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Praveen V. Mummaneni, John F. Burke, Andrew K. Chan, Julie Ann Sosa, Errol P. Lobo, Valli P. Mummaneni, Sheila Antrum, Sigurd H. Berven, Michael S. Conte, Sarah B. Doernberg, Andrew N. Goldberg, Christopher P. Hess, Steven W. Hetts, S. Andrew Josephson, Maureen P. Kohi, C. Benjamin Ma, Vaikom S. Mahadevan, Annette M. Molinaro, Andrew H. Murr, Sirisha Narayana, John P. Roberts, Marshall L. Stoller, Philip V. Theodosopoulos, Thomas P. Vail, Sandra Wienholz, Michael A. Gropper, Adrienne Green and Mitchel S. Berger

OBJECTIVE

During the COVID-19 pandemic, quaternary-care facilities continue to provide care for patients in need of urgent and emergent invasive procedures. Perioperative protocols are needed to streamline care for these patients notwithstanding capacity and resource constraints.

METHODS

A multidisciplinary panel was assembled at the University of California, San Francisco, with 26 leaders across 10 academic departments, including 7 department chairpersons, the chief medical officer, the chief operating officer, infection control officers, nursing leaders, and resident house staff champions. An epidemiologist, an ethicist, and a statistician were also consulted. A modified two-round, blinded Delphi method based on 18 agree/disagree statements was used to build consensus. Significant disagreement for each statement was tested using a one-sided exact binomial test against an expected outcome of 95% consensus using a significance threshold of p < 0.05. Final triage protocols were developed with unblinded group-level discussion.

RESULTS

Overall, 15 of 18 statements achieved consensus in the first round of the Delphi method; the 3 statements with significant disagreement (p < 0.01) were modified and iteratively resubmitted to the expert panel to achieve consensus. Consensus-based protocols were developed using unblinded multidisciplinary panel discussions. The final algorithms 1) quantified outbreak level, 2) triaged patients based on acuity, 3) provided a checklist for urgent/emergent invasive procedures, and 4) created a novel scoring system for the allocation of personal protective equipment. In particular, the authors modified the American College of Surgeons three-tiered triage system to incorporate more urgent cases, as are often encountered in neurosurgery and spine surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Urgent and emergent invasive procedures need to be performed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The consensus-based protocols in this study may assist healthcare providers to optimize perioperative care during the pandemic.

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Andrew J. Gogos, Jacob S. Young, Matheus P. Pereira, Ramin A. Morshed, Matthew B. Potts, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper and Mitchel S. Berger

OBJECTIVE

Although most patients with low-grade glioma (LGG) present after a seizure, a small proportion is diagnosed after neuroimaging is performed for a sign or symptom unrelated to the tumor. While these tumors invariably grow, some surgeons argue for a watchful waiting approach. Here, the authors report on their experience in the surgical treatment of patients with incidental LGG (iLGG) and describe the neurological outcomes, survival, and complications.

METHODS

Relevant cases were identified from a prospective registry of patients undergoing glioma resection at the University of California, San Francisco, between 1997 and 2019. Cases were considered iLGG when the lesion was noted on imaging performed for a reason unrelated to the tumor. Demographic, clinical, pathological, and imaging data were extracted from the electronic medical record. Tumor volumes, growth, and extent of resection were calculated from pre- and postoperative volumetric FLAIR sequences.

RESULTS

One hundred thirteen of 657 (17.2%) first-time resections for LGG were for incidental lesions. The most common reasons for the discovery of an iLGG were headaches (without mass effect, 34.5%) or trauma (16.8%). Incidental tumors were no different from symptomatic lesions in terms of laterality or location, but they were significantly smaller (22.5 vs 57.5 cm3, p < 0.0001). There was no difference in diagnosis between patients with iLGG and those with symptomatic LGG (sLGG), incorporating both molecular and pathological data. The median preoperative observation time for iLGG was 3.1 months (range 1 month–12 years), and there was a median growth rate of 3.9 cm3/year. Complete resection of the FLAIR abnormality was achieved in 57% of patients with incidental lesions but only 23.8% of symptomatic lesions (p < 0.001), and the residual volumes were smaller for iLGGs (2.9 vs 13.5 cm3, p < 0.0001). Overall survival was significantly longer for patients with incidental tumors (median survival not reached for patients with iLGG vs 14.6 years for those with sLGG, p < 0.0001). There was a 4.4% rate of neurological deficits at 6 months.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors present the largest cohort of iLGGs. Patient age, tumor location, and molecular genetics were not different between iLGGs and sLGGs. Incidental tumors were smaller, a greater extent of resection could be achieved, and overall survival was improved compared to those for patients with sLGG. Operative morbidity and rates of neurological deficit were acceptably low; thus, the authors advocate upfront surgical intervention aimed at maximal safe resection for these incidentally discovered lesions.

