic suturectomy (n = 17/18 [94%]). In the first year, 83% of course participants (n = 14/17) agreed or strongly agreed that the skin and bone materials were realistic and appropriately detailed; the second year, 100% (n = 16/16) agreed or strongly agreed that the skin material was realistic and appropriately detailed, and 88% (n = 14/16) agreed or strongly agreed that the bone material was realistic and appropriately detailed. All participants responded that they would use the models for their own personal training and the training of residents and fellows in their programs.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors have developed realistic 3D printed models of craniosynostosis including soft tissues that allow for surgical practice simulation. The use of these models in surgical simulation provides a level of preparedness that exceeds what currently exists through traditional resident training experience. Employing practical modules using such models as part of a standardized resident curriculum is a logical evolution in neurosurgical education and training.

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Caitlin Hoffman, Melissa Yuan, Andre E. Boyke, Ashley O’Connor, Therese Haussner, Imali Perera, and Mark Souweidane

OBJECTIVE

In recent years, the Weill Cornell neurosurgical team noticed an increase in referrals for plagiocephaly, likely due to increased infant back-sleeping and awareness. A plagiocephaly clinic staffed by a nurse practitioner and a physician assistant was established in 2016 to meet this demand, and to decrease the nonsurgical case burden on neurosurgeons. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of a clinic directed by advanced nonphysician practice providers (NPPs) on parental satisfaction and nonsurgical work hours for staff neurosurgeons.

METHODS

Over a 1.5-year period (from January 1, 2016, to June 20, 2017), Likert scale–based surveys were administered to parents before and after their child’s visit to the NPP-staffed clinic. Clinic hours were tracked to assess impact on the neurosurgeon’s workload.

RESULTS

All 185 patients seen in the plagiocephaly clinic over the 1.5-year period completed pre- and postvisit surveys. Parents all reported a significant reduction in their level of concern for their child’s diagnosis after the evaluation, and 95.5% were “very likely” to recommend the clinic. All parents felt that there was an increase in their knowledge base after an appointment with an NPP. Additionally, over 1 year in the study, 170 visits to the NPP plagiocephaly clinic were recorded, resulting in 85 hours that neurosurgeons normally would have spent in the clinic that they now were able to spend in the operating room.

CONCLUSIONS

This research provides evidence that an NPP-directed clinic can positively impact parental satisfaction and decrease nonsurgical case burden on neurosurgeons.

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George Chater-Cure, Caitlin Hoffman, Jared Knopman, Samuel Rhee, and Mark M. Souweidane

Object

Surgical treatment for periorbital inclusion cysts typically involves a brow, pterional, or partial bicoronal scalp incision for sufficient exposure. The authors have recently employed an endoscopy-assisted technique as an alternative approach intended to minimize the length of the skin incision and avoid scarring in the brow.

Methods

Children having typical clinical findings of a dermoid cyst located on the hairless forehead were selected to undergo endoscopy-assisted cyst removal. For suspected intradiploic lesions, MR imaging was used to assess osseous involvement. After induction of general anesthesia, a 1–2-cm curvilinear incision was made posterior to the hairline. A 30°-angled endoscope (4 mm) was then used for dissection in the subgaleal compartment. Subgaleal dissection was followed by a circumferential periosteal incision in which the authors used an angled needle-tip unipolar cautery. For lesions within the diploe, a high-speed air drill was used to expose the lesion. Complete removal was accomplished with curettage of either the skull or dural surface.

Results

Eight patients (5–33 months of age) underwent outpatient endoscopic resection. Seven cysts were extracranial, and 1 cyst extended through the inner table. In all patients complete excision of the cyst was achieved. There was negligible blood loss, no dural violation, and no postoperative infection. There have been no recurrences at a mean follow-up of 15 months.

Conclusions

Endoscopy-assisted resection of inclusion cysts of the scalp and calvaria is a safe and effective surgical approach. The technique results in negligible incisions with less apparent scarring compared with previously described incisions. This limited-access technique does not appear to be associated with a higher incidence of cyst recurrence.

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Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Caitlin Hoffman, Eugenia Kuo, Paul J. Christos, and Mark M. Souweidane

Object

The authors' aim in this study was to determine if standardizing the evaluation of intraoperative findings during endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) could predict patients with hydrocephalus in whom endoscopic treatment will fail and require ventriculoperitoneal shunt treatment. The creation of a uniform scale with predictive outcomes may reduce returns to the operating room for shunt treatment and reliance on postoperative externalized ventricular monitoring and MR imaging.

Methods

The authors evaluated the preoperative history, intraoperative findings, and postoperative monitoring and imaging findings in 109 consecutive patients undergoing 112 consecutive attempted ETVs for obstructive hydrocephalus. A 5-grade scale was developed to assess preoperative risk factors and intraoperative evaluation to unify criteria that have been suspected to influence outcome independently. A grade of 0 was assigned to patients with no negative predictors, whereas increasing scores were assigned to patients who had multiple preoperative and intraoperative risks identified. Patients' grades were compared with outcome of the procedure, utility of externalized ventricular monitoring, and results of postoperative MR imaging.

Results

Of 112 ETVs, 77 were successful and 35 were unsuccessful. Fifty-nine patients received a grade of 0, 27 received a grade of 1, 11 received a grade of 2, and 15 received a grade of ≥ 3. In all 15 patients receiving a grade ≥ 3 attempted ETV procedures failed, and the patients required a ventriculoperitoneal shunt. Postoperative monitoring with externalized ventricular drains and MR images demonstrating radiographic evidence of flow was independently less reliable than intraoperative grading in predicting success. Patients with a grade of 0 almost uniformly had successful surgery, independent of MR imaging findings. Patients with a grade of 1 or 2 who had successful surgery almost always lacked negative intraoperative predictive findings.

Conclusions

Despite reliance in recent years on post-ETV MR images and externalized ventricular monitoring, these modalities, although often useful adjuncts, appear less reliable as predictive tests than a simple assessment at the time of endoscopic fenestration. By using a uniform grading scale, the authors have introduced a novel means through which intraoperative and postoperative decision making can be aided, with the goal of reducing unnecessary procedures and tests and preventing unnecessary returns to the operating room.