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Jorge E. Alvernia, Miguel Enrique Berbeo Calderón, Jorge Cespedes, John Vargas, Matthew Grady, Luis C. Cadavid, Enrique Osorio Fonseca, and Adolfo Cumplido Posada

Ernesto Bustamante Zuleta (1922–2021) was an impactful Colombian neurosurgeon whose legacy is inextricably linked with the development of the neurosurgery specialty in Colombia. His detail-oriented approach to treatment complemented his reputation for mastery of the neurosciences. Never simply confined to the operating theater, this calm and considerate physician felt compelled to teach during his entire career. The result of his teaching made a lasting imprint on an entire generation of neurosurgeons who subsequently established a high standard of neurosurgical care in Colombia. A true pioneer, Bustamante comprehensively engaged in his field, from founding the country’s first residency program in neurosurgery to successfully implementing technology in his procedures, performing many of Colombia’s first neurosurgical interventions, and publishing extensively across various categories of medical science. This historical reflection highlights his enduring contributions to the field and considers his legacy through the witness testimony of many of his students and collaborators. The hope is that his contributions may be acknowledged in full, as he was a reserved person who never boasted of his own accomplishments. The authors also hope that those who did not have the opportunity to know him would be informed by the historical context of the development of Colombian neurosurgery and inspired by his conviction and altruism.

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Enrique Vargas, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Joshua Rivera, Jeremy Huang, Sigurd H. Berven, Steve E. Braunstein, and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

Wound complications are a common adverse event following metastatic spine tumor surgery. Some patients with spinal metastases may first undergo radiation but eventually require spinal surgery because of either cord compression or instability. The authors compared wound complication rates in patients who had undergone surgery for metastatic disease and received preoperative radiation treatments, postoperative radiation, or no radiation.

METHODS

Records from patients treated at the University of California, San Francisco, for metastatic spine disease between 2005 and 2017 were retrospectively reviewed. Baseline characteristics were collected, including preoperative Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS), Spine Instability Neoplastic Score, total radiation dose, indication for surgery, diabetes status, time between radiation and surgery, use of perioperative chemotherapy or steroids, estimated blood loss, extent of fusion, and preoperative albumin level. Wound complication was defined as poor healing, dehiscence, or infection per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, within 6 months of surgery. One-way ANOVA was used to compare means across groups. Cumulative incidence analysis with competing risk methodology was used to adjust for risk of death during follow-up. Statistical analysis was performed using R software.

RESULTS

Two hundred five patients with adequate medical records were identified. Seventy patients had received preoperative radiation, 74 had received postoperative radiation within 6 months after surgery, and 61 had received no radiation at the surgical site. Wound complication rates were similar across the 3 cohorts: 14.3% (n = 10) in the group with preoperative radiation, 10.8% (n = 8) in the group that received postoperative radiation, and 11.5% (n = 7) in the group with no radiation (p = 0.773). Competing risk analysis showed a higher cumulative incidence of wound complications for the preoperative cohort, though this difference was not significant (p = 0.46). Overall, 89 patients were treated with external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), whereas 55 received stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). There was no significant difference in wound complications for patients treated with EBRT (11.2%, n = 10) versus SBRT (14.5%, n = 8; p = 0.825). KPS was the only factor correlated with wound complications on univariate analysis (p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS

Wound complication rates did not differ across the 3 cohorts: patients treated with preoperative radiation, postoperative radiation within 6 months of surgery, or no radiation. The effect size was small for KPS and likely does not represent a clinically significant predictor of wound complications.

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Pooria Hosseini, Gregory M. Mundis Jr., Robert K. Eastlack, Ramin Bagheri, Enrique Vargas, Stacie Tran, and Behrooz A. Akbarnia

OBJECTIVE

Sagittal malalignment decreases patients’ quality of life and may require surgical correction to achieve realignment goals. High-risk posterior-based osteotomy techniques are the current standard treatment for addressing sagittal malalignment. More recently, anterior lumbar interbody fusion, anterior column realignment (ALIF ACR) has been introduced as an alternative for correction of sagittal deformity. The objective of this paper was to report clinical and radiographic results for patients treated using the ALIF-ACR technique.

