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Christopher M. Bonfield, Jade Basem, D. Douglas Cochrane, Ash Singhal and Paul Steinbok

OBJECTIVE

At British Columbia Children’s Hospital (BCCH), pediatric patients with nonsyndromic craniosynostosis are admitted directly to a standard surgical ward after craniosynostosis surgery. This study’s purpose was to investigate the safety of direct ward admission and to examine the rate at which patients were transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU), the cause for the transfer, and any patient characteristics that indicate higher risk for ICU care.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed medical records of pediatric patients who underwent single-suture or nonsyndromic craniosynostosis repair from 2011 to 2016 at BCCH. Destination of admission from the operating room (i.e., ward or ICU) and transfer to the ICU from the ward were evaluated. Patient characteristics and operative factors were recorded and analyzed.

RESULTS

One hundred fourteen patients underwent surgery for single-suture or nonsyndromic craniosynostosis. Eighty surgeries were open procedures (cranial vault reconstruction, frontoorbital advancement, extended-strip craniectomy) and 34 were minimally invasive endoscope-assisted craniectomy (EAC). Sutures affected were sagittal in 66 cases (32 open, 34 EAC), coronal in 20 (15 unilateral, 5 bilateral), metopic in 23, and multisuture in 5. Only 5 patients who underwent open procedures (6%) were initially admitted to the ICU from the operating room; the reasons for direct admission were as follows: the suggestion of preoperative elevated intracranial pressure, pain control, older-age patients with large reconstruction sites, or a significant medical comorbidity. Overall, of the 107 patients admitted directly to the ward (75 who underwent an open surgery, 32 who underwent an EAC), none required ICU transfer.

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, the findings of this study suggest that patients with nonsyndromic craniosynostosis can be managed safely on the ward and do not require postoperative ICU admission. This could potentially increase cost savings and ICU resource utilization.

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Sanghyun Han, Seung-Jae Hyun, Ki-Jeong Kim, Tae-Ahn Jahng and Hyun-Jib Kim

OBJECTIVE

Posterior column osteotomy (PCO) has been known to provide an angular change (AC) of approximately 10° in sagittal plane deformity. However, whether PCO can actually obtain an AC of ≥ 10° depending on the particular level in the lumbar spine and which factors can effect a gain of ≥ 10° AC after PCO remain to be elucidated. The aim of this study was to identify the factors that effect a gain of ≥ 10° AC through PCO by comparing radiographic measurements between an AC group and a control group before and after adult spinal deformity (ASD) surgery.

METHODS

Forty consecutive patients who underwent multilevel PCOs for ASD at a single institution between 2012 and 2016 were included in this study. PCO was performed in 142 disc space levels in the lumbar spine. The authors defined the disc space level that obtained ≥ 10° AC in the sagittal plane by PCO as the AC group and the remaining patients as controls. The modified Pfirrmann grade, surgical level, implementation of the transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF), and radiographic measurements were compared between the groups.

RESULTS

There were 67 levels in the AC group and 75 in the control group. Multivariate analysis identified the surgical level at L4–5 (OR 3.802, 95% CI 1.127–12.827, p = 0.031), performing TLIF with PCO (OR 3.303, 95% CI 1.258–8.674, p = 0.015), and a preoperative kyphotic disc space angle (OR 1.397, 95% CI 1.231–1.585, p < 0.001) as the factors that significantly effected ≥ 10° AC in the sagittal plane after PCO.

CONCLUSIONS

In ASD surgery, PCO cannot always achieve ≥ 10° AC in the sagittal plane. The factors that effected ≥ 10° AC in PCO for ASD were surgical level at L4–5, performing TLIF with PCO, and the preoperative kyphotic disc space angle.

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Zhaoyang Xu, Lili Tu, Yanyan Zheng, Xiaohui Ma, Han Zhang and Ming Zhang

OBJECTIVE

Meralgia paresthetica is commonly caused by mechanical entrapment of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (LFCN). The entrapment often occurs at the site where the nerve exits the pelvis. Its optimal surgical management remains to be established, partly because the fine architecture of the fascial planes around the LFCN has not been elucidated. The aim of this study was to define the fascial configuration around the LFCN at its pelvic exit.

METHODS

Thirty-six cadavers (18 female, 18 male; age range 38–97 years) were used for dissection (57 sides of 30 cadavers) and sheet plastination and confocal microscopy (2 transverse and 4 sagittal sets of slices from 6 cadavers). Thirty-four healthy volunteers (19 female, 15 male; age range 20–62 years) were examined with ultrasonography.

