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  • Author or Editor: Bradley E. Weprin x
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Atif Haque, Angela V. Price, Frederick H. Sklar, Dale M. Swift, Bradley E. Weprin and David J. Sacco

Object

Rigid fixation of the upper cervical spine has become an established method of durable stabilization for a variety of craniocervical pathological entities in children. In children, specifically, the use of C1–2 transarticular screws has been proposed in recent literature to be the gold standard configuration for pathology involving these levels. The authors reviewed the use of rigid fixation techniques alternative to C1–2 transarticular screws in children. Factors evaluated included ease of placement, complications, and postoperative stability.

Methods

Seventeen patients, ranging in age from 3 to 17 years (mean 9.6 years), underwent screw fixation involving the atlas or axis for a multitude of pathologies, including os odontoideum, Down syndrome, congenital instability, iatrogenic instability, or posttraumatic instability. All patients had preoperative instability of the occipitocervical or atlantoaxial spine demonstrated on dynamic lateral cervical spine radiographs. All patients also underwent preoperative CT scanning and MR imaging to evaluate the anatomical feasibility of the selected hardware placement. Thirteen patients underwent C1–2 fusion, and 4 underwent occipitocervical fusion, all incorporating C-1 lateral mass screws, C-2 pars screws, and/or C-2 laminar screws within their constructs. Patients who underwent occipitocervical fusion had no instrumentation placed at C-1. One patient's construct included sublaminar wiring at C-2. All patients received autograft onlay either from from rib (in 15 patients), split-thickness skull (1 patient), or local bone harvested within the operative field (1 patient). Nine patients' constructs were supplemented with recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein at the discretion of the attending physician. Eight patients had surgical sacrifice of 1 or both C-2 nerve roots to better facilitate visualization of the C-1 lateral mass. One patient was placed in halo-vest orthosis postoperatively, while the rest were maintained in rigid collars.

Results

All 17 patients underwent immediate postoperative CT scanning to evaluate hardware placement. Follow-up was achieved in 16 cases, ranging from 2 to 39 months (mean 14 months), and repeated dynamic lateral cervical spine radiography was performed in these patients at the end of their follow-up period. Some, but not all patients, also underwent delayed postoperative CT scans, which were done at the discretion of the treating attending physician. No neurovascular injuries were encountered, no hardware revisions were required, and no infections were seen. No postoperative pain was seen in patients who underwent C-2 nerve root sacrifice. Stability was achieved in all patients postoperatively. In all patients who underwent delayed postoperative CT scanning, the presence of bridging bone was shown spanning the fused levels.

Conclusions

Screw fixation of the atlas using lateral mass screws, in conjunction with C-2 root sacrifice in selected cases, and of the axis using pars or laminar screws is a safe method for achieving rigid fixation of the upper cervical spine in the pediatric population.

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Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Cody B. Wolfe, Joyce Koueik, Bradley E. Weprin, Bermans J. Iskandar and Angela V. Price

Neuroendoscopy has demonstrated safety and efficacy in the treatment of a host of pediatric neurosurgical pathologies. With the increase in its applicability, several associated complications have been described in the literature. A common practice in pediatric neurosurgery is the use of Gelfoam sponge pledget in the burr hole, followed by bone fragments and dust (obtained from the created burr hole), to cover the dural defect. This technique is used to enhance burr hole sealing and potentially prevent CSF leakage from the surgical site. Reports on intracranial bone dust migration associated with this technique are scarce. The authors report 2 cases of intracranial migration of bone fragments after an endoscopic third ventriculostomy and an endoscopic colloid cyst resection. The bone fragment migration was thought to be caused by negative pressure from a lumbar puncture in one case and external trauma to the head in the other. As endoscopy becomes more widely used, it is important to be aware of this potential complication that may in some cases require an intervention. A review of the cases reported in the literature is provided and a technique is suggested to help prevent this complication.

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M. Burhan Janjua, Sumanth Reddy, William C. Welch, Amer F. Samdani, Ali K. Ozturk, Steven W. Hwang, Angela V. Price, Bradley E. Weprin and Dale M. Swift

OBJECTIVE

The risk of readmission after brain tumor resection among pediatric patients has not been defined. The authors’ objective was to evaluate the readmission rates and predictors of readmission after pediatric brain tumor resection.

METHODS

Nationwide Readmissions Database (NRD) data sets from 2010 to 2014 were searched for unplanned readmissions within 30 days of the discharge date after pediatric brain tumor resection. Patient demographic variables included sex, age, expected payment source (Medicaid or private insurance), and median annual household income. Readmission events for chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or further tumor resection were not included.

RESULTS

Of 282 patients (12.7%) readmitted within 30 days of the index event, the median time to readmission was 10 days (IQR 5–19 days). The most common reason for readmission was hydrocephalus, which accounted for 19% of readmission events. Other CNS-related complications (24%), surgical site infections or septicemia (14%), seizures (7%), and hematological disorders (7%) accounted for other major readmission events. The median charge for readmission events was $35,431, and the median length of readmission stay was 4 days. In multivariate regression, factors associated with a significant increase in readmission risk included Medicaid as the primary payor, discharge from the index event with home health services, and fluid and electrolyte disorders during the index event.

CONCLUSIONS

More than 10% of pediatric brain tumor patients have unplanned readmission events within 30 days of discharge after tumor resection. Medicaid patients and those with preoperative or early postoperative fluid and electrolyte disturbances may benefit from early or frequent outpatient visits after tumor resection.