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Jarod L. Roland, Natalie Griffin, Carl D. Hacker, Ananth K. Vellimana, S. Hassan Akbari, Joshua S. Shimony, Matthew D. Smyth, Eric C. Leuthardt and David D. Limbrick Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Cerebral mapping for surgical planning and operative guidance is a challenging task in neurosurgery. Pediatric patients are often poor candidates for many modern mapping techniques because of inability to cooperate due to their immature age, cognitive deficits, or other factors. Resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) is uniquely suited to benefit pediatric patients because it is inherently noninvasive and does not require task performance or significant cooperation. Recent advances in the field have made mapping cerebral networks possible on an individual basis for use in clinical decision making. The authors present their initial experience translating rs-fMRI into clinical practice for surgical planning in pediatric patients.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed cases in which the rs-fMRI analysis technique was used prior to craniotomy in pediatric patients undergoing surgery in their institution. Resting-state analysis was performed using a previously trained machine-learning algorithm for identification of resting-state networks on an individual basis. Network maps were uploaded to the clinical imaging and surgical navigation systems. Patient demographic and clinical characteristics, including need for sedation during imaging and use of task-based fMRI, were also recorded.

RESULTS

Twenty patients underwent rs-fMRI prior to craniotomy between December 2013 and June 2016. Their ages ranged from 1.9 to 18.4 years, and 12 were male. Five of the 20 patients also underwent task-based fMRI and one underwent awake craniotomy. Six patients required sedation to tolerate MRI acquisition, including resting-state sequences. Exemplar cases are presented including anatomical and resting-state functional imaging.

CONCLUSIONS

Resting-state fMRI is a rapidly advancing field of study allowing for whole brain analysis by a noninvasive modality. It is applicable to a wide range of patients and effective even under general anesthesia. The nature of resting-state analysis precludes any need for task cooperation. These features make rs-fMRI an ideal technology for cerebral mapping in pediatric neurosurgical patients. This review of the use of rs-fMRI mapping in an initial pediatric case series demonstrates the feasibility of utilizing this technique in pediatric neurosurgical patients. The preliminary experience presented here is a first step in translating this technique to a broader clinical practice.

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Erin C. Peterson, Kamlesh B. Patel, Gary B. Skolnick, Kristin D. Pfeifauf, Katelyn N. Davidson, Matthew D. Smyth and Sybill D. Naidoo

OBJECTIVE

Deformational plagiocephaly and/or brachycephaly (DPB) is a cranial flattening frequently treated in pediatric craniofacial centers. The standard of care for DPB involves patient positioning or helmet therapy. Orthotic therapy successfully reduces cranial asymmetry, but there is concern over whether the orthotics have the potential to restrict cranial growth. Previous research addressing helmet safety was limited by lack of volume measurements and serial data. The purpose of this study was to directly compare head growth data in patients with DPB between those who underwent helmet therapy and those who received repositioning therapy.

METHODS

This retrospective cohort study analyzed pre- and posttherapy 3D photographs of 57 patients with DPB who had helmet therapy and a control group of 57 patients with DPB who underwent repositioning therapy. The authors determined the change in cranial vault volume and cranial circumference between each patient’s photographs using 3D photogrammetry. They also computed a cubic volume calculated by multiplying anterior-posterior diameter, biparietal diameter, and height. Linear regressions were used to quantify effects of age and therapy type on these quantities.

RESULTS

A comparison of the following variables between the two groups yielded nonsignificant results: age at the beginning (p = 0.861) and end (p = 0.539) of therapy, therapy duration (p = 0.161), and the ratio of males to females (p = 0.689). There was no significant difference between patients who underwent helmeting versus positioning therapy with respect to change in either volume calculation or head circumference z-score (p ≥ 0.545). Pretherapy photograph age was a significant predictor of cranial growth (p ≤ 0.001), but therapy type was not predictive of the change in the study measurements (p ≤ 0.210).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found no evidence that helmet therapy was associated with cranial constriction in the study population of patients with DPB. These results strengthen previous research supporting helmet safety and should allow health care providers and families to choose the appropriate therapy without concern for potential negative effects on cranial growth.

