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Ahmed K. Alomari, Brian J. Kelley, Eyiyemisi Damisah, Asher Marks, Pei Hui, Michael DiLuna, and Alexander Vortmeyer

Craniopharyngioma is one of the most common non-glial intracranial tumors of childhood. Its relation to Rathke's cleft cyst (RCC) is controversial, and both lesions have been hypothesized to lie on a continuum of cystic ectodermal lesions of the sellar region. The authors report on a 7-year-old boy who presented with decreased visual acuity, presumably of at least 2 years' duration, and was found to have a 5.2-cm sellar lesion with rim enhancement. Histological examination of the resected lesion showed a mixture of areas with simple RCC morphology with focal squamous metaplasia and areas with typical craniopharyngioma morphology. Immunohistochemical staining with CK20 and Ki 67 differentially highlighted the 2 morphological components. Testing for beta-catenin and BRAF mutations was negative in the craniopharyngioma component, precluding definitive molecular classification. Follow-up imaging showed minimal residual enhancement and the patient will be closely followed up with serial MRI. Given the clinical and histological findings in the case, a progressive transformation of the RCC to craniopharyngioma seems to be the most plausible explanation for the co-occurrence of the 2 lesion types in this patient. An extensive review of previously proposed theories of the relationship between craniopharyngioma and RCC is also presented.

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Vincent Rossi, Anthony Asher, David Peters, Scott L. Zuckerman, Mark Smith, Martin Henegar, Hunter Dyer, Domagoj Coric, Deborah Pfortmiller, Tim Adamson, and Matthew McGirt

OBJECTIVE

Several studies have demonstrated that anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) surgery in the outpatient versus hospital setting provides improved efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and patient satisfaction without a compromise in safety or outcome. Recent anecdotal reports, however, have questioned whether outpatient ACDF surgery is safe in the > 65-year-old Medicare population. To date, no clinical study has assessed the safety of outpatient ACDF in an ambulatory surgery center (ASC), specifically in a Medicare population. The authors set out to analyze their 3-year experience with Medicare-enrolled patients undergoing ACDF surgery at a single ASC to determine its safety profile, perioperative care protocol, and associated outcomes.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of 119 consecutive patients > 65 years (Medicare-eligible) who underwent 1-, 2-, or 3-level ACDF at a single ASC from 2015 to 2018 (since Medicare payment approval) was conducted. All patients were in American Society of Anesthesiologists classes I–III. Postoperatively, patients were observed for a minimum of 4 hours in a recovery setting for the following factors: neck swelling, neurological status, ability to swallow solid food, and urination capacity. All patients received a multimodal pain management regimen prior to discharge home. Data were collected on patient demographics, comorbidities, operative details, and all perioperative and 90-day morbidity.

RESULTS

Complete data were available for all 119 consecutive Medicare-eligible patients, 97 (81.5%) of whom were actively enrolled in Medicare. One-, 2-, and 3-level ACDFs were performed in 103 (86.6%), 15 (12.6%), and 1 (0.8%) patients, respectively. No patients required return to the operating room for intervention within the 4-hour postanesthesia care unit observation window. No patients required transfer from the ASC to the hospital setting for further observation or intervention. Thirty-day adverse events were reported in 2.4% of cases, all of which resolved by 90 days after surgery. The incidence of 90-day hospital readmission was 1.7% (n = 2), with 1 patient (0.8%) requiring reoperation at the index level for deep infection. All-cause 90-day mortality was 0%.

CONCLUSIONS

An analysis of consecutive Medicare patients (American Society of Anesthesiologists classes I–III) who underwent mostly 1-level and some 2-level ACDFs in an ASC setting demonstrates that surgical complications occur at a low rate with a safety profile similar to that reported for both inpatient ACDF and patients younger than 65 years. In an effort to reduce cost and improve efficiency of care, surgeons can safely perform ACDF in the Medicare population in an ASC environment utilizing patient selection criteria and perioperative management similar to those reported here.

