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Deborah L. Benzil, Karin M. Muraszko, Pranay Soni, Ellen L. Air, Katie O. Orrico, and James T. Rutka

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was the creation and administration of a survey to assess the depth and breadth of sexual harassment across neurosurgery.

METHODS

A survey was created to 1) assess perceived attitudes toward systemic issues that might be permissive of sexual harassment; 2) measure the reported prevalence and severity of sexual harassment; and 3) determine the populations at highest risk and those most likely to perpetrate sexual harassment. Demographic information was also included to facilitate further analysis. The SurveyMonkey platform was used, and a request to complete the survey was sent to all Society of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) active and resident members as well as CNS transitional, emeritus, and inactive members. Data were analyzed using RStudio version 1.2.5019.

RESULTS

Nearly two-thirds of responders indicated having witnessed sexual harassment in some form (62%, n = 382). Males were overwhelmingly identified as the offenders in allegations of sexual harassment (72%), with individuals in a “superior position” identified as offenders in 86%. Less than one-third of responders addressed the incidents of sexual harassment when they happened (yes 31%, no 62%, unsure 7%). Of those who did report, most felt there was either no impact or a negative one (negative: 34%, no impact: 38%). Almost all (85%) cited barriers to taking action about sexual harassment, including retaliation/retribution (87%), impact on future career (85%), reputation concerns (72%), and associated stress (50%). Female neurosurgeons were statistically more likely than male neurosurgeons to report witnessing or experiencing sexual harassment, as well as assessing it as a problem.

CONCLUSIONS

This study demonstrates that neurosurgeons report significant sexual harassment across all ages and practice settings. Sexual harassment impacts both men and women, with more than half personally subjected to this behavior and two-thirds having witnessed it. Male dominance, a hierarchical environment, and a permissive environment remain prevalent within the neurosurgical community. This is not just a historical problem, but it continues today. A change of culture will be required for neurosurgery to shed this mantle, which must include zero tolerance of this behavior, new policies, awareness of unconscious bias, and commitment to best practices to enhance diversity. Above all, it will require that all neurosurgeons and neurosurgical leaders develop an awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace and establish consistent mechanisms to mitigate against its highly deleterious effects in the specialty.

Free access

Deborah L. Benzil, Karin M. Muraszko, Pranay Soni, Ellen L. Air, Katie O. Orrico, and James T. Rutka

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was the creation and administration of a survey to assess the depth and breadth of sexual harassment across neurosurgery.

METHODS

A survey was created to 1) assess perceived attitudes toward systemic issues that might be permissive of sexual harassment; 2) measure the reported prevalence and severity of sexual harassment; and 3) determine the populations at highest risk and those most likely to perpetrate sexual harassment. Demographic information was also included to facilitate further analysis. The SurveyMonkey platform was used, and a request to complete the survey was sent to all Society of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) active and resident members as well as CNS transitional, emeritus, and inactive members. Data were analyzed using RStudio version 1.2.5019.

RESULTS

Nearly two-thirds of responders indicated having witnessed sexual harassment in some form (62%, n = 382). Males were overwhelmingly identified as the offenders in allegations of sexual harassment (72%), with individuals in a “superior position” identified as offenders in 86%. Less than one-third of responders addressed the incidents of sexual harassment when they happened (yes 31%, no 62%, unsure 7%). Of those who did report, most felt there was either no impact or a negative one (negative: 34%, no impact: 38%). Almost all (85%) cited barriers to taking action about sexual harassment, including retaliation/retribution (87%), impact on future career (85%), reputation concerns (72%), and associated stress (50%). Female neurosurgeons were statistically more likely than male neurosurgeons to report witnessing or experiencing sexual harassment, as well as assessing it as a problem.

