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Repair of middle fossa cerebrospinal fluid leaks using a novel combination of materials: technical note

Cedric D. Shorter, David E. Connor Jr., Jai Deep Thakur, Gale Gardner, Anil Nanda, and Bharat Guthikonda

Object

Methods for repairing middle fossa CSF (MFCSF) leaks have varied and yielded mixed results. The objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and durability of the authors' repair technique using a novel combination of 3 synthetic materials.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective case review of patients treated for CSF leaks between January 2009 and September 2011. Eight patients were found to have undergone middle fossa craniotomies for CSF leaks. Inclusion criteria for the study included age greater than 18 years, neuroimaging-documented temporal bone defect, and symptoms consistent with CSF leaks or gross CSF otorrhea. Seven patients, 3 men and 4 women, met the inclusion criteria, and their charts were reviewed. Hydroxyapatite cement, collagen-based dural substitute matrix, and polyethylene glycol hydrogel sealant were used in all patients for the repair.

Results

In all patients the MFCSF leaks were successfully repaired. Initial presenting symptoms included CSF otorrhea in 4 patients (57.1%), hearing loss in 3 (42.9%), and CSF rhinorrhea in 1 (14.3%). The mean follow-up duration was 12 months (range 5–33 months). In 1 patient an epidural hematoma developed at the operative site on postoperative Day 2, and in another patient a superficial wound dehiscence occurred on postoperative Day 48. During the follow-up period, the authors found no evidence of wound infections, neurovascular damage, or CSF leakage requiring reoperation.

Conclusions

The middle fossa approach involving a combination of hydroxyapatite cement, collagen-based dural substitute matrix, and polyethylene glycol hydrogel sealant is a safe, effective method for repairing MFCSF leaks. The combination of synthetic materials provides an alternative to existing materials for skull base surgeons.

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Craniocervical arachnoid cyst in a patient with Klippel-Feil syndrome: a unique case

Case report

Imad Saeed Khan, Osama Ahmed, Jai Deep Thakur, Cedric D. Shorter, and Bharat Guthikonda

Klippel-Feil syndrome, or brevicollis, is a complex congenital disorder caused by the improper segmentation of the cervical vertebrae. The authors present the very rare case of a patient with Klippel-Feil syndrome who presented with an intradural arachnoid cyst at the craniocervical junction. They also examine possible factors contributing to this association.

A 46-year-old woman presented with complaints of progressively worsening headaches and dizziness of 18 months' duration. She also demonstrated mild bilateral upper-extremity weakness. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed fused cervical vertebrae and a dorsal intradural arachnoid cyst at the craniocervical junction, extending down to the fourth cervical level. Because of worsening myelopathy and the presence of brainstem compression, the patient underwent surgical excision of the arachnoid cyst, which was approached via a midline posterior suboccipital/upper cervical route. An endoscope was introduced through a gap between the occiput and fused upper cervical vertebrae, and the arachnoid cyst was widely fenestrated. Postoperatively, the patient has remained symptom free for more than 2 years with evidence of good radiological decompression.

The authors report a unique association between craniocervical arachnoid cyst and Klippel-Feil syndrome. To their knowledge, no other cases of this association have been reported in the literature. Arachnoid cysts should be part of the differential diagnosis in the presence of worsening myelopathic symptoms or pain in patients with Klippel-Feil syndrome.

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Humphrey Ridley (1653–1708): 17th century evolution in neuroanatomy and selective cerebrovascular injections for cadaver dissection

Jai Deep Thakur, Ashish Sonig, Prashant Chittiboina, Imad Saeed Khan, Rishi Wadhwa, and Anil Nanda

Humphrey Ridley, M.D. (1653–1708), is a relatively unknown historical figure, belonging to the postmedieval era of neuroanatomical discovery. He was born in the market town of Mansfield, 14 miles from the county of Nottinghamshire, England. After studying at Merton College, Oxford, he pursued medicine at Leiden University in the Netherlands. In 1688, he was incorporated as an M.D. at Cambridge. Ridley authored the first original treatise in English language on neuroanatomy, The Anatomy of the Brain Containing its Mechanisms and Physiology: Together with Some New Discoveries and Corrections of Ancient and Modern Authors upon that Subject.

