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Melissa LoPresti, Sandi Lam, Katie Orrico, Samuel R. Browd, Richard G. Ellenbogen and Jonathan Martin

OBJECTIVE

Pediatric neurosurgeons are unswerving advocates for public health–related issues in children, with most providers participating in local, regional, national, or international efforts. Collective advocacy efforts by organized pediatric neurosurgeons have not been undertaken to date.

METHODS

A 10-item survey was administered to members of the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons (ASPN) in order to evaluate attitudes and opinions regarding the development of a formal advocacy effort by the organization.

RESULTS

Seventy-nine of 178 registered members of the ASPN (44.38%) participated in the survey. Participants were 82.61% male, with age, stage of career, and practice type varied. Although there was unequivocal support for participation in organized advocacy, respondents were divided on methods and topics for advocacy. In this survey, the ASPN membership prioritized public health and clinical issues over economic issues that affected children.

CONCLUSIONS

Most respondents favored the drafting of position statements on key issues and partnerships with larger organizations to pursue an advocacy agenda. The survey provides data regarding pediatric neurosurgeons’ attitudes that may assist with the design of a successful advocacy program.

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Andreas Knoll, Andrej Pal’a, Maria-Teresa Pedro, Ute Bäzner, Max Schneider, Ralph W. König, Christian Rainer Wirtz, Sarah Friedrich, Markus Pauly and Gregor Antoniadis

OBJECTIVE

Intraneural ganglion cysts are rare and benign mucinous lesions that affect peripheral nerves, most frequently the common peroneal nerve (CPN). The precise pathophysiological mechanisms of intraneural ganglion cyst development remain unclear. A well-established theory suggests the spread of mucinous fluid along the articular branch of the peroneal nerve as the underlying mechanism. Clinical outcome following decompression of intraneural ganglion cysts has been demonstrated to be excellent. The aim of this study was to evaluate the correlation between clinical outcome and ultrasound-detected morphological nerve features following decompression of intraneural ganglion cysts of the CPN.

METHODS

Data were retrospectively analyzed from 20 patients who underwent common peroneal nerve ganglion cyst decompression surgery at the Universität Ulm/Günzburg Neurosurgery Department between October 2003 and October 2017. Postoperative clinical outcome was evaluated by assessment of the muscular strength of the anterior tibial muscle, the extensor hallucis longus muscle, and the peroneus muscle according to the Medical Research Council grading system. Hypesthesia was measured by sensation testing. In all patients, postoperative morphological assessment of the peroneal nerve was conducted between October 2016 and October 2017 using the iU22 Philips Medical ultrasound system at the last routine follow-up appointment. Finally, the correlations between morphological changes in nerve ultrasound and postoperative clinical outcomes were evaluated.

RESULTS

During the postoperative ultrasound scan an intraneural hypoechogenic ring structure located at the medial side of the peroneal nerve was detected in 15 (75%) of 20 patients, 14 of whom demonstrated an improvement in motor function. A regular intraneural fasicular structure was identified in 3 patients (15%), who also reported recovery. In 1 patient, a recurrent cyst was detected, and 1 patient showed intraneural fibrosis for which recovery did not occur in the year following the procedure. Two patients (10%) developed neuropathic pain that could not be explained by nerve ultrasound findings.

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this study demonstrate significant recovery from preoperative weakness after decompression of intraneural ganglion cysts of the CPN. A favorable clinical outcome was highly correlated with an intraneural hypoechogenic ring-shaped structure on the medial side of the CPN identified during a follow-up postoperative ultrasound scan. These study results indicate the potential benefit of ultrasound scanning as a prognostic tool following decompression procedures for intraneural ganglion cysts of the CPN.

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Vivek P. Bodani, Gerben E. Breimer, Faizal A. Haji, Thomas Looi and James M. Drake

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic resection of third-ventricle colloid cysts is technically challenging due to the limited dexterity and visualization provided by neuroendoscopic instruments. Extensive training and experience are required to master the learning curve. To improve the education of neurosurgical trainees in this procedure, a synthetic surgical simulator was developed and its realism, procedural content, and utility as a training instrument were evaluated.

