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Christopher I. Shaffrey, Gregory C. Wiggins, Cynthia B. Piccirilli, Jacob N. Young, and LaVerne R. Lovell

Object. Multilevel anterior cervical decompressive surgery and fusion effectively treats cervical myeloradiculopathy that is caused by severe cervical spinal stenosis, but degenerative changes at adjacent vertebral levels frequently result in long-term morbidity.

The authors performed a modified open-door laminoplasty procedure in which allograft bone and titanium miniplates were used to treat cervical myeloradiculopathy in younger patients with congenital canal stenosis while maintaining functional cervical motion segments. Pre- and postoperative magnetic resonance imaging and/or computerized tomography myelography were performed to assess changes in cervical spinal canal dimensions. Pre- and postoperative flexion—extension radiographs were compared to determine the residual motion of the targeted operative segments.

Methods. Twenty younger patients (average age 37.7 years) underwent modified open-door laminoplasty for treatment of myelopathy or myeloradiculopathy related to significant cervical spinal stenosis with or without associated central or lateral disc herniation or foraminal stenosis. These surgeries were performed during a 2-year period and follow-up review remains ongoing (average follow-up period 21.6 months). Reconstructive procedures were performed on an average of 4.1 levels (range three—six). Operative time averaged 186 minutes (range 93–229 minutes). Average blood loss was 305 ml (range 100–650 ml). No cases were complicated by neurological deterioration, infection, wound breakdown, graft displacement, or hardware failure. The patients' Nurick Scale grade improved from a preoperative average of 1.8 to a postoperative average of 0.5.

Pre- and postoperative sagittal spinal diameter averaged 11.2 mm (8–14 mm) and 16.6 mm (13–19 mm), respectively. The sagittal compression ratio (sagittal/lateral × 100%) increased from 48% pre- to 72% postoperatively. The spinal canal area increased an average of 55% (range 19–127%). In patients in whom pre- and postoperative flexion—extension radiographs were obtained, 72.7% residual neck motion was maintained. No patient developed increased neck or shoulder pain. Neurological symptoms improved in all patients, with total relief of myelopathy in 50% and partial improvement in 50%.

Conclusions. Modified open-door laminoplasty with allograft bone and titanium miniplates effectively treats neurological deficits in younger patients with congenital and spinal stenosis. Although long-term results are unknown, short-term results are good and there is a low incidence of complications.

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Robert H. Bonow, Christopher C. Young, David I. Bass, Anne Moore, and Michael R. Levitt

Transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasonography is an inexpensive, noninvasive means of measuring blood flow within the arteries of the brain. In this review, the authors outline the technology underlying TCD ultrasonography and describe its uses in patients with neurosurgical diseases. One of the most common uses of TCD ultrasonography is monitoring for vasospasm following subarachnoid hemorrhage. In this setting, elevated blood flow velocities serve as a proxy for vasospasm and can herald the onset of ischemia. TCD ultrasonography is also useful in the evaluation and management of occlusive cerebrovascular disease. Monitoring for microembolic signals enables stratification of stroke risk due to carotid stenosis and can also be used to clarify stroke etiology. TCD ultrasonography can identify patients with exhausted cerebrovascular reserve, and after extracranial-intracranial bypass procedures it can be used to assess adequacy of flow through the graft. Finally, assessment of cerebral autoregulation can be performed using TCD ultrasonography, providing data important to the management of patients with severe traumatic brain injury. As the clinical applications of TCD ultrasonography have expanded over time, so has their importance in the management of neurosurgical patients. Familiarity with this diagnostic tool is crucial for the modern neurological surgeon.

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Christopher C. Young, Robert H. Bonow, Guilherme Barros, Mahmud Mossa-Basha, Louis J. Kim, and Michael R. Levitt

Cerebrovascular diseases manifest as abnormalities of and disruption to the intracranial vasculature and its capacity to carry blood to the brain. However, the pathogenesis of many cerebrovascular diseases begins in the vessel wall. Traditional luminal and perfusion imaging techniques do not provide adequate information regarding the differentiation, onset, or progression of disease. Intracranial high-resolution MR vessel wall imaging (VWI) has emerged as an invaluable technique for understanding and evaluating cerebrovascular diseases. The location and pattern of contrast enhancement in intracranial VWI provides new insight into the inflammatory etiology of cerebrovascular diseases and has potential to permit earlier diagnosis and treatment. In this report, technical considerations of VWI are discussed and current applications of VWI in vascular malformations, blunt cerebrovascular injury/dissection, and steno-occlusive cerebrovascular vasculopathies are reviewed.

