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Seungwon Yoon, Michael A. Mooney, Michael A. Bohl, John P. Sheehy, Peter Nakaji, Andrew S. Little and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

With drastic changes to the health insurance market, patient cost sharing has significantly increased in recent years. However, the patient financial burden, or out-of-pocket (OOP) costs, for surgical procedures is poorly understood. The goal of this study was to analyze patient OOP spending in cranial neurosurgery and identify drivers of OOP spending growth.

METHODS

For 6569 consecutive patients who underwent cranial neurosurgery from 2013 to 2016 at the authors’ institution, the authors created univariate and multivariate mixed-effects models to investigate the effect of patient demographic and clinical factors on patient OOP spending. The authors examined OOP payments stratified into 10 subsets of case categories and created a generalized linear model to study the growth of OOP spending over time.

RESULTS

In the multivariate model, case categories (craniotomy for pain, tumor, and vascular lesions), commercial insurance, and out-of-network plans were significant predictors of higher OOP payments for patients (all p < 0.05). Patient spending varied substantially across procedure types, with patients undergoing craniotomy for pain ($1151 ± $209) having the highest mean OOP payments. On average, commercially insured patients spent nearly twice as much in OOP payments as the overall population. From 2013 to 2016, the mean patient OOP spending increased 17%, from $598 to $698 per patient encounter. Commercially insured patients experienced more significant growth in OOP spending, with a cumulative rate of growth of 42% ($991 in 2013 to $1403 in 2016).

CONCLUSIONS

Even after controlling for inflation, case-mix differences, and partial fiscal periods, OOP spending for cranial neurosurgery patients significantly increased from 2013 to 2016. The mean OOP spending for commercially insured neurosurgical patients exceeded $1400 in 2016, with an average annual growth rate of 13%. As patient cost sharing in health insurance plans becomes more prevalent, patients and providers must consider the potential financial burden for patients receiving specialized neurosurgical care.

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Andrew S. Little, John F. Kerrigan, Cameron G. McDougall, Joseph M. Zabramski, Felipe C. Albuquerque, Peter Nakaji and Robert F. Spetzler

Object

Nonconvulsive status epilepticus (NCSE) is an underrecognized and poorly understood complication of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). The authors evaluated the risk factors, electroencephalographic (EEG) characteristics, hospital course, and clinical outcomes associated with NCSE in a population with SAH treated at a single institution.

Methods

The hospitalization and outcome data were reviewed in 11 patients who had received a diagnosis of NCSE and SAH. The study included individuals from a cohort of 389 consecutive patients with SAH who were treated between March 2003 and June 2005, and who were analyzed retrospectively. The patients' medical history, neurological grade, events of hospitalization, EEG morphological patterns, and disposition were analyzed.

Advanced age, female sex, need for ventriculostomy, poor neurological grade (Hunt and Hess Grade III, IV, or V), thick cisternal blood clots, and structural lesions (intracerebral hemorrhage and stroke) were common in the population with NCSE. Patients with normal results on angiograms, good neurological grade (Hunt and Hess Grade I or II), and minimal SAH (Fisher Grade 1 or 2) were at lower risk. The most common ictal patterns were intermittent, and consisted of generalized periodic epileptiform discharges. Medical complications were also frequent, and the outcome of these patients was poor despite aggressive treatment regimens.

Conclusions

Nonconvulsive status epilepticus is a devastating complication of SAH with a high rate of associated morbidity. Based on these findings it appears that the patients at highest risk for NCSE can be identified, and this should provide a basis for further studies designed to determine the clinical significance of various EEG patterns and to develop preventative strategies.

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Ali M. Elhadi, Hasan A. Zaidi, Kaan Yagmurlu, Shah Ahmed, Albert L. Rhoton Jr., Peter Nakaji, Mark C. Preul and Andrew S. Little

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic transmaxillary approaches (ETMAs) address pathology of the anterolateral skull base, including the cavernous sinus, pterygopalatine fossa, and infratemporal fossa. This anatomically complex region contains branches of the trigeminal nerve and external carotid artery and is in proximity to the internal carotid artery. The authors postulated, on the basis of intraoperative observations, that the infraorbital nerve (ION) is a useful surgical landmark for navigating this region; therefore, they studied the anatomy of the ION and its relationships to critical neurovascular structures and the maxillary nerve (V2) encountered in ETMAs.

