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Alexander T Yahanda, Laura E Simon, and David D. Limbrick Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Posterior fossa decompression with duraplasty (PFDD) is often used for Chiari malformation type I (CM-I), but outcomes associated with different dural graft materials are not well characterized. In this meta-analysis, the authors examined complication rates and outcomes after PFDD for CM-I for autografts and four types of nonautologous grafts.

METHODS

A literature search of numerous electronic databases (Ovid Medline, Embase, Scopus, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, Health Technology Assessment Database, NHS Economic Evaluation Database, and ClinicalTrials.gov) was performed to identify articles detailing complications for dural graft materials after PFDD. Whenever available, data were also extracted regarding the need for revision surgery, symptom changes after PFDD, and syrinx size changes after PFDD. All searches were compliant with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA), Institute of Medicine, Standards for Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, and Peer Review of Electronic Search Strategies guidelines. There were no exclusion criteria based on patient age or presence or absence of syringomyelia.

RESULTS

The current evidence surrounding outcomes for various dural graft materials was found to be of low or very low quality. Twenty-seven studies were included, encompassing 1461 patients. Five types of dural graft materials were included: autograft (n = 404, 27.6%), synthetic (n = 272, 18.6%), bovine pericardium (n = 181, 12.4%), collagen-based (n = 397, 27.2%), and allograft (n = 207, 14.2%). Autograft was associated with a significantly lower rate of pseudomeningocele compared to collagen-based grafts, allografts, and nonautologous grafts in aggregate. Autograft was also associated with the lowest rates of aseptic meningitis, infectious meningitis, and need for revision PFDD, though these associations did not reach statistical significance. No other graft comparisons yielded significant results. Autograft and nonautologous graft materials yielded similar rates of revision surgery and produced similar improvements in postoperative symptoms and syrinx size.

CONCLUSIONS

Autograft was the dural graft material that most frequently had the lowest rate of complications and was associated with significantly lower rates of pseudomeningocele compared to collagen-based graft, allograft, and nonautologous graft materials. Autografts and nonautologous grafts yielded similar outcomes for revision surgery, symptoms, and syrinx size. Large prospective studies comparing different graft materials are needed to accurately and precisely characterize outcomes for individual graft types.

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Takahisa Hishiya, Tetsuhiro Ishikawa, and Mitsutoshi Ota

OBJECTIVE

Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH)–related vertebral fractures essentially require operative treatment due to severe fracture site instability and high potential risk of posttraumatic neurological deficit. However, the optimal surgical procedure remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of posterior spinal fixation with penetrating endplate screws (PESs) for DISH-related thoracolumbar fractures.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective, single-center, observational study. They included data from 26 consecutive patients with DISH-related thoracolumbar fractures who were treated with posterior spinal fixation using either conventional pedicle screws (PS group, n = 8) or a combined PES technique (PES group, n = 18) between 2013 and 2019. Age, sex, BMI, bone mineral density, fracture level, use of antithrombotic drug, blood loss, operation time, fixation range, perioperative American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale score, implant failure, revision surgery, complications, and mortality were compared. The authors also evaluated screw loosening and bone healing on radiographs and CT scans.

RESULTS

More patients had vertebral fractures in the lumbar spine in the PS group than in the PES group (3 vs 0; p = 0.019). Patients in the PES group had less blood loss (63 vs 173 ml; p = 0.048) and shorter range of fixation (5 vs 5.5 levels; p = 0.041). The screw loosening rate was significantly lower in the PES group than in the PS group (3% vs 49%; p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Posterior spinal fixation using a PES technique may be an ideal surgical procedure for thoracolumbar fractures with DISH, providing more rigid and less invasive fixation than PS.

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Rahul Kumar, David S Hersh, Luke G. F Smith, William E Gordon, Nickalus R Khan, Andrew J Gienapp, Busra Gungor, Michael J Herr, Brandy N Vaughn, L. Madison Michael II, and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Neurosurgical residents receive exposure to the subspecialty of pediatric neurosurgery during training. The authors sought to determine resident operative experience in pediatric neurosurgery across Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)–accredited neurosurgical programs.

METHODS

During 2018–2019, pediatric neurosurgical case logs for recent graduates or current residents who completed their primary pediatric exposure were collected from US continental ACGME training programs. Using individual resident reports and procedure designations, operative volumes and case diversity were analyzed collectively, according to training site characteristics, and also correlated with the recently described Resident Experience Score (RES).

