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Jennifer L. Quon, Ryan A. Grant, and Michael L. DiLuna

OBJECT

Extradural decompression is a minimally invasive technique for treating Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) that avoids the complications of dural opening. While there is no agreement on which surgical method is optimal, mounting evidence demonstrates that extradural decompression effectively treats clinical symptoms, with a minimal reoperation rate. Neurological symptoms such as headache may be related to obstructed flow of CSF, and one aspect of successful extradural decompression is improved CSF dynamics. In this series, the authors report on their use of phase-contrast cine flow MRI to assess CSF flow as well as satisfactory decompression.

METHODS

The authors describe their first surgical series of 18 patients with CM-I undergoing extradural decompression and correlate clinical improvement with radiological changes. Patients were categorized as having complete, partial, or no resolution of their symptoms. Posterior fossa area, cisterna magna area, and tonsillar herniation were assessed on T2-weighted MRI, whereas improvement of CSF flow was evaluated with phase-contrast cine flow MRI. All patients received standard pre- and postoperative MRI studies; 8 (44.4%) patients had pre- and postoperative phase-contrast cine, while the rest underwent cine studies only postoperatively.

RESULTS

All 18 patients presented with symptomatic CM-I, with imaging studies demonstrating tonsillar herniation ≥ 5 mm, and 2 patients had associated syringomelia. All patients underwent suboccipital decompression and C-1 laminectomy with splitting of the dura. Patients with complete resolution of their symptoms had a greater relative increase in cisterna magna area compared with those with only partial improvement (p = 0.022). In addition, in those with complete improvement the preoperative cisterna magna area was smaller than in those who had either partial (0.020) or no (0.025) improvement. Ten (91%) of the 11 patients with improved flow also had improvement in their symptoms. There was 1 postoperative complication of dysphagia and dysphonia. None of the patients have required a second operation.

CONCLUSIONS

Extradural decompression has the potential to be the first-line treatment for CM-I but has been lacking an objective measure by which to assess surgical success as well as the need for reoperation. An increase in the CSF spaces and improved CSF dynamics may be associated with resolution of clinical symptoms. Including cine imaging as part of routine pre- and postoperative evaluation can help identify which patients are most likely to benefit from surgery.

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Jennifer L. Quon, Lily H. Kim, Robert M. Lober, Maryam Maleki, Gary K. Steinberg, and Kristen W. Yeom

OBJECTIVE

Moyamoya disease is a dynamic cerebrovascular condition that often requires vascular surveillance. Arterial spin labeling (ASL) is an MR perfusion method that is increasingly used for stroke and other various neurovascular pathologies. Unlike perfusion-weighted MRI, ASL uses endogenous water molecules for signal and therefore obviates gadolinium use; and provides direct, not relative, quantitative cerebral blood flow (CBF) measures. Presently, the potential role of ASL for evaluating postoperative pediatric moyamoya patients is relatively unexplored. This study investigated the role for ASL in evaluating cerebral hemodynamic changes in children who underwent revascularization surgery.

METHODS

This retrospective study examined 15 consecutive pediatric patients with moyamoya disease (n = 7) or moyamoya syndrome (n = 8) presenting between 2010 and 2014 who underwent revascularization and in whom 3T ASL was performed pre- and postoperatively. Postoperative MRI at least 3 months after revascularization procedure was used for analysis. Quantitative CBF in various vascular territories was interrogated: anterior, middle, and posterior cerebral arteries, and basal ganglia supplied by the lenticulostriate collaterals, resulting in evaluation of 20 brain regions.

RESULTS

After revascularization, CBF in the high middle cerebral artery territory significantly increased (p = 0.0059), accompanied by a decrease in CBF to the ipsilateral lenticulostriate-supplied basal ganglia (p = 0.0053). No perfusion changes occurred in the remaining cerebral vascular territories after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

ASL-based quantitative CBF showed improved cerebral perfusion to the middle cerebral artery territory after revascularization in children with both moyamoya syndrome and disease. Reduced perfusion to the basal ganglia might reflect pruning of the lenticulostriate collaterals, potentially from effects of revascularization. ASL can quantitatively evaluate hemodynamic changes in children with moyamoya after revascularization, and it may be a useful adjunct to routine clinical MRI surveillance.