METHODS

Endoscopic anatomical dissections were performed bilaterally in 5 silicone-injected, formalin-fixed cadaveric heads (10 sides). Endonasal transmaxillary and direct transmaxillary (Caldwell-Luc) approaches were performed, and anatomical correlations were analyzed and documented. Stereotactic imaging of each specimen was performed to correlate landmarks and enable precise measurement of each segment.

RESULTS

The ION was readily identified in the roof of the maxillary sinus at the beginning of the surgical procedure in all specimens. Anatomical dissections of the ION and the maxillary branch of the trigeminal nerve (V2) to the cavernous sinus suggested that the ION/V2 complex has 4 distinct segments that may have implications in endoscopic approaches: 1) Segment I, the cutaneous segment of the ION and its terminal branches (5–11 branches) to the face, distal to the infraorbital foramen; 2) Segment II, the orbitomaxillary segment of the ION within the infraorbital canal from the infraorbital foramen along the infraorbital groove (length 12 ± 3.2 mm); 3) Segment III, the pterygopalatine segment within the pterygopalatine fossa, which starts at the infraorbital groove to the foramen rotundum (13 ± 2.5 mm); and 4) Segment IV, the cavernous segment from the foramen rotundum to the trigeminal ganglion (15 ± 4.1 mm), which passes in the lateral wall of the cavernous sinus. The relationship of the ION/V2 complex to the contents of the cavernous sinus, carotid artery, and pterygopalatine fossa is described in the text.

CONCLUSIONS

The ION/V2 complex is an easily identifiable and potentially useful surgical landmark to the foramen rotundum, cavernous sinus, carotid artery, pterygopalatine fossa, and anterolateral skull base during ETMAs.

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Michael A. Mooney, Joseph Georges, Mohammedhassan Izady Yazdanabadi, Katherine Y. Goehring, William L. White, Andrew S. Little, Mark C. Preul, Stephen W. Coons, Peter Nakaji and Jennifer M. Eschbacher

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of using confocal reflectance microscopy (CRM) ex vivo to differentiate adenoma from normal pituitary gland in surgical biopsy specimens. CRM allows for rapid, label-free evaluation of biopsy specimens with cellular resolution while avoiding some limitations of frozen section analysis.

METHODS

Biopsy specimens from 11 patients with suspected pituitary adenomas were transported directly to the pathology department. Samples were immediately positioned and visualized with CRM using a confocal microscope located in the same area of the pathology department where frozen sections are prepared. An H & E–stained slide was subsequently prepared from imaged tissue. A neuropathologist compared the histopathological characteristics of the H & E–stained slide and the matched CRM images. A second neuropathologist reviewed images in a blinded fashion and assigned diagnoses of adenoma or normal gland.

RESULTS

For all specimens, CRM contrasted cellularity, tissue architecture, nuclear pleomorphism, vascularity, and stroma. Pituitary adenomas demonstrated sheets and large lobules of cells, similar to the matched H & E–stained slides. CRM images of normal tissue showed scattered small lobules of pituitary epithelial cells, consistent with matched H & E–stained images of normal gland. Blinded review by a neuropathologist confirmed the diagnosis in 15 (94%) of 16 images of adenoma versus normal gland.

CONCLUSIONS

CRM is a simple, reliable approach for rapidly evaluating pituitary adenoma specimens ex vivo. This technique can be used to accurately differentiate between pituitary adenoma and normal gland while preserving biopsy tissue for future permanent analysis, immunohistochemical studies, and molecular studies.

