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Jeffrey A. Steinberg, David D. Gonda, Karra Muller and Joseph D. Ciacci

Intramedullary spinal cord hematomas are a rare neurosurgical pathological entity typically arising from vascular and neoplastic lesions. Endometriosis is an extremely rare cause of intramedullary spinal cord hematoma, with only 5 previously reported cases in the literature. Endometriosis is characterized by ectopic endometrial tissue, typically located in the female pelvic cavity, that causes a cyclical pain syndrome, bleeding, and infertility. In the rare case of intramedullary endometriosis of the spinal cord, symptoms include cyclical lower-extremity radiculopathies and voiding difficulties, and can acutely cause cauda equina syndrome. The authors report a case of endometriosis of the conus medullaris, the first to include radiological, intraoperative, and histopathological imaging. A brief review of the literature is also presented, with discussion including etiological theories surrounding intramedullary endometriosis.

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Robert C. Rennert, Danielle M. Levy, Jillian Plonsker, Jeffrey A. Steinberg, Rick A. Friedman, John R. Crawford and Michael L. Levy

Pediatric cerebellopontine angle (CPA) meningiomas are extremely rare and are usually treated with a retrosigmoid surgical approach or radiation. The authors present the use of a middle fossa approach for the treatment of a symptomatic CPA meningioma in a 22-month-old female. The patient initially presented at 17 months with isolated progressive, long-standing right-sided facial weakness. MRI demonstrated a 5.0 × 5.0–mm right CPA lesion just superior to the cisternal segment of cranial nerve (CN) VII, which demonstrated growth on interval imaging. At 22 months of age she underwent a successful middle fossa craniotomy, including wide exposure of the porus acusticus, allowing for a gross-total resection with preservation of CNs VII and VIII. Pathological analysis revealed a WHO grade I meningioma. The patient remained neurologically stable on follow-up. The middle fossa approach can be used to safely access the CPA in properly selected pediatric patients.

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David R. Santiago-Dieppa, Brian R. Hirshman, Arvin Wali, J. Scott Pannell, Yasaman Alam, Scott Olson, Vincent J. Cheung, Jeffrey A. Steinberg, Mihir Gupta and Alexander A. Khalessi

OBJECTIVE

Carotid artery stenting (CAS) has antihypertensive effects, but the durability and degree of this response remain variable. The authors propose that this clinical variability is a function of the presence or absence of a complete circle of Willis (COW). Incomplete COWs perfuse through a higher-resistance pial collateral pathway, and therefore patients may require a higher mean arterial pressure (MAP). Carotid artery revascularization in these patients would reduce the end-organ collateral demand that has been hypothesized to drive the MAP response.

METHODS

Using a retrospective, nonrandomized within-subject case-control design, the authors compared the postoperative effects of CAS in patients with and without a complete COW by using changes in MAP and antihypertensive medication as end points. They recorded MAP and antihypertensive medications 3 months prior to surgery, preoperatively, immediately postoperatively, and at the 3-month follow-up.

RESULTS

Data were collected from 64 consecutive patients undergoing CAS. Patients without a complete COW (25%) were more likely to demonstrate a decrease in BP response to stenting (i.e., a drop in MAP of 10 mm Hg and/or a reduction or cessation of BP medications at 3 months postoperatively). Of the patients in the incomplete COW cohort, 75% had this outcome, whereas of those in the complete COW cohort, only 41% had it (p < 0.041). These findings remained statistically significant in a logistic regression analysis for possible confounders (p < 0.024). A receiver operating curve analysis of preoperative data indicated that a MAP > 96.3 mm Hg was 55.5% sensitive and 57.4% specific for predicting a complete COW and that patients with a MAP > 96.3 mm Hg were more likely to demonstrate a good MAP decrease following CAS (p < 0.0092).

CONCLUSIONS

CAS is associated with a significant decrease in MAP and/or a reduction/cessation in BP medications in patients in whom a complete COW is absent.

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Michael G. Brandel, Robert C. Rennert, Arvin R. Wali, David R. Santiago-Dieppa, Jeffrey A. Steinberg, Christian Lopez Ramos, Peter Abraham, J. Scott Pannell and Alexander A. Khalessi

OBJECTIVE

Preoperative embolization of meningiomas can facilitate their resection when they are difficult to remove. The optimal use and timing of such a procedure remains controversial given the risk of embolization-linked morbidity in select clinical settings. In this work, the authors used a large national database to study the impact of immediate preoperative embolization on the immediate outcomes of meningioma resection.

