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Michael W. McDermott, Jason Sheehan and Steve Braunstein

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Yong Xia and Long Yi Chen

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Zoher Ghogawala, Melissa R. Dunbar and Irfan Essa

OBJECTIVE

There are a wide variety of comparative treatment options in neurosurgery that do not lend themselves to traditional randomized controlled trials. The object of this article was to examine how clinical registries might be used to generate new evidence to support a particular treatment option when comparable options exist. Lumbar spondylolisthesis is used as an example.

METHODS

The authors reviewed the literature examining the comparative effectiveness of decompression alone versus decompression with fusion for lumbar stenosis with degenerative spondylolisthesis. Modern data acquisition for the creation of registries was also reviewed with an eye toward how artificial intelligence for the treatment of lumbar spondylolisthesis might be explored.

RESULTS

Current randomized controlled trials differ on the importance of adding fusion when performing decompression for lumbar spondylolisthesis. Standardized approaches to extracting data from the electronic medical record as well as the ability to capture radiographic imaging and incorporate patient-reported outcomes (PROs) will ultimately lead to the development of modern, structured, data-filled registries that will lay the foundation for machine learning.

CONCLUSIONS

There is a growing realization that patient experience, satisfaction, and outcomes are essential to improving the overall quality of spine care. There is a need to use practical, validated PRO tools in the quest to optimize outcomes within spine care. Registries will be designed to contain robust clinical data in which predictive analytics can be generated to develop and guide data-driven personalized spine care.

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Troy Dawley, Zaker Rana, Hussam Abou-Al-Shaar, Anuj Goenka and Michael Schulder

OBJECTIVE

Complications from radiotherapy (RT), in a primary or adjuvant setting, have overall been described as uncommon, with few detailed descriptions of major complications. The authors present two cases involving significant complications and their management in their review of patients undergoing RT for treatment of atypical meningioma.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of all patients with pathologically confirmed atypical meningioma (WHO grade II) treated with primary or adjuvant RT from February 2011 through February 2019. They identified two patients with long-term, grade 3 toxicity. The cases of these patients are described in detail.

RESULTS

Two patients had major complications associated with postoperative RT. Patients 1 and 2 both were treated with postoperative RT for pathologically confirmed atypical meningioma. Patient 1 experienced worsening behavioral changes, cognitive decline, and hydrocephalus following treatment. This required cerebrospinal fluid diversion. Patient 2 developed radiation necrosis with mass effect and cognitive decline. Neither patient returned to his/her initial post-RT status after steroid therapy, and each remained in need of supportive care. Both patients remained free of tumor progression at 52 and 38 months following treatment.

CONCLUSIONS

The postoperative management of patients with atypical meningioma continues to be defined, with questions remaining regarding timing of RT, dose, target delineation, and fractionation. Both of the patients in this study received fractionated RT, which included a greater volume of normal brain than more focal treatment options such as would be required by stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). Further research is needed to compare SRS and fractionated RT for the management of patients with grade II meningiomas. The more focused nature of SRS may make this a preferred option in certain cases of focal recurrence.

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Ahmad Alhourani, Zaid Aljuboori, Mehran Yusuf, Shiao Y. Woo, Eyas M. Hattab, Norberto Andaluz and Brian J. Williams

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to describe effects of adjuvant radiotherapy (RT) for anaplastic meningiomas (AMs) on long-term survival, and to analyze patient and RT characteristics associated with long-term survival.

METHODS

The authors queried a retrospective cohort of patients with AM from the National Cancer Database (NCDB) diagnosed between 2004 and 2015 to describe treatment trends. For outcome analysis, patients with at least 10 years of follow-up were included, and they were stratified based on adjuvant RT status and propensity matched to controls for covariates. Survival curves were compared. A data-driven approach was used to find a biologically effective dose (BED) of RT with the largest difference between survival curves. Factors associated with long-term survival were quantified.

RESULTS

The authors identified 2170 cases of AM in the NCDB between 2004 and 2015. They observed increased use of adjuvant RT in patients treated with higher doses. A total of 178 cases met the inclusion criteria for outcome analysis. Forty-five percent (n = 80) received adjuvant RT. Patients received a BED of 80.23 ± 16.6 Gy (mean ± IQR). The median survival time was not significantly different (32.8 months for adjuvant RT vs 38.5 months for no RT; p = 0.57, log-rank test). Dichotomizing the patients at a BED of 81 Gy showed maximal difference in survival distribution with a decrease in median survival in favor of no adjuvant RT (31.2 months for adjuvant RT vs 49.7 months for no RT; p = 0.03, log-rank test), but this difference was not significant after false discovery rate correction. Age was a significant predictor for long-term survival.

