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Robert T. Wicks, Xiaochun Zhao, Douglas A. Hardesty, Brandon D. Liebelt and Peter Nakaji

Ethmoidal dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) have a near-universal association with cortical venous drainage and a malignant clinical course. Endovascular treatment options are often limited due to the high frequency of ophthalmic artery ethmoidal supply. A 64-year-old gentleman presented with syncope and was found to have a right ethmoidal DAVF. Rather than the traditional bicoronal craniotomy, an endoscope-assisted mini-pterional approach for clip ligation is demonstrated. The mini-pterional craniotomy allows a minimally invasive approach to ethmoidal DAVF via a lateral trajectory. The endoscope can help achieve full visualization in the narrow corridor.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/ZroXp-T35DI.

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Seungwon Yoon, Michael A. Mooney, Michael A. Bohl, John P. Sheehy, Peter Nakaji, Andrew S. Little and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

With drastic changes to the health insurance market, patient cost sharing has significantly increased in recent years. However, the patient financial burden, or out-of-pocket (OOP) costs, for surgical procedures is poorly understood. The goal of this study was to analyze patient OOP spending in cranial neurosurgery and identify drivers of OOP spending growth.

METHODS

For 6569 consecutive patients who underwent cranial neurosurgery from 2013 to 2016 at the authors’ institution, the authors created univariate and multivariate mixed-effects models to investigate the effect of patient demographic and clinical factors on patient OOP spending. The authors examined OOP payments stratified into 10 subsets of case categories and created a generalized linear model to study the growth of OOP spending over time.

RESULTS

In the multivariate model, case categories (craniotomy for pain, tumor, and vascular lesions), commercial insurance, and out-of-network plans were significant predictors of higher OOP payments for patients (all p < 0.05). Patient spending varied substantially across procedure types, with patients undergoing craniotomy for pain ($1151 ± $209) having the highest mean OOP payments. On average, commercially insured patients spent nearly twice as much in OOP payments as the overall population. From 2013 to 2016, the mean patient OOP spending increased 17%, from $598 to $698 per patient encounter. Commercially insured patients experienced more significant growth in OOP spending, with a cumulative rate of growth of 42% ($991 in 2013 to $1403 in 2016).

CONCLUSIONS

Even after controlling for inflation, case-mix differences, and partial fiscal periods, OOP spending for cranial neurosurgery patients significantly increased from 2013 to 2016. The mean OOP spending for commercially insured neurosurgical patients exceeded $1400 in 2016, with an average annual growth rate of 13%. As patient cost sharing in health insurance plans becomes more prevalent, patients and providers must consider the potential financial burden for patients receiving specialized neurosurgical care.

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Ting Lei, Evgenii Belykh, Alexander B. Dru, Kaan Yagmurlu, Ali M. Elhadi, Peter Nakaji and Mark C. Preul

Chen Jingrun (1933–1996), perhaps the most prodigious mathematician of his time, focused on the field of analytical number theory. His work on Waring's problem, Legendre's conjecture, and Goldbach's conjecture led to progress in analytical number theory in the form of “Chen's Theorem,” which he published in 1966 and 1973. His early life was ravaged by the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Cultural Revolution. On the verge of solving Goldbach's conjecture in 1984, Chen was struck by a bicyclist while also bicycling and suffered severe brain trauma. During his hospitalization, he was also found to have Parkinson's disease. Chen suffered another serious brain concussion after a fall only a few months after recovering from the bicycle crash. With significant deficits, he remained hospitalized for several years without making progress while receiving modern Western medical therapies. In 1988 traditional Chinese medicine experts were called in to assist with his treatment. After a year of acupuncture and oxygen therapy, Chen could control his basic bowel and bladder functions, he could walk slowly, and his swallowing and speech improved. When Chen was unable to produce complex work or finish his final work on Goldbach's conjecture, his mathematical pursuits were taken up vigorously by his dedicated students. He was able to publish Youth Math, a mathematics book that became an inspiration in Chinese education. Although he died in 1996 at the age of 63 after surviving brutal political repression, being deprived of neurological function at the very peak of his genius, and having to be supported by his wife, Chen ironically became a symbol of dedication, perseverance, and motivation to his students and associates, to Chinese youth, to a nation, and to mathematicians and scientists worldwide.

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Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Jennifer M. Eschbacher, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Jay D. Turner, Evgenii Belykh, Robert F. Spetzler, Peter Nakaji and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

This study evaluated the utility, specificity, and sensitivity of intraoperative confocal laser endomicroscopy (CLE) to provide diagnostic information during resection of human brain tumors.

METHODS

CLE imaging was used in the resection of intracranial neoplasms in 74 consecutive patients (31 male; mean age 47.5 years; sequential 10-month study period). Intraoperative in vivo and ex vivo CLE was performed after intravenous injection of fluorescein sodium (FNa). Tissue samples from CLE imaging–matched areas were acquired for comparison with routine histological analysis (frozen and permanent sections). CLE images were classified as diagnostic or nondiagnostic. The specificities and sensitivities of CLE and frozen sections for gliomas and meningiomas were calculated using permanent histological sections as the standard.