RESULTS

The LFCN exited the pelvis via a tendinous canal within the internal oblique–iliac fascia septum and then ran in an adipose compartment between the sartorius and iliolata ligaments inferior to the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS). The iliolata ligaments newly defined and termed in this study were 2–3 curtain strip–like structures which attached to the ASIS superiorly, were interwoven with the fascia lata inferomedially, and continued laterally as skin ligaments anchoring to the skin. Between the sartorius and tensor fasciae latae, the LFCN ran in a longitudinal ligamental canal bordered by the iliolata ligaments.

CONCLUSIONS

This study demonstrated that 1) the pelvic exit of the LFCN is within the internal oblique aponeurosis and 2) the iliolata ligaments form the part of the fascia lata over the LFCN and upper sartorius. These results indicate that the internal oblique–iliac fascia septum and iliolata ligaments may make the LFCN susceptible to mechanical entrapment near the ASIS. To surgically decompress the LFCN, it may be necessary to incise the oblique aponeurosis and iliac fascia medial to the LFCN tendinous canal and to free the iliolata ligaments from the ASIS.

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Sebastian Ruetten, Patrick Hahn, Semih Oezdemir, Xenophon Baraliakos, Harry Merk, Georgios Godolias and Martin Komp

OBJECTIVE

Acute or progressive myelopathy may necessitate direct anterior decompression of the craniocervical junction and odontoidectomy. Different techniques with individual advantages and disadvantages can be used. In addition to the gold standard—the transoral approach—there is also increasing experience with the endoscopic transnasal technique. Other alternative methods are also being developed to reduce technical and perioperative problems. The aim of this anatomical study was to investigate the feasibility of the full-endoscopic uniportal technique with a retropharyngeal approach for decompression of the craniocervical junction, taking into consideration the specific advantages and disadvantages compared with conventional methods and the currently available data in the literature.

METHODS

Five fresh adult cadavers were operated on. The endoscope used has a shaft cross-section of 6.9 × 5.9 mm and a 25° viewing angle. It contains an eccentric intraendoscopic working channel with a diameter of 4.1 mm. An anterior retropharyngeal approach was used. The anatomical structures of the anterior craniocervical junction were dissected and the bulbomedullary junction was decompressed.

RESULTS

The planned steps of the operation were performed in all cadavers. The retropharyngeal approach allowed the target region to be accessed easily. The anatomical structures of the anterior craniocervical junction could be identified and dissected. The bulbomedullary junction could be adequately decompressed. No resections of the anterior arch of the atlas were necessary in the odontoidectomy.

CONCLUSIONS

Using the full-endoscopic uniportal technique with an anterior retropharyngeal approach, the craniocervical region can be adequately reached, dissected, and decompressed. This is a minimally invasive technique with the known advantages of an endoscopic procedure under continuous irrigation. The retropharyngeal approach allows direct, sterile access. The instruments are available for clinical use and have been established for years in other operations of the entire spine.

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Mark D. Meadowcroft, Timothy K. Cooper, Sebastian Rupprecht, Thaddeus C. Wright, Elizabeth E. Neely, Michele Ferenci, Weimin Kang, Qing X. Yang, Robert E. Harbaugh, James R. Connor and James McInerney

OBJECTIVE

Intracranial aneurysms are vascular abnormalities associated with neurological morbidity and mortality due to risk of rupture. In addition, many aneurysm treatments have associated risk profiles that can preclude the prophylactic treatment of asymptomatic lesions. Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) is a standard treatment for trigeminal neuralgia, tumors, and arteriovenous malformations. Aneurysms associated with arteriovenous malformations have been noted to resolve after treatment of the malformation. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of GKRS treatment in a saccular aneurysm animal model.

METHODS

Aneurysms were surgically produced using an elastase-induced aneurysm model in the right common carotid artery of 10 New Zealand white rabbits. Following initial observation for 4 years, each rabbit aneurysm was treated with a conformal GKRS isodose of 25 Gy to the 50% margin. Longitudinal MRI studies obtained over 2 years and terminal measures obtained at multiple time points were used to track aneurysm size and shape index modifications.

