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Hasan A. Zaidi, Kristina Chapple and Andrew S. Little

Object

Treatment of craniopharyngiomas is one of the most demanding and controversial neurosurgical procedures performed. The authors sought to determine the factors associated with hospital charges and fees for craniopharyngioma treatment to identify possible opportunities for improving the health care economics of inpatient care.

Methods

The authors analyzed the hospital discharge database of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) covering the period from 2007 through 2011 to examine national treatment trends for adults (that is, those older than 18 years) who had undergone surgery for craniopharyngioma. To predict the drivers of in-hospital charges, a multistep regression model was developed that accounted for patient demographics, acuity measures, comorbidities, hospital characteristics, and complications.

Results

The analysis included 606 patients who underwent resection of craniopharyngioma; 353 resections involved a transsphenoidal approach (58%) and 253 a transfrontal approach (42%). The mean age (± SD) of patients was 47.7 ± 16.3 years. The average hospital length of stay (LOS) was 7.6 ± 9 days. The mean hospital charge (± SD) was $92,300 ± $83,356. In total, 48% of the patients experienced postoperative diabetes insipidus or an electrolyte abnormality. A multivariate regression model demonstrated that LOS, hospital volume for the selected procedure, the surgical approach, postoperative complications, comorbidities, and year of surgery were all significant predictors of in-hospital charges. The statistical model accounted for 54% of the variance in in-hospital charge.

Conclusions

This analysis of inpatient hospital charges in patients undergoing craniopharyngioma surgery identified key drivers of charges in the perioperative period. Prospective studies designed to evaluate the long-term resource utilization in this complex patient population would be a useful future direction.

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George A. C. Mendes, Curtis A. Dickman, Nestor G. Rodriguez-Martinez, Samuel Kalb, Neil R. Crawford, Volker K. H. Sonntag, Mark C. Preul and Andrew S. Little

OBJECT

The primary disadvantage of the posterior cervical approach for atlantoaxial stabilization after odontoidectomy is that it is conducted as a second-stage procedure. The goal of the current study is to assess the surgical feasibility and biomechanical performance of an endoscopic endonasal surgical technique for C1–2 fixation that may eliminate the need for posterior fixation after odontoidectomy.

METHODS

The first step of the study was to perform endoscopic endonasal anatomical dissections of the craniovertebral junction in 10 silicone-injected fixed cadaveric heads to identify relevant anatomical landmarks. The second step was to perform a quantitative analysis using customized software in 10 reconstructed adult cervical spine CT scans to identify the optimal screw entry point and trajectory. The third step was biomechanical flexibility testing of the construct and comparison with the posterior C1–2 transarticular fixation in 14 human cadaveric specimens.

RESULTS

Adequate surgical exposure and identification of the key anatomical landmarks, such as C1–2 lateral masses, the C-1 anterior arch, and the odontoid process, were provided by the endonasal endoscopic approach in all specimens. Radiological analysis of anatomical detail suggested that the optimal screw entry point was on the anterior aspect of the C-1 lateral mass near the midpoint, and the screw trajectory was inferiorly and slightly laterally directed. The custommade angled instrumentation was crucial for screw placement. Biomechanical analysis suggested that anterior C1–2 fixation compared favorably to posterior fixation by limiting flexion-extension, axial rotation, and lateral bending (p > 0.3).

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first study that demonstrates the feasibility of an endoscopic endonasal technique for C1–2 fusion. This novel technique may have clinical utility by eliminating the need for a second-stage posterior fixation operation in certain patients undergoing odontoidectomy.

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Andrew S. Little, Daniel Kelly, John Milligan, Chester Griffiths, Daniel M. Prevedello, Ricardo L. Carrau, Gail Rosseau, Garni Barkhoudarian, Bradley A. Otto, Heidi Jahnke, Charlene Chaloner, Kathryn L. Jelinek, Kristina Chapple and William L. White

OBJECT

Despite the increasing application of endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary lesions, the prognostic factors that are associated with sinonasal quality of life (QOL) and nasal morbidity are not well understood. The authors examine the predictors of sinonasal QOL and nasal morbidity in patients undergoing fully endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery.

METHODS

An exploratory post hoc analysis was conducted of patients who underwent endoscopic pituitary surgery and were enrolled in a prospective multicenter QOL study. End points of the study included patient-reported sinonasal QOL and objective nasal endoscopy findings. Multivariate models were developed to determine the patient and surgical factors that correlated with QOL at 2 weeks through 6 months after surgery.

