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Maria Kamenova, Davide Croci, Raphael Guzman, Luigi Mariani, and Jehuda Soleman

OBJECTIVE

Ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement is a common procedure for the treatment of hydrocephalus following diverse neurosurgical conditions. Most of the patients present with other comorbidities and receive antiplatelet therapy, usually acetylsalicylic acid (ASA). Despite its clinical relevance, the perioperative management of these patients has not been sufficiently investigated. The aim of this study was to compare the peri- and postoperative bleeding complication rates associated with ASA intake in patients undergoing VP shunt placement.

METHODS

Of 172 consecutive patients undergoing VP shunt placement between June 2009 and December 2015, 40 (23.3%) patients were receiving low-dose ASA treatment. The primary outcome measure was bleeding events in ASA users versus nonusers, whereas secondary outcome measures were postoperative cardiovascular events, hematological findings, morbidity, and mortality. A subgroup analysis was conducted in patients who discontinued ASA treatment for < 7 days (n = 4, ASA Group 1) and for ≥ 7 days (n = 36, ASA Group 2).

RESULTS

No statistically significant difference for bleeding events was observed between ASA users and nonusers (p = 0.30). Cardiovascular complications, surgical morbidity, and mortality did not differ significantly between the groups either. Moreover, there was no association between ASA discontinuation regimens (< 7 days and ≥ 7 days) and hemorrhagic events.

CONCLUSIONS

Given the lack of guidelines regarding perioperative management of neurosurgical patients with antiplatelet therapy, these findings elucidate one issue, showing comparable bleeding rates in ASA users and nonusers undergoing VP shunt placement.

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Jehuda Soleman, Danil A. Kozyrev, Shlomi Constantini, and Jonathan Roth

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this cohort study was to describe and analyze the surgical treatment and outcome of posterior fossa arachnoid cysts (PFACs) in infants.

METHODS

Patients presenting with a PFAC at infancy or prenatally, between the years 2000 and 2019, and who were surgically treated before the age of 2 years, were included in this study. Patient data were retrospectively collected including baseline characteristics and surgical variables. Factors related to revision surgery were analyzed through uni- and multivariate analysis.

RESULTS

Thirty-five patients, of whom 54.3% were male, were included. The cyst was diagnosed prenatally in 23 patients (65.7%). Surgery was typically recommended after a mean cyst follow-up of 3.4 ± 3.9 months, with a mean age at surgery of 6.1 ± 5.1 months. In 54.3% of patients (n = 19), surgery was performed before the age of 6 months. The PFAC was treated purely neuroendoscopically in 57.1% of patients (n = 20), while 28.6% of patients underwent open cyst procedures (n = 10), 5.7% (n = 2) were treated with a shunt, and 8.6% (n = 3) underwent a combined procedure. Additional surgery was required in 31.4% of patients (n = 11; mean 2.36 ± 2.11 surgeries per patient). At the last follow-up (61.40 ± 55.33 months), no mortality or permanent morbidity was seen; radiological improvement was apparent in 83.9% of the patients. Those patients treated before the age of 6 months (p = 0.09) and who presented before surgery with a stable cyst size that was maintained throughout preoperative monitoring (p = 0.08) showed a trend toward higher revision rates after surgical treatment.

CONCLUSIONS

PFACs in infancy may require surgical treatment before the age of 6 months. Navigated endoscopy was a valid surgical option. Overall mortality or permanent morbidity was rare. Additional surgery was required in up to 30% of the patients; younger age and a preoperatively stable cyst might be risk factors for revision surgery.

Free access

Maria Licci, Raphael Guzman, and Jehuda Soleman

OBJECTIVE

Comparing prenatal and postnatal surgical repair techniques for myelomeningocele (MMC), in utero fetal surgery has increasingly gained acceptance and is considered by many specialized centers the first choice of treatment. Despite its benefits, as demonstrated in the Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS), including reduced need for CSF shunting in neonates and improved motor outcomes at 30 months, there is still an ongoing debate on fetal and maternal risks associated with the procedure. Prenatal open hysterotomy, fetoscopic MMC repair techniques, and subsequent delivery by cesarean section are associated with maternal complications. The aim of this systematic review is to assess the available literature on maternal and obstetric complication rates and perinatal maternal outcomes related to fetal MMC repair.

