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Ann-Christine Duhaime

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Christopher M. Bonfield and Douglas Kondziolka

Bill Masterton is the only man to die of injuries sustained in a National Hockey League (NHL) game. He remains the last fatality in any professional team sport involving a direct in-game injury in North America. While Masterton was originally thought to have suffered a fatal brain injury while being checked on the ice, later analysis of the case revealed evidence of second-impact syndrome and the effects of prior concussions. Masterton's death sparked both an immediate debate in the NHL on whether helmets should be compulsory and the NHL's first vote on mandatory helmet use. Although the subject of mandated helmet use met with resistance in the 10 years after Masterton's death, especially from hockey owners and coaches, the NHL finally legislated helmet use by all players entering the league beginning in the 1979–1980 season.

Several awards, including one recognizing the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey, have been created in memory of Masterton. However, his legacy extends far beyond the awards that bear his name. His death was the seminal event bringing head safety to the forefront of a game that was both unready and unwilling to accept change. An increase in mainstream media attention in recent years has led to unprecedented public awareness of brain injury and concussion in hockey and other sports. Advances in the diagnosis and treatment of head injury in sports have occurred recently, the impetus for which started over 45 years ago, when Bill Masterton died.

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Christopher M. Bonfield, D. Douglas Cochrane, Ash Singhal and Paul Steinbok

Sagittal craniosynostosis, the most common single suture craniosynostosis, is treated by numerous surgical techniques. Minimally invasive endoscopy-assisted procedures with postoperative helmeting are being used with reports of good cosmetic outcomes with decreased morbidity, shortened hospital stay, and less blood loss and transfusion. This procedure uses small skin incisions, which must be properly placed to provide safe access to the posterior sagittal and lambdoid sutures. However, the lambda is often hard to palpate through the skin due to the abnormal head shape. The authors describe their experience with the use of intraoperative, preincision ultrasound localization of the lambda in patients with scaphocephaly undergoing a minimally invasive procedure. This simple technique can also be applied to other operations where proper identification of the cranial sutures is necessary.

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Rebecca A. Reynolds, Lawrence B. Stack and Christopher M. Bonfield

Medical photographs are commonly employed to enhance education, research, and patient care throughout the neurosurgical discipline. Current mobile phone camera technology enables surgeons to quickly capture, document, and share a patient scenario with colleagues. Research demonstrates that patients generally view clinical photography favorably, and the practice has become an integral part of healthcare. Neurosurgeons in satellite locations often rely on residents to send photographs of diagnostic imaging studies, neurological examination findings, and postoperative wounds. Images are also frequently obtained for research purposes, teaching and learning operative techniques, lectures and presentations, comparing preoperative and postoperative outcomes, and patient education. However, image quality and technique are highly variable. Capturing and sharing photographs must be accompanied by an awareness of the legal ramifications of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPAA compliance is straightforward when one is empowered with the knowledge of what constitutes a patient identifier in a photograph. Little has been published to describe means of improving the accuracy and educational value of medical photographs in neurosurgery. Therefore, in this paper, the authors present a brief discussion regarding four easily implemented photography skills every surgeon who uses his or her mobile phone for patient care should know: 1) provide context, 2) use appropriate lighting, 3) use appropriate dimensionality, and 4) manage distracting elements. Details of the HIPAA-related components of mobile phone photographs and patient-protected health information are also included.

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Christopher M. Bonfield, Sandi Lam, Yimo Lin and Stephanie Greene

Object

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) are significant independent public health concerns in the pediatric population. This study explores the impact of a premorbid diagnosis of ADHD on outcome following mild TBI.

Methods

The charts of all patients with a diagnosis of mild closed head injury (CHI) and ADHD who were admitted to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh between January 2003 and December 2010 were retrospectively reviewed after institutional review board approval was granted. Patient demographics, initial Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score, hospital course, and King's Outcome Scale for Childhood Head Injury (KOSCHI) score were recorded. The results were compared with a sample of age-matched controls admitted with a diagnosis of CHI without ADHD.

