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Robert G. Whitmore, Jill N. Curran, Zarina S. Ali, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Robert F. Heary, Michael G. Kaiser, Anthony L. Asher, Neil R. Malhotra, Joseph S. Cheng, John Hurlbert, Justin S. Smith, Subu N. Magge, Michael P. Steinmetz, Daniel K. Resnick and Zoher Ghogawala

OBJECT

The authors have established a multicenter registry to assess the efficacy and costs of common lumbar spinal procedures using prospectively collected outcomes. Collection of these data requires an extensive commitment of resources from each site. The aim of this study was to determine whether outcomes data from shorter-interval follow-up could be used to accurately estimate long-term outcome following lumbar discectomy.

METHODS

An observational prospective cohort study was completed at 13 academic and community sites. Patients undergoing single-level lumbar discectomy for treatment of disc herniation were included. SF-36 and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) data were obtained preoperatively and at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively. Quality-adjusted life year (QALY) data were calculated using SF-6D utility scores. Correlations among outcomes at each follow-up time point were tested using the Spearman rank correlation test.

RESULTS

One hundred forty-eight patients were enrolled over 1 year. Their mean age was 46 years (49% female). Eleven patients (7.4%) required a reoperation by 1 year postoperatively. The overall 1-year follow-up rate was 80.4%. Lumbar discectomy was associated with significant improvements in ODI and SF-36 scores (p < 0.0001) and with a gain of 0.246 QALYs over the 1-year study period. The greatest gain occurred between baseline and 3-month follow-up and was significantly greater than improvements obtained between 3 and 6 months or 6 months and 1 year(p < 0.001). Correlations between 3-month, 6-month, and 1-year outcomes were similar, suggesting that 3-month data may be used to accurately estimate 1-year outcomes for patients who do not require a reoperation. Patients who underwent reoperation had worse outcomes scores and nonsignificant correlations at all time points.

CONCLUSIONS

This national spine registry demonstrated successful collection of high-quality outcomes data for spinal procedures in actual practice. Three-month outcome data may be used to accurately estimate outcome at future time points and may lower costs associated with registry data collection. This registry effort provides a practical foundation for the acquisition of outcome data following lumbar discectomy.

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Robert G. Grossman, Ralph F. Frankowski, Keith D. Burau, Elizabeth G. Toups, John W. Crommett, Michele M. Johnson, Michael G. Fehlings, Charles H. Tator, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Susan J. Harkema, Jonathan E. Hodes, Bizhan Aarabi, Michael K. Rosner, James D. Guest and James S. Harrop

Object

The aim of this multicenter, prospective study was to determine the spectrum, incidence, and severity of complications during the initial hospitalization of patients with spinal cord injury.

Methods

The study was conducted at 9 university-affiliated hospitals that comprise the clinical centers of the North American Clinical Trials Network (NACTN) for Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury. The study population comprised 315 patients admitted to NACTN clinical centers between June 25, 2005, and November 2, 2010, who had American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale grades of A–D and were 18 years of age or older. Patients were managed according to a standardized protocol.

Results

The study population was 79% male with a median age of 44 years. The leading causes of injury were falls (37%) and motor vehicle accidents (28%). The distribution of initial ASIA grades were A (40%), B (16%), C (15%), and D (29%). Fifty-eight percent of patients sustained 1 or more severe, moderate, or mild complications. Complications were associated with more severe ASIA grade: 84% of patients with Grade A and 25% of patients with Grade D had at least 1 complication. Seventy-eight percent of complications occurred within 14 days of injury. The most frequent types of severe and moderate complications were respiratory failure, pneumonia, pleural effusion, anemia, cardiac dysrhythmia, and severe bradycardia. The mortality rate was 3.5% and was associated with increased age and preexisting morbidity.

Conclusions

Knowledge of the type, frequency, time of occurrence, and severity of specific complications that occur after spinal cord injury can aid in their early detection, treatment, and prevention. The data are of importance in evaluating and selecting therapy for clinical trials.