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Andrew J. Gogos, Jacob S. Young, Ramin A. Morshed, Lauro N. Avalos, Roger S. Noss, Javier E. Villanueva-Meyer, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper and Mitchel S. Berger

OBJECTIVE

Maximal safe resection of gliomas near motor pathways is facilitated by intraoperative mapping. The authors and other groups have described the use of bipolar or monopolar direct stimulation to identify functional tissue, as well as transcranial or transcortical motor evoked potentials (MEPs) to monitor motor pathways. Here, the authors describe their initial experience using all 3 modalities to identify, monitor, and preserve cortical and subcortical motor systems during glioma surgery.

METHODS

Intraoperative mapping data were extracted from a prospective registry of glioma resections near motor pathways. Additional demographic, clinical, pathological, and imaging data were extracted from the electronic medical record. All patients with new or worsened postoperative motor deficits were followed for at least 6 months.

RESULTS

Between January 2018 and August 2019, 59 operations were performed in 58 patients. Overall, patients in 6 cases (10.2%) had new or worse immediate postoperative deficits. Patients with temporary deficits all had at least Medical Research Council grade 4/5 power. Only 2 patients (3.4%) had permanently worsened deficits after 6 months, both of which were associated with diffusion restriction consistent with ischemia within the corticospinal tract. One patient’s deficit improved to 4/5 and the other to 4/5 proximally and 3/5 distally in the lower limb, allowing ambulation following rehabilitation. Subcortical motor pathways were identified in 51 cases (86.4%) with monopolar high-frequency stimulation, but only in 6 patients using bipolar stimulation. Transcranial or cortical MEPs were diminished in only 6 cases, 3 of which had new or worsened deficits, with 1 permanent deficit. Insula location (p = 0.001) and reduction in MEPs (p = 0.01) were the only univariate predictors of new or worsened postoperative deficits. Insula location was the only predictor of permanent deficits (p = 0.046). The median extent of resection was 98.0%.

CONCLUSIONS

Asleep triple motor mapping is safe and resulted in a low rate of deficits without compromising the extent of resection.

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Jacob S. Young, Andrew K. Chan, Jennifer A. Viner, Sujatha Sankaran, Alvin Y. Chan, Sarah Imershein, Aldea Meary-Miller, Philip V. Theodosopoulos, Line Jacques, Manish K. Aghi, Edward F. Chang, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper, Tracy Ward, Liz Gibson, Mariann M. Ward, Peter Sanftner, Stacy Wong, Dominic Amara, Stephen T. Magill, Joseph A. Osorio, Brinda Venkatesh, Ralph Gonzales, Catherine Lau, Christy Boscardin, Michael Wang, Kim Berry, Laurie McCullagh, Mary Reid, Kayla Reels, Sara Nedkov, Mitchel S. Berger and Michael W. McDermott

OBJECTIVE

High-value medical care is described as care that leads to excellent patient outcomes, high patient satisfaction, and efficient costs. Neurosurgical care in particular can be expensive for the hospital, as substantial costs are accrued during the operation and throughout the postoperative stay. The authors developed a “Safe Transitions Pathway” (STP) model in which select patients went to the postanesthesia care unit (PACU) and then the neuro-transitional care unit (NTCU) rather than being directly admitted to the neurosciences intensive care unit (ICU) following a craniotomy. They sought to evaluate the clinical and financial outcomes as well as the impact on the patient experience for patients who participated in the STP and bypassed the ICU level of care.

METHODS

Patients were enrolled during the 2018 fiscal year (FY18; July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018). The electronic medical record was reviewed for clinical information and the hospital cost accounting record was reviewed for financial information. Nurses and patients were given a satisfaction survey to assess their respective impressions of the hospital stay and of the recovery pathway.

