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Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Daniel S. Ubl, Kristine T. Hanson, William E. Krauss, Fredric B. Meyer, Robert J. Spinner, Elizabeth B. Habermann and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Patient-reported outcomes have been increasingly mandated by regulators and payers to evaluate hospital and physician performance. The purpose of this study is to delineate the differences in patient-reported experience of hospital care for cranial and spinal operations.

METHODS

The authors selected all patients who underwent inpatient, elective cranial or spinal procedures and completed the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey at a single, high-volume, tertiary care institution between October 2012 and September 2015. The association of the surgical procedure and diagnosis with various HCAHPS composite measures, calculated across 9 domains using standard top-box methodology, was investigated. Multivariable logistic regression models were fitted for outcomes that were significant with procedure type and diagnosis group on univariate analysis, adjusting for age, sex, case complexity, overall health rating, and education level.

RESULTS

A total of 1484 patients met criteria and returned an HCAHPS survey. Overall, patients undergoing a cranial procedure gave top-box (most favorable) scores more often in pain management measure (66.3% vs 59.6%, p = 0.01) compared with those undergoing spine surgery. Furthermore, despite better discharge scores (93.1% vs 87.1%, p < 0.001), spinal patients were less likely to report excellent health (7.4% vs 12.7%). Lastly, patients with a primary diagnosis of brain or spinal tumor compared with those with degenerative spinal disease and those with other neurosurgical diagnoses provided top-box scores more often regarding communication with doctors (82.7% vs 76.4% vs 75.2%, p = 0.04), pain management (71.8% vs 60.9% vs 59.1%, p = 0.002), and global rating (90.4% vs 84.0% vs 87.3%, p = 0.02). On multivariable analysis, spinal patients had significantly lower odds of reporting top-box scores in pain management (OR 0.67, 95% CI 0.52–0.85; p = 0.001), staff responsiveness (OR 0.68, 95% CI 0.53–0.87; p = 0.002), and global rating (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.42–0.82; p = 0.002), and significantly higher odds of top-box scoring in discharge information (OR 2.15, 95% CI 1.45–3.18; p < 0.001) than cranial patients. Similarly, brain tumor cases were associated with significantly higher odds of top-box scoring in communication with doctors (OR 1.46, 95% CI 1.01–2.12; p = 0.04), pain management (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.29–2.55; p < 0.001), staff responsiveness (OR 1.88, 95% CI 1.33–2.66; p < 0.001), and global rating (OR 2.00, 95% CI 1.26–3.17; p = 0.003) compared with degenerative spine cases.

CONCLUSIONS

Significant differences in patient-reported experience with hospital care exist across different cranial and spine surgery patient populations. Overall, spinal patients, particularly those with degenerative spine disease, rated their health and their hospital experience lower relative to cranial patients. Identifying weaker areas of hospital performance in target populations can stimulate quality initiatives that aim to increase the overall hospital score.

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Hannah E. Gilder, Ross C. Puffer, Mohamad Bydon and Robert J. Spinner

OBJECTIVE

In this study, the authors sought to compare tumors with intradural extension to those remaining in the epidural or paraspinal space with the hypothesis that intradural extension may be a mechanism for seeding of the CSF with malignant cells, thereby resulting in higher rates of CNS metastases and shorter overall survival.

METHODS

The authors searched the medical record for cases of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) identified from 1994 to 2017. The charts of the identified patients were then reviewed for tumor location to identify patients with paraspinal malignancy. All patients included in the study had tumor specimens that were reviewed in the surgical pathology department. Paraspinal tumors with intradural extension were identified in the lumbar, sacral, and spinal accessory nerves, and attempts were made to match this cohort to another cohort of patients who had paraspinal tumors of the cranial nerves and lumbar and sacral spinal regions without intradural extension. Further information was collected on all patients with and without intradural extension, including date of diagnosis by pathology specimen review; nerve or nerves of tumor origin; presence, location, and diagnostic date of any CNS metastases; and either the date of death or date of last follow-up.

RESULTS

The authors identified 6 of 179 (3.4%) patients who had intradural tumor extension and compared these patients with 12 patients who harbored paraspinal tumors that did not have intradural extension. All tumors were diagnosed as high-grade MPNSTs according to the surgical pathology findings. Four of 6 (66.7%) patients with intradural extension had documented CNS metastases. The presence of CNS metastases was significantly higher in the intradural group than in the paraspinal group (intradural, 66.7% vs paraspinal, 0%; p < 0.01). Time from diagnosis until death was 11.2 months in the intradural group and approximately 72 months in the paraspinal, extradural cohort.