CONCLUSIONS

AMs are aggressive tumors that carry a poor prognosis. Conventional adjuvant RT improves local control. However, the effect of adjuvant radiation on overall survival is unclear. Further investigation into this area is warranted.

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Nida Fatima, Antonio Meola, Erqi L. Pollom, Scott G. Soltys and Steven D. Chang

OBJECTIVE

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT) have been used as a primary treatment or adjuvant to resection in the management of intracranial meningiomas (ICMs). The aim of this analysis is to compare the safety and long-term efficacy of SRS and SRT in patients with primary or recurrent ICMs.

METHODS

A systematic review of the literature comparing SRT and SRS in the same study was conducted using PubMed, the Cochrane Library, Google Scholar, and EMBASE from January 1980 to December 2018. Randomized controlled trials, case-control studies, and cohort studies (prospective and retrospective) analyzing SRS versus SRT for the treatment of ICMs in adult patients (age > 16 years) were included. Pooled and subgroup analyses were based on the fixed-effect model.

RESULTS

A total of 1736 patients from 12 retrospective studies were included. The treatment modality used was: 1) SRS (n = 306), including Gamma Knife surgery (n = 36), linear accelerator (n = 261), and CyberKnife (n = 9); or 2) SRT (n = 1430), including hypofractionated SRT (hFSRT, n = 268) and full-fractionated SRT (FSRT, n = 1162). The median age of patients at the time of treatment was 59 years. The median follow-up duration after treatment was 35.5 months. The median tumor volumes at the time of treatment with SRS, hFSRT, and FSRT were 2.84 cm3, 5.45 cm3, and 12.75 cm3, respectively. The radiographic tumor control at last follow-up was significantly worse in patients who underwent SRS than SRT (odds ratio [OR] 0.47, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.27–0.82, p = 0.007) with 7% less volume of tumor shrinkage (OR 0.93, 95% CI 0.61–1.40, p = 0.72). Compared to SRS, the radiographic tumor control was better achieved by FSRT (OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.26–0.80, p = 0.006) than by hFSRT (OR 0.81, 95% CI 0.21–3.17, p = 0.76). Moreover, SRS leads to a significantly higher risk of clinical neurological worsening during follow-up (OR 2.07, 95% CI 1.06–4.06, p = 0.03) and of immediate symptomatic edema (OR 4.58, 95% CI 1.67–12.56, p = 0.003) with respect to SRT. SRT could produce a better progression-free survival at 4–10 years compared to SRS, but this was not statistically significant (p = 0.29).

CONCLUSIONS

SRS and SRT are both safe options in the management of ICMs. However, SRT carries a better radiographic tumor control rate and a lower incidence of posttreatment symptomatic worsening and symptomatic edema, with respect to SRS. However, further prospective studies are still needed to validate these results.

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Yagiz Ugur Yolcu, Anshit Goyal, Mohammed Ali Alvi, FM Moinuddin and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Recent studies have reported on the utility of radiosurgery for local control and symptom relief in spinal meningioma. The authors sought to evaluate national utilization trends in radiotherapy (including radiosurgery), investigate possible factors associated with its use in patients with spinal meningioma, and its impact on survival for atypical tumors.

METHODS

Using the ICD-O-3 topographical codes C70.1, C72.0, and C72.1 and histological codes 9530–9535 and 9537–9539, the authors queried the National Cancer Database for patients in whom spinal meningioma had been diagnosed between 2004 and 2015. Patients who had undergone radiation in addition to surgery and those who had received radiation as the only treatment were analyzed for factors associated with each treatment.

