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Michael Hugelshofer, Nicolas Olmo Koechlin, Hani J. Marcus, Ralf A. Kockro and Robert Reisch

OBJECT

The endoscopic fenestration of intraventricular CSF cysts has evolved into a well-accepted treatment modality. However, definition of the optimal trajectory for endoscopic fenestration may be difficult. Distorted ventricular anatomy and poor visibility within the cyst due to its contents can make endoscopic fenestration challenging if approached from the ipsilateral side. In addition, transcortical approaches can theoretically cause injury to eloquent cortex, particularly in patients with dominant-sided lesions. The aim of this study was to examine the value of the contralateral transcortical transventricular approach in patients with dominant-sided ventricular cysts.

METHODS

During a 5-year period between 2007 and 2011, 31 patients with intraventricular CSF cysts underwent surgery by the senior author (R.R.). Fourteen of these patients had cysts located on the dominant side. An image-guided endoscopic cyst fenestration via the contralateral transcortical transventricular approach was performed in 11 patients. A retrospective chart review was performed in all these patients to extract data on clinical presentation, operative technique, and surgical outcome.

RESULTS

The most common presenting symptom was headache, followed by memory deficits and cognitive deterioration. In all cases CSF cysts were space occupying, with associated obstructive hydrocephalus in 8 patients. Image-guided endoscopic fenestration was successfully performed in all cases, with septum pellucidotomy necessary in 6 cases, and endoscopic third ventriculostomy in 1 case for additional aqueductal occlusion. Postoperative clinical outcome was excellent, with no associated permanent neurological or neuropsychological morbidity. No recurrent cysts were observed over a mean follow-up period of 2 years and 3 months.

CONCLUSIONS

The contralateral approach to ventricular cysts can achieve excellent surgical outcomes while minimizing approach-related trauma to the dominant hemisphere. Careful case selection is essential to ensure that the contralateral endoscopic trajectory is the best possible exposure for sufficient cyst fenestration and restoration of CSF circulation.

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Hani J. Marcus, Philip Pratt, Archie Hughes-Hallett, Thomas P. Cundy, Adam P. Marcus, Guang-Zhong Yang, Ara Darzi and Dipankar Nandi

OBJECT

Over the last decade, image guidance systems have been widely adopted in neurosurgery. Nonetheless, the evidence supporting the use of these systems in surgery remains limited. The aim of this study was to compare simultaneously the effectiveness and safety of various image guidance systems against that of standard surgery.

METHODS

In this preclinical, randomized study, 50 novice surgeons were allocated to one of the following groups: 1) no image guidance, 2) triplanar display, 3) always-on solid overlay, 4) always-on wire mesh overlay, and 5) on-demand inverse realism overlay. Each participant was asked to identify a basilar tip aneurysm in a validated model head. The primary outcomes were time to task completion (in seconds) and tool path length (in mm). The secondary outcomes were recognition of an unexpected finding (i.e., a surgical clip) and subjective depth perception using a Likert scale.

RESULTS

The time to task completion and tool path length were significantly lower when using any form of image guidance compared with no image guidance (p < 0.001 and p = 0.003, respectively). The tool path distance was also lower in groups using augmented reality compared with triplanar display (p = 0.010). Always-on solid overlay resulted in the greatest inattentional blindness (20% recognition of unexpected finding). Wire mesh and on-demand overlays mitigated, but did not negate, inattentional blindness and were comparable to triplanar display (40% recognition of unexpected finding in all groups). Wire mesh and inverse realism overlays also resulted in better subjective depth perception than always-on solid overlay (p = 0.031 and p = 0.008, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

New augmented reality platforms may improve performance in less-experienced surgeons. However, all image display modalities, including existing triplanar displays, carry a risk of inattentional blindness.

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Hani J. Marcus, Archie Hughes-Hallett, Richard M. Kwasnicki, Ara Darzi, Guang-Zhong Yang and Dipankar Nandi

OBJECT

Technological innovation within health care may be defined as the introduction of a new technology that initiates a change in clinical practice. Neurosurgery is a particularly technology-intensive surgical discipline, and new technologies have preceded many of the major advances in operative neurosurgical techniques. The aim of the present study was to quantitatively evaluate technological innovation in neurosurgery using patents and peer-reviewed publications as metrics of technology development and clinical translation, respectively.