RESULTS

Of the 114 programs, a total of 316 resident case logs (range 1–19 residents per program) were received from 86 (75%) programs. The median cumulative pediatric case volume per resident was 109 (IQR 75–161). Residents at programs with a pediatric fellowship reported a higher median case volume (143, IQR 96–187) than residents at programs without (91, IQR 66–129; p < 0.0001). Residents at programs that outsource their pediatric rotation had a lower median case volume (84, IQR 52–114) compared with those at programs with an in-house experience (117, IQR 79–170; p < 0.0001). The case diversity index among all programs ranged from 0.61 to 0.80, with no statistically significant differences according to the Accreditation Council for Pediatric Neurosurgery Fellowships designation or pediatric experience site (p > 0.05). The RES correlated moderately (r = 0.44) with median operative volumes per program. A program’s annual pediatric operative volume and duration of pediatric experience were identified as significant predictive factors for median resident operative volume.

CONCLUSIONS

Resident experience in pediatric neurosurgery is variable within and between programs. Case volumes are generally higher for residents at programs with in-house exposure and an accredited fellowship, but case diversity is relatively uniform across all programs. RES provides some insight on anticipated case volume, but other unexplained factors remain.

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Sebastian Salas-Vega, Vikram B. Chakravarthy, Robert D. Winkelman, Matthew M. Grabowski, Ghaith Habboub, Jason W. Savage, Michael P. Steinmetz, and Thomas E. Mroz

OBJECTIVE

In a healthcare landscape in which costs increasingly matter, the authors sought to distinguish among the clinical and nonclinical drivers of patient length of stay (LOS) in the hospital following elective lumbar laminectomy—a common spinal surgery that may be reimbursed using bundled payments—and to understand their relationships with patient outcomes and costs.

METHODS

Patients ≥ 18 years of age undergoing laminectomy surgery for degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis within the Cleveland Clinic health system between March 1, 2016, and February 1, 2019, were included in this analysis. Generalized linear modeling was used to assess the relationships between the day of surgery, patient discharge disposition, and hospital LOS, while adjusting for underlying patient health risks and other nonclinical factors, including the hospital surgery site and health insurance.

RESULTS

A total of 1359 eligible patients were included in the authors’ analysis. The mean LOS ranged between 2.01 and 2.47 days for Monday and Friday cases, respectively. The LOS was also notably longer for patients who were ultimately discharged to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) or rehabilitation center. A prolonged LOS occurring later in the week was not associated with greater underlying health risks, yet it nevertheless resulted in greater costs of care: the average total surgical costs for lumbar laminectomy were 20% greater for Friday cases than for Monday cases, and 24% greater for late-week cases than for early-week cases ultimately transferred to SNFs or rehabilitation centers. A Poisson generalized linear model fit the data best and showed that the comorbidity burden, surgery at a tertiary care center versus a community hospital, and the incidence of any postoperative complication were associated with significantly longer hospital stays. Discharge to home healthcare, SNFs, or rehabilitation centers, and late-week surgery were significant nonclinical predictors of LOS prolongation, even after adjusting for underlying patient health risks and insurance, with LOSs that were, for instance, 1.55 and 1.61 times longer for patients undergoing their procedure on Thursday and Friday compared to Monday, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Late-week surgeries are associated with a prolonged LOS, particularly when discharge is to an SNF or rehabilitation center. These findings point to opportunities to lower costs and improve outcomes associated with elective surgical care. Interventions to optimize surgical scheduling and perioperative care coordination could help reduce prolonged LOSs, lower costs, and, ultimately, give service line management personnel greater flexibility over how to use existing resources as they remain ahead of healthcare reforms.

Open access

Christopher Lauren, Donny Argie, Elric B. Malelak, Reza Mawardy, Samuel E. Suranta, Vito M. Junaidy, and Yohanes Firmansyah

BACKGROUND

Germinoma is the most common type of germ cell tumor that develops intracranially. Germinomas usually grow in the midline structures, such as the pineal and suprasellar regions, and are rarely found in other locations. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, no previous research has reported on growth of this tumor in the cranial vault.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors reported an unusual case of primary cranial vault germinoma in a young adult. Macroscopically, the tumor had a solid-soft consistency and grayish color with brownish spots on the surface. The histological examination revealed anaplastic cells with round, hyperchromatic, pleomorphic nuclei; prominent nucleoli; and abundant, clear cytoplasm, arranged in lobules and sheets that were infiltrated by lymphocytes and separated by fibrous connective tissue. These findings were consistent with the histopathological characteristics of germinoma.

LESSONS

Primary cranial vault germinoma is a unique tumor because no previous research has reported any growth in that location. It should be considered one of the differential diagnoses of lesions located over the cranial vault. Histopathological examination is still the primary modality for diagnosing these tumors and excluding other differential diagnoses.

