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Georgina E. Sellyn, Andrew T. Hale, Alan R. Tang, Alaina Waters, Chevis N. Shannon, and Christopher M. Bonfield

OBJECTIVE

Spinal conditions and injuries in the pediatric population can necessitate surgical treatment. For many pediatric patients, a return to athletic activity after spinal surgery is a significant postoperative focus. However, there is a lack of standardized guidelines to determine criteria for safe return to play (RTP). To understand clinical criteria for patients to safely RTP, the authors conducted a systematic review of outcomes and the period of time before physicians recommend an RTP for pediatric patients undergoing spinal surgery.

METHODS

English-language publications were searched systematically in the PubMed electronic database, and a review was conducted in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines. Additional relevant studies found via a supplementary literature search were also included. Studies assessing return to athletic activity in a pediatric population after spinal surgery were included. Studies without an RTP, postsurgical activity outcomes, or surgical intervention were excluded.

RESULTS

A PubMed search identified 295 articles, with 29 included for the systematic review. In addition, 4 studies were included from a supplementary literature search. The majority of these studies were retrospective case series and cohort studies, and the remaining studies included questionnaire-based studies, prospective cohorts, and case-control studies. The most common spinal conditions or injuries included spondylolysis, and this was followed by adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Overall, the most frequent recommendation for RTP for noncontact and contact sports was 6 months after surgery (range 1–12 months), and for collision sports it was 12 months after surgery. However, some physicians recommended never returning to collision sports after spinal intervention.

CONCLUSIONS

Most pediatric patients are able to return to some level of sports after spinal surgery. However, no standardized criteria have been proposed, and RTP recommendations vary according to the treating surgeon. In addition, limited data are published on the variation in timelines for RTP with regard to classifications of sports (noncontact, contact, and collision). Further analysis of specific spinal conditions and injuries with postoperative athletic recovery is needed.

Open access

Alan R. Tang, Joseline Haizel-Cobbina, Paisit Paueksakon, Asha Sarma, Julie Bennett, Adam J. Esbenshade, and Michael C. Dewan

BACKGROUND

Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF-1) is a neurocutaneous autosomal dominant disorder that predisposes patients to develop intracranial low-grade gliomas (LGGs). Most LGGs in patients with NF-1 involve the optic pathway but can arise anywhere throughout the central nervous system. NF-1–related disseminated pediatric LGG (dPLGG) in the absence of a dominant optic pathway glioma has not been described.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors discussed a case of a 10-year-old boy who presented with consideration for biopsy with nonoptic pathway PLGG with craniospinal dPLGG in the setting of NF-1. The patient’s primary lesion, located in the right medulla, was initially treated with surveillance before induction chemotherapy with carboplatin and vincristine was initiated. However, surveillance imaging demonstrated significant increase in size and enhancement, and subsequent craniospinal imaging demonstrated extensive nodular dissemination in the cervicothoracic spine. A biopsy and molecular testing were subsequently performed to further evaluate the tumor, and the patient was diagnosed with dPLGG with CDKN2A deletion.

LESSONS

Thorough craniospinal magnetic resonance imaging evaluation and biopsy in nonoptic pathway–dominant brain lesions in NF-1 are warranted in patients with atypical clinical and radiological findings in whom standard chemotherapeutic therapy fails.

Free access

Georgina E. Sellyn, Alan R. Tang, Shilin Zhao, Madeleine Sherburn, Rachel Pellegrino, Stephen R. Gannon, Bradley S. Guidry, Travis R. Ladner, John C. Wellons III, and Chevis N. Shannon

OBJECTIVE

The authors’ previously published work validated the Chiari Health Index for Pediatrics (CHIP), a new instrument for measuring health-related quality of life (HRQOL) for pediatric Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) patients. In this study, the authors further evaluated the CHIP to assess HRQOL changes over time and correlate changes in HRQOL to changes in symptomatology and radiological factors in CM-I patients who undergo surgical intervention. Strong HRQOL evaluation instruments are currently lacking for pediatric CM-I patients, creating the need for a standardized HRQOL instrument for this patient population. This study serves as the first analysis of the CHIP instrument’s effectiveness in measuring short-term HRQOL changes in pediatric CM-I patients and can be a useful tool in future CM-I HRQOL studies.

METHODS

The authors evaluated prospectively collected CHIP scores and clinical factors of surgical intervention in patients younger than 18 years. To be included, patients completed a baseline CHIP captured during the preoperative visit, and at least 1 follow-up CHIP administered postoperatively. CHIP has 2 domains (physical and psychosocial) comprising 4 components, the 3 physical components of pain frequency, pain severity, and nonpain symptoms, and a single psychosocial component. Each CHIP category is scored on a scale, with 0 indicating absent and 1 indicating present, with higher scores indicating better HRQOL. Wilcoxon paired tests, Spearman correlations, and linear regression models were used to evaluate and correlate HRQOL, symptomatology, and radiographic factors.