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John R. Williams, Christopher C. Young, Nicholas A. Vitanza, Margaret McGrath, Abdullah H. Feroze, Samuel R. Browd, and Jason S. Hauptman

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a universally fatal pediatric brainstem tumor affecting approximately 300 children in the US annually. Median survival is less than 1 year, and radiation therapy has been the mainstay of treatment for decades. Recent advances in the biological understanding of the disease have identified the H3K27M mutation in nearly 80% of DIPGs, leading to the 2016 WHO classification of diffuse midline glioma H3K27M-mutant, a grade IV brainstem tumor. Developments in epigenetic targeting of transcriptional tendencies have yielded potential molecular targets for clinical trials. Chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy has also shown preclinical promise. Recent clinical studies, including prospective trials, have demonstrated the safety and feasibility of pediatric brainstem biopsy in the setting of DIPG and other brainstem tumors. Given developments in the ability to analyze DIPG tumor tissue to deepen biological understanding of this disease and develop new therapies for treatment, together with the increased safety of stereotactic brainstem biopsy, the authors present a case for offering biopsy to all children with suspected DIPG. They also present their standard operative techniques for image-guided, frameless stereotactic biopsy.

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Jason K. Chu, Abdullah H. Feroze, Kelly Collins, Lynn B. McGrath Jr., Christopher C. Young, John R. Williams, and Samuel R. Browd

OBJECTIVE

Placement of an external ventricular drain (EVD) is a common and potentially life-saving neurosurgical procedure, but the economic aspect of EVD management and the relationship to medical expenditure remain poorly studied. Similarly, interinstitutional practice patterns vary significantly. Whereas some institutions require that patients with EVDs be monitored strictly within the intensive care unit (ICU), other institutions opt primarily for management of EVDs on the surgical floor. Therefore, an ICU burden for patients with EVDs may increase a patient’s costs of hospitalization. The objective of the current study was to examine the expense differences between the ICU and the general neurosurgical floor for EVD care.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of data from 2 hospitals within a single, large academic institution—the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) and Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH). Hospital charges were evaluated according to patients’ location at the time of EVD management: SCH ICU, SCH floor, or UWMC ICU. Daily hospital charges from day of EVD insertion to day of removal were included and screened for days that would best represent baseline expenses for EVD care. Independent-samples Kruskal-Wallis analysis was performed to compare daily charges for the 3 settings.

RESULTS

Data from a total of 261 hospital days for 23 patients were included in the analysis. Ten patients were cared for in the UWMC ICU and 13 in the SCH ICU and/or on the SCH neurosurgical floor. The median values for total daily hospital charges were $19,824.68 (interquartile range [IQR] $12,889.73–$38,494.81) for SCH ICU care, $8,620.88 (IQR $6,416.76–$11,851.36) for SCH floor care, and $10,002.13 (IQR $8,465.16–$12,123.03) for UWMC ICU care. At SCH, it was significantly more expensive to provide EVD care in the ICU than on the floor (p < 0.001), and the daily hospital charges for the UWMC ICU were significantly greater than for the SCH floor (p = 0.023). No adverse clinical event related to the presence of an EVD was identified in any of the settings.

CONCLUSIONS

ICU admission solely for EVD care is costly. If safe EVD care can be provided outside of the ICU, it would represent a potential area for significant cost savings. Identifying appropriate patients for EVD care on the floor is multifactorial and requires vigilance in balancing the expenses associated with ICU utilization and optimal patient care.