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Christopher J. Balamucki, Volker W. Stieber, Thomas L. Ellis, Stephen B. Tatter, Allan F. DeGuzman, Kevin P. McMullen, James Lovato, Edward G. Shaw, Kenneth E. Ekstrand, J. Daniel Bourland, Michael T. Munley, Michael Robbins and Charles Branch

Object

Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) is a treatment option for patients with refractory typical trigeminal neuralgia (TN), TN with atypical features, and atypical types of facial pain. The Gamma Knife’s 201 60Co sources decay with a half-life of 5.26 years. The authors examined whether the decrease in dose rate over 4.6 years between Co source replacements affected the control rates of facial pain in patients undergoing GKS.

Methods

The authors collected complete follow-up data on 239 of 326 GKS procedures performed in patients with facial pain. Patients were classified by their type of pain. The isocenter of a 4-mm collimator helmet was targeted at the proximal trigeminal nerve root, and the dose (80–90 Gy) was prescribed at the 100% isodose line. Patients reported the amount of pain control following radiosurgery by answering a standardized questionnaire.

Eighty percent of patients experienced greater than 50% pain relief, and 56% of patients experienced complete pain relief after GKS. Neither dose rate nor treatment time was significantly associated with either the control rate or degree of pain relief. A significant association between the type of facial pain and the pain control rate after GKS was observed (p < 0.001; Pearson chi-square test).

In their statistical analysis, the authors accounted for changes in prescription dose over time to prevent the dose rate from being a confounding variable. There was no observable effect of the dose rate or of the treatment duration within the typical period to source replacement.

Conclusions

Patients with facial pain appear to receive consistent treatment with GKS at any time during the first half-life of the Co sources.

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Michael A. Garcia, Ann Lazar, Sai Duriseti, David R. Raleigh, Christopher P. Hess, Shannon E. Fogh, Igor J. Barani, Jean L. Nakamura, David A. Larson, Philip Theodosopoulos, Michael McDermott, Penny K. Sneed and Steve Braunstein

OBJECTIVE

High-resolution double-dose gadolinium-enhanced Gamma Knife (GK) radiosurgery-planning MRI (GK MRI) on the day of GK treatment can detect additional brain metastases undiagnosed on the prior diagnostic MRI scan (dMRI), revealing increased intracranial disease burden on the day of radiosurgery, and potentially necessitating a reevaluation of appropriate management. The authors identified factors associated with detecting additional metastases on GK MRI and investigated the relationship between detection of additional metastases and postradiosurgery patient outcomes.

METHODS

The authors identified 326 patients who received GK radiosurgery at their institution from 2010 through 2013 and had a prior dMRI available for comparison of numbers of brain metastases. Factors predictive of additional brain metastases on GK MRI were investigated using logistic regression analysis. Overall survival was estimated by Kaplan-Meier method, and postradiosurgery distant intracranial failure was estimated by cumulative incidence measures. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards model and Fine-Gray regression modeling assessed potential risk factors of overall survival and distant intracranial failure, respectively.

RESULTS

The mean numbers of brain metastases (SD) on dMRI and GK MRI were 3.4 (4.2) and 5.8 (7.7), respectively, and additional brain metastases were found on GK MRI in 48.9% of patients. Frequencies of detecting additional metastases for patients with 1, 2, 3–4, and more than 4 brain metastases on dMRI were 29.5%, 47.9%, 55.9%, and 79.4%, respectively (p < 0.001). An index brain metastasis with a diameter greater than 1 cm on dMRI was inversely associated with detecting additional brain metastases, with an adjusted odds ratio of 0.57 (95% CI 0.4–0.9, p = 0.02). The median time between dMRI and GK MRI was 22 days (range 1–88 days), and time between scans was not associated with detecting additional metastases. Patients with additional brain metastases did not have larger total radiosurgery target volumes, and they rarely had an immediate change in management (abortion of radiosurgery or addition of whole-brain radiation therapy) due to detection of additional metastases. Patients with additional metastases had a higher incidence of distant intracranial failure than those without additional metastases (p = 0.004), with an adjusted subdistribution hazard ratio of 1.4 (95% CI 1.0–2.0, p = 0.04). Significantly worse overall survival was not detected for patients with additional brain metastases on GK MRI (log-rank p = 0.07), with the relative adjusted hazard ratio of 1.07, (95% CI 0.81–1.41, p = 0.65).

CONCLUSIONS

Detecting additional brain metastases on GK MRI is strongly associated with the number of brain metastases on dMRI and inversely associated with the size of the index brain metastasis. The discovery of additional brain metastases at time of GK radiosurgery is very unlikely to lead to aborting radiosurgery but is associated with a higher incidence of distant intracranial failure. However, there is not a significant difference in survival.

