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Frank J. Attenello, Ian A. Buchanan, Timothy Wen, Daniel A. Donoho, Shirley McCartney, Steven Y. Cen, Alexander A. Khalessi, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol, Joseph S. Cheng, William J. Mack, Clemens M. Schirmer, Karin R. Swartz, J. Adair Prall, Ann R. Stroink, Steven L. Giannotta and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Excessive dissatisfaction and stress among physicians can precipitate burnout, which results in diminished productivity, quality of care, and patient satisfaction and treatment adherence. Given the multiplicity of its harms and detriments to workforce retention and in light of the growing physician shortage, burnout has garnered much attention in recent years. Using a national survey, the authors formally evaluated burnout among neurosurgery trainees.

METHODS

An 86-item questionnaire was disseminated to residents in the American Association of Neurological Surgeons database between June and November 2015. Questions evaluated personal and workplace stressors, mentorship, career satisfaction, and burnout. Burnout was assessed using the previously validated Maslach Burnout Inventory. Factors associated with burnout were determined using univariate and multivariate logistic regression.

RESULTS

The response rate with completed surveys was 21% (346/1643). The majority of residents were male (78%), 26–35 years old (92%), in a stable relationship (70%), and without children (73%). Respondents were equally distributed across all residency years. Eighty-one percent of residents were satisfied with their career choice, although 41% had at some point given serious thought to quitting. The overall burnout rate was 67%. In the multivariate analysis, notable factors associated with burnout included inadequate operating room exposure (OR 7.57, p = 0.011), hostile faculty (OR 4.07, p = 0.008), and social stressors outside of work (OR 4.52, p = 0.008). Meaningful mentorship was protective against burnout in the multivariate regression models (OR 0.338, p = 0.031).

CONCLUSIONS

Rates of burnout and career satisfaction are paradoxically high among neurosurgery trainees. While several factors were predictive of burnout, including inadequate operative exposure and social stressors, meaningful mentorship proved to be protective against burnout. The documented negative effects of burnout on patient care and health care economics necessitate further studies for potential solutions to curb its rise.

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Eric Laurent, Irvin Sam Schonfeld and Renzo Bianchi

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Ryan P. Lee, Raymond Xu, Pooja Dave, Sonia Ajmera, Jock C. Lillard, David Wallace, Austin Broussard, Mustafa Motiwala, Sebastian Norrdahl, Carissa Howie, Oluwatomi Akinduro, Garrett T. Venable, Nickalus R. Khan, Douglas R. Taylor, Brandy N. Vaughn and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

There has been an increasing interest in the quantitative analysis of publishing within the field of neurosurgery at the individual, group, and institutional levels. The authors present an updated analysis of accredited pediatric neurosurgery training programs.

METHODS

All 28 Accreditation Council for Pediatric Neurosurgery Fellowship programs were contacted for the names of pediatric neurosurgeons who were present each year from 2011 through 2015. Faculty names were queried in Scopus for publications and citations during this time period. The 5-year institutional Hirsch index [ih(5)-index] and revised 5-year institutional h-index [ir(5)-index] were calculated to rank programs. Each publication was reviewed to determine authorship value, tier of research, clinical versus basic science research, subject matter, and whether it was pediatrics-specific. A unique 3-tier article classification system was introduced to stratify clinical articles by quality and complexity, with tier 3 being the lowest tier of publication (e.g., case reports) and tier 1 being the highest (e.g., randomized controlled trials).

RESULTS

Among 2060 unique publications, 1378 (67%) were pediatrics-specific. The pediatrics-specific articles had a mean of 15.2 citations per publication (median 6), whereas the non–pediatrics-specific articles had a mean of 23.0 citations per publication (median 8; p < 0.0001). For the 46% of papers that had a pediatric neurosurgeon as first or last author, the mean number of citations per publication was 12.1 (median 5.0) compared with 22.5 (median 8.0) for those in which a pediatric neurosurgeon was a middle author (p < 0.0001). Seventy-nine percent of articles were clinical research and 21% were basic science or translational research; however, basic science and translational articles had a mean of 36.9 citations per publication (median 15) compared with 12.6 for clinical publications (median 5.0; p < 0.0001). Among clinical articles, tier 1 papers had a mean of 15.0 citations per publication (median 8.0), tier 2 papers had a mean of 18.7 (median 8.0), and tier 3 papers had a mean of 7.8 (median 3.0). Neuro-oncology papers received the highest number of citations per publication (mean 25.7). The most common journal was the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics (20%). MD/PhD faculty members had significantly more citations per publication than MD faculty members (mean 26.7 vs 14.0; p < 0.0001) and also a higher number of publications per author (mean 38.6 vs 20.8). The median ih(5)- and ir(5)-indices per program were 14 (range 5–48) and 10 (range 5.6–37.2), respectively. The mean ir(5)/ih(5)-index ratio was 0.8. The top 5 fellowship programs (in descending order) as ranked by the ih(5)-index corrected for number of faculty members were The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto; Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh; University of California, San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital; Seattle Children’s Hospital; and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

