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Gregory C. Wiggins, Michael J. Rauzzino, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Russ P. Nockels, Richard Whitehill, Mark E. Shaffrey, James Wagner and Tord D. Alden

This study was conducted to determine the safety, efficacy, and complication rate associated with the anterior approach in the use of a new titanium mesh interbody fusion cage for the treatment of unstable thoracolumbar burst fractures. The experience with this technique is compared with the senior authors' (C.S., R.W., and M.S.) previously published results in the management of patients with unstable thoracolumbar burst fractures.

Between 1996 and 1999, 21 patients with unstable thoracolumbar (T12-L3) burst fractures underwent an anterolateral decompressive procedure in which a titanium cage and Kaneda device were used. Eleven of the 21 patients had sustained a neurological deficit, and all patients improved at least one Frankel grade (average 1.2 grades). There was improvement in outcome in terms of blood loss, correction of kyphosis, and pain, as measured on the Denis Pain and Work Scale, in our current group of patients treated via an anterior approach when compared with the results in those who underwent a posterior approach.

In our current study the anterior approach was demonstrated to be a safe and effective technique for the management of unstable thoracolumbar burst fractures. It offers superior results compared with the posterior approach. The addition of the new titanium mesh interbody cage to our previous anterior technique allows the patient's own bone to be harvested from the corpectomy site and used as a substrate for fusion, thereby obviating the need for iliac crest harvest. The use of the cage in association with the Kaneda device allows for improved correction of kyphosis and restoration of normal sagittal alignment in addition to improved functional outcomes.

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Avital Perry, Christopher S. Graffeo, Lucas P. Carlstrom, William J. Anding, Michael J. Link and Leonardo Rangel-Castilla

OBJECTIVE

Sylvian fissure dissection following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a challenging but fundamental skill in microneurosurgery, and one that has become increasingly difficult to develop during residency, given the overarching management trends. The authors describe a novel rodent model for simulation of sylvian fissure dissection and cerebrovascular bypass under SAH conditions.

METHODS

A standardized microvascular anastomosis model comprising rat femoral arteries and veins was used for the experimental framework. In the experimental protocol, following exposure and skeletonization of the vessels, extensive, superficial (1- to 2-mm) soft-tissue debridement was conducted and followed by wound closure and delayed reexploration at intervals of 7, 14, and 28 days. Two residents dissected 1 rat each per time point (n = 6 rats), completing vessel skeletonization followed by end-to-end artery/vein anastomoses. Videos were reviewed postprocedure to assess scar score and relative difficulty of dissection by blinded raters using 4-point Likert scales.

RESULTS

At all time points, vessels were markedly invested in friable scar, and exposure was subjectively assessed as a reasonable surrogate for sylvian fissure dissection under SAH conditions. Scar score and relative difficulty of dissection both indicated 14 days as the most challenging time point.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ experimental model of femoral vessel skeletonization, circumferential superficial soft-tissue injury, and delayed reexploration provides a novel approximation of sylvian fissure dissection and cerebrovascular bypass under SAH conditions. The optimal reexploration interval appears to be 7–14 days. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first model of SAH simulation for microsurgical training, particularly in a live animal system.

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Christopher S. Eddleman, Michael C. Hurley, Andrew M. Naidech, H. Hunt Batjer and Bernard R. Bendok

The second leading cause of death and disability in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is delayed cerebral ischemia due to vasospasm. Although up to 70% of patients have been shown to have angiographic evidence of vasospasm, only 20–30% will present with clinical changes, including mental status changes and neurological deficits that necessitate acute management. Endovascular capabilities have progressed to become viable options in the treatment of cerebral vasospasm. The rationale for intraarterial therapy includes the fact that morbidity and mortality rates have not changed in recent years despite optimized noninvasive medical care. In this report, the authors discuss the most common endovascular options—namely intraarterial vasodilators and transluminal balloon angioplasty—from the standpoint of mechanism, efficacy, limitations, and complications as well as the treatment algorithms for cerebral vasospasm used at our institution.

