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Kunal P. Raygor, Doris D. Wang, Mariann M. Ward, Nicholas M. Barbaro and Edward F. Chang

OBJECTIVE

Microvascular decompression (MVD) and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) are common surgical treatments for trigeminal neuralgia (TN). Many patients who receive SRS have pain recurrence; the ideal second intervention is unknown. The authors directly compared pain outcomes after MVD and repeat SRS in a population of patients in whom SRS failed as their first-line procedure for TN, and they identified predictors of pain control.

METHODS

The authors reviewed a prospectively collected database of patients undergoing surgery for TN between 1997 and 2014 at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Standardized data collection focused on preoperative clinical characteristics, surgical characteristics, and postoperative outcomes. Patients with typical type 1, idiopathic TN with ≥ 1 year of follow-up were included.

RESULTS

In total, 168 patients underwent SRS as their first procedure. Of these patients, 90 had residual or recurrent pain. Thirty of these patients underwent a second procedure at UCSF and had ≥ 1 year of follow-up; 15 underwent first-time MVD and 15 underwent repeat SRS. Patients undergoing MVD were younger than those receiving repeat SRS and were more likely to receive ≥ 80 Gy during the initial SRS. The average follow-up was 44.9 ± 33.6 months for MVD and 48.3 ± 45.3 months for SRS. All patients achieved complete pain freedom without medication at some point during their follow-up. At last follow-up, 80% of MVD-treated patients and 33.3% of SRS-treated patients had a favorable outcome, defined as Barrow Neurological Institute Pain Intensity scores of I–IIIa (p < 0.05). Percentages of patients with favorable outcome at 1 and 5 years were 86% and 75% for the MVD cohort and 73% and 27% for the SRS cohort, respectively (p < 0.05). Multivariate Cox proportional hazards analysis demonstrated that performing MVD was statistically significantly associated with favorable outcome (HR 0.12, 95% CI 0.02–0.60, p < 0.01). There were no statistically significant predictors of favorable outcome in the MVD cohort; however, the presence of sensory changes after repeat SRS was associated with pain relief (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients who received MVD after failed SRS had a longer duration of favorable outcome compared to those who received repeat SRS; however, both modalities are safe and effective. The presence of post-SRS sensory changes was predictive of a favorable pain outcome in the SRS cohort.

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Nicolas W. Villelli, Rohit Das, Hong Yan, Wei Huff, Jian Zou and Nicholas M. Barbaro

OBJECTIVE

The Massachusetts health care insurance reform law passed in 2006 has many similarities to the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). To address concerns that the ACA might negatively impact case volume and reimbursement for physicians, the authors analyzed trends in the number of neurosurgical procedures by type and patient insurance status in Massachusetts before and after the implementation of the state's health care insurance reform. The results can provide insight into the future of neurosurgery in the American health care system.

METHODS

The authors analyzed data from the Massachusetts State Inpatient Database on patients who underwent neurosurgical procedures in Massachusetts from 2001 through 2012. These data included patients' insurance status (insured or uninsured) and the numbers of procedures performed classified by neurosurgical procedural codes of the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM). Each neurosurgical procedure was grouped into 1 of 4 categories based on ICD-9-CM codes: 1) tumor, 2) other cranial/vascular, 3) shunts, and 4) spine. Comparisons were performed of the numbers of procedures performed and uninsured patients, before and after the implementation of the reform law. Data from the state of New York were used as a control. All data were controlled for population differences.

RESULTS

After 2008, there were declines in the numbers of uninsured patients who underwent neurosurgical procedures in Massachusetts in all 4 categories. The number of procedures performed for tumor and spine were unchanged, whereas other cranial/vascular procedures increased. Shunt procedures decreased after implementation of the reform law but exhibited a similar trend to the control group. In New York, the number of spine surgeries increased, as did the percentage of procedures performed on uninsured patients. Other cranial/vascular procedures decreased.

CONCLUSIONS

After the Massachusetts health care insurance reform, the number of uninsured individuals undergoing neurosurgical procedures significantly decreased for all categories, but more importantly, the total number of surgeries performed did not change dramatically. To the extent that trends in Massachusetts can predict the overall US experience, we can expect that some aspects of reimbursement may be positively impacted by the ACA. Neurosurgeons, who often treat patients with urgent conditions, may be affected differently than other specialists.