Results

Forty-eight patients with mild CHI and ADHD, and 45 patients with mild CHI without ADHD were included in the statistical analysis. Mild TBI due to CHI was defined as an initial GCS score of 13–15. The ADHD group had a mean age of 12.2 years (range 6–17 years), and the control group had a mean age of 11.14 years (range 5–16 years). For patients with mild TBI who had ADHD, 25% were moderately disabled (KOSCHI Score 4b), and 56% had completely recovered (KOSCHI Score 5b) at follow-up. For patients with mild TBI without ADHD, 2% were moderately disabled and 84% had completely recovered at follow-up (p < 0.01). Patients with ADHD were statistically significantly more disabled after mild TBI than were control patients without ADHD, even when controlling for age, sex, initial GCS score, hospital length of stay, length of follow-up, mechanism of injury, and presence of other (extracranial) injury.

Conclusions

Patients who sustain mild TBIs in the setting of a premorbid diagnosis of ADHD are more likely to be moderately disabled by the injury than are patients without ADHD.

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Jonathan Dallas, Chevis N. Shannon and Christopher M. Bonfield

OBJECTIVE

Spinal fusion is used in the treatment of pediatric neuromuscular scoliosis (NMS) to improve spine alignment and delay disease progression. However, patients with NMS are often medically complex and require a higher level of care than those with other types of scoliosis, leading to higher treatment costs. The purpose of this study was to 1) characterize the cost of pediatric NMS fusion in the US and 2) determine hospital characteristics associated with changes in overall cost.

METHODS

Patients were identified from the National Inpatient Sample (2012 to the first 3 quarters of 2015). Inclusion criteria selected for patients with NMS, spinal fusion of at least 4 vertebral levels, and elective hospitalization. Patients with no cost information were excluded. Sociodemographics, treating hospital characteristics, disease etiology/severity, comorbidities, length of stay, and hospital costs were collected. Univariable analysis and multivariable gamma log-link regression were used to determine hospital characteristics associated with changes in cost.

RESULTS

A total of 1780 weighted patients met inclusion criteria. The median cost was $68,815. Following multivariable regression, both small (+$11,580, p < 0.001) and medium (+$6329, p < 0.001) hospitals had higher costs than large hospitals. Rural hospitals had higher costs than urban teaching hospitals (+$32,438, p < 0.001). Nonprofit hospitals were more expensive than both government (–$4518, p = 0.030) and investor-owned (–$10,240, p = 0.001) hospitals. There was significant variability by US census division; compared with the South Atlantic, all other divisions except for the Middle Atlantic had significantly higher costs, most notably the West North Central (+$15,203, p < 0.001) and the Pacific (+$22,235, p < 0.001). Hospital fusion volume was not associated with total cost.

CONCLUSIONS

A number of hospital factors were associated with changes in fusion cost. Larger hospitals may be able to achieve decreased costs due to economies of scale. Regional differences could reflect uncontrolled-for variability in underlying patient populations or systems-level and policy differences. Overall, this analysis identified multiple systemic patterns that could be targets of further cost-related interventions.

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Matthew B. Maserati, Matthew J. Tormenti, David M. Panczykowski, Christopher M. Bonfield and Peter C. Gerszten

Object

The authors report the use and preliminary results of a novel hybrid dynamic stabilization and fusion construct for the surgical treatment of degenerative lumbar spine pathology.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective chart review of all patients who underwent posterior lumbar instrumentation with the Dynesys-to-Optima (DTO) hybrid dynamic stabilization and fusion system. Preoperative symptoms, visual analog scale (VAS) pain scores, perioperative complications, and the need for subsequent revision surgery were recorded. Each patient was then contacted via telephone to determine current symptoms and VAS score. Follow-up was available for 22 of 24 patients, and the follow-up period ranged from 1 to 22 months. Clinical outcome was gauged by comparing VAS scores prior to surgery and at the time of telephone interview.

