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Michael M. Safaee, Russ Lyon, Nicholas M. Barbaro, Dean Chou, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Philip R. Weinstein, Cynthia T. Chin, Tarik Tihan and Christopher P. Ames

OBJECTIVE

Among all primary spinal neoplasms, approximately two-thirds are intradural extramedullary lesions; nerve sheath tumors, mainly neurofibromas and schwannomas, comprise approximately half of them. Given the rarity of these lesions, reports of surgical complications are limited. The aim of this study was to identify the rates of new or worsening neurological deficits and surgical complications associated with the resection of spinal nerve sheath tumors and the potential factors related to these outcomes.

METHODS

Patients were identified through a search of an institutional neuropathology database and a separate review of current procedural terminology (CPT) codes. Age, sex, clinical presentation, presence of neurofibromatosis (NF), tumor type, tumor location, extent of resection characterized as gross total or subtotal, use of intraoperative neuromonitoring, surgical complications, presence of neurological deficit, and clinical follow-up were recorded.

RESULTS

Two hundred twenty-one tumors in 199 patients with a mean age of 45 years were identified. Fifty-three tumors were neurofibromas; 163, schwannomas; and 5, malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs). There were 70 complications in 221 cases, a rate of 32%, which included 34 new or worsening sensory symptoms (15%), 12 new or worsening motor deficits (5%), 10 CSF leaks or pseudomeningoceles (4%), 11 wound infections (5%), 5 cases of spinal deformity (2%), and 6 others (2 spinal epidural hematomas, 1 nonoperative cranial subdural hematoma, 1 deep venous thrombosis, 1 case of urinary retention, and 1 recurrent laryngeal nerve injury). Complications were more common in cervical (36%) and lumbosacral (38%) tumors than in thoracic (18%) lesions (p = 0.021). Intradural and dumbbell lesions were associated with higher rates of CSF leakage, pseudomeningocele, and wound infection. Complications were present in 18 neurofibromas (34%), 50 schwannomas (31%), and 2 MPNSTs (40%); the differences in frequency were not significant (p = 0.834). Higher complication rates were observed in patients with NF than in patients without (38% vs 30%, p = 0.189), although rates were higher in NF Type 2 than in Type 1 (64% vs 31%). There was no difference in the use of intraoperative neuromonitoring when comparing cases with surgical complications and those without (67% vs 69%, p = 0.797). However, the use of neuromonitoring was associated with a significantly higher rate of gross-total resection (79% vs 66%, p = 0.022).

CONCLUSIONS

Resection is a safe and effective treatment for spinal nerve sheath tumors. Approximately 30% of patients developed a postoperative complication, most commonly new or worsening sensory deficits. This rate probably represents an inevitable complication of nerve sheath tumor surgery given the intimacy of these lesions with functional neural elements.

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Doris D. Wang, Kunal P. Raygor, Tene A. Cage, Mariann M. Ward, Sarah Westcott, Nicholas M. Barbaro and Edward F. Chang

OBJECTIVE

Common surgical treatments for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) include microvascular decompression (MVD), stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), and radiofrequency ablation (RFA). Although the efficacy of each procedure has been described, few studies have directly compared these treatment modalities on pain control for TN. Using a large prospective longitudinal database, the authors aimed to 1) directly compare long-term pain control rates for first-time surgical treatments for idiopathic TN, and 2) identify predictors of pain control.

METHODS

The authors reviewed a prospectively collected database for all patients who underwent treatment for TN between 1997 and 2014 at the University of California, San Francisco. Standardized collection of data on preoperative clinical characteristics, surgical procedure, and postoperative outcomes was performed. Data analyses were limited to those patients who received a first-time procedure for treatment of idiopathic TN with > 1 year of follow-up.

RESULTS

Of 764 surgical procedures performed at the University of California, San Francisco, for TN (364 SRS, 316 MVD, and 84 RFA), 340 patients underwent first-time treatment for idiopathic TN (164 MVD, 168 SRS, and 8 RFA) and had > 1 year of follow-up. The analysis was restricted to patients who underwent MVD or SRS. Patients who received MVD were younger than those who underwent SRS (median age 63 vs 72 years, respectively; p < 0.001). The mean follow-up was 59 ± 35 months for MVD and 59 ± 45 months for SRS. Approximately 38% of patients who underwent MVD or SRS had > 5 years of follow-up (60 of 164 and 64 of 168 patients, respectively). Immediate or short-term (< 3 months) postoperative pain-free rates (Barrow Neurological Institute Pain Intensity score of I) were 96% for MVD and 75% for SRS. Percentages of patients with Barrow Neurological Institute Pain Intensity score of I at 1, 5, and 10 years after MVD were 83%, 61%, and 44%, and the corresponding percentages after SRS were 71%, 47%, and 27%, respectively. The median time to pain recurrence was 94 months (25th–75th quartiles: 57–131 months) for MVD and 53 months (25th–75th quartiles: 37–69 months) for SRS (p = 0.006). A subset of patients who had MVD also underwent partial sensory rhizotomy, usually in the setting of insignificant vascular compression. Compared with MVD alone, those who underwent MVD plus partial sensory rhizotomy had shorter pain-free intervals (median 45 months vs no median reached; p = 0.022). Multivariable regression demonstrated that shorter preoperative symptom duration (HR 1.005, 95% CI 1.001–1.008; p = 0.006) was associated with favorable outcome for MVD and that post-SRS sensory changes (HR 0.392, 95% CI 0.213–0.723; p = 0.003) were associated with favorable outcome for SRS.