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Elena I. Fomchenko, E. Zeynep Erson-Omay, Adam J. Kundishora, Christopher S. Hong, Ava A. Daniel, August Allocco, Phan Q. Duy, Armine Darbinyan, Asher M. Marks, Michael L. DiLuna, Kristopher T. Kahle, and Anita Huttner

Pediatric midline tumors are devastating high-grade lesions with a dismal prognosis and no curative surgical options. Here, the authors report the clinical presentation, surgical management, whole-exome sequencing (WES), and clonality analysis of a patient with a radically resected H3K27M-mutant pineal parenchymal tumor (PPT) and spine metastases consistent with PPT of intermediate differentiation (PPTID). They identified somatic mutations in H3F3A (H3K27M), FGFR1, and NF1 both in the original PPT and in the PPTID metastases. They also found 12q amplification containing CDK4/MDM2 and chromosome 17 loss of heterozygosity overlapping with NF1 that resulted in biallelic NF1 loss. They noted a hypermutated phenotype with increased C>T transitions within the PPTID metastases and 2p amplification overlapping with the MYCN locus. Clonality analysis detected three founder clones maintained during progression and metastasis. Tumor clones present within the PPTID metastases but not the pineal midline tumor harbored mutations in APC and TIMP2.

While the majority of H3K27M mutations are found in pediatric midline gliomas, it is increasingly recognized that this mutation is present in a wider range of lesions with a varied morphological appearance. The present case appears to be the first description of H3K27M mutation in PPTID. Somatic mutations in H3F3A, FGFR1, and NF1 have been suggested to be driver mutations in pediatric midline gliomas. Their clonality and presence in over 80% of tumor cells in our patient’s PPTID are consistent with similarly crucial roles in early tumorigenesis, with progression mediated by copy number variations and chromosomal aberrations involving known oncogenes and tumor suppressors. The roles of APC and TIMP2 mutations in progression and metastasis remain to be investigated.

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Edward R. Laws, Ian F. Parney, Wei Huang, Fred Anderson, Angel M. Morris, Anthony Asher, Kevin O. Lillehei, Mark Bernstein, Henry Brem, Andrew Sloan, Mitchel S. Berger, Susan Chang, and Glioma Outcomes Investigators

Object. The Glioma Outcomes Project represents a contemporary analysis of the management of malignant (Grade III and Grade IV/GBM) gliomas in North America. This observational database was used to evaluate the influence of resection, as opposed to biopsy, on patient outcome as measured by the length of survival. Attempts were made to reduce the impact of selection bias by repeating the data analysis after omitting patients with major negative prognostic factors.

Methods. Outcome data from 788 patients accrued from multiple sites over a 4-year period (1997–2001) were analyzed with the primary outcome measure being length of survival. Of these, 565 patients with recent diagnoses formed the basis of the present analysis. Patients were systematically followed up until death or up to 24 months after enrollment in the study, and survival data were correlated with the histopathological grade and location of the tumor, the extent of surgery, the patient's performance status, and demographic factors.

The median length of survival was 40.9 weeks for patients with recently diagnosed GBMs. The true median length of survival for patients with Grade III gliomas was not reached, although there was a 58% survival rate at 104 weeks. In multivariate analysis, resection rather than biopsy (p < 0.0001), age 60 years or younger (p < 0.0001), and a Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score of 70 or greater (p = 0.0004) were associated with a prolonged survival time for patients with Grade III or IV gliomas. The prognostic value of resection compared with biopsy was maintained (p < 0.0001), even after eliminating patients considered to be “poor risk” (those with age > 60 years, KPS score < 70, or presence of multifocal tumors), who may have been overrepresented in the biopsy group. Survival “tails” at 24 months were 58% for Grade III gliomas and 11% for GBMs.

