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Open access

Kenji Endo, Yasunobu Sawaji, Takato Aihara, Hidekazu Suzuki, Kazuma Murata, Yuji Matsuoka, Hirosuke Nishimura, Taichiro Takamatsu, Takamitsu Konishi, and Kengo Yamamoto

BACKGROUND

As the proportion of elderly people continues to increase, the number of patients with dropped head syndrome (DHS) also grows. However, the relationship between onset and clinical course of DHS has hardly been studied, particularly, that of sudden-onset DHS has not been reported and remains unclear.

OBSERVATIONS

Sudden-onset DHS was defined as presenting with chin on chest deformity within 3 days from the time of awareness of cervical weakness. Sixty-six patients with DHS visited our facility. Among them, 8 of the total cases (12.1%) had experienced sudden onset DHS (6 females and 2 males; average age: 71.9 ± 10.9 years). Six of 8 cases showed recovery by conservative treatment, whose first interventions were from 0.1 to 12 months, but 3 experienced recurrence. Diffuse spinal kyphotic-type DHS was seen in 2 cases, and both had recurring horizontal gaze disturbance after initial recovery. Two unimproved cases underwent surgery of combined anterior and posterior cervical fixation, and their first interventions were at 5 and 24 months. After surgery, cervical sagittal alignment was improved, and they could walk maintaining horizontal gaze.

LESSONS

Sudden-onset DHS can be expected to have a better outcome, but recurrence is possible in global imbalanced-type DHS.

Open access

John K. Chae, Neelan J. Marianayagam, Ibrahim Hussain, Amanda Cruz, Ali A. Baaj, Roger Härtl, and Jeffrey P. Greenfield

BACKGROUND

The authors assessed the connection between clinical outcomes and morphometrics in patients with complex Chiari malformation (CM) who have undergone posterior fossa decompression (PFD) and subsequent occipitocervical fusion (OCF) with or without ventral decompression (VD).

OBSERVATIONS

The authors retrospectively reviewed 33 patients with CM aged over 21 years who underwent PFD and OCF with or without endoscopic endonasal odontoidectomy at the authors’ institution (21 OCF only and 12 OCF + VD). Clivoaxial angle (CXA), pB-C2 (perpendicular line to the line between the basion and C2), atlantodental interval (ADI), basion-dens interval (BDI), basion-axial interval (BAI), and C1 canal diameter were measured on preoperative and approximately 3-month postoperative computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging scans. Common symptoms included headache, paresthesia, and bulbar symptoms. Clinical improvement after surgery was observed in 78.8% of patients. CXA, ADI, and BDI all significantly increased after surgery, whereas pB-C2 and BAI significantly decreased. OCF + VD had a significantly more acute CXA and longer pB-C2 preoperatively than OCF only. Patients who clinically improved postoperatively showed the same significant morphometric changes, but those who did not improve showed no significant morphometric changes.

LESSONS

Patients showing improvement had greater corrections in skull base morphometrics than those who did not. Although there are various mutually nonexclusive reasons why certain patients do not improve after surgery, smaller degrees of morphometric correction could play a role.

Open access

David C. Kieser, Scheherezade Soltani, Niels Hammer, Amir Koutp, Eleanor Hughes, and Jeremy J. Reynolds

BACKGROUND

Sacrectomy carries significant risk of bleeding; however, specific risk factors, apart from medical comorbidities and tumor type, for this life-threatening complication remain unclear. This study describes two cases of massive bleeding, including one death during sacrectomy attributable to adherence of the internal iliac vein (IIV) and its neuroforaminal tributaries from sacral insufficiency fractures.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors presented two cases involving patients who received sacrectomy for a chordoma and experienced massive bleeding from the IIV due to adherence of the IIV and its neuroforaminal tributaries around sacral insufficiency fractures. They assessed their institution’s previous two decades’ experience of sacrectomies to determine risk factors for massive bleeding and performed anatomical dissection of 20 hemipelvises, which revealed the close proximity of the IIV to the sacral foraminae and the consistency of neuroforaminal tributaries arising from the foraminae.

LESSONS

Sacral insufficiency fractures may cause scarring that adheres to the IIV and its neuroforaminal tributaries, which risks massive bleeding during sacrectomy.