METHODS

A retrospective study of 39 patients treated with ALIF ACR was performed. Patient demographics, operative details, radiographic parameters, neurological assessments, outcome measures, and preoperative, postoperative, and mean 1-year follow-up complications were studied.

RESULTS

The patient population comprised 39 patients (27 females and 12 males) with a mean follow-up of 13.3 ± 4.7 months, mean age of 66.1 ± 11.6 years, and mean body mass index of 27.3 ± 6.2 kg/m2. The mean number of ALIF levels treated was 1.5 ± 0.5. Thirty-three (84.6%) of 39 patients underwent posterior spinal fixation and 33 (84.6%) of 39 underwent posterior column osteotomy, of which 20 (60.6%) of 33 procedures were performed at the level of the ALIF ACR. Pelvic tilt, sacral slope, and pelvic incidence were not statistically significantly different between the preoperative and postoperative periods and between the preoperative and 1-year follow-up periods (except for PT between the preoperative and 1-year follow-up, p = 0.018). Sagittal vertical axis, T-1 spinopelvic inclination, lumbar lordosis, pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch, intradiscal angle, and motion segment angle all improved from the preoperative to postoperative period and the preoperative to 1-year follow-up (p < 0.05). The changes in motion segment angle and intradiscal angle achieved in the ALIF-ACR group without osteotomy compared with the ALIF-ACR group with osteotomy at the level of ACR were not statistically significant. Total visual analog score, Oswestry Disability Index, and Scoliosis Research Society–22 scores all improved from preoperative to postoperative and preoperative to 1-year follow-up. Fourteen patients (35.9%) experienced 26 complications (15 major and 11 minor). Eleven patients required reoperation. The most common complication was proximal junctional kyphosis (6/26 complications, 23%) followed by vertebral body/endplate fracture (3/26, 12%).

CONCLUSIONS

This study showed satisfactory radiographic and clinical outcomes at the 1-year follow-up. Proximal junctional kyphosis was the most common complication followed by fracture, complications that are commonly associated with sagittal realignment surgery and may not be mitigated by the anterior approach.

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Enrique Vargas, Matthew S. Susko, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Steve E. Braunstein, and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is utilized to deliver highly conformal, dose-escalated radiation to a target while sparing surrounding normal structures. Spinal SBRT can allow for durable local control and palliation of disease while minimizing the risk of damage to the spinal cord; however, spinal SBRT has been associated with an increased risk of vertebral body fractures. This study sought to compare the fracture rates between SBRT and conventionally fractionated external-beam radiation therapy (EBRT) in patients with metastatic spine tumors.

METHODS

Records from patients treated at the University of California, San Francisco, with radiation therapy for metastatic spine tumors were retrospectively reviewed. Vertebral body fracture and local control rates were compared between SBRT and EBRT. Ninety-six and 213 patients were identified in the SBRT and EBRT groups, respectively. Multivariate analysis identified the need to control for primary tumor histology (p = 0.003 for prostate cancer, p = 0.0496 for renal cell carcinoma). The patient-matched EBRT comparison group was created by matching SBRT cases using propensity scores for potential confounders, including the Spinal Instability Neoplastic Score (SINS), the number and location of spine levels treated, sex, age at treatment, duration of follow-up (in months) after treatment, and primary tumor histology. Covariate balance following group matching was confirmed using the Student t-test for unequal variance. Statistical analysis, including propensity score matching and multivariate analysis, was performed using R software and related packages.

RESULTS

A total of 90 patients met inclusion criteria, with 45 SBRT and 45 EBRT matched cases. Balance of the covariates, SINS, age, follow-up time, and primary tumor histology after the matching process was confirmed between groups (p = 0.062, p = 0.174, and 0.991, respectively, along with matched tumor histology). The SBRT group had a higher 5-year rate of vertebral body fracture at 22.22% (n = 10) compared with 6.67% (n = 3) in the EBRT group (p = 0.044). Survival analysis was used to adjust for uneven follow-up time and showed a significant difference in fracture rates between the two groups (p = 0.044). SBRT also was associated with a higher rate of local control (86.67% vs 77.78%).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with metastatic cancer undergoing SBRT had higher rates of vertebral body fractures compared with patients undergoing EBRT, and this difference held up after survival analysis. SBRT also had higher rates of initial local control than EBRT but this difference did not hold up after survival analysis, most likely because of a high percentage of radiosensitive tumors in the EBRT cohort.