▪ CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE Type of question: prognostic; study design: retrospective cohort trial; evidence: Class IV.

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Timothy Y. Kim, Christopher M. Jackson, Yuanxuan Xia, Leila A. Mashouf, Kisha K. Patel, Eileen S. Kim, Alice L. Hung, Adela Wu, Tomas Garzon-Muvdi, Matthew T. Bender, Chetan Bettegowda, John Y. K. Lee and Michael Lim

OBJECTIVE

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a neuropathic pain disorder characterized by severe, lancinating facial pain that is commonly treated with neuropathic medication, percutaneous rhizotomy, and/or microvascular decompression (MVD). Patients who are not found to have distinct arterial compression during MVD present a management challenge. In 2013, the authors reported on a small case series of such patients in whom glycerin was injected intraoperatively into the cisternal segment of the trigeminal nerve. The objective of the authors’ present study was to report their updated experience with this technique to further validate this novel approach.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of data obtained in patients in whom glycerin was directly injected into the inferior third of the cisternal portion of the trigeminal nerve. Seventy-four patients, including 14 patients from the authors’ prior study, were identified, and demographic information, intraoperative findings, postoperative course, and complications were recorded. Fisher’s exact test, unpaired t-tests, and Kaplan-Meier survival curves using Mantel log-rank test were used to compare the 74 patients with a cohort of 476 patients who received standard MVD by the same surgeon.

RESULTS

The 74 patients who underwent MVD and glycerin injection had an average follow-up of 19.1 ± 18.0 months, and the male/female ratio was 1:2.9. In 33 patients (44.6%), a previous intervention for TN had failed. On average, patients had an improvement in the Barrow Neurological Institute Pain Intensity score from 4.1 ± 0.4 before surgery to 2.1 ± 1.2 after surgery. Pain improvement after the surgery was documented in 95.9% of patients. Thirteen patients (17.6%) developed burning pain following surgery. Five patients developed complications (6.7%), including incisional infection, facial palsy, CSF leak, and hearing deficit, all of which were minor.

CONCLUSIONS

Intraoperative injection of glycerin into the trigeminal nerve is a generally safe and potentially effective treatment for TN when no distinct site of arterial compression is identified during surgery or when decompression of the nerve is deemed to be inadequate.

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Grace F. Donzelli, Jeffrey Nelson, David McCoy, Charles E. McCulloch, Steven W. Hetts, Matthew R. Amans, Christopher F. Dowd, Van V. Halbach, Randall T. Higashida, Michael T. Lawton, Helen Kim and Daniel L. Cooke

OBJECTIVE

Preoperative embolization of brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) is performed to facilitate resection, although its impact on surgical performance has not been clearly defined. The authors tested for associations between embolization and surgical performance metrics.

METHODS

The authors analyzed AVM cases resected by one neurosurgeon from 2006 to 2017. They tested whether cases with and without embolization differed from one another with respect to patient and AVM characteristics using t-tests for continuous variables and Fisher’s exact tests for categorical variables. They used simple and multivariable regression models to test whether surgical outcomes (blood loss, resection time, surgical clip usage, and modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score) were associated with embolization. Additional regression analyses integrated the peak arterial afferent contrast normalized for the size of the region of interest (Cmax/ROI) into models as an additional predictor.

RESULTS

The authors included 319 patients, of whom 151 (47%) had preoperative embolization. Embolized AVMs tended to be larger (38% with diameter > 3 cm vs 19%, p = 0.001), less likely to have hemorrhaged (48% vs 63%, p = 0.013), or be diffuse (19% vs 29%, p = 0.045). Embolized AVMs were more likely to have both superficial and deep venous drainage and less likely to have exclusively deep drainage (32% vs 17% and 12% vs 23%, respectively; p = 0.002). In multivariable analysis, embolization was not a significant predictor of blood loss or mRS score changes, but did predict longer operating times (+29 minutes, 95% CI 2–56 minutes; p = 0.034) and increased clip usage (OR 2.61, 95% CI 1.45–4.71; p = 0.001). Cmax/ROI was not a significant predictor, although cases with large Cmax/ROI tended to have longer procedure times (+25 minutes per doubling of Cmax/ROI, 95% CI 0–50 minutes; p = 0.051).

