Meaningful quality measurement and public reporting have the potential to facilitate targeted outcome improvement, practice-based learning, shared decision making, and effective resource utilization. Recent developments in national quality reporting programs, such as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) reporting option, have enhanced the ability of specialty groups to develop relevant quality measures of the care they deliver. QCDRs will complete the collection and submission of Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) quality measures data on behalf of individual eligible professionals. The National Neurosurgery Quality and Outcomes Database (N2QOD) offers 21 non-PQRS measures, initially focused on spine procedures, which are the first specialty-specific measures for neurosurgery. Securing QCDR status for N2QOD is a tremendously important accomplishment for our specialty. This program will ensure that data collected through our registries and used for PQRS is meaningful for neurosurgeons, related spine care practitioners, their patients, and other stakeholders. The 2015 N2QOD QCDR is further evidence of neurosurgery’s commitment to substantively advancing the health care quality paradigm. The following manuscript outlines the measures now approved for use in the 2015 N2QOD QCDR. Measure specifications (measure type and descriptions, related measures, if any, as well as relevant National Quality Strategy domain[s]) along with rationale are provided for each measure.
Scott L. Parker, Matthew J. McGirt, Kimon Bekelis, Christopher M. Holland, Jason Davies, Clinton J. Devin, Tyler Atkins, Jack Knightly, Rachel Groman, Irene Zyung and Anthony L. Asher
Kimon Bekelis, Matthew J. McGirt, Scott L. Parker, Christopher M. Holland, Jason Davies, Clinton J. Devin, Tyler Atkins, Jack Knightly, Rachel Groman, Irene Zyung and Anthony L. Asher
Quality measurement and public reporting are intended to facilitate targeted outcome improvement, practice-based learning, shared decision making, and effective resource utilization. However, regulatory implementation has created a complex network of reporting requirements for physicians and medical practices. These include Medicare’s Physician Quality Reporting System, Electronic Health Records Meaningful Use, and Value-Based Payment Modifier programs. The common denominator of all these initiatives is that to avoid penalties, physicians must meet “generic” quality standards that, in the case of neurosurgery and many other specialties, are not pertinent to everyday clinical practice and hold specialists accountable for care decisions outside of their direct control.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has recently authorized alternative quality reporting mechanisms for the Physician Quality Reporting System, which allow registries to become subspecialty-reporting mechanisms under the Qualified Clinical Data Registry (QCDR) program. These programs further give subspecialties latitude to develop measures of health care quality that are relevant to the care provided. As such, these programs amplify the power of clinical registries by allowing more accurate assessment of practice patterns, patient experiences, and overall health care value. Neurosurgery has been at the forefront of these developments, leveraging the experience of the National Neurosurgery Quality and Outcomes Database to create one of the first specialty-specific QCDRs.
Recent legislative reform has continued to change this landscape and has fueled optimism that registries (including QCDRs) and other specialty-driven quality measures will be a prominent feature of federal and private sector quality improvement initiatives. These physician- and patient-driven methods will allow neurosurgery to underscore the value of interventions, contribute to the development of sustainable health care solutions, and actively participate in meaningful quality initiatives for the benefit of the patients served.
Symeon Missios, Kimon Bekelis and Gene H. Barnett
Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) is a minimally invasive technique for treating intracranial tumors, originally introduced in 1983. Its use in neurosurgical procedures was historically limited by early technical difficulties related to the monitoring and control of the extent of thermal damage. The development of magnetic resonance thermography and its application to LITT have allowed for real-time thermal imaging and feedback control during laser energy delivery, allowing for precise and accurate provision of tissue hyperthermia. Improvements in laser probe design, surgical stereotactic targeting hardware, and computer monitoring software have accelerated acceptance and clinical utilization of LITT as a neurosurgical treatment alternative. Current commercially available LITT systems have been used for the treatment of neurosurgical soft-tissue lesions, including difficult to access brain tumors, malignant gliomas, and radiosurgery-resistant metastases, as well as for the ablation of such lesions as epileptogenic foci and radiation necrosis. In this review, the authors aim to critically analyze the literature to describe the advent of LITT as a neurosurgical, laser excision tool, including its development, use, indications, and efficacy as it relates to neurosurgical applications.
