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James L. West, Michael H. Soike, Jaclyn J. Renfrow, Michael D. Chan, Adrian W. Laxton and Stephen B. Tatter

OBJECTIVE

Rathke’s cleft cysts (RCCs) are benign lesions of the sella turcica that usually come to neurosurgical attention due to compression of the optic apparatus (OA) and headaches. Treatment options for these lesions include observation, aspiration of cyst contents, or open resection of the cyst with the cyst wall. All of these options involve the potential for cyst recurrence or enlargement. In this study the authors report on a potential new therapeutic option for RCCs, i.e., stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS).

METHODS

A retrospective review was conducted of 5 patients with histologically confirmed, multiply recurrent RCCs who were treated with single-fraction SRS at a tertiary referral academic medical center.

RESULTS

The total cohort consisted of 5 female patients with an average age of 31.8 years. The most common presenting symptom was headache followed by blurry vision. The symptoms were present on average for 7 months before intervention. The median number of surgeries prior to radiosurgery was 2. The average volume of lesion treated was 0.34 cm3. The median SRS dose was 12.5 Gy prescribed to the 50% isodose line with an average prescription coverage of 96.6%. The median dose to the OA was 5 Gy. At last follow-up, 3 of 5 cysts had completely regressed, 1 had regressed by more than 50% but was still present, and 1 was stable, with an overall mean follow-up duration of 34.2 months. There were no neurological, endocrinological, or visual complications attributable to SRS during the follow-up period.

CONCLUSIONS

RCCs can be a challenging clinical entity to treat, especially when they are multiply recurrent. In patients with an average of 2 previous surgeries for resection, a single SRS session prevented recurrence universally, with an average follow-up of almost 3 years. These results indicate that further investigation of the treatment of RCCs with SRS is indicated.

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Soichi Oya, Masahiro Indo, Masabumi Nagashima and Toru Matsui

Aneurysms at the distal portion of the superior cerebellar artery (SCA) are very rare. Because of the deep location and a propensity for nonsaccular morphology, aneurysm trapping or endovascular occlusion of the parent artery are the usual treatment options, which are associated with varying risks of ischemic complications. The authors report on a 60-year-old woman who had a 3.5-mm unruptured aneurysm in the lateral pontomesencephalic segment of the SCA with a significant interval growth to 8 mm. Direct surgical intervention comprising trapping of the aneurysm through a subtemporal approach and intradural anterior petrosectomy combined with revascularization of the distal SCA using the superficial temporal artery (STA) was performed. This approach provided sufficient space for the bypass instruments to be introduced into the deep surgical field at a more favorable angle to enhance microscopic visualization of the anastomosis with minimal retraction of the temporal lobe. The patient was discharged with no neurological deficit. Preservation of the blood flow in the distal SCA should be attempted to minimize the risk of ischemic injury, particularly when the aneurysms arise in the anterior or lateral segment of the SCA. The authors demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of the intradural anterior petrosectomy for STA-SCA bypass along with a relevant anatomical study.

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Dominic Amara, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Christopher P. Ames, Bobby Tay, Vedat Deviren, Shane Burch, Sigurd H. Berven and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

Many options exist for the surgical management of adult spinal deformity. Radiculopathy and lumbosacral pain from the fractional curve (FC), typically from L4 to S1, is frequently a reason for scoliosis patients to pursue surgical intervention. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the outcomes of limited fusion of the FC only versus treatment of the entire deformity with long fusions.

METHODS

All adult scoliosis patients treated at the authors’ institution in the period from 2006 to 2016 were retrospectively analyzed. Patients with FCs from L4 to S1 > 10° and radiculopathy ipsilateral to the concavity of the FC were eligible for study inclusion and had undergone three categories of surgery: 1) FC only (FC group), 2) lower thoracic to sacrum (LT group), or 3) upper thoracic to sacrum (UT group). Primary outcomes were the rates of revision surgery and complications. Secondary outcomes were estimated blood loss, length of hospital stay, and discharge destination. Spinopelvic parameters were measured, and patients were stratified accordingly.