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Christopher C. Young, John R. Williams, Abdullah H. Feroze, Margaret McGrath, Ali C. Ravanpay, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Jeffrey G. Ojemann, and Jason S. Hauptman

Functional hemispherectomy/hemispherotomy is a disconnection procedure for severe medically refractory epilepsy where the seizure foci diffusely localize to one hemisphere. It is an improvement on anatomical hemispherectomy and was first performed by Rasmussen in 1974. Less invasive surgical approaches and refinements have been made to improve seizure freedom and minimize surgical morbidity and complications. Key anatomical structures that are disconnected include the 1) internal capsule and corona radiata, 2) mesial temporal structures, 3) insula, 4) corpus callosum, 5) parietooccipital connection, and 6) frontobasal connection. A stepwise approach is indicated to ensure adequate disconnection and prevent seizure persistence or recurrence. In young pediatric patients, careful patient selection and modern surgical techniques have resulted in > 80% seizure freedom and very good functional outcome. In this report, the authors summarize the history of hemispherectomy and its development and present a graphical guide for this anatomically challenging procedure. The use of the osteoplastic flap to improve outcome and the management of hydrocephalus are discussed.

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Abdullah H. Feroze, Margaret McGrath, John R. Williams, Christopher C. Young, Chibawanye I. Ene, Robert T. Buckley, Bonnie L. Cole, Jeffrey G. Ojemann, and Jason S. Hauptman

Herein, the authors describe the successful use of laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) for management of metastatic craniospinal disease for biopsy-proven atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor in a 16-month-old boy presenting to their care. Specifically, LITT was administered to lesions of the right insula and left caudate. The patient tolerated 2 stages of LITT to the aforementioned lesions without complication and with evidence of radiographic improvement of lesions at the 2- and 6-month follow-up appointments. To the authors’ knowledge, this represents the first such published report of LITT for management of atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor.

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Alec W. Gibson, Abdullah H. Feroze, Madeline E. Greil, Margaret E. McGrath, Sananthan Sivakanthan, Gabrielle A. White-Dzuro, John R. Williams, Christopher C. Young, and Christoph P. Hofstetter

OBJECTIVE

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is the most common treatment for degenerative disease of the cervical spine. Given the high rate of pseudarthrosis in multilevel stand-alone ACDF, there is a need to explore the utility of novel grafting materials. In this study, the authors present a single-institution retrospective study of patients with multilevel degenerative spine disease who underwent multilevel stand-alone ACDF surgery with or without cellular allograft supplementation.

METHODS

In a prospectively collected database, 28 patients who underwent multilevel ACDF supplemented with cellular allograft (ViviGen) and 25 patients who underwent multilevel ACDF with decellularized allograft between 2014 and 2020 were identified. The primary outcome was radiographic fusion determined by a 1-year follow-up CT scan. Secondary outcomes included change in Neck Disability Index (NDI) scores and change in visual analog scale scores for neck and arm pain.

RESULTS

The study included 53 patients with a mean age of 53 ± 0.7 years who underwent multilevel stand-alone ACDF encompassing 2.6 ± 0.7 levels on average. Patient demographics were similar between the two cohorts. In the cellular allograft cohort, 2 patients experienced postoperative dysphagia that resolved by the 3-month follow-up. One patient developed cervical radiculopathy due to graft subsidence and required a posterior foraminotomy. At the 1-year CT, successful fusion was achieved in 92.9% (26/28) of patients who underwent ACDF supplemented with cellular allograft, compared with 84.0% (21/25) of patients who underwent ACDF without cellular allograft. The cellular allograft cohort experienced a significantly greater improvement in the mean postoperative NDI score (p < 0.05) compared with the other cohort.

CONCLUSIONS

Cellular allograft is a low-morbidity bone allograft option for ACDF. In this study, the authors determined favorable arthrodesis rates and functional outcomes in a complex patient cohort following multilevel stand-alone ACDF supplemented with cellular allograft.