Ridley described the venous anatomy of the eponymous circular sinus in connection with the parasellar compartment. His methods were novel, unique, and effective. To appreciate the venous anatomy, he preferred to perform his anatomical dissections on recently executed criminals who had been hanged. These cadavers had considerable venous engorgement, which made the skull base venous anatomy clearer. To enhance the appearance of the cerebral vasculature further, he used tinged wax and quicksilver in the injections. He set up experimental models to answer questions definitively, in proving that the arachnoid mater is a separate meningeal layer. The first description of the subarachnoid cisterns, blood-brain barrier, and the fifth cranial nerve ganglion with its branches are also attributed to Ridley.

This historical vignette revisits Ridley's life and academic work that influenced neuroscience and neurosurgical understanding in its infancy. It is unfortunate that most of his novel contributions have gone unnoticed and uncited. The authors hope that this article will inform the neurosurgical community of Ridley's contributions to the field of neurosurgery.

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Perioperative complications in patients undergoing open transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion as a revision surgery

Clinical article

Imad Saeed Khan, Ashish Sonig, Jai Deep Thakur, Papireddy Bollam, and Anil Nanda

Object

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) has been increasingly used to treat degenerative spine disease, including that in patients in whom earlier decompressive procedures have failed. Reexploration in these cases is always challenging and is thought to pose a higher risk of complications. To the best of the authors' knowledge, there are no current studies specifically analyzing the effects of previous lumbar decompressive surgeries on the complication rates of open TLIF.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective study of surgeries performed by a single surgeon. A total of 187 consecutive patients, in whom the senior author (A.N.) had performed open TLIF between January 2007 and January 2011, met the inclusion criteria. The patients were divided into two groups (primary and revision TLIF) for the comparison of perioperative complications.

Results

Overall, the average age of the patients was 49.7 years (range 18–80 years). Of the 187 patients, 73 patients had no history of lumbar surgery and 114 were undergoing revision surgery. Fifty-four patients (28.9%) had a documented complication intraoperatively or postoperatively. There was no difference in the rate on perioperative complications between the two groups (overall, medical, wound related, inadvertent dural tears [DTs], or neural injury). Patients who had undergone more than one previous lumbar surgery were, however, more likely to have suffered from DTs (p = 0.054) and neural injuries (p = 0.007) compared with the rest.

Conclusions

In the hands of an experienced surgeon, revision open TLIF does not necessarily increase the risk of perioperative complications compared with primary TLIF. Two or more previous lumbar decompressive procedures, however, increase the risk of inadvertent DTs and neural injury.

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Is posttraumatic cerebrospinal fluid fistula a predictor of posttraumatic meningitis? A US Nationwide Inpatient Sample database study

Ashish Sonig, Jai Deep Thakur, Prashant Chittiboina, Imad Saeed Khan, and Anil Nanda

Object

Various factors have been reported in literature to be associated with the development of posttraumatic meningitis. There is a paucity of data regarding skull fractures and facial fractures leading to CSF leaks and their association with the development of meningitis. The primary objective of this study was to analyze the US Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) database to elucidate the factors associated with the development of posttraumatic meningitis. A secondary goal was to analyze the overall hospitalization cost related to posttraumatic meningitis and factors associated with that cost.

Methods

The NIS database was analyzed to identify patients admitted to hospitals with a diagnosis of head injury from 2005 through 2009. This data set was analyzed to assess the relationship of various clinical parameters that may affect the development of posttraumatic meningitis using binary logistic regression models. Additionally, the overall hospitalization cost for the head injury patients who did not undergo any neurosurgical intervention was further categorized into quartile groups, and a regression model was created to analyze various factors responsible for escalating the overall cost of the hospital stay.