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Afshin Salehi, Katherine Ott, Gary B. Skolnick, Dennis C. Nguyen, Sybill D. Naidoo, Alex A. Kane, Albert S. Woo, Kamlesh B. Patel and Matthew D. Smyth

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to identify the rate of neosuture formation in patients with craniosynostosis treated with endoscope-assisted strip craniectomy and investigate whether neosuture formation in sagittal craniosynostosis has an effect on postoperative calvarial shape.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed 166 cases of nonsyndromic craniosynostosis that underwent endoscope-assisted repair between 2006 and 2014. Preoperative and 1-year postoperative head CT scans were evaluated, and the rate of neosuture formation was calculated. Three-dimensional reconstructions of the CT data were used to measure cephalic index (CI) (ratio of head width and length) of patients with sagittal synostosis. Regression analysis was used to calculate significant differences between patients with and without neosuture accounting for age at surgery and preoperative CI.

RESULTS

Review of 96 patients revealed that some degree of neosuture development occurred in 23 patients (23.9%): 16 sagittal, 2 bilateral coronal, 4 unilateral coronal, and 1 lambdoid synostosis. Complete neosuture formation was seen in 14 of those 23 patients (9 of 16 sagittal, 1 of 2 bilateral coronal, 3 of 4 unilateral coronal, and 1 of 1 lambdoid). Mean pre- and postoperative CI in the complete sagittal neosuture group was 67.4% and 75.5%, respectively, and in the non-neosuture group was 69.8% and 74.4%, respectively. There was no statistically significant difference in the CI between the neosuture and fused suture groups preoperatively or 17 months postoperatively in patients with sagittal synostosis.

CONCLUSIONS

Neosuture development can occur after endoscope-assisted strip craniectomy and molding helmet therapy for patients with craniosynostosis. Although the authors did not detect a significant difference in calvarial shape postoperatively in the group with sagittal synostosis, the relevance of neosuture formation remains to be determined. Further studies are required to discover long-term outcomes comparing patients with and without neosuture formation.

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Jacob K. Greenberg, Eric Milner, Chester K. Yarbrough, Kim Lipsey, Jay F. Piccirillo, Matthew D. Smyth, Tae Sung Park and David D. Limbrick Jr.

OBJECT

Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) is a common and often debilitating neurological disease. Efforts to improve treatment of CM-I are impeded by inconsistent and limited methods of evaluating clinical outcomes. To understand current approaches and lay a foundation for future research, the authors conducted a systematic review of the methods used in original published research articles to evaluate clinical outcomes in patients treated for CM-I.

METHODS

The authors searched PubMed, Embase, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, ClinicalTrials.gov, and Cochrane databases to identify publications between January 2003 and August 2013 that met the following criteria: 1) reported clinical outcomes in patients treated for CM-I; 2) were original research articles; 3) included at least 10 patients or, if a comparative study, at least 5 patients per group; and 4) were restricted to patients with CM-I.

RESULTS

Among the 74 papers meeting inclusion criteria, there was wide variation in the outcome methods used. However, all approaches were broadly grouped into 3 categories: 1) “gestalt” impression of overall symptomatic improvement (n = 45 papers); 2) postoperative change in specific signs or symptoms (n = 20); or 3) results of various standardized assessment scales (n = 22). Among standardized scales, 11 general function measures were used, compared with 6 disease-specific tools. Only 3 papers used scales validated in patients with CM-I. To facilitate a uniform comparison of these heterogeneous approaches, the authors appraised articles in multiple domains defined a priori as integral to reporting clinical outcomes in CM-I. Notably, only 7 articles incorporated patient-response instruments when reporting outcome, and only 22 articles explicitly assessed quality of life.

CONCLUSIONS

The methods used to evaluate clinical outcomes in CM-I are inconsistent and frequently not comparable, complicating efforts to analyze results across studies. Development, validation, and incorporation of a small number of disease-specific patient-based instruments will improve the quality of research and care of CM-I patients.

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Dennis C. Nguyen, Scott J. Farber, Gary B. Skolnick, Sybill D. Naidoo, Matthew D. Smyth, Alex A. Kane, Kamlesh B. Patel and Albert S. Woo

OBJECTIVE

Endoscope-assisted repair of sagittal craniosynostosis was adopted at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in 2006. This study examines the first 100 cases and reviews the outcomes and evolution of patient care protocols at our institution.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective chart review of the first 100 consecutive endoscopic repairs of sagittal craniosynostosis between 2006 and 2014. The data associated with length of hospital stay, blood loss, transfusion rates, operative times, cephalic indices (CIs), complications, and cranial remolding orthosis were reviewed. Measurements were taken from available preoperative and 1-year postoperative 3D reconstructed CT scans.