RESULTS

Sixty-three patients made up the analysis cohort (92% Caucasian, 52% female, mean age 11.8 years, average follow-up time 15.4 months). Dural augmentation was performed in 92% of patients. Of the 63 patients, 48 reported preoperative symptoms and 42 had a preoperative syrinx. From baseline, overall CHIP scores significantly improved over time (from 0.71 to 0.78, p < 0.001). Significant improvement in CHIP scores was seen in patients presenting at baseline with neck/back pain (p = 0.015) and headaches (p < 0.001) and in patients with extremity numbness trending at p = 0.064. Patients with syringomyelia were found to have improvement in CHIP scores over time (0.75 to 0.82, p < 0.001), as well as significant improvement in all 4 components. Additionally, improved CHIP scores were found to be significantly associated with age in patients with cervical (p = 0.009) or thoracic (p = 0.011) syrinxes.

CONCLUSIONS

The study data show that the CHIP is an effective instrument for measuring HRQOL over time. Additionally, the CHIP was found to be significantly correlated to changes in symptomatology, a finding indicating that this instrument is a clinically valuable tool for the management of CM-I.

Restricted access

Silky Chotai, Alan R. Tang, Jake R. McDermott, Bradley S. Guidry, Candace J. Grisham, Aaron M. Yengo-Kahn, Peter J. Morone, Reid C. Thompson, and Lola B. Chambless

OBJECTIVE

Excision of intracranial meningiomas often requires resection or coagulation of the dura mater. The choice of dural closure technique is individualized and based on surgeon preference. The objective of this study was to determine outcomes following various dural closure techniques for supratentorial meningiomas.

METHODS

A retrospective, single-center cohort study was performed for patients who underwent excision of supratentorial meningiomas from 2000 to 2019. Outcomes including operative time, postoperative in-hospital complications, readmission, causes of readmission including surgical site infection, pseudomeningocele, need for shunt surgery, and imaging appearance of pseudomeningocele on long-term follow-up imaging were compared. Univariate and multivariable analyses were conducted.

RESULTS

A total of 353 patients who had complete clinical and operative data available for review were included. Of these patients, 227 (64.3%) had nonsutured dural graft reconstruction and 126 (35.7%) had sutured dural repair, including primary closure, artificial dura, or pericranial graft. There was significant variability in using nonsutured dural reconstruction compared with sutured dural repair technique among surgeons (p < 0.001). Tumors with sagittal sinus involvement were more likely to undergo nonsutured closure (n = 79, 34.8%) than dural repair (n = 26, 20.6%) (p = 0.003). There were no other differences in preoperative imaging findings or WHO grade. Frequency of surgical site infection and pseudomeningocele, need for shunt surgery, and recurrence were similar between those undergoing nonsutured and those undergoing sutured dural repair. The mean operative time for the study cohort was 234.9 (SD 106.6) minutes. The nonsutured dural reconstruction group had a significantly shorter mean operative time (223.9 [SD 99.7] minutes) than the sutured dural repair group (254.5 [SD 115.8] minutes) (p = 0.015). In a multivariable linear regression analysis, after controlling for tumor size and sinus involvement, nonsutured dural graft reconstruction was associated with a 36.8-minute reduction (95% CI −60.3 to −13.2 minutes; p = 0.002) in operative time.

CONCLUSIONS

Dural reconstruction using a nonsutured graft and sutured dural repair exhibit similar postoperative outcomes for patients undergoing resection for supratentorial meningiomas. Although sutured grafts may sometimes be necessary, nonsutured graft reconstruction for most supratentorial meningioma resections may suffice. The decreased operative time associated with nonsutured grafts may ultimately result in cost savings. These findings should be taken into consideration when selecting a dural reconstruction technique for supratentorial meningioma.

Restricted access

Alan R. Tang, Jeffrey W. Chen, Georgina E. Sellyn, Heidi Chen, Shilin Zhao, Stephen R. Gannon, Chevis N. Shannon, and Christopher M. Bonfield

OBJECTIVE

Caregiver stress from a child’s diagnosis can impact a caregiver’s ability to participate in treatment decisions, comply, and manage long-term illness. The aim of this study was to compare caregiver stress in children with craniosynostosis at diagnosis and postoperatively.

