Analiz Rodriguez, Elizabeth N. Kuhn, Aravind Somasundaram and Daniel E. Couture
Syringohydromyelia is frequently identified on spinal imaging. The literature provides little guidance to decision making regarding the need for follow-up or treatment. The purpose of this study was to review the authors' experience in managing pediatric syringohydromyelia of unknown cause.
A single-institution retrospective review of all cases involving pediatric patients who underwent spinal MRI from 2002 to 2012 was conducted. Patients with idiopathic syringohydromyelia (IS) were identified and categorized into 2 subgroups: uncomplicated idiopathic syrinx and IS associated with scoliosis. Clinical and radiological course were analyzed.
Ninety-eight patients (50 female, 48 male) met the inclusion criteria. Median age at diagnosis of syrinx was 11.9 years. Median maximum syrinx size was 2 mm (range 0.5–17 mm) and spanned 5 vertebral levels (range 1–20 vertebral levels). Thirty-seven patients had scoliosis. The most common presenting complaint was back pain (26%). Clinical follow-up was available for 78 patients (80%), with a median follow-up of 20.5 months (range 1–143 months). A neurological deficit existed at presentation in 36% of the patients; this was either stable or improved at last follow-up in 64% of cases. Radiological follow-up was available for 38 patients (39%), with a median duration of 13 months (range 2–83 months). There was no change in syrinx size in 76% of patients, while 16% had a decrease and 8% had an increase in syrinx size. Thirty-six patients had both clinical and radiological follow-up. There was concordance between clinical and radiological course in 14 patients (39%), with 11 patients (31%) showing no change and 3 patients (8%) showing clinical and radiological improvement.
No patients had concurrent deterioration in clinical and radiological course. One patient with scoliosis and muscular dystrophy underwent direct surgical treatment of the syrinx and subsequently had a deteriorated clinical course and decreased syrinx size.
There remains a paucity of data regarding the management of pediatric IS. IS in association with scoliosis can complicate neurosurgical decision making. There was no concordance between radiological syrinx size increase and clinical deterioration in this cohort, indicating that surgical decision making should reflect clinical course as opposed to radiological course.
Taylor A. Wilson, Rebekah G. Langston, Ka Hin Wong and Analiz Rodriguez
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation (NREF) provides ongoing competitive research fellowships for residents and young investigators. The authors sought to determine the characteristics and career tracks of award recipients.
The authors analyzed characteristics and academic productivity parameters of NREF resident and young investigator awardees in the United States and Canada from 1983 to 2017. Data were extracted from the NREF database and online resources (Web of Science, NIH reporter).
In total, 224 research grants were awarded to 31 women (14%) and 193 men (86%) from 1983 to 2017. Neuro-oncology (36%) was the most common research category. Sixty percent of awardees were in training and most resident award winners were in postgraduate year 5 (37%). Forty-nine percent of all awardees had an additional postgraduate degree (PhD 39%, Master’s 10%) with a significantly higher number of PhD recipients being from Canada in comparison to any US region (p = 0.024). The Northeastern and Southeastern United States were the regions with the highest and lowest numbers of award recipients, respectively. More than one-third (40%) of awardees came from institutions that have a National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Research Education Grant (NINDS R25) for neurosurgical training. Awardees from NINDS R25–funded programs were significantly more likely to go on to receive funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (40.4% vs 26.1%; p = 0.024). The majority of recipients (72%) who were no longer in training pursued fellowships, with a significant likelihood that fellowship subspecialty correlated with NREF research category (p < 0.001). Seventy-nine percent of winners entered academic neurosurgery practice, with 18% obtaining the position of chair. The median h-index among NREF winners was 11. NIH funding was obtained by 71 awardees (32%) with 36 (18%) being a principal investigator on an R01 grant from the NIH Research Project Grant Program.
The majority of AANS/NREF research award recipients enter academics as fellowship-trained neurosurgeons, with approximately one-third obtaining NIH funding. Analysis of this unique cohort allows for identification of characteristics of academic success.
