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Anil Nanda, Jai Deep Thakur, Ashish Sonig and Symeon Missios

OBJECTIVE

Cavernous sinus meningiomas (CSMs) represent a cohort of challenging skull base tumors. Proper management requires achieving a balance between optimal resection, restoration of cranial nerve (CN) function, and maintaining or improving quality of life. The objective of this study was to assess the pre-, intra-, and postoperative factors related to clinical and neurological outcomes, morbidity, mortality, and tumor control in patients with CSM.

METHODS

A retrospective review of a single surgeon's experience with microsurgical removal of CSM in 65 patients between January 1996 and August 2013 was done. Sekhar's classification, modified Kobayashi grading, and the Karnofsky Performance Scale were used to define tumor extension, tumor removal, and clinical outcomes, respectively.

RESULTS

Preoperative CN dysfunction was evident in 64.6% of patients. CN II deficits were most common. The greatest improvement was seen for CN V deficits, whereas CN II and CN IV deficits showed the smallest degree of recovery. Complete resection was achieved in 41.5% of cases and was not significantly associated with functional CN recovery. Internal carotid artery encasement significantly limited the complete microscopic resection of CSM (p < 0.0001). Overall, 18.5% of patients showed symptomatic recurrence after their initial surgery (mean follow-up 60.8 months [range 3–199 months]). The use of adjuvant stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) after microsurgery independently decreased the recurrence rate (p = 0.009; OR 0.036; 95% CI 0.003–0.430).

CONCLUSIONS

Modified Kobayashi tumor resection (Grades I–IIIB) was possible in 41.5% of patients. CN recovery and tumor control were independent of extent of tumor removal. The combination of resection and adjuvant SRS can achieve excellent tumor control. Furthermore, the use of adjuvant SRS independently decreases the recurrence rates of CSM.

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Marc Manix, Piyush Kalakoti, Miriam Henry, Jai Thakur, Richard Menger, Bharat Guthikonda and Anil Nanda

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare neurodegenerative condition with a rapid disease course and a mortality rate of 100%. Several forms of the disease have been described, and the most common is the sporadic type. The most challenging aspect of this disease is its diagnosis—the gold standard for definitive diagnosis is considered to be histopatho-logical confirmation—but newer tests are providing means for an antemortem diagnosis in ways less invasive than brain biopsy. Imaging studies, electroencephalography, and biomarkers are used in conjunction with the clinical picture to try to make the diagnosis of CJD without brain tissue samples, and all of these are reviewed in this article. The current diagnostic criteria are limited; test sensitivity and specificity varies with the genetics of the disease as well as the clinical stage. Physicians may be unsure of all diagnostic testing available, and may order outdated tests or prematurely request a brain biopsy when the diagnostic workup is incomplete. The authors review CJD, discuss the role of brain biopsy in this patient population, provide a diagnostic pathway for the patient presenting with rapidly progressive dementia, and propose newer diagnostic criteria.

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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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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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Richard P. Menger, Jai Deep Thakur, Gary Jain and Anil Nanda

OBJECTIVE

Insurance preauthorization is used as a third-party tool to reduce health care costs. Given the expansion of managed care, the impact of the insurance preauthorization process in delaying health care delivery warrants investigation through a diversified neurosurgery practice.

METHODS

Data for 1985 patients were prospectively gathered over a 12-month period from July 1, 2014, until June 30, 2015. Information regarding attending, procedure, procedure type, insurance type, need for insurance approval, number of days for authorization, or insurance denial was obtained. Delay in authorization was defined as any wait period greater than 7 days. Some of the parameters were added retrospectively to enhance this study; hence, the total number of subjects may vary for different variables.

