Introduction. Big data and its impact on the future of neurosurgery

Michael Y. Wang Departments of Neurosurgery and
Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Florida;

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Jang W. Yoon Department of Neurosurgery, Pennsylvania Hospital, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;

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Gelareh Zadeh Department of Neurosurgery, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada;

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Paul Park Department of Neurosurgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan;

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Erica F. Bisson Department of Neurosurgery, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah; and

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Daniel M. Sciubba Department of Neurosurgery, Northwell Health and Hofstra University, Manhasset, New York

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INTRODUCTION

The origins of our specialty of neurosurgery are special. Early pioneers courageously transformed the field from a setting of suboptimal procedures to manage complex and poorly understood pathologies into a legitimate, science-based specialty with definable outcomes. However, even today, the complexity of neurosurgical problems remains a challenge, one that likely lies beyond comprehension with conventional methods.

Promise, however, lies within the rapidly advancing fields of data science, sensor technology, and artificial intelligence, all of which have been made possible with successive revolutions in computational power. This issue of Neurosurgical Focus is dedicated to early forays into this area. As topic editors, we have tried to capture just some of the early developments in this field across a multiplicity of subspecialties, data use approaches, and applications, to give the reader just a taste of what is likely to be the future of big data analytics in our field.

This issue contains contributions on the predictive modeling of seizures after tumor resection management, machine learning to harvest data from MRI for normal pressure hydrocephalus, planning the ideal pedicle screws based on bone mineral density mapping, and smartphone analytics for “fingerprinting” recovery after surgery, just to name a few. This body of work will be reflected on as just the earliest applications of many new and exciting technologies. It is obvious that as computational power, data inputs, and connectomics evolve, we will begin to unravel the mysteries of the nervous system and better define the appropriate surgical treatments that can address complex nuances of neurological diseases.

Disclosures

Dr. Wang: consultant for DePuy Synthes, Stryker, and Spineology; patent holder with DePuy Synthes; and direct stock ownership in ISD, Medical Device Partners, and Kinesiometrics. Dr. Yoon: consultant for Johnson & Johnson and Biderman Motech; direct stock ownership in MedCyclops and Kinesiometrics; and ownership in Pacira. Dr. Park: consultant for Globus, DePuy Synthes, NuVasive, and Acceus; royalties from Globus; research support from SI-Bone, Cerapedics, DePuy Synthes, and ISSG. Dr. Bisson: consultant for MiRus, Stryker, and Medtronic; and direct stock ownership in NView and MiRus. Dr. Sciubba: consultant for DePuy Synthes, Medtronic, Stryker, and Baxter.

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Artwork from Agarwal et al. (E9). Copyright Kenneth X. Probst. Published with permission.

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