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Bone flap explantation, steroid use, and rates of infection in patients with epilepsy undergoing craniotomy for implantation of subdural electrodes

Clinical article

Eliza H. Hersh, Michael S. Virk, Huibo Shao, A. John Tsiouris, Gregory A. Bonci, and Theodore H. Schwartz


Subdural implantation of electrodes is commonly performed to localize an epileptic focus. Whether to temporarily explant the bone plate and whether to treat patients with perioperative steroid agents is unclear. The authors' aim was to evaluate the utility and risk of bone plate explantation and perioperative steroid use.


The authors reviewed the records of all patients who underwent unilateral craniotomy for electrode implantation performed between November 2001 and June 2011 at their institution. Patients were divided into 3 groups: Group 1 (n = 24), bone explanted, no perioperative steroid use; Group 2 (n = 42), bone left in place, no perioperative steroid use; Group 3 (n = 25), bone left in place, steroid agents administered perioperatively. Complications, mass effect, and seizure rates were examined by means of statistical analysis.


Of 324 cranial epilepsy surgeries, 91 were unilateral subdural electrode implants that met our inclusion criteria. A total of 11 infections were reported, and there was a significantly higher rate of infection when the bone was explanted (8 cases [33.3%]) than when the bone was left in place (3 cases [4.5%], p < 0.01). Leaving the bone in place also increased the rate of asymptomatic subdural hematomas and frequency of seizures, although there was no increase in midline shift, severity of headache, or rate of emergency reoperation. The use of steroid agents did not appear to have an effect on any of the outcome measures.


Temporary bone flap explantation during craniotomy for implantation of subdural electrodes can result in high rates of infection, possibly due to the frequent change of hands in transferring the bone to the bone bank. Leaving the bone in place may increase the frequency of seizures and appearance of asymptomatic subdural hematomas but does not increase the rate of complications. These results may be institution dependent.

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Research using the Quality Outcomes Database: accomplishments and future steps toward higher-quality real-world evidence

Anthony L. Asher, Regis W. Haid, Ann R. Stroink, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, A. Yohan Alexander, Daniel Zeitouni, Andrew K. Chan, Michael S. Virk, Steven D. Glassman, Kevin T. Foley, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Paul Park, Cheerag Upadhyaya, Domagoj Coric, Luis M. Tumialán, Dean Chou, Kai-Ming G. Fu, John J. Knightly, Katie O. Orrico, Michael Y. Wang, Erica F. Bisson, Praveen V. Mummaneni, and Mohamad Bydon


The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) was established in 2012 by the NeuroPoint Alliance, a nonprofit organization supported by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Currently, the QOD has launched six different modules to cover a broad spectrum of neurosurgical practice—namely lumbar spine surgery, cervical spine surgery, brain tumor, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), functional neurosurgery for Parkinson’s disease, and cerebrovascular surgery. This investigation aims to summarize research efforts and evidence yielded through QOD research endeavors.


The authors identified all publications from January 1, 2012, to February 18, 2023, that were produced by using data collected prospectively in a QOD module without a prespecified research purpose in the context of quality surveillance and improvement. Citations were compiled and presented along with comprehensive documentation of the main study objective and take-home message.


A total of 94 studies have been produced through QOD efforts during the past decade. QOD-derived literature has been predominantly dedicated to spinal surgical outcomes, with 59 and 22 studies focusing on lumbar and cervical spine surgery, respectively, and 6 studies focusing on both. More specifically, the QOD Study Group—a research collaborative between 16 high-enrolling sites—has yielded 24 studies on lumbar grade 1 spondylolisthesis and 13 studies on cervical spondylotic myelopathy, using two focused data sets with high data accuracy and long-term follow-up. The more recent neuro-oncological QOD efforts, i.e., the Tumor QOD and the SRS Quality Registry, have contributed 5 studies, providing insights into the real-world neuro-oncological practice and the role of patient-reported outcomes.


Prospective quality registries are an important resource for observational research, yielding clinical evidence to guide decision-making across neurosurgical subspecialties. Future directions of the QOD efforts include the development of research efforts within the neuro-oncological registries and the American Spine Registry—which has now replaced the inactive spinal modules of the QOD—and the focused research on high-grade lumbar spondylolisthesis and cervical radiculopathy.