CONCLUSIONS

In this series, preoperative embolization was associated with longer median resection times and had no association with intraoperative blood loss or mRS score changes.

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Christopher Paul O'Boynick, Mark F. Kurd, Bruce V. Darden II, Alexander R. Vaccaro and Michael G. Fehlings

The understanding of the optimal surgical timing for stabilization in thoracolumbar fractures is severely limited. Thoracolumbar spine fractures can be devastating injuries and are often associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The role of early surgical stabilization (within 48–72 hours of injury) as a vehicle to improve outcomes in these patients has generated significant interest. Goals of early stabilization include improved neurological recovery, faster pulmonary recovery, improved pain control, and decreased health care costs. Opponents cite the potential for increased bleeding, hypotension, and the risk of further cord injury as a few factors that weigh against early stabilization. The concept of spinal cord injury and its relationship to surgical timing remains in question. However, when neurological outcomes are eliminated from the equation, certain measures have shown positive influences from prompt surgical fixation.

Early fixation of thoracolumbar spine fractures can significantly decrease the duration of hospital stay and the number of days in the intensive care unit. Additionally, prompt stabilization can reduce rates of pulmonary complications. This includes decreased rates of pneumonia and fewer days on ventilator support. Cost analysis revealed as much as $80,000 in savings per patient with early stabilization. All of these benefits come without an increase in morbidity or evidence of increased mortality. In addition, there is no evidence that early stabilization has any ill effect on the injured or uninjured spinal cord. Based on the existing data, early fixation of thoracolumbar fractures has been linked with positive outcomes without clear evidence of negative impacts on the patient's neurological status, associated morbidities, or mortality. These procedures can be viewed as “damage control” and may consist of simple posterior instrumentation or open reductions with internal fixation as indicated. Based on the current literature it is advisable to proceed with early surgical stabilization of thoracolumbar fractures in a well-resuscitated patient, unless extenuating medical conditions would prevent it.

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George M. Ghobrial, Christopher M. Maulucci, Mitchell Maltenfort, Richard T. Dalyai, Alexander R. Vaccaro, Michael G. Fehlings, John Street, Paul M. Arnold and James S. Harrop

Object

Thoracolumbar spine injuries are commonly encountered in patients with trauma, accounting for almost 90% of all spinal fractures. Thoracolumbar burst fractures comprise a high percentage of these traumatic fractures (45%), and approximately half of the patients with this injury pattern are neurologically intact. However, a debate over complication rates associated with operative versus nonoperative management of various thoracolumbar fracture morphologies is ongoing, particularly concerning those patients presenting without a neurological deficit.

Methods

A MEDLINE search for pertinent literature published between 1966 and December 2013 was conducted by 2 authors (G.G. and R.D.), who used 2 broad search terms to maximize the initial pool of manuscripts for screening. These terms were “operative lumbar spine adverse events” and “nonoperative lumbar spine adverse events.”

Results

In an advanced MEDLINE search of the term “operative lumbar spine adverse events” on January 8, 2014, 1459 results were obtained. In a search of “nonoperative lumbar spine adverse events,” 150 results were obtained. After a review of all abstracts for relevance to traumatic thoracolumbar spinal injuries, 62 abstracts were reviewed for the “operative” group and 21 abstracts were reviewed for the “nonoperative” group. A total of 14 manuscripts that met inclusion criteria for the operative group and 5 manuscripts that met criteria for the nonoperative group were included.

There were a total of 919 and 436 patients in the operative and nonoperative treatment groups, respectively. There were no statistically significant differences between the groups with respect to age, sex, and length of stay. The mean ages were 43.17 years in the operative and 34.68 years in the nonoperative groups. The majority of patients in both groups were Frankel Grade E (342 and 319 in operative and nonoperative groups, respectively). Among the studies that reported the data, the mean length of stay was 14 days in the operative group and 20.75 in the nonoperative group.

The incidence of all complications in the operative and nonoperative groups was 300 (32.6%) and 21 (4.8%), respectively (p = 0.1065). There was no significant difference between the 2 groups with respect to the incidence of pulmonary, thromboembolic, cardiac, and gastrointestinal complications. However, the incidence of infections (pneumonia, urinary tract infection, wound infection, and sepsis) was significantly higher in the operative group (p = 0.000875). The incidence of instrumentation failure and need for revision surgery was 4.35% (40 of 919), a significant morbidity, and an event unique to the operative category (p = 0.00396).

