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Corey T. Walker, S. Harrison Farber, Tyler S. Cole, David S. Xu, Jakub Godzik, Alexander C. Whiting, Cory Hartman, Randall W. Porter, Jay D. Turner and Juan Uribe

OBJECTIVE

Minimally invasive anterolateral retroperitoneal approaches for lumbar interbody arthrodesis have distinct advantages attractive to spine surgeons. Prepsoas or transpsoas trajectories can be employed with differing complication profiles because of the inherent anatomical differences encountered in each approach. The evidence comparing them remains limited because of poor quality data. Here, the authors sought to systematically review the available literature and perform a meta-analysis comparing the two techniques.

METHODS

A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. A database search was used to identify eligible studies. Prepsoas and transpsoas studies were compiled, and each study was assessed for inclusion criteria. Complication rates were recorded and compared between approach groups. Studies incorporating an analysis of postoperative subsidence and pseudarthrosis rates were also assessed and compared.

RESULTS

For the prepsoas studies, 20 studies for the complications analysis and 8 studies for the pseudarthrosis outcomes analysis were included. For the transpsoas studies, 39 studies for the complications analysis and 19 studies for the pseudarthrosis outcomes analysis were included. For the complications analysis, 1874 patients treated via the prepsoas approach and 4607 treated with the transpsoas approach were included. In the transpsoas group, there was a higher rate of transient sensory symptoms (21.7% vs 8.7%, p = 0.002), transient hip flexor weakness (19.7% vs 5.7%, p < 0.001), and permanent neurological weakness (2.8% vs 1.0%, p = 0.005). A higher rate of sympathetic nerve injury was seen in the prepsoas group (5.4% vs 0.0%, p = 0.03). Of the nonneurological complications, major vascular injury was significantly higher in the prepsoas approach (1.8% vs 0.4%, p = 0.01). There was no difference in urological or peritoneal/bowel injury, postoperative ileus, or hematomas (all p > 0.05). A higher infection rate was noted for the transpsoas group (3.1% vs 1.1%, p = 0.01). With regard to postoperative fusion outcomes, similar rates of subsidence (12.2% prepsoas vs 13.8% transpsoas, p = 0.78) and pseudarthrosis (9.9% vs 7.5%, respectively, p = 0.57) were seen between the groups at the last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

Complication rates vary for the prepsoas and transpsoas approaches owing to the variable retroperitoneal anatomy encountered during surgical dissection. While the risks of a lasting motor deficit and transient sensory disturbances are higher for the transpsoas approach, there is a reciprocal reduction in the risks of major vascular injury and sympathetic nerve injury. These results can facilitate informed decision-making and tailored surgical planning regarding the choice of minimally invasive anterolateral access to the spine.

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Mark E. Oppenlander, Andrew B. Wolf, Laura A. Snyder, Robert Bina, Jeffrey R. Wilson, Stephen W. Coons, Lynn S. Ashby, David Brachman, Peter Nakaji, Randall W. Porter, Kris A. Smith, Robert F. Spetzler and Nader Sanai

Object

Despite improvements in the medical and surgical management of patients with glioblastoma, tumor recurrence remains inevitable. For recurrent glioblastoma, however, the clinical value of a second resection remains uncertain. Specifically, what proportion of contrast-enhancing recurrent glioblastoma tissue must be removed to improve overall survival and what is the neurological cost of incremental resection beyond this threshold?

Methods

The authors identified 170 consecutive patients with recurrent supratentorial glioblastomas treated at the Barrow Neurological Institute from 2001 to 2011. All patients previously had a de novo glioblastoma and following their initial resection received standard temozolomide and fractionated radiotherapy.

Results

The mean clinical follow-up was 22.6 months and no patient was lost to follow-up. At the time of recurrence, the median preoperative tumor volume was 26.1 cm3. Following re-resection, median postoperative tumor volume was 3.1 cm3, equating to an 87.4% extent of resection (EOR). The median overall survival was 19.0 months, with a median progression-free survival following re-resection of 5.2 months. Using Cox proportional hazards analysis, the variables of age, Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score, and EOR were predictive of survival following repeat resection (p = 0.0001). Interestingly, a significant survival advantage was noted with as little as 80% EOR. Recursive partitioning analysis validated these findings and provided additional risk stratification at the highest levels of EOR. Overall, at 7 days after surgery, a deterioration in the NIH stroke scale score by 1 point or more was observed in 39.1% of patients with EOR ≥ 80% as compared with 16.7% for those with EOR < 80% (p = 0.0049). This disparity in neurological morbidity, however, did not endure beyond 30 days postoperatively (p = 0.1279).

Conclusions

For recurrent glioblastomas, an improvement in overall survival can be attained beyond an 80% EOR. This survival benefit must be balanced against the risk of neurological morbidity, which does increase with more aggressive cytoreduction, but only in the early postoperative period. Interestingly, this putative EOR threshold closely approximates that reported for newly diagnosed glioblastomas, suggesting that for a subset of patients, the survival benefit of microsurgical resection does not diminish despite biological progression.

