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Alvin Y. Chan and Sumeet Vadera

OBJECTIVE

Morning discharge huddles consist of multiple members of the inpatient care team and are used to improve communication and patient care and to facilitate patient flow through the hospital. However, the effect of huddles on hospital costs and patient satisfaction has not been clearly elucidated. The authors investigated how a neurosurgeryled interdisciplinary daily morning huddle affected various costs of patient care and patient satisfaction.

METHODS

Huddles were conducted at 8:30 am Monday through Friday, and lasted approximately 30 minutes. The authors retrospectively looked at the average monthly costs per patient for a variety of variables (e.g., average ICU days, average step-down days, average direct cost, average laboratory costs, average pharmacy costs, hospital ratings, and hospital recommendations) and compared the results from before and after implementation of the huddle.

RESULTS

There was a significant decrease in the number of ICU days, average laboratory costs, and average pharmacy costs per patient after the huddle was implemented; decreased laboratory and pharmacy costs produced $1,408,047.66 in savings. There was no significant difference found for the average direct cost. The percentage of patients who rated the hospital as a 9 or 10 significantly increased. The percentage who answered “strongly agree” when asked whether they would recommend the hospital also significantly increased.

CONCLUSIONS

A short morning huddle consisting of key members of the inpatient team may result in substantial hospital savings derived from reduced ICU days and laboratory and pharmacy costs as well as increased patient satisfaction.

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Alvin Y. Chan, John D. Rolston, Brian Lee, Sumeet Vadera, and Dario J. Englot

OBJECTIVE

Corpus callosotomy is a palliative surgery for drug-resistant epilepsy that reduces the severity and frequency of generalized seizures by disconnecting the two cerebral hemispheres. Unlike with resection, seizure outcomes remain poorly understood. The authors systematically reviewed the literature and performed a meta-analysis to investigate rates and predictors of complete seizure freedom and freedom from drop attacks after corpus callosotomy.

METHODS

PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus were queried for primary studies examining seizure outcomes after corpus callosotomy published over 30 years. Rates of complete seizure freedom or drop attack freedom were recorded. Variables showing a potential relationship to seizure outcome on preliminary analysis were subjected to formal meta-analysis.

RESULTS

The authors identified 1742 eligible patients from 58 included studies. Overall, the rates of complete seizure freedom and drop attack freedom after corpus callosotomy were 18.8% and 55.3%, respectively. Complete seizure freedom was significantly predicted by the presence of infantile spasms (OR 3.86, 95% CI 1.13–13.23), normal MRI findings (OR 4.63, 95% CI 1.75–12.25), and shorter epilepsy duration (OR 2.57, 95% CI 1.23–5.38). Freedom from drop attacks was predicted by complete over partial callosotomy (OR 2.90, 95% CI 1.07–7.83) and idiopathic over known epilepsy etiology (OR 2.84, 95% CI 1.35–5.99).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors report the first systematic review and meta-analysis of seizure outcomes in both adults and children after corpus callosotomy for epilepsy. Approximately one-half of patients become free from drop attacks, and one-fifth achieve complete seizure freedom after surgery. Some predictors of favorable outcome differ from those in resective epilepsy surgery.

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Sumeet Vadera, Alvin Y. Chan, Lilit Mnatsankanyan, Mona Sazgar, Indranil Sen-Gupta, Jack Lin, and Frank P. K. Hsu

OBJECTIVE

Surgical treatment of patients with medically refractory focal epilepsy is underutilized. Patients may lack access to surgically proficient centers. The University of California, Irvine (UCI) entered strategic partnerships with 2 epilepsy centers with limited surgical capabilities. A formal memorandum of understanding (MOU) was created to provide epilepsy surgery to patients from these centers.

METHODS

The authors analyzed UCI surgical and financial data associated with patients undergoing epilepsy surgery between September 2012 and June 2016, before and after institution of the MOU. Variables collected included the length of stay, patient age, seizure semiology, use of invasive monitoring, and site of surgery as well as the monthly number of single-surgery cases, complex cases (i.e., staged surgeries), and overall number of surgery cases.

RESULTS

Over the 46 months of the study, a total of 104 patients underwent a total of 200 operations; 71 operations were performed in 39 patients during the pre-MOU period (28 months) and 129 operations were performed in 200 patients during the post-MOU period (18 months). There was a significant difference in the use of invasive monitoring, the site of surgery, the final therapy, and the type of insurance. The number of single-surgery cases, complex-surgery cases, and the overall number of cases increased significantly.

