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Noah S. Cutler, Sudharsan Srinivasan, Bryan L. Aaron, Sharath Kumar Anand, Michael S. Kang, David B. Altshuler, Thomas C. Schermerhorn, Todd C. Hollon, Cormac O. Maher, and Siri Sahib S. Khalsa

OBJECTIVE

Normal percentile growth charts for head circumference, length, and weight are well-established tools for clinicians to detect abnormal growth patterns. Currently, no standard exists for evaluating normal size or growth of cerebral ventricular volume. The current standard practice relies on clinical experience for a subjective assessment of cerebral ventricular size to determine whether a patient is outside the normal volume range. An improved definition of normal ventricular volumes would facilitate a more data-driven diagnostic process. The authors sought to develop a growth curve of cerebral ventricular volumes using a large number of normal pediatric brain MR images.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of patients aged 0 to 18 years, who were evaluated at their institution between 2009 and 2016 with brain MRI performed for headaches, convulsions, or head injury. Patients were excluded for diagnoses of hydrocephalus, congenital brain malformations, intracranial hemorrhage, meningitis, or intracranial mass lesions established at any time during a 3- to 10-year follow-up. The volume of the cerebral ventricles for each T2-weighted MRI sequence was calculated with a custom semiautomated segmentation program written in MATLAB. Normal percentile curves were calculated using the lambda-mu-sigma smoothing method.

RESULTS

Ventricular volume was calculated for 687 normal brain MR images obtained in 617 different patients. A chart with standardized growth curves was developed from this set of normal ventricular volumes representing the 5th, 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, 90th, and 95th percentiles. The charted data were binned by age at scan date by 3-month intervals for ages 0–1 year, 6-month intervals for ages 1–3 years, and 12-month intervals for ages 3–18 years. Additional percentile values were calculated for boys only and girls only.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors developed centile estimation growth charts of normal 3D ventricular volumes measured on brain MRI for pediatric patients. These charts may serve as a quantitative clinical reference to help discern normal variance from pathologic ventriculomegaly.

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Howard L. Weiner, P. David Adelson, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Cormac O. Maher, Nalin Gupta, Matthew D. Smyth, Andrew Jea, Jeffrey P. Blount, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Sandi K. Lam, Edward S. Ahn, Gregory W. Albert, and Jeffrey R. Leonard

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Natalie Limoges, Erin D’Agostino, Aaron Gelinne, Cormac O. Maher, R. Michael Scott, Gerald Grant, Mark D. Krieger, David D. Limbrick Jr., Michael White, and Susan Durham

OBJECTIVE

Pediatric neurosurgery is a core component of neurosurgical residency training. Pediatric case minimums are established by the Neurosurgery Residency Review Committee of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Case minimums, by themselves, allow for great variability in training between programs. There are no prior data on how the residency programs meet these requirements. The authors’ objective was to gather information on pediatric neurosurgical education among the ACGME-accredited neurosurgery training programs in order to shape further pediatric neurosurgical educational efforts.

METHODS

A 25-question survey about pediatric neurosurgical education was created by the Education Committee of the Section on Pediatric Neurological Surgery of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons and distributed to program directors of all 111 ACGME-accredited neurosurgery training programs.

RESULTS

The response rate was 77% (86/111). In 55% of programs the residents are rotated to a responder-designated “freestanding” children’s hospital, and 39% of programs rotate residents to a children’s hospital within a larger adult hospital or a general hospital. There are 4 or fewer pediatric neurosurgical faculty in 91% of programs. In 12% of programs less than 100 cases are performed per year, and in 45% more than 500 are performed. In 31% of responding neurosurgery residency programs there is also a pediatric neurosurgery fellowship program supported by the same sponsoring institution. Seventy-seven percent of programs have at least one specific pediatric neurosurgery rotation, with 71% of those rotations occurring during postgraduate year 3 and 50% occurring during postgraduate year 4. The duration of pediatric rotation varies from no specific rotation to more than 1 year, with 48% of residents spending 4–6 months on a pediatric rotation and 12% spending 7–11 months. Last, 17% of programs send their residents to external sites sponsoring other residency programs for their pediatric rotation.

