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Nasser M. F. El-Ghandour, Mohamed A. R. Soliman, Ahmed A. M. Ezzat, Amr Mohsen, and Mostafa Zein-Elabedin

OBJECTIVE

The safety and efficacy of anterior and posterior decompression surgery in degenerative cervical myelopathy (DCM) have not been validated in any prospective randomized trial.

METHODS

In this first prospective randomized trial, the patients who had symptoms or signs of DCM were randomly assigned to undergo either anterior cervical discectomy and fusion or posterior laminectomy with or without fusion. The primary outcome measures were the change in the visual analog scale (VAS) score, Neck Disability Index (NDI), and Nurick myelopathy grade 1 year after surgery. The secondary outcome measures were intraoperative and postoperative complications, hospital stay, and Odom’s criteria. The follow-up period was at least 1 year.

RESULTS

A total of 68 patients (mean age 53 ± 8.3 years, 72.3% men) underwent prospective randomization. There was a significantly better outcome in the NDI and VAS scores in the anterior group at 1 year (p < 0.05). Nurick myelopathy grading showed nonsignificant improvement using the posterior approach group (p = 0.79). The mean operative duration was significantly longer in the anterior group (p < 0.001). No significant difference in postoperative complications was found, except postoperative dysphagia was significantly higher in the anterior group (p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in postoperative patient satisfaction (Odom’s criteria) (p = 0.52). The mean hospital stay was significantly longer in the posterior group (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Among patients with multilevel DCM, the anterior approach was significantly better regarding postoperative pain, NDI, and hospital stay, while the posterior approach was significantly better in terms of postoperative dysphagia and operative duration.

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Shrijith Murlidharan Bhavaninilayam, Sachin Anil Borkar, Kanwaljeet Garg, Manoj Phalak, and Shashank Sharad Kale

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Nasser M. F. El-Ghandour, Ahmed A. M. Ezzat, Mohamed A. Zaazoue, Pablo Gonzalez-Lopez, Balraj S. Jhawar, and Mohamed A. R. Soliman

OBJECTIVE

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused dramatic changes in medical education. Social distancing policies have resulted in the rapid adoption of virtual learning (VL) by neurosurgeons as a method to exchange knowledge, but it has been met with variable acceptance. The authors surveyed neurosurgeons from around the world regarding their opinions about VL and how they see the future of neurosurgical conferences.

METHODS

The authors conducted a global online survey assessing the experience of neurosurgeons and trainees with VL activities. They also questioned respondents about how they see the future of on-site conferences and scientific meetings. They analyzed responses against demographic data, regions in which the respondents practice, and socioeconomic factors by using frequency histograms and multivariate logistic regression models.

RESULTS

Eight hundred ninety-one responses from 96 countries were received. There has been an increase in VL activities since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most respondents perceive this type of learning as positive. Respondents from lower-income nations and regions such as Europe and Central Asia were more receptive to these changes and wanted to see further movement of educational activities (conferences and scientific meetings) into a VL format. The latter desire may be driven by financial savings from not traveling. Most queried neurosurgeons indicated that virtual events are likely to partially replace on-site events.

CONCLUSIONS

The pandemic has improved perceptions of VL, and despite its limitations, VL has been well received by the majority of neurosurgeons. Lower-income nations in particular are embracing this technology. VL is still evolving, but its integration with traditional in-person meetings seems inevitable.