CONCLUSIONS

Partnerships with outside epilepsy centers are a means to increase access to surgical care. These partnerships are likely reproducible, can be mutually beneficial to all centers involved, and ultimately improve patient access to care.

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Alvin Y. Chan, Diem Kieu T. Tran, Amandip S. Gill, Frank P. K. Hsu, and Sumeet Vadera

Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat a variety of intracranial lesions. Utilization of robotic assistance with stereotactic procedures has gained attention due to potential for advantages over conventional techniques. The authors report the first case in which robot-assisted MRI-guided LITT was used to treat radiation necrosis in the posterior fossa, specifically within the cerebellar peduncle. The use of a stereotactic robot allowed the surgeon to perform LITT using a trajectory that would be extremely difficult with conventional arc-based techniques.

A 60-year-old man presented with facial weakness and brainstem symptoms consistent with radiation necrosis. He had a history of anaplastic astrocytoma that was treated with CyberKnife radiosurgery 1 year prior to presentation, and he did well for 11 months until his symptoms recurred. The location and form of the lesion precluded excision but made the patient a suitable candidate for LITT. The location and configuration of the lesion required a trajectory for LITT that was too low for arc-based stereotactic navigation, and thus the ROSA robot (Medtech) was used. Using preoperative MRI acquisitions, the lesion in the posterior fossa was targeted. Bone fiducials were used to improve accuracy in registration, and the authors obtained an intraoperative CT image that was then fused with the MR image by the ROSA robot. They placed the laser applicator and then ablated the lesion under real-time MR thermometry. There were no complications, and the patient tolerated the procedure well. Postoperative 2-month MRI showed complete resolution of the lesion, and the patient had some improvement in symptoms.

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Andrew K. Chan, Alvin Y. Chan, Darryl Lau, Beata Durcanova, Catherine A. Miller, Paul S. Larson, Philip A. Starr, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

Camptocormia is a potentially debilitating condition in the progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD). It is described as an abnormal forward flexion while standing that resolves when lying supine. Although the condition is relatively common, the underlying pathophysiology and optimal treatment strategy are unclear. In this study, the authors systematically reviewed the current surgical management strategies for camptocormia.

METHODS

PubMed was queried for primary studies involving surgical intervention for camptocormia in PD patients. Studies were excluded if they described nonsurgical interventions, provided only descriptive data, or were case reports. Secondarily, data from studies describing deep brain stimulation (DBS) to the subthalamic nuclei were extracted for potential meta-analysis. Variables showing correlation to improvement in sagittal plane bending angle (i.e., the vertical angle caused by excessive kyphosis) were subjected to formal meta-analysis.

RESULTS

The query resulted in 9 studies detailing treatment of camptocormia: 1 study described repetitive trans-spinal magnetic stimulation (rTSMS), 7 studies described DBS, and 1 study described deformity surgery. Five studies were included for meta-analysis. The total number of patients was 66. The percentage of patients with over 50% decrease in sagittal plane imbalance with DBS was 36.4%. A duration of camptocormia of 2 years or less was predictive of better outcomes (OR 4.15).

CONCLUSIONS

Surgical options include transient, external spinal stimulation; DBS targeting the subthalamic nuclei; and spinal deformity surgery. Benefit from DBS stimulation was inconsistent. Spine surgery corrected spinal imbalance but was associated with a high complication rate.

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Hansen Deng, Andrew K. Chan, Simon G. Ammanuel, Alvin Y. Chan, Taemin Oh, Henry C. Skrehot, Caleb S. Edwards, Sravani Kondapavulur, Amy D. Nichols, Catherine Liu, John K. Yue, Sanjay S. Dhall, Aaron J. Clark, Dean Chou, Christopher P. Ames, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

Surgical site infection (SSI) following spine surgery causes major morbidity and greatly impedes functional recovery. In the modern era of advanced operative techniques and improved perioperative care, SSI remains a problematic complication that may be reduced with institutional practices. The objectives of this study were to 1) characterize the SSI rate and microbial etiology following spine surgery for various thoracolumbar diseases, and 2) identify risk factors that were associated with SSI despite current perioperative management.

METHODS

All patients treated with thoracic or lumbar spine operations on the neurosurgery service at the University of California, San Francisco from April 2012 to April 2016 were formally reviewed for SSI using the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) guidelines. Preoperative risk variables included age, sex, BMI, smoking, diabetes mellitus (DM), coronary artery disease (CAD), ambulatory status, history of malignancy, use of preoperative chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) showers, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) classification. Operative variables included surgical pathology, resident involvement, spine level and surgical technique, instrumentation, antibiotic and steroid use, estimated blood loss (EBL), and operative time. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate predictors for SSI. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were reported.