RESULTS

Of the 99 patients eligible for inclusion in the study, 27 were in the FC group, 46 in the LT group, and 26 in the UT group. There were no significant preoperative differences in age, sex, smoking status, prior operation, FC magnitude, pelvic tilt (PT), sagittal vertical axis (SVA), coronal balance, pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) mismatch, or proportion of well-aligned spines (SVA < 5 cm, PI-LL mismatch < 10°, and PT < 20°) among the three treatment groups. Mean follow-up was 30 (range 12–112) months, with a minimum 1-year follow-up. The FC group had a lower medical complication rate (22% [FC] vs 57% [LT] vs 58% [UT], p = 0.009) but a higher rate of extension surgery (26% [FC] vs 13% [LT] vs 4% [UT], p = 0.068). The respective average estimated blood loss (592 vs 1950 vs 2634 ml, p < 0.001), length of hospital stay (5.5 vs 8.3 vs 8.3 days, p < 0.001), and rate of discharge to acute rehabilitation (30% vs 46% vs 85%, p < 0.001) were all lower for FC and highest for UT.

CONCLUSIONS

Treatment of the FC only is associated with a lower complication rate, shorter hospital stay, and less blood loss than complete scoliosis treatment. However, there is a higher associated rate of extension of the construct to the lower or upper thoracic levels, and patients should be counseled when considering their options.

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Jack M. Haglin, Kent R. Richter and Naresh P. Patel

OBJECTIVE

There is currently a paucity of literature evaluating procedural reimbursements and financial trends in neurosurgery. A comprehensive understanding of the economic trends and financial health of neurosurgery is important to ensure the sustained success and growth of the specialty moving forward. The purpose of this study was to evaluate monetary trends of the 10 most common spinal and cranial neurosurgical procedures in Medicare reimbursement rates from 2000 to 2018.

METHODS

The Physician Fee Schedule Look-Up Tool from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services was queried for each of the top 10 most utilized Current Procedural Terminology codes in both spinal and cranial neurosurgery, and comprehensive reimbursement data were extracted. The raw percent change in Medicare reimbursement rate from 2000 to 2018 was calculated for each procedure and averaged. This was then compared to the percent change in consumer price index over the same time. Using data adjusted for inflation, trend analysis was performed for all included procedures. Adjusted R-squared and both the average annual and the total percent change in reimbursement were calculated based on these adjusted trends for all included procedures. Likewise, the compound annual growth rate was calculated for all procedures.

RESULTS

When all reimbursement data were adjusted for inflation, the average reimbursement for all procedures decreased by an average of 25.80% from 2000 to 2018. From 2000 to 2018, the adjusted reimbursement rate for all included procedures decreased by an average of 1.59% each year and experienced an average compound annual growth rate of −1.66%, indicating a steady annual decline in reimbursement when adjusted for inflation.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first study to evaluate comprehensive trends in Medicare reimbursement in neurosurgery. When adjusted for inflation, Medicare reimbursement for all included procedures has steadily decreased from 2000 to 2018, with similar rates of decline observed between cranial and spinal neurosurgery procedures. Increased awareness and consideration of these trends will be important moving forward for policy makers, hospitals, and neurosurgeons as continued progress is made to advance agreeable reimbursement models that allow for the sustained growth of neurosurgery in the United States.

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Güliz Acker, Nicolas Schlinkmann, Lucius Fekonja, Lukas Grünwald, Juliane Hardt, Marcus Czabanka and Peter Vajkoczy

OBJECTIVE

Moyamoya vasculopathy (MMV) is a steno-occlusive cerebrovascular disease that can be treated by a surgical revascularization. All the revascularization techniques influence the blood supply of the scalp, with a risk for wound healing disorders. The authors’ aim was to analyze the wound healing process in the patients who underwent a direct or combined bypass surgery with a focus on different skin incisions.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively identified all the patients with MMV who were treated surgically in their institution. Subsequently, they analyzed demographic data, clinical symptoms, surgical treatment, and detailed history of complications. Based on the evolution of their surgical techniques and the revascularization strategy to be used, the authors applied the following skin incisions: linear incision, curved incision, incomplete Y incision, and complete Y incision. Group comparisons regarding wound healing disorders were performed with significance testing using Fisher’s exact test.