Results

A total of 382,267 inpatient admissions for head injury were analyzed for the 2005–2009 period. Meningitis was reported in 0.2% of these cases (708 cases). Closed skull base fractures, open skull base fractures, cranial vault fractures, and maxillofacial fractures were reported in 20,524 (5.4%), 1089 (0.3%), 5064 (1.3%), and 88,649 (23.2%) patients, respectively. Among these patients with fractures, meningitis was noted in 0.17%, 0.18%, 0.05%, and 0.10% admissions, respectively. Cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea was reported in 453 head injury patients (0.1%) and CSF otorrhea in 582 (0.2%). Of the patients reported to have CSF rhinorrhea, 35 (7.7%) developed meningitis, whereas in the cohort with CSF otorrhea, 15 patients (2.6%) developed meningitis. Cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea (p < 0.001, OR 22.8, 95% CI 15.6–33.3), CSF otorrhea (p < 0.001, OR 9.2, 95% CI 5.2–16.09), and major neurosurgical procedures (p < 0.001, OR 5.6, 95% CI 4.8–6.5) were independent predictors of meningitis. Further, CSF rhinorrhea (p < 0.001, OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.6–2.7), CSF otorrhea (p < 0.001, OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.9–2.7), and posttraumatic meningitis (p < 0.001, OR 3.1, 95% CI 2.5–3.8) were independent factors responsible for escalating the cost of head injury in cases not requiring any major neurosurgical intervention.

Conclusions

Cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea and CSF otorrhea are independent predictors of posttraumatic meningitis. Furthermore, meningitis and CSF fistulas may independently lead to significantly increased cost of hospitalization in head injury patients not undergoing any major neurosurgical intervention.

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The impact of comorbidities, regional trends, and hospital factors on discharge dispositions and hospital costs after acoustic neuroma microsurgery: a United States nationwide inpatient data sample study (2005–2009)

Ashish Sonig, Imad Saeed Khan, Rishi Wadhwa, Jai Deep Thakur, and Anil Nanda

Object

Hospitalization cost and patient outcome after acoustic neuroma surgery depend on several factors. There is a paucity of data regarding the relationship between demographic features such as age, sex, race, insurance status, and patient outcome. Apart from demographic factors, there are several hospital-related factors and regional issues that can affect outcomes and hospital costs. To the authors' knowledge, no study has investigated the issue of regional disparity across the country in terms of cost of hospitalization and discharge disposition.

Methods

The authors analyzed the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) database over the years 2005–2009. Several variables were analyzed from the database, including patient demographics, comorbidities, and surgical complications. Hospital variables, such as bedsize, rural/urban location, teaching status, federal or private ownership, and the region, were also examined. Patient outcome and increased hospitalization costs were the dependent variables studied.

Results

A total of 2589 admissions from 242 hospitals were analyzed from the NIS data over the years 2005–2009. The mean age was 48.99 ± 13.861 years (± SD), and 304 (11.7%) of the patients were older than 65 years. The cumulative cost incurred by the hospitals from 2005 to 2009 was $948.77 million. The mean expenditure per admission was $76,365.09 ± $58,039.93. The mean total charges per admission rose from $59,633.00 in 2005 to $97,370.00 in 2009. The factors that predicted most significantly with other than routine (OTR) disposition outcome were age older than 65 years (OR 2.22, 95% CI 1.411–3.518; p < 0.001), aspiration pneumonia (OR 16.085, 95% CI 4.974–52.016; p < 0.001), and meningitis (OR 11.299, 95% CI 3.126–40.840; p < 0.001). When compared with patients with Medicare and Medicaid, patients with private insurance had a protective effect against OTR disposition outcome. Higher comorbidities predicted independently for OTR disposition outcome (OR 1.409, 95% CI 1.072–1.852; p = 0.014). The West region predicted negatively for OTR disposition outcome. Large hospitals were independently associated with higher hospital charges (OR 4.269, 95% CI 3.106–5.867; p < 0.001). The West region had significantly higher (p < 0.001) mean hospital charges than the other regions. Patient factors such as meningitis and aspiration pneumonia were strong independent predictors of increased hospital charges (p < 0.001). Higher comorbidities (OR 1.297, 95% CI 1.036–1.624; p = 0.023) and presence of neurofibromatosis Type 2 (OR 2.341, 95% CI 1.479–3.707; p < 0.001) were associated with higher hospital charges.

