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Open access

Seizure freedom after laser amygdalohippocampotomy guided by bilateral responsive neurostimulation in pediatric epilepsy: illustrative case

Belinda Shao, Bryan Zheng, David D. Liu, Matthew N. Anderson, Konstantina Svokos, Luca Bartolini, and Wael F. Asaad

BACKGROUND

For patients with difficult-to-lateralize temporal lobe epilepsy, the use of chronic recordings as a diagnostic tool to inform subsequent surgical therapy is an emerging paradigm that has been reported in adults but not in children.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors reported the case of a 15-year-old girl with pharmacoresistant temporal lobe epilepsy who was found to have bitemporal epilepsy during a stereoelectroencephalography (sEEG) admission. She underwent placement of a responsive neurostimulator system with bilateral hippocampal depth electrodes. However, over many months, her responsive neurostimulation (RNS) recordings revealed that her typical, chronic seizures were right-sided only. This finding led to a subsequent right-sided laser amygdalohippocampotomy, resulting in seizure freedom.

LESSONS

In this case, RNS chronic recording provided real-world data that enabled more precise seizure localization than inpatient sEEG data, informing surgical decision-making that led to seizure freedom. The use of RNS chronic recordings as a diagnostic adjunct to seizure localization procedures and laser ablation therapies in children is an area with potential for future study.

Open access

Navigation-assisted resection of tumoral calcinosis of the lumbosacral spine: illustrative case

Oliver Y. Tang, Patricia Zadnik Sullivan, Teddi Tubre, Joshua Feler, Belinda Shao, Jesse Hart, and Ziya L. Gokaslan

BACKGROUND

Tumoral calcinosis is an uncommon disease resulting from dystrophic calcium phosphate crystal deposition, with only 7% of cases involving the spine, and it may diagnostically mimic neoplasms.

OBSERVATIONS

In this case, a 54-year-old woman with history of systemic scleroderma presented with 10 months of progressive left lumbosacral pain. Imaging revealed an expansile, 4 × 7-cm, well-circumscribed mass in the lumbosacral spine with L5–S1 neuroforaminal compression. Because intractable pain and computed tomography (CT)-guided needle biopsy did not entirely rule out malignancy, operative management was pursued. The patient underwent L4–S2 laminectomies, left L5–S1 facetectomy, L5 and S1 pediculectomies, and en bloc resection, performed under stereotactic CT-guided intraoperative navigation. Subsequently, instrumented fusion was performed with L4 and L5 pedicle screws and S2 alar-iliac screws. Pathological examination was consistent with tumoral calcinosis, with multiple nodules of amorphous basophilic granular calcified material lined by histiocytes. There was no evidence of recurrence or neurological deficits at 5-month follow-up.

LESSONS

Because spinal tumoral calcinosis may mimic neoplasms on imaging or gross intraoperative appearance, awareness of this clinical entity is essential for any spine surgeon. A review of all case reports of lumbosacral tumoral calcinosis (n = 14 from 1952 to 2016) was additionally performed. The case featured in this report presents the first known case of navigation-assisted resection of lumbosacral tumoral calcinosis.

Free access

Reappraisal of intradural findings in Chiari malformation type I

Belinda Shao, Daniel Wojcik, Kevin L. Ma, Natalie Amaral-Nieves, Jonathan A. Poggi, Owen P. Leary, and Petra M. Klinge

OBJECTIVE

Management of Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) requires the functional restoration of an obstructed cisterna magna. In posterior fossa decompression with duraplasty (PFDD), various intradural pathologies are suggested to alter CSF flow at the craniocervical junction and require surgical correction. However, reports of the spectrum of intraoperative intradural findings and their nuances are scarce, especially those characterizing rarer findings pertaining to the vascular structures and vascular compression.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of adults and children who underwent first-time PFDD for CM-I (2011–2021), with and without syringomyelia. The surgical reports and intraoperative videos were reviewed, and the frequency and nature of the intradural observations in regard to the tonsils, arachnoid, and vasculature were analyzed along with the clinical findings and surgical outcomes.