METHODS

The authors searched a patent database for articles published between 1960 and 2010 using the Boolean search term “neurosurgeon OR neurosurgical OR neurosurgery.” The top 50 performing patent codes were then grouped into technology clusters. Patent and publication growth curves were then generated for these technology clusters. A top-performing technology cluster was then selected as an exemplar for a more detailed analysis of individual patents.

RESULTS

In all, 11,672 patents and 208,203 publications related to neurosurgery were identified. The top-performing technology clusters during these 50 years were image-guidance devices, clinical neurophysiology devices, neuromodulation devices, operating microscopes, and endoscopes. In relation to image-guidance and neuromodulation devices, the authors found a highly correlated rapid rise in the numbers of patents and publications, which suggests that these are areas of technology expansion. An in-depth analysis of neuromodulation-device patents revealed that the majority of well-performing patents were related to deep brain stimulation.

CONCLUSIONS

Patent and publication data may be used to quantitatively evaluate technological innovation in neurosurgery.

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Robert Reisch, Hani J. Marcus, Michael Hugelshofer, Nicolas Olmo Koechlin, Axel Stadie and Ralf A. Kockro

Object

The supraorbital approach through an eyebrow incision offers the opportunity to access a wide variety of lesions of the anterior, middle, and even the posterior fossa. The minimally invasive keyhole craniotomy limits brain exploration and retraction and offers the potential for improved surgical outcomes and reduced approach-related complications. Patient satisfaction, however, has not yet been reported in the literature.

Methods

From January 2002 through December 2011, the lead author (R.R.) used a supraorbital approach through an eyebrow incision for 418 patients with cerebral aneurysms, brain tumors or cystic lesions, and other miscellaneous pathological conditions. For 408 of these patients, a detailed retrospective case note review was conducted to extract data on surgical outcomes and complications, and 375 patients completed a follow-up patient satisfaction questionnaire.

Results

During the early perioperative period, 8 patients died (overall mortality rate 2.0%). Among patients surveyed, the overall level of satisfaction was high. Patients rated pain from the scar and headache on a scale from 1 to 5 (1 = no pain, 5 = severe pain) as follows: pain was a score of 1 for 289 patients (77.0%), 2 for 46 (12.3%), 3 for 22 (5.9%), 4 for 12 (3.2%), and 5 for 6 (1.6%). Patients also rated cosmetic outcome on a scale from 1 to 5 (1 = very pleasant, 5 = very unpleasant) as follows: outcome was a score of 1 for 315 patients (84.0%), 2 for 33 (8.8%), 3 for 14 (3.7%), 4 for 10 (2.7%), and 5 for 3 (0.8%). Postoperative chewing difficulty was reported for 8 patients (8 [2.1%] temporary, 0 permanent); palsy of the frontal muscle for 21 patients (5.6%; 13 [3.5%] temporary, 8 [2.1%] permanent); frontal hypesthesia for 31 patients (8.3%; 18 [4.8%] temporary, 13 [3.4%] permanent); and hyposmia for 11 patients (2.9%; 3 [0.8%] temporary, 8 [2.1%] permanent).

Conclusions

The supraorbital approach to the anterior, middle, and posterior fossae through an eyebrow incision offers a favorable rate of approach-associated surgical complications and high patient satisfaction with cosmetic outcome.

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Hani J. Marcus, David Choi and Neil L. Dorward

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Paul M. Brennan, Angelos G. Kolias, Alexis J. Joannides, Jonathan Shapey, Hani J. Marcus, Barbara A. Gregson, Patrick J. Grover, Peter J. Hutchinson and Ian C. Coulter

OBJECTIVE

Symptomatic chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) will become an increasingly common presentation in neurosurgical practice as the population ages, but quality evidence is still lacking to guide the optimal management for these patients. The British Neurosurgical Trainee Research Collaborative (BNTRC) was established by neurosurgical trainees in 2012 to improve research by combining the efforts of trainees in each of the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland's neurosurgical units (NSUs). The authors present the first study by the BNTRC that describes current management and outcomes for patients with CSDH throughout the UK and Ireland. This provides a resource both for current clinical practice and future clinical research on CSDH.