Conclusions. These data provide Class II evidence to support tumor grade, patient's age, and patient's functional status as prognostic factors for survival in individuals with recently diagnosed malignant gliomas. Resection (compared with biopsy) is also a strong prognostic factor; however, no quantitative attempt was made to assess the true extent of the resection.

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Meng Huang, Avery Buchholz, Anshit Goyal, Erica Bisson, Zoher Ghogawala, Eric Potts, John Knightly, Domagoj Coric, Anthony Asher, Kevin Foley, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Paul Park, Mark Shaffrey, Kai-Ming Fu, Jonathan Slotkin, Steven Glassman, Mohamad Bydon, and Michael Wang

OBJECTIVE

Surgical treatment for degenerative spondylolisthesis has been proven to be clinically challenging and cost-effective. However, there is a range of thresholds that surgeons utilize for incorporating fusion in addition to decompressive laminectomy in these cases. This study investigates these surgeon- and site-specific factors by using the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD).

METHODS

The QOD was queried for all cases that had undergone surgery for grade 1 spondylolisthesis from database inception to February 2019. In addition to patient-specific covariates, surgeon-specific covariates included age, sex, race, years in practice (0–10, 11–20, 21–30, > 30 years), and fellowship training. Site-specific variables included hospital location (rural, suburban, urban), teaching versus nonteaching status, and hospital type (government, nonfederal; private, nonprofit; private, investor owned). Multivariable regression and predictor importance analyses were performed to identify predictors of the treatment performed (decompression alone vs decompression and fusion). The model was clustered by site to account for site-specific heterogeneity in treatment selection.

RESULTS

A total of 12,322 cases were included with 1988 (16.1%) that had undergone decompression alone. On multivariable regression analysis clustered by site, adjusting for patient-level clinical covariates, no surgeon-specific factors were found to be significantly associated with the odds of selecting decompression alone as the surgery performed. However, sites located in suburban areas (OR 2.32, 95% CI 1.09–4.84, p = 0.03) were more likely to perform decompression alone (reference = urban). Sites located in rural areas had higher odds of performing decompression alone than hospitals located in urban areas, although the results were not statistically significant (OR 1.33, 95% CI 0.59–2.61, p = 0.49). Nonteaching status was independently associated with lower odds of performing decompression alone (OR 0.40, 95% CI 0.19–0.97, p = 0.04). Predictor importance analysis revealed that the most important determinants of treatment selection were dominant symptom (Wald χ2 = 34.7, accounting for 13.6% of total χ2) and concurrent diagnosis of disc herniation (Wald χ2 = 31.7, accounting for 12.4% of total χ2). Hospital teaching status was also found to be relatively important (Wald χ2 = 4.2, accounting for 1.6% of total χ2) but less important than other patient-level predictors.

CONCLUSIONS

Nonteaching centers were more likely to perform decompressive laminectomy with supplemental fusion for spondylolisthesis. Suburban hospitals were more likely to perform decompression only. Surgeon characteristics were not found to influence treatment selection after adjustment for clinical covariates. Further large database registry experience from surgeons at high-volume academic centers at which surgically and medically complex patients are treated may provide additional insight into factors associated with treatment preference for degenerative spondylolisthesis.

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Praveen V. Mummaneni, Erica F. Bisson, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Steven Glassman, Kevin Foley, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric Potts, Mark Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Domagoj Coric, John Knightly, Paul Park, Kai-Ming Fu, Clinton J. Devin, Silky Chotai, Andrew K. Chan, Michael Virk, Anthony L. Asher, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Lumbar spondylolisthesis is a degenerative condition that can be surgically treated with either open or minimally invasive decompression and instrumented fusion. Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) approaches may shorten recovery, reduce blood loss, and minimize soft-tissue damage with resultant reduced postoperative pain and disability.

