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Scott Shapiro, Patrick Connolly, Jill Donnaldson and Todd Abel

Object. The authors have previously reported that the results of using cadaveric fibula and locking plate (CF/LP) fusion following anterior cervical discectomy (ACD) for cervical spondylotic radiculopathy and myelopathy are superior to those obtained using autologous iliac crest (AIC) grafts in the short term. The long-term results of using this construct are important in substantiating this improvement. The authors report on 246 consecutive patients (54% smokers) who underwent ACD with CF/LP fusion (175 with allogeneic bone matrix [ABM]) and compare them with 111 consecutive patients in whom AIC fusions (49% smokers) were performed by the same surgeons.

Methods. The study is a retrospective nonrandomized analysis, and chi-square statistics were used. Bone densitometric studies of AIC grafts and CF grafts were performed. A paired t-test was used for statistical analysis of the results. Disease in the group of patients undergoing CF/LP fusion included soft-disc herniation with radiculopathy in 14, soft-disc herniation with myelopathy in seven, cervical spondylotic radiculopathy in 144, cervical spondylotic myelopathy in 75, AIC graft collapse pseudarthrosis in five, and ACD with no fusion collapse/kyphosis in one. Operations consisted of single-level CF/LP fusion in 142 patients and multilevel CF/LP fusion in 104. Perioperative complications in the CF/LP group included three cases of transient hoarseness. There were no transfusions, infections, neurological injuries, or deaths. The mean hospital length of stay was 1.2 days (28% outpatient and 66% 23-hour stay). The mean follow-up period was 60 months (range 12–94 months). Ten patients were lost to follow up after 1 year. Long-term complications included one traumatic plate fracture and one symptomatic pseudarthrosis with plate fracture. At 1 year and beyond, in 245 (99.6%) of 246 patients radiographically documented fusion with no motion at the fused level on flexion—extension films was demonstrated. There was no kyphosis, no symptomatic screw plate backout, and no CF/LP graft collapse (100% in the ABM group). In the 111 consecutive patients with AIC fusions, however, there was a 17% graft-related complication rate. There were significantly fewer graft-related complications in the CF/LP group (p < 0.001). There was no difference in neurological outcome for any of the groups. In the groups undergoing single-level ACD there was a significantly greater chance of complete relief of neck pain CF/LP fusion compared with those undergoing AIC fusion (p < 0.02). There was a significantly greater chance of AIC collapse with the passage of time compared with CF graft (p < 0.02). Time until return to work was shorter for the CF/LP group by 5 to 6 weeks (p < 0.02). There was a higher rate of radiographically documented pseudarthrosis in the AIC group (p < 0.006). The mean bone densitometry for the CF/LP group was 0.7 g/cm2, significantly greater than that of the AIC group, which was 0.2 g/cm2 (paired t-test p < 0.001).

Conclusions. When fusion is necessary following ACD, the results of CF/LP fusion are significantly superior in the first 5 years after surgery compared with those for AIC fusions. It remains to be determined if demineralized ABM has a significant effect in enhancing fusion.

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Markus J. Bookland, Vishad Sukul and Patrick J. Connolly


Ventriculitis related to external ventricular drain (EVD) placement is a significant source of morbidity in neurological intensive care patients. Current rates of EVD-related infections range from 2% to 45% in the literature. The authors sought to determine if a 2-octyl cyanoacrylate adhesive would result in lower infection rate than standard semiocclusive dressings.


The authors tracked ventriculitis rates via CSF cultures among 259 patients whose EVD sites were dressed with sterile semiocclusive dressings and underwent routine sterile dressing exchanges every 48 hours. They analyzed data obtained in an additional 113 patients whose EVD sites were dressed one time with a surgical adhesive, 2-octyl cyanoacrylate.


Ventriculitis rate in patients with standard bioocclusive dressings and wound care was 15.1%, whereas that in patients with a 2-octyl cyanoacrylate dressing was 3.54% (p = 0.002). Staphylococcus genus accounted for 79.5% of instances of ventriculitis among patients with bioocclusive dressings and routine wound care, whereas it accounted for 25.0% of the instances of ventriculitis among patients with a liquid polymer sealant dressing. A 90% reduction in Staphylococcus infection completely accounts for the observed effect (p = 0.04).


The one-time application of 2-octyl cyanoacrylate to EVD wounds and exit sites provided superior protection against EVD-related ventriculitis compared to conventional EVD-site wound care. Likely this protection results from a barrier to the entry of gram-positive skin flora along the EVD exit tract. The results should be validated in a randomized trial.

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Ashwin G. Ramayya, H. Isaac Chen, Paul J. Marcotte, Steven Brem, Eric L. Zager, Benjamin Osiemo, Matthew Piazza, Nikhil Sharma, Scott D. McClintock, James M. Schuster, Zarina S. Ali, Patrick Connolly, Gregory G. Heuer, M. Sean Grady, David K. Kung, Ali K. Ozturk, Donald M. O’Rourke and Neil R. Malhotra


Although it is known that intersurgeon variability in offering elective surgery can have major consequences for patient morbidity and healthcare spending, data addressing variability within neurosurgery are scarce. The authors performed a prospective peer review study of randomly selected neurosurgery cases in order to assess the extent of consensus regarding the decision to offer elective surgery among attending neurosurgeons across one large academic institution.


All consecutive patients who had undergone standard inpatient surgical interventions of 1 of 4 types (craniotomy for tumor [CFT], nonacute redo CFT, first-time spine surgery with/without instrumentation, and nonacute redo spine surgery with/without instrumentation) during the period 2015–2017 were retrospectively enrolled (n = 9156 patient surgeries, n = 80 randomly selected individual cases, n = 20 index cases of each type randomly selected for review). The selected cases were scored by attending neurosurgeons using a need for surgery (NFS) score based on clinical data (patient demographics, preoperative notes, radiology reports, and operative notes; n = 616 independent case reviews). Attending neurosurgeon reviewers were blinded as to performing provider and surgical outcome. Aggregate NFS scores across various categories were measured. The authors employed a repeated-measures mixed ANOVA model with autoregressive variance structure to compute omnibus statistical tests across the various surgery types. Interrater reliability (IRR) was measured using Cohen’s kappa based on binary NFS scores.


Overall, the authors found that most of the neurosurgical procedures studied were rated as “indicated” by blinded attending neurosurgeons (mean NFS = 88.3, all p values < 0.001) with greater agreement among neurosurgeon raters than expected by chance (IRR = 81.78%, p = 0.016). Redo surgery had lower NFS scores and IRR scores than first-time surgery, both for craniotomy and spine surgery (ANOVA, all p values < 0.01). Spine surgeries with fusion had lower NFS scores than spine surgeries without fusion procedures (p < 0.01).


There was general agreement among neurosurgeons in terms of indication for surgery; however, revision surgery of all types and spine surgery with fusion procedures had the lowest amount of decision consensus. These results should guide efforts aimed at reducing unnecessary variability in surgical practice with the goal of effective allocation of healthcare resources to advance the value paradigm in neurosurgery.

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Oral Presentations

2010 AANS Annual Meeting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 1–5, 2010