Alessandro Della Puppa and Renato Scienza
Kimon Bekelis, Symeon Missios, Atman Desai, Clifford Eskey and Kadir Erkmen
Microsurgical resection of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) is facilitated by real-time image guidance that demonstrates the precise size and location of the AVM nidus. Magnetic resonance images have routinely been used for intraoperative navigation, but there is no single MRI sequence that can provide all the details needed for characterization of the AVM. Additional information detailing the specific location of the feeding arteries and draining veins would be valuable during surgery, and this detail may be provided by fusing MR images and MR angiography (MRA) sequences. The current study describes the use of a technique that fuses contrast-enhanced MR images and 3D time-of-flight MR angiograms for intraoperative navigation in AVM resection.
All patients undergoing microsurgical resection of AVMs at the Dartmouth Cerebrovascular Surgery Program were evaluated from the surgical database. Between 2009 and 2011, 15 patients underwent surgery in which this contrast-enhanced MRI and MRA fusion technique was used, and these patient form the population of the present study.
Image fusion was successful in all 15 cases. The additional data manipulation required to fuse the image sets was performed on the morning of surgery with minimal added setup time. The navigation system accurately identified feeding arteries and draining veins during resection in all cases. There was minimal imaging-related artifact produced by embolic materials in AVMs that had been preoperatively embolized. Complete AVM obliteration was demonstrated on intraoperative angiography in all cases.
Precise anatomical localization, as well as the ability to differentiate between arteries and veins during AVM microsurgery, is feasible with the aforementioned MRI/MRA fusion technique. The technique provides important information that is beneficial to preoperative planning, intraoperative navigation, and successful AVM resection.
Atman Desai, Kimon Bekelis, Terrance M. Darcey and David W. Roberts
Intracranial electroencephalography monitoring of the insula is an important tool in the investigation of the insula in medically intractable epilepsy and has been shown to be safe and reliable. Several methods of placing electrodes for insular coverage have been reported and include open craniotomy as well as stereotactic orthogonal and stereotactic anterior and posterior oblique trajectories. The authors review each of these techniques with respect to current concepts in insular epilepsy.
Kimon Bekelis, Pablo A. Valdés, Kadir Erkmen, Frederic Leblond, Anthony Kim, Brian C. Wilson, Brent T. Harris, Keith D. Paulsen and David W. Roberts
Complete resection of skull base meningiomas provides patients with the best chance for a cure; however, surgery is frequently difficult given the proximity of lesions to vital structures, such as cranial nerves, major vessels, and venous sinuses. Accurate discrimination between tumor and normal tissue is crucial for optimal tumor resection. Qualitative assessment of protoporphyrin IX (PpIX) fluorescence following the exogenous administration of 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) has demonstrated utility in malignant glioma resection but limited use in meningiomas. Here the authors demonstrate the use of ALA-induced PpIX fluorescence guidance in resecting a skull base meningioma and elaborate on the advantages and disadvantages provided by both quantitative and qualitative fluorescence methodologies in skull base meningioma resection.
A 52-year-old patient with a sphenoid wing WHO Grade I meningioma underwent tumor resection as part of an institutional review board–approved prospective study of fluorescence-guided resection. A surgical microscope modified for fluorescence imaging was used for the qualitative assessment of visible fluorescence, and an intraoperative probe for in situ fluorescence detection was utilized for quantitative measurements of PpIX. The authors assessed the detection capabilities of both the qualitative and quantitative fluorescence approaches.
The patient harboring a sphenoid wing meningioma with intraorbital extension underwent radical resection of the tumor with both visibly and nonvisibly fluorescent regions. The patient underwent a complete resection without any complications. Some areas of the tumor demonstrated visible fluorescence. The quantitative probe detected neoplastic tissue better than the qualitative modified surgical microscope. The intraoperative probe was particularly useful in areas that did not reveal visible fluorescence, and tissue from these areas was confirmed as tumor following histopathological analysis.
Fluorescence-guided resection may be a useful adjunct in the resection of skull base meningiomas. The use of a quantitative intraoperative probe to detect PpIX concentration allows more accurate determination of neoplastic tissue in meningiomas than visible fluorescence and is readily applicable in areas, such as the skull base, where complete resection is critical but difficult because of the vital structures surrounding the pathology.