METHODS

The authors queried the national, multicenter Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) registry for patients undergoing posterior lumbar fusion between July 2014 and December 2015 for Grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis. The authors recorded baseline and 12-month patient-reported outcomes (PROs), including Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), EQ-5D, numeric rating scale (NRS)–back pain (NRS-BP), NRS–leg pain (NRS-LP), and satisfaction (North American Spine Society satisfaction questionnaire). Multivariable regression models were fitted for hospital length of stay (LOS), 12-month PROs, and 90-day return to work, after adjusting for an array of preoperative and surgical variables.

RESULTS

A total of 345 patients (open surgery, n = 254; MIS, n = 91) from 11 participating sites were identified in the QOD. The follow-up rate at 12 months was 84% (83.5% [open surgery]; 85% [MIS]). Overall, baseline patient demographics, comorbidities, and clinical characteristics were similarly distributed between the cohorts. Two hundred fifty seven patients underwent 1-level fusion (open surgery, n = 181; MIS, n = 76), and 88 patients underwent 2-level fusion (open surgery, n = 73; MIS, n = 15). Patients in both groups reported significant improvement in all primary outcomes (all p < 0.001). MIS was associated with a significantly lower mean intraoperative estimated blood loss and slightly longer operative times in both 1- and 2-level fusion subgroups. Although the LOS was shorter for MIS 1-level cases, this was not significantly different. No difference was detected with regard to the 12-month PROs between the 1-level MIS versus the 1-level open surgical groups. However, change in functional outcome scores for patients undergoing 2-level fusion was notably larger in the MIS cohort for ODI (−27 vs −16, p = 0.1), EQ-5D (0.27 vs 0.15, p = 0.08), and NRS-BP (−3.5 vs −2.7, p = 0.41); statistical significance was shown only for changes in NRS-LP scores (−4.9 vs −2.8, p = 0.02). On risk-adjusted analysis for 1-level fusion, open versus minimally invasive approach was not significant for 12-month PROs, LOS, and 90-day return to work.

CONCLUSIONS

Significant improvement was found in terms of all functional outcomes in patients undergoing open or MIS fusion for lumbar spondylolisthesis. No difference was detected between the 2 techniques for 1-level fusion in terms of patient-reported outcomes, LOS, and 90-day return to work. However, patients undergoing 2-level MIS fusion reported significantly better improvement in NRS-LP at 12 months than patients undergoing 2-level open surgery. Longer follow-up is needed to provide further insight into the comparative effectiveness of the 2 procedures.

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Anthony L. Asher, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Erica F. Bisson, Steven D. Glassman, Kevin T. Foley, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Domagoj Coric, John J. Knightly, Paul Park, Kai-Ming Fu, Clinton J. Devin, Kristin R. Archer, Silky Chotai, Andrew K. Chan, Michael S. Virk, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) play a pivotal role in defining the value of surgical interventions for spinal disease. The concept of minimum clinically important difference (MCID) is considered the new standard for determining the effectiveness of a given treatment and describing patient satisfaction in response to that treatment. The purpose of this study was to determine the MCID associated with surgical treatment for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

The authors queried the Quality Outcomes Database registry from July 2014 through December 2015 for patients who underwent posterior lumbar surgery for grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis. Recorded PROs included scores on the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), EQ-5D, and numeric rating scale (NRS) for leg pain (NRS-LP) and back pain (NRS-BP). Anchor-based (using the North American Spine Society satisfaction scale) and distribution-based (half a standard deviation, small Cohen’s effect size, standard error of measurement, and minimum detectable change [MDC]) methods were used to calculate the MCID for each PRO.