Restricted access

M. Harrison Snyder, Vamsi P. Reddy, Ankitha M. Iyer, Aruna Ganju, Nathan R. Selden, Jeremiah N. Johnson, Stacey Q. Wolfe, and on behalf of the Society of Neurological Surgeons and American Association of Neurological Surgeons Young Neurosurgeons Committee

OBJECTIVE

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a significant disruption to residency recruitment, including a sudden, comprehensive transition to virtual interviews. The authors sought to characterize applicant experiences and perceptions concerning the change in the application, interview, and match process for neurological surgery residency during the 2020–2021 recruitment cycle.

METHODS

A national survey of neurosurgical residency applicants from the 2020–2021 application cycle was performed. This survey was developed in cooperation with the Society of Neurological Surgeons (SNS) and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Young Neurosurgeons Committee (YNC) and sent to all applicants (n = 280) who included academic video submissions to the SNS repository as part of their application package. These 280 applicants accounted for 69.6% of the total 402 neurosurgical applicants this year.

RESULTS

Nearly half of the applicants responded to the survey (44.3%, 124 of 280). Applicants favored additional reform of the interview scheduling process, including a centralized scheduling method, a set of standardized release dates for interview invitations, and interview caps for applicants. Less than 8% of students desired a virtual-only platform in the future, though the majority of applicants supported incorporating virtual interviews as part of the process to contain applicant costs and combining them with traditional in-person interview opportunities. Program culture and fit, as well as clinical and research opportunities in subspecialty areas, were the most important factors applicants used to rank programs. However, subjective program "fit" was deemed challenging to assess during virtual-only interviews.

CONCLUSIONS

Neurosurgery resident applicants identified standardized interview invitation release dates, centralized interview scheduling methods, caps on the number of interviews available to each candidate, and regulated opportunities for both virtual and in-person recruitment as measures that could significantly improve the applicant experience during and effectiveness of future neurosurgery residency application cycles. Applicants prioritized program culture and "fit" during recruitment, and a majority were open to incorporating virtual elements into future cycles to reduce costs while retaining in-person opportunities to gauge programs and their locations.

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Syed Hassan A. Akbari, Gabriela R. Oates, Irina Gonzalez-Sigler, Anastasia A. Arynchyna, Justin McCroskey, Elizabeth N. Alford, Tofey J. Leon, Sarah Rutland, James M. Johnston, Jeffrey P. Blount, Curtis J. Rozzelle, and Brandon G. Rocque

OBJECTIVE

There is little research on the effect of social determinants of health on Chiari malformation type I (CM-I). The authors analyzed data on all children evaluated for CM-I at a single institution to assess how socioeconomic factors and race affect the surgical treatment of this population.

METHODS

Medical records of patients treated for CM-I at the authors’ institution between 1992 and 2017 were reviewed. Area Deprivation Index (ADI) and Rural-Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) codes for each patient were used to measure neighborhood disadvantage. Non-Hispanic White patients were compared to non-White patients and Hispanic patients of any race (grouped together as non-White in this study) in terms of insurance status, ADI, and RUCA. Patients with initially benign CM-I, defined as not having undergone surgery within 9 months of their initial visit, were then stratified by having delayed symptom presentation or not, and compared on these same measures.

RESULTS

The sample included 665 patients with CM-I: 82% non-Hispanic White and 18% non-White. The non-White patients were more likely to reside in disadvantaged (OR 3.4, p < 0.001) and urban (OR 4.66, p < 0.001) neighborhoods and to have public health insurance (OR 3.11, p < 0.001). More than one-quarter (29%) of patients underwent surgery. The non-White and non-Hispanic White patients had similar surgery rates (29.5% vs 28.9%, p = 0.895) at similar ages (8.8 vs 9.7 years, p = 0.406). There were no differences by race/ethnicity for symptoms at presentation. Surgical and nonsurgical patients had similar ADI scores (3.9 vs 4.2, p = 0.194), RUCA scores (2.1 vs 2.3, p = 0.252), and private health insurance rates (73.6% vs 74.2%, p = 0.878). A total of 153 patients underwent surgery within 9 months of their initial visit. The remaining 512 were deemed to have benign CM-I. Of these, 40 (7.8%) underwent decompression surgery for delayed symptom presentation. Patients with delayed symptom presentation were from less disadvantaged (ADI 3.2 vs 4.2; p = 0.025) and less rural (RUCA 1.8 vs 2.3; p = 0.023) areas than those who never underwent surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Although non-White patients were more likely to be socioeconomically disadvantaged, race and socioeconomic disadvantage were not associated with undergoing surgical treatment. However, among patients with benign CM-I, those undergoing decompression for delayed symptom presentation resided in more affluent and urban areas.

