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Atman Desai, Kimon Bekelis and Kadir Erkmen

Effective surgical obliteration of spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) traditionally requires laminectomy or hemilaminectomy to allow intradural exposure and occlusion of the draining vein. The authors present successful treatment of a spinal DAVF by using a tubular retractor system to provide minimally invasive exposure at the L5–S1 level adequate for both microsurgical treatment and intraoperative indocyanine green angiography.

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Atman Desai, David W. Nierenberg and Ann-Christine Duhaime

The authors describe the case of a 13-year-old boy who exhibited progressive disabling motor restlessness, torticollis, urinary symptoms, and confusion following a fall from a bicycle. The differential diagnosis of this striking symptom complex in this clinical context can be problematic. In this case, the symptoms ultimately appeared most consistent with severe akathisia resulting from a single administration of haloperidol used at an outside hospital to sedate the patient prior to a head CT scan. The literature on akathisia in pediatric patients, and especially in patients following acute head injury, is reviewed, with suggestions for an approach to these symptoms in this clinical setting.

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Atman Desai, Kimon Bekelis, Terrance M. Darcey and David W. Roberts

Intracranial electroencephalography monitoring of the insula is an important tool in the investigation of the insula in medically intractable epilepsy and has been shown to be safe and reliable. Several methods of placing electrodes for insular coverage have been reported and include open craniotomy as well as stereotactic orthogonal and stereotactic anterior and posterior oblique trajectories. The authors review each of these techniques with respect to current concepts in insular epilepsy.

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M. Ross Bullock

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Atman Desai, Kimon Bekelis, Wenyan Zhao and Perry A. Ball

Object

Motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) are a leading cause of death and disability in young people. Given that a major cause of death from MVAs is traumatic brain injury, and neurosurgeons hold special expertise in this area relative to other members of a trauma team, the authors hypothesized that neurosurgeon population density would be related to reduced mortality from MVAs across US counties.

Methods

The Area Resource File (2009–2010), a national health resource information database, was retrospectively analyzed. The primary outcome variable was the 3-year (2004–2006) average in MVA deaths per million population for each county. The primary independent variable was the density of neurosurgeons per million population in the year 2006. Multiple regression analysis was performed, adjusting for population density of general practitioners, urbanicity of the county, and socioeconomic status of the county.

Results

The median number of annual MVA deaths per million population, in the 3141 counties analyzed, was 226 (interquartile range [IQR] 151–323). The median number of neurosurgeons per million population was 0 (IQR 0–0), while the median number of general practitioners per million population was 274 (IQR 175–410). Using an unadjusted analysis, each increase of 1 neurosurgeon per million population was associated with 1.90 fewer MVA deaths per million population (p < 0.001). On multivariate adjusted analysis, each increase of 1 neurosurgeon per million population was associated with 1.01 fewer MVA deaths per million population (p < 0.001), with a respective decrease in MVA deaths of 0.03 per million population for an increase in 1 general practitioner (p = 0.007). Rural location, persistent poverty, and low educational level were all associated with significant increases in the rate of MVA deaths.

Conclusions

A higher population density of neurosurgeons is associated with a significant reduction in deaths from MVAs, a major cause of death nationally. This suggests that the availability of local neurosurgeons is an important factor in the overall likelihood of survival from an MVA, and therefore indicates the importance of promoting neurosurgical education and practice throughout the country.

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Kimon Bekelis, Tarek A. Radwan, Atman Desai and David W. Roberts

Object

Frameless stereotactic brain biopsy has become an established procedure in many neurosurgical centers worldwide. Robotic modifications of image-guided frameless stereotaxy hold promise for making these procedures safer, more effective, and more efficient. The authors hypothesized that robotic brain biopsy is a safe, accurate procedure, with a high diagnostic yield and a safety profile comparable to other stereotactic biopsy methods.

Methods

This retrospective study included 41 patients undergoing frameless stereotactic brain biopsy of lesions (mean size 2.9 cm) for diagnostic purposes. All patients underwent image-guided, robotic biopsy in which the SurgiScope system was used in conjunction with scalp fiducial markers and a preoperatively selected target and trajectory. Forty-five procedures, with 50 supratentorial targets selected, were performed.

Results

The mean operative time was 44.6 minutes for the robotic biopsy procedures. This decreased over the second half of the study by 37%, from 54.7 to 34.5 minutes (p < 0.025). The diagnostic yield was 97.8% per procedure, with a second procedure being diagnostic in the single nondiagnostic case. Complications included one transient worsening of a preexisting deficit (2%) and another deficit that was permanent (2%). There were no infections.

Conclusions

Robotic biopsy involving a preselected target and trajectory is safe, accurate, efficient, and comparable to other procedures employing either frame-based stereotaxy or frameless, nonrobotic stereotaxy. It permits biopsy in all patients, including those with small target lesions. Robotic biopsy planning facilitates careful preoperative study and optimization of needle trajectory to avoid sulcal vessels, bridging veins, and ventricular penetration.

