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Brandon G. Rocque, Bonita S. Agee, Eric M. Thompson, Mark Piedra, Lissa C. Baird, Nathan R. Selden, Stephanie Greene, Christopher P. Deibert, Todd C. Hankinson, Sean M. Lew, Bermans J. Iskandar, Taryn M. Bragg, David Frim, Gerald Grant, Nalin Gupta, Kurtis I. Auguste, Dimitrios C. Nikas, Michael Vassilyadi, Carrie R. Muh, Nicholas M. Wetjen, and Sandi K. Lam

OBJECTIVE

In children, the repair of skull defects arising from decompressive craniectomy presents a unique set of challenges. Single-center studies have identified different risk factors for the common complications of cranioplasty resorption and infection. The goal of the present study was to determine the risk factors for bone resorption and infection after pediatric cranioplasty.

METHODS

The authors conducted a multicenter retrospective case study that included all patients who underwent cranioplasty to correct a skull defect arising from a decompressive craniectomy at 13 centers between 2000 and 2011 and were less than 19 years old at the time of cranioplasty. Prior systematic review of the literature along with expert opinion guided the selection of variables to be collected. These included: indication for craniectomy; history of abusive head trauma; method of bone storage; method of bone fixation; use of drains; size of bone graft; presence of other implants, including ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt; presence of fluid collections; age at craniectomy; and time between craniectomy and cranioplasty.

RESULTS

A total of 359 patients met the inclusion criteria. The patients’ mean age was 8.4 years, and 51.5% were female. Thirty-eight cases (10.5%) were complicated by infection. In multivariate analysis, presence of a cranial implant (primarily VP shunt) (OR 2.41, 95% CI 1.17–4.98), presence of gastrostomy (OR 2.44, 95% CI 1.03–5.79), and ventilator dependence (OR 8.45, 95% CI 1.10–65.08) were significant risk factors for cranioplasty infection. No other variable was associated with infection.

Of the 240 patients who underwent a cranioplasty with bone graft, 21.7% showed bone resorption significant enough to warrant repeat surgical intervention. The most important predictor of cranioplasty bone resorption was age at the time of cranioplasty. For every month of increased age the risk of bone flap resorption decreased by 1% (OR 0.99, 95% CI 0.98–0.99, p < 0.001). Other risk factors for resorption in multivariate models were the use of external ventricular drains and lumbar shunts.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the largest study of pediatric cranioplasty outcomes performed to date. Analysis included variables found to be significant in previous retrospective reports. Presence of a cranial implant such as VP shunt is the most significant risk factor for cranioplasty infection, whereas younger age at cranioplasty is the dominant risk factor for bone resorption.

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Dario J. Englot, Seunggu J. Han, John D. Rolston, Michael E. Ivan, Rachel A. Kuperman, Edward F. Chang, Nalin Gupta, Joseph E. Sullivan, and Kurtis I. Auguste

Object

Resection is a safe and effective treatment option for children with pharmacoresistant focal epilepsy, but some patients continue experience seizures after surgery. While most studies of pediatric epilepsy surgery focus on predictors of postoperative seizure outcome, these factors are often not modifiable, and the reasons for surgical failure may remain unclear.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective cohort study of children and adolescents who received focal resective surgery for pharmacoresistant epilepsy. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses of factors associated with persistent postoperative seizures were conducted.

Results

Records were reviewed from 110 patients, ranging in age from 6 months to 19 years at the time of surgery, who underwent a total of 115 resections. At a mean 3.1-year follow-up, 76% of patients were free of disabling seizures (Engel Class I outcome). Seizure freedom was predicted by temporal lobe surgery compared with extratemporal resection, tumor or mesial temporal sclerosis compared with cortical dysplasia or other pathologies, and by a lower preoperative seizure frequency. Factors associated with persistent seizures (Engel Class II–IV outcome) included residual epileptogenic tissue adjacent to the resection cavity (40%), an additional epileptogenic zone distant from the resection cavity (32%), and the presence of a hemispheric epilepsy syndrome (28%).

Conclusions

While seizure outcomes in pediatric epilepsy surgery may be improved by the use of high-resolution neuroimaging and invasive electrographic studies, a more aggressive resection should be considered in certain patients, including hemispherectomy if a hemispheric epilepsy syndrome is suspected. Family counseling regarding treatment expectations is critical, and reoperation may be warranted in select cases.

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Jason S. Cheng, Michael E. Ivan, Christopher J. Stapleton, Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, Nalin Gupta, and Kurtis I. Auguste

Object

Intraoperative dorsal column mapping, transcranial motor evoked potentials (TcMEPs), and somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) have been used in adults to assist with the resection of intramedullary spinal cord tumors (IMSCTs) and to predict postoperative motor deficits. The authors sought to determine whether changes in MEP and SSEP waveforms would similarly predict postoperative motor deficits in children.

