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Francis Lovecchio, Renaud Lafage, Jonathan Charles Elysee, Alex Huang, Bryan Ang, Mathieu Bannwarth, Han Jo Kim, Frank Schwab, and Virginie Lafage

OBJECTIVE

Supine radiographs have successfully been used for preoperative planning of lumbar deformity corrections. However, they have not been used to assess thoracic flexibility, which has recently garnered attention as a potential contributor to proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK). The purpose of this study was to compare supine to standing radiographs to assess thoracic flexibility and to determine whether thoracic flexibility is associated with PJK.

METHODS

A retrospective study was conducted of a single-institution database of patients with adult spinal deformity (ASD). Sagittal alignment parameters were compared between standing and supine and between pre- and postoperative radiographs. Thoracic flexibility was determined as the change between preoperative standing thoracic kyphosis (TK) and preoperative supine TK, and these changes were measured over the overall thoracic spine and the fused portion of the thoracic spine (i.e., TK fused). A case-control analysis was performed to compare thoracic flexibility between patients with PJK and those without (no PJK). The cohort was also stratified into three groups based on thoracic flexibility: kyphotic change (increased TK), lordotic change (decreased TK), and no change. The PJK rate was compared between the cohorts.

RESULTS

A total of 101 patients (mean 63 years old, 82.2% female, mean BMI 27.4 kg/m2) were included. Preoperative Scoliosis Research Society–Schwab ASD classification showed moderate preoperative deformity (pelvic tilt 27.7% [score ++]; pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch 44.6% [score ++]; sagittal vertical axis 42.6% [score ++]). Postoperatively, the average offset from age-adjusted alignment goals demonstrated slight overcorrection in the study sample (−8.5° ± 15.6° pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch, −29.2 ± 53.1 mm sagittal vertical axis, −5.4 ± 10.8 pelvic tilt, and −7.6 ± 11.7 T1 pelvic angle). TK decreased between standing and supine radiographs and increased postoperatively (TK fused: −25.3° vs −19.6° vs −29.9°; all p < 0.001). The overall rate of radiographic PJK was 23.8%. Comparisons between PJK and no PJK demonstrated that offsets from age-adjusted alignment goals were similar (p > 0.05 for all). There was a significant difference in the PJK rate when stratified by thoracic flexibility cohorts (kyphotic: 0.0% vs no change: 18.4% vs lordotic: 35.0%; p = 0.049). Logistic regression revealed thoracic flexibility (p = 0.045) as the only independent correlate of PJK.

CONCLUSIONS

Half of patients with ASD experienced significant changes in TK during supine positioning, a quality that may influence surgical strategy. Increased thoracic flexibility is associated with PJK, possibly secondary to fusing the patient’s spine in a flattened position intraoperatively.

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Jai Deep Thakur, Regin Jay Mallari, Alex Corlin, Samantha Yawitz, Weichao Huang, Amy Eisenberg, Walavan Sivakumar, Howard R. Krauss, Chester Griffiths, Garni Barkhoudarian, and Daniel F. Kelly

OBJECTIVE

Increased lifespan has led to more elderly patients being diagnosed with meningiomas. In this study, the authors sought to analyze and compare patients ≥ 65 years old with those < 65 years old who underwent minimally invasive surgery for meningioma. To address surgical selection criteria, the authors also assessed a cohort of patients managed without surgery.

METHODS

In a retrospective analysis, consecutive patients with meningiomas who underwent minimally invasive (endonasal, supraorbital, minipterional, transfalcine, or retromastoid) and conventional surgical treatment approaches during the period from 2008 to 2019 were dichotomized into those ≥ 65 and those < 65 years old to compare resection rates, endoscopy use, complications, and length of hospital stay (LOS). A comparator meningioma cohort of patients ≥ 65 years old who were observed without surgery during the period from 2015 to 2019 was also analyzed.

RESULTS

Of 291 patients (median age 60 years, 71.5% females, mean follow-up 36 months) undergoing meningioma resection, 118 (40.5%) were aged ≥ 65 years and underwent 126 surgeries, including 20% redo operations, as follows: age 65–69 years, 46 operations; 70–74 years, 40 operations; 75–79 years, 17 operations; and ≥ 80 years, 23 operations. During 2015–2019, of 98 patients referred for meningioma, 67 (68%) had surgery, 1 (1%) had radiosurgery, and 31 (32%) were observed. In the 11-year surgical cohort, comparing 173 patients < 65 years versus 118 patients ≥ 65 years old, there were no significant differences in tumor location, size, or outcomes. Of 126 cases of surgery in 118 elderly patients, the approach was a minimally invasive approach to skull base meningioma (SBM) in 64 cases (51%) as follows: endonasal 18, supraorbital 28, minipterional 6, and retrosigmoid 12. Endoscope-assisted surgery was performed in 59.5% of patients. A conventional approach to SBM was performed in 15 cases (12%) (endoscope-assisted 13.3%), and convexity craniotomy for non–skull base meningioma (NSBM) in 47 cases (37%) (endoscope-assisted 17%). In these three cohorts (minimally invasive SBM, conventional SBM, and NSBM), the gross-total/near-total resection rates were 59.5%, 60%, and 91.5%, respectively, and an improved or stable Karnofsky Performance Status score occurred in 88.6%, 86.7%, and 87.2% of cases, respectively. For these 118 elderly patients, the median LOS was 3 days, and major complications occurred in 10 patients (8%) as follows: stroke 4%, vision decline 3%, systemic complications 0.7%, and wound infection or death 0. Eighty-three percent of patients were discharged home, and readmissions occurred in 5 patients (4%). Meningioma recurrence occurred in 4 patients (3%) and progression in 11 (9%). Multivariate regression analysis showed no significance of American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status score, comorbidities, or age subgroups on outcomes; patients aged ≥ 80 years showed a trend of longer hospitalization.