METHODS

Meningioma patients who had undergone elective resection were identified in the National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample (NIS) for the period 2002–2014. Patients who had undergone preoperative embolization were propensity score matched to those who had not, adjusting for patient and hospital characteristics. Associations between preoperative embolization and morbidity, mortality, and nonroutine discharge were investigated.

RESULTS

Overall, 27,008 admissions met the inclusion criteria, and 633 patients (2.34%) had undergone preoperative embolization and 26,375 (97.66%) had not. The embolization group was younger (55.17 vs 57.69 years, p < 0.001) with a lower proportion of females (63.5% vs 69.1%, p = 0.003), higher Charlson Comorbidity Index (p = 0.002), and higher disease severity (p < 0.001). Propensity score matching retained 413 embolization and 413 nonembolization patients. In the matched cohort, preoperative embolization was associated with increased rates of cerebral edema (25.2% vs 17.7%, p = 0.009), posthemorrhagic anemia or transfusion (21.8% vs 13.8%, p = 0.003), and nonroutine discharge (42.8% vs 35.7%, p = 0.039). There was no difference in mortality (≤ 2.4% vs ≤ 2.4%, p = 0.82). Among the embolization patients, the mean interval from embolization to resection was 1.49 days. On multivariate analysis, a longer interval was significantly associated with nonroutine discharge (OR 1.33, p = 0.004) but not with complications or mortality.

CONCLUSIONS

Relative to meningioma patients who do not undergo preoperative embolization in the same admission, those who do have higher rates of cerebral edema and nonroutine discharge but not higher rates of stroke or death. Thus, meningiomas requiring preoperative embolization represent a distinct clinical entity that requires prolonged, more complex care. Further, among embolization patients, the timing of resection did not affect the risk of in-hospital complications, suggesting that the timing of surgery can be determined according to surgeon discretion.

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Robert C. Rennert, Martin P. Powers, Jeffrey A. Steinberg, Takanori Fukushima, John D. Day, Alexander A. Khalessi and Michael L. Levy

OBJECTIVE

The far-lateral and extreme-lateral infrajugular transcondylar–transtubercular exposure (ELITE) and extreme-lateral transcondylar transodontoid (ELTO) approaches provide access to lesions of the foramen magnum, inferolateral to mid-clivus, and ventral pons and medulla. A subset of pathologies in this region require manipulation of the vertebral artery (VA)–dural interface. Although a cuff of dura is commonly left on the VA to avoid vessel injury during these approaches, there are varying descriptions of the degree of VA-dural separation that is safely achievable. In this paper the authors provide a detailed histological analysis of the VA-dural junction to guide microsurgical technique for posterolateral skull base approaches.

METHODS

An ELITE approach was performed on 6 preserved adult cadaveric specimens. The VA-dural entry site was resected, processed for histological analysis, and qualitatively assessed by a neuropathologist.

RESULTS

Histological analysis demonstrated a clear delineation between the intima and media of the VA in all specimens. No clear plane was identified between the connective tissue of the dura and the connective tissue of the VA adventitia.

CONCLUSIONS

The VA forms a contiguous plane with the connective tissue of the dura at its dural entry site. When performing posterolateral skull base approaches requiring manipulation of the VA-dural interface, maintenance of a dural cuff on the VA is critical to minimize the risk of vascular injury.

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Jeffrey A. Steinberg, Jayson Sack, Bayard Wilson, David Weingarten, Bob Carter, Alexander Khalessi, Sharona Ben-Haim and John Alksne

OBJECTIVE

Trigeminal neuralgia is a debilitating pain disorder most often caused by arterial compression of the trigeminal nerve, although there are other etiologies. Microvascular decompression (MVD) remains the most definitive treatment for this disorder, with cure rates reported between 60% and 80%. Traditional MVD techniques involve a retrosigmoid craniotomy with placement of an inert foreign material, such as Teflon, between the nerve and compressive vessel. Recurrence of trigeminal neuralgia after MVD has been associated with vessel migration, adhesion formation, and arterial pulsation against the Teflon abutting the nerve. Additionally, foreign materials such as Teflon have been reported to trigger inflammatory responses, resulting in recurrence of trigeminal pain. An alternative method for decompression involves the use of a sling to transpose the compressive vessel away from the nerve. Results of various sling techniques as a decompressive strategy are limited to small series and case reports. In this study, the authors present their experience utilizing a tentorial sling for MVD in patients with trigeminal neuralgia.

METHODS

Institutional review board approval was obtained in order to contact patients who underwent MVD for trigeminal neuralgia via the tentorial sling technique. Clinical outcomes were assessed utilizing the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) pain intensity score immediately after surgery and at the time of the study.

