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Both ends of the scalpel: a child’s journey from "Nemo fin" to neurosurgeon

Anthony Price and Robert North

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Enhancing outcomes in deep brain stimulation: a comparative study of direct targeting using 7T versus 3T MRI

Erik H. Middlebrooks, Philip W. Tipton, Elena Greco, Lela Okromelidze, Vishal Patel, Zbigniew K. Wszolek, Xiangzhi Zhou, Shengzhen Tao, Erin M. Westerhold, Sina Straub, Ryan J. Uitti, Sukhwinder Johnny Singh Sandhu, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, and Sanjeet S. Grewal

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to compare outcomes of direct targeting in deep brain stimulation (DBS) for essential tremor using 7T MRI versus 3T MRI. The authors hypothesized that 7T MRI direct targeting would be noninferior to 3T MRI in early tremor outcomes.

METHODS

A retrospective study was conducted on patients undergoing unilateral thalamic DBS for essential tremor between 2021 and 2023. Two matched cohorts were assessed, one using 7T MRI and the other using 3T MRI for surgical planning. The primary endpoint was the percentage improvement in the Fahn-Tolosa-Marin Tremor Rating Scale (TRS) scores. Additionally, the authors assessed optimized programming settings and variance in electrode position on postoperative imaging. Demographic and clinical data were compared using the nonparametric Mann-Whitney U-test. The squared Euclidean distance of each contact from the group mean centroid was calculated and averaged across the entire cohort to provide the variance (i.e., the mean squared distance) of electrode contact position.

RESULTS

A total of 34 patients were analyzed, with 17 in each cohort. There were no significant differences in demographic information or mean surgical dates between the groups. There were no differences in intraoperative target repositioning or adverse events. The 7T group had a significantly greater TRS improvement than the 3T group (64.9% ± 11.4% vs 50.9% ± 16.4%, p = 0.004). Patients in the 7T cohort also had a lower mean stimulation current compared with those in the 3T cohort (2.0 ± 0.8 mA vs 2.7 ± 0.9 mA, p = 0.01). Image evaluation revealed that although the mean electrode position was comparable between 7T and 3T, the 7T electrode positioning was more clustered, indicating a lower variance in the final electrode location. The mean Euclidean distance between the individual electrode tips and the group centroid was significantly less at 7T than at 3T (1.82 ± 0.68 mm vs 2.75 ± 0.81 mm, p = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Despite concerns for increased artifacts and distortions at 7T, the authors show that these effects can be mitigated with an appropriate workflow, leading to improved surgical outcomes with direct targeting using 7T MRI. Their results suggest similar accuracy but greater precision in targeting with 7T MRI compared with 3T MRI, resulting in lower stimulation currents and improved tremor reduction. Future studies are needed to assess outcomes related to 7T MRI in targeting other subcortical structures.

Open access

The historical adventures of Takeshi Kawase: the mountaineer who explored the "no man’s land" with love for art, nature, and humankind

Sara Ganaha and Shunsuke Shibao

The anterior petrosal approach, or Kawase’s approach, is a commonly used technique in skull base surgery to access the brainstem in the posterior fossa from the middle fossa, and has the advantages of minimizing brain retraction and preserving hearing. It was first successfully performed by the legendary Japanese neurosurgeon, Takeshi Kawase, for the clipping of a basilar artery aneurysm in 1981. To date, no historical article has shed light on Kawase’s intriguing personal history. In this historical vignette, the authors depict Kawase’s unique background, talent, passion, as well as struggles that ultimately shaped his career. By sharing Kawase’s personal story from the hospital where he first successfully performed his original approach, the authors hope to pass on to future generations Kawase’s spirit and philosophy that have impacted the global neurosurgical community.

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Impact of collagen matrix on reconstructive material selection and postoperative complications in endoscopic endonasal skull base surgery

Masahiro Tanji, Masahiro Oishi, Noritaka Sano, Yukinori Terada, Masahiro Kikuchi, Takayuki Nakagawa, Tatsunori Sakamoto, Mami Matsunaga, Fumihiko Kuwata, Yuji Kitada, Masaru Yamashita, Yohei Mineharu, Susumu Miyamoto, and Yoshiki Arakawa

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of collagen matrix on reconstructive material selection and postoperative complications in endoscopic endonasal skull base surgery.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the data of consecutive patients who underwent purely endoscopic endonasal skull base surgery from January 2015 to March 2023. Intraoperative CSF leakage was classified according to the Esposito grade, and skull base repair was tailored to the leakage grade. The patients were divided into two groups: before (group A) and after (group B) collagen matrix implementation. The rates of autologous graft harvesting (fat, fascia, and nasoseptal flap), postoperative CSF leakage, and donor-site complications were compared between the two groups.