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Doris D. Wang, Abby E. Deans, A. James Barkovich, Tarik Tihan, Nicholas M. Barbaro, Paul A. Garcia and Edward F. Chang

Object

Focal cortical dysplasia (FCD) represents a spectrum of developmental cortical abnormalities and is one of the most common causes of intractable epilepsy in children and young adults. Outcomes after surgery for FCD are highly variable, and prognosticators of seizure freedom are unclear. In a subset of FCDs, a transmantle sign is observed on imaging that focally spans the entire cerebral mantle from the ventricle to the cortical surface. The aim of this study was to characterize seizure control outcomes and prognostic significance of the transmantle sign in FCD epilepsy.

Methods

Fourteen patients with the transmantle sign underwent epilepsy surgery for medically refractory epilepsy. Thirteen patients underwent resective surgery and 1 underwent multiple subpial transections with vagus nerve stimulator placement. Patient demographics, MRI, electroencephalography, intraoperative electrocorticography (ECoG), and pathology were reviewed. The results of this series were compared with those of 114 previously reported patients with FCD without the transmantle sign.

Results

All patients were found to have childhood seizure onset and concordant MRI and ECoG findings. The primary MRI findings associated with transmantle sign included gray-white junction blurring, appearance of cortical thickening, T2 or FLAIR abnormality, and bottom-of-the-sulcus dysplasia. The transmantle sign was usually a focal finding, typically confined to 1 or several gyri with well-circumscribed epileptic tissue. Correlation of the transmantle sign with FCD histopathological subtypes was highly variable. Patients who underwent complete resection of MRI and ECoG abnormalities (12 of 13 patients) became seizure free. When compared with 114 FCD patients without the transmantle sign, patients with the transmantle sign showed significantly improved seizure-free outcomes after complete resections (p = 0.04).

Conclusions

The presence of the transmantle sign in patients with medically refractory partial epilepsy is associated with highly favorable seizure control outcomes after surgical treatment.

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Nathan C. Rowland, Dario J. Englot, Tene A. Cage, Michael E. Sughrue, Nicholas M. Barbaro and Edward F. Chang

Object

Focal cortical dysplasia (FCD) is one of the most common causes of medically refractory epilepsy leading to surgery. However, seizure control outcomes reported in isolated surgical series are highly variable. As a result, it is not clear which variables are most crucial in predicting seizure freedom following surgery for FCD. The authors' aim was to determine the prognostic factors for seizure control in FCD by performing a meta-analysis of the published literature.

Methods

A MEDLINE search of the published literature yielded 37 studies that met inclusion and exclusion criteria. Seven potential prognostic variables were determined from these studies and were dichotomized for analysis. For each variable, individual studies were weighted by inverse variance and combined to generate an odds ratio favoring seizure freedom. The methods complied with a standardized meta-analysis reporting protocol.

Results

Two thousand fourteen patients were included in the analysis. The overall rate of seizure freedom (Engel Class I) among patients undergoing surgery for FCD in the cohort of studies was 55.8% ± 16.2%. Partial seizures, a temporal location, detection with MRI, and a Type II Palmini histological classification were associated with higher rates of postoperative seizure control. As a treatment-related factor, complete resection of the anatomical or electrographic abnormality was the most important predictor overall of seizure freedom. Neither age nor electroencephalographic localization of the ictal onset significantly affected seizure freedom after surgery.

Conclusions

Using a large population cohort pooled from the published literature, an analysis identified important factors that are prognostic in patients with epilepsy due to FCD. The most important of these factors—diagnostic imaging and resection—provide modalities through which improvements in the impact of FCD can be effected.

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William G. Obana, Kenneth D. Laxer, Philip H. Cogen, John A. Walker, Richard L. Davis and Nicholas M. Barbaro

✓ Frontal opercular gliosis in the dominant hemisphere caused medically refractory partial epilepsy in two patients. Both patients were aphasic during their seizures, but otherwise had normal speech. Magnetic resonance images showed well-demarcated lesions resembling tumors in each patient; on heavily T2-weighted images, the lesions were hyperintense compared with normal brain. Cortical mapping with subdural grids localized speech to the area of the lesions; therefore, the resections were performed under local anesthesia and speech was tested throughout the procedure. Postoperatively, both patients were seizure-free and had no new neurological deficits. Well-demarcated lesions, even in the dominant operculum, can be safely removed in patients with medically refractory partial epilepsy.

