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Diana A. Julie, Stefanie P. Lazow, Daniel B. Vanderbilt, Shoshana Taube, Menachem Z. Yondorf, Albert Sabbas, Susan Pannullo, Theodore H. Schwartz and A. Gabriella Wernicke

OBJECTIVE

Adjuvant radiation therapy (RT), such as cesium-131 (Cs-131) brachytherapy or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), reduces local recurrence (LR) of brain metastases (BM). However, SRS is less efficacious for large cavities, and the delay between surgery and SRS may permit tumor repopulation. Cs-131 has demonstrated improved local control, with reduced radiation necrosis (RN) compared to SRS. This study represents the first comparison of outcomes between Cs-131 brachytherapy and SRS for resected BM.

METHODS

Patients with BM treated with Cs-131 and SRS following gross-total resection were retrospectively identified. Thirty patients who underwent Cs-131 brachytherapy were compared to 60 controls who received SRS. Controls were selected from a larger cohort to match the patients treated with Cs-131 in a 2:1 ratio according to tumor size, histology, performance status, and recursive partitioning analysis class. Overall survival (OS), LR, regional recurrence, distant recurrence (DR), and RN were compared.

RESULTS

With a median follow-up of 17.5 months for Cs-131–treated and 13.0 months for SRS-treated patients, the LR rate was significantly lower with brachytherapy; 10% for the Cs-131 cohort compared to 28.3% for SRS patients (OR 0.281, 95% CI 0.082–0.949; p = 0.049). Rates of regional recurrence, DR, and OS did not differ significantly between the two cohorts. Kaplan-Meier analysis with log-rank testing showed a significantly higher likelihood of freedom from LR (p = 0.027) as well as DR (p = 0.018) after Cs-131 compared to SRS treatment (p = 0.027), but no difference in likelihood of OS (p = 0.093). Six (10.0%) patients who underwent SRS experienced RN compared to 1 (3.3%) patient who received Cs-131 (p = 0.417).

CONCLUSIONS

Postresection patients with BM treated with Cs-131 brachytherapy were more likely to achieve local control compared to SRS-treated patients. This study provides preliminary evidence of the potential of Cs-131 to reduce LR following gross-total resection of single BM, with minimal toxicity, and suggests the need for a prospective study to address this question.

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Mina M. Gerges, Brett Youngerman, Vijay K. Anand, Jeffrey P. Greenfield and Theodore H. Schwartz

An 8-year-old child presented with fatigue, weight loss, and visual deterioration. MRI demonstrated a craniopharyngioma with compression of the optic chiasm and extensive edema on the hypothalamus and optic radiations. The tumor was completely removed via an endoscopic endonasal approach. Postoperatively, vision improved and hypothalamic edema completely resolved within 5 days. This video demonstrates the technical nuances of the surgery and discusses the impact of surgery on the hypothalamic nuclei in pediatric patients.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/wxkBmhTPi6c.

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Iyan Younus, Mina Gerges, Theodore H. Schwartz and Rohan Ramakrishna

OBJECTIVE

Despite the rise of studies in the neurosurgical literature suggesting that patients with Medicaid insurance have inferior outcomes, there remains a paucity of data on the impact of insurance on outcomes after endonasal endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery (EETS). Given the increasing importance of complications in quality-based healthcare metrics, the objective of this study was to assess whether Medicaid insurance type influences outcomes in EETS for pituitary adenoma.

METHODS

The authors analyzed a prospectively acquired database of EETS for pituitary adenoma from 2005 to 2018 at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medicine. All patients with Medicaid insurance were identified. As a control group, the clinical, socioeconomic, and radiographic data of all other patients in the series with non-Medicaid insurance were reviewed. Statistical significance was determined with an alpha < 0.05 using Pearson chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests for categorical variables and the independent-samples t-test for continuous variables.

RESULTS

Of 584 patients undergoing EETS for pituitary adenoma, 57 (10%) had Medicaid insurance. The maximum tumor diameter was significantly larger for Medicaid patients (26.1 ± 12 vs 23.1 ± 11 mm for controls, p < 0.05). Baseline comorbidities including diabetes mellitus, hypertension, smoking history, and BMI were not significantly different between Medicaid patients and controls. Patients with Medicaid insurance had a significantly higher rate of any complication (14% vs 7% for controls, p < 0.05) and long-term cranial neuropathy (5% vs 1% for controls, p < 0.05). There were no statistically significant differences in endocrine outcome or vision outcome. The mean postoperative length of stay was significantly longer for Medicaid patients compared to the controls (9.4 ± 31 vs 3.6 ± 3 days, p < 0.05). This difference remained significant even when accounting for outliers (5.6 ± 2.5 vs 3.0 ± 2.7 days for controls, p < 0.05). The most common causes of extended length of stay greater than 1 standard deviation for Medicaid patients were management of perioperative complications and disposition challenges. The rate of 30-day readmission was 7% for Medicaid patients and 4.4% for controls, which was not a statistically significant difference.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that larger tumor diameter, longer postoperative length of stay, higher rate of complications, and long-term cranial neuropathy were significantly associated with Medicaid insurance. There were no statistically significant differences in baseline comorbidities, apoplexy, endocrine outcome, vision outcome, or 30-day readmission.

