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Edward S. Ahn and Archis R. Bhandarkar

The authors describe an endoscopic strip craniectomy through a single incision for the treatment of sagittal craniosynostosis in a young infant. The endoscopic strip craniectomy was first introduced with the use of two incisions on either end of the fused suture. This single-incision technique offers several advantages. There is a cosmetic advantage and a reduced risk of wound complications. This technique also allows for early control of emissary veins and an inside-out identification of the lambdoid sutures. Endoscopic visualization is optimized to reduce the risk of blood loss, especially because circulating blood volume is very limited in these young infants.

The video can be found here: https://vimeo.com/514366415

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Megan M. J. Bauman, Kimberly Wang, Archis R. Bhandarkar, Kristen M. Scheitler, and Michelle J. Clarke

OBJECTIVE

At present, females constitute less than 10% of neurosurgeons in the US, despite representing approximately half of all medical students. Multiple barriers have been described for females entering the neurosurgical field, particularly academic neurosurgery. Understanding the environment that female neurosurgeons face and any potential barriers preventing career advancement is needed to recruit, promote, and retain females in neurosurgery.

METHODS

The gender composition of editorial boards for 5 high-impact neurosurgery journals was analyzed from 2000 to 2020. The names of editorial board members were obtained directly from the journal administration, physical copies of the published journal, or publicly available data through each journal’s website. The gender, degrees, academic titles, H-index, and country were determined for each individual and statistical tests were performed to identify significant differences.

RESULTS

Of the 466 identified individuals that served on at least one editorial board between 2000 and 2020, there were 36 females (7.7%) and 430 males (92.3%). There were no significant differences between males and females serving on multiple editorial boards. Most females possessed an additional graduate degree (58.3%), while only one-third of males (33.5%) obtained such a degree (p = 0.002). In addition, males had significantly higher average H-indices than females (p = 0.002). These trends were also observed when analyzing only US-based editorial board members. Although females were more likely overall to be identified as associate professors, males were more likely to be appointed as full professors (p = 0.001); this trend did not remain true in the US-based cohort. When analyzing the editorial boards for individual journals, all 5 journals experienced an increase of female representation since 2000 or since their inception after 2000. The highest proportion of females for a single journal was 27.3% in 2020. All other journals ranged from 11.0% to 13.5% in 2020.

CONCLUSIONS

When entering the field of neurosurgery, females continue to face significant social and academic barriers. While the proportion of females on editorial boards for neurosurgery journals in 2020 is consistent with the proportion of practicing female neurosurgeons, there is a statistically significantly higher likelihood that females possess additional graduate degrees and lower H-indices compared to their male counterparts. The authors encourage neurosurgical journals to continue expanding female representation on editorial boards.

Free access

Dileep D. Monie, Archis R. Bhandarkar, Ian F. Parney, Cristina Correia, Jann N. Sarkaria, Richard G. Vile, and Hu Li

Oncolytic viruses (OVs) are a class of immunotherapeutic agents with promising preclinical results for the treatment of glioblastoma (GBM) but have shown limited success in recent clinical trials. Advanced bioengineering principles from disciplines such as synthetic and systems biology are needed to overcome the current challenges faced in developing effective OV-based immunotherapies for GBMs, including off-target effects and poor clinical responses. Synthetic biology is an emerging field that focuses on the development of synthetic DNA constructs that encode networks of genes and proteins (synthetic genetic circuits) to perform novel functions, whereas systems biology is an analytical framework that enables the study of complex interactions between host pathways and these synthetic genetic circuits. In this review, the authors summarize synthetic and systems biology concepts for developing programmable, logic-based OVs to treat GBMs. Programmable OVs can increase selectivity for tumor cells and enhance the local immunological response using synthetic genetic circuits. The authors discuss key principles for developing programmable OV-based immunotherapies, including how to 1) select an appropriate chassis, a vector that carries a synthetic genetic circuit, and 2) design a synthetic genetic circuit that can be programmed to sense key signals in the GBM microenvironment and trigger release of a therapeutic payload. To illustrate these principles, some original laboratory data are included, highlighting the need for systems biology studies, as well as some preliminary network analyses in preparation for synthetic biology applications. Examples from the literature of state-of-the-art synthetic genetic circuits that can be packaged into leading candidate OV chassis are also surveyed and discussed.

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Mohammed Ali Alvi, Archis R. Bhandarkar, David J. Daniels, Kai J. Miller, and Edward S. Ahn

OBJECTIVE

CSF shunt insertion is the most commonly performed neurosurgical procedure for pediatric patients with hydrocephalus, and complications including infections and catheter obstruction are common. The rate of readmission in the first 30 days after surgery has been used across surgical disciplines to determine healthcare quality. In the current study, the authors sought to assess factors associated with early shunt revision within 30 days using real-world data.

METHODS

Targeted shunt data set participant user files of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) from 2016 to 2019 were queried for patients undergoing a shunt procedure. A multivariable logistic regression model was performed to assess the impact of demographics, etiologies, comorbidities, congenital malformations, and shunt adjuncts on shunt revision within 30 days, as well as shunt revision due to infection within 30 days.