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Chang-Chia Liu, Shayan Moosa, Mark Quigg, and W. Jeffrey Elias

OBJECTIVE

Chronic pain results in an enormous societal and financial burden. Opioids are the mainstay of treatment, but opioid abuse has led to an epidemic in the United States. Nonpharmacological treatment strategies like deep brain stimulation could be applied to refractory chronic pain if safe and effective brain targets are identified. The anterior insula is a putative mediator of pain-related affective-motivational and cognitive-evaluative cerebral processing. However, the effect of anterior insula stimulation on pain perception is still unknown. Here, the authors provide behavioral and neurophysiological evidence for stimulating the anterior insula as a means of potential therapeutic intervention for patients with chronic pain.

METHODS

Six patients with epilepsy in whom intracerebral electrodes had been implanted for seizure localization were recruited to the study. The direct anterior insula stimulations were performed in the inpatient epilepsy monitoring unit while subjects were fully awake, comfortable, and without sedating medications. The effects of anterior insula stimulation were assessed with quantitative sensory testing for heat pain threshold, nociceptive-specific cutaneous laser-evoked potentials, and intracranial electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings. Control stimulation of noninsular brain regions was performed to test stimulation specificity. Sham stimulations, in which no current was delivered, were also performed to control for potential placebo effects. The safety of these stimulations was evaluated by bedside physicians, real-time intracranial EEG monitoring, and electrocardiogram recordings.

RESULTS

Following anterior insula stimulations, the heat pain threshold of each patient significantly increased from baseline (p < 0.001) and correlated with stimulation intensity (regression analysis: β = 0.5712, standard error 0.070, p < 0.001). Significant changes in ongoing intracranial EEG frequency band powers (p < 0.001), reduction in laser pain intensity, and attenuated laser-evoked potentials were also observed following stimulations. Furthermore, the observed behavioral and neurophysiological effects persisted beyond the stimulations. Subjects were not aware of the stimulations, and there were no cardiovascular or untoward effects.

CONCLUSIONS

Additional, nonpharmacological therapies are imperative for the future management of chronic pain conditions and to mitigate the ongoing opioid crisis. This study suggests that direct stimulation of the anterior insula can safely alter cerebral pain processing in humans. Further investigation of the anterior insula as a potential target for therapeutic neuromodulation is underway.

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Shenae Samuels, Rebekah Kimball, Vivian Hagerty, Tamar Levene, Howard B. Levene, and Heather Spader

OBJECTIVE

In the pediatric population, few studies have examined outcomes for neurosurgical accidental trauma care based on hospital characteristics. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between hospital ownership type and children's hospital designation with primary outcomes.

METHODS

This retrospective cohort study utilized data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project 2006, 2009, and 2012 Kids’ Inpatient Database. Primary outcomes, including inpatient mortality, length of stay (LOS), and favorable discharge disposition, were assessed for all pediatric neurosurgery patients who underwent a neurosurgical procedure and were discharged with a primary diagnosis of accidental traumatic brain injury.

RESULTS

Private, not-for-profit hospitals (OR 2.08, p = 0.034) and freestanding children's hospitals (OR 2.88, p = 0.004) were predictors of favorable discharge disposition. Private, not-for-profit hospitals were also associated with reduced inpatient mortality (OR 0.34, p = 0.005). A children's unit in a general hospital was associated with a reduction in hospital LOS by almost 2 days (p = 0.004).

CONCLUSIONS

Management at freestanding children's hospitals correlated with more favorable discharge dispositions for pediatric patients with accidental trauma who underwent neurosurgical procedures. Management within a children's unit in a general hospital was also associated with reduced LOS. By hospital ownership type, private, not-for-profit hospitals were associated with decreased inpatient mortality and more favorable discharge dispositions.

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Richard Leblanc

Neurosurgery is predicated on the knowledge of the structure-function relationship of the brain. When the topic is broached in its historiography, it begins with Fritch and Hitzig's report on the localization of motor function in the cortex of the dog and skips rapidly to Wilder Penfield's homunculus. In that gap are found the origins of modern neurosurgery in 3 papers published by Jean-Martin Charcot and Albert Pitres between 1877 and 1879 in which they describe the somatotopic organization of the human motor cortex and draw the first human brain map. Their findings, obtained through the clinicopathological method, gave relevance to David Ferrier's observations in animals. Their work was extensively cited, and their illustrations reproduced by Ferrier in his landmark lecture to the Royal College of Physicians in 1878. It was known to William Macewen, who used localization to guide him in resecting intracranial mass lesions, and to William Osler and John Hughlings Jackson, who were early advocates of intracranial surgery. This paper describes Charcot and Pitres' discovery of the cortical origin of human voluntary movement and its somatotopic organization, and their influence on 19th-century intracranial surgery. It fills a gap in the historiography of cerebral localization and neurosurgery.