METHODS

The simulator was developed based on the neuroimaging (axial noncontrast CT and T1-weighted gadolinium-enhanced MRI) of an 8-year-old patient with a colloid cyst and hydrocephalus. Image segmentation, computer-aided design, rapid prototyping (3D printing), and silicone molding techniques were used to produce models of the skull, brain, ventricles, and colloid cyst. The cyst was filled with a viscous fluid and secured to the roof of the third ventricle. The choroid plexus and intraventricular veins were also included. Twenty-four neurosurgical trainees performed a simulated colloid cyst resection using a 30° angled endoscope, neuroendoscopic instruments, and image guidance. Using a 19-item feedback survey (5-point Likert scales), participants evaluated the simulator across 5 domains: anatomy, instrument handling, procedural content, perceived realism, and confidence and comfort level.

RESULTS

Participants found the simulator’s anatomy to be highly realistic (mean 4.34 ± 0.63 [SD]) and appreciated the use of actual instruments (mean 4.38 ± 0.58). The procedural content was also rated highly (mean 4.28 ± 0.77); however, the perceived realism was rated slightly lower (mean 4.08 ± 0.63). Participants reported greater confidence in their ability to perform an endoscopic colloid cyst resection after using the simulator (mean 4.45 ± 0.68). Twenty-three participants (95.8%) indicated that they would use the simulator for additional training. Recommendations were made to develop complex case scenarios for experienced trainees (normal-sized ventricles, choroid plexus adherent to cyst wall, bleeding scenarios) and incorporate advanced instrumentation such as side-cutting aspiration devices.

CONCLUSIONS

A patient-specific synthetic surgical simulator for training residents and fellows in endoscopic colloid cyst resection was successfully developed. The simulator’s anatomy, instrument handling, and procedural content were found to be realistic. The simulator may serve as a valuable educational tool to learn the critical steps of endoscopic colloid cyst resection, develop a detailed understanding of intraventricular anatomy, and gain proficiency with bimanual neuroendoscopic techniques.

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Ferran Pellisé, Miquel Serra-Burriel, Justin S. Smith, Sleiman Haddad, Michael P. Kelly, Alba Vila-Casademunt, Francisco Javier Sánchez Pérez-Grueso, Shay Bess, Jeffrey L. Gum, Douglas C. Burton, Emre Acaroğlu, Frank Kleinstück, Virginie Lafage, Ibrahim Obeid, Frank Schwab, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Ahmet Alanay, Christopher Ames, the International Spine Study Group and the European Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery has a high rate of major complications (MCs). Public information about adverse outcomes is currently limited to registry average estimates. The object of this study was to assess the incidence of adverse events after ASD surgery, and to develop and validate a prognostic tool for the time-to-event risk of MC, hospital readmission (RA), and unplanned reoperation (RO).

METHODS

Two models per outcome, created with a random survival forest algorithm, were trained in an 80% random split and tested in the remaining 20%. Two independent prospective multicenter ASD databases, originating from the European continent and the United States, were queried, merged, and analyzed. ASD patients surgically treated by 57 surgeons at 23 sites in 5 countries in the period from 2008 to 2016 were included in the analysis.

RESULTS

The final sample consisted of 1612 ASD patients: mean (standard deviation) age 56.7 (17.4) years, 76.6% women, 10.4 (4.3) fused vertebral levels, 55.1% of patients with pelvic fixation, 2047.9 observation-years. Kaplan-Meier estimates showed that 12.1% of patients had at least one MC at 10 days after surgery; 21.5%, at 90 days; and 36%, at 2 years. Discrimination, measured as the concordance statistic, was up to 71.7% (95% CI 68%–75%) in the development sample for the postoperative complications model. Surgical invasiveness, age, magnitude of deformity, and frailty were the strongest predictors of MCs. Individual cumulative risk estimates at 2 years ranged from 3.9% to 74.1% for MCs, from 3.17% to 44.2% for RAs, and from 2.67% to 51.9% for ROs.

CONCLUSIONS

The creation of accurate prognostic models for the occurrence and timing of MCs, RAs, and ROs following ASD surgery is possible. The presented variability in patient risk profiles alongside the discrimination and calibration of the models highlights the potential benefits of obtaining time-to-event risk estimates for patients and clinicians.

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Philina Yee, Joseph E. Tanenbaum, Dominic W. Pelle, Don Moore, Edward C. Benzel, Michael P. Steinmetz and Thomas E. Mroz

OBJECTIVE

Under the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiative, Medicare reimburses for lumbar fusion without adjusting for underlying pathology. However, lumbar fusion is a widely used technique that can treat both degenerative and traumatic pathologies. In other surgical cohorts, significant heterogeneity exists in resource use when comparing procedures for traumatic versus degenerative pathologies. If the same were true for lumbar fusion, BPCI would create a financial disincentive to treat specific patient populations. The goal of this study was to compare hospital resource use for lumbar fusion between 2 patient populations: patients with spondylolisthesis and patients with lumbar vertebral fracture.

