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Ian A. Buchanan, Brian Lee, Arun P. Amar, and Steven L. Giannotta

Abciximab is a glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor antagonist that functions to prevent platelet aggregation, thus reducing thrombus initiation and propagation. It has been widely used during percutaneous endovascular interventions, such as aneurysm coil embolization, angioplasty, atherectomy, and stent placement, as both a preventative and a salvage therapy. The use of abciximab in cardiac and neurosurgical procedures has been associated with a reduced incidence of ischemic complications and a decreased need for repeated intervention. In these settings, abciximab has been delivered transarterially via a microcatheter or infused intravenously for systemic administration. The authors describe novel in situ delivery of abciximab as an agent to dissolve “white clots,” which are composed primarily of platelets, during an intracranial superficial temporal artery to middle cerebral artery bypass in a 28-year-old woman with severe intracranial occlusive disease. Abciximab was able to resolve multiple platelet-based clots after unsuccessful attempts with conventional clot dispersal techniques, such as heparinized saline, tissue plasminogen activator, mechanical passage of a wire through the vessel lumen, and multiple takedowns and re-anastomosis. After abciximab was administered, patency was demonstrated intraoperatively using indocyanine green dye and confirmed postoperatively at 1 and 10 months via CT angiography. The in situ use of abciximab as an agent to disperse a thrombus during intracranial bypass surgery is novel and has not previously been described in the literature, and serves as an additional tool during intracranial vessel bypass surgery.

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Martin H. Pham, Joshua Bakhsheshian, Patrick C. Reid, Ian A. Buchanan, Vance L. Fredrickson, and John C. Liu

OBJECTIVE

Freehand placement of C2 instrumentation is technically challenging and has a learning curve due the unique anatomy of the region. This study evaluated the accuracy of C2 pedicle screws placed via the freehand technique by neurosurgical resident trainees.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed all patients treated at the LAC+USC Medical Center undergoing C2 pedicle screw placement in which the freehand technique was used over a 1-year period, from June 2016 to June 2017; all procedures were performed by neurosurgical residents. Measurements of C2 were obtained from preoperative CT scans, and breach rates were determined from coronal reconstructions on postoperative scans. Severity of breaches reflected the percentage of screw diameter beyond the cortical edge (I = < 25%; II = 26%–50%; III = 51%–75%; IV = 76%–100%).

RESULTS

Neurosurgical residents placed 40 C2 pedicle screws in 24 consecutively treated patients. All screws were placed by or under the guidance of Pham, who is a postgraduate year 7 (PGY-7) neurosurgical resident with attending staff privileges, with a PGY-2 to PGY-4 resident assistant. The authors found an average axial pedicle diameter of 5.8 mm, axial angle of 43.1°, sagittal angle of 23.0°, spinal canal diameter of 25.1 mm, and axial transverse foramen diameter of 5.9 mm. There were 17 screws placed by PGY-2 residents, 7 screws placed by PGY-4 residents, and 16 screws placed by the PGY-7 resident. The average screw length was 26.0 mm, with a screw diameter of 3.5 mm or 4.0 mm. There were 7 total breaches (17.5%), of which 4 were superior (10.0%) and 3 were lateral (7.5%). There were no medial breaches. The breaches were classified as grade I in 3 cases (42.9%), II in 3 cases (42.9%), III in 1 case (14.3%), and IV in no cases. There were 3 breaches that occurred via placement by a PGY-2 resident, 3 breaches by a PGY-4 resident, and 1 breach by the PGY-7 resident. There were no clinical sequelae due to these breaches.

CONCLUSIONS

Freehand placement of C2 pedicle screws can be done safely by neurosurgical residents in early training. When breaches occurred, they tended to be superior in location and related to screw length choice, and no breaches were found to be clinically significant. Controlled exposure to this unique anatomy is especially pertinent in the era of work-hour restrictions.

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Eisha A. Christian, Joshua Bakhsheshian, Ben A. Strickland, Vance L. Fredrickson, Ian A. Buchanan, Martin H. Pham, Andrew Cervantes, Michael Minneti, Bozena B. Wrobel, Steven Giannotta, and Gabriel Zada

OBJECTIVE

Competency in endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs) to repair high-flow cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks is an essential component of the neurosurgical training process. The objective of this study was to demonstrate the feasibility of a simulation model for EEA repair of anterior skull base CSF leaks.

