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Mark A. MacLean, Charles J. Touchette, Jae H. Han, Sean D. Christie and Gwynedd E. Pickett

OBJECTIVE

Despite efforts toward achieving gender equality in clinical trial enrollment, females are often underrepresented, and gender-specific data analysis is often unavailable. Identifying and reducing gender bias in medical decision-making and outcome reporting may facilitate equitable healthcare delivery. Gender disparity in the utilization of surgical therapy has been exemplified in the orthopedic literature through studies of total joint arthroplasty. A paucity of literature is available to guide the management of lumbar degenerative disease, which stratifies on the basis of demographic factors. The objective of this study was to systematically map and synthesize the adult surgical literature regarding gender differences in pre- and postoperative patient-reported clinical assessment scores for patients with lumbar degenerative disease (disc degeneration, disc herniation, spondylolisthesis, and spinal canal stenosis).

METHODS

A systematic scoping review was performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) guidelines. MEDLINE, Embase, and the Cochrane Registry of Controlled Trials were searched from inception to September 2018. Study characteristics including patient demographics, diagnoses, procedures, and pre- and postoperative clinical assessment scores (pain, disability, and health-related quality of life [HRQoL]) were collected.

RESULTS

Thirty articles were identified, accounting for 32,951 patients. Six studies accounted for 84% of patients; 5 of the 6 studies were published by European groups. The most common lumbar degenerative conditions were disc herniation (59.0%), disc degeneration (20.3%), and spinal canal stenosis (15.9%). The majority of studies reported worse preoperative pain (93.3%), disability (81.3%), and HRQoL (75%) among females. The remainder reported equivalent preoperative scores between males and females. The majority of studies (63.3%) did not report preoperative duration of symptoms, and this represents a limitation of the data. Eighty percent of studies found that females had worse absolute postoperative scores in at least one outcome category (pain, disability, or HRQoL). The remainder reported equivalent absolute postoperative scores between males and females. Seventy-three percent of studies reported either an equivalent or greater interval change for females.

CONCLUSIONS

Female patients undergoing surgery for lumbar degenerative disease (disc degeneration, disc herniation, spondylolisthesis, and spinal canal stenosis) have worse absolute preoperative pain, disability, and HRQoL. Following surgery, females have worse absolute pain, disability, and HRQoL, but demonstrate an equal or greater interval change compared to males. Further studies should examine gender differences in preoperative workup and clinical course.

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Zang-Hee Cho, Hoon-Ki Min, Se-Hong Oh, Jae-Yong Han, Chan-Woong Park, Je-Geun Chi, Young-Bo Kim, Sun Ha Paek, Andres M. Lozano and Kendall H. Lee

Object

A challenge associated with deep brain stimulation (DBS) in treating advanced Parkinson disease (PD) is the direct visualization of brain nuclei, which often involves indirect approximations of stereotactic targets. In the present study, the authors compared T2*-weighted images obtained using 7-T MR imaging with those obtained using 1.5- and 3-T MR imaging to ascertain whether 7-T imaging enables better visualization of targets for DBS in PD.

Methods

The authors compared 1.5-, 3-, and 7-T MR images obtained in 11 healthy volunteers and 1 patient with PD.

Results

With 7-T imaging, distinct images of the brain were obtained, including the subthalamic nucleus (STN) and internal globus pallidus (GPi). Compared with the 1.5- and 3-T MR images of the STN and GPi, the 7-T MR images showed marked improvements in spatial resolution, tissue contrast, and signal-to-noise ratio.

Conclusions

Data in this study reveal the superiority of 7-T MR imaging for visualizing structures targeted for DBS in the management of PD. This finding suggests that by enabling the direct visualization of neural structures of interest, 7-T MR imaging could be a valuable aid in neurosurgical procedures.