Methods

The authors reviewed charts and intraoperative records for children who had undergone resection for IMSCTs as well as dorsal column mapping and TcMEP and SSEP monitoring. Motor evoked potential data were supplemented with electromyography data obtained using a Kartush microstimulator (Medtronic Inc.). Motor strength was graded using the Medical Research Council (MRC) scale during the preoperative, immediate postoperative, and follow-up periods. Reductions in SSEPs were documented after mechanical traction, in response to maneuvers with the cavitational ultrasonic surgical aspirator (CUSA), or both.

Results

Data from 12 patients were analyzed. Three lesions were encountered in the cervical and 7 in the thoracic spinal cord. Two patients had lesions of the cervicomedullary junction and upper spinal cord. Intraoperative MEP changes were noted in half of the patients. In these cases, normal polyphasic signals converted to biphasic signals, and these changes correlated with a loss of 1–2 grades in motor strength. One patient lost MEP signals completely and recovered strength to MRC Grade 4/5. The 2 patients with high cervical lesions showed neither intraoperative MEP changes nor motor deficits postoperatively. Dorsal columns were mapped in 7 patients, and the midline was determined accurately in all 7. Somatosensory evoked potentials were decreased in 7 patients. Two patients each had 2 SSEP decreases in response to traction intraoperatively but had no new sensory findings postoperatively. Another 2 patients had 3 traction-related SSEP decreases intraoperatively, and both had new postoperative sensory deficits that resolved. One additional patient had a CUSA-related SSEP decrease intraoperatively, which resolved postoperatively, and the last patient had 3 traction-related sensory deficits and a CUSA-related sensory deficit postoperatively, none of which resolved.

Conclusions

Intraoperative TcMEPs and SSEPs can predict the degree of postoperative motor deficit in pediatric patients undergoing IMSCT resection. This technique, combined with dorsal column mapping, is particularly useful in resecting lesions of the upper cervical cord, which are generally considered to be high risk in this population. Furthermore, the spinal cord appears to be less tolerant of repeated intraoperative SSEP decreases, with 3 successive insults most likely to yield postoperative sensory deficits. Changes in TcMEPs and SSEP waveforms can signal the need to guard against excessive manipulation thereby increasing the safety of tumor resection.

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Tene A. Cage, Aaron J. Clark, Derick Aranda, Nalin Gupta, Peter P. Sun, Andrew T. Parsa, and Kurtis I. Auguste

Object

Ependymoma is the third most common primary brain tumor in children. Tumors are classified according to the WHO pathological grading system. Prior studies have shown high levels of variability in patient outcomes within and across pathological grades. The authors reviewed the results from the published literature on intracranial ependymomas in children to describe clinical outcomes as they relate to treatment modality, associated mortality, and associated progression-free survival (PFS).

Methods

A search of English language peer-reviewed articles describing patients 18 years of age or younger with intracranial ependymomas yielded data on 182 patients. These patients had undergone treatment for ependymoma with 1 of 5 modalities: 1) gross-total resection (GTR), 2) GTR as well as external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), 3) subtotal resection (STR), 4) STR as well as EBRT, or 5) radiosurgery. Mortality and outcome data were analyzed for time to tumor progression in patients treated with 1 of these 5 treatment modalities.

Results

Of these 182 patients, 69% had supratentorial ependymomas and 31% presented with infratentorial lesions. Regardless of tumor location or pathological grade, STR was associated with the highest rates of mortality. In contrast, GTR was associated with the lowest rates of mortality, the best overall survival, and the longest PFS. Children with WHO Grade II ependymomas had lower mortality rates when treated more aggressively with GTR. However, patients with WHO Grade III tumors had slightly better survival outcomes after a less aggressive surgical debulking (STR+EBRT) when compared with GTR.

Conclusions

Mortality, PFS, and overall survival vary in pediatric patients with intracranial ependymomas. Pathological classification, tumor location, and method of treatment play a role in outcomes. In this study, GTR was associated with the best overall and PFS rates. Patients with WHO Grade II tumors had better overall survival after GTR+EBRT and better PFS after GTR alone. Patients with WHO Grade III tumors had better overall survival after STR+EBRT. Patients with infratentorial tumors had improved overall survival compared with those with supratentorial tumors. Progression-free survival was best in those patients with infratentorial tumors following STR+EBRT. Consideration of all of these factors is important when counseling families on treatment options.

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Aaron J. Clark, Tene A. Cage, Derick Aranda, Andrew T. Parsa, Kurtis I. Auguste, and Nalin Gupta

Object

Craniopharyngiomas are benign tumors but their close anatomical relationship with critical neurological, endocrine, and vascular structures makes gross-total resection (GTR) with minimal morbidity difficult to achieve. Currently, there is controversy regarding the extent, timing, and modality of treatment for pediatric craniopharyngioma.

Methods

The authors performed a systematic review of the published literature on pediatric craniopharyngioma to determine patterns of clinical practice and the reported outcomes of standard treatment strategies. This yielded 109 studies, which contained data describing extent of resection for a total of 531 patients. Differences in outcome were examined based upon extent of resection and choice of radiation treatment.