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Anna Terry, Gregory Zipfel, Eric Milner, DeWitte T. Cross III, Christopher J. Moran, Michael N. Diringer, Ralph G. Dacey Jr. and Colin P. Derdeyn

Object

Over the past decade, low-pressure, flow-directed balloons have been replaced by over-the-wire balloons in the treatment of vasospasm induced by subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). The authors assess the procedural safety and technical efficacy of these newer devices.

Methods

Seventy-five patients who underwent 85 balloon angioplasty procedures for the treatment of SAH-induced vasospasm were identified from a prospective quality-assurance database. Medical records and angiographic reports were reviewed for evidence of procedural complications and technical efficacy.

No vessel rupture or perforation occurred, but thromboembolic complications were noted in four (4.7%) of the 85 procedures. Balloon angioplasty was frequently attempted and successfully accomplished in the distal internal carotid (100%), proximal middle cerebral (94%), vertebral (73%), and basilar (88%) arteries. Severe narrowing was present in 89 proximal anterior cerebral arteries. Angioplasty was attempted in 41 of these vessels and was successful in only 14 (34%). In 19 of the 27 unsuccessful attempts, the balloon could not be advanced over the wire due to severe vasospasm or unfavorable vessel angle. Follow-up angiography in a subset of patients demonstrated that severe recurrent vasospasm occurred in 15 (13%) of 116 vessels studied after angioplasty.

Conclusions

Over-the-wire balloons involve a low risk for vessel rupture. The anterior cerebral artery remains difficult to access and successfully treat with current devices. Further improvements in balloon design, such as smaller inflated diameters and better tracking, are necessary. Finally, thromboembolic complications remain an important concern, and severe vasospasm may recur after balloon angioplasty.

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Michael Safaee, Andrew T. Parsa, Nicholas M. Barbaro, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Philip R. Weinstein, Tarik Tihan and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECT

Intradural extramedullary spine tumors represent two-thirds of all primary spine neoplasms. Approximately half of these are peripheral nerve sheath tumors, mainly neurofibromas and schwannomas. Given the rarity of this disease and, thus, the limited analyses of clinical outcomes, the authors examined the association of tumor location, extent of resection, and neurofibromatosis (NF) status with clinical outcomes.

METHODS

Patients were identified through a search of the University of California, San Francisco, neuropathology database and a separate review of current procedural terminology codes. Data recorded included patient age, patient sex, clinical presentation, presence of NF, tumor type, tumor location, extent of resection (gross-total resection [GTR] or subtotal resection [STR]), and clinical follow-up.

RESULTS

Of 221 tumors in 199 patients (mean age 45 years), 53 were neurofibromas, 163 were schwannomas, and 5 were malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors. The most common presenting symptom was spinal pain (76%), followed by weakness (36%) and sensory abnormalities (34%). Mean symptom duration was 16 months. In terms of spinal location, neurofibromas were more common in the cervical spine (74% vs 27%, p < 0.001), and schwannomas were more common in the thoracic and lumbosacral spine (73% vs 26%, p < 0.001). Rates of GTR were lower for neurofibromas than schwannomas (51% vs 83%, p < 0.001), regardless of location. Rates of GTR were lower for cervical (54%) than thoracic (90%) and lumbosacral (86%) lesions (p < 0.001). NF was associated with lower rates of GTR among all tumors (43% vs 86%, p < 0.001). The mean follow-up time was 32 months. Recurrence/progression was more common for neurofibromas than schwannomas (17% vs 7%, p = 0.03), although the mean time to recurrence/progression did not differ according to tumor type (45 vs 53 months, p = 0.63). As expected, GTR was associated with lower recurrence rates (4% vs 22%, p < 0.001). According to multivariate analysis, cervical location (OR 0.239, 95% CI 0.110–0.520) and presence of NF (OR 0.166, 95% CI 0.054–0.507) were associated with lower rates of GTR. In a separate model, only GTR (OR 0.141, 95% CI 0.046–0.429) was associated with tumor recurrence.

