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Beyond the game: the legacy of Bill Masterton

Christopher M. Bonfield and Douglas Kondziolka

Bill Masterton is the only man to die of injuries sustained in a National Hockey League (NHL) game. He remains the last fatality in any professional team sport involving a direct in-game injury in North America. While Masterton was originally thought to have suffered a fatal brain injury while being checked on the ice, later analysis of the case revealed evidence of second-impact syndrome and the effects of prior concussions. Masterton's death sparked both an immediate debate in the NHL on whether helmets should be compulsory and the NHL's first vote on mandatory helmet use. Although the subject of mandated helmet use met with resistance in the 10 years after Masterton's death, especially from hockey owners and coaches, the NHL finally legislated helmet use by all players entering the league beginning in the 1979–1980 season.

Several awards, including one recognizing the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey, have been created in memory of Masterton. However, his legacy extends far beyond the awards that bear his name. His death was the seminal event bringing head safety to the forefront of a game that was both unready and unwilling to accept change. An increase in mainstream media attention in recent years has led to unprecedented public awareness of brain injury and concussion in hockey and other sports. Advances in the diagnosis and treatment of head injury in sports have occurred recently, the impetus for which started over 45 years ago, when Bill Masterton died.

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The history of military cranioplasty

Christopher M. Bonfield, Anand R. Kumar, and Peter C. Gerszten

There is evidence that the neurosurgical procedure of cranioplasty is as ancient as its better-known counterpart, trephination. With origins in pre-Incan Peru, cranioplasty remains an important reconstructive procedure for modern craniofacial surgery teams to master. Solutions to the often challenging problem of repairing skull defects continue to evolve to improve patient outcomes. Throughout recorded history, advances in cranioplasty have paralleled major military conflicts due to survivorship after trephination or decompressive craniectomy. Primitive skull coverings used in Peru were later replaced during the Middle Ages by grafts obtained in animals and humans. Improved survivorship secondary to advances in anesthesia and battlefield medicine during the Crimean War and the American Civil War allowed the use of tantalum and acrylic cranioplasty to evolve during World Wars I and II. In the modern era of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, greater survivorship after cranial injury due to improvements in protective armor, medical evacuation, and early “far-forward” neurosurgical treatment have occurred. Consequently, the last decade has seen great advancement in cranial defect reconstruction, including custom-fabricated alloplast implants and the emergence of regenerative cranial treatments such as distraction osteogenesis, protected bone regeneration, and free tissue transfers. Comprehensive rehabilitation after neurotrauma has emerged as the new standard of care.

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The use of a hybrid dynamic stabilization and fusion system in the lumbar spine: preliminary experience

Matthew B. Maserati, Matthew J. Tormenti, David M. Panczykowski, Christopher M. Bonfield, and Peter C. Gerszten

Object

The authors report the use and preliminary results of a novel hybrid dynamic stabilization and fusion construct for the surgical treatment of degenerative lumbar spine pathology.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective chart review of all patients who underwent posterior lumbar instrumentation with the Dynesys-to-Optima (DTO) hybrid dynamic stabilization and fusion system. Preoperative symptoms, visual analog scale (VAS) pain scores, perioperative complications, and the need for subsequent revision surgery were recorded. Each patient was then contacted via telephone to determine current symptoms and VAS score. Follow-up was available for 22 of 24 patients, and the follow-up period ranged from 1 to 22 months. Clinical outcome was gauged by comparing VAS scores prior to surgery and at the time of telephone interview.

Results

A total of 24 consecutive patients underwent lumbar arthrodesis surgery in which the hybrid system was used for adjacent-level dynamic stabilization. The mean preoperative VAS score was 8.8, whereas the mean postoperative VAS score was 5.3. There were five perioperative complications that included 2 durotomies and 2 wound infections. In addition, 1 patient had a symptomatic medially placed pedicle screw that required revision. These complications were not thought to be specific to the DTO system itself. In 3 patients treatment failed, with treatment failure being defined as persistent preoperative symptoms requiring reoperation.

Conclusions

The DTO system represents a novel hybrid dynamic stabilization and fusion construct. The technique holds promise as an alternative to multilevel lumbar arthrodesis while potentially decreasing the risk of adjacent-segment disease following lumbar arthrodesis. The technology is still in its infancy and therefore follow-up, when available, remains short. The authors report their preliminary experience using a hybrid system in 24 patients, along with short-interval clinical and radiographic follow-up.