METHODS

Human cadaveric specimens were utilized with a perfusion system to simulate a high-flow CSF leak. Neurological surgery residents (postgraduate year 3 or greater) performed a standard EEA to repair a CSF leak using a combination of fat, fascia lata, and pedicled nasoseptal flaps. A standardized 5-point Likert questionnaire was used to assess the knowledge gained, techniques learned, degree of safety, benefit of CSF perfusion during repair, and pre- and posttraining confidence scores.

RESULTS

Intrathecal perfusion of fluorescein-infused saline into the ventricular/subarachnoid space was successful in 9 of 9 cases. The addition of CSF reconstitution offered the residents visual feedback for confirmation of intraoperative CSF leak repair. Residents gained new knowledge and a realistic simulation experience by rehearsing the psychomotor skills and techniques required to repair a CSF leak with fat and fascial grafts, as well as to prepare and rotate vascularized nasoseptal flaps. All trainees reported feeling safer with the procedure in a clinical setting and higher average posttraining confidence scores (pretraining 2.22 ± 0.83, posttraining 4.22 ± 0.44, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Perfusion-based human cadaveric models can be utilized as a simulation training model for repairing CSF leaks during EEA.

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Scott L. Zuckerman, Christopher S. Lai, Yong Shen, Nathan J. Lee, Mena G. Kerolus, Alex S. Ha, Ian A. Buchanan, Eric Leung, Meghan Cerpa, Ronald A. Lehman, and Lawrence G. Lenke

OBJECTIVE

The authors’ objectives were: 1) to evaluate the incidence and risk factors of iatrogenic coronal malalignment (CM), and 2) to assess the outcomes of patients with all three types of postoperative CM (iatrogenic vs unchanged/worsened vs improved but persistent).

METHODS

A single-institution, retrospective cohort study was performed on adult spinal deformity (ASD) patients who underwent > 6-level fusion from 2015 to 2019. Iatrogenic CM was defined as immediate postoperative C7 coronal vertical axis (CVA) ≥ 3 cm in patients with preoperative CVA < 3 cm. Additional subcategories of postoperative CM were unchanged/worsened CM, which was defined as immediate postoperative CVA within 0.5 cm of or worse than preoperative CVA, and improved but persistent CM, which was defined as immediate postoperative CVA that was at least 0.5 cm better than preoperative CVA but still ≥ 3 cm; both groups included only patients with preoperative CM. Immediate postoperative radiographs were obtained when the patient was discharged from the hospital after surgery. Demographic, radiographic, and operative variables were collected. Outcomes included major complications, readmissions, reoperations, and patient-reported outcomes (PROs). The t-test, Kruskal-Wallis test, and univariate logistic regression were performed for statistical analysis.

RESULTS

In this study, 243 patients were included, and the mean ± SD age was 49.3 ± 18.3 years and the mean number of instrumented levels was 13.5 ± 3.9. The mean preoperative CVA was 2.9 ± 2.7 cm. Of 153/243 patients without preoperative CM (CVA < 3 cm), 13/153 (8.5%) had postoperative iatrogenic CM. In total, 43/243 patients (17.7%) had postoperative CM: iatrogenic CM (13/43 [30.2%]), unchanged/worsened CM (19/43 [44.2%]), and improved but persistent CM (11/43 [25.6%]). Significant risk factors associated with iatrogenic CM were anxiety/depression (OR 3.54, p = 0.04), greater preoperative sagittal vertical axis (SVA) (OR 1.13, p = 0.007), greater preoperative pelvic obliquity (OR 1.41, p = 0.019), lumbosacral fractional (LSF) curve concavity to the same side of the CVA (OR 11.67, p = 0.020), maximum Cobb concavity opposite the CVA (OR 3.85, p = 0.048), and three-column osteotomy (OR 4.34, p = 0.028). In total, 12/13 (92%) iatrogenic CM patients had an LSF curve concavity to the same side as the CVA. Among iatrogenic CM patients, mean pelvic obliquity was 3.1°, 4 (31%) patients had pelvic obliquity > 3°, mean preoperative absolute SVA was 8.0 cm, and 7 (54%) patients had preoperative sagittal malalignment. Patients with iatrogenic CM were more likely to sustain a major complication during the 2-year postoperative period than patients without iatrogenic CM (12% vs 33%, p = 0.046), yet readmission, reoperation, and PROs were similar.

CONCLUSIONS

Postoperative iatrogenic CM occurred in 9% of ASD patients with preoperative normal coronal alignment (CVA < 3 cm). ASD patients who were most at risk for iatrogenic CM included those with preoperative sagittal malalignment, increased pelvic obliquity, LSF curve concavity to the same side as the CVA, and maximum Cobb angle concavity opposite the CVA, as well as those who underwent a three-column osteotomy. Despite sustaining more major complications, iatrogenic CM patients did not have increased risk of readmission, reoperation, or worse PROs.