RESULTS

In total, 270 patients were included. Group A included 159 patients and group B included 111 patients. There were no differences in patient characteristics, including age, pathology, and Esposito grade, between the two groups. The overall fat usage rate was significantly higher in group A (63.5%) than in group B (39.6%) (p = 0.0001), and the fascia usage rate was also significantly higher in group A (25.8%) than in group B (4.5%) (p < 0.0001). The nasoseptal flap usage rate did not differ between group A (32.7%) and group B (30.6%) (p = 0.79). Postoperative CSF leakage was similar between the two groups (0.63% in group A vs 1.8% in group B, p = 0.57), and the overall rate of CSF leakage was 1.1%. Donor-site complications occurred in 3 patients in group A, including 1 abdominal hematoma, 1 delayed abdominal infection, and 1 fluid collection after fascia lata harvesting.

CONCLUSIONS

Collagen matrix implementation significantly decreased autologous graft harvesting without increasing postoperative CSF leakage, contributing to less invasive surgery.

Open access

Incidence and management of traumatic vertebral artery injuries: wartime experience in Ukraine

Andrii Sirko, Yurii Cherednychenko, Ehsan Dowlati, Vadym Perepelytsia, and Rocco A. Armonda

OBJECTIVE

Modern combat–related vertebral artery (VA) injuries are increasingly being diagnosed, but the management of such injuries remains controversial. The authors report the frequency and characteristics of combat-related penetrating VA injuries and the indications for endovascular treatment, as well as analyze their treatment outcomes.

METHODS

A 1-year prospective study was completed at a civilian medical center in Dnipro, Ukraine, in all patients with VA injuries sustained during the Russian invasion in the 1st year of war. The authors evaluated the location, type, and severity of the VA injuries and concomitant injuries, as well as the type of intervention and outcomes at 1 month.

RESULTS

In total, 279 wounded patients underwent cerebral angiography and 30 (10.8%) patients had VA injuries. All patients were male. There were 28 soldiers and 2 civilians with a mean age of 37.5 years. Four (13.3%) patients had Bissl grade I injuries, 4 (13.3%) had grade II injuries, 4 (13.3%) had grade III injuries (pseudoaneurysm), and 18 (60.0%) had grade IV injuries (occlusion). Four (13.3%) patients underwent emergency open surgical intervention. Fourteen (46.7%) patients underwent endovascular intervention. There was a significant relationship between the anatomical level of the VA injury and surgical intervention (p < 0.05). Endovascular intervention was correlated with the severity of vascular injury to the VA, with 12.5% of the patients receiving intervention for grade I and II lesions and 59.1% receiving intervention for grade III and IV lesions (p < 0.05). The overall mortality in the study group was 6.7% (n = 2), and both died of ischemic complications.

CONCLUSIONS

In modern armed conflicts, VA injuries are much more common than reported for previous wars. With the available modern endovascular technology, cerebral angiography is warranted for suspected VA injury and allows for both the diagnosis and treatment of these injuries. Whether endovascular intervention is performed depends on the level and severity of VA injury, severity of concomitant injuries, and presence of collateral circulation.

Free access

Letter to the Editor. CSF after decompressive craniectomy: lumbar or cisternal drainage?

David R. Peters, Constantin Tuleasca, Lorenzo Giammattei, Daniele Starnoni, and Roy T. Daniel

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Letter to the Editor. Determining optimal predictors in pathologic fracture risk in mobile spine metastases after radiotherapy

Kanato Tokushige, Yu Toda, Masaaki Mawatari, and Tadatsugu Morimoto

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Leukocyte- and platelet-rich fibrin in cranial surgery: a single-blinded, prospective, randomized controlled noninferiority trial

Birgit Coucke, Steven De Vleeschouwer, Johannes van Loon, Frank Van Calenbergh, Anaïs Van Hoylandt, Laura Van Gerven, and Tom Theys

OBJECTIVE

CSF leakage is a major complication after cranial surgery, and although fibrin sealants are widely used for reinforcing dural closure, concerns exist regarding their safety, efficacy, and cost. Leukocyte- and platelet-rich fibrin (L-PRF), an autologous platelet concentrate, is readily available and inexpensive, making it a cost-effective alternative for commercially available fibrin sealants. This study aimed to demonstrate the noninferiority of L-PRF compared with commercially available fibrin sealants in preventing postoperative CSF leakage in supra- and infratentorial cranial surgery, with secondary outcomes focused on CSF leakage risk factors and adverse events.

METHODS

In a single-blinded, prospective, randomized controlled interventional trial conducted at a neurosurgery department of a tertiary care center (UZ Leuven, Belgium), patients undergoing elective cranial neurosurgery were randomly assigned to receive either L-PRF (active treatment) or commercially available fibrin sealants (control) for dural closure in a 1:1 ratio.

RESULTS

Among 350 included patients, 328 were analyzed for the primary endpoint (44.5% male, mean age 52.3 ± 15.1 years). Six patients (5 in the control group, 1 in the L-PRF group) presented with CSF leakage requiring any intervention (relative risk [RR] 0.20, one-sided 95% CI −∞ to 1.02, p = 0.11), confirming noninferiority. Of these 6 patients, 1 (in the control group) presented with CSF leakage requiring revision surgery. No risk factors for reconstruction failure in combination with L-PRF were identified. RRs for adverse events such as infection (0.72, 95% CI −∞ to 1.96) and meningitis (0.36, 95% CI −∞ to 1.25) favored L-PRF treatment, although L-PRF treatment showed slightly more bleeding events (1.44, 95% CI −∞ to 4.66).

