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Sebastian M. Toescu, Gargi Samarth, Hugo Layard Horsfall, Richard Issitt, Ben Margetts, Kim P. Phipps, Noor-ul-Owase Jeelani, Dominic N. P. Thompson, and Kristian Aquilina

OBJECTIVES

The goal of this study was to characterize the complications and morbidity related to the surgical management of pediatric fourth ventricle tumors.

METHODS

All patients referred to the authors’ institution with posterior fossa tumors from 2002 to 2018 inclusive were screened to include only true fourth ventricle tumors. Preoperative imaging and clinical notes were reviewed to extract data on presenting symptoms; surgical episodes, techniques, and adjuncts; tumor histology; and postoperative complications.

RESULTS

Three hundred fifty-four children with posterior fossa tumors were treated during the study period; of these, 185 tumors were in the fourth ventricle, and 167 fourth ventricle tumors with full data sets were included in this analysis. One hundred patients were male (mean age ± SD, 5.98 ± 4.12 years). The most common presenting symptom was vomiting (63.5%). The most common tumor types, in order, were medulloblastoma (94 cases) > pilocytic astrocytoma (30 cases) > ependymoma (30 cases) > choroid plexus neoplasms (5 cases) > atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor (4 cases), with 4 miscellaneous lesions. Of the 67.1% of patients who presented with hydrocephalus, 45.5% had an external ventricular drain inserted (66.7% of these prior to tumor surgery, 56.9% frontal); these patients were more likely to undergo ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS) placement at a later date (p = 0.00673). Twenty-two had an endoscopic third ventriculostomy, of whom 8 later underwent VPS placement. Overall, 19.7% of patients had a VPS sited during treatment.

Across the whole series, the transvermian approach was more frequent than the telovelar approach (64.1% vs 33.0%); however, the telovelar approach was significantly more common in the latter half of the series (p < 0.001). Gross-total resection was achieved in 70.7%. The most common postoperative deficit was cerebellar mutism syndrome (CMS; 28.7%), followed by new weakness (24.0%), cranial neuropathy (18.0%), and new gait abnormality/ataxia (12.6%). Use of intraoperative ultrasonography significantly reduced the incidence of CMS (p = 0.0365). There was no significant difference in the rate of CMS between telovelar or transvermian approaches (p = 0.745), and multivariate logistic regression modeling did not reveal any statistically significant relationships between CMS and surgical approach.

CONCLUSIONS

Surgical management of pediatric fourth ventricle tumors continues to evolve, and resection is increasingly performed through the telovelar route. CMS is enduringly the major postoperative complication in this patient population.

Free access

Hugo Layard Horsfall, Sebastian M. Toescu, Patrick J. Grover, Jane Hassell, Charlotte Sayer, Cheryl Hemingway, Brian Harding, Thomas S. Jacques, and Kristian Aquilina

OBJECTIVE

The authors’ aim was to characterize a single-center experience of brain biopsy in pediatric cryptogenic neurological disease.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of consecutive brain biopsies at a tertiary pediatric neurosciences unit between 1997 and 2017. Children < 18 years undergoing biopsy for neurological pathology were included. Those with presumed neoplasms and biopsy performed in the context of epilepsy surgery were excluded.

RESULTS

Forty-nine biopsies in 47 patients (25 females, mean age ± SD 9.0 ± 5.3 years) were performed during the study period. The most common presenting symptoms were focal neurological deficit (28.6%) and focal seizure (26.5%). Histopathological, microbiological, and genetic analyses of biopsy material were contributory to the diagnosis in 34 cases (69.4%). Children presenting with focal seizures or with diffuse (> 3 lesions) brain involvement on MRI were more likely to yield a diagnosis at biopsy (OR 3.07 and 2.4, respectively). Twelve patients were immunocompromised and were more likely to yield a diagnosis at biopsy (OR 6.7). Surgery was accompanied by severe complications in 1 patient. The most common final diagnoses were infective (16/49, 32.7%), followed by chronic inflammatory processes (10/49, 20.4%) and occult neoplastic disease (9/49, 18.4%). In 38 cases (77.6%), biopsy was considered to have altered clinical management.

CONCLUSIONS

Brain biopsy for cryptogenic neurological disease in children was contributory to the diagnosis in 69.4% of cases and changed clinical management in 77.6%. Biopsy most commonly revealed underlying infective processes, chronic inflammatory changes, or occult neoplastic disease. Although generally safe, the risk of severe complications may be higher in immunocompromised and myelosuppressed children.

Restricted access

Danyal Z. Khan, Imanol Luengo, Santiago Barbarisi, Carole Addis, Lucy Culshaw, Neil L. Dorward, Pinja Haikka, Abhiney Jain, Karen Kerr, Chan Hee Koh, Hugo Layard Horsfall, William Muirhead, Paolo Palmisciano, Baptiste Vasey, Danail Stoyanov, and Hani J. Marcus

OBJECTIVE

Surgical workflow analysis involves systematically breaking down operations into key phases and steps. Automatic analysis of this workflow has potential uses for surgical training, preoperative planning, and outcome prediction. Recent advances in machine learning (ML) and computer vision have allowed accurate automated workflow analysis of operative videos. In this Idea, Development, Exploration, Assessment, Long-term study (IDEAL) stage 0 study, the authors sought to use Touch Surgery for the development and validation of an ML-powered analysis of phases and steps in the endoscopic transsphenoidal approach (eTSA) for pituitary adenoma resection, a first for neurosurgery.

METHODS

The surgical phases and steps of 50 anonymized eTSA operative videos were labeled by expert surgeons. Forty videos were used to train a combined convolutional and recurrent neural network model by Touch Surgery. Ten videos were used for model evaluation (accuracy, F1 score), comparing the phase and step recognition of surgeons to the automatic detection of the ML model.

RESULTS

The longest phase was the sellar phase (median 28 minutes), followed by the nasal phase (median 22 minutes) and the closure phase (median 14 minutes). The longest steps were step 5 (tumor identification and excision, median 17 minutes); step 3 (posterior septectomy and removal of sphenoid septations, median 14 minutes); and step 4 (anterior sellar wall removal, median 10 minutes). There were substantial variations within the recorded procedures in terms of video appearances, step duration, and step order, with only 50% of videos containing all 7 steps performed sequentially in numerical order. Despite this, the model was able to output accurate recognition of surgical phases (91% accuracy, 90% F1 score) and steps (76% accuracy, 75% F1 score).

CONCLUSIONS

In this IDEAL stage 0 study, ML techniques have been developed to automatically analyze operative videos of eTSA pituitary surgery. This technology has previously been shown to be acceptable to neurosurgical teams and patients. ML-based surgical workflow analysis has numerous potential uses—such as education (e.g., automatic indexing of contemporary operative videos for teaching), improved operative efficiency (e.g., orchestrating the entire surgical team to a common workflow), and improved patient outcomes (e.g., comparison of surgical techniques or early detection of adverse events). Future directions include the real-time integration of Touch Surgery into the live operative environment as an IDEAL stage 1 (first-in-human) study, and further development of underpinning ML models using larger data sets.

Free access

Bertrand Mathon, Marc Pineton de Chambrun, Alexandre Le Joncour, and Aymeric Amelot