RESULTS

The authors identified 172 patients with MMV (61.6% moyamoya disease, 7% unilateral moyamoya disease, 29.7% moyamoya syndrome, and 1.7% unilateral moyamoya syndrome), of whom 124 underwent bilateral operations. One-quarter of the patients were juveniles. A total of 236 hemispheres were included in the analysis, of which 27.9% were treated by a combined procedure with encephalomyosynangiosis. Overall, 5.1% major and 1.7% minor wound complications occurred. The overall wound complication rate was lower in direct revascularization compared to combined revascularization (3% vs 15.2%). The lowest incidence of wound healing disorders was found in the linear incision group for the parietal superficial temporal artery branch (1.6%), followed by the incomplete Y incision group for the frontal branch of the superficial temporal artery (3.8%) in the direct bypass group. In the combined revascularization cohort, major or minor wound disorders appeared in 14.3% and 4.8%, respectively, in the complete Y incision group and in 4.2% (for both major and minor) in the curved incision group. The complete Y incision caused significantly more wound healing disorders compared to the remaining incision types (17.1% vs 3.1%, p = 0.007).

CONCLUSIONS

Wound healing disorders are one of the major complications of revascularization surgery. Their incidence depends on the revascularization strategy and skin incision applied, with a complete Y incision giving the worst results.

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Nicola Montemurro, Paolo Perrini, Vittoriano Mangini, Massimo Galli and Andrea Papini

OBJECTIVE

Odontoid process fractures are very common in both young and geriatric patients. The axial trabecular architecture of the dens appears to be crucial for physiological and biomechanical function of the C1–2 joint. The aim of this study is to demonstrate the presence of a Y-shaped trabecular structure of the dens on axial CT and to describe its anatomical and biomechanical implications.

METHODS

Fifty-four C2 odontoid processes in healthy subjects were prospectively examined for the presence of a Y-shaped trabecular structure at the odontocentral synchondrosis level with a dental cone beam CT scan. Length, width, and axial area of the odontoid process were measured in all subjects. In addition, measurements of the one-third right anterior area of the Y-shaped structure were taken.

RESULTS

The Y-shaped trabecular structure was found in 79.6% of cases. Length and width of the odontoid process were 13.5 ± 0.6 mm and 11.2 ± 0.9 mm, respectively. The mean area of the odontoid process at the odontocentral synchondrosis was 93.5 ± 4.3 mm2, whereas the mean one-third right anterior area of the odontoid process at the same level was 29.3 ± 2.5 mm2. The mean area of the odontoid process and its length and width were similar in men and women (p > 0.05). No significant difference was found in the mean area of the odontoid process in people older than 65 years (94 ± 4.2 mm2) compared to people younger than 65 years (93.3 ± 4.4 mm2; p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors identified a new anatomical entity, named the Y-shaped trabecular structure of the odontoid process, on axial CT scans. This structure appears to be the result of bone transformation induced by the elevated dynamic loading at the C1–2 level. The presence of the Y-shaped structure provides new insights into biomechanical responses of C2 under physiological loading and traumatic conditions.

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Benjamin B. Whiting, Bryan S. Lee, Vaidehi Mahadev, Hamid Borghei-Razavi, Sanchit Ahuja, Xuefei Jia, Alireza M. Mohammadi, Gene H. Barnett, Lilyana Angelov, Shobana Rajan, Rafi Avitsian and Michael A. Vogelbaum

OBJECTIVE

Current management of gliomas involves a multidisciplinary approach, including a combination of maximal safe resection, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. The use of intraoperative MRI (iMRI) helps to maximize extent of resection (EOR), and use of awake functional mapping supports preservation of eloquent areas of the brain. This study reports on the combined use of these surgical adjuncts.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of patients with gliomas who underwent minimal access craniotomy in their iMRI suite (IMRIS) with awake functional mapping between 2010 and 2017. Patient demographics, tumor characteristics, intraoperative and postoperative adverse events, and treatment details were obtained. Volumetric analysis of preoperative tumor volume as well as intraoperative and postoperative residual volumes was performed.