CONCLUSIONS

In this longitudinal study, patients who received MVD had longer pain-free intervals compared with those who underwent SRS. For patients who received SRS, postoperative sensory change was predictive of favorable outcome. However, surgical decision making depends upon many factors. This information can help physicians counsel patients with idiopathic TN on treatment selection.

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Nicolas W. Villelli, Hong Yan, Jian Zou and Nicholas M. Barbaro

OBJECTIVE

Several similarities exist between the Massachusetts health care reform law of 2006 and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The authors’ prior neurosurgical research showed a decrease in uninsured surgeries without a significant change in surgical volume after the Massachusetts reform. An analysis of the payer-mix status and the age of spine surgery patients, before and after the policy, should provide insight into the future impact of the ACA on spine surgery in the US.

METHODS

Using the Massachusetts State Inpatient Database and spine ICD-9-CM procedure codes, the authors obtained demographic information on patients undergoing spine surgery between 2001 and 2012. Payer-mix status was assigned as Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, uninsured, or other, which included government-funded programs and workers’ compensation. A comparison of the payer-mix status and patient age, both before and after the policy, was performed. The New York State data were used as a control.

RESULTS

The authors analyzed 81,821 spine surgeries performed in Massachusetts and 248,757 in New York. After 2008, there was a decrease in uninsured and private insurance spine surgeries, with a subsequent increase in the Medicare and “other” categories for Massachusetts. Medicaid case numbers did not change. This correlated to an increase in surgeries performed in the age group of patients 65–84 years old, with a decrease in surgeries for those 18–44 years old. New York showed an increase in all insurance categories and all adult age groups.

CONCLUSIONS

After the Massachusetts reform, spine surgery decreased in private insurance and uninsured categories, with the majority of these surgeries transitioning to Medicare. Moreover, individuals who were younger than 65 years did not show an increase in spine surgeries, despite having greater access to health insurance. In a health care system that requires insurance, the decrease in private insurance is primarily due to an increasing elderly population. The Massachusetts model continues to show that this type of policy is not causing extreme shifts in the payer mix, and suggests that spine surgery will continue to thrive in the current US health care system.

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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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Christopher Wilson, Alan P. Yaacoub, Adewale Bakare, Na Bo, Abdul Aasar and Nicholas M. Barbaro

OBJECTIVE

A common cause of peroneal neuropathy is compression near the fibular head. Studies demonstrate excellent outcomes after decompression but include few cases (range 15–60 patients). Consequently, attempts to define predictors of good outcomes are limited. Here, the authors combine their institutional outcomes with those in the literature to identify predictors of good outcomes after peroneal nerve decompression.

METHODS

The authors searched their institutional electronic medical records to identify all peroneal nerve decompressions performed in the period between December 1, 2012, and September 30, 2016, and created an IRB-approved database. They also conducted a MEDLINE and literature search to identify articles discussing surgical decompression. All data were combined by meta-analysis to identify the factors associated with a favorable outcome, which was defined as improvement in preoperative symptoms. Patients were analyzed in the aggregate and by presentation (pain, paresthesias, weakness, foot drop). The factors evaluated included age, sex, body mass index, diabetes, smoking status, previous knee or lumbar spine surgery, preoperative symptom duration, and etiology. A meta-analysis was completed for any factor evaluated in at least three data sets.

RESULTS

Twenty-one institutional cases had sufficient data for review. The follow-up among this group was long: median 29 months, range 12–52 months. On aggregate analysis of the data, only diabetes was significantly associated with unfavorable outcomes after decompression (p = 0.05). A trend toward worse outcomes was seen in smokers presenting with pain (p = 0.06). Outcomes were not affected by presentation.

An additional 115 cases in the literature had extractable data for meta-analysis, and other associations were seen. Preoperative symptom duration longer than 12 months was associated with unfavorable outcomes (OR 0.23, 95% CI 0.08–0.65). Patients presenting with paresthesias or hypesthesia demonstrated a trend toward more unfavorable outcomes when operated on more than 6 months after symptom onset (OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.13–1.06). Even after the meta-analysis, outcomes did not vary with an advanced age (OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.24–1.98) or with patient sex (OR 1.13, 95% CI 0.42–3.06).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors provide their institutional data in combination with published data regarding outcomes after peroneal nerve decompression. Outcomes are typically favorable and generally unaffected by the type of symptoms preoperatively, especially if the patient is nondiabetic and preoperative symptom duration is less than 12 months. Patients with paresthesias may benefit from surgery within 6 months after onset. Smoking may adversely affect surgical outcomes. Finally, an advanced age does not adversely affect outcomes, and older patients should be considered for surgery.