Free access

David G. Brachman, Emad Youssef, Christopher J. Dardis, Nader Sanai, Joseph M. Zabramski, Kris A. Smith, Andrew S. Little, Andrew G. Shetter, Theresa Thomas, Heyoung L. McBride, Stephen Sorensen, Robert F. Spetzler and Peter Nakaji

OBJECTIVE

Effective treatments for recurrent, previously irradiated intracranial meningiomas are limited, and resection alone is not usually curative. Thus, the authors studied the combination of maximum safe resection and adjuvant radiation using permanent intracranial brachytherapy (R+BT) in patients with recurrent, previously irradiated aggressive meningiomas.

METHODS

Patients with recurrent, previously irradiated meningiomas were treated between June 2013 and October 2016 in a prospective single-arm trial of R+BT. Cesium-131 (Cs-131) radiation sources were embedded in modular collagen carriers positioned in the operative bed on completion of resection. The Cox proportional hazards model with this treatment as a predictive term was used to model its effect on time to local tumor progression.

RESULTS

Nineteen patients (median age 64.5 years, range 50–78 years) with 20 recurrent, previously irradiated tumors were treated. The WHO grade at R+BT was I in 4 (20%), II in 14 (70%), and III in 2 (10%) cases. The median number of prior same-site radiation courses and same-site surgeries were 1 (range 1–3) and 2 (range 1–4), respectively; the median preoperative tumor volume was 11.3 cm3 (range 0.9–92.0 cm3). The median radiation dose from BT was 63 Gy (range 54–80 Gy). At a median radiographic follow-up of 15.4 months (range 0.03–47.5 months), local failure (within 1.5 cm of the implant bed) occurred in 2 cases (10%). The median treatment-site time to progression after R+BT has not been reached; that after the most recent prior therapy was 18.3 months (range 3.9–321.9 months; HR 0.17, p = 0.02, log-rank test). The median overall survival after R+BT was 26 months, with 9 patient deaths (47% of patients). Treatment was well tolerated; 2 patients required surgery for complications, and 2 experienced radiation necrosis, which was managed medically.

CONCLUSIONS

R+BT utilizing Cs-131 sources in modular carriers represents a potentially safe and effective treatment option for recurrent, previously irradiated aggressive meningiomas.

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Andrew S. Little, Daniel Kelly, John Milligan, Chester Griffiths, Gail Rosseau, Daniel M. Prevedello, Ricardo Carrau, Heidi Jahnke, Charlene Chaloner, Judith O'Leary, Kristina Chapple, Peter Nakaji and William L. White

Object

Patient-reported quality-of-life (QOL) end points are becoming increasingly important health care metrics. To date, no nasal morbidity instrument specifically designed for patients undergoing endonasal skull base surgery has been developed. In this study, the authors describe the development and validation of a site-specific nasal morbidity instrument to assess patient-reported rhinological outcomes following endonasal skull base surgery.

Methods

Eligible patients included those with planned endonasal transsphenoidal surgery for sellar pathology identified in outpatient neurosurgical clinics of 3 skull base centers from October 2011 to July 2012. An initial 23-question pool was developed by subject matter experts, review of the literature, and from the results of a previous validation study to assess for common rhinological complaints. Symptoms were ranked by patients from “No Problem” to “Severe Problem” on a 6-point Likert scale. Exploratory factor analysis, change scores, and importance rank were calculated to define the final instrument consisting of 12 items (The Anterior Skull Base Nasal Inventory-12, or ASK Nasal-12). Psychometric validation of the final instrument was performed using standard statistical techniques.

Results

One hundred four patients enrolled in the study. All patients completed the preoperative survey and 100 patients (96%) completed the survey 2–4 weeks after surgery. Internal consistency of the final instrument was 0.88. Concurrent validity measures demonstrated a strong correlation between overall nasal functioning and total scores (p < 0.001). Test-retest reliability measures demonstrated a significant intraclass correlation between responses (p < 0.001). Effect size as calculated by standardized response mean suggested a large effect (0.84). Discriminant validity calculations demonstrated that the instrument was able to discriminate between preoperative and postoperative patients (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

This prospective study demonstrates that the ASK Nasal-12 is a validated, site-specific, unidimensional rhinological outcomes tool sensitive to clinical change. It can be used in conjunction with multidimensional QOL instruments to assess patient-reported nasal perceptions in endonasal skull base surgery. This instrument is being used as a primary outcome measure in an ongoing multicenter nasal morbidity study. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01504399 (ClinicalTrials.gov).