CONCLUSIONS

In patients with intradural extension of paraspinal MPNSTs, significantly higher rates of CNS metastases are seen with a reduced interval of time from diagnosis to metastatic lesion detection. Intradural tumor extension is also a poor prognostic factor for survival, with these patients showing a reduced mean time from diagnosis to death.

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Thomas J. Wilson, B. Matthew Howe, Shelby A. Stewart, Robert J. Spinner and Kimberly K. Amrami

OBJECTIVE

This study aimed to define a set of clinicoradiological parameters with a high specificity for the diagnosis of intraneural perineurioma, obviating the need for operative tissue diagnosis.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed MR images obtained in a large cohort of patients who underwent targeted fascicular biopsy and included only those patients for whom the biopsy yielded a diagnosis. Clinical and radiological findings were then tested for their ability to predict a tissue diagnosis of intraneural perineurioma. The authors propose a new set of diagnostic criteria, referred to as the Perineurioma Diagnostic Criteria. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of several clinicoradiological methods of diagnosis were compared.

RESULTS

A total of 195 patients who underwent targeted fascicular biopsy were included in the cohort, of whom 51 had a tissue diagnosis of intraneural perineurioma. When the clinicoradiological methods used in this study were compared, the highest sensitivity (0.86), negative predictive value (0.95), and F1 score (0.88) were observed for the decision trees generated in C5.0 and rPart, whereas the highest specificity (1.0) and positive predictive value (1.0) were observed for the Perineurioma Diagnostic Criteria.

CONCLUSIONS

This study identified clinical and radiological features that are associated with a diagnosis of perineurioma. The Perineurioma Diagnostic Criteria were determined to be the following: 1) no cancer history, 2) unifocal disease, 3) moderate to severe hyperintensity on T2-weighted MR images, 4) moderate to severe contrast enhancement, 5) homogeneous contrast enhancement, 6) fusiform shape, 7) enlargement of the involved nerves, and 8) age ≤ 40 years. Use of the Perineurioma Diagnostic Criteria obviates the need for tissue diagnosis when all of the criteria are satisfied.

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Liselotte F. Bulstra, Nadia Rbia, Michelle F. Kircher, Robert J. Spinner, Allen T. Bishop and Alexander Y. Shin

Despite continuous improvement and expansion of reconstructive options for traumatic brachial plexus injury, options to reinnervate the triceps muscle remain somewhat sparse. This study describes a novel option, using a spinal accessory nerve transfer to the long head of the triceps muscle with an intervening autologous nerve graft. The resulting quality of elbow extension and factors that influence outcome are discussed.

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Jonathan J. Stone, Nikhil K. Prasad, Pierre Laumonerie, B. Matthew Howe, Kimberly K. Amrami, Jodi M. Carter, Mark E. Jentoft and Robert J. Spinner

OBJECTIVE

Desmoid-type fibromatosis (DTF) presents a therapeutic dilemma. While lacking metastatic potential, it is a locally aggressive tumor with a strong propensity for occurrence near nerve(s) and recurrence following resection. In this study, the authors introduce the association of an occult neuromuscular choristoma (NMC) identified in patients with DTF.

METHODS

After experiencing a case of DTF found to have an occult NMC, the authors performed a retrospective database review of all other cases of biopsy-proven DTF involving the extremities or limb girdles in patients with available MRI data. Two musculoskeletal radiologists with expertise in peripheral nerve imaging reviewed the MRI studies of the eligible cases for evidence of previously unrecognized NMC.

RESULTS

The initial case of a patient with an occult sciatic NMC is described. The database review yielded 40 patients with DTF—18 (45%) in the upper limb and 22 (55%) in the lower limb. Two cases (5%) had MRI findings of NMC associated with the DTF, one in the proximal sciatic nerve and the other in the proximal tibial and sural nerves.

CONCLUSIONS

The coexistence of NMC may be under-recognized in a subset of patients with extremity DTF. This finding poses implications for DTF treatment and the likelihood of recurrence after resection or biopsy. Further study may reveal crucial links between the pathogenesis of NMC and DTF and offer novel therapeutic strategies.

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Benjamin T. Himes, Thomas J. Wilson, Andres A. Maldonado, Naveen S. Murthy and Robert J. Spinner

The authors present a case of delayed peroneal neuropathy following a lateral gastrocnemius rotational flap reconstruction. The patient presented 1.5 years after surgery with a new partial foot drop, which progressed over 3 years. At operation, a fascial band on the deep side of the gastrocnemius flap was compressing the common peroneal nerve proximal to the fibular head, correlating with preoperative imaging. Release of this fascial band and selective muscle resection led to immediate improvement in symptoms postoperatively.