Results

Gross-total resection was associated with increased rates of new endocrine dysfunction (OR 5.4, p < 0.001), panhypopituitarism (OR 7.8, p = 0.006), and new neurological deficits (OR 9.9, p = 0.03) compared with biopsy procedures. Subtotal resection (STR) was not associated with an increased rate of new neurological deficits. Gross-total was associated with increased rates of diabetes insipidus (OR 7.7, p = 0.05) compared with the combination of STR and radiotherapy (RT). The addition of RT to STR was associated with increased rates of panhypopituitarism (OR 9.9, p = 0.01) but otherwise similar rates of morbidities.

Conclusions

Although subject to the limitations of a literature review, this report suggests that GTR is associated with increased rates of endocrinopathies compared with STR + RT, and this should be considered when planning goals of surgery.

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Arman Jahangiri, Annette M. Molinaro, Phiroz E. Tarapore, Lewis Blevins Jr., Kurtis I. Auguste, Nalin Gupta, Sandeep Kunwar, and Manish K. Aghi

Object

Rathke cleft cysts (RCC) are benign sellar lesions most often found in adults, and more infrequently in children. They are generally asymptomatic but sometimes require surgical treatment through a transsphenoidal corridor. The purpose of this study was to compare adult versus pediatric cases of RCC.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed presenting symptoms, MR imaging findings, laboratory study results, and pathological findings in 147 adult and 14 pediatric patients who underwent surgery for treatment of RCCs at the University of Californial at San Francisco between 1996 and 2008.

Results

In both the adult and pediatric groups, most patients were female (78% of adults, 79% of pediatric patients, p = 0.9). Headache was the most common symptom in both groups (reported by 50% of pediatric patients and 33% of adults, p = 0.2). Preoperative hypopituitarism occurred in 41% of adults and 45% of pediatric patients (p = 0.8). Growth delay, a uniquely pediatric finding, was a presenting sign in 29% of pediatric patients. Visual complaints were a presenting symptom in 16% of adult and 7% of pediatric patients (p = 0.4). There was no difference between median cyst size in adults versus pediatric patients (1.2 cm in both, p = 0.7). Temporary or permanent postoperative diabetes insipidus occurred in 12% of adults and 21% of pediatric patients (p = 0.4). Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed an 8% RCC recurrence rate at 2 years for each group (p = 0.5).

Conclusions

The incidence of RCCs is much lower in the pediatric population; however, symptoms, imaging findings, and outcomes are similar, suggesting that pediatric RCCs arise from growth of remnants of the embryonic Rathke pouch earlier in life than adult RCCs but do not differ in any other way. It is important to consider RCCs in the differential diagnosis when pediatric patients present with visual impairment, unexplained headache, or hypopituitarism including growth delay. Although the average RCC size was similar in our pediatric and adult patient groups, the smaller size of the pituitary gland in pediatric patients suggests an increased relative RCC size.

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Phiroz E. Tarapore, Michael E. Sughrue, Lewis Blevins, Kurtis I. Auguste, Nalin Gupta, and Sandeep Kunwar

Object

Pituitary adenomas are uncommon in childhood. Although medical treatment can be effective in treating prolactinomas and some growth hormone (GH)–secreting tumors, resection is indicated when visual function is affected or the side effects of medical therapy are intolerable. The authors of this report describe their 10-year experience in managing pituitary adenomas via the microscopic endonasal transsphenoidal approach in a pediatric population.

Methods

They performed a retrospective review of a surgical case series based at a single institution and consisting of 34 consecutive pediatric patients with endocrine-active (32 patients) and endocrine-inactive (2 patients) adenomas. These patients were surgically treated via an endonasal transsphenoidal approach between 1999 and 2008. Patient charts were reviewed, and clinical data were compiled and analyzed using the chi-square and Kaplan-Meier tests.

Results

The patient cohort consisted of 20 girls and 14 boys, with ages ranging from 9 to 18 years and a median age of 16 years. Thirty-two patients (94%) underwent surgery for endocrine-active tumors, including 10 (29%) with Cushing disease, 21 (62%) with prolactinomas, and 1 (3%) with GH-secreting tumors. Two patients with nonsecreting adenomas underwent surgery for apoplexy. The mean tumor volume was 5.4 cm3, and 13 patients (38%) had suprasellar extension and 7 (21%) had cavernous sinus invasion. Gross-total resection was achieved in 26 patients (76%), although it was significantly less likely to be achieved in the setting of cavernous sinus invasion (p < 0.001) but was unaffected by suprasellar extension. Residual tumor was treated with radiation therapy in 6 patients (18%). The average duration of hospital stay was 1.6 days. The median follow-up time was 18 months. After surgery, 19 patients (56%) had normal hormone function without adjuvant therapy, 8 (24%) had normal function with adjuvant therapy, and 5 (15%) had persistently elevated hormone levels. Patients with a macroprolactinoma were significantly more likely to require postoperative adjuvant therapy than were those with a microprolactinoma (p < 0.03).

Conclusions

Endonasal transsphenoidal resection is a safe, well-tolerated, and potentially curative treatment option for pituitary adenomas in children. Despite the technical challenges associated with this approach in the pediatric population, these tumors can be effectively managed with minimal morbidity. Endocrine function is usually preserved, and the majority of patients will not require lifelong medical therapy.