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Douglas A. Hardesty, Andrew B. Wolf, David G. Brachman, Heyoung L. McBride, Emad Youssef, Peter Nakaji, Randall W. Porter, Kris A. Smith, Robert F. Spetzler and Nader Sanai

Object

Patients with atypical meningioma often undergo gross-total resection (GTR) at initial presentation, but the role of adjuvant radiation therapy remains unclear. The increasing prevalence of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in the modern neurosurgical era has led to the use of routine postoperative radiation therapy in the absence of evidence-based guidelines. This study sought to define the long-term recurrence rate of atypical meningiomas and identify the value of SRS in affecting outcome.

Methods

The authors identified 228 patients with microsurgically treated atypical meningiomas who underwent a total of 257 resections at the Barrow Neurological Institute over the last 20 years. Atypical meningiomas were diagnosed according to current WHO criteria. Clinical and radiographic data were collected retrospectively.

Results

Median clinical and radiographic follow-up was 52 months. Gross-total resection, defined as Simpson Grade I or II resection, was achieved in 149 patients (58%). The median proliferative index was 6.9% (range 0.4%–20.6%). Overall 51 patients (22%) demonstrated tumor recurrence at a median of 20.2 months postoperatively. Seventy-one patients (31%) underwent adjuvant radiation postoperatively, with 32 patients (14%) receiving adjuvant SRS and 39 patients (17%) receiving adjuvant intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). The recurrence rate for patients receiving SRS was 25% (8/32) and for IMRT was 18% (7/39), which was not significantly different from the overall group. Gross-total resection was predictive of progression-free survival (PFS; relative risk 0.255, p < 0.0001), but postoperative SRS was not associated with improved PFS in all patients or in only those with subtotal resections.

Conclusions

Atypical meningiomas are increasingly irradiated, even after complete or near-complete microsurgical resection. This analysis of the largest patient series to date suggests that close observation remains reasonable in the setting of aggressive microsurgical resection. Although postoperative adjuvant SRS did not significantly affect tumor recurrence rates in this experience, a larger cohort study with longer follow-up may reveal a therapeutic benefit in the future.

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M. Yashar S. Kalani, Samuel Kalb, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Salvatore C. Lettieri, Robert F. Spetzler, Randall W. Porter and Iman Feiz-Erfan

Object

Resection of cancer and the involved artery in the neck has been applied with some success, but the indications for such an aggressive approach at the skull base are less well defined. The authors therefore evaluated the outcomes of advanced skull base malignancies in patients who were treated with bypass and resection of the internal carotid artery (ICA).

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the charts of all patients with advanced head and neck cancers who underwent ICA sacrifice with revascularization in which an extracranial-intracranial bypass was used between 1995 and 2010 at the Barrow Neurological Institute.

Results

Eighteen patients (11 male and 7 female patients; mean age 46 years, range 7–69 years) were identified. There were 4 sarcomas and 14 carcinomas that involved the ICA at the skull base. All patients underwent ICA sacrifice with revascularization. One patient died of a stroke after revascularization. A second patient died of the effects of a fistula between the oral and cranial cavities (surgery-related mortality rate 11.1%). Eight months after the operation, 1 patient developed occlusion of the bypass and died. Complications associated with the bypass surgery included 1 case of subdural hematoma (SDH) with blindness, 1 case of status epilepticus, and 1 case of asymptomatic bypass occlusion (bypass-related morbidity 16.7%). Complications associated with tumor resection included 3 cases of CSF leakage requiring repair and shunting, 1 case of hydrocephalus requiring shunting, 1 case of SDH, and 1 case of contralateral ICA injury requiring a bypass (tumor resection morbidity rate 33.3%). In 1 patient treated with adjuvant therapy before surgery, the authors identified only a radiation effect and no tumor on resection. In a second patient the bypass was occluded, and her tumor was not resected. The other 16 patients underwent gross-total resection of their tumor. Excluding the surgery-related deaths, the mean and median lengths of survival in this series were 13.2 and 8.3 months, respectively (range 1.5–48 months). Including the surgery-related deaths, the mean and median lengths of survival were 11.8 and 8 months, respectively (range 17 days–48 months). At last follow-up all patients had died of cancer or cancer-related causes.

Conclusions

Despite maximal surgical intervention, including ICA sacrifice at the skull base with revascularization, patient survival was dismal, and the complication rate was significant. The authors no longer advocate such an aggressive approach in this patient population. On rare occasions, however, such an approach may be considered for low-grade malignancies.

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Carl H. Snyderman, Paul A. Gardner and Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda

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M. Yashar S. Kalani, Maziyar A. Kalani, Samuel Kalb, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Cameron G. McDougall, Peter Nakaji, Robert F. Spetzler, Randall W. Porter and Iman Feiz-Erfan

Object

Craniofacial approaches provide excellent exposure to lesions in the anterior and middle cranial fossae. The authors review their experience with craniofacial approaches for resection of large juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibromas.