CONCLUSIONS

There is great variety between neurosurgery training programs with regard to resident education in pediatric neurosurgery. This study’s data will serve as a baseline for future studies, and the authors hope the findings will guide further efforts in pediatric neurosurgical education in residency training programs.

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Andrew T. Hale, P. David Adelson, Gregory W. Albert, Philipp R. Aldana, Tord D. Alden, Richard C. E. Anderson, David F. Bauer, Christopher M. Bonfield, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Joshua J. Chern, Daniel E. Couture, David J. Daniels, Susan R. Durham, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Ramin Eskandari, Timothy M. George, Gerald A. Grant, Patrick C. Graupman, Stephanie Greene, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Naina L. Gross, Daniel J. Guillaume, Gregory G. Heuer, Mark Iantosca, Bermans J. Iskandar, Eric M. Jackson, James M. Johnston, Robert F. Keating, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Cormac O. Maher, Francesco T. Mangano, J. Gordon McComb, Thanda Meehan, Arnold H. Menezes, Brent O’Neill, Greg Olavarria, Tae Sung Park, John Ragheb, Nathan R. Selden, Manish N. Shah, Matthew D. Smyth, Scellig S. D. Stone, Jennifer M. Strahle, Scott D. Wait, John C. Wellons, William E. Whitehead, Chevis N. Shannon, David D. Limbrick Jr., and for the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium Investigators

OBJECTIVE

Factors associated with syrinx size in pediatric patients undergoing posterior fossa decompression (PFD) or PFD with duraplasty (PFDD) for Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) with syringomyelia (SM; CM-I+SM) are not well established.

METHODS

Using the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium registry, the authors analyzed variables associated with syrinx radiological outcomes in patients (< 20 years old at the time of surgery) with CM-I+SM undergoing PFD or PFDD. Syrinx resolution was defined as an anteroposterior (AP) diameter of ≤ 2 mm or ≤ 3 mm or a reduction in AP diameter of ≥ 50%. Syrinx regression or progression was defined using 1) change in syrinx AP diameter (≥ 1 mm), or 2) change in syrinx length (craniocaudal, ≥ 1 vertebral level). Syrinx stability was defined as a < 1-mm change in syrinx AP diameter and no change in syrinx length.

RESULTS

The authors identified 380 patients with CM-I+SM who underwent PFD or PFDD. Cox proportional hazards modeling revealed younger age at surgery and PFDD as being independently associated with syrinx resolution, defined as a ≤ 2-mm or ≤ 3-mm AP diameter or ≥ 50% reduction in AP diameter. Radiological syrinx resolution was associated with improvement in headache (p < 0.005) and neck pain (p < 0.011) after PFD or PFDD. Next, PFDD (p = 0.005), scoliosis (p = 0.007), and syrinx location across multiple spinal segments (p = 0.001) were associated with syrinx diameter regression, whereas increased preoperative frontal-occipital horn ratio (FOHR; p = 0.007) and syrinx location spanning multiple spinal segments (p = 0.04) were associated with syrinx length regression. Scoliosis (HR 0.38 [95% CI 0.16–0.91], p = 0.03) and smaller syrinx diameter (5.82 ± 3.38 vs 7.86 ± 3.05 mm; HR 0.60 [95% CI 0.34–1.03], p = 0.002) were associated with syrinx diameter stability, whereas shorter preoperative syrinx length (5.75 ± 4.01 vs 9.65 ± 4.31 levels; HR 0.21 [95% CI 0.12–0.38], p = 0.0001) and smaller pB-C2 distance (6.86 ± 1.27 vs 7.18 ± 1.38 mm; HR 1.44 [95% CI 1.02–2.05], p = 0.04) were associated with syrinx length stability. Finally, younger age at surgery (8.19 ± 5.02 vs 10.29 ± 4.25 years; HR 1.89 [95% CI 1.31–3.04], p = 0.01) was associated with syrinx diameter progression, whereas increased postoperative syrinx diameter (6.73 ± 3.64 vs 3.97 ± 3.07 mm; HR 3.10 [95% CI 1.67–5.76], p = 0.003), was associated with syrinx length progression. PFD versus PFDD was not associated with syrinx progression or reoperation rate.

CONCLUSIONS

These data suggest that PFDD and age are independently associated with radiological syrinx improvement, although forthcoming results from the PFDD versus PFD randomized controlled trial (NCT02669836, clinicaltrials.gov) will best answer this question.