RESULTS

A total of 441 patients (80 who underwent laminectomies alone and 361 who underwent fusion procedures) from 11 participating sites were included in the analysis. The changes in functional outcome scores between baseline and the 1-year postoperative evaluation were as follows: 23.5 ± 17.4 points for ODI, 0.24 ± 0.23 for EQ-5D, 4.1 ± 3.5 for NRS-LP, and 3.7 ± 3.2 for NRS-BP. The different calculation methods generated a range of MCID values for each PRO: 3.3–26.5 points for ODI, 0.04–0.3 points for EQ-5D, 0.6–4.5 points for NRS-LP, and 0.5–4.2 points for NRS-BP. The MDC approach appeared to be the most appropriate for calculating MCID because it provided a threshold greater than the measurement error and was closest to the average change difference between the satisfied and not-satisfied patients. On subgroup analysis, the MCID thresholds for laminectomy-alone patients were comparable to those for the patients who underwent arthrodesis as well as for the entire cohort.

CONCLUSIONS

The MCID for PROs was highly variable depending on the calculation technique. The MDC seems to be a statistically and clinically sound method for defining the appropriate MCID value for patients with grade I degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis. Based on this method, the MCID values are 14.3 points for ODI, 0.2 points for EQ-5D, 1.7 points for NRS-LP, and 1.6 points for NRS-BP.

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Erica F. Bisson, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Michael S. Virk, John Knightly, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Anshit Goyal, Andrew K. Chan, Jian Guan, Steven Glassman, Kevin Foley, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Regis W. Haid Jr., Kai-Ming Fu, Michael Y. Wang, Paul Park, Anthony L. Asher, and Mohamad Bydon

OBJECTIVE

Lumbar decompression without arthrodesis remains a potential treatment option for cases of low-grade spondylolisthesis (i.e., Meyerding grade I). Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques have recently been increasingly used because of their touted benefits including lower operating time, blood loss, and length of stay. Herein, the authors analyzed patients enrolled in a national surgical registry and compared the baseline characteristics and postoperative clinical and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) between patients undergoing open versus MIS lumbar decompression.

METHODS

The authors queried the Quality Outcomes Database for patients with grade I lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis undergoing a surgical intervention between July 2014 and June 2016. Among more than 200 participating sites, the 12 with the highest enrollment of patients into the lumbar spine module came together to initiate a focused project to assess the impact of fusion on PROs in patients undergoing surgery for grade I lumbar spondylolisthesis. For the current study, only patients in this cohort from the 12 highest-enrolling sites who underwent a decompression alone were evaluated and classified as open or MIS (tubular decompression). Outcomes of interest included PROs at 2 years; perioperative outcomes such as blood loss and complications; and postoperative outcomes such as length of stay, discharge disposition, and reoperations.

RESULTS

A total of 140 patients undergoing decompression were selected, of whom 71 (50.7%) underwent MIS and 69 (49.3%) underwent an open decompression. On univariate analysis, the authors observed no significant differences between the 2 groups in terms of PROs at 2-year follow-up, including back pain, leg pain, Oswestry Disability Index score, EQ-5D score, and patient satisfaction. On multivariable analysis, compared to MIS, open decompression was associated with higher satisfaction (OR 7.5, 95% CI 2.41–23.2, p = 0.0005). Patients undergoing MIS decompression had a significantly shorter length of stay compared to the open group (0.68 days [SD 1.18] vs 1.83 days [SD 1.618], p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

In this multiinstitutional prospective study, the authors found comparable PROs as well as clinical outcomes at 2 years between groups of patients undergoing open or MIS decompression for low-grade spondylolisthesis.

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Andrew K. Chan, Erica F. Bisson, Mohamad Bydon, Steven D. Glassman, Kevin T. Foley, Eric A. Potts, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Mark E. Shaffrey, Domagoj Coric, John J. Knightly, Paul Park, Michael Y. Wang, Kai-Ming Fu, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Anthony L. Asher, Michael S. Virk, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Silky Chotai, Anthony M. DiGiorgio, Regis W. Haid, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

The AANS launched the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD), a prospective longitudinal registry that includes demographic, clinical, and patient-reported outcome (PRO) data to measure the safety and quality of spine surgery. Registry data offer “real-world” insights into the utility of spinal fusion and decompression surgery for lumbar spondylolisthesis. Using the QOD, the authors compared the initial 12-month outcome data for patients undergoing fusion and those undergoing laminectomy alone for grade 1 degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis.

