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Andrew L. Ko, Alp Ozpinar, Jeffrey S. Raskin, Stephen T. Magill, Ahmed M. Raslan and Kim J. Burchiel

OBJECT

Lesioning of the dorsal root entry zone (DREZotomy) is an effective treatment for brachial plexus avulsion (BPA) pain. The role of preoperative assessment with MRI has been shown to be unreliable for determining affected levels; however, it may have a role in predicting pain outcomes. Here, DREZotomy outcomes are reviewed and preoperative MRI is examined as a possible prognostic factor.

METHODS

A retrospective review was performed of an institutional database of patients who had undergone brachial plexus DREZ procedures since 1995. Preoperative MRI was examined to assess damage to the DREZ or dorsal horn, as evidenced by avulsion of the DREZ or T2 hyperintensity within the spinal cord. Phone interviews were conducted to assess the long-term pain outcomes.

RESULTS

Between 1995 and 2012, 27 patients were found to have undergone cervical DREZ procedures for BPA. Of these, 15 had preoperative MR images of the cervical spine available for review. The outcomes were graded from 1 to 4 as poor (no significant relief), good (more than 50% pain relief), excellent (more than 75% pain relief), or pain free, respectively. Overall, DREZotomy was found to be a safe, efficacious, and durable procedure for relief of pain due to BPA. The initial success rate was 73%, which declined to 66% at a median follow-up time of 62.5 months. Damage to the DREZ or dorsal horn was significantly correlated with poorer outcomes (p = 0.02). The average outcomes in patients without MRI evidence of DREZ or dorsal horn damage was significantly higher than in patients with such damage (3.67 vs 1.75, t-test; p = 0.001). A longer duration of pain prior to operation was also a significant predictor of treatment success (p = 0.004).

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, the DREZotomy procedure has a 66% chance of achieving meaningful pain relief on long-term follow-up. Successful pain relief is associated with the lack of damage to the DREZ and dorsal horn on preoperative MRI.

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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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Kieran Walsh

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Zoe E. Teton, Katherine G. Holste, Fran A. Hardaway, Kim J. Burchiel and Ahmed M. Raslan

OBJECTIVE

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GN) is a rare pain condition in which patients experience paroxysmal, lancinating throat pain. Multiple surgical approaches have been used to treat this condition, including microvascular decompression (MVD), and sectioning of cranial nerve (CN) IX and the upper rootlets of CN X, or a combination of the two. The aim of this study was to examine the long-term quality of life and pain-free survival after MVD and sectioning of the CN X/IX complex.

METHODS

A combined retrospective chart review and a quality-of-life telephone survey were performed to collect demographic and long-term outcome data. Quality of life was assessed by means of a questionnaire based on a combination of the Barrow Neurological Institute pain intensity scoring criteria and the Brief Pain Inventory–Facial. Kaplan-Meier analysis was performed to determine pain-free survival.

RESULTS

Of 18 patients with GN, 17 underwent sectioning of the CN IX/X complex alone or sectioning and MVD depending on the presence of a compressing vessel. Eleven of 17 patients had compression of CN IX/X by the posterior inferior cerebellar artery, 1 had compression by a vertebral artery, and 5 had no compression. One patient (6%) experienced no immediate pain relief. Fifteen (88%) of 17 patients were pain free at the last follow-up (mean 9.33 years, range 5.16–13 years). One patient (6%) experienced throat pain relapse at 3 months. The median pain-free survival was 7.5 years ± 10.6 months. Nine of 18 patients were contacted by telephone. Of the 17 patients who underwent sectioning of the CN IX/X complex, 13 (77%) patients had short-term complaints: dysphagia (n = 4), hoarseness (n = 4), ipsilateral hearing loss (n = 4), ipsilateral taste loss (n = 2), and dizziness (n = 2) at 2 weeks. Nine patients had persistent side effects at latest follow-up. Eight of 9 telephone respondents reported that they would have the surgery over again.