RESULTS

The tentorial sling technique was performed in 45 patients undergoing MVD for trigeminal neuralgia. In 41 of these patients, this procedure was their first decompressive surgery. Immediate postoperative relief of pain (BNI score I) was achieved in 80% of patients undergoing their first decompressive procedure. At last follow-up, 73% of these patients remained pain free. Three patients experienced recurrent trigeminal pain, with surgical exploration demonstrating an intact tentorial sling. The complication rate was 6.6%.

CONCLUSIONS

Transposition techniques for MVD have been described previously in small series and case reports. This study represents the largest experience in which the utilization of a tentorial sling for MVD in patients with trigeminal neuralgia is described. The technique represents a novel method for decompression of the trigeminal nerve by transposition of the offending vessel without the use of foreign material. Although the authors’ preliminary results parallel the historical cure rate, further outcome data are required to assess long-term durability of this method.

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Jeffrey A. Steinberg, Jayson Sack, Bayard Wilson, David Weingarten, Bob Carter, Alexander Khalessi, Sharona Ben-Haim and John Alksne

OBJECTIVE

Trigeminal neuralgia is a debilitating pain disorder most often caused by arterial compression of the trigeminal nerve, although there are other etiologies. Microvascular decompression (MVD) remains the most definitive treatment for this disorder, with cure rates reported between 60% and 80%. Traditional MVD techniques involve a retrosigmoid craniotomy with placement of an inert foreign material, such as Teflon, between the nerve and compressive vessel. Recurrence of trigeminal neuralgia after MVD has been associated with vessel migration, adhesion formation, and arterial pulsation against the Teflon abutting the nerve. Additionally, foreign materials such as Teflon have been reported to trigger inflammatory responses, resulting in recurrence of trigeminal pain. An alternative method for decompression involves the use of a sling to transpose the compressive vessel away from the nerve. Results of various sling techniques as a decompressive strategy are limited to small series and case reports. In this study, the authors present their experience utilizing a tentorial sling for MVD in patients with trigeminal neuralgia.

METHODS

Institutional review board approval was obtained in order to contact patients who underwent MVD for trigeminal neuralgia via the tentorial sling technique. Clinical outcomes were assessed utilizing the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) pain intensity score immediately after surgery and at the time of the study.

RESULTS

The tentorial sling technique was performed in 45 patients undergoing MVD for trigeminal neuralgia. In 41 of these patients, this procedure was their first decompressive surgery. Immediate postoperative relief of pain (BNI score I) was achieved in 80% of patients undergoing their first decompressive procedure. At last follow-up, 73% of these patients remained pain free. Three patients experienced recurrent trigeminal pain, with surgical exploration demonstrating an intact tentorial sling. The complication rate was 6.6%.

CONCLUSIONS

Transposition techniques for MVD have been described previously in small series and case reports. This study represents the largest experience in which the utilization of a tentorial sling for MVD in patients with trigeminal neuralgia is described. The technique represents a novel method for decompression of the trigeminal nerve by transposition of the offending vessel without the use of foreign material. Although the authors’ preliminary results parallel the historical cure rate, further outcome data are required to assess long-term durability of this method.

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Peter Abraham, J. Scott Pannell, David R. Santiago-Dieppa, Vincent Cheung, Jeffrey Steinberg, Arvin Wali, Mihir Gupta, Robert C. Rennert, Roland R. Lee and Alexander A. Khalessi

OBJECTIVE

In vivo and in vitro studies have demonstrated histological evidence of iatrogenic endothelial injury after stent retriever thrombectomy. However, noncontrast vessel wall (VW)–MRI is insufficient to demonstrate vessel injury. Authors of this study prospectively evaluated iatrogenic endothelial damage after stent retriever thrombectomy in humans by utilizing high-resolution contrast-enhanced VW-MRI. Characterization of VW-MRI changes in vessels subject to mechanical injury from thrombectomy may allow better understanding of the biological effects of this intervention.

METHODS

The authors prospectively recruited 11 patients for this study. The treatment group included 6 postthrombectomy patients and the control group included 5 subjects undergoing MRI for nonvascular indications. All subjects were evaluated on a Signa HD× 3.0-T MRI scanner with an 8-channel head coil. Both pre- and postcontrast T1-weighted Cube VW images as well as MR angiograms were acquired. Sequences obtained for evaluation of the brain parenchyma included diffusion-weighted, gradient echo, and T2-FLAIR imaging. Two independent neuroradiologists, who were blinded to the treatment status of each patient, determined the presence of VW enhancement. Patient age, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score on presentation, location of occlusion, stroke etiology, type of device used, number of device deployments, Thrombolysis in Cerebral Infarction (TICI) reperfusion score, stroke volume, and 90-day modified Rankin Scale score were also noted.