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Michael R. Levitt, Randall J. Hlubek, Karam Moon, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Peter Nakaji, Kris A. Smith, Andrew S. Little, Kerry Knievel, Jane W. Chan, Cameron G. McDougall and Felipe C. Albuquerque

OBJECTIVE

Cerebral venous pressure gradient (CVPG) from dural venous sinus stenosis is implicated in headache syndromes such as idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). The incidence of CVPG in headache patients has not been reported.

METHODS

The authors reviewed all cerebral venograms with manometry performed for headache between January 2008 and May 2015. Patient demographics, headache etiology, intracranial pressure (ICP) measurements, and radiographic and manometric results were recorded. CVPG was defined as a difference ≥ 8 mm Hg by venographic manometry.

RESULTS

One hundred sixty-four venograms were performed in 155 patients. There were no procedural complications. Ninety-six procedures (58.5%) were for patients with IIH. The overall incidence of CVPG was 25.6% (42 of 164 procedures): 35.4% (34 of 96 procedures) in IIH patients and 11.8% (8 of 68 procedures) in non-IIH patients. Sixty procedures (36.6%) were performed in patients with preexisting shunts. Seventy-seven patients (49.7%) had procedures preceded by an ICP measurement within 4 weeks of venography, and in 66 (85.7%) of these patients, the ICP had been found to be elevated. CVPG was seen in 8.3% (n = 5) of the procedures in the 60 patients with a preexisting shunt and in 0% (n = 0) of the 11 procedures in the 77 patients with normal ICP (p < 0.001 for both). Noninvasive imaging (MR venography, CT venography) was assessed prior to venography in 112 (68.3%) of 164 cases, and dural venous sinus abnormalities were demonstrated in 73 (65.2%) of these cases; there was a trend toward CVPG (p = 0.07). Multivariate analysis demonstrated an increased likelihood of CVPG in patients with IIH (OR 4.97, 95% CI 1.71–14.47) and a decreased likelihood in patients with a preexisting shunt (OR 0.09, 95% CI 0.02–0.44).

CONCLUSIONS

CVPG is uncommon in IIH patients, rare in those with preexisting shunts, and absent in those with normal ICP.

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Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Noritaka Komune, Jacob B. Archer, Hai Sun, Nicholas Theodore, Jeffrey James, Andrew S. Little, Peter Nakaji, Michael E. Sughrue, Albert L. Rhoton and Robert F. Spetzler

OBJECT

The objective of this study was to describe the surgical anatomy and technical nuances of various vascularized tissue flaps.

METHODS

The surgical anatomy of various tissue flaps and their vascular pedicles was studied in 5 colored silicone-injected anatomical specimens. Medical records were reviewed of 11 consecutive patients who underwent repair of extensive skull base defects with a combination of various vascularized flaps.

RESULTS

The supraorbital, supratrochlear, superficial temporal, greater auricular, and occipital arteries contribute to the vascular supply of the pericranium. The pericranial flap can be designed based on an axial blood supply. Laterally, various flaps are supplied by the deep or superficial temporal arteries. The nasoseptal flap is a vascular pedicled flap based on the nasoseptal artery. Patients with extensive skull base defects can undergo effective repair with dual flaps or triple flaps using these pedicled vascularized flaps.

CONCLUSIONS

Multiple pedicled flaps are available for reconstitution of the skull base. Knowledge of the surgical anatomy of these flaps is crucial for the skull base surgeon. These vascularized tissue flaps can be used effectively as single or combination flaps. Multilayered closure of cranial base defects with vascularized tissue can be used safely and may lead to excellent repair outcomes.