CONCLUSIONS

Resection is an effective treatment for spinal nerve sheath tumors. Neurofibromas were found more commonly in the cervical spine than in other regions of the spine and were associated with higher rates of recurrence and lower rates of GTR than other tumor types, particularly in patients with NF Types 1 or 2. According to multivariate analysis, both cervical location and presence of NF were associated with lower rates of GTR. According to a second multivariate model, the only variable associated with tumor recurrence was extent of resection. Maximal safe resection remains ideal for these lesions; however, patients with cervical tumors or NF should be counseled about their increased risk for recurrence.

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Ian McCarthy, Michael O'Brien, Christopher Ames, Chessie Robinson, Thomas Errico, David W. Polly Jr. and Richard Hostin

Object

Incremental cost-effectiveness analysis is critical to the efficient allocation of health care resources; however, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of surgical versus nonsurgical treatment for adult spinal deformity (ASD) has eluded the literature, due in part to inherent empirical difficulties when comparing surgical and nonsurgical patients. Using observed preoperative health-related quality of life (HRQOL) for patients who later underwent surgery, this study builds a statistical model to predict hypothetical quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) without surgical treatment. The analysis compares predicted QALYs to observed postoperative QALYs and forms the resulting ICER.

Methods

This was a single-center (Baylor Scoliosis Center) retrospective analysis of consecutive patients undergoing primary surgery for ASD. Total costs (expressed in 2010 dollars) incurred by the hospital for each episode of surgical care were collected from administrative data and QALYs were calculated from the 6-dimensional Short-Form Health Survey, each discounted at 3.5% per year. Regression analysis was used to predict hypothetical QALYs without surgery based on preoperative longitudinal data for 124 crossover surgical patients with similar diagnoses, baseline HRQOL, age, and sex compared with the surgical cohort. Results were projected through 10-year follow-up, and the cost-effectiveness acceptability curve (CEAC) was estimated using nonparametric bootstrap methods.

Results

Three-year follow-up was available for 120 (66%) of 181 eligible patients, who were predominantly female (89%) with average age of 50. With discounting, total costs averaged $125,407, including readmissions, with average QALYs of 1.93 at 3-year follow-up. Average QALYs without surgery were predicted to be 1.6 after 3 years. At 3- and 5-year follow-up, the ICER was $375,000 and $198,000, respectively. Projecting through 10-year follow-up, the ICER was $80,000. The 10-year CEAC revealed a 40% probability that the ICER was $80,000 or less, a 90% probability that the ICER was $90,000 or less, and a 100% probability that the ICER was less than $100,000.

Conclusions

Based on the WHO's suggested upper threshold for cost-effectiveness (3 times per capita GDP, or $140,000 in 2010 dollars), the analysis reveals that surgical treatment for ASD is cost-effective after a 10-year period based on predicted deterioration in HRQOL without surgery. The ICER well exceeds the WHO threshold at earlier follow-up intervals, highlighting the importance of the durability of surgical treatment in assessing the value of surgical intervention. Due to the study's methodology, the results are dependent on the predicted deterioration in HRQOL without surgery. As such, the results may not extend to patients whose HRQOL would remain steady without surgery. Future research should therefore pursue a direct comparison of QALYs for surgical and nonsurgical patients to better understand the cost-effectiveness of surgery for the average ASD patient.

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Adam S. Kanter, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Praveen Mummaneni, Michael Y. Wang and Juan S. Uribe

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Michael P. Kelly, Lawrence G. Lenke, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Christopher P. Ames, Leah Y. Carreon, Virginie Lafage, Justin S. Smith and Adam L. Shimer

Object

The goal in this study was to evaluate the risk factors for complications, including new neurological deficits, in the largest cohort of patients with adult spinal deformity to date.

Methods

The Scoli-RISK-1 inclusion criteria were used to identify eligible patients from 5 centers who were treated between June 1, 2009, and June 1, 2011. Records were reviewed for patient demographic information, surgical data, and reports of perioperative complications. Neurological deficits were recorded as preexisting or as new deficits. Patients who underwent 3-column osteotomies (3COs) were compared with those who did not (posterior spinal fusion [PSF]). Between-group comparisons were performed using independent samples t-tests and chi-square analyses.