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Danielle Golub, Jonathan Hyde, Siddhant Dogra, Joseph Nicholson, Katherine A. Kirkwood, Paulomi Gohel, Stephen Loftus and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

High-grade gliomas (HGGs) continue to carry poor prognoses, and patient outcomes depend heavily on the extent of resection (EOR). The utility of conventional image-guided surgery is limited by intraoperative brain shift. More recent techniques to maximize EOR, including intraoperative imaging and the use of fluorescent dyes, combat these limitations. However, the relative efficacy of these two techniques has never been systematically compared. Thus, the authors performed an exhaustive systematic review in conjunction with quantitative network meta-analyses to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) and intraoperative MRI (IMRI) in optimizing EOR in HGG. They secondarily analyzed associated progression-free and overall survival and performed subgroup analyses by level of evidence.

METHODS

PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Central, and Web of Science were searched for studies evaluating conventional neuronavigation, IMRI, and 5-ALA in HGG resection. The primary study endpoint was the proportion of patients attaining gross-total resection (GTR), defined as 100% elimination of contrast-enhancing lesion on postoperative MRI. Secondary endpoints included overall and progression-free survival and subgroup analyses for level of evidence. Comparative efficacy analysis of IMRI and 5-ALA was performed using Bayesian network meta-analysis models.

RESULTS

This analysis included 11 studies. In a classic meta-analysis, both IMRI (OR 4.99, 95% CI 2.65–9.39, p < 0.001) and 5-ALA (OR 2.866, 95% CI 2.127–3.863, p < 0.001) were superior to conventional navigation in achieving GTR. Bayesian network analysis was employed to indirectly compare IMRI to 5-ALA, and no significant difference in GTR was found between the two (OR 1.9 favoring IMRI, 95% CI 0.905–3.989, p = 0.090). A handful of studies additionally suggested that the use of either IMRI (2 and 4 studies, respectively) or 5-ALA (2 and 2 studies, respectively) improves progression-free and overall survival.

CONCLUSIONS

IMRI and 5-ALA are individually superior to conventional neuronavigation for achieving GTR of HGG. Between IMRI and 5-ALA, neither method is clearly more effective. Future studies evaluating the comparative cost and surgical time associated with IMRI and 5-ALA will better inform any cost-benefit analysis.

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Iyan Younus, Mina M. Gerges, Rafael Uribe-Cardenas, Peter F. Morgenstern, Mahmoud Eljalby, Abtin Tabaee, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Ashutosh Kacker, Vijay K. Anand and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs) to the skull base have evolved over the last 20 years to become an essential component of a comprehensive skull base practice. Many case series show a learning curve from the earliest cases, in which the authors were inexperienced or were not using advanced closure techniques. It is generally accepted that once this learning curve is achieved, a plateau is reached with little incremental improvement. Cases performed during the early steep learning curve were eliminated to examine whether the continued improvement exists over the “tail end” of the curve.

METHODS

A prospectively acquired database of all EEA cases performed by the senior authors at Weill Cornell Medicine/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital was reviewed. The first 200 cases were eliminated and the next 1000 consecutive cases were examined to avoid the bias created by the early learning curve.

RESULTS

Of the 1000 cases, the most common pathologies included pituitary adenoma (51%), meningoencephalocele or CSF leak repair (8.6%), meningioma (8.4%), craniopharyngioma (7.3%), basilar invagination (3.1%), Rathke’s cleft cyst (2.8%), and chordoma (2.4%). Use of lumbar drains decreased from the first half to the second half of our series (p <0.05) as did the authors’ use of fat alone (p <0.005) or gasket alone (p <0.005) for dural closure, while the use of a nasoseptal flap increased (p <0.005). Although mean tumor diameter was constant (on average), gross-total resection (GTR) increased from 60% in the first half to 73% in the second half (p <0.005). GTR increased for all pathologies but most significantly for chordoma (56% vs 100%, p <0.05), craniopharyngioma (47% vs 0.71%, p <0.05) and pituitary adenoma (67% vs 75%, p <0.05). Hormonal cure for secreting adenomas also increased from 83% in the first half to 89% in the second half (p <0.05). The rate of any complication was unchanged at 6.4% in the first half and 6.2% in the latter half of cases, and vascular injury occurred in only 0.6% of cases. Postoperative CSF leak occurred in 2% of cases and was unchanged between the first and second half of the series.