RESULTS

A total of 61 patients requiring 62 tumor resections met the inclusion criteria. Of the tumors resected, 45.9% were WHO grade I or II and 54.1% were WHO grade III or IV. Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring modalities included speech alone in 23 cases (37.1%), motor alone in 24 (38.7%), and both speech and motor in 15 (24.2%). Intraoperative MRI demonstrated residual tumor in 48 cases (77.4%), 41 (85.4%) of whom underwent further resection. Median EOR on iMRI and postoperative MRI was 86.0% and 98.5%, respectively, with a mean difference of 10% and a median difference of 10.5% (p < 0.001). Seventeen of 62 cases achieved an increased EOR > 15% related to use of iMRI. Seventeen (60.7%) of 28 low-grade gliomas and 10 (30.3%) of 33 high-grade gliomas achieved complete resection. Significant intraoperative events included at least temporary new or worsened speech alteration in 7 of 38 cases who underwent speech mapping (18.4%), new or worsened weakness in 7 of 39 cases who underwent motor mapping (18.0%), numbness in 2 cases (3.2%), agitation in 2 (3.2%), and seizures in 2 (3.2%). Among the patients with new intraoperative deficits, 2 had residual speech difficulty, and 2 had weakness postoperatively, which improved to baseline strength by 6 months.

CONCLUSIONS

In this retrospective case series, the combined use of iMRI and awake functional mapping was demonstrated to be safe and feasible. This combined approach allows one to achieve the dual goals of maximal tumor removal and minimal functional consequences in patients undergoing glioma resection.

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Corey T. Walker, S. Harrison Farber, Tyler S. Cole, David S. Xu, Jakub Godzik, Alexander C. Whiting, Cory Hartman, Randall W. Porter, Jay D. Turner and Juan Uribe

OBJECTIVE

Minimally invasive anterolateral retroperitoneal approaches for lumbar interbody arthrodesis have distinct advantages attractive to spine surgeons. Prepsoas or transpsoas trajectories can be employed with differing complication profiles because of the inherent anatomical differences encountered in each approach. The evidence comparing them remains limited because of poor quality data. Here, the authors sought to systematically review the available literature and perform a meta-analysis comparing the two techniques.

METHODS

A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. A database search was used to identify eligible studies. Prepsoas and transpsoas studies were compiled, and each study was assessed for inclusion criteria. Complication rates were recorded and compared between approach groups. Studies incorporating an analysis of postoperative subsidence and pseudarthrosis rates were also assessed and compared.

RESULTS

For the prepsoas studies, 20 studies for the complications analysis and 8 studies for the pseudarthrosis outcomes analysis were included. For the transpsoas studies, 39 studies for the complications analysis and 19 studies for the pseudarthrosis outcomes analysis were included. For the complications analysis, 1874 patients treated via the prepsoas approach and 4607 treated with the transpsoas approach were included. In the transpsoas group, there was a higher rate of transient sensory symptoms (21.7% vs 8.7%, p = 0.002), transient hip flexor weakness (19.7% vs 5.7%, p < 0.001), and permanent neurological weakness (2.8% vs 1.0%, p = 0.005). A higher rate of sympathetic nerve injury was seen in the prepsoas group (5.4% vs 0.0%, p = 0.03). Of the nonneurological complications, major vascular injury was significantly higher in the prepsoas approach (1.8% vs 0.4%, p = 0.01). There was no difference in urological or peritoneal/bowel injury, postoperative ileus, or hematomas (all p > 0.05). A higher infection rate was noted for the transpsoas group (3.1% vs 1.1%, p = 0.01). With regard to postoperative fusion outcomes, similar rates of subsidence (12.2% prepsoas vs 13.8% transpsoas, p = 0.78) and pseudarthrosis (9.9% vs 7.5%, respectively, p = 0.57) were seen between the groups at the last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

Complication rates vary for the prepsoas and transpsoas approaches owing to the variable retroperitoneal anatomy encountered during surgical dissection. While the risks of a lasting motor deficit and transient sensory disturbances are higher for the transpsoas approach, there is a reciprocal reduction in the risks of major vascular injury and sympathetic nerve injury. These results can facilitate informed decision-making and tailored surgical planning regarding the choice of minimally invasive anterolateral access to the spine.

