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Kyle A. Smith, Michael Salacz and Paul J. Camarata

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Jawad M. Khalifeh, Christopher F. Dibble, Ammar H. Hawasli and Wilson Z. Ray

OBJECTIVE

The Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) is an adaptive, self-reported outcomes assessment tool that utilizes item response theory and computer adaptive testing to efficiently and precisely evaluate symptoms and perceived health status. Efforts to implement and report PROMIS outcomes in spine clinical practice remain limited. The objective of this retrospective cohort study is to evaluate the performance and psychometric properties of PROMIS physical function (PF) and pain interference (PI) among patients undergoing spine surgery.

METHODS

The authors identified all patients who underwent spine surgery at their institution between 2016 and 2018, and for whom there was retrievable PROMIS data. Descriptive statistics were calculated to summarize demographics, operative characteristics, and patient-reported outcomes. Assessments were evaluated preoperatively, and postoperatively within 2 months (early), 6 months (intermediate), and up to 2 years (late). Pairwise change scores were calculated to evaluate within-subjects differences and construct responsiveness over time. Pearson’s correlation coefficients were used to evaluate the association between PROMIS PF and PI domains. Subgroup analysis was performed based on the primary diagnoses of cervical radiculopathy, cervical myelopathy, or lumbar degenerative disease.

RESULTS

A total of 2770 patients (1395 males, 50.4%) were included in the analysis. The mean age at the time of surgery was 57.3 ± 14.4 years. Mean postoperative follow-up duration was 7.6 ± 6.2 months. Preoperatively, patients scored an average 15.1 ± 7.4 points below the normative population (mean 50 ± 10 points) in PF, and 15.8 ± 6.8 points above the mean in PI. PROMIS PF required a mean of 4.1 ± 0.6 questions and median 40 seconds (interquartile range [IQR] 29–58 seconds) to be completed, which was similar to PI (median 4.3 ± 1.1 questions and 38 seconds [IQR 27–59 seconds]). Patients experienced clinically meaningful improvements in PF and PI, which were sustained throughout the postoperative course. PROMIS instruments were able to capture anticipated changes in PF and PI, although to a lesser degree in PF early postoperatively. There was a strong negative correlation between PROMIS PF and PI scores at baseline (Pearson’s r = −0.72) and during follow-up appointments (early, intermediate, and late |r| > 0.6, each). Subgroup analysis demonstrated similar results within diagnostic groups compared to the overall cohort. However, the burden of PF limitations and PI was greater within the lumbar spine disease subgroup, compared to patients with cervical radiculopathy and myelopathy.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients receiving care at a tertiary spine surgery outpatient clinic experience significant overall disability and PI, as measured by PROMIS PF and PI computer adaptive tests. PROMIS PF and PI health domains are strongly correlated, responsive to changes over time, and facilitate time-efficient evaluations of perceived health status outcomes in patients undergoing spine surgery.

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Sam Q. Sun, Ammar H. Hawasli, Jiayi Huang, Michael R. Chicoine and Albert H. Kim

The management of WHO Grade II “atypical” meningiomas (AMs) and Grade III “malignant” meningiomas (MMs) remains controversial and under-investigated in prospective studies. The roles of surgery, radiation therapy, radiosurgery, and chemotherapy have been incompletely delineated. This has left physicians to decipher how they should treat patients on a case-by-case basis. In this study, the authors review the English-language literature on the management and clinical outcomes associated with AMs and MMs diagnosed using the WHO 2000/2007 grading criteria. Twenty-two studies for AMs and 7 studies for MMs were examined in detail. The authors examined clinical decision points using the literature and concepts from evidence-based medicine. Acknowledging the retrospective nature of the studies concerning AM and MM, the authors did find evidence for the following clinical strategies: 1) maximal safe resection of AM and MM; 2) active surveillance after gross-total resection of AM; 3) adjuvant radiation therapy after subtotal resection of AM, especially in the absence of putative radioresistant features; and 4) adjuvant radiation therapy after resection of MM.