Analiz Rodriguez, Matthew T. Neal, Ann Liu, Aravind Somasundaram, Wesley Hsu and Charles L. Branch Jr
Symptomatic adjacent-segment lumbar disease (ASLD) after lumbar fusion often requires subsequent surgical intervention. The authors report utilizing cortical bone trajectory (CBT) pedicle screw fixation with intraoperative CT (O-arm) image-guided navigation to stabilize spinal levels in patients with symptomatic ASLD. This unique technique results in the placement of 2 screws in the same pedicle (1 traditional pedicle trajectory and 1 CBT) and obviates the need to remove preexisting instrumentation.
The records of 5 consecutive patients who underwent lumbar spinal fusion with CBT and posterior interbody grafting for ASLD were retrospectively reviewed. All patients underwent screw trajectory planning with the O-arm in conjunction with the StealthStation navigation system. Basic demographics, operative details, and radiographic and clinical outcomes were obtained.
The average patient age was 69.4 years (range 58–82 years). Four of the 5 surgeries were performed with the Minimal Access Spinal Technologies (MAST) Midline Lumbar Fusion (MIDLF) system. The average operative duration was 218 minutes (range 175–315 minutes). In the entire cohort, 5.5-mm cortical screws were placed in previously instrumented pedicles. The average hospital stay was 2.8 days (range 2–3 days) and there were no surgical complications. All patients had more than 6 months of radiographic and clinical follow-up (range 10–15 months). At last follow-up, all patients reported improved symptoms from their preoperative state. Radiographic follow-up showed Lenke fusion grades of A or B.
The authors present a novel fusion technique that uses CBT pedicle screw fixation in a previously instrumented pedicle with intraoperative O-arm guided navigation. This method obviates the need for hardware removal. This cohort of patients experienced good clinical results. Computed tomography navigation was critical for accurate CBT screw placement at levels where previous traditional pedicle screws were already placed for symptomatic ASLD.
Jaclyn J. Renfrow, Analiz Rodriguez, Ann Liu, Julie G. Pilitsis, Uzma Samadani, Aruna Ganju, Isabelle M. Germano, Deborah L. Benzil and Stacey Quintero Wolfe
Women compose a minority of neurosurgery residents, averaging just over 10% of matched applicants per year during this decade. A recent review by Lynch et al. raises the concern that women may be at a higher risk than men for attrition, based on analysis of a cohort matched between 1990 and 1999. This manuscript aims to characterize the trends in enrollment, attrition, and postattrition careers for women who matched in neurosurgery between 2000 and 2009.
Databases from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS) were analyzed for all residents who matched into neurosurgery during the years 2000–2009. Residents were sorted by female gender, matched against graduation records, and if graduation was not reported from neurosurgery residency programs, an Internet search was used to determine the residents’ alternative path. The primary outcome was to determine the number of women residents who did not complete neurosurgery training programs during 2000–2009. Secondary outcomes included the total number of women who matched into neurosurgery per year, year in training in which attrition occurred, and alternative career paths that these women chose to pursue.
Women comprised 240 of 1992 (12%) matched neurosurgery residents during 2000–2009. Among female residents there was a 17% attrition rate, compared with a 5.3% male attrition rate, with an overall attrition rate of 6.7%. The majority who left the field did so within the first 3 years of neurosurgical training and stayed in medicine—pursuing anesthesia, neurology, and radiology.
Although the percentage of women entering neurosurgical residency has continued to increase, this number is still disproportionate to the overall number of women in medicine. The female attrition rate in neurosurgery in the 2000–2009 cohort is comparable to that of the other surgical specialties, but for neurosurgery, there is disparity between the male and female attrition rates. Women who left the field tended to stay within medicine and usually pursued a neuroscience-related career. Given the need for talented women to pursue neurosurgery and the increasing numbers of women matching annually, the recruitment and retention of women in neurosurgery should be benchmarked and assessed.