METHODS

The authors identified references for inclusion in this review by searching PubMed and MEDLINE, with restrictions to English language, case series, case reports, clinical trials, controlled clinical trials, meta-analyses, randomized controlled trials, reviews, and systematic reviews. The rate of maternal and obstetric complications was analyzed based on studies focusing on this issue and presenting clear results on the matter.

RESULTS

Of 1264 articles screened, 36 were included in this systemic review, whereof 11 were eligible for data analysis and comparison. The average overall rate of maternal and obstetric complications corresponds to 78.6%. The majority of the described events are obstetric complications, varying from chorioamniotic membrane separation in 65.6% of cases, oligohydramnios in 13.0% of cases, placental abruption in 5.0% of cases, spontaneous or preterm premature membrane rupture in 42.0% of cases, and early preterm delivery in 11.3% of cases due to uterine dehiscence, occurring in 0.9% of cases. The most common medical complications are development of pulmonary edema occurring in 2.8%, gestational diabetes in 3.7%, gestational hypertension/preeclampsia in 3.7%, and need for blood transfusions in 3.2% of cases. Limitations of the review arise from the lack of data in the current literature, with maternal and obstetric complications being underreported.

CONCLUSIONS

Although the efforts of further advancement of intrauterine prenatal MMC repair aim to increase neonatal outcomes, maternal health hazard will continue to be an issue of crucial importance and further studies are required.

Free access

Jehuda Soleman, Florian Thieringer, Joerg Beinemann, Christoph Kunz, and Raphael Guzman

OBJECT

The authors describe a novel technique using computer-assisted design (CAD) and computed-assisted manufacturing (CAM) for the fabrication of individualized 3D printed surgical templates for frontoorbital advancement surgery.

METHODS

Two patients underwent frontoorbital advancement surgery for unilateral coronal synostosis. Virtual surgical planning (SurgiCase-CMF, version 5.0, Materialise) was done by virtual mirroring techniques and superposition of an age-matched normative 3D pediatric skull model. Based on these measurements, surgical templates were fabricated using a 3D printer. Bifrontal craniotomy and the osteotomies for the orbital bandeau were performed based on the sterilized 3D templates. The remodeling was then done placing the bone plates within the negative 3D templates and fixing them using absorbable poly-dl-lactic acid plates and screws.

RESULTS

Both patients exhibited a satisfying head shape postoperatively and at follow-up. No surgery-related complications occurred. The cutting and positioning of the 3D surgical templates proved to be very accurate and easy to use as well as reproducible and efficient.

CONCLUSIONS

Computer-assisted virtual planning and 3D template fabrication for frontoorbital advancement surgery leads to reconstructions based on standardizedmeasurements, precludes subjective remodeling, and seems to be overall safe and feasible. A larger series of patients with long-term follow-up is needed for further evaluation of this novel technique.

Free access

Nicole Alexandra Frank, Ladina Greuter, Patricia Elsa Dill, Raphael Guzman, and Jehuda Soleman

OBJECTIVE

Sturge-Weber syndrome (SWS) is a rare neurocutaneous disorder presenting mostly with a facial port-wine stain and leptomeningeal angiomatosis. More than 85% of the patients are affected by epilepsy by the age of 2 years. Seizure and symptom control is the focus of SWS treatment, since no causal therapy exists yet. For pharmacologically intractable epilepsy, surgery is a treatment option. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to provide an overview of the literature regarding lesionectomy in SWS with a focus on seizure outcome, complications, and motor and cognitive development.