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Complications and radiographic correction in adult scoliosis following combined transpsoas extreme lateral interbody fusion and posterior pedicle screw instrumentation

Matthew J. Tormenti, Matthew B. Maserati, Christopher M. Bonfield, David O. Okonkwo, and Adam S. Kanter

Object

The authors recently used a combined approach of minimally invasive transpsoas extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF) and open posterior segmental pedicle screw instrumentation with transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) for the correction of coronal deformity. The complications and radiographic outcomes were compared with a posterior-only approach for scoliosis correction.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed all deformity cases that were surgically corrected at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Hospital between June 2007 and August 2009. Eight patients underwent combined transpsoas and posterior approaches for adult degenerative thoracolumbar scoliosis. The comparison group consisted of 4 adult patients who underwent a posterior-only scoliosis correction. Data on intra- and postoperative complications were collected. The pre- and postoperative posterior-anterior and lateral scoliosis series radiographic films were reviewed, and comparisons were made for coronal deformity, apical vertebral translation (AVT), and lumbar lordosis. Clinical outcomes were evaluated by comparing pre- and postoperative visual analog scale scores.

Results

The median preoperative coronal Cobb angle in the combined approach was 38.5° (range 18–80°). Following surgery, the median Cobb angle was 10° (p < 0.0001). The mean preoperative AVT was 3.6 cm, improving to 1.8 cm postoperatively (p = 0.031). The mean preoperative lumbar lordosis in this group was 47.3°, and the mean postoperative lordosis was 40.4°. Compared with posterior-only deformity corrections, the mean values for curve correction were higher for the combined approach than for the posterior-only approach. Conversely, the mean AVT correction was higher in the posterior-only group. One patient in the posterior-only group required revision of the instrumentation. One patient who underwent the transpsoas XLIF approach suffered an intraoperative bowel injury necessitating laparotomy and segmental bowel resection; this patient later underwent an uneventful posterior-only correction of her scoliotic deformity. Two patients (25%) in the XLIF group sustained motor radiculopathies, and 6 of 8 patients (75%) experienced postoperative thigh paresthesias or dysesthesias. Motor radiculopathy resolved in 1 patient, but persisted 3 months postsurgery in the other. Sensory symptoms persisted in 5 of 6 patients at the most recent follow-up evaluation. The mean clinical follow-up time was 10.5 months for the XLIF group and 11.5 months for the posterior-only group. The mean visual analog scale score decreased from 8.8 to 3.5 in the XLIF group, and it decreased from 9.5 to 4 in the posterior-only group.

Conclusions

Radiographic outcomes such as the Cobb angle and AVT were significantly improved in patients who underwent a combined transpsoas and posterior approach. Lumbar lordosis was maintained in all patients undergoing the combined approach. The combination of XLIF and TLIF/posterior segmental instrumentation techniques may lead to less blood loss and to radiographic outcomes that are comparable to traditional posterior-only approaches. However, the surgical technique carries significant risks that require further evaluation and proper informed consent.

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Radiographic and clinical outcomes following combined lateral lumbar interbody fusion and posterior segmental stabilization in patients with adult degenerative scoliosis

Zachary J. Tempel, Gurpreet S. Gandhoke, Christopher M. Bonfield, David O. Okonkwo, and Adam S. Kanter

Object

A hybrid approach of minimally invasive lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) followed by supplementary open posterior segmental instrumented fusion (PSIF) has shown promising early results in the treatment of adult degenerative scoliosis. Studies assessing the impact of this combined approach on correction of segmental and regional coronal angulation, sagittal realignment, maximum Cobb angle, restoration of lumbar lordosis, and clinical outcomes are needed. The authors report their results of this approach for correction of adult degenerative scoliosis.

Methods

Twenty-six patients underwent combined LLIF and PSIF in a staged fashion. The patient population consisted of 21 women and 5 men. Ages ranged from 40 to 77 years old. Radiographic measurements including coronal angulation, pelvic incidence, lumbar lordosis, and sagittal vertical axis were taken preoperatively and 1 year postoperatively in all patients. Concurrently, the visual analog score (VAS) for back and leg pain, the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and Short Form-36 (SF-36) Physical Component Summary (PCS) and Mental Component Summary (MCS) scores were used to assess clinical outcomes in 19 patients.