CONCLUSIONS

This study demonstrates that neurosurgeons report significant sexual harassment across all ages and practice settings. Sexual harassment impacts both men and women, with more than half personally subjected to this behavior and two-thirds having witnessed it. Male dominance, a hierarchical environment, and a permissive environment remain prevalent within the neurosurgical community. This is not just a historical problem, but it continues today. A change of culture will be required for neurosurgery to shed this mantle, which must include zero tolerance of this behavior, new policies, awareness of unconscious bias, and commitment to best practices to enhance diversity. Above all, it will require that all neurosurgeons and neurosurgical leaders develop an awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace and establish consistent mechanisms to mitigate against its highly deleterious effects in the specialty.

Free access

William E. Gordon, William M. Mangham, L. Madison Michael II, and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

The cost of training neurosurgical residents is especially high considering the duration of training and the technical nature of the specialty. Despite these costs, on-call residents are a source of significant economic value, through both indirectly and directly supervised activities. The authors sought to identify the economic value of on-call services provided by neurosurgical residents.

METHODS

A personal call log kept by a single junior neurosurgical resident over a 2-year period was used to obtain the total number of consultations, admissions, and procedures. Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes were used to estimate the resident’s on-call economic value.

RESULTS

A single on-call neurosurgical resident at the authors’ institution produced 8172 work relative value units (wRVUs) over the study period from indirectly and directly supervised activities. Indirectly supervised procedures produced 7052 wRVUs, and directly supervised activities using the CPT modifier 80 yielded an additional 1120 wRVUs. Using the assistant surgeon billing rate for directly supervised activities and the Medical Group Management Association nationwide median neurosurgery reimbursement rate, the on-call activities of a single resident generated a theoretical billing value of $689,514 over the 2-year period, or $344,757 annually. As a program, the on-call residents collectively produced 39,550 wRVUs over the study period, or 19,775 wRVUs annually, which equates to potential reimbursements of $1,668,386 annually.

CONCLUSIONS

Neurosurgery residents at the authors’ institution theoretically produce enough economic value exclusively from on-call activities to far exceed the cost of their education. This information could be used to more precisely estimate the true overall cost of neurosurgical training and determine future graduate medical education funding.

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Christopher E. Talbot, Kevin Zhao, Max Ward, Aron Kandinov, Antonios Mammis, and Boris Paskhover

Acute injury of the trigeminal nerve or its branches can result in posttraumatic trigeminal neuropathy (PTTN). Affected patients suffer from chronic debilitating symptoms long after they have recovered from the inciting trauma. Symptoms vary but usually consist of paresthesia, allodynia, dysesthesia, hyperalgesia, or a combination of these symptoms. PTTN of the trigeminal nerve can result from a variety of traumas, including iatrogenic injury from various dental and maxillofacial procedures. Treatments include medications, pulsed radiofrequency modulation, and microsurgical repair. Although trigeminal nerve stimulation has been reported for trigeminal neuropathy, V3 implantation is often avoided because of an elevated migration risk secondary to mandibular motion, and lingual nerve implantation has not been documented. Here, the authors report on a patient who suffered from refractory PTTN despite multiple alternative treatments. He elected to undergo novel placement of a lingual nerve stimulator for neuromodulation therapy. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first documented case of lingual nerve stimulator implantation for lingual neuropathy, a technique for potentially reducing the risk of electrode migration.

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Nicholas C. Bambakidis and Krystal L. Tomei

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Marco Cenzato, Francesco DiMeco, Marco Fontanella, Davide Locatelli, and Franco Servadei

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Doug Kondziolka, William T. Couldwell, and James T. Rutka

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Yasser B. Abulhasan, Johanna Ortiz Jimenez, Jeanne Teitelbaum, Gabrielle Simoneau, and Mark R. Angle

OBJECTIVE

Intravenous (IV) milrinone is a promising option for the treatment of cerebral vasospasm with delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). However, data remain limited on the efficacy of treating cases that are refractory to standard therapy with IV milrinone. The aim of this study was to determine predictors of refractory vasospasm/DCI despite treatment with IV milrinone, and to analyze the outcome of rescue therapy with intraarterial (IA) milrinone and/or mechanical angioplasty.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective cohort study of all patients with aSAH admitted between 2010 and 2016 to the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital. Patients were stratified into 3 groups: no DCI, standard therapy, and rescue therapy. The primary outcome was frequency of DCI-related cerebral infarction identified on neuroimaging before hospital discharge. Secondary outcomes included functional outcome reported as modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score, and segment reversal of refractory vasospasm.