CONCLUSIONS

This analysis suggests that elderly patients with meningiomas, when carefully selected, generally have excellent surgical outcomes and tumor control. When applied appropriately, use of minimally invasive approaches and endoscopy may be helpful in achieving maximal safe resection, reducing complications, and promoting short hospitalizations. Notably, one-third of our elderly meningioma patients referred for possible surgery from 2015 to 2019 were managed nonoperatively.

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Uzma Samadani, Sameer Farooq, Robert Ritlop, Floyd Warren, Marleen Reyes, Elizabeth Lamm, Anastasia Alex, Elena Nehrbass, Radek Kolecki, Michael Jureller, Julia Schneider, Agnes Chen, Chen Shi, Neil Mendhiratta, Jason H. Huang, Meng Qian, Roy Kwak, Artem Mikheev, Henry Rusinek, Ajax George, Robert Fergus, Douglas Kondziolka, Paul P. Huang, and R. Theodore Smith

OBJECT

Automated eye movement tracking may provide clues to nervous system function at many levels. Spatial calibration of the eye tracking device requires the subject to have relatively intact ocular motility that implies function of cranial nerves (CNs) III (oculomotor), IV (trochlear), and VI (abducent) and their associated nuclei, along with the multiple regions of the brain imparting cognition and volition. The authors have developed a technique for eye tracking that uses temporal rather than spatial calibration, enabling detection of impaired ability to move the pupil relative to normal (neurologically healthy) control volunteers. This work was performed to demonstrate that this technique may detect CN palsies related to brain compression and to provide insight into how the technique may be of value for evaluating neuropathological conditions associated with CN palsy, such as hydrocephalus or acute mass effect.

METHODS

The authors recorded subjects' eye movements by using an Eyelink 1000 eye tracker sampling at 500 Hz over 200 seconds while the subject viewed a music video playing inside an aperture on a computer monitor. The aperture moved in a rectangular pattern over a fixed time period. This technique was used to assess ocular motility in 157 neurologically healthy control subjects and 12 patients with either clinical CN III or VI palsy confirmed by neuro-ophthalmological examination, or surgically treatable pathological conditions potentially impacting these nerves. The authors compared the ratio of vertical to horizontal eye movement (height/width defined as aspect ratio) in normal and test subjects.

RESULTS

In 157 normal controls, the aspect ratio (height/width) for the left eye had a mean value ± SD of 1.0117 ± 0.0706. For the right eye, the aspect ratio had a mean of 1.0077 ± 0.0679 in these 157 subjects. There was no difference between sexes or ages. A patient with known CN VI palsy had a significantly increased aspect ratio (1.39), whereas 2 patients with known CN III palsy had significantly decreased ratios of 0.19 and 0.06, respectively. Three patients with surgically treatable pathological conditions impacting CN VI, such as infratentorial mass effect or hydrocephalus, had significantly increased ratios (1.84, 1.44, and 1.34, respectively) relative to normal controls, and 6 patients with supratentorial mass effect had significantly decreased ratios (0.27, 0.53, 0.62, 0.45, 0.49, and 0.41, respectively). These alterations in eye tracking all reverted to normal ranges after surgical treatment of underlying pathological conditions in these 9 neurosurgical cases.

CONCLUSIONS

This proof of concept series of cases suggests that the use of eye tracking to detect CN palsy while the patient watches television or its equivalent represents a new capacity for this technology. It may provide a new tool for the assessment of multiple CNS functions that can potentially be useful in the assessment of awake patients with elevated intracranial pressure from hydrocephalus or trauma.

Open access

Marjorie C. Wang, Frederick A. Boop, Douglas Kondziolka, Daniel K. Resnick, Steven N. Kalkanis, Elizabeth Koehnen, Nathan R. Selden, Carl B. Heilman, Alex B. Valadka, Kevin M. Cockroft, John A. Wilson, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Anthony L. Asher, Richard W. Byrne, Paul J. Camarata, Judy Huang, John J. Knightly, Elad I. Levy, Russell R. Lonser, E. Sander Connolly Jr., Fredric B. Meyer, and Linda M. Liau

The American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS) was incorporated in 1940 in recognition of the need for detailed training in and special qualifications for the practice of neurological surgery and for self-regulation of quality and safety in the field. The ABNS believes it is the duty of neurosurgeons to place a patient’s welfare and rights above all other considerations and to provide care with compassion, respect for human dignity, honesty, and integrity. At its inception, the ABNS was the 13th member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), which itself was founded in 1933. Today, the ABNS is one of the 24 member boards of the ABMS.

To better serve public health and safety in a rapidly changing healthcare environment, the ABNS continues to evolve in order to elevate standards for the practice of neurological surgery. In connection with its activities, including initial certification, recognition of focused practice, and continuous certification, the ABNS actively seeks and incorporates input from the public and the physicians it serves. The ABNS board certification processes are designed to evaluate both real-life subspecialty neurosurgical practice and overall neurosurgical knowledge, since most neurosurgeons provide call coverage for hospitals and thus must be competent to care for the full spectrum of neurosurgery.

The purpose of this report is to describe the history, current state, and anticipated future direction of ABNS certification in the US.