Results

A total of 24 consecutive patients underwent lumbar arthrodesis surgery in which the hybrid system was used for adjacent-level dynamic stabilization. The mean preoperative VAS score was 8.8, whereas the mean postoperative VAS score was 5.3. There were five perioperative complications that included 2 durotomies and 2 wound infections. In addition, 1 patient had a symptomatic medially placed pedicle screw that required revision. These complications were not thought to be specific to the DTO system itself. In 3 patients treatment failed, with treatment failure being defined as persistent preoperative symptoms requiring reoperation.

Conclusions

The DTO system represents a novel hybrid dynamic stabilization and fusion construct. The technique holds promise as an alternative to multilevel lumbar arthrodesis while potentially decreasing the risk of adjacent-segment disease following lumbar arthrodesis. The technology is still in its infancy and therefore follow-up, when available, remains short. The authors report their preliminary experience using a hybrid system in 24 patients, along with short-interval clinical and radiographic follow-up.

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Matthew J. Tormenti, Matthew B. Maserati, Christopher M. Bonfield, David O. Okonkwo and Adam S. Kanter

Object

The authors recently used a combined approach of minimally invasive transpsoas extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF) and open posterior segmental pedicle screw instrumentation with transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) for the correction of coronal deformity. The complications and radiographic outcomes were compared with a posterior-only approach for scoliosis correction.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed all deformity cases that were surgically corrected at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Hospital between June 2007 and August 2009. Eight patients underwent combined transpsoas and posterior approaches for adult degenerative thoracolumbar scoliosis. The comparison group consisted of 4 adult patients who underwent a posterior-only scoliosis correction. Data on intra- and postoperative complications were collected. The pre- and postoperative posterior-anterior and lateral scoliosis series radiographic films were reviewed, and comparisons were made for coronal deformity, apical vertebral translation (AVT), and lumbar lordosis. Clinical outcomes were evaluated by comparing pre- and postoperative visual analog scale scores.

Results

The median preoperative coronal Cobb angle in the combined approach was 38.5° (range 18–80°). Following surgery, the median Cobb angle was 10° (p < 0.0001). The mean preoperative AVT was 3.6 cm, improving to 1.8 cm postoperatively (p = 0.031). The mean preoperative lumbar lordosis in this group was 47.3°, and the mean postoperative lordosis was 40.4°. Compared with posterior-only deformity corrections, the mean values for curve correction were higher for the combined approach than for the posterior-only approach. Conversely, the mean AVT correction was higher in the posterior-only group. One patient in the posterior-only group required revision of the instrumentation. One patient who underwent the transpsoas XLIF approach suffered an intraoperative bowel injury necessitating laparotomy and segmental bowel resection; this patient later underwent an uneventful posterior-only correction of her scoliotic deformity. Two patients (25%) in the XLIF group sustained motor radiculopathies, and 6 of 8 patients (75%) experienced postoperative thigh paresthesias or dysesthesias. Motor radiculopathy resolved in 1 patient, but persisted 3 months postsurgery in the other. Sensory symptoms persisted in 5 of 6 patients at the most recent follow-up evaluation. The mean clinical follow-up time was 10.5 months for the XLIF group and 11.5 months for the posterior-only group. The mean visual analog scale score decreased from 8.8 to 3.5 in the XLIF group, and it decreased from 9.5 to 4 in the posterior-only group.

Conclusions

Radiographic outcomes such as the Cobb angle and AVT were significantly improved in patients who underwent a combined transpsoas and posterior approach. Lumbar lordosis was maintained in all patients undergoing the combined approach. The combination of XLIF and TLIF/posterior segmental instrumentation techniques may lead to less blood loss and to radiographic outcomes that are comparable to traditional posterior-only approaches. However, the surgical technique carries significant risks that require further evaluation and proper informed consent.