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Isaac Josh Abecassis, Christopher C. Young, David J. Caldwell, Abdullah H. Feroze, John R. Williams, R. Michael Meyer, Ryan T. Kellogg, Robert H. Bonow, and Randall M. Chesnut

OBJECTIVE

Decompressive craniectomy (DC) is an effective, lifesaving option for reducing intracranial pressure (ICP) in traumatic brain injury (TBI), stroke, and other pathologies with elevated ICP. Most DCs are performed via a standard trauma flap shaped like a reverse question mark (RQM), which requires sacrificing the occipital and posterior auricular arteries and can be complicated by wound dehiscence and infections. The Ludwig Kempe hemispherectomy incision (Kempe) entails a T-shaped incision, one limb from the midline behind the hairline to the inion and the other limb from the root of the zygoma to the coronal suture. The authors’ objective in this study was to define their implementation of the Kempe incision for DC and craniotomy, report clinical outcomes, and quantify the volume of bone removed compared with the RQM incision.

METHODS

A retrospective review of a single-surgeon experience with DC in TBI and stroke was performed. Patient demographics, imaging, and outcomes were collected for all DCs from 2015 to 2020, and the incisions were categorized as either Kempe or RQM. Preoperative and postoperative CT scans were obtained and processed using a combination of automatic segmentation (in Python and SimpleITK) with manual cleanup and further subselection in ITK-SNAP. The volume of bone removed was quantified, and the primary outcome was percentage of hemicranium removed. Postoperative surgical wound infections, estimated blood loss (EBL), and length of surgery were compared between the two groups as secondary outcomes. Cranioplasty data were collected.

RESULTS

One hundred thirty-six patients were included in the analysis; there were 57 patients in the craniotomy group (44 patients with RQM incisions and 13 with Kempe incisions) and 79 in the craniectomy group (41 patients with RQM incisions and 38 Kempe incisions). The mean follow-up for the entire cohort was 251 ± 368 days. There was a difference in the amount of decompression between approaches in multivariate modeling (39% ± 11% of the hemicranium was removed via the Kempe incision vs 34% ± 10% via the RQM incision, p = 0.047), although this did not achieve significance in multivariate modeling. Wound infection rates, EBL, and length of surgery were comparable between the two incision types. No wound infections in either cohort were due to wound dehiscence. Cranioplasty outcomes were comparable between the two incision types.

CONCLUSIONS

The Kempe incision for craniectomy or craniotomy is a safe, feasible, and effective alternative to the RQM. The authors advocate the Kempe incision in cases in which contralateral operative pathology or subsequent craniofacial/skull base repair is anticipated.

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Douglas Kondziolka, L. Dade Lunsford, John C. Flickinger, Ronald F. Young, Sandra Vermeulen, Christopher M. Duma, Deane B. Jacques, Robert W. Rand, Jean Regis, Jean-Claude Peragut, Luis Manera, Mel H. Epstein, and Christer Lindquist

✓ A multiinstitutional study was conducted to evaluate the technique, dose-selection parameters, and results of gamma knife stereotactic radiosurgery in the management of trigeminal neuralgia. Fifty patients at five centers underwent radiosurgery performed with a single 4-mm isocenter targeted at the nerve root entry zone. Thirty-two patients had undergone prior surgery, and the mean number of procedures that had been performed was 2.8 (range 1–7). The target dose of the radiosurgery used in the current study varied from 60 to 90 Gy. The median follow-up period after radiosurgery was 18 months (range 11–36 months). Twenty-nine patients (58%) responded with excellent control (pain free), 18 (36%) obtained good control (50%–90% relief), and three (6%) experienced treatment failure. The median time to pain relief was 1 month (range 1 day–6.7 months). Responses remained consistent for up to 3 years postradiosurgery in all cases except three (6%) in which the patients had pain recurrence at 5, 7, and 10 months. At 2 years, 54% of patients were pain free and 88% had 50% to 100% relief.

A maximum radiosurgical dose of 70 Gy or greater was associated with a significantly greater chance of complete pain relief (72% vs. 9%, p = 0.0003). Three patients (6%) developed increased facial paresthesia after radiosurgery, which resolved totally in one case and improved in another. No patient developed other deficits or deafferentation pain. The proximal trigeminal nerve and root entry zone, which is well defined on magnetic resonance imaging, is an appropriate anatomical target for radiosurgery. Radiosurgery using the gamma unit is an additional effective surgical approach for the management of medically or surgically refractory trigeminal neuralgia. A longer-term follow-up review is warranted.