METHODS

The authors compared the hospital resource use of two lumbar fusion cohorts that BPCI groups into the same payment bundle for lumbar fusion: patients with spondylolisthesis and patients with lumbar vertebral fracture. National Inpatient Sample data from 2013 were queried for patients who underwent lumbar fusion for lumbar vertebral fracture or spondylolisthesis. Hospital resource use was measured using length of stay (LOS), direct hospital costs, and odds of discharge to a post-acute care facility and compared using multivariable linear and logistic regression. All models adjusted for patient demographics, 29 comorbidities, and hospital characteristics.

RESULTS

After adjusting for patient demographics, insurance status, hospital characteristics, and 29 comorbidities, spondylolisthesis patients had a mean LOS that was 36% shorter (95% CI 26%–44%, p < 0.0001), a mean cost that was 13% less (95% CI 3.7%–21%, p < 0.0001), and 3.2 times greater odds of being discharged home (95% CI 2.5–5.4, p < 0.0001) than lumbar vertebral fracture patients.

CONCLUSIONS

Under the proposed DRG (diagnosis-related group)–based BPCI, hospitals would be reimbursed the same amount for lumbar fusion regardless of the diagnosis. However, compared with fusion for spondylolisthesis, fusion for lumbar vertebral fracture was associated with longer LOS, greater direct hospital costs, and increased likelihood of being discharged to a post-acute care facility. These findings suggest that the BPCI episode of care for lumbar fusion dis-incentivizes treatment of trauma patients.

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Anthony T. Lee, John F. Burke, Pranathi Chunduru, Annette M. Molinaro, Robert Knowlton and Edward F. Chang

OBJECTIVE

Recent trials for temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) highlight the challenges of investigating surgical outcomes using randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Although several reviews have examined seizure-freedom outcomes from existing data, there is a need for an overall seizure-freedom rate estimated from level I data as investigators consider other methods besides RCTs to study outcomes related to new surgical interventions.

METHODS

The authors performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of the 3 RCTs of TLE in adults and report an overall surgical seizure-freedom rate (Engel class I) composed of level I data. An overall seizure-freedom rate was also collected from level II data (prospective cohort studies) for validation. Eligible studies were identified by filtering a published Cochrane meta-analysis of epilepsy surgery for RCTs and prospective studies, and supplemented by searching indexed terms in MEDLINE (January 1, 2012–April 1, 2018). Retrospective studies were excluded to minimize heterogeneity in patient selection and reporting bias. Data extraction was independently reverified and pooled using a fixed-effects model. The primary outcome was overall seizure freedom following surgery. The historical benchmark was applied in a noninferiority study design to compare its power to a single-study cohort.

RESULTS

The overall rate of seizure freedom from level I data was 72.4% (55/76 patients, 3 RCTs), which was nearly identical to the overall seizure-freedom rate of 71.7% (1325/1849 patients, 18 studies) from prospective cohorts (z = 0.134, p = 0.89; z-test). Seizure-freedom rates from level I and II studies were consistent over the years of publication (R2 < 0.01, p = 0.73). Surgery resulted in markedly improved seizure-free outcomes compared to medical management (RR 10.82, 95% CI 3.93–29.84, p < 0.01; 2 RCTs). Noninferiority study designs in which the historical benchmark was used had significantly higher power at all difference margins compared to using a single cohort alone (p < 0.001, Bonferroni’s multiple comparison test).

CONCLUSIONS

The overall rate of seizure freedom for temporal lobe surgery is approximately 70% for medically refractory epilepsy. The small sample size of the RCT cohort underscores the need to move beyond standard RCTs for epilepsy surgery. This historical seizure-freedom rate may serve as a useful benchmark to guide future study designs for new surgical treatments for refractory TLE.

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Pasquale Gallina, Giancarlo Lastrucci, Saverio Caini and Beradino Porfirio

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Zhiyuan Yu, Jun Zheng, Rui Guo, Chao You, Hao Li and Lu Ma

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Michael D. Jenkinson, Arousa Ali, Abdurrahman I. Islim, Adel Helmy and Robin Grant