RESULTS

No patients who proceeded to the NTCU postoperatively were upgraded to the ICU level of care postoperatively. There were no deaths in the STP group, and no patients required a return to the operating room during their hospitalization (95% CI 0%–3.9%). There was a trend toward fewer 30-day readmissions in the STP patients than in the standard pathway patients (1.2% [95% CI 0.0%–6.8%] vs 5.1% [95% CI 2.5%–9.1%], p = 0.058). The mean number of ICU days saved per case was 1.20. The average postprocedure length of stay was reduced by 0.25 days for STP patients. Actual FY18 direct cost savings from 94 patients who went through the STP was $422,128.

CONCLUSIONS

Length of stay, direct cost per case, and ICU days were significantly less after the adoption of the STP, and ICU bed utilization was freed for acute admissions and transfers. There were no substantial complications or adverse patient outcomes in the STP group.

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Tomasz Szmuda, Shan Ali and Paweł Słoniewski

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Anthony T. Lee, Claire Faltermeier, Ramin A. Morshed, Jacob S. Young, Sofia Kakaizada, Claudia Valdivia, Anne M. Findlay, Phiroz E. Tarapore, Srikantan S. Nagarajan, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper and Mitchel S. Berger

OBJECTIVE

Gliomas are intrinsic brain tumors with the hallmark of diffuse white matter infiltration, resulting in short- and long-range network dysfunction. Preoperative magnetoencephalography (MEG) can assist in maximizing the extent of resection while minimizing morbidity. While MEG has been validated in motor mapping, its role in speech mapping remains less well studied. The authors assessed how the resection of intraoperative electrical stimulation (IES)–negative, high functional connectivity (HFC) network sites, as identified by MEG, impacts language performance.

METHODS

Resting-state, whole-brain MEG recordings were obtained from 26 patients who underwent perioperative language evaluation and glioma resection that was guided by awake language and IES mapping. The functional connectivity of an individual voxel was determined by the imaginary coherence between the index voxel and the rest of the brain, referenced to its contralesional pair. The percentage of resected HFC voxels was correlated with postoperative language outcomes in tasks of increasing complexity: text reading, 4-syllable repetition, picture naming, syntax (SYN), and auditory stimulus naming (AN).

RESULTS

Overall, 70% of patients (14/20) in whom any HFC tissue was resected developed an early postoperative language deficit (mean 2.3 days, range 1–8 days), compared to 33% of patients (2/6) in whom no HFC tissue was resected (p = 0.16). When bifurcated by the amount of HFC tissue that was resected, 100% of patients (3/3) with an HFC resection > 25% displayed deficits in AN, compared to 30% of patients (6/20) with an HFC resection < 25% (p = 0.04). Furthermore, there was a linear correlation between the severity of AN and SYN decline with percentage of HFC sites resected (p = 0.02 and p = 0.04, respectively). By 2.2 months postoperatively (range 1–6 months), the correlation between HFC resection and both AN and SYN decline had resolved (p = 0.94 and p = 1.00, respectively) in all patients (9/9) except two who experienced early postoperative tumor progression or stroke involving inferior frontooccipital fasciculus.

CONCLUSIONS

Imaginary coherence measures of functional connectivity using MEG are able to identify HFC network sites within and around low- and high-grade gliomas. Removal of IES-negative HFC sites results in early transient postoperative decline in AN and SYN, which resolved by 3 months in all patients without stroke or early tumor progression. Measures of functional connectivity may therefore be a useful means of counseling patients about postoperative risk and assist with preoperative surgical planning.

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Domenique M. J. Müller, Pierre A. Robe, Hilko Ardon, Frederik Barkhof, Lorenzo Bello, Mitchel S. Berger, Wim Bouwknegt, Wimar A. Van den Brink, Marco Conti Nibali, Roelant S. Eijgelaar, Julia Furtner, Seunggu J. Han, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper, Albert J. S. Idema, Barbara Kiesel, Alfred Kloet, Jan C. De Munck, Marco Rossi, Tommaso Sciortino, W. Peter Vandertop, Martin Visser, Michiel Wagemakers, Georg Widhalm, Marnix G. Witte, Aeilko H. Zwinderman and Philip C. De Witt Hamer

OBJECTIVE

Decisions in glioblastoma surgery are often guided by presumed eloquence of the tumor location. The authors introduce the “expected residual tumor volume” (eRV) and the “expected resectability index” (eRI) based on previous decisions aggregated in resection probability maps. The diagnostic accuracy of eRV and eRI to predict biopsy decisions, resectability, functional outcome, and survival was determined.

