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Adham M. Khalafallah, Adrian E. Jimenez, Justin M. Caplan, Cameron G. McDougall, Judy Huang, Debraj Mukherjee and Rafael J. Tamargo

OBJECTIVE

Although previous studies have explored factors that predict an academic career among neurosurgery residents in general, such predictors have yet to be determined within specific neurosurgical subspecialties. The authors report on predictors they identified as correlating with academic placement among fellowship-trained vascular neurosurgeons.

METHODS

A database was created that included all physicians who graduated from ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education)–accredited neurosurgery residency programs between 1960 and 2018 using publicly available online data. Neurosurgeons who completed either open vascular or endovascular fellowships were identified. Subsequent employment of vascular or endovascular neurosurgeons in academic centers was determined. A position was considered academic if the hospital of employment was affiliated with a neurosurgery residency program; all other positions were considered non-academic. Bivariate analyses were conducted using Fisher’s exact test or the Mann-Whitney U-test, and multivariate analysis was performed using a logistic regression model.

RESULTS

A total of 83 open vascular neurosurgeons and 115 endovascular neurosurgeons were identified. In both cohorts, the majority of neurosurgeons were employed in academic positions after training. In bivariate analysis, only 2 factors were significantly associated with a career in academic neurosurgery for open vascular neurosurgeons: 1) an h-index of ≥ 2 during residency (OR 3.71, p = 0.016), and 2) attending a top 10 residency program based on U.S. News and World Report rankings (OR 4.35, p = 0.030). In bivariate analysis, among endovascular neurosurgeons, having an h-index of ≥ 2 during residency (OR 4.35, p = 0.0085) and attending a residency program affiliated with a top 10 U.S. News and World Report medical school (OR 2.97, p = 0.029) were significantly associated with an academic career. In multivariate analysis, for both open vascular and endovascular neurosurgeons, an h-index of ≥ 2 during residency was independently predictive of an academic career. Attending a residency program affiliated with a top 10 U.S. News and World Report medical school independently predicted an academic career among endovascular neurosurgeons only.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors report that an h-index of ≥ 2 during residency predicts pursuit of an academic career among vascular and endovascular neurosurgeons. Additionally, attendance of a residency program affiliated with a top research medical school independently predicts an academic career trajectory among endovascular neurosurgeons. This result may be useful to identify and mentor residents interested in academic vascular neurosurgery.

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Justin M. Caplan, Eric Sankey, David Gullotti, Joanna Wang, Erick Westbroek, Brian Hwang and Judy Huang

Patients with bilateral anterior circulation aneurysms present a management challenge. These lesions may be treated in a staged manner or alternatively, for select patients, a contralateral approach may be utilized to treat bilateral aneurysms with a single surgery. In this narrated video illustration, we present the case of a 57-year-old woman with incidentally discovered bilateral aneurysms (left middle cerebral artery [MCA], left anterior choroidal artery and right MCA). A contralateral approach through a left pterional craniotomy was performed formicrosurgical clipping of all three aneurysms. The techniques of pterional craniotomy, contralateral approach, microsurgical clipping and intraoperative angiography are reviewed.

The authors are grateful to Wuyang Yang, M.D. for his assistance.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/MlPIu3hQZkg.

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Geoffrey P. Colby, Matthew T. Bender, Li-Mei Lin, Narlin Beaty, Justin M. Caplan, Bowen Jiang, Erick M. Westbroek, Bijan Varjavand, Jessica K. Campos, Judy Huang, Rafael J. Tamargo and Alexander L. Coon

OBJECTIVE

The second-generation Pipeline embolization device (PED), Flex, has several design upgrades, including improved opening and the ability to be resheathed, in comparison with the original device (PED classic). The authors hypothesized that Flex is associated with a lower rate of major complications.

METHODS

A prospective, IRB-approved, single-institution database was analyzed for all patients with anterior circulation aneurysms treated by flow diversion. The PED classic was used from August 2011 to January 2015, and the Pipeline Flex has been used since February 2015.

RESULTS

A total of 568 PED procedures (252 classic and 316 Flex) were performed for anterior circulation aneurysms. The average aneurysm size was 6.8 mm. Patients undergoing treatment with the Flex device had smaller aneurysms (p = 0.006) and were more likely to have undergone previous treatments (p = 0.001). Most aneurysms originated along the internal carotid artery (89% classic and 75% Flex) but there were more anterior cerebral artery (18%) and middle cerebral artery (7%) deployments with Flex (p = 0.001). Procedural success was achieved in 96% of classic and 98% of Flex cases (p = 0.078). Major morbidity or death occurred in 3.5% of cases overall: 5.6% of classic cases, and 1.9% of Flex cases (p = 0.019). On multivariate logistic regression, predictors of major complications were in situ thrombosis (OR 4.3, p = 0.006), classic as opposed to Flex device (OR 3.7, p = 0.008), and device deployment in the anterior cerebral artery or middle cerebral artery as opposed to the internal carotid artery (OR 3.5, p = 0.034).

