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Open access

Gwang Yoon Choi, Hyuk Jai Choi, Jin Pyeong Jeon, Jin Seo Yang, Suk-Hyung Kang, and Yong-Jun Cho

BACKGROUND

Cerebral proliferative angiopathy (CPA) is a rare vascular disorder distinct from arteriovenous malformation. Because of the disorder’s rarity, there is still a controversy on the most promising treatment method for CPA. However, several meta-analysis articles suggest indirect vascularization such as encephalo-duro-arterio-synangiosis as an effective way of treating symptoms that are medically uncontrolled.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors describe a case of an 11-year-old boy with this disease, who had epilepsy that was intractable despite conservative management. The patient recovered from his symptoms after the vascular malformation was surgically removed. This is the first reported case of surgical removal in CPA.

LESSONS

Although further investigation on the best treatment for CPA is needed, the authors believe surgical intervention may also be an effective treatment modality when a patient presents with persisting symptoms.

Free access

Jasmine A. Thum

It is not possible to capture all the depth that composes Dr. Linda Liau: chair of the Neurosurgery Department at the University of California, Los Angeles; second woman to chair a neurosurgery program in the United States; first woman to chair the American Board of Neurological Surgery; first woman president of the Western Neurosurgical Society; and one of only a handful of neurosurgeons elected to the National Academy of Medicine. Her childhood and family history alone could fascinate several chapters of her life’s biography. Nonetheless, this brief biography hopes to capture the challenges, triumphs, cultural norms, and spirit that have shaped Dr. Liau’s experience as a successful leader, scientist, and neurosurgeon. This is a rare story. It describes the rise of not only an immigrant within neurosurgery—not unlike other giants in the field, Drs. Robert Spetzler, Jacques Marcos, Ossama Al-Mefty, and a handful of other contemporaries—but also another type of minority in neurosurgery: a woman.

Free access

Aruna Ganju, Uma V. Mahajan, Hanna Kemeny, H. Gregory Frankel, and Deborah L. Benzil

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to analyze the visibility of women within organized neurosurgery, including leadership positions, lectureships, and honored guest/award recipients at neurosurgical conferences.

METHODS

A cross-sectional study was used to analyze the gender demographics within the five major national neurosurgical societies (Congress of Neurological Surgeons [CNS], American Association of Neurological Surgeons [AANS], Society of Neurological Surgeons [SNS], American Board of Neurological Surgery [ABNS], and Council of State Neurosurgical Societies [CSNS]) from 2000 to 2020. Data for top leadership positions, keynote speakers, honored guests, and invited lectureships at these neurosurgical societies were reviewed. Additionally, national neurosurgical residency match data from 2018 to 2020 were collected. For each aforementioned data point, gender was determined and confirmed via publicly available data. Data from the US News and World Report best hospitals publication for 2020 were applied for analyzing gender trends within neurosurgical residencies specifically.

RESULTS

In the past 2 decades (2000–2020), top leadership positions across the neurosurgical organizations were held by 45 individuals, of whom 5 (11.1%) were women. Spanning from 2000 to 2018, just 8.1% (50 of 618) of guests/honored speakers on the national neurosurgical stage of the CNS, AANS, SNS, and CSNS meetings have been female. Excluding the Louise Eisenhardt Lecture (honoring women), the percentage of female guests/honored speakers at the AANS meeting was just 5% (17 of 367). For the CNS annual meetings, 13.4% (20 of 149) of the speakers were women from 2000 to 2018, whereas the CSNS annual meeting data from 2001 to 2018 found that 11.9% (7 of 59) of speakers were women. From 1952 to the present, there have been no female honored guests at the CNS annual meeting. Across the residency match cycles from 2018 to 2020, the percentages of matched applicants identifying as female have been 22.7%, 28.1%, and, most recently, 25.3%. The percentage of female residents is 28.5% (top 20 program) versus 24.3% (non–top 20 program) (p = 0.267).

CONCLUSIONS

This study found that for all the data points surveyed, including leadership positions, invited lectureships at national neurosurgical meetings, and successful neurosurgical residency applicants, disproportionate female underrepresentation was evident. Consistent lack of visibility leads to a negative impact on progress in the recruitment and retention of women in neurosurgery. Visibility, mentorship, role models, and sponsorship are highly interrelated processes and are essential for meaningful progress.

Open access

Chisato Yokota, Naoki Kagawa, Yohei Bamba, Yuko Tazuke, Yasuji Kitabatake, Tomoyoshi Nakagawa, Ryuichi Hirayama, Hiroomi Okuyama, and Haruhiko Kishima

BACKGROUND

Conjoined twins represent a rare congenital malformation. Pygopagus twins are fused at the sacrum and perineum, with union of the spine. The authors report a successful separation of a unique case of pygopagus twins sharing a U-shaped spinal cord, which the authors identified through aberrant nerves by intraoperative physiological spinal root examination.

OBSERVATIONS

The 6-month-old male pygopagus conjoined twins, who were diagnosed in the prenatal period, underwent separation. They had a single dural sac containing a U-shaped continuous spinal cord; their filum terminale appeared completely fused and the anatomical border of the spinal cord was not distinguishable. A triggered electromyogram (tEMG) was used on each nerve root to determine which belonged to one twin versus the other, to detect nerve cross, and to identify functional midline cleavage. Finally, the twins were separated after spinal division. Both twins recovered uneventfully with no lower limb neurological deficits or walking impairment for 16 months.

LESSONS

Pygopagus twins with a conjoined spinal cord are very rare, but a good long-term functional prognosis can be expected with successful separation. Intraoperative tEMG is useful in spinal separation surgery for twins with a conjoined spinal cord.

Free access

Meriem Amarouche, Micaela Uberti, Gwenllian Y. H. R. Evans, and Navneet Singh

Despite over half of medical students in the United Kingdom (UK) being female, women represent only a small proportion of the workforce in the traditional “male” specialties, including neurosurgery. There is increasing global attention to and awareness of gender discrimination in the workplace across several industries, including health care. The authors set out to explore the opinions and attitudes of UK neurosurgeons and neurosurgery trainees on gender issues via a large-scale national survey. The results highlight key perceptions and gaps in mentorship and leadership and provide ideas for change. This should be used as a foundation to delve deeper and to address specific questions in order to achieve a fairer, more meritocratic environment in which neurosurgeons can thrive.

Free access

Tina Lulla, Rosemary T. Behmer Hansen, Cynthia A. Smith, Nicole A. Silva, Nitesh V. Patel, and Anil Nanda

OBJECTIVE

Gender disparities in neurosurgery have persisted even as the number of female medical students in many countries has risen. An understanding of the current gender distribution of neurosurgeons around the world and the possible factors contributing to country-specific gender disparities is an important step in improving gender equity in the field.

METHODS

The authors performed a systematic review of studies pertaining to women in neurosurgery. Papers listed in PubMed in the English language were collected. A modified grounded theory approach was utilized to systematically identify and code factors noted to contribute to gender disparities in neurosurgery. Statistical analysis was performed with IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows.

RESULTS

The authors identified 39 studies describing the density of women neurosurgeons in particular regions, 18 of which documented the proportion of practicing female neurosurgeons in a single or in multiple countries. The majority of these studies were published within the last 5 years. Eight factors contributing to gender disparity were identified, including conference representation, the proverbial glass ceiling, lifestyle, mentoring, discrimination, interest, salary, and physical burden.

CONCLUSIONS

The topic of women in neurosurgery has received considerable global scholarly attention. The worldwide proportion of female neurosurgeons varies by region and country. Mentorship was the most frequently cited factor contributing to noted gender differences, with lifestyle, the glass ceiling, and discrimination also frequently mentioned. Future studies are necessary to assess the influence of country-specific sociopolitical factors that push and pull individuals of all backgrounds to enter this field.

Free access

Marta Pastor-Cabeza, Ramon Torné, Roser García-Armengol, Belén Menéndez-Osorio, Alejandra Mosteiro-Cadaval, Alicia Bollar, Jordi M. Rimbau, Rosario Sarabia, and Ana Rodríguez-Hernández

OBJECTIVE

The percentage of women publishing high-impact neurosurgical research might be perceived as a representation of our specialty and may influence the perpetuation of the existing gender gap. This study investigated whether the trend in women taking lead roles in neurosurgical research has mirrored the increase in female neurosurgeons during the past decade and whether our most prestigious publications portray enough female role models to stimulate gender diversity among the new generation of neurosurgeons.

METHODS

Two of the most prominent neurosurgical journals—Journal of Neurosurgery and Neurosurgery—were selected for this study, and every original article that was published in 2009 and 2019 in each of those journals was investigated according to the gender of the first and senior authors, their academic titles, their affiliations, and their institutions’ region.

RESULTS

A total of 1328 articles were analyzed. The percentage of female authors was significantly higher in Europe and Russia compared with the US and Canada (first authors: 60/302 [19.9%] vs 109/829 [13.1%], p = 0.005; and senior authors: 32/302 [10.6%] vs 57/829 [6.9%], p = 0.040). Significantly increased female authorship was observed from 2009 to 2019, and overall numbers of both first and senior female authors almost doubled. However, when analyzing by regions, female authorship increased significantly only in the US and Canada. Female authors of neurosurgical research articles were significantly less likely to hold an MD degree compared with men. Female neurosurgeons serving as senior authors were represented in only 3.6% (48/1328) of articles. Women serving as senior authors were more likely to have a female colleague listed as the first author of their research (29/97 [29.9%] vs 155/1231 [12.6%]; χ2 = 22.561, p = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Although this work showed an encouraging increase in the number of women publishing high-impact neurosurgical research, the stagnant trend in Europe may suggest that a glass ceiling has been reached and further advances in equity would require more aggressive measures. The differences in the researchers’ profiles (academic title and affiliation) suggest an even wider gender gap. Cultural unconscious bias may explain why female senior authors have more than double the number of women serving as their junior authors compared with men. While changes in the workforce happen, strategies such as publishing specific issues on women, encouraging female editorials, and working toward more gender-balanced editorial boards may help our journals to portray a more equitable specialty that would not discourage bright female candidates.

Free access

Abhidha Shah

The presence of women in neurosurgery is slowly but surely gaining momentum as many aspiring young female medical residents are being enticed by this fascinating branch. History is rife with the struggles of pioneering women who entered the neurosurgical profession against all odds, formed a firm foothold, and built a legacy for generations to emulate. Prof. Yoko Kato has spent her entire lifetime in the service of neurosurgery and taking it to the remotest corners of the world. Her persistence and conviction have made her one of the most admired neurosurgeons in the world and the most loved neurosurgeon for those in the less privileged countries. She has inspired and trained an entire generation of neurosurgeons. Her contributions will always be a glorious chapter in the world book of neurosurgery.

Restricted access

José P. Lavrador, Graeme Pang, Francesco Vergani, Ranjeev Bhangoo, Richard Gullan, and Keyoumars Ashkan