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Nathan R. Selden, Valerie C. Anderson, Shirley McCartney, Thomas C. Origitano, Kim J. Burchiel and Nicholas M. Barbaro

Object

In July 2010, the Society of Neurological Surgeons (SNS) introduced regional courses to promote patient safety and teach fundamental skills and knowledge to all postgraduate Year 1 (PGY1) trainees entering Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)–accredited US neurosurgery residency programs. Data from these courses demonstrated significant didactic learning and high faculty and resident satisfaction with hands-on training. Here, the authors evaluated the durability of learning from and the relevance of participation in SNS PGY1 courses as measured midway through PGY1 training.

Methods

Resident participants were resurveyed 6 months after boot camp course attendance to assess knowledge retention and course effectiveness. Exposure to relevant hands-on experiences during PGY1 training and the subjective value of pre-residency simulated training in the courses were assessed.

Results

Ninety-four percent of all residents entering US PGY1 neurosurgical training participated in the 2010 SNS boot camp courses. One hundred sixty-four (88%) of these resident participants responded to the survey. Six months after course completion, 99% of respondents believed the boot camp courses benefited beginning neurosurgery residents and imparted skills and knowledge that would improve patient care. The PGY1 residents' knowledge of information taught in the courses was retained 6 months after initial testing (p < 0.0001).

Conclusions

The learning and other benefits of participation in a national curriculum for residents entering PGY1 neurosurgical training were maintained 6 months after the courses, halfway through the initial training year.

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Nicholas M. Barbaro

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Lilly Tang, Mary Mantle, Paul Ferrari, Hagen Schiffbauer, Howard A. Rowley, Nicholas M. Barbaro, Mitchel S. Berger and Timothy P. L. Roberts

Object. The aim of this study was to evaluate the spatial accuracy of interictal magnetoencephalography (MEG) in localizing the primary epileptogenic focus in comparison with alternative MEG-derived estimates such as ictal onset recording or sensory mapping of the periphery where seizures manifest.

Methods. During this retrospective study of 12 patients with epilepsy who had undergone successful magnetic source (MS) imaging with the aid of a dual 37-channel biomagnetometer as well as simultaneous MEG/electroencephalography (EEG) recordings, ictal events were observed in five patients and quantitative comparisons of interictal spike and ictal seizure onset source localizations were made. In the eight patients who had presented with sensorimotor seizure, source localization of cortical sites concordant with seizure foci was determined using somatosensory functional mapping, and the results were quantitatively compared with interictal spike source localizations.

Interictal spike sources demonstrated on MEG localized to the same region as the corresponding ictal event or somatosensory source localizations. The mean distance between the ictal foci and interictal spike sources was 1.1 ± 0.3 cm. Results of functional somatosensory mapping in patients with sensorimotor seizures demonstrated that seizure sources consistently colocalized with interictal MEG spike sources, with a mean distance of 1.5 ± 0.4 cm. No systematic directional bias was observed. Interictal sources tended to be tightly clustered, and the mean ellipsoid volume, defined by one standard deviation of the source spatial coordinates, was 1 cm3.

Conclusions. Interictal spike localizations on MEG were concordant with ictal and, where relevant, functional somatosensory mapping localizations. These findings support the interpretation of interictal spikes on MEG as a useful and effective noninvasive method for localizing primary seizure foci.

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Rene O. Sanchez-Mejia, Mary Limbo, Jason S. Cheng, Joaquin Camara, Mariann M. Ward and Nicholas M. Barbaro

Object

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is characterized by paroxysmal lancinating pain in the trigeminal nerve distribution. When TN is refractory to medical management, patients are referred for microvascular decompression (MVD), radiofrequency ablation, or radiosurgery. After the initial treatment, patients may have refractory or recurrent symptoms requiring retreatment. The purpose of this study was to determine what factors are associated with the need for retreatment and which modality is most effective.

Methods

To define this population further, the authors evaluated a cohort of patients who required retreatment for TN. The mean follow-up periods were 51 months from the first treatment and 23 months from the last one, and these were comparable among treatment groups.

Conclusions

Trigeminal neuralgia can recur after neurosurgical treatment. In this study the authors demonstrate that the number of patients requiring retreatment is not negligible. Lower retreatment rates were seen in patients who initially underwent radiosurgery, compared with those in whom MVD or radiofrequency ablation were performed. Radiosurgery was more likely to be the final treatment for recurrent TN regardless of the initial treatment. After retreatment, the majority of patients attained complete or very good pain relief. Pain relief after retreatment correlates with postoperative facial numbness.