Conclusions

Due to the limited number of high-quality studies, conclusions related to complication rates of operative and nonoperative management of thoracolumbar traumatic injuries cannot be definitively made. Further prospective, randomized studies of operative versus nonoperative management of thoracolumbar and lumbar spine trauma, with standardized definitions of complications and matched patient cohorts, will aid in properly defining the risk-benefit ratio of surgery for thoracolumbar spine fractures.

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Benjamin K. Hendricks, James S. Yoon, Kurt Yaeger, Christopher P. Kellner, J Mocco, Reade A. De Leacy, Andrew F. Ducruet, Michael T. Lawton and Justin R. Mascitelli

OBJECTIVE

Wide-necked aneurysms (WNAs) are a variably defined subset of cerebral aneurysms that require more advanced endovascular and microsurgical techniques than those required for narrow-necked aneurysms. The neurosurgical literature includes many definitions of WNAs, and a systematic review has not been performed to identify the most commonly used or optimal definition. The purpose of this systematic review was to highlight the most commonly used definition of WNAs.

METHODS

The authors searched PubMed for the years 1998–2017, using the terms “wide neck aneurysm” and “broad neck aneurysm” to identify relevant articles. All results were screened for having a minimum of 30 patients and for clearly stating a definition of WNA. Reference lists for all articles meeting the inclusion criteria were also screened for eligibility.

RESULTS

The search of the neurosurgical literature identified 809 records, of which 686 were excluded (626 with < 30 patients; 60 for lack of a WNA definition), leaving 123 articles for analysis. Twenty-seven unique definitions were identified and condensed into 14 definitions. The most common definition was neck size ≥ 4 mm or dome-to-neck ratio < 2, which was used in 49 articles (39.8%). The second most commonly used definition was neck size ≥ 4 mm, which was used in 26 articles (21.1%). The rest of the definitions included similar parameters with variable thresholds. There was inconsistent reporting of the precise dome measurements used to determine the dome-to-neck ratio. Digital subtraction angiography was the only imaging modality used to study the aneurysm morphology in 87 of 122 articles (71.3%).

CONCLUSIONS

The literature has great variability regarding the definition of a WNA. The most prevalent definition is a neck diameter of ≥ 4 mm or a dome-to-neck ratio of < 2. Whether this is the most appropriate and clinically useful definition is an area for future study.

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Christopher D. Duntsch, Qihong Zhou, Himangi R. Jayakar, James D. Weimar, Jon H. Robertson, Lawrence M. Pfeffer, Lie Wang, Zixiu Xiang and Michael A. Whitt

Object. The purpose of this study was to evaluate both replication-competent and replication-restricted recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) vectors as therapeutic agents for high-grade gliomas by using an organotypic brain tissue slice—glioma coculture system.

Methods. The coculture system involved growing different brain structures together to allow neurons from these tissues to develop synaptic connections similar to those found in vivo. Rat C6 or human U87 glioma cells were then introduced into the culture to evaluate VSV as an oncolytic therapy. The authors found that recombinant wild-type VSV (rVSV-wt) rapidly eliminated C6 glioma cells from the coculture, but also caused significant damage to neurons, as measured by a loss of microtubule-associated protein 2 immunoreactivity and a failure in electrophysiological responses from neurons in the tissue slice. Nonetheless, pretreatment with interferon beta (IFNβ) virtually eliminated VSV infection in healthy tissues without impeding any oncolytic effects on tumor cells. Despite the protective effects of the IFNβ pretreatment, the tissue slices still showed signs of cytopathology when exposed to rVSV-wt. In contrast, pretreatment with IFNβ and inoculation with a replication-restricted vector with its glycoprotein gene deleted (rVSV-ΔG) effectively destroyed rat C6 and human U87 glioma cells in the coculture, without causing detectable damage to the neuronal integrity and electrophysiological properties of the healthy tissue in the culture.

Conclusions. Data in this study provide in vitro proof-of-principle that rVSV-ΔG is an effective oncolytic agent that has minimal toxic side effects to neurons compared with rVSV-wt and therefore should be considered for development as an adjuvant to surgery in the treatment of glioma.