METHODS

Data on management and outcomes for patients with CSDH referred to UK and Ireland NSUs were collected prospectively over an 8-month period and audited against criteria predefined from the literature: NSU mortality < 5%, NSU morbidity < 10%, symptomatic recurrence within 60 days requiring repeat surgery < 20%, and unfavorable functional status (modified Rankin Scale score of 4–6) at NSU discharge < 30%.

RESULTS

Data from 1205 patients in 26 NSUs were collected. Bur-hole craniostomy was the most common procedure (89%), and symptomatic recurrence requiring repeat surgery within 60 days was observed in 9% of patients. Criteria on mortality (2%), rate of recurrence (9%), and unfavorable functional outcome (22%) were met, but morbidity was greater than expected (14%). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that failure to insert a drain intraoperatively independently predicted recurrence and unfavorable functional outcome (p = 0.011 and p = 0.048, respectively). Increasing patient age (p < 0.00001), postoperative bed rest (p = 0.019), and use of a single bur hole (p = 0.020) independently predicted unfavorable functional outcomes, but prescription of high-flow oxygen or preoperative use of antiplatelet medications did not.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the largest prospective CSDH study and helps establish national standards. It has confirmed in a real-world setting the effectiveness of placing a subdural drain. This study identified a number of modifiable prognostic factors but questions the necessity of some common aspects of CSDH management, such as enforced postoperative bed rest. Future studies should seek to establish how practitioners can optimize perioperative care of patients with CSDH to reduce morbidity as well as minimize CSDH recurrence. The BNTRC is unique worldwide, conducting multicenter trainee-led research and audits. This study demonstrates that collaborative research networks are powerful tools to interrogate clinical research questions.

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Adriaan R. E. Potgieser, J. Marc C. van Dijk and Jan D. M. Metzemaekers

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Hani J. Marcus, Fahid T. Rasul, Ziad Hussein, Stephanie E. Baldeweg, Helen A. Spoudeas, Richard Hayward, Noor ul Owase Jeelani, Dominic Thompson, Joan P. Grieve, Neil L. Dorward and Kristian Aquilina

OBJECTIVE

The management of children with craniopharyngioma has evolved over time, with a trend toward less invasive neurosurgical approaches as surgeons have sought to balance oncological control and treatment-related morbidity. To this end, the aim of this study was to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the current management of children with craniopharyngioma compared to the previous management methods used at the authors’ treatment center.

METHODS

A prospectively maintained database was searched over a 14-year period between January 1, 2005, and December 31, 2018, to identify all children 17 years of age or younger with a new diagnosis of craniopharyngioma. A retrospective case note review was performed for each child to extract data on the presentation, investigation, treatment, and outcome of their illness. Morbidity was assessed in the same fashion as in previous cohorts, according to the following categories: visual loss, pituitary dysfunction, hypothalamic dysfunction, neurological deficits, and cognitive impairment.

RESULTS

In total, 59 children were identified with craniopharyngioma during the study period. A total of 92 operations were performed, including cyst drainage (35/92; 38.0%), craniotomy and resection (30/92; 32.6%), and transsphenoidal resection (16/92; 17.4%). Approximately two-thirds of all operations were performed using image guidance (66/92; 71.7%) and one-third were performed using endoscopy (27/92; 29.3%). The majority of children had adjuvant therapy comprising proton beam therapy (18/59; 30.5%) or conventional radiotherapy (16/59; 27.1%). The median follow-up duration was 44 months (range 1–142 months), and approximately one-half of the children had no evidence of residual disease on MRI studies (28/59; 47.5%). Of the remaining 31 children, there was a reduction in the volume of residual disease in 8 patients (8/59; 13.6%), stable residual disease in 18 (18/59; 30.5%), and tumor growth in 5 patients (5/59; 8.5%). There was significantly reduced morbidity (p < 0.05) in all categories in the current cohort compared with our last cohort (1996–2004).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ institutional experience of pediatric craniopharyngioma confirms a trend toward less invasive neurosurgical procedures, most of which are now performed with the benefit of image guidance or endoscopy. Moreover, the authors have identified an expanding role for more targeted radiotherapy for children with residual disease. These advances have allowed for tumor control comparable to that achieved in previous cohorts, but with significantly reduced morbidity and mortality.