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Enrique Osorio Fonseca, Luis C. Cadavid, Jorge Cespedes, John Vargas, Matthew Grady, L. Fernando Gonzalez, Miguel Enrique Berbeo, Edgar G. Ordóñez-Mora, Edgar G. Ordóñez-Rubiano, and Jorge E. Alvernia

The history of Colombian neurosurgery is a collective legacy of neurosurgeon-scientists, scholars, teachers, innovators, and researchers. Anchored in the country’s foundational values of self-determination and adaptability, these pioneers emerged from the Spanish colonial medical tradition and forged surgical alliances abroad. From the time of Colombian independence until the end of World War I, exchanges with the French medical tradition produced an emphasis on anatomical and systematic approaches to the emerging field of neurosurgery. The onset of American neurosurgical expertise in the 1930s led to a new period of exchange, wherein technological innovations were added to the Colombian neurosurgical repertoire. This diversity of influences culminated in the 1950s with the establishment of Colombia’s first in-country neurosurgery residency program. A select group of avant-garde neurosurgeons from this period expanded the domestic opportunities for patients and practitioners alike. Today, the system counts 10 recognized neurosurgery residency programs and over 500 neurosurgeons within Colombia. Although the successes of specific individuals and innovations were considered, the primary purpose of this historical survey was to glean relevant lessons from the past that can inform present challenges, inspire new opportunities, and identify professional and societal goals for the future of neurosurgical practice and specialization.

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Enrique Vargas, Saman Shabani, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Christine Park, Alma Rechav Ben-Natan, Joshua J. Rivera, Jeremy Huang, Sigurd Berven, Steve Braunstein, and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

In the absence of spinal cord compression, it is unclear if surgery is more effective than radiation treatment for improving functional outcomes in metastatic spinal tumor patients with potentially unstable spines. The authors compared functional status outcomes assessed with Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) scores after surgery or radiation in patients without spinal cord compression with Spine Instability Neoplastic Score (SINS) values of 7–12 indicating possible instability (SINS 7–12).

METHODS

A retrospective review was performed of patients with metastatic spinal tumor SINS values of 7–12 at a single institution between 2004 and 2014. Patients were divided into two different groups: 1) those treated with surgery and 2) those treated with radiation. Baseline clinical characteristics were measured, and KPS and ECOG scores were obtained pre- and postradiation or postsurgery. The paired, nonparametric Wilcoxon signed-rank test and ordinal logistic regression analysis were used for statistical analysis.

RESULTS

A total of 162 patients met inclusion criteria; 63 patients were treated operatively and 99 patients were treated with radiation. The mean follow-up was 1.9 years, with a median of 1.1 years for the surgical cohort (ranging from 2.5 months to 13.8 years) and a mean of 2 years with a median of 0.8 years for the radiation cohort (ranging from 2 months to 9.3 years). After covariates were accounted for, the average posttreatment changes in KPS scores in the surgical cohort were 7.46 ± 17.3 and in the radiation cohort were −2 ± 13.6 (p = 0.045). No significant difference was observed in ECOG scores. KPS scores improved postoperatively in 60.3% of patients in the surgical group and postradiation in 32.3% of patients in the radiation cohort (p < 0.001). Subanalysis within the radiation cohort revealed no differences in fracture rates or local control between patients treated with external-beam radiation therapy versus stereotactic body radiation therapy. In patients initially treated with radiation, 21.2% eventually developed compression fractures at a treated level. Five of the 99 patients in the radiation cohort—all of whom had a fracture—eventually underwent either methyl methacrylate augmentation or instrumented fusion.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with SINS values of 7–12 who underwent surgery had greater improvement in KPS scores—but not in ECOG scores—than patients undergoing radiation alone. In patients treated with radiation, treatment was converted to a procedural intervention such as surgery only in patients who sustained fractures. Of the patients with fractures after radiation (21 of 99), 5 patients underwent an invasive procedure and 16 did not.

