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David Bellut, Jan-Karl Burkhardt, Anne F. Mannion and François Porchet

OBJECT

The aim of this study was to evaluate outcome in patients undergoing surgical treatment for intradural spinal tumor using a patient-oriented, self-rated, outcome instrument and a physician-based disease-specific instrument.

METHODS

Prospectively collected data from 63 patients with intradural spinal tumor were analyzed in relation to scores on the multidimensional patient-rated Core Outcome Measures Index (COMI) and the physician-rated modified McCormick Scale, before and at 3 and 12 months after surgery.

RESULTS

There was no statistically significant difference between the scores on the modified McCormick Scale preoperatively and at the 3-month follow-up, though there was a trend for improvement (p = 0.073); however, comparisons between the scores determined preoperatively and at the 12-month follow-up, as well as 3- versus 12-month follow-ups, showed a statistically significant improvement in each case (p < 0.004). The COMI scores for axial pain, peripheral pain, and back-related function showed a significant reduction (p < 0.001) from before surgery to 3 months after surgery, and thereafter showed no further change (p > 0.05) up to 12 months postoperatively. In contrast, the overall COMI score, “worst pain,” quality of life, and social disability not only showed a significant reduction from before surgery to 3 months after surgery (p < 0.001), but also a further significant reduction up to 12 months postoperatively (p < 0.001). The scores for work disability showed no significant improvement from before surgery to the 3-month follow-up (p > 0.05), but did show a significant improvement (p = 0.011) from 3 months to 12 months after surgery. At the 3- and 12-month follow-ups, 85.2% and 83.9% of patients, respectively, declared that the surgical procedure had helped/helped a lot; 95.1% and 95.2%, respectively, declared that they were satisfied/very satisfied with their care.

CONCLUSIONS

COMI is a feasible tool to use in the evaluation of baseline symptoms and outcome in patients undergoing surgery for intradural spinal tumor. COMI was able to detect changes in outcome at 3 months after surgery (before changes were apparent on the modified McCormick Scale) and on later postoperative follow-up. The COMI subdomains are valuable for monitoring the patient’s reintegration into society and the work environment. The addition of an item that specifically covers neurological deficits may further increase the value of COMI in patients with spinal tumors.

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David Bellut, Martin Hlavica, Christoph Schmid and René L. Bernays

Object

Acromegaly is a rare disease, usually caused by a growth hormone (GH)–producing pituitary adenoma. If untreated, severe cardiovascular, metabolic, cosmetic, and orthopedic disturbances will result. Surgery is generally recommended as the first-line treatment. Transsphenoidal surgical techniques were recently extended by the introduction of intraoperative MR (iMR) imaging. In the present study, the contribution of ultra-low-field (0.15-T) iMR imaging to tumor resection, complication avoidance, and endocrinological and neurological outcome was analyzed.

Methods

A series of 39 consecutive transsphenoidal iMR imaging–guided (using the PoleStar N20 device) surgical procedures performed between September 2005 and August 2009 for GH-producing pituitary adenomas was retrospectively analyzed. In addition to the patients' clinical data, the following criteria were evaluated independently: duration of surgery; length of hospital stay; endocrinological parameters; results of neurological examinations; and pre-, post-, and intraoperative MR imaging results.

Results

Thirty-seven patients with acromegaly underwent 39 transsphenoidal surgeries for pituitary adenomas. During a median follow-up period of 30 months (range 9–56 months), the remission rate was 73.5% in 34 patients with primary surgery and 20% in 5 cases with previous surgery; overall the remission rate was 66.7%. There were no serious postoperative complications. Detection of tumor remnant on iMR imaging led to a 5.1% increase in remission rate.

Conclusions

In this largest study to date of GH-producing pituitary adenomas in which iMR imaging–guided transsphenoidal surgery was analyzed, the results suggest that this method is a highly effective and safe treatment modality, even compared with previously published surgical series in which high-field iMR imaging was used. Limitations of iMR imaging are the detection of small residual tumor in the cavernous sinus and persisting disease that could not be observed, even on diagnostic high-field follow-up MR images. This points to a general limitation regarding remission rates that can be achieved using iMR imaging. Nevertheless, iMR imaging led to an increase of the remission rate in this study.

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Martin N. Stienen, Holger Joswig, Ivan Chau, Marian C. Neidert, David Bellut, Thomas Wälchli, Karl Schaller and Oliver P. Gautschi

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the intraoperative application of an epidural steroid (ES) on the decompressed nerve root improves short- and midterm subjective and objective clinical outcomes after lumbar microdiscectomy.

METHODS

This study was a retrospective analysis of a 2-center database including consecutive cases in which patients underwent lumbar microdiscectomy. All patients who received ES application (40 mg triamcinolone, ES group) were matched by age and sex to patients who had not received ES application (control group). Objective functional impairment (OFI) was determined using age- and sex-adjusted T-scores of the Timed Up and Go (TUG) test. Back and leg pain (visual analog scale), functional impairment (Oswestry Disability Index [ODI], Roland-Morris Disability Index [RMDI], and health-related quality of life (hrQoL; 12-Item Short Form Health Survey [SF-12] physical component summary [PSC] score and EuroQol [EQ-5D index]) were measured at baseline, on postoperative day 3, and at postoperative week 6.

RESULTS

Fifty-three patients who received ES application were matched with 101 controls. There were no baseline demographic or disease-specific differences between the study groups, and preoperative pain, functional impairment, and hrQoL were similar. On postoperative day 3, the ES group had less disability on the RMDI (mean 7.4 vs 10.3, p = 0.003) and higher hrQoL as determined by the SF-12 PCS (36.5 vs 32.7, p = 0.004). At week 6, the ES group had less disability on the RMDI (3.6 vs 5.7, p = 0.050) and on the ODI by trend (17.0 vs 24.4, p = 0.056); better hrQoL, determined by the SF-12 PCS (44.3 vs 39.9, p = 0.018); and lower OFI (TUG test T-score 100.5 vs 110.2, p = 0.005). The week 6 responder status based on the minimum clinically important difference (MCID) was similar in the ES and control groups for each metric. The rates and severity of complications were similar, with a 3.8% and 4.0% reoperation rate in the ES group and control group, respectively (p = 0.272). There was a tendency for shorter hospitalization in the ES group (5.0 vs 5.8 days, p = 0.066).

CONCLUSIONS

Intraoperative ES application on the decompressed nerve root is an effective adjunct treatment that may lower subjective and objective functional impairment and increase hrQoL in the short and intermediate term after lumbar microdiscectomy. However, group differences were lower than the commonly accepted MCIDs for each metric, indicating that the effect size of the benefit is limited.

■ CLASSIFICATION OF EVIDENCE Type of question: therapeutic; study design: retrospective cohort trial; evidence: Class II.

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Kevin Akeret, David Bellut, Hans-Jürgen Huppertz, Georgia Ramantani, Kristina König, Carlo Serra, Luca Regli and Niklaus Krayenbühl

OBJECTIVE

Surgery has proven to be the best therapeutic option for drug-refractory cases of focal cortical dysplasia (FCD)–associated epilepsy. Seizure outcome primarily depends on the completeness of resection, rendering the intraoperative FCD identification and delineation particularly important. This study aims to assess the diagnostic yield of intraoperative ultrasound (IOUS) in surgery for FCD-associated drug-refractory epilepsy.

METHODS

The authors prospectively enrolled 15 consecutive patients with drug-refractory epilepsy who underwent an IOUS-assisted microsurgical resection of a radiologically suspected FCD between January 2013 and July 2016. The findings of IOUS were compared with those of presurgical MRI postprocessing and the sonographic characteristics were analyzed in relation to the histopathological findings. The authors investigated the added value of IOUS in achieving completeness of resection and improving postsurgical seizure outcome.

RESULTS

The neurosurgeon was able to identify the dysplastic tissue by IOUS in all cases. The visualization of FCD type I was more challenging compared to FCD II and the demarcation of its borders was less clear. Postsurgical MRI showed residual dysplasia in 2 of the 3 patients with FCD type I. In all FCD type II cases, IOUS allowed for a clear intraoperative visualization and demarcation, strongly correlating with presurgical MRI postprocessing. Postsurgical MRI confirmed complete resection in all FCD type II cases. Sonographic features correlated with the histopathological classification of dysplasia (sonographic abnormalities increase continuously in the following order: FCD IA/IB, FCD IC, FCD IIA, FCD IIB). In 1 patient with IOUS features atypical for FCD, histopathological investigation showed nonspecific gliosis.

CONCLUSIONS

Morphological features of FCD, as identified by IOUS, correlate well with advanced presurgical imaging. The resolution of IOUS was superior to MRI in all FCD types. The appreciation of distinct sonographic features on IOUS allows the intraoperative differentiation between FCD and non-FCD lesions as well as the discrimination of different histological subtypes of FCD. Sonographic demarcation depends on the underlying degree of dysplasia. IOUS allows for more tailored resections by facilitating the delineation of the dysplastic tissue.

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Martin N. Stienen, Nicolai Maldaner, Holger Joswig, Marco V. Corniola, David Bellut, Peter Prömmel, Luca Regli, Astrid Weyerbrock, Karl Schaller and Oliver P. Gautschi

OBJECTIVE

Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are standard of care for the assessment of functional impairment. Subjective outcome measures are increasingly complemented by objective ones, such as the “Timed Up and Go” (TUG) test. Currently, only a few studies report pre- and postoperative TUG test assessments in patients with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS).

METHODS

A prospective two-center database was reviewed to identify patients with LSS who underwent lumbar decompression with or without fusion. The subjective functional status was estimated using PROMs for pain (visual analog scale [VAS]), disability (Roland-Morris Disability Index [RMDI] and Oswestry Disability Index [ODI]), and health-related quality of life (HRQoL; 12-Item Short-Form Physical Component Summary [SF-12 PCS] and the EQ-5D) preoperatively, as well as on postoperative day 3 (D3) and week 6 (W6). Objective functional impairment (OFI) was measured using age- and sex-standardized TUG test results.

RESULTS

Sixty-four patients (n = 32 [50%] male, mean age 66.8 ± 11.7 years) were included. Preoperatively, they reported a mean VAS back pain score of 4.1 ± 2.7, VAS leg pain score of 5.4 ± 2.7, RMDI of 10.4 ± 5.3, ODI of 41.9 ± 16.2, SF-12 PCS score of 32.7 ± 8.3, and an EQ-5D index of 0.517 ± 0.226. The preoperative rates of severe, moderate, and mild OFI were 4.7% (n = 3), 12.5% (n = 8), and 7.8% (n = 5), respectively, and the mean OFI T-score was 116.3 ± 23.7. At W6, 60 (93.8%) of 64 patients had a TUG test result within the normal population range (no OFI); 3 patients (4.7%) had mild and 1 patient (1.6%) severe OFI. The mean W6 OFI T-score was significantly decreased (103.1 ± 13.6; p < 0.001). Correspondingly, the PROMs showed a decrease in subjective VAS back pain (1.6 ± 1.7, p < 0.001) and leg pain (1.0 ± 1.8, p < 0.001) scores, disability (RMDI 5.3 ± 4.7, p < 0.001; ODI 21.3 ± 16.1, p < 0.001), and increase in HRQoL (SF-12 PCS 40.1 ± 8.3, p < 0.001; EQ-5D 0.737 ± 0.192, p < 0.001) at W6. The W6 responder status (clinically meaningful improvement) ranged between 81.3% (VAS leg pain) and 29.7% (EQ-5D index) of patients.

CONCLUSIONS

The TUG test is a quick and easily applicable tool that reliably measures OFI in patients with LSS. Objective tests incorporating longer walking time should be considered if OFI is suspected but fails to be proven by the TUG test, taking into account that neurogenic claudication may not clinically manifest during the brief TUG examination. Objective tests do not replace the subjective PROM-based assessment, but add valuable information to a comprehensive patient evaluation.