CONCLUSIONS

This study demonstrates that contrary to popular belief, the surgical learning curve does not plateau but can continue for several years depending on the complexity of the endpoints considered. These findings may have implications for clinical trial design, surgical education, and patient safety measures.

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Mina M. Gerges, Kavelin Rumalla, Saniya S. Godil, Iyan Younus, Walid Elshamy, Georgiana A. Dobri, Ashutosh Kacker, Abtin Tabaee, Viay K. Anand and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas are benign, slow-growing tumors. After gross-total resection (GTR) or subtotal resection (STR), tumors can recur or progress and may ultimately require additional intervention. A greater understanding of long-term recurrence and progression rates following complete or partial resection and the need for further intervention will help clinicians provide meaningful counsel for their patients and assist data-driven decision-making.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed their institutional database for patients undergoing endoscopic endonasal surgery (EES) for nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas (2003–2014). Only patients with follow-up of at least 5 years after surgery were included. Tumor volumes were measured on pre- and postoperative MRI. Tumor recurrence was defined as the presence of a 0.1-cm3 tumor volume after GTR, and tumor progression was defined as a 25.0% increase in residual tumor after STR.

RESULTS

A total of 190 patients were included, with a mean age of 63.8 ± 13.2 years; 79 (41.6%) were female. The mean follow-up was 75.0 ± 18.0 months. GTR was achieved in 127 (66.8%) patients. In multivariate analysis, age (p = 0.04), preoperative tumor volume (p = 0.03), Knosp score (p < 0.001), and Ki-67 (p = 0.03) were significant predictors of STR. In patients with GTR, the probability of recurrence at 5 and 10 years was 3.9% and 4.7%, and the probability of requiring treatment for recurrence was 0.79% and 1.6%, respectively. In 63 patients who underwent STR, 6 (9.5%) received early postoperative radiation and did not experience progression, while the remaining 57 (90.5%) were observed. Of these, the probability of disease progression at 5 and 10 years was 21% and 24.5%, respectively, and the probability of requiring additional treatment for progression was 17.5% and 21%. Predictors of recurrence or progression in the entire group were Knosp score (p < 0.001) and elevated Ki-67 (p = 0.03). Significant predictors of progression after STR in those who did not receive early radiotherapy were cavernous sinus location (p < 0.05) and tumor size > 1.0 cm3 (p = 0.005).

CONCLUSIONS

Following GTR for nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas, the 10-year chance of recurrence is low and the need for treatment even lower. After STR, although upfront radiation therapy may prevent progression, even without radiotherapy, the need for intervention at 10 years is only approximately 20% and a period of observation may be warranted to prevent unnecessary prophylactic radiation therapy. Tumor volume > 1 cm3, Knosp score ≥ 3, and Ki-67 ≥ 3% may be useful metrics to prompt closer follow-up or justify early prophylactic radiation therapy.

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Mina M. Gerges, Saniya S. Godil, Iyan Younus, Michael Rezk and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

The infratemporal fossa (ITF) and parapharyngeal space are anatomical regions that can be challenging to access without the use of complex, cosmetically disfiguring approaches. With advances in endoscopic techniques, a new group of surgical approaches to access the intracranial space through the orbit has been recently referred to as transorbital neuroendoscopic surgery (TONES). The objective of this study was to establish a transorbital endoscopic approach utilizing the inferior orbital fissure (IOF) to gain access to the ITF and parapharyngeal space and provide a detailed endoscopic anatomical description of this approach.

METHODS

Four cadaveric heads (8 sides) were dissected using a TONES approach through the IOF to reach the ITF and parapharyngeal space, providing stepwise dissection with detailed anatomical findings and a description of each step.

RESULTS

An inferior eyelid approach was made with subperiosteal periorbital dissection to the IOF. The zygomatic and greater wing of the sphenoid were drilled, forming the boundaries of the IOF. The upper head of the lateral pterygoid muscle in the ITF and parapharyngeal space was removed, and 7 distinct planes were described, each with its own anatomical contents. The second part of the maxillary artery was mainly found in plane 1 between the temporalis laterally and the lateral pterygoid muscle in plane 2. The branches of the mandibular nerve (V3) and middle meningeal artery (MMA) were identified in plane 3. Plane 4 was formed by the fascia of the medial pterygoid muscle (MTM) and the tensor veli palatini muscle. The prestyloid segment, found in plane 5, was composed mainly of fat and lymph nodes. The parapharyngeal carotid artery in the poststyloid segment, found in plane 7, was identified after laterally dissecting the styloid diaphragm, found in plane 6. V3 and the origin of the levator and tensor veli palatini muscles serve as landmarks for identification of the parapharyngeal carotid artery.