RESULTS

This study is a retrospective review of a subgroup of patients studied in the clinical trial “Rhinological Outcomes in Endonasal Pituitary Surgery” (clinical trial no. NCT01504399, clinicaltrials.gov). Data from 100 patients who underwent fully endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery were included. Predictors of a lower postoperative sinonasal QOL at 2 weeks were use of nasal splints (p = 0.039) and female sex at the trend level (p = 0.061); at 3 months, predictors of lower QOL were the presence of sinusitis (p = 0.025), advancing age (p = 0.044), and use of absorbable nasal packing (p = 0.014). Health status (multidimensional QOL) was also predictive at 2 weeks (p = 0.001) and 3 months (p < 0.001) and was the only significant predictor of sinonasal QOL at 6 months (p < 0.001). A Kaplan-Meier analysis was performed to study time to resolution of nasal crusting, mucopurulence, and synechia as observed during nasal endoscopy after surgery. The mean time (± SEM) to absence of nasal crusting was 16.3 ± 2.1 weeks, mucopurulence was 6.2 ± 1.1 weeks, and synechia was 4.4 ± 0.5 weeks. Use of absorbable nasal packing was associated with more severe mucopurulence.

CONCLUSIONS

Sinonasal QOL following endoscopic pituitary surgery reaches a nadir at 2 weeks and recovers by 3 months postoperatively. Use of absorbable packing and nasal splints, while used in a minority of patients, negatively correlates with early sinonasal QOL. Sinonasal QOL and overall health status are well correlated in the postoperative period, suggesting the important influence of sinonasal QOL on the patient experience.

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Andrew S. Little, Daniel F. Kelly, John Milligan, Chester Griffiths, Daniel M. Prevedello, Ricardo L. Carrau, Gail Rosseau, Garni Barkhoudarian, Heidi Jahnke, Charlene Chaloner, Kathryn L. Jelinek, Kristina Chapple and William L. White

OBJECT

Despite the widespread adoption of endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenomas, the sinonasal quality of life (QOL) and health status in patients who have undergone this technique have not been compared with these findings in patients who have undergone the traditional direct uninostril microsurgical technique. In this study, the authors compared the sinonasal QOL and patient-reported health status after use of these 2 surgical techniques.

METHODS

The study design was a nonblinded prospective cohort study. Adult patients with sellar pathology and planned transsphenoidal surgery were screened at 4 pituitary centers in the US between October 2011 and August 2013. The primary end point of the study was postoperative patient-reported sinonasal QOL as measured by the Anterior Skull Base Nasal Inventory–12 (ASK Nasal-12). Supplementary end points included patient-reported health status estimated by the 8-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-8) and EuroQol (EQ)-5D-5L instruments, and sinonasal complications. Patients were followed for 6 months after surgery.

RESULTS

A total of 301 patients were screened and 235 were enrolled in the study. Of these, 218 were analyzed (111 microsurgery patients, 107 endoscopic surgery patients). Demographic and tumor characteristics were similar between groups (p ≥ 0.12 for all comparisons). The most common complication in both groups was sinusitis (7% in the microsurgery group, 13% in the endoscopic surgery group; p = 0.15). Patients treated with the endoscopic technique were more likely to have postoperative nasal debridements (p < 0.001). The ASK Nasal-12 and SF-8 scores worsened substantially for both groups at 2 weeks after surgery, but then returned to baseline at 3 months. At 3 months after surgery, patients treated with endoscopy reported statistically better sinonasal QOL compared with patients treated using the microscopic technique (p = 0.02), but there were no significant differences at any of the other postoperative time points.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the first multicenter study to examine the effect of the transsphenoidal surgical technique on sinonasal QOL and health status. The study showed that surgical technique did not significantly impact these patient-reported measures when performed at high-volume centers.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01504399 (clinicaltrials.gov).

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Paul A. Gardner, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Carl H. Snyderman and Eric W. Wang

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Hasan A. Zaidi, Al-Wala Awad, Michael A. Bohl, Kristina Chapple, Laura Knecht, Heidi Jahnke, William L. White and Andrew S. Little

OBJECT

The comparative efficacy of microscopic and fully endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenomas has not been well studied despite the adoption of fully endoscopic surgery by many pituitary centers. The influence of surgeon experience has also not been examined in this setting. The authors therefore compared the extent of tumor resection (EOR) and the endocrine outcomes of 1 very experienced surgeon performing a microscopic transsphenoidal surgery technique with those of a less experienced surgeon using a fully endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery technique for resection of nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas in a concurrent series of patients.