CONCLUSIONS

About two-thirds of publications authored by pediatric neurosurgeons are pediatrics-specific, although non–pediatrics-specific articles averaged more citations. Most of the articles authored by pediatric neurosurgeons are clinical, with basic and translational articles averaging more citations. Neurosurgeons with PhD degrees averaged more total publications and more citations per publication. In all, this is the most advanced and informative analysis of publication productivity in pediatric neurosurgery to date.

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Michael C. Dewan, Jaims Lim, Stephen R. Gannon, David Heaner, Matthew C. Davis, Brandy Vaughn, Joshua J. Chern, Brandon G. Rocque, Paul Klimo Jr., John C. Wellons III and Robert P. Naftel

OBJECTIVE

It has been suggested that the treatment of infant hydrocephalus results in different craniometric changes depending upon whether ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS) placement or endoscopic third ventriculostomy with choroid plexus cauterization (ETV/CPC) is performed. Without an objective and quantitative description of expected changes to the infant cranium and ventricles following ETV/CPC, asserting successful treatment of hydrocephalus is difficult. By comparing infants successfully treated via ETV/CPC or VPS surgery, the authors of this study aimed to define the expected postoperative cranial and ventricular alterations at the time of clinical follow-up.

METHODS

Patients who underwent successful treatment of hydrocephalus at 4 institutions with either VPS placement or ETV/CPC were matched in a 3:1 ratio on the basis of age and etiology. Commonly used cranial parameters (including head circumference [HC], HC z-score, fontanelle status, and frontooccipital horn ratio [FOHR]) were compared pre- and postoperatively between treatment cohorts. First, baseline preoperative values were compared to ensure cohort equivalence. Next, postoperative metrics, including the relative change in metrics, were compared between treatment groups using multivariate linear regression.

RESULTS

Across 4 institutions, 18 ETV/CPC-treated and 54 VPS-treated infants with hydrocephalus were matched and compared at 6 months postoperatively. The most common etiologies of hydrocephalus were myelomeningocele (61%), followed by congenital communicating hydrocephalus (17%), aqueductal stenosis (11%), and intraventricular hemorrhage (6%). The mean age at the time of CSF diversion was similar between ETV/CPC- and VPS-treated patients (3.4 vs 2.9 months; p = 0.69), as were all preoperative cranial hydrocephalus metrics (p > 0.05). Postoperatively, the ventricle size FOHR decreased significantly more following VPS surgery (−0.15) than following ETV/CPC (−0.02) (p < 0.001), yielding a lower postoperative FOHR in the VPS arm (0.42 vs 0.51; p = 0.01). The HC percentile was greater in the ETV/CPC cohort than in the VPS-treated patients (76th vs 54th percentile; p = 0.046). A significant difference in the postoperative z-score was not observed. With both treatment modalities, a bulging fontanelle reliably normalized at last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

Clinical and radiographic parameters following successful treatment of hydrocephalus in infants differed between ETV/CPC and VPS treatment. At 6 months post-ETV/CPC, ventricle size remained unchanged, whereas VPS-treated ventricles decreased to a near-normal FOHR. The HC growth control between the procedures was similar, although the final HC percentile may be lower after VPS. The fontanelle remained a reliable indicator of success for both treatments. This study establishes expected cranial and ventricular parameters following ETV/CPC, which may be used to guide preoperative counseling and postoperative decision making.