Results

At 1-year follow-up, all patients who underwent combined LLIF and PSIF achieved statistically significant mean improvement in regional coronal angles (from 14.9° to 5.8°, p < 0.01) and segmental coronal angulation at all operative levels (p < 0.01). The maximum Cobb angle was significantly reduced postoperatively (from 41.1° to 15.1°, p < 0.05) and was maintained at follow-up (12.0°, p < 0.05). The mean lumbar lordosis–pelvic incidence mismatch was significantly improved postoperatively (from 15.0° to 6.92°, p < 0.05). Although regional lumbar lordosis improved (from 43.0° to 48.8°), it failed to reach statistical significance (p = 0.06). The mean sagittal vertical axis was significantly improved postoperatively (from 59.5 mm to 34.2 mm, p < 0.01). The following scores improved significantly after surgery: VAS for back pain (from 7.5 to 4.3, p < 0.01) and leg pain (from 5.8 to 3.1, p < 0.01), ODI (from 48 to 38, p < 0.01), and PCS (from 27.5 to 35.0, p = 0.01); the MCS score did not improve significantly (from 43.2 to 45.5, p = 0.37). There were 3 major and 10 minor complications.

Conclusions

A hybrid approach of minimally invasive LLIF and open PSIF is an effective means of achieving correction of both coronal and sagittal deformity, resulting in improvement of quality of life in patients with adult degenerative scoliosis.

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The impact of curve severity on obstetric complications and regional anesthesia utilization in pregnant patients with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: a preliminary analysis

Emily W. Chan, Stephen R. Gannon, Chevis N. Shannon, Jeffrey E. Martus, Gregory A. Mencio, and Christopher M. Bonfield

OBJECTIVE

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS), the most common type of scoliosis, often presents immediately prior to a woman’s childbearing years; however, research investigating the impact of AIS on women’s health, particularly pregnancy delivery outcomes, is sparse, with existing literature reporting mixed findings. Similarly limited are studies examining the change in scoliotic curve during or after pregnancy. Therefore, this study aims to determine 1) the impact of scoliotic curvature on obstetric complications (preterm births, induction of labor, and urgent/emergency caesarean section delivery), 2) regional anesthetic decision making and success during delivery for these patients, and 3) the effect of pregnancy on curve progression.

METHODS

Records of all pregnant patients diagnosed with AIS at the authors’ institution who delivered between January 2002 and September 2016 were retrospectively reviewed. Demographic information, pre- and postpartum radiographic Cobb angles, and clinical data for each pregnancy and delivery were recorded and analyzed. The Wilcoxon rank-sum test and the Wilcoxon signed-rank test were used for statistical analyses.

RESULTS

Fifty-nine patients (84 deliveries) were included; 14 patients had undergone prior posterior spinal fusion. The median age at AIS diagnosis was 15.2 years, and the median age at delivery was 21.8 years. Overall, the median major Cobb angle prior to the first pregnancy was 25° (IQR 15°–40°). Most births were by spontaneous vaginal delivery (n = 45; 54%); elective caesarean section was performed in 17 deliveries (20%). Obstetric complications included preterm birth (n = 18; 21.4%), induction of labor (n = 20; 23.8%), and urgent/emergency caesarean section (n = 12; 14.0%); none were associated with severity of scoliosis curve or prior spinal fusion. Attempts at spinal anesthesia were successful 99% of the time (70/71 deliveries), even among the patients who had undergone prior spinal fusion (n = 13). There were only 3 instances of provider refusal to administer spinal anesthesia. In the subset of 11 patients who underwent postpartum scoliosis radiography, there was no statistically significant change in curve magnitude either during or immediately after pregnancy.

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this study suggest that there was no effect of the severity of scoliosis on delivery complications or regional anesthetic decision making in pregnant patients with AIS. Moreover, scoliosis was not observed to progress significantly during or immediately after pregnancy. Larger prospective studies are needed to further investigate these outcomes, the findings of which can guide the prenatal education and counseling of pregnant patients with AIS.

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The influence of surgical correction on white matter microstructural integrity in rabbits with familial coronal suture craniosynostosis

Christopher M. Bonfield, Lesley M. Foley, Shinjini Kundu, Wendy Fellows-Mayle, T. Kevin Hitchens, Gustavo K. Rohde, Ramesh Grandhi, and Mark P. Mooney

OBJECT

Craniosynostosis is a condition in which one or more of the calvarial sutures fuses prematurely. In addition to the cosmetic ramifications attributable to premature suture fusion, aberrations in neurophysiological parameters are seen, which may result in more significant damage. This work examines the microstructural integrity of white matter, using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in a homogeneous strain of rabbits with simple, familial coronal suture synostosis before and after surgical correction.