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Andrew M. Hersh, Zach Pennington, Bethany Hung, Jaimin Patel, Earl Goldsborough, Andrew Schilling, James Feghali, Albert Antar, Siddhartha Srivastava, David Botros, Aladine A. Elsamadicy, Sheng-Fu Larry Lo, and Daniel M. Sciubba

OBJECTIVE

Frailty—the state defined by decreased physiological reserve and increased vulnerability to physiological stress—is exceedingly common in oncology patients. Given the palliative nature of spine metastasis surgery, it is imperative that patients be healthy enough to tolerate the physical insult of surgery. In the present study, the authors compared the association of two frailty metrics and the widely used Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) with postoperative morbidity in spine metastasis patients.

METHODS

A retrospective cohort of patients who underwent operations for spinal metastases at a comprehensive cancer center were identified. Data on patient demographic characteristics, disease state, medical comorbidities, operative details, and postoperative outcomes were collected. Frailty was measured with the modified 5-item frailty index (mFI-5) and metastatic spinal tumor frailty index (MSTFI). Outcomes of interest were length of stay (LOS) greater than the 75th percentile of the cohort, nonroutine discharge, and the occurrence of ≥ 1 postoperative complication.

RESULTS

In total, 322 patients were included (mean age 59.5 ± 12 years; 56.9% of patients were male). The mean ± SD LOS was 11.2 ± 9.9 days, 44.5% of patients had nonroutine discharge, and 24.0% experienced ≥ 1 postoperative complication. On multivariable analysis, increased frailty on mFI-5 and MSTFI was independently predictive of all three outcomes: prolonged LOS (OR 1.67 per point, 95% CI 1.06–2.63, p = 0.03; and OR 1.63 per point, 95% CI 1.29–2.05, p < 0.01, respectively), nonroutine discharge (OR 2.65 per point, 95% CI 1.74–4.04, p < 0.01; and OR 1.69 per point, 95% CI 1.36–2.11, p < 0.01), and ≥ 1 complication (OR 1.95 per point, 95% CI 1.23–3.09, p = 0.01; and OR 1.41 per point, 95% CI 1.12–1.77, p < 0.01). CCI was found to be independently predictive of only the occurrence of ≥ 1 postoperative complication (OR 1.45 per point, 95% CI 1.22–1.72, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Frailty measured with either mFI-5 or MSTFI scores was a more robust independent predictor of adverse postoperative outcomes than the more widely used CCI. Both mFI-5 and MSTFI were significantly associated with prolonged LOS, higher complication rates, and nonroutine discharge. Further investigation in a prospective multicenter cohort is merited.

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Omaditya Khanna, Christopher J. Farrell, Ellina Hattar, Fadi Al Saiegh, Ritam Ghosh, Thana N. Theofanis, Michelle Hoffman, and Ashwini D. Sharan

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Hyung Rae Lee, Dong-Ho Lee, Jae Hwan Cho, Eui Seung Hwang, Sang Yun Seok, Sehan Park, and Choon Sung Lee

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility and complications of the over-the-arch (OTA) technique for screw insertion into the C1 lateral mass in patients in whom conventional techniques (i.e., posterior arch [PA] and inferior lateral mass [ILM]) are not feasible due to 1) PA with a very small height (< 3.5 mm), 2) a caudally tilted PA blocking the inferior part of the C1 lateral mass, or 3) loss of height at the ILM (< 3.5 mm).

METHODS

The authors reviewed the medical records of 60 patients who underwent C1 screw fixation with the OTA technique (13 screws) and the PA/ILM technique (107 screws) between 2011 and 2019. Vertebral artery (VA) injuries, screw malposition, and bony union were radiologically assessed. Clinical outcome measures, including Neck Disability Index (NDI), Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scale score, and occipital neuralgia, were recorded.

RESULTS

Thirteen OTA screws were successfully inserted without any major complications. NDI and JOA scale scores did not show significant differences between the two groups at final follow-up. No VA injuries were recognized during screw insertion. There was no evidence of ischemic damage to the VA or bony erosion in the occiput or atlas. Medial wall violation was observed in 1 screw (7.7%); however, no C0–1, C1–2, or lateral wall violations were observed. No patients developed new-onset neuralgia postoperatively after C1 fixation with the OTA technique.