CONCLUSIONS

Sectioning of the CN IX/X complex with or without MVD of the glossopharyngeal nerve is a safe and effective surgical therapy for GN with initial pain freedom in 94% of patients and an excellent long-term pain relief (mean 7.5 years).

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Fran A. Hardaway, Hanna C. Gustafsson, Katherine Holste, Kim J. Burchiel and Ahmed M. Raslan

OBJECTIVE

Pain relief following microvascular decompression (MVD) for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) may be related to pain type, degree of neurovascular conflict, arterial compression, and location of compression. The objective of this study was to construct a predictive pain-free scoring system based on clinical and radiographic factors that can be used to preoperatively prognosticate long-term outcomes for TN patients following surgical intervention (MVD or internal neurolysis [IN]). It was hypothesized that contributing factors would include pain type, presence of an artery or vein, neurovascular conflict severity, and compression location (root entry zone).

METHODS

At the authors’ institution 275 patients with type 1 or type 2 TN (TN1 or TN2) underwent MVD or IN following preoperative high-resolution brain MRI studies. Outcome data were obtained retrospectively by chart review and/or phone follow-up. Characteristics of neurovascular conflict were obtained from preoperative MRI studies. Factors that resulted in a probability value of < 0.05 on univariate logistic regression analyses were entered into a multivariate Cox regression analysis in a backward stepwise fashion. For the multivariate analysis, significance at the 0.15 level was used. A prognostic system was then devised with 4 possible scores (0, 1, 2, or 3) and pain-free survival analyses conducted.

RESULTS

Univariate predictors of pain-free survival were pain type (p = 0.013), presence of any vessel (p = 0.042), and neurovascular compression severity (p = 0.038). Scores of 0, 1, 2, and 3 were found to be significantly different in regard to pain-free survival (log rank, p = 0.005). At 5 and 10 years there were 36%, 43%, 61%, and 69%, and 36%, 43%, 56%, and 67% pain-free survival rates in groups 0, 1, 2, and 3, respectively. While TN2 patients had worse outcomes regardless of score, a subgroup analysis of TN1 patients with higher neurovascular conflict (score of 3) had significantly better outcomes than TN1 patients without severe neurovascular conflict (score of 1) (log rank, p = 0.005). Regardless of pain type, those patients with severe neurovascular conflict were more likely to have arterial compression (99%) compared to those with low neurovascular conflict (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Pain-free survival was predicted by a scoring system based on preoperative clinical and radiographic findings. Higher scores predicted significantly better pain relief than lower scores. TN1 patients with severe neurovascular conflict had the best long-term pain-free outcome.

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Editorial

Unilateral or bilateral deep brain stimulation

Kim J. Burchiel

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Fran A. Hardaway, Katherine Holste, Gulsah Ozturk, David Pettersson, Jeffrey M. Pollock, Kim J. Burchiel and Ahmed M. Raslan

OBJECTIVE

The pathophysiology of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) in patients without neurovascular compression (NVC) is not completely understood. The objective of this retrospective study was to evaluate the hypothesis that TN patients without NVC differ from TN patient with NVC with respect to brain anatomy and demographic characteristics.

METHODS

Six anatomical brain measurements from high-resolution brain MR images were tabulated; anterior-posterior (AP) prepontine cistern length, cerebellopontine angle (CPA) cistern volume, nerve-to-nerve distance, symptomatic nerve length, pons volume, and posterior fossa volume were assessed on OsiriX. Brain MRI anatomical measurements from 232 patients with either TN type 1 or TN type 2 (TN group) were compared with measurements obtained in 100 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (control group). Two-way ANOVA tests were conducted on the 6 measurements relative to group and NVC status. Bonferroni adjustments were used to correct for multiple comparisons. A nonhierarchical k-means cluster analysis was performed on the TN group using age and posterior fossa volume as independent variables.

