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Brendan Santyr, Mohamad Abbass, Alan Chalil, Amirti Vivekanandan, Daria Krivosheya, Lynn M. Denning, Thomas K. Mattingly, Faizal A. Haji, and Stephen P. Lownie

OBJECTIVE

Simulation is increasingly recognized as an important supplement to operative training. The live rat femoral artery model is a well-established model for microsurgical skills simulation. In this study, the authors present an 11-year experience incorporating a comprehensive, longitudinal microsurgical training curriculum into a Canadian neurosurgery program. The first goal was to evaluate training effectiveness, using a well-studied rating scale with strong validity. The second goal was to assess the impact of the curriculum on objective measures of subsequent operating room performance during postgraduate year (PGY)–5 and PGY-6 training.

METHODS

PGY-2 neurosurgery residents completed a 1-year curriculum spanning 17 training sessions divided into 5 modules of increasing fidelity. Both perfused duck wing and live rat vessel training models were used. Three modules comprised live microvascular anastomosis. Trainee performance was video recorded and blindly graded using the Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills Global Rating Scale. Eleven participants who completed the training curriculum and 3 subjects who had not participated had their subsequent operative performances evaluated when they were at the PGY-5 and PGY-6 levels.

RESULTS

Eighteen participants completed 106 microvascular anastomoses during the study. There was significant improvement in 6 measurable skills during the curriculum. The mean overall score was significantly higher on the fifth attempt compared with the first attempt for all 3 live anastomotic modules (p < 0.001). Each module had a different improvement profile across the skills assessed. Those who completed the microvascular skills curriculum demonstrated a greater number of independent evaluations during superficial surgical exposure, deep exposure, and primary maneuvers at the PGY-5 and PGY-6 levels.

CONCLUSIONS

High-fidelity microsurgical simulation training leads to significant improvement in microneurosurgical skills. Transfer of acquired skills to the operative environment and durability for at least 3 to 4 years show encouraging preliminary results and are subject to ongoing investigation.

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Can Sarica, Christian Iorio-Morin, David H. Aguirre-Padilla, Michelle Paff, Samuelle-Arianne Villeneuve, Artur Vetkas, Kazuaki Yamamoto, Nardin Samuel, Vanessa Milano, Aaron Loh, Brendan Santyr, Ajmal Zemmar, Andres M. Lozano, and Mojgan Hodaie

OBJECTIVE

Peripheral nerve field stimulation (PNFS) is a tool in the armamentarium of treatment options for trigeminal pain. The efficacy of this modality in mitigating trigeminal pain remains unclear. The aim of this study was to examine the existing literature on PNFS and elucidate pain score outcomes associated with its use in patients with trigeminal pain.

METHODS

A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed in accordance with the PRISMA framework. The PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus databases were queried on June 10, 2020. Studies reporting pain outcomes in more than 5 adult patients treated with PNFS for facial pain were included. The primary outcome of the study was the mean difference in the visual analog scale (VAS) score from the last follow-up to baseline, and it was analyzed by an inverse-variance, random-effect model. The risk of bias was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale and a funnel plot.

RESULTS

Of the 4597 studies screened for inclusion, 46 relevant full-text articles were assessed for eligibility. Eleven observational cohort studies from the 46 articles were found to be eligible, and reported on a total of 109 patients. In 86% (94/109) of cases, trial stimulation was successful and followed by a permanent system implantation. VAS scores improved by 75% (mean difference 6.32/10 points, 95% CI 5.38–7.27 points) compared to baseline. Seventy-six percent (42/55) of patients became medication free or required lower doses of medications. The complication rate necessitating surgical revision was estimated at 32% per procedure.

CONCLUSIONS

These findings support the belief that PNFS provides effective, long-term pain control for trigeminal pain. Statistical heterogeneity was considerable across all studies. Future work should be aimed at conducting double-blind randomized controlled trials to determine the utility of PNFS for treating various forms of trigeminal pain for which limited therapeutic options exist.