RESULTS

All 180 patients (age range 1–72 years; median [interquartile range] 24 (14–38) years; 37% of patients were children < 21 years of age) exhibited multiple intradural findings, with a median of 7 distinct concurrent observations in each patient. Novel findings not previously reported included posterior inferior communicating artery (PICA) branches compressing the neural elements at the cervicomedullary junction (26.7%). Other common findings included arachnoid adhesions (92.8%), thickening (90.6%), webs at the obex (52.2%), tonsillar gliosis (57.2%), tonsillar hypertrophy (18.3%), adhesions obstructing the foramen of Magendie (FoM) (62.2%), PICA obstruction of the FoM (17.2%), and dural scarring (87.8%). Tonsillar gliosis and intertonsillar adhesions obstructing the FoM were more common in children than adults. Tonsillar gliosis and arachnoid webs were more common among syringomyelia patients. After multivariable adjustment, none of the observed findings were independently associated with syringomyelia, preoperative symptoms, or postoperative improvement. The vast majority of patients improved postoperatively. The complication rate was low: 1.2% of patients required revision PFDD at > 3 years postoperatively, 3.6% experienced other operative complications, and 0% had CSF leaks.

CONCLUSIONS

The diversity of intradural findings and observations revealed in this study suggests that obstructive and compressive structural anomalies may be more common than previously reported among CM-I patients, both those patients with and those without syringomyelia and especially those with obstructive and compressive PICA branches. Although the authors cannot conclude that all these findings are necessarily pathological, further study may determine how they contribute to CM-I pathology and symptomatology in the setting of a compromised cisterna magna.

Free access

Unruptured aneurysms in the elderly: perioperative outcomes and cost analysis of endovascular coiling and surgical clipping

Nicole A. Silva, Belinda Shao, Michael J. Sylvester, Jean Anderson Eloy, and Chirag D. Gandhi

OBJECTIVE

Observation and neurosurgical intervention for unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs) in the elderly population is rapidly increasing. Cerebral aneurysm coiling (CACo) is favored over cerebral aneurysm clipping (CAC) in elderly patients, yet some elderly individuals still undergo CAC. The cost-effectiveness of treating UIAs requires further exploration. Understanding the effect of intervention on hospital charges and length of stay (LOS) as well as perioperative mortality and complications can further shed light on its economic impact. The purpose of this study was to analyze the cost and perioperative outcomes of UIAs in elderly patients (≥ 65 years of age) after CACo or CAC intervention.

METHODS

Retrospective cohorts of CACo and CAC admissions were extracted from National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample data obtained between 2002 and 2013, forming parallel intervention groups to compare the following outcomes between elderly and nonelderly patients: average LOS and mean hospital admission costs, in-hospital mortality, and complications. Covariates included sex, race or ethnicity, and comorbidities.

RESULTS

Elderly patients undergoing CAC experienced an average LOS of 8.0 days, whereas elderly patients undergoing CACo stayed an average of 3.2 days. The mean hospital charges incurred during admission totaled $95,960 in the elderly patients who underwent CAC versus $87,960 in the ones who underwent CACo. Elderly patients in whom CAC was performed had a 2.2% rate of in-hospital mortality, with a 2.6 greater adjusted odds of in-hospital mortality than nonelderly patients treated with CAC. In contrast, elderly patients who underwent CACo had a 1.36 greater adjusted odds of in-hospital mortality than their nonelderly counterparts. Compared to nonelderly patients receiving both interventions, elderly individuals had a significantly higher prevalence of various comorbidities and incidence of complications. Elderly patients who received CAC experienced a 10.3% incidence rate of perioperative stroke, whereas their CACo counterparts experienced this complication at a rate of 3.5%. Elderly patients treated with CAC had greater odds of perioperative acute renal failure, whereas their CACo counterparts had greater odds of perioperative deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

CONCLUSIONS

Intervention with CAC and CACo in the elderly is resource intensive and is associated with higher risk than in the nonelderly. Those deciding between intervention and conservative management should consider these risks and costs, especially the 2.2% postoperative mortality rate associated with CAC in the elderly population. Further comparative cost-effectiveness research is needed to weigh these costs and outcomes against those of conservative management.

Open access

BRAF-mutated suprasellar glioblastoma mimicking craniopharyngioma: illustrative case

Bryan Zheng, Belinda Shao, Jennifer Mingrino, Jonathan Poggi, Richard S Dowd, Douglas C Anthony, John E Donahue, and Curtis E Doberstein

BACKGROUND

Suprasellar masses commonly include craniopharyngiomas and pituitary adenomas. Suprasellar glioblastoma is exceedingly rare with only a few prior case reports in the literature. Suprasellar glioblastoma can mimic craniopharyngioma or other more common suprasellar etiologies preoperatively.