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Shunichi Nishiyama, Tadatsugu Morimoto, Masatsugu Tsukamoto, Yu Toda, and Masaaki Mawatari

Free access

Enrique Vargas, Dennis T. Lockney, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Alexander F. Haddad, Joshua Rivera, Xiao Tan, Alysha Jamieson, Yasmine Mahmoudieh, Sigurd Berven, Steve E. Braunstein, and Dean Chou

OBJECTIVE

Within the Spine Instability Neoplastic Score (SINS) classification, tumor-related potential spinal instability (SINS 7–12) may not have a clear treatment approach. The authors aimed to examine the proportion of patients in this indeterminate zone who later required surgical stabilization after initial nonoperative management. By studying this patient population, they sought to determine if a clear SINS cutoff existed whereby the spine is potentially unstable due to a lesion and would be more likely to require stabilization.

METHODS

Records from patients treated at the University of California, San Francisco, for metastatic spine disease from 2005 to 2019 were retrospectively reviewed. Seventy-five patients with tumor-related potential spinal instability (SINS 7–12) who were initially treated nonoperatively were included. All patients had at least a 1-year follow-up with complete medical records. A univariate chi-square test and Student t-test were used to compare categorical and continuous outcomes, respectively, between patients who ultimately underwent surgery and those who did not. A backward likelihood multivariate binary logistic regression model was used to investigate the relationship between clinical characteristics and surgical intervention. Recursive partitioning analysis (RPA) and single-variable logistic regression were performed as a function of SINS.

RESULTS

Seventy-five patients with a total of 292 spinal metastatic sites were included in this study; 26 (34.7%) patients underwent surgical intervention, and 49 (65.3%) did not. There was no difference in age, sex, comorbidities, or lesion location between the groups. However, there were more patients with a SINS of 12 in the surgery group (55.2%) than in the no surgery group (44.8%) (p = 0.003). On multivariate analysis, SINS > 11 (OR 8.09, CI 1.96–33.4, p = 0.004) and Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score < 60 (OR 0.94, CI 0.89–0.98, p = 0.008) were associated with an increased risk of surgery. KPS score was not correlated with SINS (p = 0.4). RPA by each spinal lesion identified an optimal cutoff value of SINS > 10, which were associated with an increased risk of surgical intervention. Patients with a surgical intervention had a higher incidence of complications on multivariable analysis (OR 2.96, CI 1.01–8.71, p = 0.048).

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with a mean SINS of 11 or greater may be at increased risk of mechanical instability requiring surgery after initial nonoperative management. RPA showed that patients with a KPS score of 60 or lower and a SINS of greater than 10 had increased surgery rates.

Free access

Simon G. Ammanuel, Caleb S. Edwards, Andrew K. Chan, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Joseph Kidane, Enrique Vargas, Sarah D’Souza, Amy D. Nichols, Sujatha Sankaran, Adib A. Abla, Manish K. Aghi, Edward F. Chang, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper, Sandeep Kunwar, Paul S. Larson, Michael T. Lawton, Philip A. Starr, Philip V. Theodosopoulos, Mitchel S. Berger, and Michael W. McDermott

OBJECTIVE

Surgical site infection (SSI) is a complication linked to increased costs and length of hospital stay. Prevention of SSI is important to reduce its burden on individual patients and the healthcare system. The authors aimed to assess the efficacy of preoperative chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) showers on SSI rates following cranial surgery.

METHODS

In November 2013, a preoperative CHG shower protocol was implemented at the authors’ institution. A total of 3126 surgical procedures were analyzed, encompassing a time frame from April 2012 to April 2016. Cohorts before and after implementation of the CHG shower protocol were evaluated for differences in SSI rates.

RESULTS

The overall SSI rate was 0.6%. No significant differences (p = 0.11) were observed between the rate of SSI of the 892 patients in the preimplementation cohort (0.2%) and that of the 2234 patients in the postimplementation cohort (0.8%). Following multivariable analysis, implementation of preoperative CHG showers was not associated with decreased SSI (adjusted OR 2.96, 95% CI 0.67–13.1; p = 0.15).

CONCLUSIONS

This is the largest study, according to sample size, to examine the association between CHG showers and SSI following craniotomy. CHG showers did not significantly alter the risk of SSI after a cranial procedure.