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Osamu Akiyama, Ken Matsushima, Abuzer Gungor, Satoshi Matsuo, Dylan J. Goodrich, R. Shane Tubbs, Paul Klimo Jr., Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol, Hajime Arai and Albert L. Rhoton Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Approaches to the pulvinar remain challenging because of the depth of the target, surrounding critical neural structures, and complicated arterial and venous relationships. The purpose of this study was to compare the surgical approaches to different parts of the pulvinar and to examine the efficacy of the endoscope as an adjunct to the operating microscope in this area.

METHODS

The pulvinar was examined in 6 formalin-fixed human cadaveric heads through 5 approaches: 4 above and 1 below the tentorium. Each approach was performed using both the surgical microscope and 0° or 45° rigid endoscopes.

RESULTS

The pulvinar has a lateral ventricular and a medial cisternal surface that are separated by the fornix and the choroidal fissure, which wrap around the posterior surface of the pulvinar. The medial cisternal part of the pulvinar can be further divided into upper and lower parts. The superior parietal lobule approach is suitable for lesions in the upper ventricular and cisternal parts. Interhemispheric precuneus and posterior transcallosal approaches are suitable for lesions in the part of the pulvinar forming the anterior wall of the atrium and adjacent cisternal part. The posterior interhemispheric transtentorial approach is suitable for lesions in the lower cisternal part and the supracerebellar infratentorial approach is suitable for lesions in the inferior and medial cisternal parts.

The microscope provided satisfactory views of the ventricular and cisternal surfaces of the pulvinar and adjacent neural and vascular structures. The endoscope provided multi-angled and wider views of the pulvinar and adjacent structures.

CONCLUSIONS

A combination of endoscopic and microsurgical techniques allows optimal exposure of the pulvinar.

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Ryan P. Lee, Kimberly A. Foster, Jock C. Lillard, Paul Klimo Jr., David W. Ellison, Brent Orr and Frederick A. Boop

OBJECTIVE

Thalamopeduncular tumors are a group of pediatric low-grade gliomas that arise at the interface of the thalamus and brainstem peduncle. They typically occur within the first 2 decades of life, presenting with progressive spastic hemiparesis. Treatment strategies, including surgical intervention, have varied significantly. The authors present their experience in the treatment of 13 children, ages 2–15 years, with non-neurofibromatosis–related pilocytic astrocytomas located in the thalamopeduncular region.

METHODS

Between 2003 and 2016, 13 children presenting with progressive spastic hemiparesis due to a pilocytic astrocytoma at the interface of the thalamus and cerebral peduncles were identified. Medical records were reviewed retrospectively for clinical, radiological, pathological, and surgical data. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue was obtained for 12 cases and tested for KIAA1549-BRAF fusion and BRAF V600E point mutation.

RESULTS

On preoperative diffusion tensor imaging tractography (performed in 12 patients), the ipsilateral corticospinal tract was displaced laterally in 1 case (8.3%), medially in 1 case (8.3%), anterolaterally in 10 cases (83%), and posteriorly in no cases. Ten patients underwent resection via a transtemporal, transchoroidal approach, which was chosen to avoid further damage to motor function in cases of tumors that caused anterolateral or medial corticospinal tract displacement. With this approach, complications included hemianopia, oculomotor palsy, and tremor at a rate of 50%. Among the 12 patients with obtainable follow-up (mean 50.9 months), none received adjuvant therapy, and only 2 (17%) experienced recurrence or progression. KIAA1549-BRAF fusions were present in 10 cases (83%), while BRAF V600E was absent (0%). The 2 fusion-negative tumors had clinical features atypical for the series, including multi-focality and infiltration.

CONCLUSIONS

Transcortical, transchoroidal resection of thalamopeduncular tumors through the middle temporal gyrus allows for a high rate of gross-total resection and cure. Diffuse tensor tractography is a critical component of the preoperative planning process to determine the location of white matter tracts in proximity. Molecular status may correlate with clinical features, and the presence of BRAF lesions offers an additional target for future novel therapeutics.