OBSERVATIONS

A 65-year-old male with no significant history presented to the emergency department with a subacute decline in mental status. Work-up revealed a large suprasellar mass with extension to the right inferior medial frontal lobe and right lateral ventricle, associated with significant vasogenic edema. The patient underwent an interhemispheric transcallosal approach subtotal resection of the interventricular portion of the mass. Pathological analysis revealed glioblastoma, MGMT partially methylated, with a BRAF V600E mutation.

LESSONS

Malignant glioblastomas can mimic benign suprasellar masses and should remain on the differential for a diverse set of brain masses with a broad range of radiological and clinical features. For complex cases accessible from the ventricle where the pituitary complex cannot be confidently preserved via a transsphenoidal approach, an interhemispheric approach is also a practical initial surgical option. In addition to providing diagnostic value, molecular profiling may also reveal therapeutically significant gene alterations such as BRAF mutations.

Full access

Safety and efficacy of stereoelectroencephalography in pediatric focal epilepsy: a single-center experience

Hannah E. Goldstein, Brett E. Youngerman, Belinda Shao, Cigdem I. Akman, Arthur M. Mandel, Danielle K. McBrian, James J. Riviello, Sameer A. Sheth, Guy M. McKhann, and Neil A. Feldstein

OBJECTIVE

Patients with medically refractory localization-related epilepsy (LRE) may be candidates for surgical intervention if the seizure onset zone (SOZ) can be well localized. Stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) offers an attractive alternative to subdural grid and strip electrode implantation for seizure lateralization and localization; yet there are few series reporting the safety and efficacy of SEEG in pediatric patients.

METHODS

The authors review their initial 3-year consecutive experience with SEEG in pediatric patients with LRE. SEEG coverage, SOZ localization, complications, and preliminary seizure outcomes following subsequent surgical treatments are assessed.

RESULTS

Twenty-five pediatric patients underwent 30 SEEG implantations, with a total of 342 electrodes placed. Ten had prior resections or ablations. Seven had no MRI abnormalities, and 8 had multiple lesions on MRI. Based on preimplantation hypotheses, 7 investigations were extratemporal (ET), 1 was only temporal-limbic (TL), and 22 were combined ET/TL investigations. Fourteen patients underwent bilateral investigations. On average, patients were monitored for 8 days postimplant (range 3–19 days). Nearly all patients were discharged home on the day following electrode explantation.

There were no major complications. Minor complications included 1 electrode deflection into the subdural space, resulting in a minor asymptomatic extraaxial hemorrhage; and 1 in-house and 1 delayed electrode superficial scalp infection, both treated with local wound care and oral antibiotics.

SEEG localized the hypothetical SOZ in 23 of 25 patients (92%). To date, 18 patients have undergone definitive surgical intervention. In 2 patients, SEEG localized the SOZ near eloquent cortex and subdural grids were used to further delineate the seizure focus relative to mapped motor function just prior to resection. At last follow-up (average 21 months), 8 of 15 patients with at least 6 months of follow-up (53%) were Engel class I, and an additional 6 patients (40%) were Engel class II or III. Only 1 patient was Engel class IV.

CONCLUSIONS

SEEG is a safe and effective technique for invasive SOZ localization in medically refractory LRE in the pediatric population. SEEG permits bilateral and multilobar investigations while avoiding large craniotomies. It is conducive to deep, 3D, and perilesional investigations, particularly in cases of prior resections. Patients who are not found to have focally localizable seizures are spared craniotomies.

Free access

Toward more accurate documentation in neurosurgical care

Rohaid Ali, Sohail Syed, Rahul A. Sastry, Hael Abdulrazeq, Belinda Shao, G. Dean Roye, Curtis E. Doberstein, Adetokunbo Oyelese, Tianyi Niu, Ziya L. Gokaslan, and Albert Telfeian

OBJECTIVE

Accurate clinical documentation is foundational to any quality improvement endeavor as it is ultimately the medical record that is measured in assessing change. Literature on high-yield interventions to improve the accuracy and completeness of clinical documentation by neurosurgical providers is limited. Therefore, the authors sought to share a single-institution experience of a two-part intervention to enhance clinical documentation by a neurosurgery inpatient service.