CONCLUSIONS

The OTA technique was safe and useful for C1 screw fixation in patients in whom conventional techniques could not be employed.

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Hisanori Ikuma, Tomohiko Hirose, Shinichiro Takao, Masataka Ueda, Kazutaka Yamashita, Kazutoshi Otsuka, and Keisuke Kawasaki

OBJECTIVE

Patients with ankylosing spinal disorders (ASDs), such as ankylosing spondylitis and diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis, often have rigid kyphosis of the spine. The fracture site is sometimes unintentionally displaced when surgery is conducted with the patient prone. To prevent this incident, the authors adopted the lateral decubitus position for patients intraoperatively for this pathology. The aim of this study was to retrospectively assess the impact of the lateral decubitus position in the perioperative period on posterior fixation for thoracolumbar fractures with ASD.

METHODS

Thirty-seven consecutive patients who underwent posterior instrumentation for thoracolumbar fracture with ASD at the authors’ institute were divided into 15 lateral decubitus positions (group L) and 22 prone positions (group P). Surgical time, estimated blood loss (EBL), number of levels fused, perioperative complications, length of stay (LOS), ratio of fracture voids, and ratio of anterior wall height were investigated. The ratio of fracture void and the ratio of anterior wall height were the radiological assessments showing a degree of reduction in vertebral fracture on CT.

RESULTS

Age, sex, BMI, fracture level, and LOS were similar between the groups. Levels fused and EBL were significantly shorter and less in group L (p < 0.001 and p = 0.04), but there was no significant difference in surgical time. The complication rate was similar, but 1 death within 90 days after surgery was found in group P. The ratio of fracture voids was 85.4% ± 12.8% for group L and 117.5% ± 37.3% for group P. A significantly larger number of patients with a fracture void ratio of 100% or less was found in group L (86.7% vs 36.4%, p = 0.002). The ratio of anterior wall height was 107.5% ± 12.3% for group L and 116.9% ± 18.8% for group P. A significantly larger number of patients with the anterior wall height ratio of 100% or less was also found in group L (60.0% vs 27.3%, p = 0.046).

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this study suggest that the lateral decubitus position can be expected to have an effect on closing or maintaining the fracture void or a preventive effect of intraoperative unintentional extension displacement of the fractured site, which is often seen in the prone position during surgery for thoracolumbar fractures involving ASD.

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Hao You, Xing Fan, Jiajia Liu, Dongze Guo, Zhibao Li, and Hui Qiao

OBJECTIVE

The current study investigated the correlation between intraoperative motor evoked potential (MEP) and somatosensory evoked potential (SSEP) monitoring and both short-term and long-term motor outcomes in aneurysm patients treated with surgical clipping. Moreover, the authors provide a relatively optimal neurophysiological predictor of postoperative motor deficits (PMDs) in patients with ruptured and unruptured aneurysms.

METHODS

A total of 1017 patients (216 with ruptured aneurysms and 801 with unruptured aneurysms) were included. Patient demographic characteristics, clinical features, intraoperative monitoring data, and follow-up data were retrospectively reviewed. The efficacy of using changes in MEP/SSEP to predict PMDs was assessed using binary logistic regression analysis. Subsequently, receiver operating characteristic curve analysis was performed to determine the optimal critical value for duration of MEP/SSEP deterioration.

RESULTS

Both intraoperative MEP and SSEP monitoring were significantly effective for predicting short-term (p < 0.001 for both) and long-term (p < 0.001 for both) PMDs in aneurysm patients. The critical values for predicting short-term PMDs were amplitude decrease rates of 57.30% for MEP (p < 0.001 and area under the curve [AUC] 0.732) and 64.10% for SSEP (p < 0.001 and AUC 0.653). In patients with an unruptured aneurysm, the optimal critical values for predicting short-term PMDs were durations of deterioration of 17 minutes for MEP (p < 0.001 and AUC 0.768) and 21 minutes for SSEP (p < 0.001 and AUC 0.843). In patients with a ruptured aneurysm, the optimal critical values for predicting short-term PMDs were durations of deterioration of 12.5 minutes for MEP (p = 0.028 and AUC 0.706) and 11 minutes for SSEP (p = 0.043 and AUC 0.813).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that both intraoperative MEP and SSEP monitoring are useful for predicting short-term and long-term PMDs in patients with unruptured and ruptured aneurysms. The optimal intraoperative neuromonitoring method for predicting PMDs varies depending on whether the aneurysm has ruptured or not.