RESULTS

The patients’ mean age at surgery was 3.3 ± 1.1 months. Of the 100 patients, 30 were female and 70 were male. The following perioperative data were noted. The mean operative time (± SD) was 77.1 ± 22.2 minutes, the mean estimated blood loss was 34.0 ± 34.8 ml, and the mean length of stay was 1.1 ± 0.4 days; 9% of patients required transfusions; and the mean pre- and postoperative CI values were 69.1 ± 3.8 and 77.7 ± 4.2, respectively. Conversion to open technique was required in 1 case due to presence of a large emissary vein that was difficult to control endoscopically. The mean duration of helmet therapy was 8.0 ± 2.9 months. Parietal osteotomies were eventually excluded from the procedure.

CONCLUSIONS

The clinical outcomes and improvements in CI seen in our population are similar to those seen at other high-volume centers. Since the inception of endoscope-assisted repair at our institution, the patient care protocol has undergone several significant changes. We have been able to remove less cranium using our “narrow-vertex” suturectomy technique without affecting patient safety or outcome. Patient compliance with helmet therapy and collaborative care with the orthotists remain the most essential aspects of a successful outcome.

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Nicholas A. Pickersgill, Gary B. Skolnick, Sybill D. Naidoo, Matthew D. Smyth and Kamlesh B. Patel

OBJECTIVE

Metrics used to quantify preoperative severity and postoperative outcomes for patients with sagittal synostosis include cephalic index (CI), the well-known standard, and the recently described adjusted cephalic index (aCI), which accounts for altered euryon location. This study tracks the time course of these measures following endoscopic repair with orthotic helmet therapy. The authors hypothesize that CI and aCI show significant regression following endoscope-assisted repair.

METHODS

CT scans or 3D photographs of patients with nonsyndromic sagittal synostosis treated before 6 months of age by endoscope-assisted strip craniectomy and postoperative helmet therapy (n = 41) were reviewed retrospectively at three time points (preoperatively, 0–2 months after helmeting, and > 24 months postoperatively). The CI and aCI were measured at each time point.

RESULTS

Mean CI and aCI increased from 71.8 to 78.2 and 62.7 to 72.4, respectively, during helmet treatment (p < 0.001). At final follow-up, mean CI and aCI had regressed significantly from 78.2 to 76.5 and 72.4 to 69.7, respectively (p < 0.001). The CI regressed in 33 of 41 cases (80%) and aCI in 39 of 41 cases (95%). The authors observed a mean loss of 31% of improvement in aCI achieved through treatment. A strong, positive correlation existed between CI and aCI (R = 0.88).

CONCLUSIONS

Regression following endoscope-assisted strip craniectomy with postoperative helmet therapy commonly occurs in patients with sagittal synostosis. Future studies are required to determine whether duration of helmet therapy or modifications in helmet design affect regression.

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Editorial

Posthemorrhagic ventricular dilation

Joseph H. Piatt

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David D. Limbrick Jr., Amit Mathur, James M. Johnston, Rebecca Munro, James Sagar, Terrie Inder, Tae Sung Park, Jeffrey L. Leonard and Matthew D. Smyth

Object

Intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) and progressive posthemorrhagic ventricular dilation (PPHVD) may result in significant neurological morbidity in preterm infants. At present, there is no consensus regarding the optimal timing or type of neurosurgical procedure to best treat PPHVD. Conflicting data exist regarding the relative risks and benefits of two commonly used temporizing neurosurgical procedures (TNPs), ventricular access devices ([VADs] or ventricular reservoirs) versus ventriculosubgaleal (VSG) shunts. This study was designed to address this issue.

Methods

This is a single-center, 10-year retrospective review of all preterm infants admitted to the St. Louis Children's Hospital neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with Papile Grade III–IV IVH. The development of PPHVD and the requirement for and type of TNP were recorded. Rates of TNP complication, ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt implantation, shunt infection, and mortality rates were used to compare the efficacy and limitations of each TNP type.