RESULTS

From among 10,458 patients with spinal meningioma in the database, the authors found a total of 268 patients who had received any type of radiation. The patients were divided into two main groups for the analysis of radiation alone (137 [51.1%]) and radiation plus surgery (131 [48.9%]). An age > 69 years (p < 0.001), male sex (p = 0.03), and tumor size 5 to < 6 cm (p < 0.001) were found to be associated with significantly higher odds of receiving radiation alone, whereas a Charlson-Deyo Comorbidity Index ≥ 2 (p = 0.01) was associated with significantly lower odds of receiving radiation alone. Moreover, a larger tumor size (2 to < 3 cm, p = 0.01; 3 to < 4 cm, p < 0.001; 4 to < 5 cm, p < 0.001; 5 to < 6 cm, p < 0.001; and ≥ 6 cm, p < 0.001; reference = 1 to < 2 cm), as well as borderline (p < 0.001) and malignant (p < 0.001) tumors were found to be associated with increased odds of undergoing radiation in addition to surgery. Receiving adjuvant radiation conferred a significant reduction in overall mortality among patients with borderline or malignant spinal meningiomas (HR 2.12, 95% CI 1.02–4.1, p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

The current analysis of cases from a national cancer database revealed a small increase in the use of radiation for the management of spinal meningioma without a significant increase in overall survival. Larger tumor size and borderline or malignant behavior were found to be associated with increased radiation use. Data in the present analysis failed to show an overall survival benefit in utilizing adjuvant radiation for atypical tumors.

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Alexander Micko, Arthur Hosmann, Aygül Wurzer, Svenja Maschke, Wolfgang Marik, Engelbert Knosp and Stefan Wolfsberger

OBJECTIVE

The transsphenoidal route to pituitary adenomas challenges surgeons because of the highly variable sinunasal anatomy. Orientation may be improved if the appropriate information is provided intraoperatively by image guidance. The authors developed an advanced image guidance protocol dedicated to sinunasal surgery that extracts information from multiple modalities and forms it into a single image that includes fine sinunasal structures and arteries.

The aim of this study was to compare the advantages of this novel image guidance protocol with the authors’ previous series, with emphasis on anatomical structures visualized and complication rate.

METHODS

This retrospective analysis comprised 200 patients who underwent surgery for pituitary adenoma via a transnasal transsphenoidal endoscopic approach. The authors’ standard image guidance protocol consisting of CT for solid bone, T1CEMRI for soft tissues, and MRA for the carotid artery was applied in 100 consecutive cases. The advanced image guidance protocol added a first-hit ray casting of the CT scan for visualization of fine sinunasal structures, and adjustments to the MRA to visualize the sphenopalatine artery (SPA) were applied in a subsequent 100 consecutive cases.

RESULTS

A patent sphenoid ostium—i.e., an ostium not covered by a mucosal layer—was visualized significantly more often by the advanced protocol than the standard protocol (89% vs 40%, p < 0.001) in primary surgeries. The SPA and its branches were only visualized by the advanced protocol (87% and 91% of cases in primary surgeries and reoperations, respectively) and not once by the standard protocol. The number of visualized complete and incomplete sphenoid septations matched significantly more commonly with the surgical view when using the advanced protocol than the standard protocol at primary operation (mean 1.9 vs 1.6, p < 0.001). However, in 25% of all cases a complex and not a simple sinus anatomy was present. In comparison with the intraoperative results, a complex sphenoid sinus anatomy was always detected by the advanced but not by the standard protocol (25% vs 8.5%, p = 0.001).

Furthermore, application of the advanced protocol reduced the cumulative rate of complications (25% vs 18% [standard vs advanced group]). Although an overall significant difference could not be determined (p = 0.228), a subgroup analysis of reoperations (35/200) revealed a significantly lower rate of complications in the advanced group (5% vs 30%, p = 0.028).

CONCLUSIONS

The data show that the advanced image guidance protocol could intraoperatively visualize the fine sinunasal sinus structures and small arteries with a high degree of detail. By improving intraoperative orientation, this may help to reduce the rate of complications in endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery, especially in reoperations.

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Nohra Chalouhi, Nikolaos Mouchtouris, Fadi Al Saiegh, Somnath Das, Ahmad Sweid, Adam E. Flanders, Robert M. Starke, Michael P. Baldassari, Stavropoula Tjoumakaris, Michael Reid Gooch, Syed Omar Shah, David Hasan, Nabeel Herial, Robin D’Ambrosio, Robert Rosenwasser and Pascal Jabbour

OBJECTIVE

MRI and MRA studies are routinely obtained to identify the etiology of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). The diagnostic yield of MRI/MRA in the setting of an acute ICH, however, remains unclear. The authors’ goal was to determine the utility of early MRI/MRA in detecting underlying structural lesions in ICH and to identify patients in whom additional imaging during hospitalization could safely be foregone.