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Amy K. Bruzek, Jordan Starr, Hugh J. L. Garton, Karin M. Muraszko, Cormac O. Maher, and Jennifer M. Strahle

OBJECTIVE

The nature of the relationship between spinal cord syrinx and tethered cord is not well known. It is unclear if surgical cord untethering results in resolution or improvement of an associated syrinx. The objective of this study was to report the response of spinal cord syrinx to surgical cord untethering.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed all patients with a syrinx and tethered cord who presented to a single institution over an 11-year interval. Patients with open neural tube defects were excluded. Thirty-one patients were identified, 25 of whom had both clinical and imaging follow-up after surgery. Patients were grouped according to etiology of the tethered cord. Clinical outcomes and syrinx characteristics were recorded.

RESULTS

Of the 25 patients with tethered cord, 68% (n = 17) were male. The average age at presentation was 2.5 years (0–10.1 years) and age at surgery was 3.7 years (range 1 day to 17 years). Etiologies of tethered cord were lipomyelomeningocele (n = 8), thickened/fatty filum (n = 7), intradural lipoma (n = 5), myelocystocele (n = 2), meningocele (n = 2), and diastematomyelia (n = 1). Twenty-three of the patients underwent primary untethering, whereas 2 patients had received untethering previously at another institution. The average syrinx length and width prior to surgery were 4.81 vertebral levels (SD 4.35) and 5.19 mm (SD 2.55 mm), respectively. Conus level ranged from L1 to S3. Patients were followed for an average of 8.4 years (1.35–15.85 years). Overall there was no significant change in syrinx length or width postoperatively; the average syrinx length increased by 0.86 vertebral levels (SD 4.36) and width decreased by 0.72 mm (SD 2.94 mm). Seven of 25 patients had improvement in at least one presenting symptom, including scoliosis, weakness, bowel/bladder dysfunction, and pain. Eight patients had stable presenting symptoms. Six patients were asymptomatic and 5 patients had new or worsening symptoms, which included scoliosis, pain, or sensory changes.

CONCLUSIONS

Although some syrinxes improved after surgery for tethered cord, radiological improvement was not consistent and did not appear to be associated with change in clinical symptoms. The decision to surgically untether a cord should be focused on the clinical symptoms and not the presence of a syrinx alone. Further studies are needed to confirm this finding.

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Osama N. Kashlan, D. Andrew Wilkinson, Hal Morgenstern, Siri S. Khalsa, and Cormac O. Maher

OBJECTIVE

Thickened or fatty filum terminale is an occult lesion that can cause tethered cord syndrome requiring surgical untethering. This study’s objectives were to estimate the incidence of tethered fibrofatty filum terminale (TFFT) in a large insured pediatric population, identify predictors of surgery among those TFFT patients, and assess a diagnostic algorithm.

METHODS

TFFT was defined according to the ICD-9-CM code for cord tethering (742.59), after excluding codes for diastematomyelia, lipomyelomeningocele, terminal myelocystocele, meningocele, and myelomeningocele. Utilizing the Optum Insight database for 2001–2014, the authors identified pediatric patients (< 21 years) in the US who were diagnosed with a tethered cord and estimated the TFFT incidence rates in that source population and the surgical untethering probability among TFFT patients over the 14-year period. Logistic regression was used to estimate the effects (adjusted OR and 95% CI) of age at diagnosis, sex, Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) score, diagnosis of Chiari malformation type I, diagnosis of syrinx, and the probability of surgery by US census region. Lastly, to evaluate their algorithm for identifying TFFT from ICD-9 codes, the authors estimated its positive predictive value (PPV) among 50 children who were diagnosed at their institution and met the ICD-9-CM criteria.