RESULTS

Postcontrast T1-weighted VW enhancement was detected in the M2 segment in 100% of the thrombectomy patients, in the M1 segment in 83%, and in the internal carotid artery in 50%. One patient also demonstrated A1 segment enhancement, which was attributable to thrombectomy treatment of that vessel segment during the same procedure. None of the control patients demonstrated VW enhancement of their intracranial vasculature on T1-weighted images.

CONCLUSIONS

The study findings suggest that VW injury incurred during stent retriever thrombectomy can be reliably detected utilizing contrast-enhanced 3-T VW-MRI. The results further demonstrate that endothelial injury is associated with oversizing of stent retrievers relative to the treated vessel. Further studies are needed to evaluate the clinical significance of endothelial injury and to characterize the differential effects of various devices.

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Christian Lopez Ramos, Robert C. Rennert, Michael G. Brandel, Peter Abraham, Brian R. Hirshman, Jeffrey A. Steinberg, David R. Santiago-Dieppa, Arvin R. Wali, Kevin Porras, Yazeed Almosa, Jeffrey S. Pannell and Alexander A. Khalessi

OBJECTIVE

Safety-net hospitals deliver care to a substantial share of vulnerable patient populations and are disproportionately impacted by hospital payment reform policies. Complex elective procedures performed at safety-net facilities are associated with worse outcomes and higher costs. The effects of hospital safety-net burden on highly specialized, emergent, and resource-intensive conditions are poorly understood. The authors examined the effects of hospital safety-net burden on outcomes and costs after emergent neurosurgical intervention for ruptured cerebral aneurysms.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) from 2002 to 2011. Patients ≥ 18 years old who underwent emergent surgical clipping and endovascular coiling for aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) were included. Safety-net burden was defined as the proportion of Medicaid and uninsured patients treated at each hospital included in the NIS database. Hospitals that performed clipping and coiling were stratified as low-burden (LBH), medium-burden (MBH), and high-burden (HBH) hospitals.

RESULTS

A total of 34,647 patients with ruptured cerebral aneurysms underwent clipping and 23,687 underwent coiling. Compared to LBHs, HBHs were more likely to treat black, Hispanic, Medicaid, and uninsured patients (p < 0.001). HBHs were also more likely to be associated with teaching hospitals (p < 0.001). No significant differences were observed among the burden groups in the severity of subarachnoid hemorrhage. After adjusting for patient demographics and hospital characteristics, treatment at an HBH did not predict in-hospital mortality, poor outcome, length of stay, costs, or likelihood of a hospital-acquired condition.

CONCLUSIONS

Despite their financial burden, safety-net hospitals provide equitable care after surgical clipping and endovascular coiling for ruptured cerebral aneurysms and do not incur higher hospital costs. Safety-net hospitals may have the capacity to provide equitable surgical care for highly specialized emergent neurosurgical conditions.

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Arvin R. Wali, Michael G. Brandel, David R. Santiago-Dieppa, Robert C. Rennert, Jeffrey A. Steinberg, Brian R. Hirshman, James D. Murphy and Alexander A. Khalessi

OBJECTIVE

Markov modeling is a clinical research technique that allows competing medical strategies to be mathematically assessed in order to identify the optimal allocation of health care resources. The authors present a review of the recently published neurosurgical literature that employs Markov modeling and provide a conceptual framework with which to evaluate, critique, and apply the findings generated from health economics research.

METHODS

The PubMed online database was searched to identify neurosurgical literature published from January 2010 to December 2017 that had utilized Markov modeling for neurosurgical cost-effectiveness studies. Included articles were then assessed with regard to year of publication, subspecialty of neurosurgery, decision analytical techniques utilized, and source information for model inputs.

RESULTS

A total of 55 articles utilizing Markov models were identified across a broad range of neurosurgical subspecialties. Sixty-five percent of the papers were published within the past 3 years alone. The majority of models derived health transition probabilities, health utilities, and cost information from previously published studies or publicly available information. Only 62% of the studies incorporated indirect costs. Ninety-three percent of the studies performed a 1-way or 2-way sensitivity analysis, and 67% performed a probabilistic sensitivity analysis. A review of the conceptual framework of Markov modeling and an explanation of the different terminology and methodology are provided.

CONCLUSIONS

As neurosurgeons continue to innovate and identify novel treatment strategies for patients, Markov modeling will allow for better characterization of the impact of these interventions on a patient and societal level. The aim of this work is to equip the neurosurgical readership with the tools to better understand, critique, and apply findings produced from cost-effectiveness research.