METHODS

The PubMed and Embase databases were searched using a systematic search strategy to identify studies on SWS from their inception until 2021. Two independent researchers assessed the studies for inclusion and quality. Outcome measures were seizure outcome, postoperative complications, and motor and cognitive development. Thereafter, a systematic review was conducted, and a meta-analysis was performed for all included cohort studies. Risk of bias was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. Forest plots have been generated for all outcomes; risk ratio was used for pooled outcomes. A p value < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.

RESULTS

After removal of duplicates, the authors screened 439 articles, of which 9 articles with 150 patients were included. Our case and 5 case reports and 4 retrospective cohort studies were included for systematic review. The latter 4 studies qualified for the meta-analysis. In these 4 articles, 144 patients received surgical treatment: 81 (56%) underwent focal lesionectomy and 63 (44%) hemispherectomy. Pooled outcome analysis for postoperative favorable seizure outcome showed a nonsignificant difference between lesionectomy and hemispherectomy (69.2% vs 87.3%; RR 0.73, 95% CI 0.50–1.08; t = −2.56, p = 0.08). Lesionectomy showed a significantly lower rate for developmental delay and postoperative hemiparesis in comparison with hemispherectomy (29.8% vs 76.3%; RR 0.41, 95% CI 0.28–0.59; z = −4.77, p < 0.0001 and 18.1% vs 100%; RR 0.11, 95% CI 0.06–0.21; z = −6.58, p < 0.0001, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

Based on the limited literature available, lesionectomy leads to a nonsignificant lower seizure control rate, while postoperative developmental or motor deficits are significantly lower compared with hemispherectomy. Therefore, focal lesionectomy remains a valid alternative to hemispherectomy in SWS with a clearly localized epileptogenic area; however, individual case-based decisions in a specialized multidisciplinary team are of paramount importance.

Free access

Ladina Greuter, Muriel Ullmann, Luigi Mariani, Raphael Guzman, and Jehuda Soleman

OBJECTIVE

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is common among the elderly, often treated with antiplatelet (AP) or anticoagulation (AC) therapy, creating new challenges in neurosurgery. In contrast to elective craniotomy, in which AP/AC therapy is mostly discontinued, in TBI usually no delay in treatment can be afforded. The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of AP/AC therapy on postoperative bleeding after craniotomy/craniectomy in TBI.

METHODS

Postoperative bleeding rates in patients treated with AP/AC therapy (blood thinner group) and in those without AP/AC therapy (control group) were retrospectively compared. Furthermore, univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to identify risk factors for postoperative bleeding. Lastly, a proportional Cox regression analysis comparing postoperative bleeding events within 14 days in both groups was performed.

RESULTS

Of 143 consecutive patients undergoing craniotomy/craniectomy for TBI between 2012 and 2017, 47 (32.9%) were under AP/AC treatment. No significant difference for bleeding events was observed in univariate (40.4% blood thinner group vs 36.5% control group; p = 0.71) or Cox proportional regression analysis (log rank χ2 = 0.29, p = 0.59). Patients with postoperative bleeding showed a significantly higher mortality rate (p = 0.035). In the univariate analysis, hemispheric lesion, acute subdural hematoma, hematological disease, greater extent of midline shift, and pupillary difference were significantly associated with a higher risk of postoperative bleeding. However, in the multivariate regression analysis none of these factors showed a significant association with postoperative bleeding.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients treated with AP/AC therapy undergoing craniotomy/craniectomy due to TBI do not appear to have increased rates of postoperative bleeding. Once postoperative bleeding occurs, mortality rates rise significantly.

Free access

Ladina Greuter, Katharina Lutz, Javier Fandino, Luigi Mariani, Raphael Guzman, and Jehuda Soleman

OBJECTIVE

Chronic subdural hematoma (cSDH) occurs more frequently in elderly patients, while older patient age is associated with worse postoperative outcome following burr-hole drainage (BHD) of cSDH. The cSDH-Drain trial showed comparable recurrence rates after BHD and placement of either a subperiosteal drain (SPD) or subdural drain (SDD). Additionally, an SPD showed a significantly lower rate of infections as well as iatrogenic parenchymal injuries through drain misplacement. This post hoc analysis aims to compare recurrence rates and clinical outcomes following BHD of cSDH and the placement of SPDs or SDDs in elderly patients.