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Ammar H. Hawasli, Jawad M. Khalifeh, Ajay Chatrath, Chester K. Yarbrough and Wilson Z. Ray

OBJECTIVE

Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS-TLIF) has been adopted as an alternative technique to hasten recovery and minimize postoperative morbidity. Advances in instrumentation technologies and operative techniques have evolved to maximize patient outcomes as well as radiographic results. The development of expandable interbody devices allows a surgeon to perform MIS-TLIF with minimal tissue disruption. However, sagittal segmental and pelvic radiographic outcomes after MIS-TLIF with expandable interbody devices are not well characterized. The object of this study is to evaluate the radiographic sagittal lumbar segmental and pelvic parameter outcomes of MIS-TLIF performed using an expandable interbody device.

METHODS

A retrospective review of MIS-TLIFs performed between 2014 and 2016 at a high-volume center was performed. Radiographic measurements were performed on lateral radiographs before and after MIS-TLIF with static or expandable interbody devices. Radiographic measurements included disc height, foraminal height, fused disc angle, lumbar lordosis, pelvic incidence, sacral slope, and pelvic tilt. Mismatch between pelvic incidence and lumbar lordosis were calculated for each radiograph.

RESULTS

A total of 48 MIS-TLIFs were performed, predominantly at the L4–5 level, in 44 patients. MIS-TLIF with an expandable interbody device led to a greater and more sustained increase in disc height when compared with static interbody devices. Foraminal height increased after MIS-TLIF with expandable but not with static interbody devices. MIS-TLIF with expandable interbody devices increased index-level segmental lordosis more than with static interbody devices. The increase in segmental lordosis was sustained in the patients with expandable interbody devices but not in patients with static interbody devices. For patients with a collapsed disc space, MIS-TLIF with an expandable interbody device provided superior and longer-lasting increases in disc height, foraminal height, and index-level segmental lordosis than in comparison with patients with static interbody devices. Using an expandable interbody device improved the Oswestry Disability Index scores more than using a static interbody device, and both disc height and segmental lordosis were correlated with improved clinical outcome. Lumbar MIS-TLIF with expandable or static interbody devices had no effect on overall lumbar lordosis, pelvic parameters, or pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch.

CONCLUSIONS

Performing MIS-TLIF with an expandable interbody device led to a greater and longer-lasting restoration of disc height, foraminal height, and index-level segmental lordosis than MIS-TLIF with a static interbody device, especially for patients with a collapsed disc space. However, neither technique had any effect on radiographic pelvic parameters.

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Acalvaria

Case report

Ammar H. Hawasli, Thomas L. Beaumont, Timothy W. Vogel, Albert S. Woo and Jeffrey R. Leonard

Acalvaria is a rare congenital malformation characterized by an absence of skin and skull. The authors describe a newborn at an estimated 38 weeks gestational age who was delivered via cesarean section from a 32-year-old mother. Upon delivery, the child was noted to have a frontal encephalocele and an absence of calvaria including skull and skin overlying the brain. A thin membrane representing dura mater was overlying the cortical tissue. After multiple craniofacial operations, including repair of the encephalocele and application of cultured keratinocytes over the rostral defect, the patient demonstrated significant closure of the calvarial defect and was alive at an age of more than 17 months with near-average development.

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Ammar H. Hawasli, Albert H. Kim, Gavin P. Dunn, David D. Tran and Eric C. Leuthardt

Evolving research has demonstrated that surgical cytoreduction of a high-grade glial neoplasm is an important factor in improving the prognosis of these difficult tumors. Recent advances in intraoperative imaging have spurred the use of stereotactic laser ablation (laser interstitial thermal therapy [LITT]) for intracranial lesions. Among other targets, laser ablation has been used in the focal treatment of high-grade gliomas (HGGs). The revived application of laser ablation for gliomas parallels major advancements in intraoperative adjuvants and groundbreaking molecular advances in neuro-oncology. The authors review the research on stereotactic LITT for the treatment of HGGs and provide a potential management algorithm for HGGs that incorporates LITT in clinical practice.