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Nikita G. Alexiades, Belinda Shao, Bruno P. Braga, Christopher M. Bonfield, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Samuel R. Browd, Michael DiLuna, Mari L. Groves, Todd C. Hankinson, Andrew Jea, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Sean M. Lew, David D. Limbrick Jr., Francesco T. Mangano, Jonathan Martin, Joshua Pahys, Alexander Powers, Mark R. Proctor, Luis Rodriguez, Curtis Rozzelle, Phillip B. Storm, and Richard C. E. Anderson

OBJECTIVE

Cervical traction in pediatric patients is an uncommon but invaluable technique in the management of cervical trauma and deformity. Despite its utility, little empirical evidence exists to guide its implementation, with most practitioners employing custom or modified adult protocols. Expert-based best practices may improve the care of children undergoing cervical traction. In this study, the authors aimed to build consensus and establish best practices for the use of pediatric cervical traction in order to enhance its utilization, safety, and efficacy.

METHODS

A modified Delphi method was employed to try to identify areas of consensus regarding the utilization and implementation of pediatric cervical spine traction. A literature review of pediatric cervical traction was distributed electronically along with a survey of current practices to a group of 20 board-certified pediatric neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons with expertise in the pediatric cervical spine. Sixty statements were then formulated and distributed to the group. The results of the second survey were discussed during an in-person meeting leading to further consensus. Consensus was defined as ≥ 80% agreement on a 4-point Likert scale (strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree).

RESULTS

After the initial round, consensus was achieved with 40 statements regarding the following topics: goals, indications, and contraindications of traction (12), pretraction imaging (6), practical application and initiation of various traction techniques (8), protocols in trauma and deformity patients (8), and management of traction-related complications (6). Following the second round, an additional 9 statements reached consensus related to goals/indications/contraindications of traction (4), related to initiation of traction (4), and related to complication management (1). All participants were willing to incorporate the consensus statements into their practice.

CONCLUSIONS

In an attempt to improve and standardize the use of cervical traction in pediatric patients, the authors have identified 49 best-practice recommendations, which were generated by reaching consensus among a multidisciplinary group of pediatric spine experts using a modified Delphi technique. Further study is required to determine if implementation of these practices can lead to reduced complications and improved outcomes for children.

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Seung-Jae Hyun, Ki-Jeong Kim, and Tae-Ahn Jahng

OBJECTIVE

No reports have investigated how cervical reconstructive surgery affects global sagittal alignment (GSA), including the lower extremities, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL). The study was aimed at elucidating the effects of cervical reconstruction on GSA and HRQOL.

METHODS

Twenty-three patients who underwent reconstructive surgery for cervical kyphosis were divided into a head-balanced group (n = 13) and a trunk-balanced group (n = 10) according to the values of the C7 plumb line, T1 slope (T1S), and pelvic incidence minus lumbar lordosis (PI-LL). Head-balanced patients are those with a negative C7 sagittal vertical axis (SVA), a larger LL than PI, and a low T1S. Trunk-balanced patients are those with a positive SVAC7, a normal PI-LL, and a normal to high T1S. Various sagittal Cobb angles, SVA, and lower-extremity alignment parameters were measured before and after surgery using whole-body stereoradiography.

RESULTS

Cervical malalignment was corrected to achieve cervical sagittal balance and occiput-trunk (OT) concordance (center of gravity [COG]–C7 SVA < 30 mm). Significant changes in the upper cervical spine and thoracolumbar spine were observed in the head-balanced group, but no significant change in lumbopelvic alignment was observed in the trunk-balanced group. Lower-extremity alignment did not change substantially in either group. HRQOL scores improved significantly after surgery in both groups. SVACOG–C7 and SVAC2–7 were negatively and positively correlated with the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey physical component score and Neck Disability Index, respectively. The visual analog scale for back pain, Oswestry Disability Index, and PI-LL mismatch improved significantly in the head-balanced group after cervical reconstruction surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with cervical kyphosis exhibited compensatory changes in the upper cervical spine and thoracolumbar spine, instead of in the lower extremities. These compensatory mechanisms resolved reciprocally in a different fashion in the head- and trunk-balanced groups. HRQOL scores improved significantly with GSA restoration and OT concordance following cervical reconstruction.