METHODS

After diagnosis, rabbits were assigned to different groups: wild-type (WT), rabbits with early-onset complete fusion of the coronal suture (BC), and rabbits that had undergone surgical correction with suturectomy (BC-SU) at 10 days of age. Fixed rabbit heads were imaged at 12, 25, or 42 days of life using a 4.7-T, 40-cm bore Avance scanner with a 7.2-cm radiofrequency coil. For DTI, a 3D spin echo sequence was used with a diffusion gradient (b = 2000 sec/mm2) applied in 6 directions.

RESULTS

As age increased from 12 to 42 days, the DTI differences between WT and BC groups became more pronounced (p < 0.05, 1-way ANOVA), especially in the corpus callosum, cingulum, and fimbriae. Suturectomy resulted in rabbits with no significant differences compared with WT animals, as assessed by DTI of white matter tracts. Also, it was possible to predict to which group an animal belonged (WT, BC, and BC-SU) with high accuracy based on imaging data alone using a linear support vector machine classifier. The ability to predict to which group the animal belonged improved as the age of the animal increased (71% accurate at 12 days and 100% accurate at 42 days).

CONCLUSIONS

Craniosynostosis results in characteristic changes of major white matter tracts, with differences becoming more apparent as the age of the rabbits increases. Early suturectomy (at 10 days of life) appears to mitigate these differences.

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Sport participation and related head injuries following craniosynostosis correction: a survey study

Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn, Oluwatoyin Akinnusotu, Alyssa L. Wiseman, Muhammad Owais Abdul Ghani, Chevis N. Shannon, Michael S. Golinko, and Christopher M. Bonfield

OBJECTIVE

Craniosynostosis (CS) affects about 1 in 2500 infants and is predominantly treated by surgical intervention in infancy. Later in childhood, many of these children wish to participate in sports. However, the safety of participation is largely anecdotal and based on surgeon experience. The objective of this survey study was to describe sport participation and sport-related head injury in CS patients.

METHODS

A 16-question survey related to child/parent demographics, CS surgery history, sport history, and sport-induced head injury history was made available to patients/parents in the United States through a series of synostosis organization listservs, as well as synostosis-focused Facebook groups, between October 2019 and June 2020. Sports were categorized based on the American Academy of Pediatrics groupings. Pearson’s chi-square test, Fisher’s exact test, and the independent-samples t-test were used in the analysis.

RESULTS

Overall, 187 CS patients were described as 63% male, 89% White, and 88% non-Hispanic, and 89% underwent surgery at 1 year or younger. The majority (74%) had participated in sports starting at an average age of 5 years (SD 2.2). Of those participating in sports, contact/collision sport participation was most common (77%), and 71% participated in multiple sports. Those that played sports were less frequently Hispanic (2.2% vs 22.9%, p < 0.001) and more frequently had undergone a second surgery (44% vs 25%, p = 0.021). Only 9 of 139 (6.5%) sport-participating CS patients suffered head injuries; 6 (67%) were concussions and the remaining 3 were nondescript but did not mention any surgical needs.

CONCLUSIONS

In this nationwide survey of postsurgical CS patients and parents, sport participation was exceedingly common, with contact sports being the most common sport category. Few head injuries (mostly concussions) were reported as related to sport participation. Although this is a selective sample of CS patients, the initial data suggest that sport participation, even in contact sports, and typically beginning a few years after CS correction, is safe and commonplace.

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Sport-related structural brain injury associated with arachnoid cysts: a systematic review and quantitative analysis

Scott L. Zuckerman, Colin T. Prather, Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn, Gary S. Solomon, Allen K. Sills, and Christopher M. Bonfield

OBJECTIVE

Arachnoid cysts (ACs) are congenital lesions bordered by an arachnoid membrane. Researchers have postulated that individuals with an AC demonstrate a higher rate of structural brain injury after trauma. Given the potential neurological consequences of a structural brain injury requiring neurosurgical intervention, the authors sought to perform a systematic review of sport-related structural-brain injury associated with ACs with a corresponding quantitative analysis.

METHODS

Titles and abstracts were searched systematically across the following databases: PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, and PsycINFO. The review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement. Peer-reviewed case reports, case series, or observational studies that reported a structural brain injury due to a sport or recreational activity (hereafter referred to as sport-related) with an associated AC were included. Patients were excluded if they did not have an AC, suffered a concussion without structural brain injury, or sustained the injury during a non–sport-related activity (e.g., fall, motor vehicle collision). Descriptive statistical analysis and time to presentation data were summarized. Univariate logistic regression models to assess predictors of neurological deficit, open craniotomy, and cystoperitoneal shunt were completed.