Methods

Between 1992 and 2009, 22 patients (all male, mean age 15 years, range 9–27 years) underwent 30 procedures. These cases were reviewed retrospectively.

Results

Gross-total resection of 17 (77%) of the 22 lesions was achieved. The average duration of hospitalization was 8.2 days (range 3–20 days). The rate of recurrence and/or progression was 4 (18%) of 22, with recurrences occurring a mean of 21 months after the first resection. All patients underwent preoperative embolization. Nine patients (41%) developed complications, the most common of which was CSF leakage (23%). The average follow-up was 27.7 months (range 2–144 months). The surgery-related mortality rate was 0%. Based on their mean preoperative (90) and postoperative (90) Karnofsky Performance Scale scores, 100% of patients improved or remained the same.

Conclusions

The authors' experience shows that craniofacial approaches provide an excellent avenue for the resection of large juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibromas, with acceptable rates of morbidity and no deaths.

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Daniel D. Cavalcanti, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Ketan Verma, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Randall W. Porter, Nicholas Theodore, Volker K. H. Sonntag, Curtis A. Dickman and Robert F. Spetzler

Object

Schwannomas occupying the craniocervical junction (CCJ) are rare and usually originate from the jugular foramen, hypoglossal nerves, and C-1 and C-2 nerves. Although they may have different origins, they may share the same symptoms, surgical approaches, and complications. An extension of these lesions along the posterior fossa cisterns, foramina, and spinal canal—usually involving various cranial nerves (CNs) and the vertebral and cerebellar arteries—poses a surgical challenge. The primary goals of both surgical and radiosurgical management of schwannomas in the CCJ are the preservation and restoration of function of the lower CNs, and of hearing and facial nerve function. The origins of schwannomas in the CCJ and their clinical presentation, surgical management, adjuvant stereotactic radiosurgery, and outcomes in 36 patients treated at Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) are presented.

Methods

Between 1989 and 2009, 36 patients (mean age 43.6 years, range 17–68 years) with craniocervical schwannomas underwent surgical resection at BNI. The records were reviewed retrospectively regarding clinical presentation, radiographic assessment, surgical approaches, adjuvant therapies, and follow-up outcomes.

Results

Headache or neck pain was present in 72.2% of patients. Cranial nerve impairments, mainly involving the vagus nerve, were present in 14 patients (38.9%). Motor deficits were found in 27.8% of the patients. Sixteen tumors were intra- and extradural, 15 were intradural, and 5 were extradural. Gross-total resection was achieved in 25 patients (69.4%). Adjunctive radiosurgery was used in the management of residual tumor in 8 patients; tumor control was ultimately obtained in all cases.

Conclusions

Surgical removal, which is the treatment of choice, is curative when schwannomas in the CCJ are excised completely. The far-lateral approach and its variations are our preferred approaches for managing these lesions. Most common complications involve deficits of the lower CNs, and their early recognition and rehabilitation are needed. Stereotactic radiosurgery, an important tool for the management of these tumors as adjuvant therapy, can help decrease morbidity rates.

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Dean G. Karahalios, Taro Kaibara, Randall W. Porter, Udaya K. Kakarla, Phillip M. Reyes, Ali A. Baaj, Ali S. Yaqoobi and Neil R. Crawford

Object

An interspinous anchor (ISA) provides fixation to the lumbar spine to facilitate fusion. The biomechanical stability provided by the Aspen ISA was studied in applications utilizing an anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) construct.

Methods

Seven human cadaveric L3–S1 specimens were tested in the following states: 1) intact; 2) after placing an ISA at L4–5; 3) after ALIF with an ISA; 4) after ALIF with an ISA and anterior screw/plate fixation system; 5) after removing the ISA (ALIF with plate only); 6) after removing the plate (ALIF only); and 7) after applying bilateral pedicle screws and rods. Pure moments (7.5 Nm maximum) were applied in flexion and extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation while recording angular motion optoelectronically. Changes in angulation as well as foraminal height were also measured.

Results

All instrumentation variances except ALIF alone reduced angular range of motion (ROM) significantly from normal in all directions of loading. The ISA was most effective in limiting flexion and extension (25% of normal) and less effective in reducing lateral bending (71% of normal) and axial rotation (71% of normal). Overall, ALIF with an ISA provided stability that was statistically equivalent to ALIF with bilateral pedicle screws and rods. An ISA-augmented ALIF allowed less ROM than plate-augmented ALIF during flexion, extension, and lateral bending. Use of the ISA resulted in flexion at the index level, with a resultant increase in foraminal height. Compensatory extension at the adjacent levels prevented any significant change in overall sagittal balance.

Conclusions

When used with ALIF at L4–5, the ISA provides immediate rigid immobilization of the lumbar spine, allowing equivalent ROM to that of a pedicle screw/rod system, and smaller ROM than an anterior plate. When used with ALIF, the ISA may offer an alternative to anterior plate fixation or bilateral pedicle screw/rod constructs.