RESULTS

There were 3218 diagnoses of TFFT, with 482 of these pediatric patients undergoing tethered cord release during the study period. The estimated incidence rate was 12.0 per 100,000/year (95% CI 11.6–12.4 per 100,000/year). The incidence rate was slightly higher in females than in males (12.7 vs 11.4 per 100,000/year). The probability of surgery in the total pediatric TFFT population was 15.0% (95% CI 13.8%–16.2%) and was greater in children with a syrinx (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.6–3.0), children 7–11 years of age at diagnosis versus < 1 year (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.1–2.0), CCI score ≥ 3 versus 0 (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.4–3.8), and residents of the Western vs Northeastern US (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.6–3.5). In the authors’ own institution’s database, the PPV of TFFT was 35/50 (70.0%, 95% CI 57.3%–82.7%) for identifying tethered cord due to fibrofatty filum terminale among childhood positives.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with comorbidities or an associated syrinx showed a higher risk of untethering procedures for TFFT. Also, surgery was appreciably more frequent in the Western US. These findings signify the need for a collaborative prospective cohort study of long-term outcomes for TFFT patients with and without surgery to determine which patients should have surgery.

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Cormac O. Maher

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Jennifer M. Strahle, Rukayat Taiwo, Christine Averill, James Torner, Chevis N. Shannon, Christopher M. Bonfield, Gerald F. Tuite, Tammy Bethel-Anderson, Jerrel Rutlin, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, John C. Wellons III, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Francesco T. Mangano, James M. Johnston, Manish N. Shah, Bermans J. Iskandar, Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara, David J. Daniels, Eric M. Jackson, Gerald A. Grant, Daniel E. Couture, P. David Adelson, Tord D. Alden, Philipp R. Aldana, Richard C. E. Anderson, Nathan R. Selden, Lissa C. Baird, Karin Bierbrauer, Joshua J. Chern, William E. Whitehead, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Herbert E. Fuchs, Daniel J. Guillaume, Todd C. Hankinson, Mark R. Iantosca, W. Jerry Oakes, Robert F. Keating, Nickalus R. Khan, Michael S. Muhlbauer, J. Gordon McComb, Arnold H. Menezes, John Ragheb, Jodi L. Smith, Cormac O. Maher, Stephanie Greene, Michael Kelly, Brent R. O’Neill, Mark D. Krieger, Mandeep Tamber, Susan R. Durham, Greg Olavarria, Scellig S. D. Stone, Bruce A. Kaufman, Gregory G. Heuer, David F. Bauer, Gregory Albert, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Scott D. Wait, Mark D. Van Poppel, Ramin Eskandari, Timothy Mapstone, Joshua S. Shimony, Ralph G. Dacey Jr., Matthew D. Smyth, Tae Sung Park, and David D. Limbrick Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Scoliosis is frequently a presenting sign of Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) with syrinx. The authors’ goal was to define scoliosis in this population and describe how radiological characteristics of CM-I and syrinx relate to the presence and severity of scoliosis.

METHODS

A large multicenter retrospective and prospective registry of pediatric patients with CM-I (tonsils ≥ 5 mm below the foramen magnum) and syrinx (≥ 3 mm in axial width) was reviewed for clinical and radiological characteristics of CM-I, syrinx, and scoliosis (coronal curve ≥ 10°).

RESULTS

Based on available imaging of patients with CM-I and syrinx, 260 of 825 patients (31%) had a clear diagnosis of scoliosis based on radiographs or coronal MRI. Forty-nine patients (5.9%) did not have scoliosis, and in 516 (63%) patients, a clear determination of the presence or absence of scoliosis could not be made. Comparison of patients with and those without a definite scoliosis diagnosis indicated that scoliosis was associated with wider syrinxes (8.7 vs 6.3 mm, OR 1.25, p < 0.001), longer syrinxes (10.3 vs 6.2 levels, OR 1.18, p < 0.001), syrinxes with their rostral extent located in the cervical spine (94% vs 80%, OR 3.91, p = 0.001), and holocord syrinxes (50% vs 16%, OR 5.61, p < 0.001). Multivariable regression analysis revealed syrinx length and the presence of holocord syrinx to be independent predictors of scoliosis in this patient cohort. Scoliosis was not associated with sex, age at CM-I diagnosis, tonsil position, pB–C2 distance (measured perpendicular distance from the ventral dura to a line drawn from the basion to the posterior-inferior aspect of C2), clivoaxial angle, or frontal-occipital horn ratio. Average curve magnitude was 29.9°, and 37.7% of patients had a left thoracic curve. Older age at CM-I or syrinx diagnosis (p < 0.0001) was associated with greater curve magnitude whereas there was no association between syrinx dimensions and curve magnitude.