RESULTS

Aneurysms did not rupture or involute during the observation period. Whole aneurysm and blood volume averages decreased with a linear trend, at rates of 1.7% and 1.6% per month, respectively, over 24 months. Aneurysm wall percent volume increased linearly at a rate of 0.3% per month, indicating a relative thickening of the aneurysm wall during occlusion. Nonsphericity of the average volume, aspect ratio, and isoperimetric ratio of whole aneurysm volume all remained constant. Histopathological samples demonstrated progressive reduction in aneurysm size and wall thickening, with subintimal fibrosis. Consistent shape indices demonstrate stable aneurysm patency and maintenance of minimal rupture risk following treatment.

CONCLUSIONS

The data indicate that GKRS targeted to saccular aneurysms is associated with histopathological changes and linear reduction of aneurysm size over time. The results suggest that GKRS may be a viable, minimally invasive treatment option for intracranial aneurysm obliteration.

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Shin-Joe Yeh, Sung-Chun Tang, Li-Kai Tsai, Chung-Wei Lee, Ya-Fang Chen, Hon-Man Liu, Shih-Hung Yang, Yu-Lin Hsieh, Meng-Fai Kuo and Jiann-Shing Jeng

OBJECTIVE

Pediatric and adult patients with moyamoya disease experience similar clinical benefits from indirect revascularization surgeries, but there are still debates about age-related angiographic differences of the collaterals established after surgery. The goal of this study was to assess age-related differences on ultrasonography before and after indirect revascularization surgeries in moyamoya patients, focusing on some ultrasonographic parameters known to be correlated with the collaterals supplied by the external carotid artery (ECA).

METHODS

The authors prospectively included moyamoya patients (50 and 26 hemispheres in pediatric and adult patients, respectively) who would undergo indirect revascularization surgery. Before surgery and at 1, 3, and 6 months after surgery, the patients underwent ultrasonographic examinations. The ultrasonographic parameters included peak-systolic velocity (PSV), end-diastolic velocity (EDV), resistance index (RI), and flow volume (FV) measured in the ECA, superficial temporal artery (STA), and internal carotid artery on the operated side. The mean values, absolute changes, and percentage changes of these parameters were compared between the pediatric and adult patients. Logistic regression analysis was used to clarify the determinants affecting postoperative EDV changes in the STA.

RESULTS

Before surgery, the adult patients had mean higher EDV and lower RI in the STA and ECA than the pediatric group (all p < 0.05). After surgery, the pediatric patients had greater changes (absolute and percentage changes) in the PSV, EDV, RI, and FV in the STA and ECA (all p < 0.05). The factors affecting postoperative EDV changes in the STA at 6 months were age (p = 0.006) and size of the revascularization area (i.e., revascularization in more than the temporal region vs within the temporal region; p = 0.009). Pediatric patients who received revascularization procedures in more than the temporal region had higher velocities (PSV and EDV) in the STA than those who received revascularization within the temporal region (p < 0.05 at 1–6 months), but such differences were not observed in the adult group.

CONCLUSIONS

The greater changes of these parameters in the STA and ECA in pediatric patients than in adults after indirect revascularization surgeries indicated that pediatric patients might have a greater increase of collaterals postoperatively than adults. Pediatric patients who undergo revascularization in more than the temporal region might have more collaterals than those who undergo revascularization within the temporal region.

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Amr M. N. El-Shehaby, Wael A. Reda, Khaled M. Abdel Karim, Ahmed M. Nabeel, Reem M. Emad Eldin and Sameh R. Tawadros

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to assess hearing function after Gamma Knife treatment of cerebellopontine angle (CPA) meningiomas and assess factors affecting hearing outcome. Additionally, the authors opted to compare these results with those after Gamma Knife treatment of vestibular schwannomas (VSs), because most of the information on hearing outcome after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) comes from reports on VS treatment. Hearing preservation, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, has never been separately addressed in studies involving Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) for CPA meningiomas.

METHODS

This study included all patients who underwent a single session of GKRS between 2002 and 2014. The patients were divided into two groups. Group A included 66 patients with CPA meningiomas with serviceable hearing and tumor extension into the region centered on the internal auditory meatus. Group B included 144 patients with VSs with serviceable hearing. All patients had serviceable hearing before treatment (Gardner-Robertson [GR] Grades I and II). The median prescription dose was 12 Gy (range 10–12 Gy) in both groups. The median follow-up of groups A and B was 42 months (range 6–149 months) and 49 months (range 6–149 months), respectively.