RESULTS

CLE images were obtained for each patient. The mean duration of intraoperative CLE system use was 15.7 minutes (range 3–73 minutes). A total of 20,734 CLE images were correlated with 267 biopsy specimens (mean number of images/biopsy location, in vivo 84, ex vivo 70). CLE images were diagnostic for 45.98% in vivo and 52.97% ex vivo specimens. After initiation of CLE, an average of 14 in vivo images and 7 ex vivo images were acquired before identification of a first diagnostic image. CLE specificity and sensitivity were, respectively, 94% and 91% for gliomas and 93% and 97% for meningiomas.

CONCLUSIONS

CLE with FNa provided intraoperative histological information during brain tumor removal. Specificities and sensitivities of CLE for gliomas and meningiomas were comparable to those for frozen sections. These data suggest that CLE could allow the interactive identification of tumor areas, substantially improving intraoperative decisions during the resection of brain tumors.

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Nikolay L. Martirosyan, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Peter Nakaji and Robert F. Spetzler

The anterior interhemispheric approach is a workhorse for treatment of lesions in the third ventricle. In this case, we demonstrate the utility of this approach for resecting a complex third ventricular cavernous malformation. We discuss patient positioning, optimal location of the craniotomy, and surgical resection techniques for safe removal of these lesions. We also demonstrate the importance of gravity retraction using the falx to prevent injury to the dominant frontal lobe.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/38woc28er7M.

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M. Yashar S. Kalani, Ting Lei, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Mark E. Oppenlander, Robert F. Spetzler and Peter Nakaji

The mesial temporal lobe can be approached via a pterional or orbitozygomatic craniotomy, the subtemporal approach, or transcortically. Alternatively, the entire mesial temporal lobe can be accessed using a lateral supracerebellar transtentorial (SCTT) approach. Here we describe the technical nuances of patient positioning, craniotomy, supracerebellar dissection, and tentorial disconnection to traverse the tentorial incisura to arrive at the posterior mesial temporal lobe for a cavernous malformation. The SCTT approach is especially useful for lesions in the dominant temporal lobe where an anterolateral approach may endanger language centers or the vein of Labbé.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/D8mIR5yeiVw.

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M. Yashar S. Kalani, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Peter Nakaji and Robert F. Spetzler

The supracerebellar infratentorial approach provides access to the dorsal midbrain, pineal region, and tentorial incisura. This approach can be used with the patient in a sitting, prone, park-bench, or supine position. For a patient with a supple neck and favorable anatomy, we prefer the supine position. The ipsilateral shoulder is elevated, the head turned to the contralateral side, the chin is tucked, and the neck extended toward the floor to open the craniocervical angle for added working room. Care must be taken to place the craniotomy laterally to make use of the ascending angle of the tentorium for ease of access to deep-seated lesions.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/BZh6ljmE23k.

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Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Hai Sun, Mark E. Oppenlander, Peter Nakaji, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Joseph M. Zabramski and Robert F. Spetzler

Intraoperative rupture of an intracranial aneurysm is a potentially devastating but controllable complication. The authors have successfully used the previously described cotton-clip technique to repair tears at the necks of aneurysms.1–4 A tear on the neck of the aneurysm is covered with a piece of cotton and held in place with a suction device. The cotton is then clipped onto the tear with an aneurysm clip, using the cotton as a bolster. This simple, effective method has been useful in repairing a partial avulsion of the neck of an aneurysm.1,3

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/nT86RYVQWpc.

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M. Yashar S. Kalani, Peter Nakaji, Joseph M. Zabramski and Robert F. Spetzler

Middle cerebral artery aneurysms, especially those with complex morphology, are considered excellent aneurysms for surgical clipping, given the challenges that exist with current endovascular techniques. We present a case of a large, complex, left middle cerebral artery aneurysm treated with microsurgical clipping. This video highlights critical steps in obtaining proximal and distal control as well as subarachnoid dissection necessary to prepare the aneurysm for final clipping.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/RlKH2Km9z5Y.

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M. Yashar S. Kalani, Peter Nakaji, Joseph M. Zabramski and Robert F. Spetzler

Posterior circulation aneurysms are commonly treated with endovascular techniques. In select cases, microsurgery remains an essential tool for treating these lesions. We present a case of a ruptured posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) aneurysm approached via a craniotomy. Given the labyrinth of neurovascular bundles present in the posterior fossa, surgical exposure of PICA aneurysms can be challenging. This video demonstrates the steps of the craniotomy, subarachnoid dissection, mobilization of the vertebral artery and lower cranial nerves, and clipping of the aneurysm.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/fQSxQj7oL0U.