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Daniel A. Donoho, Ian A. Buchanan, Shivani D. Rangwala, Arati Patel, Li Ding, Steven L. Giannotta, Frank J. Attenello, William J. Mack, J. Gordon McComb, and Mark D. Krieger

OBJECTIVE

Cerebrospinal fluid diversion via ventricular shunting is a common surgical treatment for hydrocephalus in the pediatric population. No longitudinal follow-up data for a multistate population-based cohort of pediatric patients undergoing ventricular shunting in the United States have been published. In the current review of a nationwide population-based data set, the authors aimed to assess rates of shunt failure and hospital readmission in pediatric patients undergoing new ventricular shunt placement. They also review patient- and hospital-level factors associated with shunt failure and readmission.

METHODS

Included in this study was a population-based sample of pediatric patients with hydrocephalus who, in 2010–2014, had undergone new ventricular shunt placement and had sufficient follow-up, as recorded in the Nationwide Readmissions Database. The authors analyzed the rate of revision within 6 months, readmission rates at 30 and 90 days, and potential factors associated with shunt failure including patient- and hospital-level variables and type of hydrocephalus.

RESULTS

A total of 3520 pediatric patients had undergone initial ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement for hydrocephalus at an index admission. Twenty percent of these patients underwent shunt revision within 6 months. The median time to revision was 44.5 days. Eighteen percent of the patients were readmitted within 30 days and 31% were readmitted within 90 days. Different-hospital readmissions were rare, occurring in ≤ 6% of readmissions. Increased hospital volume was not protective against readmission or shunt revision. Patients with grade 3 or 4 intraventricular hemorrhage were more likely to have shunt malfunctions. Patients who had private insurance and who were treated at a large hospital were less likely to be readmitted.

CONCLUSIONS

In a nationwide, population-based database with longitudinal follow-up, shunt failure and readmission were common. Although patient and hospital factors were associated with readmission and shunt failure, system-wide phenomena such as insufficient centralization of care and fragmentation of care were not observed. Efforts to reduce readmissions in pediatric patients undergoing ventricular shunt procedures should focus on coordinating care in patients with complex neurological diseases and on reducing healthcare disparities associated with readmission.

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Frank J. Attenello, Ian A. Buchanan, Timothy Wen, Daniel A. Donoho, Shirley McCartney, Steven Y. Cen, Alexander A. Khalessi, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol, Joseph S. Cheng, William J. Mack, Clemens M. Schirmer, Karin R. Swartz, J. Adair Prall, Ann R. Stroink, Steven L. Giannotta, and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Excessive dissatisfaction and stress among physicians can precipitate burnout, which results in diminished productivity, quality of care, and patient satisfaction and treatment adherence. Given the multiplicity of its harms and detriments to workforce retention and in light of the growing physician shortage, burnout has garnered much attention in recent years. Using a national survey, the authors formally evaluated burnout among neurosurgery trainees.

METHODS

An 86-item questionnaire was disseminated to residents in the American Association of Neurological Surgeons database between June and November 2015. Questions evaluated personal and workplace stressors, mentorship, career satisfaction, and burnout. Burnout was assessed using the previously validated Maslach Burnout Inventory. Factors associated with burnout were determined using univariate and multivariate logistic regression.

RESULTS

The response rate with completed surveys was 21% (346/1643). The majority of residents were male (78%), 26–35 years old (92%), in a stable relationship (70%), and without children (73%). Respondents were equally distributed across all residency years. Eighty-one percent of residents were satisfied with their career choice, although 41% had at some point given serious thought to quitting. The overall burnout rate was 67%. In the multivariate analysis, notable factors associated with burnout included inadequate operating room exposure (OR 7.57, p = 0.011), hostile faculty (OR 4.07, p = 0.008), and social stressors outside of work (OR 4.52, p = 0.008). Meaningful mentorship was protective against burnout in the multivariate regression models (OR 0.338, p = 0.031).

CONCLUSIONS

Rates of burnout and career satisfaction are paradoxically high among neurosurgery trainees. While several factors were predictive of burnout, including inadequate operative exposure and social stressors, meaningful mentorship proved to be protective against burnout. The documented negative effects of burnout on patient care and health care economics necessitate further studies for potential solutions to curb its rise.