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Ahmed E. Helal, Heba Abouzahra, Ahmed Abdelaziz Fayed, Tarek Rayan, and Mahmoud Abbassy

Healthcare spending has become a grave concern to national budgets worldwide, and to a greater extent in low-income countries. Brain tumors are a serious disease that affects a significant percentage of the population, and thus proper allocation of healthcare provisions for these patients to achieve acceptable outcomes is a must.

The authors reviewed patients undergoing craniotomy for tumor resection at their institution for the preceding 3 months. All the methods used for preoperative planning, intraoperative management, and postoperative care of these patients were documented. Compromises to limit spending were made at each stage to limit expenditure, including low-resolution MRI, sparse use of intraoperative monitoring and image guidance, and lack of dedicated postoperative neurocritical ICU.

This study included a cohort of 193 patients. The average cost from diagnosis to discharge was $1795 per patient (costs are expressed in USD). On average, there was a mortality rate of 10.5% and a neurological morbidity rate of 14%, of whom only 82.2% improved on discharge or at follow-up. The average length of stay at the hospital for these patients was 9.09 days, with a surgical site infection rate of only 3.5%.

The authors believe that despite the great number of financial limitations facing neurosurgical practice in low-income countries, surgery can still be performed with reasonable outcomes.

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Salomon Cohen-Cohen, Ahmed Helal, Ziying Yin, Matthew K. Ball, Richard L. Ehman, Jamie J. Van Gompel, and John Huston III

OBJECTIVE

Pituitary adenoma is one of the most common primary intracranial neoplasms. Most of these tumors are soft, but up to 17% may have a firmer consistency. Therefore, knowing the tumor consistency in the preoperative setting could be helpful. Multiple imaging methods have been proposed to predict tumor consistency, but the results are controversial. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of MR elastography (MRE) in predicting tumor consistency and its potential use in a series of patients with pituitary adenomas.

METHODS

Thirty-eight patients with pituitary adenomas (≥ 2.5 cm) were prospectively evaluated with MRI and MRE before surgery. Absolute MRE stiffness values and relative MRE stiffness ratios, as well as the relative ratio of T1 signal, T2 signal, and diffusion-weighted imaging apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values were determined prospectively by calculating the ratio of those values in the tumor to adjacent left temporal white matter. Tumors were classified into three groups according to surgical consistency (soft, intermediate, and firm). Statistical analysis was used to identify the predictive value of the different radiological parameters in determining pituitary adenoma consistency.

RESULTS

The authors included 32 (84.21%) nonfunctional and 6 (15.79%) functional adenomas. The mean maximum tumor diameter was 3.7 cm, and the mean preoperative tumor volume was 16.4 cm3. Cavernous sinus invasion was present in 20 patients (52.63%). A gross-total resection was possible in 9 (23.68%) patients. The entire cohort’s mean absolute tumor stiffness value was 1.8 kPa (range 1.1–3.7 kPa), whereas the mean tumor stiffness ratio was 0.66 (range 0.37–1.6). Intraoperative tumor consistency was significantly correlated with absolute and relative tumor stiffness (p = 0.0087 and 0.007, respectively). Tumor consistency alone was not a significant factor for predicting gross-total resection. Patients with intermediate and firm tumors had more complications compared to patients with soft tumors (50.00% vs 12.50%, p = 0.02) and also had longer operative times (p = 0.0002).

CONCLUSIONS

Whereas other MRI sequences have proven to be unreliable in determining tumor consistency, MRE has been shown to be a reliable tool for predicting adenoma consistency. Preoperative knowledge of tumor consistency could be potentially useful for surgical planning, counseling about potential surgical risks, and estimating the length of operative time.