METHODS

Consecutive patients with first-time glioblastoma surgery in 2012–2013 were included from 12 hospitals. The eRV was calculated from the preoperative MR images of each patient using a resection probability map, and the eRI was derived from the tumor volume. As reference, Sawaya’s tumor location eloquence grades (EGs) were classified. Resectability was measured as observed extent of resection (EOR) and residual volume, and functional outcome as change in Karnofsky Performance Scale score. Receiver operating characteristic curves and multivariable logistic regression were applied.

RESULTS

Of 915 patients, 674 (74%) underwent a resection with a median EOR of 97%, functional improvement in 71 (8%), functional decline in 78 (9%), and median survival of 12.8 months. The eRI and eRV identified biopsies and EORs of at least 80%, 90%, or 98% better than EG. The eRV and eRI predicted observed residual volumes under 10, 5, and 1 ml better than EG. The eRV, eRI, and EG had low diagnostic accuracy for functional outcome changes. Higher eRV and lower eRI were strongly associated with shorter survival, independent of known prognostic factors.

CONCLUSIONS

The eRV and eRI predict biopsy decisions, resectability, and survival better than eloquence grading and may be useful preoperative indices to support surgical decisions.

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Alexandra J. Golby, Eric C. Leuthardt, Hugues Duffau and Mitchel S. Berger

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Harsh Wadhwa, Sumedh S. Shah, Judy Shan, Justin Cheng, Angad S. Beniwal, Jia-Shu Chen, Sabraj A. Gill, Nikhil Mummaneni, Michael W. McDermott, Mitchel S. Berger and Manish K. Aghi

OBJECTIVE

Neurosurgery is consistently one of the most competitive specialties for resident applicants. The emphasis on research in neurosurgery has led to an increasing number of publications by applicants seeking a successful residency match. The authors sought to produce a comprehensive analysis of research produced by neurosurgical applicants and to establish baseline data of neurosurgery applicant research productivity given the increased emphasis on research output for successful residency match.

METHODS

A retrospective review of publication volume for all neurosurgery interns in 2009, 2011, 2014, 2016, and 2018 was performed using PubMed and Google Scholar. Missing data rates were 11% (2009), 9% (2011), and < 5% (all others). The National Resident Matching Program report “Charting Outcomes in the Match” (ChOM) was interrogated for total research products (i.e., abstracts, presentations, and publications). The publication rates of interns at top 40 programs, students from top 20 medical schools, MD/PhD applicants, and applicants based on location of residency program and medical school were compared statistically against all others.

RESULTS

Total publications per neurosurgery intern (mean ± SD) based on PubMed and Google Scholar were 5.5 ± 0.6 in 2018 (1.7 ± 0.3, 2009; 2.1 ± 0.3, 2011; 2.6 ± 0.4, 2014; 3.8 ± 0.4, 2016), compared to 18.3 research products based on ChOM. In 2018, the mean numbers of publications were as follows: neurosurgery-specific publications per intern, 4.3 ± 0.6; first/last author publications, 2.1 ± 0.3; neurosurgical first/last author publications, 1.6 ± 0.2; basic science publications, 1.5 ± 0.2; and clinical research publications, 4.0 ± 0.5. Mean publication numbers among interns at top 40 programs were significantly higher than those of all other programs in every category (p < 0.001). Except for mean number of basic science publications (p = 0.1), the mean number of publications was higher for interns who attended a top 20 medical school than for those who did not (p < 0.05). Applicants with PhD degrees produced statistically more research in all categories (p < 0.05) except neurosurgery-specific (p = 0.07) and clinical research (p = 0.3). While there was no statistical difference in publication volume based on the geographical location of the residency program, students from medical schools in the Western US produced more research than all other regions (p < 0.01). Finally, research productivity did not correlate with likelihood of medical students staying at their home institution for residency.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that the temporal trend toward increased total research products over time in neurosurgery applicants was driven mostly by increased nonindexed research (abstracts, presentations, chapters) rather than by increased peer-reviewed publications. While we also identified applicant-specific factors (MD/PhDs and applicants from the Western US) and an outcome (matching at research-focused institutions) associated with increased applicant publications, further work will be needed to determine the emphasis that programs and applicants will need to place on these publications.

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Sujatha Sankaran, John P. Andrews, Madeline Chicas, Robert M. Wachter and Mitchel S. Berger