RESULTS

In total, 2252 consecutive patients underwent thoracolumbar spine surgery. The mean patient age was 58.6 ± 13.8 years and 49.6% were male. The mean hospital length of stay was 6.6 ± 7.4 days. Sixty percent of patients had degenerative conditions, and 51.9% underwent fusions. Sixty percent of patients utilized presurgery CHG showers. The mean operative duration was 3.7 ± 2 hours, and the mean EBL was 467 ± 829 ml. Compared to nonfusion patients, fusion patients were older (mean 60.1 ± 12.7 vs 57.1 ± 14.7 years, p < 0.001), were more likely to have an ASA classification > II (48.0% vs 36.0%, p < 0.001), and experienced longer operative times (252.3 ± 120.9 minutes vs 191.1 ± 110.2 minutes, p < 0.001). Eleven patients had deep SSI (0.49%), and the most common causative organisms were methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant S. aureus. Patients with CAD (p = 0.003) or DM (p = 0.050), and those who were male (p = 0.006), were predictors of increased odds of SSI, and presurgery CHG showers (p = 0.001) were associated with decreased odds of SSI.

CONCLUSIONS

This institutional experience over a 4-year period revealed that the overall rate of SSI by the NHSN criteria was low at 0.49% following thoracolumbar surgery. This was attributable to the implementation of presurgery optimization, and intraoperative and postoperative measures to prevent SSI across the authors’ institution. Despite prevention measures, having a history of CAD or DM, and being male, were risk factors associated with increased SSI, and presurgery CHG shower utilization decreased SSI risk in patients.

Free access

Alvin Y. Chan, Brian V. Lien, Elliot H. Choi, Andrew K. Chan, George Hanna, Alexander M. Lopez, Nolan J. Brown, Sandra Gattas, Lydia Kirillova, David Horton, Gianna Fote, Brian Hanst, Ryan Perry, Yu-Po Lee, Kiarash Golshani, Frank P. K. Hsu, and Michael Y. Oh

OBJECTIVE

Minimally invasive anterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery (MIS ALIF) is a technique that restores disc height and lumbar lordosis through a smaller exposure and less soft-tissue trauma compared to open approaches. The mini-open and laparoscopic assistance techniques are two main forms of MIS ALIF. The authors conducted a systematic review that sought to critically summarize the literature on back pain following MIS ALIF.

METHODS

In March 2020, the authors searched the PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library databases for studies describing back pain visual analog scale (VAS) outcomes after MIS ALIF. The following exclusion criteria were applied to studies evaluated in full text: 1) the study included fewer than 20 patients, 2) the mean follow-up duration was shorter than 12 months, 3) the study did not report back pain VAS score as an outcome measure, and 4) MIS ALIF was not studied specifically. The methodology for the included studies were evaluated for potential biases and assigned a level of evidence.

RESULTS

There were a total of 552 patients included from 13 studies. The most common biases were selection and interviewer bias. The majority of studies were retrospective. The mean sample size was 42.3 patients. The mean follow-up duration was approximately 41.8 months. The mean postoperative VAS reduction was 5.1 points. The mean VAS reduction for standalone grafts was 5.9 points, and 5.0 points for those augmented with posterior fixation. The most common complications included bladder or urinary dysfunction, infection, and hardware-related complications.

CONCLUSIONS

This was a systematic review of back pain outcomes following MIS ALIF. Back pain VAS score was reduced postoperatively across all studies. The complication rates were low overall. MIS ALIF is safe and effective at reducing back pain in appropriate patient populations.

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Alvin Y. Chan, Elliot H. Choi, Michael Y. Oh, Sumeet Vadera, Jefferson W. Chen, Kiarash Golshani, William C. Wilson, and Frank P. K. Hsu

OBJECTIVE

Elective surgical cases generally have lower costs, higher profit margins, and better outcomes than nonelective cases. Investigating the differences in cost and profit between elective and nonelective cases would help hospitals in planning strategies to withstand financial losses due to potential pandemics. The authors sought to evaluate the exact cost and profit margin differences between elective and nonelective supratentorial tumor resections at a single institution.

METHODS

The authors collected economic analysis data in all patients who underwent supratentorial tumor resection at their institution between January 2014 and December 2018. The patients were grouped into elective and nonelective cases. Propensity score matching was used to adjust for heterogeneity of baseline characteristics between the two groups.