CONCLUSIONS

Dural reinforcement with L-PRF proved noninferior to commercially available fibrin sealants, with no safety issues. Introducing L-PRF to standard clinical practice could result in important cost savings due to accessibility and lower cost.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT03812120 (ClinicalTrials.gov).

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Mental health comorbidities in workers’ compensation patients and the effect on pain, disability, quality of life, and return to work after lumbar spine surgery

Steve H. Monk, Ummey Hani, Gerry Stanley, Deborah Pfortmiller, Paul K. Kim, Michael A. Bohl, Christopher M. Holland, and Matthew J. McGirt

OBJECTIVE

The impact of mental health comorbidities on outcomes after lumbar spine surgery in workers’ compensation (WC) patients has not been robustly explored. The goal of this study was to examine the impact of mental health comorbidities on pain, disability, quality of life, and return to work after lumbar spine surgery in WC patients.

METHODS

A nationwide, prospective surgical outcomes registry (National Neurosurgery Quality Outcomes Database [N2QOD]) was queried for all patients who underwent 1- to 4-level lumbar decompression and/or fusion from 2012 to 2021. Patients were stratified on the basis of compensation status into non-WC (25,507) and WC (1018) cohorts. Baseline demographic data, perioperative safety data, and patient-reported outcome measures were compared between groups. The WC cohort was further subdivided on the basis of mental health status into patients with anxiety and depression (n = 107) and those without anxiety and depression (n = 911). Propensity matching was used to generate parity between these subgroups, generating 214 patients (107 pairs) for analysis. Perioperative safety, facility utilization, 1-year patient-reported outcomes (back and leg pain, disability, and quality of life), and return to work were measured as a function of WC and mental health comorbidity status.

RESULTS

A total of 26,525 patients (25,507 non-WC and 1018 WC) who underwent 1- to 4-level lumbar spine surgery were reviewed. WC patients were younger, healthier (lower American Society of Anesthesiologists class), more likely to be minorities, less educated, and more likely to smoke and had greater baseline back pain, disability, and quality of life compared to non-WC patients. The prevalence of anxiety and depression was similar between groups (11%). WC patients had worse outcomes for all measures and lower rates of return to work compared to non-WC patients. WC patients with anxiety and depression demonstrated even greater disparities in all outcomes. After propensity matching, WC patients with anxiety and depression continued to demonstrate significantly worse outcomes in comparison to WC patients without anxiety and depression.

CONCLUSIONS

Disparities in outcomes after lumbar spine surgery in WC patients are exacerbated in patients with anxiety and depression. WC patients with mental health comorbidities receive the least benefit from lumbar spine surgery and may represent the most vulnerable subset of patients with spine pathology. Addressing mental health comorbidities preoperatively may represent an opportunity for valuable resource allocation and surgical optimization in the WC population.

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Multicenter comparison of Chiari malformation type I presentation in children versus adults

Armin Mortazavi, Neil D. Almeida, Katherine Hofmann, Laurence Davidson, Juliana Rotter, Tiffany N. Phan, Deki Tsering, Christina Maxwell, Jehshua Karunakaran, Erol Veznedaroglu, Anthony J. Caputy, John D. Heiss, Faheem A. Sandhu, John S. Myseros, Chima Oluigbo, Suresh N. Magge, Donald C. Shields, Michael K. Rosner, Grégoire P. Chatain, and Robert F. Keating

OBJECTIVE

Treatment for Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) often includes surgical intervention in both pediatric and adult patients. The authors sought to investigate fundamental differences between these populations by analyzing data from pediatric and adult patients who required CM-I decompression.

METHODS

To better understand the presentation and surgical outcomes of both groups of patients, retrospective data from 170 adults and 153 pediatric patients (2000–2019) at six institutions were analyzed.

RESULTS

The adult CM-I patient population requiring surgical intervention had a greater proportion of female patients than the pediatric population (p < 0.0001). Radiographic findings at initial clinical presentation showed a significantly greater incidence of syringomyelia (p < 0.0001) and scoliosis (p < 0.0001) in pediatric patients compared with adult patients with CM-I. However, presenting signs and symptoms such as headaches (p < 0.0001), ocular findings (p = 0.0147), and bulbar symptoms (p = 0.0057) were more common in the adult group. After suboccipital decompression procedures, 94.4% of pediatric patients reported symptomatic relief compared with 75% of adults with CM-I (p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

Here, the authors present the first retrospective evaluation comparing adult and pediatric patients who underwent CM-I decompression. Their analysis reveals that pediatric and adult patients significantly differ in terms of demographics, radiographic findings, presentation of symptoms, surgical indications, and outcomes. These findings may indicate different clinical conditions or a distinct progression of the natural history of this complex disease process within each population, which will require prospective studies to better elucidate.