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Nickalus R. Khan, Brittany D. Fraser, Vincent Nguyen, Kenneth Moore, Scott Boop, Brandy N. Vaughn and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Despite established risk factors, abusive head trauma (AHT) continues to plague our communities. Cerebrovascular accident (CVA), depicted as areas of hypodensity on CT scans or diffusion restriction on MR images, is a well-known consequence of AHT, but its etiology remains elusive. The authors hypothesize that a CVA, in isolation or in conjunction with other intracranial injuries, compounds the severity of a child’s injury, which in turn leads to greater health care utilization, including surgical services, and an increased risk of death.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective observational study to evaluate data obtained in all children with AHT who presented to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital (LBCH) from January 2009 through August 2016. Demographic, hospital course, radiological, cost, and readmission information was collected. Children with one or more CVA were compared with those without a CVA.

RESULTS

The authors identified 282 children with AHT, of whom 79 (28%) had one or more CVA. Compared with individuals without a CVA, children with a stroke were of similar overall age (6 months), sex (61% male), and race (56% African-American) and had similar insurance status (81% public). Just under half of all children with a stroke (38/79, 48%) were between 1–6 months of age. Thirty-five stroke patients (44%) had a Grade II injury, and 44 (56%) had a Grade III injury. The majority of stroke cases were bilateral (78%), multifocal (85%), associated with an overlying subdural hematoma (86%), and were watershed/hypoperfusion in morphology (73%). Thirty-six children (46%) had a hemispheric stroke. There were a total of 48 neurosurgical procedures performed on 28 stroke patients. Overall median hospital length of stay (11 vs 3 days), total hospital charges ($13.8 vs $6.6 million), and mean charges per patient ($174,700 vs $32,500) were significantly higher in the stroke cohort as a whole, as well as by injury grade (II and III). Twenty children in the stroke cohort (25%) died as a direct result of their AHT, whereas only 2 children in the nonstroke cohort died (1%). There was a 30% readmission rate within the first 180-day postinjury period for patients in the stroke cohort, and of these, approximately 50% required additional neurosurgical intervention(s).

CONCLUSIONS

One or more strokes in a child with AHT indicate a particularly severe injury. These children have longer hospital stays, greater hospital charges, and a greater likelihood of needing a neurosurgical intervention (i.e., bedside procedure or surgery). Stroke is such an important predictor of health care utilization and outcome that it warrants a subcategory for both Grade II and Grade III injuries. It should be noted that the word “stroke” or “CVA” should not automatically imply arterial compromise in this population.

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Scott Boop, Mary Axente, Blakely Weatherford and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Research on pediatric abusive head trauma (AHT) has largely focused on clinical presentation and management. The authors sought to review a single-institution experience from a public health perspective to gain a better understanding of the local population affected, determine overall incidence and seasonal trends, and provide details on the initial hospitalization, including extent of injuries, neurosurgical interventions, and hospital charges.

METHODS

All cases of AHT involving patients who presented to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital (LBCH) from 2009 through 2014 were identified. AHT was defined as skull fracture or intracranial hemorrhage in a child under the age of 5 years with a suspicious mechanism or evidence of other intentional injuries, such as retinal hemorrhages, old or new fractures, or soft-tissue bruising. Injuries were categorized as Grade I (skull fracture only), Grade II (intracranial hemorrhage or edema not requiring surgical intervention), or Grade III (intracranial hemorrhage requiring intervention or death due to brain injury).

RESULTS

Two hundred thirteen AHT cases were identified. The demographics of the study population are similar to those reported in the literature: the majority of the patients involved were 6 months of age or younger (55%), male (61%), African American (47%), and publicly insured (82%). One hundred one neurosurgical procedures were performed in 58 children, with the most common being bur hole placement for treatment of subdural collections (25%) and decompressive hemicraniectomy (22%). The annual incidence rate rose from 2009 (19.6 cases per 100,000 in the population under 5 years of age) to 2014 (47.4 cases per 100,000) and showed seasonal peaks in January, July, and October (6-year average single-month incidence, respectively, 24.7, 21.7, and 24.7 per 100,000). The total hospital charges were $13,014,584, with a median cost of $27,939. Treatment costs for children who required surgical intervention (i.e., those with Grade III) were up to 10 times those of children with less severe injuries.

CONCLUSIONS

In the authors' local population, victims of AHT are overwhelmingly infants, are more often male than female, and are disproportionately from lower socioeconomic ranks. The incidence is increasing and initial hospitalization charges are substantial and variable. The authors introduce a simple 3-tiered injury classification scheme that adequately stratifies length of hospital stay and cost.