METHODS

Data from 12 top enrolling sites were analyzed and 426 patients undergoing elective single-level spine surgery for degenerative grade 1 lumbar spondylolisthesis were found. Baseline, 3-month, and 12-month follow-up data were collected and compared, including baseline clinical characteristics, readmission rates, reoperation rates, and PROs. The PROs included Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), back and leg pain numeric rating scale (NRS) scores, and EuroQol–5 Dimensions health survey (EQ-5D) results.

RESULTS

A total of 342 (80.3%) patients underwent fusion, with the remaining 84 (19.7%) undergoing decompression alone. The fusion cohort was younger (60.7 vs 69.9 years, p < 0.001), had a higher mean body mass index (31.0 vs 28.4, p < 0.001), and had a greater proportion of patients with back pain as a major component of their initial presentation (88.0% vs 60.7%, p < 0.001). There were no differences in 12-month reoperation rate (4.4% vs 6.0%, p = 0.93) and 3-month readmission rates (3.5% vs 1.2%, p = 0.45). At 12 months, both cohorts improved significantly with regard to ODI, NRS back and leg pain, and EQ-5D (p < 0.001, all comparisons). In adjusted analysis, fusion procedures were associated with superior 12-month ODI (β −4.79, 95% CI −9.28 to −0.31; p = 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS

Surgery for grade 1 lumbar spondylolisthesis—regardless of treatment strategy—was associated with significant improvements in disability, back and leg pain, and quality of life at 12 months. When adjusting for covariates, fusion surgery was associated with superior ODI at 12 months. Although fusion procedures were associated with a lower rate of reoperation, there was no statistically significant difference at 12 months. Further study must be undertaken to assess the durability of either surgical strategy in longer-term follow-up.

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Anthony L. Asher, John Knightly, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Mohammed Ali Alvi, Matthew J. McGirt, Yagiz U. Yolcu, Andrew K. Chan, Steven D. Glassman, Kevin T. Foley, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Eric A. Potts, Mark E. Shaffrey, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Regis W. Haid Jr., Kai-Ming Fu, Michael Y. Wang, Paul Park, Erica F. Bisson, Robert E. Harbaugh, and Mohamad Bydon

The Quality Outcomes Database (QOD), formerly known as the National Neurosurgery Quality Outcomes Database (N2QOD), was established by the NeuroPoint Alliance (NPA) in collaboration with relevant national stakeholders and experts. The overarching goal of this project was to develop a centralized, nationally coordinated effort to allow individual surgeons and practice groups to collect, measure, and analyze practice patterns and neurosurgical outcomes. Specific objectives of this registry program were as follows: “1) to establish risk-adjusted national benchmarks for both the safety and effectiveness of neurosurgical procedures, 2) to allow practice groups and hospitals to analyze their individual morbidity and clinical outcomes in real time, 3) to generate both quality and efficiency data to support claims made to public and private payers and objectively demonstrate the value of care to other stakeholders, 4) to demonstrate the comparative effectiveness of neurosurgical and spine procedures, 5) to develop sophisticated ‘risk models’ to determine which subpopulations of patients are most likely to benefit from specific surgical interventions, and 6) to facilitate essential multicenter trials and other cooperative clinical studies.” The NPA has launched several neurosurgical specialty modules in the QOD program in the 7 years since its inception including lumbar spine, cervical spine, and spinal deformity and cerebrovascular and intracranial tumor. The QOD Spine modules, which are the primary subject of this paper, have evolved into the largest North American spine registries yet created and have resulted in unprecedented cooperative activities within our specialty and among affiliated spine care practitioners. Herein, the authors discuss the experience of QOD Spine programs to date, with a brief description of their inception, some of the key achievements and milestones, as well as the recent transition of the spine modules to the American Spine Registry (ASR), a collaboration between the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).