METHODS

Post hoc analysis was conducted of a cohort of adult patients prospectively enrolled in a pituitary adenoma quality-of-life study between October 2011 and June 2014. Patients were followed up for 6 months after surgery. Patients were treated either by a less experienced surgeon (100 independent cases) who practices fully endoscopic surgery exclusively or by a very experienced surgeon (1800 independent cases) who practices microscopic surgery exclusively. Patient demographic characteristics, tumor characteristics, hypopituitarism, complications, and length of hospital stay were analyzed. Tumor volumes and EOR were determined by formal volumetric analysis involving manual segmentation of MR images performed before surgery and within 6 months after surgery. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine predictors of EOR.

RESULTS

Fifty-five patients underwent fully endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery, and 80 patients underwent fully microscopic transsphenoidal surgery. The baseline characteristics of the 2 treatment groups were well matched. EOR was similar between the endoscopic and microscopic groups, respectively, as estimated by gross-total resection rate (78.2% vs 81.3%, p = 0.67), percentage of tumor resected (99.2% vs 98.7%, p = 0.42), and volume of residual tumor (0.12 cm3 vs 0.20 cm3, p = 0.41). Multivariate modeling suggested that preoperative tumor volume was the most important predictor of EOR (p = 0.001). No difference was found in the development of anterior gland dysfunction (p > 0.14), but there was a higher incidence of permanent posterior gland dysfunction in the microscopic group (p = 0.04). Combined rates of major complications and unplanned readmissions were lower in the endoscopic group (p = 0.02), but individual complications were not significantly different.

CONCLUSIONS

A less experienced surgeon using a fully endoscopic technique was able to achieve outcomes similar to those of a very experienced surgeon using a microscopic technique in a cohort of patients with nonfunctioning tumors smaller than 60 cm3. The study raises the provocative notion that certain advantages afforded by the fully endoscopic technique may impact the learning curve in pituitary surgery for nonfunctioning adenomas.

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Jacob B. Archer, Hai Sun, Phillip A. Bonney, Yan Daniel Zhao, Jared C. Hiebert, Jose A. Sanclement, Andrew S. Little, Michael E. Sughrue, Nicholas Theodore, Jeffrey James and Sam Safavi-Abbasi

OBJECT

This article introduces a classification scheme for extensive traumatic anterior skull base fracture to help stratify surgical treatment options. The authors describe their multilayer repair technique for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak resulting from extensive anterior skull base fracture using a combination of laterally pediculated temporalis fascial-pericranial, nasoseptal-pericranial, and anterior pericranial flaps.

METHODS

Retrospective chart review identified patients treated surgically between January 2004 and May 2014 for anterior skull base fractures with CSF fistulas. All patients were treated with bifrontal craniotomy and received pedicled tissue flaps. Cases were classified according to the extent of fracture: Class I (frontal bone/sinus involvement only); Class II (extent of involvement to ethmoid cribriform plate); and Class III (extent of involvement to sphenoid bone/sinus). Surgical repair techniques were tailored to the types of fractures. Patients were assessed for CSF leak at follow-up. The Fisher exact test was applied to investigate whether the repair techniques were associated with persistent postoperative CSF leak.

RESULTS

Forty-three patients were identified in this series. Thirty-seven (86%) were male. The patients’ mean age was 33 years (range 11–79 years). The mean overall length of follow-up was 14 months (range 5–45 months). Six fractures were classified as Class I, 8 as Class II, and 29 as Class III. The anterior pericranial flap alone was used in 33 patients (77%). Multiple flaps were used in 10 patients (3 salvage) (28%)—1 with Class II and 9 with Class III fractures. Five (17%) of the 30 patients with Class II or III fractures who received only a single anterior pericranial flap had persistent CSF leak (p < 0.31). No CSF leak was found in patients who received multiple flaps. Although postoperative CSF leak occurred only in high-grade fractures with single anterior flap repair, this finding was not significant.

CONCLUSIONS

Extensive anterior skull base fractures often require aggressive treatment to provide the greatest long-term functional and cosmetic benefits. Several vascularized tissue flaps can be used, either alone or in combination. Vascularized flaps are an ideal substrate for cranial base repair. Dual and triple flap techniques that combine the use of various anterior, lateral, and nasoseptal flaps allow for a comprehensive arsenal in multilayered skull base repair and salvage therapy for extensive and severe fractures.

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Andrew S. Little, Daniel F. Kelly and Garni Barkhoudarian