METHODS

At an urban, level I trauma, academic teaching hospital, a two-part intervention was implemented to enhance the accuracy of clinical documentation of neurosurgery inpatients by residents and advanced practice providers (APPs). Residents and APPs were instructed on the most common neurosurgical complications or comorbidities (CCs) and major complications or comorbidities (MCCs), as defined by Medicare. Additionally, a “system-based” progress note template was changed to a “problem-based” progress note template. Prepost analysis was performed to compare the CC/MCC capture rates for the 12 months prior to the intervention with those for the 3 months after the intervention.

RESULTS

The CC/MCC capture rate for the neurosurgery service line rose from 62% in the 12 months preintervention to 74% in the 3 months after intervention, representing a significant change (p = 0.00002).

CONCLUSIONS

Existing clinical documentation habits by neurosurgical residents and APPs may fail to capture the extent of neurosurgical inpatients with CC/MCCs. An intervention that focuses on the most common CC/MCCs and utilizes a problem-based progress note template may lead to more accurate appraisals of neurosurgical patient acuity.

Free access

Continued underrepresentation of historically excluded groups in the neurosurgery pipeline: an analysis of racial and ethnic trends across stages of medical training from 2012 to 2020

Elijah M. Persad-Paisley, Sarah B. Andrea, Owen P. Leary, Orianna D. Carvalho, Victoria G. Zeyl, Amanda R. Laguna, Matthew N. Anderson, Belinda Shao, Steven A. Toms, Adetokunbo A. Oyelese, Ziya L. Gokaslan, and Katherine M. Sharkey

OBJECTIVE

US allopathic medical schools have experienced improvements in racial and ethnic diversity among matriculants in the past decade. It is not clear, however, whether better representation of historically excluded racial and ethnic groups at medical school entry impacts subsequent stages of the medical training pipeline leading into a specific field. The aim of this study was to examine these trends as they relate to the neurosurgical medical education pipeline and consider the drivers that sustain barriers for underrepresented groups.

METHODS

Race and ethnicity reports from the American Association of Medical Colleges were obtained on allopathic medical school applicants, acceptees, and graduates and applicants to US neurosurgical residency programs from 2012 to 2020. The representation of groups categorized by self-reported race and ethnicity was compared with their US population counterparts to determine the representation quotient (RQ) for each group. Annual racial composition differences and changes in representation over time at each stage of medical training were evaluated by estimating incidence rate ratios (IRRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using non-Hispanic Whites as the reference group.

RESULTS

On average, Asian and White individuals most frequently applied and were accepted to medical school, had the highest graduation rates, and applied to neurosurgery residency programs more often than other racial groups. The medical school application and acceptance rates for Black individuals increased from 2012 to 2020 relative to Whites by 30% (95% CI 1.23–1.36) and 42% (95% CI 1.31–1.53), respectively. During this same period, however, inequities in neurosurgical residency applications grew across all non-Asian racialized groups relative to Whites. While the incidence of active Black neurosurgery residents increased from 2012 to 2020 (0.6 to 0.7/100,000 Black US inhabitants), the prevalence of White neurosurgery residents grew in the active neurosurgery resident population by 16% more.

CONCLUSIONS

The increased racial diversity of medical school students in recent years is not yet reflected in racial representation among neurosurgery applicants. Disproportionately fewer Black relative to White US medical students apply to neurosurgery residency, which contributes to declining racial representation among all active neurosurgery resident physicians. Hispanic individuals are becoming increasingly represented in neurosurgery residency but continue to remain underrepresented relative to the US population. Ongoing efforts to recruit medical students into neurosurgery who more accurately reflect the diversity of the general US population are necessary to ensure equitable patient care.