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Yawara Eguchi, Masaki Norimoto, Munetaka Suzuki, Ryota Haga, Hajime Yamanaka, Hiroshi Tamai, Tatsuya Kobayashi, Sumihisa Orita, Miyako Suzuki, Kazuhide Inage, Hirohito Kanamoto, Koki Abe, Tomotaka Umimura, Takashi Sato, Yasuchika Aoki, Atsuya Watanabe, Masao Koda, Takeo Furuya, Junichi Nakamura, Tsutomu Akazawa, Kazuhisa Takahashi and Seiji Ohtori

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between vertebral bodies, psoas major morphology, and the course of lumbar nerve tracts using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) before lateral interbody fusion (LIF) to treat spinal deformities.

METHODS

DTI findings in a group of 12 patients (all women, mean age 74.3 years) with degenerative lumbar scoliosis (DLS) were compared with those obtained in a matched control group of 10 patients (all women, mean age 69.8 years) with low-back pain but without scoliosis. A T2-weighted sagittal view was fused to tractography from L3 to L5 and separated into 6 zones (zone A, zones 1–4, and zone P) comprising equal quarters of the anteroposterior diameters, and anterior and posterior to the vertebral body, to determine the distribution of nerves at various intervertebral levels (L3–4, L4–5, and L5–S1). To determine psoas morphology, the authors examined images for a rising psoas sign at the level of L4–5, and the ratio of the anteroposterior diameter (AP) to the lateral diameter (lat), or AP/lat ratio, was calculated. They assessed the relationship between apical vertebrae, psoas major morphology, and the course of nerve tracts.

RESULTS

Although only 30% of patients in the control group showed a rising psoas sign, it was present in 100% of those in the DLS group. The psoas major was significantly extended on the concave side (AP/lat ratio: 2.1 concave side, 1.2 convex side). In 75% of patients in the DLS group, the apex of the curve was at L2 or higher (upper apex) and the psoas major was extended on the concave side. In the remaining 25%, the apex was at L3 or lower (lower apex) and the psoas major was extended on the convex side. Significant anterior shifts of lumbar nerves compared with controls were noted at each intervertebral level in patients with DLS. Nerves on the extended side of the psoas major were significantly shifted anteriorly. Nerve pathways on the convex side of the scoliotic curve were shifted posteriorly.

CONCLUSIONS

A significant anterior shift of lumbar nerves was noted at all intervertebral levels in patients with DLS in comparison with findings in controls. On the convex side, the nerves showed a posterior shift. In LIF, a convex approach is relatively safer than an approach from the concave side. Lumbar nerve course tracking with DTI is useful for assessing patients with DLS before LIF.

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Michael F. Barbaro, Kelsi Chesney, Daniel R. Kramer, Spencer Kellis, Terrance Peng, Zack Blumenfeld, Angad S. Gogia, Morgan B. Lee, Janet Greenwood, George Nune, Laura A. Kalayjian, Christianne N. Heck, Charles Y. Liu and Brian Lee

Closed-loop brain-responsive neurostimulation via the RNS System is a treatment option for adults with medically refractory focal epilepsy. Using a novel technique, 2 RNS Systems (2 neurostimulators and 4 leads) were successfully implanted in a single patient with bilateral parietal epileptogenic zones. In patients with multiple epileptogenic zones, this technique allows for additional treatment options. Implantation can be done successfully, without telemetry interference, using proper surgical planning and neurostimulator positioning.

Trajectories for the depth leads were planned using neuronavigation with CT and MR imaging. Stereotactic frames were used for coordinate targeting. Each neurostimulator was positioned with maximal spacing to avoid telemetry interference while minimizing patient discomfort. A separate J-shaped incision was used for each neurostimulator to allow for compartmentalization in case of infection. In order to minimize surgical time and risk of infection, the neurostimulators were implanted in 2 separate surgeries, approximately 3 weeks apart.

The neurostimulators and leads were successfully implanted without adverse surgical outcomes. The patient recovered uneventfully, and the early therapy settings over several months resulted in preliminary decreases in aura and seizure frequency. Stimulation by one of the neurostimulators did not result in stimulation artifacts detected by the contralateral neurostimulator.