METHODS

This prospective study included caregivers of pediatric patients with craniosynostosis receiving operative intervention. Demographics and Parenting Stress Index, Short Form (PSI-SF) and Pediatric Inventory for Parents (PIP) surveys at baseline (preoperatively) and 3 and 6 months postoperatively were completed. PSI-SF scores between 15 and 80 are considered normal, with > 85 being clinically significant and requiring follow-up. Higher PIP scores represent increased frequency and difficulty of stressful events due to the child’s illness. Pairwise comparisons were performed using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Multivariate analysis was performed to assess for PSI-SF and PIP predictors.

RESULTS

Of 106 caregivers (84% Caucasian), there were 62 mothers and 40 fathers. There were 68 and 45 responses at 3 and 6 months postoperatively, respectively. Regarding the baseline group, more than 80% were between 20 and 40 years of age and 58% had less than 2 years of college education. The median household income fell in the $45,001–$60,000 bracket. There was no significant difference between median baseline PSI-SF score (65, IQR 51–80) and those at 3 months (p = 0.45) and 6 months (p = 0.82) postoperatively. Both median PIP frequency (89 vs 74, p < 0.01) and difficulty (79 vs 71, p < 0.01) scores were lower at 3 months, although no significant difference was observed at 6 months (frequency: 95 vs 91, p = 0.67; difficulty: 82 vs 80, p = 0.34). Female sex, uninsured status, and open surgery type were all risk factors for higher parental stress.

CONCLUSIONS

Stress levels ranged from normal to clinically significant in the caregivers, with sex, uninsured status, and open repair predicting higher stress. Stress decreased at 3 months postoperatively before increasing at 6 months. Intervention targeting caregiver stress should be explored to maintain lower stress observed at 3 months after surgery.

Full access

Jaims Lim, Alan R. Tang, Campbell Liles, Alexander A. Hysong, Andrew T. Hale, Christopher M. Bonfield, Robert P. Naftel, John C. Wellons III, and Chevis N. Shannon

OBJECTIVE

Many studies have aimed to determine the most clinically effective surgical intervention for hydrocephalus. However, the costs associated with each treatment option are poorly understood. In this study, the authors conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis, calculating the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of ventriculoperitoneal shunting (VPS), endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV), and ETV with choroid plexus cauterization (ETV/CPC) in an effort to better understand the clinical effectiveness and costs associated with treating hydrocephalus.

METHODS

The study cohort includes patients under the age of 18 who were initially treated for hydrocephalus between January 2012 and January 2015 at the authors’ institution. Overall treatment costs were calculated using patient-level hospitalization costs and professional fees reimbursable to the hospital and directly related to the initial and follow-up (postoperative day 1 to 12 months) treatment of hydrocephalus. TreeAge Pro was used to conduct the cost-effectiveness analyses.

RESULTS

A total of 147 patients were identified. Based on the initial intervention for hydrocephalus, their cases were classified as follows: 113 VPS, 14 ETV, and 20 ETV/CPC. During the initial intervention, VPS patients required a longer length of stay at 5.6 days, compared to ETV/CPC (3.35 days) and ETV (2.36 days) patients. Failure rates for all treatment options ranged from 29% to 45%, leading to recurrent hydrocephalus and additional surgical intervention between postoperative day 1 and 12 months. Cost-effectiveness analyses found ETV to be less costly and more clinically effective, with an ICER of $94,797 compared to VPS ($130,839) and ETV/CPC ($126,394). However, when stratified by etiology, VPS was found to be more clinically effective and cost-effective in both the myelomeningocele and posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus patient groups with an incremental cost per clinical unit of effectiveness (success or failure of intervention) of $76,620 compared to ETV and ETV/CPC. However, when assessing cases categorized as “other etiologies,” ETV was found to be more cost-effective per clinical unit, with an ICER of $60,061 compared to ETV/CPC ($93,350) and VPS ($142,135).

CONCLUSIONS

This study is one of the first attempts at quantifying the patient-level hospitalization costs associated with surgical management of hydrocephalus in pediatric patients treated in the United States. The results indicate that the conversation regarding CSF diversion techniques must be patient-specific and consider etiology as well as any previous surgical intervention. Again, these findings are short-run observations, and a long-term follow-up study should be conducted to assess the cost of treating hydrocephalus over the lifetime of a patient.

Free access

Alan R. Tang, Rebecca A. Reynolds, Jonathan Dallas, Heidi Chen, E. Haley Vance, Christopher M. Bonfield, and Chevis N. Shannon

OBJECTIVE

Pediatric isolated linear skull fractures commonly result from head trauma and rarely require surgery, yet patients are often admitted to the hospital—a costly care plan. In this study, the authors utilized a national database to investigate trends in admission for skull fractures across the United States.