Free access

High prevalence of gram-negative and multiorganism surgical site infections after pediatric complex tethered spinal cord surgery: a multicenter study

Nikita G. Alexiades, Belinda Shao, Edward S. Ahn, Jeffrey P. Blount, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Todd C. Hankinson, Cody L. Nesvick, David I. Sandberg, Gregory G. Heuer, Lisa Saiman, Neil A. Feldstein, and Richard C. E. Anderson

OBJECTIVE

Complex tethered spinal cord (cTSC) release in children is often complicated by surgical site infection (SSI). Children undergoing this surgery share many similarities with patients undergoing correction for neuromuscular scoliosis, where high rates of gram-negative and polymicrobial infections have been reported. Similar organisms isolated from SSIs after cTSC release were recently demonstrated in a single-center pilot study. The purpose of this investigation was to determine if these findings are reproducible across a larger, multicenter study.

METHODS

A multicenter, retrospective chart review including 7 centers was conducted to identify all cases of SSI following cTSC release during a 10-year study period from 2007 to 2017. Demographic information along with specific microbial culture data and antibiotic sensitivities for each cultured organism were collected.

RESULTS

A total of 44 SSIs were identified from a total of 655 cases, with 78 individual organisms isolated. There was an overall SSI rate of 6.7%, with 43% polymicrobial and 66% containing at least one gram-negative organism. Half of SSIs included an organism that was resistant to cefazolin, whereas only 32% of SSIs were completely susceptible to cefazolin.

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, gram-negative and polymicrobial infections were responsible for the majority of SSIs following cTSC surgery, with approximately half resistant to cefazolin. Broader gram-negative antibiotic prophylaxis should be considered for this patient population.

Free access

Development of best practices to minimize wound complications after complex tethered spinal cord surgery: a modified Delphi study

Nikita G. Alexiades, Edward S. Ahn, Jeffrey P. Blount, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Samuel R. Browd, Gerald A. Grant, Gregory G. Heuer, Todd C. Hankinson, Bermans J. Iskandar, Andrew Jea, Mark D. Krieger, Jeffrey R. Leonard, David D. Limbrick Jr., Cormac O. Maher, Mark R. Proctor, David I. Sandberg, John C. Wellons III, Belinda Shao, Neil A. Feldstein, and Richard C. E. Anderson

OBJECTIVE

Complications after complex tethered spinal cord (cTSC) surgery include infections and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks. With little empirical evidence to guide management, there is variability in the interventions undertaken to limit complications. Expert-based best practices may improve the care of patients undergoing cTSC surgery. Here, authors conducted a study to identify consensus-driven best practices.

METHODS

The Delphi method was employed to identify consensual best practices. A literature review regarding cTSC surgery together with a survey of current practices was distributed to 17 board-certified pediatric neurosurgeons. Thirty statements were then formulated and distributed to the group. Results of the second survey were discussed during an in-person meeting leading to further consensus, which was defined as ≥ 80% agreement on a 4-point Likert scale (strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree).

RESULTS

Seventeen consensus-driven best practices were identified, with all participants willing to incorporate them into their practice. There were four preoperative interventions: (1, 2) asymptomatic AND symptomatic patients should be referred to urology preoperatively, (3, 4) routine preoperative urine cultures are not necessary for asymptomatic AND symptomatic patients. There were nine intraoperative interventions: (5) patients should receive perioperative cefazolin or an equivalent alternative in the event of allergy, (6) chlorhexidine-based skin preparation is the preferred regimen, (7) saline irrigation should be used intermittently throughout the case, (8) antibiotic-containing irrigation should be used following dural closure, (9) a nonlocking running suture technique should be used for dural closure, (10) dural graft overlay should be used when unable to obtain primary dural closure, (11) an expansile dural graft should be incorporated in cases of lipomyelomeningocele in which primary dural closure does not permit free flow of CSF, (12) paraxial muscles should be closed as a layer separate from the fascia, (13) routine placement of postoperative drains is not necessary. There were three postoperative interventions: (14) postoperative antibiotics are an option and, if given, should be discontinued within 24 hours; (15) patients should remain flat for at least 24 hours postoperatively; (16) routine use of abdominal binders or other compressive devices postoperatively is not necessary. One intervention was prioritized for additional study: (17) further study of additional gram-negative perioperative coverage is needed.

CONCLUSIONS

A modified Delphi technique was used to develop consensus-driven best practices for decreasing wound complications after cTSC surgery. Further study is required to determine if implementation of these practices will lead to reduced complications. Discussion through the course of this study resulted in the initiation of a multicenter study of gram-negative surgical site infections in cTSC surgery.