METHODS

The study included 104 patients (47.3%) 80 years of age and older from the 220 patients recruited in the preceding cSDH-Drain trial. SPDs and SDDs were compared with regard to recurrence rate, morbidity, mortality, and clinical outcome. A post hoc analysis using logistic regression, comparing the outcome measurements for patients < 80 and ≥ 80 years old in a univariate analysis and stratified for drain type, was further completed.

RESULTS

Patients ≥ 80 years of age treated with an SDD showed higher recurrence rates (12.8%) compared with those treated with an SPD (8.2%), without a significant difference (p = 0.46). Significantly higher drain misplacement rates were observed for patients older than 80 years and treated with an SDD compared with an SPD (0% vs 20%, p = 0.01). Comparing patients older than 80 years to younger patients, significantly higher overall mortality (15.4% vs 5.2%, p = 0.012), 30-day mortality (3.8% vs 0%, p = 0.033), and surgical mortality (2.9% vs 1.7%, p = 0.034) rates were observed. Clinical outcome at the 12-month follow-up was significantly worse for patients ≥ 80 years old, and logistic regression showed a significant association of age with outcome, while drain type had no association with outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

The initial findings of the cSDH-Drain trial and the findings of this subanalysis suggest that SPD may be warranted in elderly patients. As opposed to drain type, patient age (> 80 years) was significantly associated with worse outcome, as well as higher morbidity and mortality rates.

Free access

Maria Licci, Florian M. Thieringer, Raphael Guzman, and Jehuda Soleman

OBJECTIVE

Neuroendoscopic surgery using an ultrasonic aspirator represents a valid tool with which to perform the safe resection of deep-seated ventricular lesions, but the handling of neuroendoscopic instruments is technically challenging, requiring extensive training to achieve a steep learning curve. Simulation-based methods are increasingly used to improve surgical skills, allowing neurosurgical trainees to practice in a risk-free, reproducible environment. The authors introduce a synthetic, patient-specific simulator that enables trainees to develop skills for endoscopic ventricular tumor removal, and they evaluate the model’s validity as a training instrument with regard to realism, mechanical proprieties, procedural content, and handling.

METHODS

The authors developed a synthetic simulator based on a patient-specific CT data set. The anatomical features were segmented, and several realistic 1:1 skull models with all relevant ventricular structures were fabricated by a 3D printer. Vascular structures and the choroid plexus were included. A tumor model, composed of polyvinyl alcohol, mimicking a soft-consistency lesion, was secured in different spots of the frontal horn and within the third ventricle. Neurosurgical trainees participating in a neuroendoscopic workshop qualitatively assessed, by means of a feedback survey, the properties of the simulator as a training model that teaches neuroendoscopic ultrasonic ventricular tumor surgery; the trainees rated 10 items according to a 5-point Likert scale.

RESULTS

Participants appreciated the model as a valid hands-on training tool for neuroendoscopic ultrasonic aspirator tumor removal, highly rating the procedural content. Furthermore, they mostly agreed on its comparably realistic anatomical and mechanical properties. By the model’s first application, the authors were able to recognize possible improvement measures, such as the development of different tumor model textures and the possibility, for the user, of creating a realistic surgical skull approach and neuroendoscopic trajectory.

CONCLUSIONS

A low-cost, patient-specific, reusable 3D-printed simulator for the training of neuroendoscopic ultrasonic aspirator tumor removal was successfully developed. The simulator is a useful tool for teaching neuroendoscopic techniques and provides support in the development of the required surgical skills.

Free access

Ladina Greuter, Adriana De Rosa, Philippe Cattin, Davide Marco Croci, Jehuda Soleman, and Raphael Guzman

OBJECTIVE

Performing aneurysmal clipping requires years of training to successfully understand the 3D neurovascular anatomy. This training has traditionally been obtained by learning through observation. Currently, with fewer operative aneurysm clippings, stricter work-hour regulations, and increased patient safety concerns, novel teaching methods are required for young neurosurgeons. Virtual-reality (VR) models offer the opportunity to either train a specific surgical skill or prepare for an individual surgery. With this study, the authors aimed to compare the spatial orientation between traditional 2D images and 3D VR models in neurosurgical residents or medical students.