RESULTS

At the last follow-up, the tumor control rate was 97% and 94% in groups A and B, respectively. Hearing preservation was defined as maintained serviceable hearing according to GR hearing score. The hearing preservation rate was 98% and 66% and the 7-year actuarial serviceable hearing preservation rate was 75% and 56%, respectively, between both groups. In group A, the median maximum cochlear dose in the patients with stable and worsened hearing grade was 6.3 Gy and 5.5 Gy, respectively. In group B, factors affecting hearing preservation were cochlear dose ≤ 7 Gy, follow-up duration, and tumor control. The only determinant of hearing preservation between both groups was tumor type.

CONCLUSIONS

GKRS for CPA meningiomas provides excellent hearing preservation in addition to high tumor control rate. Hearing outcome is better with CPA meningiomas than with VSs. Further long-term prospective studies on determinants of hearing outcome after GKRS for CPA meningiomas should be conducted.

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Ji Woong Oh, Kyoung Su Sung, Ju Hyung Moon, Eui Hyun Kim, Won Seok Chang, Hyun Ho Jung, Jin Woo Chang, Yong Gou Park, Sun Ho Kim and Jong Hee Chang

OBJECTIVE

This study investigated long-term follow-up data on the combined pituitary function test (CPFT) in patients who had undergone transsphenoidal surgery (TSS) for nonfunctioning pituitary adenoma (NFPA) to determine the clinical parameters indicative of hypopituitarism following postoperative Gamma Knife surgery (GKS).

METHODS

Between 2001 and 2015, a total of 971 NFPA patients underwent TSS, and 76 of them (7.8%) underwent postoperative GKS. All 76 patients were evaluated with a CPFT before and after GKS. The hormonal states were analyzed based on the following parameters: relevant factors before GKS (age, sex, extent of resection, pre-GKS hormonal states, time interval between TSS and GKS), GKS-related factors (tumor volume; radiation dose to tumor, pituitary stalk, and normal gland; distance between tumor and stalk), and clinical outcomes (tumor control rate, changes in hormonal states, need for hormone-related medication due to hormonal changes).

RESULTS

Of the 971 NFPA patients, 797 had gross-total resection (GTR) and 174 had subtotal resection (STR). Twenty-five GTR patients (3.1%) and 51 STR patients (29.3%) underwent GKS. The average follow-up period after GKS was 53.5 ± 35.5 months, and the tumor control rate was 96%. Of the 76 patients who underwent GKS, 23 were excluded due to pre-GKS panhypopituitarism (22) or loss to follow-up (1). Hypopituitarism developed in 13 (24.5%) of the remaining 53 patients after GKS. A higher incidence of post-GKS hypopituitarism occurred in the patients with normal pre-GKS hormonal states (41.7%, 10/24) than in the patients with abnormal pre-GKS hormonal states (10.3%, 3/29; p = 0.024). Target tumor volume (4.7 ± 3.9 cm3), distance between tumor and pituitary stalk (2.0 ± 2.2 mm), stalk dose (cutoffs: mean dose 7.56 Gy, maximal dose 12.3 Gy), and normal gland dose (cutoffs: maximal dose 13.9 Gy, minimal dose 5.25 Gy) were factors predictive of post-GKS hypopituitarism (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

This study analyzed the long-term follow-up CPFT data on hormonal changes in NFPA patients who underwent GKS after TSS. The authors propose a cutoff value for the radiation dose to the pituitary stalk and normal gland for the prevention of post-GKS hypopituitarism.

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Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Daniel S. Ubl, Kristine T. Hanson, William E. Krauss, Fredric B. Meyer, Robert J. Spinner, Elizabeth B. Habermann and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Patient-reported outcomes have been increasingly mandated by regulators and payers to evaluate hospital and physician performance. The purpose of this study is to delineate the differences in patient-reported experience of hospital care for cranial and spinal operations.

METHODS

The authors selected all patients who underwent inpatient, elective cranial or spinal procedures and completed the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey at a single, high-volume, tertiary care institution between October 2012 and September 2015. The association of the surgical procedure and diagnosis with various HCAHPS composite measures, calculated across 9 domains using standard top-box methodology, was investigated. Multivariable logistic regression models were fitted for outcomes that were significant with procedure type and diagnosis group on univariate analysis, adjusting for age, sex, case complexity, overall health rating, and education level.