RESULTS

A total of 3919 primary pediatric shunt insertions were identified in the NSQIP database, with a mean (± SD) patient age of 26.3 ± 51.6 months. There were a total of 285 (7.3%) unplanned shunt revisions within 30 days, with a mean duration of 14.9 ± 8.5 days to first intervention. The most common reason for intervention was mechanical shunt failure (32.6% of revision, 2.4% overall, n = 93), followed by infection (31.2% of all interventions, 2.3% overall, n = 89) and wound disruption or CSF leak (22.1% of all interventions, 1.6% overall, n = 63). Patients younger than 6 months of age had the highest overall unplanned 30-day revision rate (8.5%, 203/2402) as well as the highest 30-day shunt infection rate (3%, 72/2402). Patients who required a revision were also more likely to have a cardiac risk factor (34.7%, n = 99, vs 29.2%, n = 1061; p = 0.048). Multivariable logistic regression revealed that compared to patients 9–18 years old, those aged 2–9 years had significantly lower odds of repeat shunt intervention (p = 0.047), while certain etiologies including congenital hydrocephalus (p = 0.0127), intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) of prematurity (p = 0.0173), neoplasm (p = 0.0005), infection (p = 0.0004), and syndromic etiology (p = 0.0136), as well as presence of ostomy (p = 0.0095), were associated with higher odds of repeat intervention. For shunt infection, IVH of prematurity was found to be associated with significantly higher odds (p = 0.0427) of shunt infection within 30 days, while use of intraventricular antibiotics was associated with significantly lower odds (p = 0.0085).

CONCLUSIONS

In this study of outcomes after pediatric shunt placement using a nationally derived cohort, early shunt failure and infection within 30 days were found to remain as considerable risks. The analysis of this national surgical quality registry confirms that, in accordance with other multicenter studies, hydrocephalus etiology, age, and presence of ostomy are important predictors of the need for early shunt revision. IVH of prematurity is associated with early infections while intraventricular antibiotics may be protective. These findings could be used for benchmarking in hospital efforts to improve quality of care for pediatric patients with hydrocephalus.

Free access

Kimberly Wang, Archis R. Bhandarkar, Megan M. J. Bauman, Cecile Riviere-Cazaux, Juliana Rotter, Kristen M. Scheitler, Jaclyn J. Renfrow, and Michelle J. Clarke

OBJECTIVE

Metric tracking of grant funding over time for academic neurosurgeons sorted by gender informs the current climate of career development internationally for women in neurosurgery.

METHODS

Multivariate linear trend analysis of grant funding awarded to neurosurgeons in the NIH and World Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools Expenditures and Results (RePORTER) was performed. Traveling fellowships for international neurosurgery residents sponsored by the AANS and Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) were also analyzed.

RESULTS

Within the US, funding awarded to female neurosurgeons has remained static from 2009 to 2019 after adjusting for inflation and overall trends in NIH funding (β = −$0.3 million per year, p = 0.16). Internationally, female neurosurgeons represented 21.7% (n = 5) of project leads for World RePORTER grants. Traveling fellowships are also an important building block for young international female neurosurgeons, of which 7.4% (n = 2) of AANS international traveling fellowships and 19.4% (n = 7) of AANS/CNS pediatrics international traveling fellowships are women.

CONCLUSIONS

Over the past decade, funding has increased in neurosurgery without a concordant increase in funding awarded to women. Recognition of this trend is essential to focus efforts on research and career development opportunities for women in neurosurgery. Worldwide, female neurosurgeons head one-fifth of the funded project leads and constitute a minority of international traveling fellowships awarded by organized neurosurgery.

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Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Archis R. Bhandarkar, Ryan Jarrah, Yagiz Ugur Yolcu, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Abdul Karim Ghaith, Arjun S. Sebastian, Brett A. Freedman, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Hybrid surgery (HS) is the combination of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and cervical disc arthroplasty (CDA) at different levels in the same operation. The aim of this study was to investigate perioperative variables, 30-day postoperative outcomes, and complications of HS in comparison with those of CDA and ACDF.

METHODS

The authors queried the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) registry for patients who underwent multilevel primary HS, CDA, and ACDF for degenerative disc disease from 2015 to 2019. The authors compared these three operations in terms of 30-day postoperative outcomes, specifically readmission and reoperation rates, discharge destination, and complications.

RESULTS

This analysis included 439 patients who underwent HS, 976 patients who underwent CDA, and 27,460 patients who underwent ACDF. Patients in the HS and CDA groups were younger, had fewer comorbidities, and myelopathy was less often the indication for surgery compared with patients who underwent ACDF. For the HS group, the unplanned readmission rate was 0.7%, index surgery–related reoperation rate was 0.3%, and nonroutine discharge rate was 2.1%. Major and minor complications were also rare, with rates of 0.2% for each. The mean length of stay in the HS group was 1.5 days. The association of HS with better outcomes in univariate analysis was not evident after adjustment for confounding factors.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that HS was noninferior to ACDF and CDA in terms of early postoperative outcomes among patients treated for degenerative disc disease.