RESULTS

The cohort included 322 patients: 212 in the no DCI group, 89 in the standard therapy group, and 21 in the rescue therapy group. Approximately half (52%, 168/322) were admitted with poor-grade aSAH at treatment decision (World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies grade III–V). Among patients with DCI and imaging assessing severity of vasospasm, 62% (68/109) had moderate/severe radiological vasospasm on DCI presentation. Nineteen percent (21/110) of patients had refractory vasospasm/DCI and were treated with rescue therapy. Targeted rescue therapy with IA milrinone reversed 32% (29/91) of the refractory vasospastic vessels, and 76% (16/21) of those patients experienced significant improvement in their neurological status within 24 hours of initiating therapy. Moderate/severe radiological vasospasm independently predicted the need for rescue therapy (OR 27, 95% CI 8.01–112). Of patients with neuroimaging before discharge, 40% (112/277) had developed new cerebral infarcts, and only 21% (23/112) of these were vasospasm-related. Overall, 65% (204/314) of patients had a favorable functional outcome (mRS score 0–2) assessed at a median of 4 months (interquartile range 2–8 months) after aSAH, and there was no difference in functional outcome between the 3 groups (p = 0.512).

CONCLUSIONS

The aggressive use of milrinone was safe and effective based on this retrospective study cohort and is a promising therapy for the treatment of vasospasm/DCI after aSAH.

Free access

Yasser B. Abulhasan, Johanna Ortiz Jimenez, Jeanne Teitelbaum, Gabrielle Simoneau, and Mark R. Angle

OBJECTIVE

Intravenous (IV) milrinone is a promising option for the treatment of cerebral vasospasm with delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). However, data remain limited on the efficacy of treating cases that are refractory to standard therapy with IV milrinone. The aim of this study was to determine predictors of refractory vasospasm/DCI despite treatment with IV milrinone, and to analyze the outcome of rescue therapy with intraarterial (IA) milrinone and/or mechanical angioplasty.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective cohort study of all patients with aSAH admitted between 2010 and 2016 to the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital. Patients were stratified into 3 groups: no DCI, standard therapy, and rescue therapy. The primary outcome was frequency of DCI-related cerebral infarction identified on neuroimaging before hospital discharge. Secondary outcomes included functional outcome reported as modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score, and segment reversal of refractory vasospasm.

RESULTS

The cohort included 322 patients: 212 in the no DCI group, 89 in the standard therapy group, and 21 in the rescue therapy group. Approximately half (52%, 168/322) were admitted with poor-grade aSAH at treatment decision (World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies grade III–V). Among patients with DCI and imaging assessing severity of vasospasm, 62% (68/109) had moderate/severe radiological vasospasm on DCI presentation. Nineteen percent (21/110) of patients had refractory vasospasm/DCI and were treated with rescue therapy. Targeted rescue therapy with IA milrinone reversed 32% (29/91) of the refractory vasospastic vessels, and 76% (16/21) of those patients experienced significant improvement in their neurological status within 24 hours of initiating therapy. Moderate/severe radiological vasospasm independently predicted the need for rescue therapy (OR 27, 95% CI 8.01–112). Of patients with neuroimaging before discharge, 40% (112/277) had developed new cerebral infarcts, and only 21% (23/112) of these were vasospasm-related. Overall, 65% (204/314) of patients had a favorable functional outcome (mRS score 0–2) assessed at a median of 4 months (interquartile range 2–8 months) after aSAH, and there was no difference in functional outcome between the 3 groups (p = 0.512).

CONCLUSIONS

The aggressive use of milrinone was safe and effective based on this retrospective study cohort and is a promising therapy for the treatment of vasospasm/DCI after aSAH.