RESULTS

A total of 1484 patients met criteria and returned an HCAHPS survey. Overall, patients undergoing a cranial procedure gave top-box (most favorable) scores more often in pain management measure (66.3% vs 59.6%, p = 0.01) compared with those undergoing spine surgery. Furthermore, despite better discharge scores (93.1% vs 87.1%, p < 0.001), spinal patients were less likely to report excellent health (7.4% vs 12.7%). Lastly, patients with a primary diagnosis of brain or spinal tumor compared with those with degenerative spinal disease and those with other neurosurgical diagnoses provided top-box scores more often regarding communication with doctors (82.7% vs 76.4% vs 75.2%, p = 0.04), pain management (71.8% vs 60.9% vs 59.1%, p = 0.002), and global rating (90.4% vs 84.0% vs 87.3%, p = 0.02). On multivariable analysis, spinal patients had significantly lower odds of reporting top-box scores in pain management (OR 0.67, 95% CI 0.52–0.85; p = 0.001), staff responsiveness (OR 0.68, 95% CI 0.53–0.87; p = 0.002), and global rating (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.42–0.82; p = 0.002), and significantly higher odds of top-box scoring in discharge information (OR 2.15, 95% CI 1.45–3.18; p < 0.001) than cranial patients. Similarly, brain tumor cases were associated with significantly higher odds of top-box scoring in communication with doctors (OR 1.46, 95% CI 1.01–2.12; p = 0.04), pain management (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.29–2.55; p < 0.001), staff responsiveness (OR 1.88, 95% CI 1.33–2.66; p < 0.001), and global rating (OR 2.00, 95% CI 1.26–3.17; p = 0.003) compared with degenerative spine cases.

CONCLUSIONS

Significant differences in patient-reported experience with hospital care exist across different cranial and spine surgery patient populations. Overall, spinal patients, particularly those with degenerative spine disease, rated their health and their hospital experience lower relative to cranial patients. Identifying weaker areas of hospital performance in target populations can stimulate quality initiatives that aim to increase the overall hospital score.

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Richard Menger, Benjamin F. Mundell, J. Will Robbins, Peter Letarte, Randy Bell and in conjunction with Council of State Neurosurgical Societies and AANS/CNS Joint Committee of Military Neurosurgeons

OBJECTIVE

Papers from 2002 to 2017 have highlighted consistent unique socioeconomic challenges and opportunities facing military neurosurgeons. Here, the authors focus on the reserve military neurosurgeon who carries the dual mission of both civilian and military responsibilities.

METHODS

Survey solicitation of current active duty and reserve military neurosurgeons was performed in conjunction with the AANS/CNS Joint Committee of Military Neurosurgeons and the Council of State Neurosurgical Societies. Demographic, qualitative, and quantitative data points were compared between reserve and active duty military neurosurgeons. Civilian neurosurgical provider data were taken from the 2016 NERVES (Neurosurgery Executives Resource Value and Education Society) Socio-Economic Survey. Economic modeling was done to forecast the impact of deployment or mobilization on the reserve neurosurgeon, neurosurgery practice, and the community.

RESULTS

Seventy-five percent (12/16) of current reserve neurosurgeons reported that they are satisfied with their military service. Reserve neurosurgeons make significant contributions to the military’s neurosurgical capabilities, with 75% (12/16) having been deployed during their career. No statistically significant demographic differences were found between those serving on active duty and those in the reserve service. However, those who served in the reserves were more likely to desire opportunities for improvement in the military workflow requirements compared with their active duty counterparts (p = 0.04); 92.9% (13/14) of current reserve neurosurgeons desired more flexible military drill programs specific to the needs of practicing physicians. The risk of reserve deployment is also borne by the practices, hospitals, and communities in which the neurosurgeon serves in civilian practice. This can result in fewer new patient encounters, decreased collections, decreased work relative value unit generation, increased operating costs per neurosurgeon, and intangible limitations on practice development. However, through modeling, the authors have illustrated that reserve physicians joining a larger group practice can significantly mitigate this risk. What remains astonishing is that 91.7% of those reserve neurosurgeons who were deployed noted the experience to be rewarding despite seeing a 20% reduction in income, on average, during the fiscal year of a 6-month deployment.

CONCLUSIONS

Reserve neurosurgeons are satisfied with their military service while making substantial contributions to the military’s neurosurgical capabilities, with the overwhelming majority of current military reservists having been deployed or mobilized during their reserve commitments. Through the authors’ modeling, the impact of deployment on the military neurosurgeon, neurosurgeon’s practice, and the local community can be significantly mitigated by a larger practice environment.