RESULTS

After an initial search of 994 original articles, 52 studies were found that reported 65 cases of sport-related structural brain injury associated with an AC. The median age at presentation was 16 years (range 4–75 years). Headache was the most common presenting symptom (98%), followed by nausea and vomiting in 49%. Thirteen patients (21%) presented with a neurological deficit, most commonly hemiparesis. Open craniotomy was the most common form of treatment (49%). Bur holes and cyst fenestration were performed in 29 (45%) and 31 (48%) patients, respectively. Seven patients (11%) received a cystoperitoneal shunt. Four cases reported medical management only without any surgical intervention. No significant predictors were found for neurological deficit or open craniotomy. In the univariate model predicting the need for a cystoperitoneal shunt, the odds of receiving a shunt decreased as age increased (p = 0.004, OR 0.62 [95% CI 0.45–0.86]) and with male sex (p = 0.036, OR 0.15 [95% CI 0.03–0.88]).

CONCLUSIONS

This systematic review yielded 65 cases of sport-related structural brain injury associated with ACs. The majority of patients presented with chronic symptoms, and recovery was reported generally to be good. Although the review is subject to publication bias, the authors do not find at present that there is contraindication for patients with an AC to participate in sports, although parents and children should be counseled appropriately. Further studies are necessary to better evaluate AC characteristics that could pose a higher risk of adverse events after trauma.

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Hydrocephalus treatment in patients with craniosynostosis: an analysis from the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network prospective registry

Christopher M. Bonfield, Chevis N. Shannon, Ron W. Reeder, Samuel Browd, James Drake, Jason S. Hauptman, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, David D. Limbrick Jr., Patrick J. McDonald, Robert Naftel, Ian F. Pollack, Jay Riva-Cambrin, Curtis Rozzelle, Mandeep S. Tamber, William E. Whitehead, John R. W. Kestle, John C. Wellons III, and for the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN)

OBJECTIVE

Hydrocephalus may be seen in patients with multisuture craniosynostosis and, less commonly, single-suture craniosynostosis. The optimal treatment for hydrocephalus in this population is unknown. In this study, the authors aimed to evaluate the success rate of ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS) treatment and endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) both with and without choroid plexus cauterization (CPC) in patients with craniosynostosis.

METHODS

Utilizing the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN) Core Data Project (Registry), the authors identified all patients who underwent treatment for hydrocephalus associated with craniosynostosis. Descriptive statistics, demographics, and surgical outcomes were evaluated.

RESULTS

In total, 42 patients underwent treatment for hydrocephalus associated with craniosynostosis. The median gestational age at birth was 39.0 weeks (IQR 38.0, 40.0); 55% were female and 60% were White. The median age at first craniosynostosis surgery was 0.6 years (IQR 0.3, 1.7), and at the first permanent hydrocephalus surgery it was 1.2 years (IQR 0.5, 2.5). Thirty-three patients (79%) had multiple different sutures fused, and 9 had a single suture: 3 unicoronal (7%), 3 sagittal (7%), 2 lambdoidal (5%), and 1 unknown (2%). Syndromes were identified in 38 patients (90%), with Crouzon syndrome being the most common (n = 16, 42%). Ten patients (28%) received permanent hydrocephalus surgery before the first craniosynostosis surgery. Twenty-eight patients (67%) underwent VPS treatment, with the remaining 14 (33%) undergoing ETV with or without CPC (ETV ± CPC). Within 12 months after initial hydrocephalus intervention, 14 patients (34%) required revision (8 VPS and 6 ETV ± CPC). At the most recent follow-up, 21 patients (50%) required a revision. The revision rate decreased as age increased. The overall infection rate was 5% (VPS 7%, 0% ETV ± CPC).

CONCLUSIONS

This is the largest prospective study reported on children with craniosynostosis and hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus in children with craniosynostosis most commonly occurs in syndromic patients and multisuture fusion. It is treated at varying ages; however, most patients undergo surgery for craniosynostosis prior to hydrocephalus treatment. While VPS treatment is performed more frequently, VPS and ETV are both reasonable options, with decreasing revision rates with increasing age, for the treatment of hydrocephalus associated with craniosynostosis.