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Jennifer Hong, Atman Desai, Vijay M. Thadani and David W. Roberts

OBJECTIVE

Vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) and corpus callosotomy (CC) have both been shown to be of benefit in the treatment of medically refractory epilepsy. Recent case series have reviewed the efficacy of VNS in patients who have undergone CC, with encouraging results. There are few data, however, on the use of CC following VNS therapy.

METHODS

The records of all patients at the authors' center who underwent CC following VNS between 1998 and 2015 were reviewed. Patient baseline characteristics, operative details, and postoperative outcomes were analyzed.

RESULTS

Ten patients met inclusion criteria. The median follow-up was 72 months, with a minimum follow-up of 12 months (range 12–109 months). The mean time between VNS and CC was 53.7 months. The most common reason for CC was progression of seizures after VNS. Seven patients had anterior CC, and 3 patients returned to the operating room for a completion of the procedure. All patients had a decrease in the rate of falls and drop seizures; 7 patients experienced elimination of drop seizures. Nine patients had an Engel Class III outcome, and 1 patient had a Class IV outcome. There were 3 immediate postoperative complications and 1 delayed complication. One patient developed pneumonia, 1 developed transient mutism, and 1 had persistent weakness in the nondominant foot. One patient presented with a wound infection.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors demonstrate that CC can help reduce seizures in patients with medically refractory epilepsy following VNS, particularly with respect to drop attacks.

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Anand Veeravagu, Ian D. Connolly, Layton Lamsam, Amy Li, Christian Swinney, Tej D. Azad, Atman Desai and John K. Ratliff

OBJECTIVE

The authors performed a population-based analysis of national trends, costs, and outcomes associated with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) in the United States. They assessed postoperative complications, resource utilization, and predictors of costs, in this surgically treated CSM population.

METHODS

MarketScan data (2006–2010) were used to retrospectively analyze the complications and costs of different spine surgeries for CSM. The authors determined outcomes following anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF), posterior fusion, combined anterior/posterior fusion, and laminoplasty procedures.

RESULTS

The authors identified 35,962 CSM patients, comprising 5154 elderly (age ≥ 65 years) patients (mean 72.2 years, 54.9% male) and 30,808 nonelderly patients (mean 51.1 years, 49.3% male). They found an overall complication rate of 15.6% after ACDF, 29.2% after posterior fusion, 41.1% after combined anterior and posterior fusion, and 22.4% after laminoplasty. Following ACDF and posterior fusion, a significantly higher risk of complication was seen in the elderly compared with the nonelderly (reference group). The fusion level and comorbidity-adjusted ORs with 95% CIs for these groups were 1.54 (1.40–1.68) and 1.25 (1.06–1.46), respectively. In contrast, the elderly population had lower 30-day readmission rates in all 4 surgical cohorts (ACDF, 2.6%; posterior fusion, 5.3%; anterior/posterior fusion, 3.4%; and laminoplasty, 3.6%). The fusion level and comorbidity-adjusted odds ratios for 30-day readmissions for ACDF, posterior fusion, combined anterior and posterior fusion, and laminoplasty were 0.54 (0.44–0.68), 0.32 (0.24–0.44), 0.17 (0.08–0.38), and 0.39 (0.18–0.85), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' analysis of the MarketScan database suggests a higher complication rate in the surgical treatment of CSM than previous national estimates. They found that elderly age (≥ 65 years) significantly increased complication risk following ACDF and posterior fusion. Elderly patients were less likely to experience a readmission within 30 days of surgery. Postoperative complication occurrence, and 30-day readmission were significant drivers of total cost within 90 days of the index surgical procedure.

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Kimon Bekelis, Symeon Missios, Atman Desai, Clifford Eskey and Kadir Erkmen

Object

Microsurgical resection of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) is facilitated by real-time image guidance that demonstrates the precise size and location of the AVM nidus. Magnetic resonance images have routinely been used for intraoperative navigation, but there is no single MRI sequence that can provide all the details needed for characterization of the AVM. Additional information detailing the specific location of the feeding arteries and draining veins would be valuable during surgery, and this detail may be provided by fusing MR images and MR angiography (MRA) sequences. The current study describes the use of a technique that fuses contrast-enhanced MR images and 3D time-of-flight MR angiograms for intraoperative navigation in AVM resection.

Methods

All patients undergoing microsurgical resection of AVMs at the Dartmouth Cerebrovascular Surgery Program were evaluated from the surgical database. Between 2009 and 2011, 15 patients underwent surgery in which this contrast-enhanced MRI and MRA fusion technique was used, and these patient form the population of the present study.

Results

Image fusion was successful in all 15 cases. The additional data manipulation required to fuse the image sets was performed on the morning of surgery with minimal added setup time. The navigation system accurately identified feeding arteries and draining veins during resection in all cases. There was minimal imaging-related artifact produced by embolic materials in AVMs that had been preoperatively embolized. Complete AVM obliteration was demonstrated on intraoperative angiography in all cases.

Conclusions

Precise anatomical localization, as well as the ability to differentiate between arteries and veins during AVM microsurgery, is feasible with the aforementioned MRI/MRA fusion technique. The technique provides important information that is beneficial to preoperative planning, intraoperative navigation, and successful AVM resection.