CONCLUSIONS

Flow diversion of anterior circulation cerebral aneurysms is associated with an overall low rate of major complications. The complication rate is significantly lower since the introduction of the second-generation PED (Flex).

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Wuyang Yang, Risheng Xu, Jose L. Porras, Clifford M. Takemoto, Syed Khalid, Tomas Garzon-Muvdi, Justin M. Caplan, Geoffrey P. Colby, Alexander L. Coon, Rafael J. Tamargo, Judy Huang and Edward S. Ahn

OBJECTIVE

Sickle cell disease (SCD) in combination with moyamoya syndrome (MMS) represents a rare complication of SCD, with potentially devastating neurological outcomes. The effectiveness of surgical revascularization in this patient population is currently unclear. The authors’ aim was to determine the effectiveness of surgical intervention in their series of SCD-MMS patients by comparing stroke recurrence in those undergoing revascularization and those undergoing conservative transfusion therapy.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective chart review of patients with MMS who were seen at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution between 1990 and 2013. Pediatric patients (age < 18 years) with confirmed diagnoses of SCD and MMS were included. Intracranial stroke occurrence during the follow-up period was compared between surgically and conservatively managed patients.

RESULTS

A total of 15 pediatric SCD-MMS patients (28 affected hemispheres) were included in this study, and all were African American. Seven patients (12 hemispheres) were treated with indirect surgical revascularization. The average age at MMS diagnosis was 9.0 ± 4.0 years, and 9 patients (60.0%) were female. Fourteen patients (93.3%) had strokes before diagnosis of MMS, with an average age at first stroke of 6.6 ± 3.9 years. During an average follow-up period of 11.6 years, 4 patients in the conservative treatment group experienced strokes in 5 hemispheres, whereas no patient undergoing the revascularization procedure had any strokes at follow-up (p = 0.029). Three patients experienced immediate postoperative transient ischemic attacks, but all recovered without subsequent strokes.

CONCLUSIONS

Indirect revascularization is suggested as a safe and effective alternative to the best medical therapy alone in patients with SCD-MMS. High-risk patients managed on a regimen of chronic transfusion should be considered for indirect revascularization to maximize the effect of stroke prevention.

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Wuyang Yang, Heather Anderson-Keightly, Erick M. Westbroek, Justin M. Caplan, Xiaoming Rong, Alice L. Hung, Geoffrey P. Colby, Alexander L. Coon, Rafael J. Tamargo, Judy Huang and Edward S. Ahn

OBJECTIVE

Compared with the general population, the specific natural history of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) in pediatric patients is less well understood. Furthermore, few pediatric studies have compared posttreatment hemorrhagic risk and functional outcome across different treatment modalities. The objective of this study was to elucidate these points.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed all pediatric patients with AVMs evaluated at their institution between 1990 and 2013. The AVM natural history was represented by hemorrhagic risk during the observation period. For treated patients, the observation period was defined as the interval between diagnosis and treatment. Posttreatment hemorrhagic risk and functional outcomes were also assessed.

RESULTS

A total of 124 pediatric patients with AVMs were evaluated, and 90 patients (72.6%) were retained through follow-up. The average patient age was 13.3 ± 3.8 years, with a mean follow-up period of 9.95 years. The overall AVM obliteration rate was 59.7%. Radiosurgery had an obliteration rate of 49.0%. Thirteen patients were managed conservatively. Four patients under observation hemorrhaged during a total interval of 429.4 patient-years, translating to an annual risk of 0.9%. Posttreatment hemorrhagic risk by treatment modalities were categorized as follows: surgery ± embolization (0.0%), radiosurgery ± embolization (0.8%), embolization alone (2.8%), surgery + radiosurgery ± embolization (3.5%), and observation (0.8%). A significantly higher risk of posttreatment hemorrhage was observed for patients with hemorrhagic presentation (p = 0.043) in multivariate analysis. Seizure presentation, frontal lobe location, nonheadache presentation, and treatment modality were significantly associated with increased risk of poor functional outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

In this study of pediatric patients with AVMs, the natural history of hemorrhage was relatively low at 0.9%. Resection remained the optimal management for hemorrhage control and functional outcome perseverance in these pediatric patients with AVMs. AVM obliteration is a valid treatment goal, especially for patients with ruptured presentation, to prevent further hemorrhages later in life.