CONCLUSIONS

The transorbital endoscopic approach provides excellent access to the ITF and parapharyngeal space compared to previously described complex and morbid transfacial or transcranial approaches. Using the IOF is an important and useful landmark that permits a wide exposure.

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Iyan Younus, Mina M. Gerges, Georgiana A. Dobri, Rohan Ramakrishna and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Hospital readmission is a key component in value-based healthcare models but there are limited data about the 30-day readmission rate after endonasal endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery (EETS) for pituitary adenoma. The objective of this study was to determine the incidence and identify factors associated with 30-day readmission after EETS for pituitary adenoma.

METHODS

The authors analyzed a prospectively acquired database of patients who underwent EETS for pituitary adenoma from 2005 to 2018 at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medicine. Clinical, socioeconomic, and radiographic data were reviewed for cases of unplanned readmission within 30 days of surgery and, as a control group, for all other patients in the series who were not readmitted. Statistical significance was determined with an alpha < 0.05 using Pearson’s chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests for categorical variables and the independent-samples t-test for continuous variables.

RESULTS

Of 584 patients undergoing EETS for pituitary adenoma, 27 (4.6%) had unplanned readmission within 30 days. Most readmissions occurred within the first week after surgery, with a mean time to readmission of 6.6 ± 3.9 days. The majority of readmissions (59%) were for hyponatremia. These patients had a mean sodium level of 120.6 ± 4.6 mEq/L at presentation. Other causes of readmission were epistaxis (11%), spinal headache (11%), sellar hematoma (7.4%), CSF leak (3.7%), nonspecific headache (3.7%), and pulmonary embolism (3.7%). The postoperative length of stay was significantly shorter for patients who were readmitted than for the controls (2.7 ± 1.0 days vs 3.9 ± 3.2 days; p < 0.05). Patients readmitted for hyponatremia had an initial length of stay of 2.6 ± 0.9 days, the shortest of any cause for readmission. The mean BMI was significantly lower for readmitted patients than for the controls (26.4 ± 3.9 kg/m2 vs 29.3 ± 6.1 kg/m2; p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Readmission after EETS for pituitary adenoma is a relatively rare phenomenon, with delayed hyponatremia being the primary cause. The study results demonstrate that shorter postoperative length of stay and lower BMI were associated with 30-day readmission.

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Iyan Younus, Mina M. Gerges, Saniya S. Godil, Rafael Uribe-Cardenas, Georgiana A. Dobri, Rohan Ramakrishna and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Postoperative sellar hematoma is an uncommon complication of endonasal endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery (EETS) for pituitary adenoma that often requires emergency surgical evacuation. Sellar hematomas can cause mass effect and compress parasellar structures, leading to clinically significant symptoms such as visual impairment and severe headache. The objective of this study was to determine the incidence and risk factors associated with reoperation for postoperative hematoma after EETS for pituitary adenoma.

METHODS

The authors reviewed a prospectively acquired database of EETS for pituitary adenoma over 13 years at Weill Cornell Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and identified cases that required reoperation for confirmed hematoma. They also reviewed clinical and radiographic data of a consecutive series of patients undergoing EETS for pituitary adenoma who did not have postoperative hematoma, which served as the control group. Demographic data and risk factors were compared between the groups using univariate and multivariate analyses via binary logistic regression.

RESULTS

Among a cohort of 583 patients undergoing EETS for pituitary adenoma, 9 patients (1.5%) required operation for sellar hematoma evacuation. All 9 patients with reoperation for sellar hematoma presented with worsening in their vision, and severe headache was present in 67%. New postoperative endocrine dysfunction developed in 78%. Clot evacuation improved vision in 88%. The mean time to hematoma evacuation was 4.5 days. The median length of stay for patients with sellar hematoma was 8 days (range 4–210 days) compared with a median length of stay of 3 days (range 1–32 days) for the control patients (p < 0.005). Significant risk factors in univariate analysis were tumor diameter ≥ 30 mm (p < 0.005), suprasellar extension (p < 0.005), tumor volume (p < 0.005), cavernous sinus invasion (p < 0.05), gonadotroph histology (p < 0.05), antiplatelet use (p < 0.05), and elevated BMI (p < 0.05). On multivariate analysis, tumor diameter ≥ 30 mm (OR 4.555, CI 1.30–28.90; p < 0.05) and suprasellar extension (OR 1.048, CI 1.01–1.10; p < 0.05) were found to be the only independent predictors of sellar hematoma. The incidence of hematoma in tumors ≥ 30 mm was 5% (7/139).

CONCLUSIONS

Postoperative sellar hematoma requiring reoperation is a rare phenomenon after transsphenoidal surgery, often presenting with visual loss and headache. Clot evacuation results in improvement in vision, but long-term endocrinopathy often ensues. Tumor diameter ≥ 30 mm and suprasellar extent are the most reliable risk factors. Close postoperative scrutiny should be given to patients at high risk.