METHODS

The authors reviewed data obtained in 400 patients with spontaneous ICH diagnosed on noncontrast head CT scans who underwent MRI/MRA between 2015 and 2017 at their institution. MRI/MRA studies were reviewed to identify underlying lesions, such as arteriovenous malformations, aneurysms, cavernous malformations, arteriovenous fistulas, tumors, sinus thrombosis, moyamoya disease, and abscesses.

RESULTS

The median patient age was 65 ± 15.8 years. Hypertension was the most common (72%) comorbidity. Structural abnormalities were detected on MRI/MRA in 12.5% of patients. Structural lesions were seen in 5.7% of patients with basal ganglia/thalamic ICH, 14.1% of those with lobar ICH, 20.4% of those with cerebellar ICH, and 27.8% of those with brainstem ICH. Notably, the diagnostic yield of MRI/MRA was 0% in patients > 65 years with a basal ganglia/thalamic hemorrhage and 0% in those > 85 years with any ICH location, whereas it was 37% in patients < 50 years and 23% in those < 65 years. Multivariate analysis showed that decreasing age, absence of hypertension, and non–basal ganglia/thalamic location were predictors of finding an underlying lesion.

CONCLUSIONS

The yield of MRI/MRA in ICH is highly variable, depending on patient age and hemorrhage location. The findings of this study do not support obtaining early MRI/MRA studies in patients ≥ 65 years with basal ganglia/thalamic ICH or in any ICH patients ≥ 85 years. In all other situations, early MRI/MRA remains valuable in ruling out underlying lesions.

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Ashwin G. Ramayya, H. Isaac Chen, Paul J. Marcotte, Steven Brem, Eric L. Zager, Benjamin Osiemo, Matthew Piazza, Nikhil Sharma, Scott D. McClintock, James M. Schuster, Zarina S. Ali, Patrick Connolly, Gregory G. Heuer, M. Sean Grady, David K. Kung, Ali K. Ozturk, Donald M. O’Rourke and Neil R. Malhotra

OBJECTIVE

Although it is known that intersurgeon variability in offering elective surgery can have major consequences for patient morbidity and healthcare spending, data addressing variability within neurosurgery are scarce. The authors performed a prospective peer review study of randomly selected neurosurgery cases in order to assess the extent of consensus regarding the decision to offer elective surgery among attending neurosurgeons across one large academic institution.

METHODS

All consecutive patients who had undergone standard inpatient surgical interventions of 1 of 4 types (craniotomy for tumor [CFT], nonacute redo CFT, first-time spine surgery with/without instrumentation, and nonacute redo spine surgery with/without instrumentation) during the period 2015–2017 were retrospectively enrolled (n = 9156 patient surgeries, n = 80 randomly selected individual cases, n = 20 index cases of each type randomly selected for review). The selected cases were scored by attending neurosurgeons using a need for surgery (NFS) score based on clinical data (patient demographics, preoperative notes, radiology reports, and operative notes; n = 616 independent case reviews). Attending neurosurgeon reviewers were blinded as to performing provider and surgical outcome. Aggregate NFS scores across various categories were measured. The authors employed a repeated-measures mixed ANOVA model with autoregressive variance structure to compute omnibus statistical tests across the various surgery types. Interrater reliability (IRR) was measured using Cohen’s kappa based on binary NFS scores.

RESULTS

Overall, the authors found that most of the neurosurgical procedures studied were rated as “indicated” by blinded attending neurosurgeons (mean NFS = 88.3, all p values < 0.001) with greater agreement among neurosurgeon raters than expected by chance (IRR = 81.78%, p = 0.016). Redo surgery had lower NFS scores and IRR scores than first-time surgery, both for craniotomy and spine surgery (ANOVA, all p values < 0.01). Spine surgeries with fusion had lower NFS scores than spine surgeries without fusion procedures (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

There was general agreement among neurosurgeons in terms of indication for surgery; however, revision surgery of all types and spine surgery with fusion procedures had the lowest amount of decision consensus. These results should guide efforts aimed at reducing unnecessary variability in surgical practice with the goal of effective allocation of healthcare resources to advance the value paradigm in neurosurgery.