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Eugenio Pozzati, Leo Fagioli, Franco Servadei and Giulio Gaist

✓ The effects of common carotid artery ligation on five giant aneurysms (greater than 2.5 cm in diameter) of the internal carotid artery were studied by computerized tomography (CT). Four aneurysms thrombosed completely and one partially. The CT image of the thrombosed part in giant aneurysms is protean, varying from hyperdensity in the immediate postoperative period to isodensity and finally to inhomogeneously increased or decreased density, the attenuation values depending on the different stages of organization of the thrombus and on calcium deposition.

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Francesco Tognetti, Massimo Poppi, Giulio Gaist and Franco Servadei

✓ An unusual case of pudendal neuralgia due to a solitary neurofibroma of the perineal region is described. The authors outline the long clinical history. There was complete pain relief after removal of the lesion.

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Eugenio Pozzati, Giulio Gaist and Franco Servadei

✓ This paper describes two patients with traumatic aneurysms of the supraclinoid internal carotid artery, which occurred after a closed-head injury and without demonstrable basal skull fracture. In the first case, the traumatic origin of the aneurysm was demonstrated by repeat angiograms. The second case documents the formation of a giant, traumatic, true aneurysm of the supraclinoid carotid artery over a period of less than 2 months; there was an associated traumatic partial occlusion of the vessel proximal to the aneurysm. The mechanisms of injury of the supraclinoid carotid artery are discussed.

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Lawrence F. Marshall, Andrew I. R. Maas, Sharon Bowers Marshall, Albino Bricolo, Michael Fearnside, Fausto Iannotti, Melville R. Klauber, Jacques Lagarrigue, Ramiro Lobato, Lennart Persson, John D. Pickard, Jürgen Piek, Franco Servadei, Georgios N. Wellis, Gabrielle F. Morris, Eugene D. Means and Bruno Musch

Object. The authors prospectively studied the efficacy of tirilazad mesylate, a novel aminosteroid, in humans with head injuries.

Methods. A cohort of 1120 head-injured patients received at least one dose of study medication (tirilazad or placebo). Eighty-five percent (957) of the patients had suffered a severe head injury (Glasgow Coma Scale [GCS] score 4–8) and 15% (163) had sustained a moderate head injury (GCS score 9–12). Six-month outcomes for the tirilazad- and placebo-treated groups for the Glasgow Outcome Scale categories of both good recovery and death showed no significant difference (good recovery in the tirilazad-treated group was 39% compared with the placebo group in which it was 42% [p = 0.461]; death in the tirilazad-treated group occurred in 26% of patients compared with the placebo group, in which it occurred in 25% [p = 0.750]). Subgroup analysis suggested that tirilazad mesylate may be effective in reducing mortality rates in males suffering from severe head injury with accompanying traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (death in the tirilazad-treated group occurred in 34% of patients; in the placebo group it occurred in 43% [p = 0.026]). No significant differences in frequency or types of serious adverse events were shown between the treatment and placebo groups.

Conclusions. Striking problems with imbalance concerning basic prognostic variables were observed in spite of the large population studied. These imbalances concerned pretreatment hypotension, pretreatment hypoxia, and the incidence of epidural hematomas. In future trials of pharmacological therapy for severe head injury, serious consideration must be given to alternative randomization strategies. Given the heterogeneous nature of head injury and the identification of populations that do relatively well with standard therapy, target populations with a higher risk for mortality and morbidity may be more suitable for clinical trials of such agents.

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Corrado Iaccarino, Paolo Schiavi, Edoardo Picetti, Matteo Goldoni, Davide Cerasti, Marialuisa Caspani and Franco Servadei

Object

Traumatic parenchymal mass lesions are common sequelae of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). They occur in up to 8.2% of all TBI cases and 13%–35% of severe TBI cases, and they account for up to 20% of surgical intracranial lesions. Controversy exists concerning the association between radiological and clinical evolution of brain contusions. The aim of this study was to identify predictors of unfavorable outcome, analyze the evolution of brain contusions, and evaluate specific indications for surgery.

Methods

In a retrospective, multicenter study, patients with brain contusions were identified in separate patient cohorts from 11 hospitals over a 4-year period (2008–2011). Data on clinical parameters and course of the contusion were collected. Radiological parameters were registered by using CT images taken at the time of hospital admission and at subsequent follow-up times. Patients who underwent surgical procedures were identified. Outcomes were evaluated 6 months after trauma by using the Glasgow Outcome Scale-Extended.

Results

Multivariate analysis revealed the following reliable predictors of unfavorable outcome: 1) increased patient age, 2) lower Glasgow Coma Scale score at first evaluation, 3) clinical deterioration in the first hours after trauma, and 4) onset or increase of midline shift on follow-up CT images. Further multivariate analysis identified the following as statistically significant predictors of clinical deterioration during the first hours after trauma: 1) onset of or increase in midline shift on follow-up CT images (p < 0.001) and 2) increased effacement of basal cisterns on follow-up CT images (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

In TBI patients with cerebral contusion, the onset of clinical deterioration is predictably associated with the onset or increase of midline shift and worsened status of basal cisterns but not with hematoma or edema volume increase. A combination of clinical deterioration and increased midline shift/basal cistern compression is the most reasonable indicator for surgery.