RESULTS

There were 143 elective cases and 232 nonelective cases over the 5 years. Patients in the majority of elective cases had private insurance and in the majority of nonelective cases the patients had Medicare/Medicaid (p < 0.01). The total charges were significantly lower for elective cases ($168,800.12) compared to nonelective cases ($254,839.30, p < 0.01). The profit margins were almost 6 times higher for elective than for nonelective cases ($13,025.28 vs $2,128.01, p = 0.04). After propensity score matching, there was still a significant difference between total charges and total cost.

CONCLUSIONS

Elective supratentorial tumor resections were associated with significantly lower costs with shorter lengths of stay while also being roughly 6 times more profitable than nonelective cases. These findings may help future planning for hospital strategies to survive financial losses during future pandemics that require widespread cancellation of elective cases.

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Nolan J. Brown, Elliot H. Choi, Julian L. Gendreau, Vera Ong, Alexander Himstead, Brian V. Lien, Shane Shahrestani, Seth C. Ransom, Katelynn Tran, Ali R. Tafreshi, Ronald Sahyouni, Alvin Chan, and Michael Y. Oh

OBJECTIVE

Tranexamic acid (TXA) is an antifibrinolytic agent associated with reduced blood loss and mortality in a wide range of procedures, including spine surgery, traumatic brain injury, and craniosynostosis. Despite this wide use, the safety and efficacy of TXA in spine surgery has been considered controversial due to a relative scarcity of literature and lack of statistical power in reported studies. However, if TXA can be shown to reduce blood loss in laminectomy with fusion and posterior instrumentation, more surgeons may include it in their armamentarium. The authors aimed to conduct an up-to-date systematic review and meta-analysis of the efficacy of TXA in reducing blood loss in laminectomy and fusion with posterior instrumentation.

METHODS

A systematic review and meta-analysis, abiding by PRISMA guidelines, was performed by searching the databases of PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane. These platforms were queried for all studies reporting the use of TXA in laminectomy and fusion with posterior instrumentation. Variables retrieved included patient demographics, surgical indications, involved spinal levels, type of laminectomy performed, TXA administration dose, TXA route of administration, operative duration, blood loss, blood transfusion rate, postoperative hemoglobin level, and perioperative complications. Heterogeneity across studies was evaluated using a chi-square test, Cochran’s Q test, and I2 test performed with R statistical programming software.

RESULTS

A total of 7 articles were included in the qualitative study, while 6 articles featuring 411 patients underwent statistical analysis. The most common route of administration for TXA was intravenous with 15 mg/kg administered preoperatively. After the beginning of surgery, TXA administration patterns were varied among studies. Blood transfusions were increased in non-TXA cohorts compared to TXA cohorts. Patients administered TXA demonstrated a significant reduction in blood loss (mean difference −218.44 mL; 95% CI −379.34 to −57.53; p = 0.018). TXA administration was not associated with statistically significant reductions in operative durations. There were no adverse events reported in either the TXA or non-TXA patient cohorts.

CONCLUSIONS

TXA can significantly reduce perioperative blood loss in cervical, thoracic, and lumbar laminectomy and fusion procedures, while demonstrating a minimal complication profile.

Open access

Taha M. Taka, Chen Yi Yang, Joshua N. Limbo, Alvin Y. Chan, Jordan Davies, Edward C. Kuan, Scott G. Turner, and Frank P. K. Hsu

BACKGROUND

Spindle cell oncocytoma (SCO) of the pituitary gland is an extremely rare nonfunctional World Health Organization grade I tumor. SCOs are often misdiagnosed as nonfunctional pituitary adenomas on the basis of preoperative imaging. They are often hypervascular and locally adherent, which increases hemorrhage risk and limits resection, leading to increased risk of recurrence. The authors report a case of SCO treated at their institution and provide a review of the current literature.

OBSERVATIONS

SCO of the pituitary gland can be a rare cause of progressively growing pituitary tumors that presents similarly to nonfunctional pituitary adenoma. Endoscopic transsphenoidal resection of the tumor by a multidisciplinary team allowed total resection despite local adherence of the tumor. Postoperatively, the patient’s visual symptoms improved with persistence of secondary adrenal insufficiency and secondary hypothyroidism.

LESSONS

Careful resection is needed due to SCO’s characteristic hypervascularity and strong adherence to minimize local structure damage. Long-term follow-up is recommended due to the tendency for recurrence.