Results

Two hundred seven patients were identified—75 who underwent PSF and 132 treated with 3CO. In the latter group, patients were older (58.9 vs 49.4 years, p < 0.001), had a higher body mass index (29.0 vs 25.8, p = 0.029), smaller preoperative coronal Cobb measurements (33.8° vs 56.4°, p < 0.001), more preoperative sagittal malalignment (11.7 cm vs 5.4 cm, p < 0.001), and similar sagittal Cobb measurements (45.8° vs 57.7°, p = 0.113). Operating times were similar (393 vs 423 minutes, p = 0.130), although patients in the 3CO group sustained higher estimated blood loss (2120 vs 1700 ml, p = 0.066). Rates of new neurological deficits were similar (PSF: 6.7% vs 3CO: 9.9%, p = 0.389), and rates of any perioperative medical complication were similar (PSF: 46.7% vs 3CO: 50.8%, p = 0.571). Patients who underwent vertebral column resection (VCR) were more likely to sustain medical complications than those treated with pedicle subtraction osteotomy (73.7% vs 46.9%, p = 0.031), although new neurological deficits were similar (15.8% vs 8.8%, p = 0.348). Regression analysis did not reveal significant predictors of neurological injury or complication from collected data.

Conclusions

Despite higher estimated blood loss, rates of all complications (49.3%) and new neurological deficits (8.7%) did not vary for patients who underwent complex reconstruction, whether or not a 3CO was performed. Patients who underwent VCR sustained more medical complications without an increase in new neurological deficits. Prospective studies of patient factors, provider factors, and refined surgical data are needed to define and optimize risk factors for complication and neurological deficits.

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Eric S. Sussman, Christopher P. Kellner, Michael M. McDowell, Samuel S. Bruce, Simon G. Heuts, Zong Zhuang, Rachel A. Bruce, Jan Claassen and E. Sander Connolly Jr.

Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is the most deadly and least treatable subtype of stroke, and at the present time there are no evidence-based therapeutic interventions for patients with this disease. Secondary injury mechanisms are known to cause substantial rates of morbidity and mortality following ICH, and the inflammatory cascade is a major contributor to this post-ICH secondary injury. The alpha-7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7-nAChR) agonists have a well-established antiinflammatory effect and have been shown to attenuate perihematomal edema volume and to improve functional outcome in experimental ICH. The authors evaluate the current evidence for the use of an α7-nAChR agonist as a novel therapeutic agent in patients with ICH.

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Ayman A. Elsayed, Christopher J. Moran, DeWitte T. Cross III, Colin P. Derdeyn, Thomas K. Pilgram, James M. Milburn, Ralph G. Dacey Jr. and Michael N. Diringer Jr.

Object

The goal in this study was to determine if there was a change in intracranial venous diameters after endo-vascular treatment of carotid distribution vasospasm caused by subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Methods

The venous diameters were measured in all patients who received intraarterial papaverine and/or balloon angioplasty for treatment of vasospasm during the study period of 3 years. To evaluate the veins of Labbé and Trolard, the straight sinus, and the superior sagittal sinus (SSS), measurements were performed in a blinded manner with the aid of a magnification loupe. Predetermined sites were evaluated on angiograms obtained before and after endovascular treatment. Forty-three treatments in 26 patients were included: 18 patients (33 territories) were treated with intraarterial papaverine alone, four (four territories) were treated with balloon angioplasty alone, and four (six territories) were treated with both papaverine infusion and angioplasty.

The mean measured venous diameters increased significantly after addition of papaverine (10.9%), and also after combined papaverine and angioplasty (4.2%). There was no statistically significant increase in the mean venous diameters after angioplasty alone. If the initial intracranial pressure (ICP) was less than 15 mm Hg before treatment, the veins showed a greater tendency to dilate than if the initial ICP measurements were greater than 15 mm Hg. The straight sinus and the SSS increased more in diameter than the veins of Labbé and Trolard. There was no statistically significant correlation between the change in venous diameters with treatment and ICP.

Conclusions

Endovascular treatment produces measurable increases in intracranial venous diameters. However, these changes do not correlate with changes in ICP.