Conclusions

The authors' study shows that several factors can affect patient outcome and hospital charges for patients who have undergone acoustic neuroma surgery. Factors such as younger age, higher ZIP code income, less comorbidity, private insurance, elective surgery, and the West region predicted for better disposition outcome. However, the West region, higher comorbidities, and weekend admissions were associated with higher hospitalization costs.

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Antonius Balthazar Raymundus Hirsch and the peregrination of “gasserian ganglion”

Historical vignette

Ashish Sonig, Jai Thakur, Monica Grass, Imad Saeed Khan, Viraj Gandhi, and Anil Nanda

The anatomical description of the fifth cranial nerve ganglion lacked detail before the work of Antonius Balthazar Raymundus Hirsch (1744–1778). Hirsch used new dissection techniques that resulted in the most meticulous report of the trigeminal ganglion (the gasserian ganglion) to have been reported. In 1765, the 21-year-old published these findings in a thesis, Paris Quinti Nervorum Encephali Disquisitio Anatomica In Quantum Ad Ganglion Sibi Proprium, Semilunare, Et Ad Originem Nervi Intercostalis Pertinet [An anatomical inquiry of the fifth pair of the nerves of the brain, so far as it relates to the ganglion unto itself, the semilunar, and to the source of the intercostal nerve].

Hirsch wrote his thesis as a paean to his ailing teacher, Johann Lorenz Gasser, but Gasser died before Hirsch was able to defend his thesis. Thereafter, Hirsch applied to teach anatomy at his alma mater, the University of Vienna, but the university did not consider his application, deeming him too young for the position. Oddly, Hirsch died at the young age of 35. For the present paper, the library at the University of Vienna (Universität Wien), Austria, was contacted, and Anton Hirsch's thesis was digitized and subsequently translated from Latin into English. The authors here attempt to place the recognition of the fifth cranial nerve ganglion within a historical perspective and trace the trajectory of its anatomical descriptions.

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Safety profile of superior petrosal vein (the vein of Dandy) sacrifice in neurosurgical procedures: a systematic review

Vinayak Narayan, Amey R. Savardekar, Devi Prasad Patra, Nasser Mohammed, Jai D. Thakur, Muhammad Riaz, and Anil Nanda

OBJECTIVE

Walter E. Dandy described for the first time the anatomical course of the superior petrosal vein (SPV) and its significance during surgery for trigeminal neuralgia. The patient’s safety after sacrifice of this vein is a challenging question, with conflicting views in current literature. The aim of this systematic review was to analyze the current surgical considerations regarding Dandy’s vein, as well as provide a concise review of the complications after its obliteration.

METHODS

A systematic review was performed according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. A thorough literature search was conducted on PubMed, Web of Science, and the Cochrane database; articles were selected systematically based on the PRISMA protocol and reviewed completely, and then relevant data were summarized and discussed.

RESULTS

A total of 35 publications pertaining to the SPV were included and reviewed. Although certain studies report almost negligible complications of SPV sectioning, there are reports demonstrating the deleterious effects of SPV obliteration when achieving adequate exposure in surgical pathologies like trigeminal neuralgia, vestibular schwannoma, and petroclival meningioma. The incidence of complications after SPV sacrifice (32/50 cases in the authors’ series) is 2/32 (6.2%), and that reported in various case series varies from 0.01% to 31%. It includes hemorrhagic and nonhemorrhagic venous infarction of the cerebellum, sigmoid thrombosis, cerebellar hemorrhage, midbrain and pontine infarct, intracerebral hematoma, cerebellar and brainstem edema, acute hydrocephalus, peduncular hallucinosis, hearing loss, facial nerve palsy, coma, and even death. In many studies, the difference in incidence of complications between the SPV-sacrificed group and the SPV-preserved group was significant.