RESULTS

Within the TN group, females were found to be younger than males and less likely to have NVC. The odds ratio (OR) of females not having NVC compared to males was 2.7 (95% CI 1.3–5.5, p = 0.017). Patients younger than 30 years were much less likely to have NVC compared to older patients (OR 4.9, 95% CI 1.3–18.4, p = 0.017). The mean AP prepontine cistern length and symptomatic nerve length were smaller in the TN group than in the control group (5.3 vs 6.5 mm and 8.7 vs 9.7 mm, respectively; p < 0.001). The posterior fossa volume was significantly smaller in TN patients without NVC compared to those with NVC. A TN group cluster analysis suggested a sex-dependent difference that was not observed in those without NVC. Factorial ANOVA and post hoc testing found that findings in males without NVC were significantly different from those in controls or male TN patients with NVC and similar to those in females (female controls as well as female TN patients with or without NVC).

CONCLUSIONS

Posterior fossa volume in males was larger than posterior fossa volume in females. This finding, along with the higher incidence of TN in females, suggests that smaller posterior fossa volume might be an independent factor in the pathophysiology of TN, which warrants further study.

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Jason S. Weinstein, Kenneth C. Liu, Johnny B. Delashaw Jr., Kim J. Burchiel, Harry R. van Loveren, Fernando L. Vale, Siviero Agazzi, Mark S. Greenberg, Donald A. Smith and John Tew Jr.

Object

The DuraSeal dural sealant system, a polyethylene glycol hydrogel, has been shown to be safe and effective when used with commercial and autologous duraplasty materials. The authors report on the safety and effectiveness of this sealant when used in conjunction with nonautologous duraplasty materials.

Methods

In this retrospective, nonrandomized, multicenter study, the safety and efficacy of a dural sealant system was assessed in conjunction with primarily collagen-based nonautologous duraplasty materials in a sample of 66 patients undergoing elective cranial procedures at 3 institutions. This cohort was compared with 50 well-matched patients from the DuraSeal Pivotal Trial who were treated with this sealant system and autologous duraplasty material.

Results

The key end points of the study were the incidences of CSF leaks, surgical site infections, and meningitis 90 days after surgery. The incidence of postoperative CSF leakage was 7.6% in the study group (retrospective population) and 6.0% in the Pivotal Trial population. The incidence of meningitis was 0% and 4.0% in the retrospective and Pivotal Trial groups, respectively. There were no serious device-related adverse events or unanticipated adverse device effects noted for either population.

Conclusions

This study demonstrates that the DuraSeal sealant system is safe and effective when used for watertight dural closure in conjunction with nonautologous duraplasty materials.

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Robert J. Coffey, David Cahill, William Steers, T. S. Park, Joe Ordia, Jay Meythaler, Richard Herman, Andrew G. Shetter, Robert Levy, Brian Gill, Richard Smith, Jack Wilberger, John D. Loeser, Charles Chabal, Claudio Feler, James T. Robertson, Richard D. Penn, Aiden Clarke, Kim J. Burchiel and Lyal G. Leibrock

✓ A total of 93 patients with intractable spasticity due to either spinal cord injury (59 cases), multiple sclerosis (31 cases), or other spinal pathology (three cases) were entered into a randomized double-blind placebocontrolled screening protocol of intrathecal baclofen test injections. Of the 88 patients who responded to an intrathecal bolus of 50, 75, or 100 µg of baclofen, 75 underwent implantation of a programmable pump system for chronic therapy. Patients were followed for 5 to 41 months after surgery (mean 19 months). No deaths or new permanent neurological deficits occurred as a result of surgery or chronic intrathecal baclofen administration. Rigidity was reduced from a mean preoperative Ashworth scale score of 3.9 to a mean postoperative score of 1.7. Muscle spasms were reduced from a mean preoperative score of 3.1 (on a fourpoint scale) to a mean postoperative score of 1.0. Although the dose of intrathecal baclofen required to control spasticity increased with time, drug tolerance was not a limiting factor in this study. Only one patient withdrew from the study because of a late surgical complication (pump pocket infection). Another patient received an intrathecal baclofen overdose because of a human error in programming the pump. The results of this study indicate that intrathecal baclofen infusion can be safe and effective for the long-term treatment of intractable spasticity in patients with spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis.