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Coleman P. Riordan, Armide Storey, David J. Cote, Edward R. Smith and R. Michael Scott

OBJECTIVE

There are limited data on the long-term outcomes for children undergoing surgical revascularization for moyamoya disease (MMD) in North America. The authors present a series of pediatric MMD patients who underwent a standard revascularization procedure, pial synangiosis, more than 20 years previously at a single institution by a single surgical team.

METHODS

This study is a retrospective review of all patients aged 21 years or younger treated for MMD at Boston Children’s Hospital who were operated on more than 20 years previously by the senior author (R.M.S.). Radiographic and operative reports, outpatient clinical records, and communications with patients and families were reviewed to document current clinical status, ability to perform daily activities, and concurrent or new medical conditions.

RESULTS

A total of 59 patients (38 female [64.4%], 21 male [35.6%]; median age at surgery 6.2 years [IQR 0.5–21 years]) were identified who were diagnosed with MMD and underwent surgical revascularization procedures more than 20 years previously. Clinically, all but 2 patients (96.6%) presented with the following symptoms alone or in combination: 43 (73%) presented with stroke, 22 (37%) with transient ischemic attack, 12 (20%) with seizures, 7 (12%) with headache, 3 (5%) with choreiform movements, and 2 (3%) with hemorrhage; MMD was incidentally detected in 2 patients (3%). Five patients had unilateral MMD at presentation, but 3 of these ultimately progressed to develop bilateral MMD after an average of 16 months; therefore, pial synangiosis was ultimately performed in a total of 116 hemispheres during the study period. Clinical follow-up was available at a median interval of 20.6 years (IQR 16.1–23.2 years). Modified Rankin Scale scores were stable or improved in 43 of 50 patients with evaluable data; 45 of 55 are currently independent. There were 6 patient deaths (10.2%; 3 due to intracranial hemorrhage, 2 due to tumor-related complications, and 1 due to pulmonary artery stenosis), 4 of whom had a history of previous cranial radiation. One patient (1.7%) experienced a late stroke. Synangiosis vessels remained patent on all available late MRI and MRA studies. Four patients reported uneventful pregnancies and vaginal deliveries years following their revascularization procedures.

CONCLUSIONS

Revascularization for MMD by pial synangiosis appears to confer protection from stroke for pediatric patients over long-term follow-up. A history of cranial radiation was present in 4 of the 6 patients who died and in the lone patient with late stroke. Most patients can expect productive, independent lives following revascularization surgery in the absence of significant preoperative neurological deficits and comorbidities.

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Timothy R. Smith, David J. Cote, John A. Jane Jr. and Edward R. Laws Jr.

OBJECTIVE

The object of this study was to establish recurrence rates in patients with craniopharyngioma postoperatively treated with recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) as a basis for determining the risk of rhGH therapy in the development of recurrent tumor.

METHODS

The study included 739 pediatric patients with craniopharyngioma who were naïve to GH upon entering the Genentech National Cooperative Growth Study (NCGS) for treatment. Reoperation for tumor recurrence was documented as an adverse event. Cox proportional-hazards regression models were developed for time to recurrence, using age as the outcome and enrollment date as the predictor. Patients without recurrence were treated as censored. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the incidence of recurrence with adjustment for the amount of time at risk.

RESULTS

Fifty recurrences in these 739 surgically treated patients were recorded. The overall craniopharyngioma recurrence rate in the NCGS was 6.8%, with a median follow-up time of 4.3 years (range 0.7–6.4 years.). Age at the time of study enrollment was statistically significant according to both Cox (p = 0.0032) and logistic (p < 0.001) models, with patients under 9 years of age more likely to suffer recurrence (30 patients [11.8%], 0.025 recurrences/yr of observation, p = 0.0097) than those ages 9–13 years (17 patients [6.0%], 0.17 recurrences/yr of observation) and children older than 13 years (3 patients [1.5%], 0.005 recurrences/yr of observation).

CONCLUSIONS

Physiological doses of GH do not appear to increase the recurrence rate of craniopharyngioma after surgery in children, but long-term follow-up of GH-treated patients is required to establish a true natural history in the GH treatment era.

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Timothy R. Smith, M. Maher Hulou, Kevin T. Huang, Breno Nery, Samuel Miranda de Moura, David J. Cote and Edward R. Laws

OBJECT

The purpose of this study was to describe complications associated with the endonasal, transsphenoidal approach for the treatment of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)–positive staining tumors (Cushing's disease [CD] and silent corticotroph adenomas [SCAs]) performed by 1 surgeon at a high-volume academic medical center.

METHODS

Medical records from Brigham and Women's Hospital were retrospectively reviewed. Selected for study were 82 patients with CD who during April 2008–April 2014 had consecutively undergone transsphenoidal resection or who had subsequent pathological confirmation of ACTH-positive tumor staining. In addition to demographic, patient, tumor, and surgery characteristics, complications were evaluated. Complications of interest included syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion, diabetes insipidus (DI), CSF leakage, carotid artery injury, epistaxis, meningitis, and vision changes.

RESULTS

Of the 82 patients, 68 (82.9%) had CD and 14 (17.1%) had SCAs; 55 patients were female and 27 were male. Most common (n = 62 patients, 82.7%) were microadenomas, followed by macroadenomas (n = 13, 14.7%). A total of 31 (37.8%) patients underwent reoperation. Median follow-up time was 12.0 months (range 3–69 months). The most common diagnosis was ACTH-secreting (n = 68, 82.9%), followed by silent tumors/adenomas (n = 14, 17.1%). ACTH hyperplasia was found in 8 patients (9.8%). Of the 74 patients who had verified tumors, 12 (16.2%) had tumors with atypical features.

The overall (CD and SCA) rate of minor complications was 35.4%; the rate of major complications was 8.5% (n = 7). All permanent morbidity was associated with DI (n = 5, 6.1%). In 16 CD patients (23.5%), transient DI developed. Transient DI was more likely to develop in CD patients who had undergone a second operation (37.9%) than in those who had undergone a first operation only (12.8%, p < 0.05). Permanent DI developed in 4 CD patients (5.9%) and 1 SCA patient (7.1%). For 1 CD patient, intraoperative carotid artery injury required endovascular sacrifice of the injured artery, but the patient remained neurologically intact. For another CD patient, aseptic meningitis developed and was treated effectively with corticosteroids. One CD patient experienced major postoperative epistaxis requiring another operative procedure to achieve hemostasis. For 2 CD patients, development of sinus mucoceles was managed conservatively. For 1 SCA patient, an abdominal wound dehisced at the fat graft site. No patients experienced postoperative CSF leakage, visual impairment, or deep vein thrombosis.

CONCLUSIONS

Transsphenoidal surgery is the treatment of choice for patients with CD and other ACTH-positive staining tumors. Recent advances in endoscopic technology and increasing surgeon comfort with this technology are making transsphenoidal procedures safer, faster, and more effective. Serious complications are uncommon and can be managed successfully.

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David J. Cote, Naci Balak, Jannick Brennum, Daniel T. Holsgrove, Neil Kitchen, Herbert Kolenda, Wouter A. Moojen, Karl Schaller, Pierre A. Robe, Tiit Mathiesen and Marike L. Broekman

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Edward R. Laws, Judith M. Wong, Timothy R. Smith, Kenneth de los Reyes, Linda S. Aglio, Alison J. Thorne, David J. Cote, Felice Esposito, Paolo Cappabianca and Atul Gawande

OBJECT

Approximately 250 million surgical procedures are performed annually worldwide, and data suggest that major complications occur in 3%–17% of them. Many of these complications can be classified as avoidable, and previous studies have demonstrated that preoperative checklists improve operating room teamwork and decrease complication rates. Although the authors’ institution has instituted a general preoperative “time-out” designed to streamline communication, flatten vertical authority gradients, and decrease procedural errors, there is no specific checklist for transnasal transsphenoidal anterior skull base surgery, with or without endoscopy. Such minimally invasive cranial surgery uses a completely different conceptual approach, set-up, instrumentation, and operative procedure. Therefore, it can be associated with different types of complications as compared with open cranial surgery. The authors hypothesized that a detailed, procedure-specific, preoperative checklist would be useful to reduce errors, improve outcomes, decrease delays, and maximize both teambuilding and operational efficiency. Thus, the object of this study was to develop such a checklist for endonasal transsphenoidal anterior skull base surgery.

METHODS

An expert panel was convened that consisted of all members of the typical surgical team for transsphenoidal endoscopic cases: neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists, circulating nurses, scrub technicians, surgical operations managers, and technical assistants. Beginning with a general checklist, procedure-specific items were added and categorized into 4 pauses: Anesthesia Pause, Surgical Pause, Equipment Pause, and Closure Pause.

RESULTS

The final endonasal transsphenoidal anterior skull base surgery checklist is composed of the following 4 pauses. The Anesthesia Pause consists of patient identification, diagnosis, pertinent laboratory studies, medications, surgical preparation, patient positioning, intravenous/arterial access, fluid management, monitoring, and other special considerations (e.g., Valsalva, jugular compression, lumbar drain, and so on). The Surgical Pause is composed of personnel introductions, planned procedural elements, estimation of duration of surgery, anticipated blood loss and fluid management, imaging, specimen collection, and questions of a surgical nature. The Equipment Pause assures proper function and availability of the microscope, endoscope, cameras and recorders, guidance systems, special instruments, ultrasonic microdoppler, microdebrider, drills, and other adjunctive supplies (e.g., Avitene, cotton balls, nasal packs, and so on). The Closure Pause is dedicated to issues of immediate postoperative patient disposition, orders, and management.

CONCLUSIONS

Surgical complications are a considerable cause of death and disability worldwide. Checklists have been shown to be an effective tool for reducing preventable errors surrounding surgery and decreasing associated complications. Although general checklists are already in place in most institutions, a specific checklist for endonasal transsphenoidal anterior skull base surgery was developed to help safeguard patients, improve outcomes, and enhance teambuilding.

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Christian Iorio-Morin, Laurence Masson-Côté, Youssef Ezahr, Jocelyn Blanchard, Annie Ebacher and David Mathieu

Object

Optimal case management after surgical removal of brain metastasis remains controversial. Although postoperative whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) has been shown to prevent local recurrence and decrease deaths, this modality can substantially decrease neurocognitive function and quality of life. Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) can theoretically achieve the same level of local control with fewer side effects, although studies conclusively demonstrating such outcomes are lacking. To assess the effectiveness and safety profile of tumor bed SRS after resection of brain metastasis, the authors performed a retrospective analysis of 110 patients who had received such treatment at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke. They designed the study to identify risk factors for local recurrence and placed special emphasis on factors that could potentially be addressed.

Methods

Patients who had received treatment from 2004 through 2013 were included if they had undergone surgical removal of 1 or more brain metastases and if the tumor bed was treated by SRS regardless of the extent of resection or prior WBRT. All cases were retrospectively analyzed for patient and tumor-specific factors, treatment protocol, adverse outcomes, cavity outcomes, and survival for as long as follow-up was available. Univariate and multivariate Cox regression analyses were performed to identify risk factors for local recurrence and predictors of increased survival times.

Results

Median patient age at first SRS treatment was 58 years (range 37–84 years). The most frequently diagnosed primary tumor was non–small cell lung cancer. The rate of gross-total resection was 81%. The median Karnofsky Performance Scale score was 90%. Tumor bed SRS was performed at a median of 3 weeks after surgery. Median follow-up and survival times were 10 and 11 months, respectively. Actuarial local control of the cavity at 12 months was 73%; median time to recurrence was 6 months. According to multivariate analysis, risk factors for recurrence were a longer surgery-to-SRS delay (HR 1.625, p = 0.003) and a lower maximum radiation dose delivered to the cavity (HR 0.817, p = 0.006). Factors not associated with increased recurrence were subtotal or piecemeal resections, prior WBRT, histology of the primary tumor, and larger cavity volume. No factors predictive of survival were identified. Symptomatic radiation-induced enhancement occurred in 6% of patients and leptomeningeal dissemination in 11%. Pathologically confirmed radiation-induced necrosis occurred in 1 (0.9%) patient.

Conclusions

Adjuvant tumor bed SRS after the resection of brain metastasis is a valuable alternative to adjuvant WBRT. Risk factors for local recurrence are lower maximum radiation dose and a surgery-to-SRS delay longer than 3 weeks. Outcomes were not worse for patients who had undergone prior WBRT and subtotal or piecemeal resections. Pending the results of prospective randomized controlled trials, the authors' study supports the safety and efficacy of adjuvant SRS after resection of brain metastasis. SRS should be performed as early as possible, ideally within 3 weeks of the surgery.

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Timothy R. Smith, M. Maher Hulou, Sandra C. Yan, David J. Cote, Brian V. Nahed, Maya A. Babu, Sunit Das, William B. Gormley, James T. Rutka, Edward R. Laws Jr. and Robert F. Heary

OBJECT

Recent studies have examined the impact of perceived medicolegal risk and compared how this perception impacts defensive practices within the US. To date, there have been no published data on the practice of defensive medicine among neurosurgeons in Canada.

METHODS

An online survey containing 44 questions was sent to 170 Canadian neurosurgeons and used to measure Canadian neurosurgeons’ perception of liability risk and their practice of defensive medicine. The survey included questions on the following domains: surgeon demographics, patient characteristics, type of physician practice, surgeon liability profile, policy coverage, defensive behaviors, and perception of the liability environment. Survey responses were analyzed and summarized using counts and percentages.

RESULTS

A total of 75 neurosurgeons completed the survey, achieving an overall response rate of 44.1%. Over one-third (36.5%) of Canadian neurosurgeons paid less than $5000 for insurance annually. The majority (87%) of Canadian neurosurgeons felt confident with their insurance coverage, and 60% reported that they rarely felt the need to practice defensive medicine. The majority of the respondents reported that the perceived medicolegal risk environment has no bearing on their preferred practice location. Only 1 in 5 respondent Canadian neurosurgeons (21.8%) reported viewing patients as a potential lawsuit. Only 4.9% of respondents would have selected a different career based on current medicolegal risk factors, and only 4.1% view the cost of annual malpractice insurance as a major burden.

CONCLUSIONS

Canadian neurosurgeons perceive their medicolegal risk environment as more favorable and their patients as less likely to sue than their counterparts in the US do. Overall, Canadian neurosurgeons engage in fewer defensive medical behaviors than previously reported in the US.

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Alexandra M. Giantini Larsen, David J. Cote, Hasan A. Zaidi, Wenya Linda Bi, Paul J. Schmitt, J. Bryan Iorgulescu, Michael B. Miller, Timothy R. Smith, M. Beatriz Lopes, John A. Jane Jr. and Edward R. Laws Jr.

OBJECTIVE

The authors report the diagnosis, management, and outcomes of 6 cases of spindle cell oncocytoma (SCO) in an effort to guide clinical diagnosis and management of these uncommon lesions.

METHODS

This study is a retrospective review of cases involving adult patients who underwent resection of pituitary lesions at the authors’ institutions between January 2000 and October 2017. The authors identified patients with histopathological confirmation of SCO and collected clinical data, including preoperative, perioperative, and postoperative management, complications, and outcomes.

RESULTS

Six patients with SCO were identified. Clinical findings at initial presentation included visual disturbances, dizziness, and headache. All patients underwent resection. Four resections were initially performed by the transsphenoidal approach, and 2 resections were performed by craniotomy at an outside institution with subsequent transsphenoidal reoperations. Neither necrosis nor increased mitotic activity was seen in the tumor samples. All samples stained positive for S100 protein and thyroid transcription factor 1 and negative for glial fibrillary acidic protein and pituitary hormones. Five of the samples stained positive for epithelial membrane antigen. The average MIB-1 index was 8.3% (range 2–17). Postoperatively, 3 of the 6 patients received further treatment for progression of residual tumor or for recurrence, 2 have stable residual tumor, and 1 has had no recurrence after gross-total resection. Two patients developed postoperative complications of transient sixth cranial nerve palsy and diplopia. There were no other complications.

CONCLUSIONS

SCO poses both a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge. These tumors are often initially misdiagnosed as nonfunctional pituitary adenomas because of their sellar location and nonspecific symptomatology. Postoperatively, SCO must also be distinguished from other neoplasms of the posterior pituitary gland through histopathological examination. Resection of SCO can be challenging, given its highly vascular and adherent nature. Long-term follow-up is critical, as the tumor is associated with higher recurrence and progression rates compared to other benign neoplasms of the sella.