CONCLUSIONS

The preservation of Dandy’s vein is a neurosurgical dilemma. Literature review and experiences from large series suggest that obliterating the vein of Dandy while approaching the superior cerebellopontine angle corridor may be associated with negligible complications. However, the counterview cannot be neglected in light of some series showing an up to 30% complication rate from SPV sacrifice. This review provides the insight that although the incidence of complications due to SPV obliteration is low, they can happen, and the sequelae might be worse than the natural history of the existing pathology. Therefore, SPV preservation should be attempted to optimize patient outcome.

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Preoperative diffusion tensor imaging–fiber tracking for facial nerve identification in vestibular schwannoma: a systematic review on its evolution and current status with a pooled data analysis of surgical concordance rates

Amey R. Savardekar, Devi P. Patra, Jai D. Thakur, Vinayak Narayan, Nasser Mohammed, Papireddy Bollam, and Anil Nanda

OBJECTIVE

Total tumor excision with the preservation of neurological function and quality of life is the goal of modern-day vestibular schwannoma (VS) surgery. Postoperative facial nerve (FN) paralysis is a devastating complication of VS surgery. Determining the course of the FN in relation to a VS preoperatively is invaluable to the neurosurgeon and is likely to enhance surgical safety with respect to FN function. Diffusion tensor imaging–fiber tracking (DTI-FT) technology is slowly gaining traction as a viable tool for preoperative FN visualization in patients with VS.

METHODS

A systematic review of the literature in the PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science databases was performed in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, and those studies that preoperatively localized the FN in relation to a VS using the DTI-FT technique and verified those preoperative FN tracking results by using microscopic observation and electrophysiological monitoring during microsurgery were included. A pooled analysis of studies was performed to calculate the surgical concordance rate (accuracy) of DTI-FT technology for FN localization.

RESULTS

Fourteen studies included 234 VS patients (male/female ratio 1:1.4, age range 17–75 years) who had undergone preoperative DTI-FT for FN identification. The mean tumor size among the studies ranged from 29 to 41.3 mm. Preoperative DTI-FT could not visualize the FN tract in 8 patients (3.4%) and its findings could not be verified in 3 patients (1.2%), were verified but discordant in 18 patients (7.6%), and were verified and concordant in 205 patients (87.1%).

CONCLUSIONS

Preoperative DTI-FT for FN identification is a useful adjunct in the surgical planning for large VSs (> 2.5 cm). A pooled analysis showed that DTI-FT successfully identifies the complete FN course in 96.6% of VSs (226 of 234 cases) and that FN identification by DTI-FT is accurate in 90.6% of cases (205 of 226 cases). Larger studies with DTI-FT–integrated neuronavigation are required to look at the direct benefit offered by this specific technique in preserving postoperative FN function.

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An update on unilateral sporadic small vestibular schwannoma

Jai Deep Thakur, Anirban Deep Banerjee, Imad Saeed Khan, Ashish Sonig, Cedric D. Shorter, Gale L. Gardner, Anil Nanda, and Bharat Guthikonda

Advances in neuroimaging have increased the detection rate of small vestibular schwannomas (VSs, maximum diameter < 25 mm). Current management modalities include observation with serial imaging, stereotactic radiosurgery, and microsurgical resection. Selecting one approach over another invites speculation, and no standard management consensus has been established. Moreover, there is a distinct clinical heterogeneity among patients harboring small VSs, making standardization of management difficult. The aim of this article is to guide treating physicians toward the most plausible therapeutic option based on etiopathogenesis and the highest level of existing evidence specific to the different cohorts of hypothetical case scenarios.

Hypothetical cases were created to represent 5 commonly encountered scenarios involving patients with sporadic unilateral small VSs, and the literature was reviewed with a focus on small VS. The authors extrapolated from the data to the hypothetical case scenarios, and based on the level of evidence, they discuss the most suitable patient-specific treatment strategies. They conclude that observation and imaging, stereotactic radiosurgery, and microsurgery are all important components of the management strategy. Each has unique advantages and disadvantages best suited to certain clinical scenarios. The treatment of small VS should always be tailored to the clinical, personal, and social requirements of an individual patient, and a rigid treatment protocol is not practical.