RESULTS

The most common procedure was back surgery with instrumentation (28%). Most of the patients had commercial insurance (57%) while Medicaid was the least common (1%). Across all neurosurgery procedures, insurance authorization, on average, was delayed 9 days with commercial insurance, 10.7 days with Tricare insurance, 8.5 days with Medicare insurance, 11.5 days with Medicaid, and 14.4 days with workers' compensation. Two percent of all patients were denied insurance preauthorization without any statistical trend or association. Of the 1985 patients, 1045 (52.6%) patients had instrumentation procedures. Independent of insurance type, instrumentation procedures were more likely to have delays in authorization (p = 0.001). Independent of procedure type, patients with Tricare (military) insurance were more likely to have a delay in approval for surgery (p = 0.02). Predictably, Medicare insurance was protective against a delay in surgery (p = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Choice of insurance provider and instrumentation procedures were independent risk factors for a delay in insurance preauthorization. Neurosurgeons, not just policy makers, must take ownership to analyze, investigate, and interpret these data to deliver the best and most efficient care to our patients.

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Richard Menger, Michael Wolf, Jai Deep Thakur, Anil Nanda and Anthony Martino

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy declared that the United States would send a man to the moon and safely bring him home before the end of the decade. Astronaut Michael Collins was one of those men. He flew to the moon on the historic flight of Apollo 11 while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on its surface. However, this was not supposed to be the case.

Astronaut Collins was scheduled to fly on Apollo 8. While training, in 1968, he started developing symptoms of cervical myelopathy. He underwent evaluation at Wilford Hall Air Force Hospital in San Antonio and was noted to have a C5–6 disc herniation and posterior osteophyte on myelography. Air Force Lieutenant General (Dr.) Paul W. Myers performed an anterior cervical discectomy with placement of iliac bone graft. As a result, Astronaut James Lovell took his place on Apollo 8 flying the uncertain and daring first mission to the moon. This had a cascading effect on the rotation of astronauts, placing Michael Collins on the Apollo 11 flight that first landed men on the moon. It also placed Astronaut James Lovell in a rotation that exposed him to be the Commander of the fateful Apollo 13 flight.

Here, the authors chronicle the history of Astronaut Collins’ anterior cervical surgery and the impact of his procedure on the rotation of astronaut flight selection, and they review the pivotal historic nature of the Apollo 8 spaceflight. The authors further discuss the ongoing issue of cervical disc herniation among astronauts.

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

Object

The goal of this study was to perform a systematic quantitative comparison of the surgical outcomes between cystic vestibular schwannomas (CVSs) and solid vestibular schwannomas (SVSs).

Methods

A review of English-language literature published between 1990 and 2011 was performed using various search engines including PubMed, Google Scholar, and the Cochrane database. Only studies that reported surgical results of CVSs in comparison with SVSs were included in the analysis. The primary end point of this study was surgical outcomes, defined by the following: 1) facial nerve outcomes at latest follow-up; 2) mortality rates; or 3) non–facial nerve complication index. Secondary end points included extent of resection and brainstem adherence.

Results

Nine studies comprising 428 CVSs and 1287 SVSs were included in the study. The mean age of patients undergoing surgery was 48.3 ± 6.75 and 47.1 ± 9 years for CVSs and SVSs, respectively (p = 0.8). The mean tumor diameter for CVSs was 3.9 ± 0.84 cm and that for SVSs was 3.7 ± 1.2 cm (p = 0.7). There was no significant difference in the extent of resection among CVSs and SVSs (81.2% vs 80.7%, p = 0.87) Facial nerve outcomes were significantly better in the cohort of patients with SVSs than in those with CVSs (52.1% vs 39%, p = 0.0001). The perioperative mortality rates for CVSs and SVSs were not significantly different (3% and 3.8%, respectively; p = 0.6). No significant difference was noted between the cumulative non–facial nerve complication rate (including mortality) among patients with CVSs and SVSs (24.5% and 25.6%, respectively; p = 0.75)

Conclusions

Facial nerve outcomes are worse in patients undergoing resection for CVSs than in patients undergoing resection for SVSs. There were no significant differences in the extent of resection or postoperative morbidity and mortality rates between the cohorts of patients with vestibular schwannomas.

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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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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.