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Courtney Pendleton, Allan J. Belzberg, Robert J. Spinner and Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa

Harvey Cushing is widely regarded as one of the forefathers of neurosurgery, and is primarily associated with his work on intracranial pathology. However, he had a clinical and academic interest in peripheral nerve surgery. Through the courtesy of the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives, the surgical records of the Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1896 to 1912 were reviewed. The records of a single patient undergoing brachial plexus exploration and cervical rib resection were selected for detailed review. The operative report and accompanying illustrations demonstrate Cushing’s interest in adding approaches to the pathology of the brachial plexus to his operative armamentarium.

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Thomas J. Wilson, Grant M. Kleiber, Ryan M. Nunley, Susan E. Mackinnon and Robert J. Spinner

OBJECTIVE

The sciatic nerve, particularly its peroneal division, is at risk for injury during total hip arthroplasty (THA), especially when a posterior approach is used. The majority of the morbidity results from the loss of peroneal nerve–innervated muscle function. Approximately one-third of patients recover spontaneously. The objectives of this study were to report the outcomes of distal decompression of the peroneal nerve at the fibular tunnel following sciatic nerve injury secondary to THA and to attempt to identify predictors of a positive surgical outcome.

METHODS

A retrospective study of all patients who underwent peroneal decompression for the indication of sciatic nerve injury following THA at the Mayo Clinic or Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis was performed. Patients with less than 6 months of postoperative follow-up were excluded. The primary outcome was dorsiflexion strength at latest follow-up. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to assess the ability of the independent variables to predict a good surgical outcome.

RESULTS

The total included cohort consisted of 37 patients. The median preoperative dorsiflexion grade at the time of peroneal decompression was 0. Dorsiflexion at latest follow-up was Medical Research Council (MRC) ≥ 3 for 24 (65%) patients. Dorsiflexion recovered to MRC ≥ 4− for 15 (41%) patients. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, motor unit potentials in the tibialis anterior (OR 19.84, 95% CI 2.44–364.05; p = 0.004) and in the peroneus longus (OR 8.68, 95% CI 1.05–135.53; p = 0.04) on preoperative electromyography were significant predictors of a good surgical outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

After performing peroneal nerve decompression at the fibular tunnel, 65% of the patients in this study recovered dorsiflexion strength of MRC ≥ 3 at latest follow-up, potentially representing a significant improvement over the natural history.

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Robert J. Spinner, Holly S. Gilmer and Gregory R. Trost

If a single picture is worth a thousand words, then a video, by logical extension, would be priceless. This edition showcases peripheral nerve surgery in all its grandeur and preserves it for posterity. Classic and novel surgical techniques are shown related to tumor biopsy or resection; nerve decompression for entrapment; and nerve reconstruction with direct repair or nerve transfer. Akin to a nautical chart filled with detailed maps for sailors, this Neurosurgical Focus Video Atlas provides navigational tools for neurosurgeons. The shared underlying message is that a sound knowledge of anatomy can lead to innovation (i.e., creative approaches or solutions) and excellence (i.e., improved patient outcomes).

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R. Shane Tubbs, Andrés A. Maldonado, Yolanda Stoves, Fabian N. Fries, Rong Li, Marios Loukas, Rod J. Oskouian and Robert J. Spinner

OBJECTIVE

The accessory nerve is frequently repaired or used for nerve transfer. The length of accessory nerve available is often insufficient or marginal (under tension) for allowing direct coaptation during nerve repair or nerve transfer (neurotization), necessitating an interpositional graft. An attractive maneuver would facilitate lengthening of the accessory nerve for direct coaptation. The aim of the present study was to identify an anatomical method for such lengthening.

METHODS

In 20 adult cadavers, the C-2 or C-3 connections to the accessory nerve were identified medial to the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle and the anatomy of the accessory nerve/cervical nerve fibers within the SCM was documented. The cervical nerve connections were cut. Lengths of the accessory nerve were measured. Samples of the cut C-2 and C-3 nerves were examined using immunohistochemistry.

RESULTS

The anatomy and adjacent neural connections within the SCM are complicated. However, after the accessory nerve was “detethered” from within the SCM and following transection, the additional length of the accessory nerve increased from a mean of 6 cm to a mean of 10.5 cm (increase of 4.5 cm) after cutting the C-2 connections, and from a mean of 6 cm to a mean length of 9 cm (increase of 3.5 cm) after cutting the C-3 connections. The additional length of accessory nerve even allowed direct repair of an infraclavicular target (i.e., the proximal musculocutaneous nerve). The cervical nerve connections were shown not to contain motor fibers.

CONCLUSIONS

An additional length of the accessory nerve made available in the posterior cervical triangle can facilitate direct repair or neurotization procedures, thus eliminating the need for an interpositional nerve graft, decreasing the time/distance for regeneration and potentially improving clinical outcomes.