METHODS

Children younger than 18 years with isolated linear skull fracture, according to ICD-9 diagnosis codes in the Kids’ Inpatient Database of the Healthcare and Utilization Project (HCUP), who presented between 2003 and 2016 were included. HCUP collected data in 2003, 2006, 2009, 2012, and 2016. Children with a depressed skull fracture, multiple traumatic injuries, and acute intracranial findings were excluded. Sample-level data were translated into population-level data by using an HCUP-specific discharge weight.

RESULTS

Overall, 11,355 patients (64% males) were admitted to 1605 hospitals. National admissions decreased from 3053 patients in 2003 to 1203 in 2016. The mean ± SD age at admission also decreased from 6.3 ± 5.9 years to 1.2 ± 3.0 years (p < 0.001). The proportion of patients in the lowest quartile of median household income increased by 9%, while that in the highest income quartile decreased by 7% (p < 0.001). Admission was generally more common in the summer months (June, July, and August) and on weekdays (68%). The mean ± SD hospital length of stay decreased from 2.0 ± 3.1 days to 1.4 ± 1.4 days between 2003 and 2012, and then increased to 2.1 ± 6.8 days in 2016 (p < 0.001). When adjusted for inflation, the mean total hospital charges increased from $13,099 to $21,204 (p < 0.001). The greatest proportion of admissions was in the South (35%), and the lowest was in the Northeast (17%). The proportion of patients admitted to large hospitals increased (59% to 72%, p < 0.001), which corresponded to a decrease in patients admitted to small hospitals (16% to 9%, p < 0.001). Overall, the total proportion of admissions to rural hospitals decreased by 6%, and that to urban teaching centers increased by 15% (p < 0.001). Since 2003, no child has undergone a neurosurgical procedure or died as an inpatient.

CONCLUSIONS

This study identified a general nationwide decrease in admissions for pediatric linear isolated skull fracture, but associated costs increased. Admissions became less common at smaller rural hospitals and more common at larger urban teaching hospitals. This patient population required no inpatient neurosurgical intervention after 2003.

Free access

Alan R. Tang, Rebecca A. Reynolds, Jonathan Dallas, Heidi Chen, E. Haley Vance, Christopher M. Bonfield, and Chevis N. Shannon

OBJECTIVE

Pediatric isolated linear skull fractures commonly result from head trauma and rarely require surgery, yet patients are often admitted to the hospital—a costly care plan. In this study, the authors utilized a national database to investigate trends in admission for skull fractures across the United States.

METHODS

Children younger than 18 years with isolated linear skull fracture, according to ICD-9 diagnosis codes in the Kids’ Inpatient Database of the Healthcare and Utilization Project (HCUP), who presented between 2003 and 2016 were included. HCUP collected data in 2003, 2006, 2009, 2012, and 2016. Children with a depressed skull fracture, multiple traumatic injuries, and acute intracranial findings were excluded. Sample-level data were translated into population-level data by using an HCUP-specific discharge weight.

RESULTS

Overall, 11,355 patients (64% males) were admitted to 1605 hospitals. National admissions decreased from 3053 patients in 2003 to 1203 in 2016. The mean ± SD age at admission also decreased from 6.3 ± 5.9 years to 1.2 ± 3.0 years (p < 0.001). The proportion of patients in the lowest quartile of median household income increased by 9%, while that in the highest income quartile decreased by 7% (p < 0.001). Admission was generally more common in the summer months (June, July, and August) and on weekdays (68%). The mean ± SD hospital length of stay decreased from 2.0 ± 3.1 days to 1.4 ± 1.4 days between 2003 and 2012, and then increased to 2.1 ± 6.8 days in 2016 (p < 0.001). When adjusted for inflation, the mean total hospital charges increased from $13,099 to $21,204 (p < 0.001). The greatest proportion of admissions was in the South (35%), and the lowest was in the Northeast (17%). The proportion of patients admitted to large hospitals increased (59% to 72%, p < 0.001), which corresponded to a decrease in patients admitted to small hospitals (16% to 9%, p < 0.001). Overall, the total proportion of admissions to rural hospitals decreased by 6%, and that to urban teaching centers increased by 15% (p < 0.001). Since 2003, no child has undergone a neurosurgical procedure or died as an inpatient.

CONCLUSIONS

This study identified a general nationwide decrease in admissions for pediatric linear isolated skull fracture, but associated costs increased. Admissions became less common at smaller rural hospitals and more common at larger urban teaching hospitals. This patient population required no inpatient neurosurgical intervention after 2003.