METHODS

Residents and students were each randomly assigned to describe 4 aneurysm cases, which could be either 2D images or 3D VR models. The time to aneurysm detection as well as a spatial anatomical description was assessed via an online questionnaire and compared between the groups. The aneurysm cases were 10 selected patient cases treated at the authors’ institution.

RESULTS

Overall, the time to aneurysm detection was shorter in the 3D VR model compared to 2D images, with a trend toward statistical significance (25.77 ± 37.26 vs 45.70 ± 51.94 seconds, p = 0.052). No significant difference was observed for residents (3D VR 24.47 ± 40.16 vs 2D 33.52 ± 56.06 seconds, p = 0.564), while in students a significantly shorter time to aneurysm detection was measured using 3D VR models (26.95 ± 35.39 vs 59.16 ± 44.60 seconds, p = 0.015). No significant differences between the modalities for anatomical and descriptive spatial mistakes were observed. Most participants (90%) preferred the 3D VR models for aneurysm detection and description, and only 1 participant (5%) described VR-related side effects such as dizziness or nausea.

CONCLUSIONS

VR platforms facilitate aneurysm recognition and understanding of its spatial anatomy, which could make them the preferred method compared to 2D images in the years to come.

Free access

Nicole Frank, Joerg Beinemann, Florian M. Thieringer, Benito K. Benitez, Christoph Kunz, Raphael Guzman, and Jehuda Soleman

OBJECTIVE

The main indication for craniofacial remodeling of craniosynostosis is to correct the deformity, but potential increased intracranial pressure resulting in neurocognitive damage and neuropsychological disadvantages cannot be neglected. The relapse rate after fronto-orbital advancement (FOA) seems to be high; however, to date, objective measurement techniques do not exist. The aim of this study was to quantify the outcome of FOA using computer-assisted design (CAD) and computer-assisted manufacturing (CAM) to create individualized 3D-printed templates for correction of craniosynostosis, using postoperative 3D photographic head and face surface scans during follow-up.

METHODS

The authors included all patients who underwent FOA between 2014 and 2020 with individualized, CAD/CAM-based, 3D-printed templates and received postoperative 3D photographic face and head scans at follow-up. Since 2016, the authors have routinely planned an additional “overcorrection” of 3 mm to the CAD-based FOA correction of the affected side(s). The virtually planned supraorbital angle for FOA correction was compared with the postoperative supraorbital angle measured on postoperative 3D photographic head and face surface scans. The primary outcome was the delta between the planned CAD/CAM FOA correction and that achieved based on 3D photographs. Secondary outcomes included outcomes with and those without “overcorrection,” time of surgery, blood loss, and morbidity.

RESULTS

Short-term follow-up (mean 9 months after surgery; 14 patients) showed a delta of 12° between the planned and achieved supraorbital angle. Long-term follow-up (mean 23 months; 8 patients) showed stagnant supraorbital angles without a significant increase in relapse. Postsurgical supraorbital angles after an additionally planned overcorrection (of 3 mm) of the affected side showed a mean delta of 11° versus 14° without overcorrection. The perioperative and postoperative complication rates of the whole cohort (n = 36) were very low, and the mean (SD) intraoperative blood loss was 128 (60) ml with a mean (SD) transfused red blood cell volume of 133 (67) ml.

CONCLUSIONS

Postoperative measurement of the applied FOA on 3D photographs is a feasible and objective method for assessment of surgical results. The delta between the FOA correction planned with CAD/CAM and the achieved correction can be analyzed on postoperative 3D photographs. In the future, calculation of the amount of “overcorrection” needed to avoid relapse of the affected side(s) after FOA may be possible with the aid of these techniques.