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Zachary J. Tempel, Gurpreet S. Gandhoke, Christopher M. Bonfield, David O. Okonkwo and Adam S. Kanter

Object

A hybrid approach of minimally invasive lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) followed by supplementary open posterior segmental instrumented fusion (PSIF) has shown promising early results in the treatment of adult degenerative scoliosis. Studies assessing the impact of this combined approach on correction of segmental and regional coronal angulation, sagittal realignment, maximum Cobb angle, restoration of lumbar lordosis, and clinical outcomes are needed. The authors report their results of this approach for correction of adult degenerative scoliosis.

Methods

Twenty-six patients underwent combined LLIF and PSIF in a staged fashion. The patient population consisted of 21 women and 5 men. Ages ranged from 40 to 77 years old. Radiographic measurements including coronal angulation, pelvic incidence, lumbar lordosis, and sagittal vertical axis were taken preoperatively and 1 year postoperatively in all patients. Concurrently, the visual analog score (VAS) for back and leg pain, the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and Short Form-36 (SF-36) Physical Component Summary (PCS) and Mental Component Summary (MCS) scores were used to assess clinical outcomes in 19 patients.

Results

At 1-year follow-up, all patients who underwent combined LLIF and PSIF achieved statistically significant mean improvement in regional coronal angles (from 14.9° to 5.8°, p < 0.01) and segmental coronal angulation at all operative levels (p < 0.01). The maximum Cobb angle was significantly reduced postoperatively (from 41.1° to 15.1°, p < 0.05) and was maintained at follow-up (12.0°, p < 0.05). The mean lumbar lordosis–pelvic incidence mismatch was significantly improved postoperatively (from 15.0° to 6.92°, p < 0.05). Although regional lumbar lordosis improved (from 43.0° to 48.8°), it failed to reach statistical significance (p = 0.06). The mean sagittal vertical axis was significantly improved postoperatively (from 59.5 mm to 34.2 mm, p < 0.01). The following scores improved significantly after surgery: VAS for back pain (from 7.5 to 4.3, p < 0.01) and leg pain (from 5.8 to 3.1, p < 0.01), ODI (from 48 to 38, p < 0.01), and PCS (from 27.5 to 35.0, p = 0.01); the MCS score did not improve significantly (from 43.2 to 45.5, p = 0.37). There were 3 major and 10 minor complications.

Conclusions

A hybrid approach of minimally invasive LLIF and open PSIF is an effective means of achieving correction of both coronal and sagittal deformity, resulting in improvement of quality of life in patients with adult degenerative scoliosis.

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Christopher M. Bonfield, Anand R. Kumar and Peter C. Gerszten

There is evidence that the neurosurgical procedure of cranioplasty is as ancient as its better-known counterpart, trephination. With origins in pre-Incan Peru, cranioplasty remains an important reconstructive procedure for modern craniofacial surgery teams to master. Solutions to the often challenging problem of repairing skull defects continue to evolve to improve patient outcomes. Throughout recorded history, advances in cranioplasty have paralleled major military conflicts due to survivorship after trephination or decompressive craniectomy. Primitive skull coverings used in Peru were later replaced during the Middle Ages by grafts obtained in animals and humans. Improved survivorship secondary to advances in anesthesia and battlefield medicine during the Crimean War and the American Civil War allowed the use of tantalum and acrylic cranioplasty to evolve during World Wars I and II. In the modern era of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, greater survivorship after cranial injury due to improvements in protective armor, medical evacuation, and early “far-forward” neurosurgical treatment have occurred. Consequently, the last decade has seen great advancement in cranial defect reconstruction, including custom-fabricated alloplast implants and the emergence of regenerative cranial treatments such as distraction osteogenesis, protected bone regeneration, and free tissue transfers. Comprehensive rehabilitation after neurotrauma has emerged as the new standard of care.