Results

Over this 10-year interval, 325 preterm infants with Grade III–IV IVH were identified, with trends showing an increasing number of affected infants annually, and an increasing number of TNPs were required annually. Ninety-five (29.2%) of the 325 infants underwent a TNP for PPHVD (65 VADs, 30 VSG shunts). The rate of permanent VP shunt implantation for all TNPs was 72.6% (69 of 95 infants). Forty-nine (75.4%) of the 65 infants treated with VADs and 20 (66.7%) of the 30 treated with VSG shunts required VP shunts (p = 0.38). There was no statistical difference between VAD or VSG shunt with regard to TNP-related infection (p = 0.57), need for TNP revision (p = 0.16), subsequent shunt infection (p = 0.77), shunt revision rate (p = 0.58), or mortality rate (p = 0.24).

Conclusions

Rates of IVH and PPHVD observed at the authors' center have increased over time. In contrast to recent literature, the results from the current study did not demonstrate a difference in complication rate or requirement for permanent VP shunt placement between VADs and VSG shunts. Definitive conclusions will require a larger, prospective trial.

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Brian J. Dlouhy, Dennis C. Nguyen, Kamlesh B. Patel, Gwendolyn M. Hoben, Gary B. Skolnick, Sybill D. Naidoo, Albert S. Woo and Matthew D. Smyth

OBJECTIVE

Endoscope-assisted methods for treatment of craniosynostosis have reported benefits over open calvarial vault reconstruction. In this paper, the authors evaluated 2 methods for endoscope-assisted correction of sagittal synostosis: wide vertex suturectomy and barrel stave osteotomies (WVS+BSO) and narrow vertex suturectomy (NVS).

METHODS

The authors evaluated patients with nonsyndromic sagittal synostosis treated with either wide vertex suturectomy (4–6 cm) and barrel stave osteotomies (WVS+BSO) or narrow vertex suturectomy (NVS) (approximately 2 cm) between October 2006 and July 2013. Prospectively collected data included patient age, sex, operative time, estimated blood loss (EBL), postoperative hemoglobin level, number of transfusions, complications, and cephalic index. Fourteen patients in the NVS group were age matched to 14 patients in the WVS+BSO group. Descriptive statistics were calculated, and Student t-tests were used to compare prospectively obtained data from the WVS+BSO group with the NVS group in a series of univariate analyses.

RESULTS

The mean age at surgery was 3.9 months for WVS+BSO and 3.8 months for NVS. The mean operative time for patients undergoing NVS was 59.0 minutes, significantly less than the 83.4-minute operative time for patients undergoing WVS+BSO (p < 0.05). The differences in mean EBL (NVS: 25.4 ml; WVS+BSO: 27.5 ml), mean postoperative hemoglobin level (NVS: 8.6 g/dl; WVS+BSO: 8.0 g/dl), mean preoperative cephalic index (NVS: 69.9; WVS+BSO: 68.2), and mean cephalic index at 1 year of age (NVS: 78.1; WVS+BSO: 77.2) were not statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS

The NVS and WVS+BSO produced nearly identical clinical results, as cephalic index at 1 year of age was similar between the 2 approaches. However, the NVS required fewer procedural steps and significantly less operative time than the WVS+BSO. The NVS group obtained the final cephalic index in a similar amount of time postoperatively as the WVS+BSO group. Complications, transfusion rates, and EBL were not different between the 2 techniques.

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Joshua J. Chern, R. Shane Tubbs, Akash J. Patel, Amber S. Gordon, S. Kathleen Bandt, Matthew D. Smyth, Andrew Jea and W. Jerry Oakes

Object

Tethered cord release for a tight filum terminale is a common pediatric operation associated with low morbidity and mortality rates. While almost all would agree that keeping patients lying flat after the operation will prevent a CSF leak, the optimal period of doing so has not been determined. In this study, the authors examined whether a longer length of stay in the hospital for the sole purpose of maintaining patients flat correlates with a decreased rate of CSF leakage.

Methods

Intraoperative and postoperative data were retrospectively collected in 222 cases of simple tethered cord release at 3 large children's hospitals. Risk factors for postoperative CSF leakage were identified.

Results

Thirty-eight patients were maintained lying flat for 24 hours, 86 for 48 hours, and 98 for 72 hours at the individual surgeon's discretion. A CSF leak occurred in 13 patients (5.9%) and pseudomeningocele developed in 9 patients (4.1%). In the univariate analysis, operating time, use of the microscope, use of dural sealant, and duration of remaining flat after surgery failed to correlate with the occurrence of complications.

Conclusions

A longer hospital stay for maintaining patients flat after a simple tethered cord release appears not to prevent CSF leakage. However, a larger patient cohort will be needed to detect small differences in complication rates.