CONCLUSIONS

Syrinx characteristics, but not tonsil position, were related to the presence of scoliosis in patients with CM-I, and there was an independent association of syrinx length and holocord syrinx with scoliosis. Further study is needed to evaluate the nature of the relationship between syrinx and scoliosis in patients with CM-I.

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Jayapalli Rajiv Bapuraj, Amy K. Bruzek, Jamaal K. Tarpeh, Lindsey Pelissier, Hugh J. L. Garton, Richard C. E. Anderson, Bin Nan, Tianwen Ma, and Cormac O. Maher

OBJECTIVE

Current understanding of how the pediatric craniocervical junction develops remains incomplete. Measurements of anatomical relationships at the craniocervical junction can influence clinical and surgical decision-making. The purpose of this analysis was to quantitatively define clinically relevant craniocervical junction measurements in a population of children with CT scans that show normal anatomy.

METHODS

A total of 1458 eligible patients were identified from children between 1 and 18 years of age who underwent cervical spine CT scanning at a single institution. Patients were separated by both sex and age in years into 34 groups. Following this, patients within each group were randomly selected for inclusion until a target of 15 patients in each group had been reached. Each patient underwent measurement of the occipital condyle–C1 interval (CCI), pB–C2, atlantodental interval (ADI), basion-dens interval (BDI), basion-opisthion diameter (BOD), basion-axial interval (BAI), dens angulation, and canal diameter at C1. Mean values were calculated in each group. Each measurement was performed by two teams and compared for intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC).

RESULTS

The data showed that CCI, ADI, BDI, and dens angulation decrease in magnitude throughout childhood, while pB–C2, PADI, BAI, and BOD increase throughout childhood, with an ICC of fair to good (range 0.413–0.912). Notably, CCI decreases continuously on coronal CT scans, whereas on parasagittal CT scans, CCI does not decrease until after age 9, when it shows a continuous decline similar to measurements on coronal CT scans.

CONCLUSIONS

These morphometric analyses establish parameters for normal pediatric craniocervical spine growth for each year of life up to 18 years. The data should be considered when evaluating children for potential surgical intervention.

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Sonia Ajmera, Ryan P. Lee, Andrew Schultz, David S. Hersh, Jacob Lepard, Raymond Xu, Hassan Saad, Olutomi Akinduro, Melissa Justo, Brittany D. Fraser, Mustafa Motiwala, Pooja Dave, Brian Jimenez, David A. Wallace, Olufemi Osikoya, Sebastian Norrdahl, Jennings H. Dooley, Nickalus R. Khan, Brandy N. Vaughn, Cormac O. Maher, and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to analyze the publication output of postgraduate pediatric neurosurgery fellows for a 10-year period as well as identify 25 individual highly productive pediatric neurosurgeons. The correlation between academic productivity and the site of fellowship training was studied.

METHODS

Programs certified by the Accreditation Council for Pediatric Neurosurgery Fellowships that had 5 or more graduating fellows from 2006 to 2015 were included for analysis. Fellows were queried using Scopus for publications during those 10 years with citation data through 2017. Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated, comparing program rankings of faculty against fellows using the revised Hirsch index (r-index; primary) and Hirsch index (h-index; secondary). A list of 25 highly accomplished individual academicians and their fellowship training locations was compiled.

RESULTS

Sixteen programs qualified with 152 fellows from 2006 to 2015; 136 of these surgeons published a total of 2009 articles with 23,735 citations. Most publications were pediatric-specific (66.7%) clinical articles (93.1%), with middle authorship (55%). Co-investigators were more likely from residency than fellowship. There was a clustering of the top 7 programs each having total publications of around 120 or greater, publications per fellow greater than 12, more than 1200 citations, and adjusted ir10 (revised 10-year institutional h-index) and ih10 (10-year institutional h-index) values of approximately 2 or higher. Correlating faculty and fellowship program rankings yielded correlation coefficients ranging from 0.53 to 0.80. Fifteen individuals (60%) in the top 25 (by r5 index) list completed their fellowship at 1 of these 7 institutions.

CONCLUSIONS

Approximately 90% of fellowship-trained pediatric neurosurgeons have 1 or more publications, but the spectrum of output is broad. There is a strong correlation between where surgeons complete their fellowships and postgraduate publications.