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Angelos G. Kolias, Peter J. Hutchinson, David K. Menon, Geoffrey T. Manley, Clare N. Gallagher and Franco Servadei

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Michael C. Dewan, Abbas Rattani, Graham Fieggen, Miguel A. Arraez, Franco Servadei, Frederick A. Boop, Walter D. Johnson, Benjamin C. Warf and Kee B. Park

OBJECTIVE

Worldwide disparities in the provision of surgical care result in otherwise preventable disability and death. There is a growing need to quantify the global burden of neurosurgical disease specifically, and the workforce necessary to meet this demand.

METHODS

Results from a multinational collaborative effort to describe the global neurosurgical burden were aggregated and summarized. First, country registries, third-party modeled data, and meta-analyzed published data were combined to generate incidence and volume figures for 10 common neurosurgical conditions. Next, a global mapping survey was performed to identify the number and location of neurosurgeons in each country. Finally, a practitioner survey was conducted to quantify the proportion of disease requiring surgery, as well as the median number of neurosurgical cases per annum. The neurosurgical case deficit was calculated as the difference between the volume of essential neurosurgical cases and the existing neurosurgical workforce capacity.

RESULTS

Every year, an estimated 22.6 million patients suffer from neurological disorders or injuries that warrant the expertise of a neurosurgeon, of whom 13.8 million require surgery. Traumatic brain injury, stroke-related conditions, tumors, hydrocephalus, and epilepsy constitute the majority of essential neurosurgical care worldwide. Approximately 23,300 additional neurosurgeons are needed to address more than 5 million essential neurosurgical cases—all in low- and middle-income countries—that go unmet each year. There exists a gross disparity in the allocation of the surgical workforce, leaving large geographic treatment gaps, particularly in Africa and Southeast Asia.

CONCLUSIONS

Each year, more than 5 million individuals suffering from treatable neurosurgical conditions will never undergo therapeutic surgical intervention. Populations in Africa and Southeast Asia, where the proportion of neurosurgeons to neurosurgical disease is critically low, are especially at risk. Increasing access to essential neurosurgical care in low- and middle-income countries via neurosurgical workforce expansion as part of surgical system strengthening is necessary to prevent severe disability and death for millions with neurological disease.

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Gail Rosseau, Walter D. Johnson, Kee B. Park, Miguel Arráez Sánchez, Franco Servadei and Kerry A. Vaughan

Since the creation of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948, the annual World Health Assembly (WHA) has been the major forum for discussion, debate, and approval of the global health agenda. As such, it informs the framework for the policies and budgets of many of its Member States. For most of its history, a significant portion of the attention of health ministers and Member States has been given to issues of clean water, vaccination, and communicable diseases. For neurosurgeons, the adoption of WHA Resolution 68.15 changed the global health landscape because the importance of surgical care for universal health coverage was highlighted in the document. This resolution was adopted in 2015, shortly after the publication of The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery Report titled “Global Surgery 2030: evidence and solutions for achieving health, welfare and economic development.” Mandating global strengthening of emergency and essential surgical care and anesthesia, this resolution has led to the formation of surgical and anesthesia collaborations that center on WHO and can be facilitated via the WHA. Participation by neurosurgeons has grown dramatically, in part due to the official relations between WHO and the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies, with the result that global neurosurgery is gaining momentum.

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Federico Nicolosi, Zefferino Rossini, Ismail Zaed, Angelos G. Kolias, Maurizio Fornari and Franco Servadei

OBJECTIVE

Neurosurgical training is usually based on traditional sources of education, such as papers, books, direct surgical experience, and cadaveric hands-on courses. In low-middle income countries, standard education programs are often unavailable, mainly owing to the lack of human and economic resources. Introducing digital platforms in these settings could be an alternative solution for bridging the gap between Western and poor countries in neurosurgical knowledge.

METHODS

The authors identified from the Internet the main digital platforms that could easily be adopted in low-middle income countries. They selected free/low-cost mobile content with high educational impact.

RESULTS

The platforms that were identified as fulfilling the characteristics described above are WFNS Young Neurosurgeons Forum Stream, Brainbook, NeuroMind, UpSurgeOn, The Neurosurgical Atlas, Touch surgery, The 100 UCLA Subjects in Neurosurgery, Neurosurgery Survival Guide, EANS (European Association of Neurosurgical Societies) Academy, Neurosurgical.TV, 3D Neuroanatomy, The Rhoton Collection, and Hinari. These platforms consist of webinars, 3D interactive neuroanatomy and neurosurgery content, videos, and e-learning programs supported by neurosurgical associations or journals.

CONCLUSIONS

Digital education is an emerging tool for contributing to the spread of information in the neurosurgical community. The continuous improvement in the quality of content will rapidly increase the scientific validity of digital programs. In conclusion, the fast and easy access to digital resources could contribute to promote neurosurgical education in countries with limited facilities.