Free access

Lily H. Kim, Jennifer L. Quon, Felicia W. Sun, Kristen M. Wortman, Maheen M. Adamson, and Odette A. Harris

The impact of traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been demonstrated in various studies with respect to prevalence, morbidity, and mortality data. Many of the patients burdened with long-term sequelae of TBI are veterans. Although fewer in number, female veterans with TBI have been suggested to suffer from unique physical, mental, and social challenges. However, there remains a significant knowledge gap in the sex differences in TBI. Increased female representation in the military heralds an increased risk of TBI for female soldiers, and medical professionals must be prepared to address the unique health challenges in the face of changing demographics among the veteran TBI population. In this review, the authors aimed to present the current understanding of sex differences in TBI in the veteran population and suggest directions for future investigations.

Free access

Jennifer L. Quon, Lily H. Kim, Peter H. Hwang, Zara M. Patel, Gerald A. Grant, Samuel H. Cheshier, and Michael S. B. Edwards

OBJECTIVE

Transnasal endoscopic transsphenoidal approaches constitute an essential technique for the resection of skull base tumors in adults. However, in the pediatric population, sellar and suprasellar lesions have historically been treated by craniotomy. Transnasal endoscopic approaches are less invasive and thus may be preferable to craniotomy, especially in children. In this case series, the authors present their institutional experience with transnasal endoscopic transsphenoidal approaches for pediatric skull base tumors.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed pediatric patients (age ≤ 18 years) who had undergone transnasal endoscopic transsphenoidal approaches for either biopsy or resection of sellar or suprasellar lesions between 2007 and 2016. All operations were performed jointly by a team of pediatric neurosurgeons and skull base otolaryngologists, except for 8 cases performed by one neurosurgeon.

RESULTS

The series included 42 patients between 4 and 18 years old (average 12.5 years) who underwent 51 operations. Headache (45%), visual symptoms (69%), and symptoms related to hormonal abnormalities (71%) were the predominant presenting symptoms. Improvement in preoperative symptoms was seen in 92% of cases. Most patients had craniopharyngiomas (n = 16), followed by pituitary adenomas (n = 12), Rathke cleft cysts (n = 4), germinomas (n = 4), chordomas (n = 2), and other lesion subtypes (n = 4). Lesions ranged from 0.3 to 6.2 cm (median 2.5 cm) in their greatest dimension. Gross-total resection was primarily performed (63% of cases), with 5 subsequent recurrences. Nasoseptal flaps were used in 47% of cases, fat grafts in 37%, and lumbar drains in 47%. CSF space was entered intraoperatively in 15 cases, and postoperative CSF was observed only in lesions with suprasellar extension. There were 8 cases of new hormonal deficits and 3 cases of new cranial nerve deficits. Length of hospital stay ranged from 1 to 61 days (median 5 days). Patients were clinically followed up for a median of 46 months (range 1–120 months), accompanied by a median radiological follow-up period of 45 months (range 3.8–120 months). Most patients (76%) were offered adjuvant therapy.

CONCLUSIONS

In this single-institution report of the transnasal endoscopic transsphenoidal approach, the authors demonstrated that this technique is generally safe and effective for different types of pediatric skull base lesions. Favorable effects of surgery were sustained during a follow-up period of 4 years. Further refinement in technology will allow for more widespread use in the pediatric population.

Free access

James Pan, Jennifer L. Quon, Eli Johnson, Bryan Lanzman, Anjeza Chukus, Allen L. Ho, Michael S. B. Edwards, Gerald A. Grant, and Kristen W. Yeom

OBJECTIVE

Fast magnetic resonance imaging (fsMRI) sequences are single-shot spin echo images with fast acquisition times that have replaced CT scans for many conditions. Introduced as a means of evaluating children with hydrocephalus and macrocephaly, these sequences reduce the need for anesthesia and can be more cost-effective, especially for children who require multiple surveillance scans. However, the role of fsMRI has yet to be investigated in evaluating the posterior fossa in patients with Chiari I abnormality (CM-I). The goal of this study was to examine the diagnostic performance of fsMRI in evaluating the cerebellar tonsils in comparison to conventional MRI.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 18 pediatric patients with a confirmed diagnosis of CM-I based on gold-standard conventional brain MRI and 30 controls without CM-I who had presented with various neurosurgical conditions. The CM-I patients were included if fsMRI studies had been obtained within 1 year of conventional MRI with no surgical intervention between the studies. Two neuroradiologists reviewed the studies in a blinded fashion to determine the diagnostic performance of fsMRI in detecting CM-I. For the CM-I cohort, the fsMRI and T2-weighted MRI exams were randomized, and the blinded reviewers performed tonsillar measurements on both scans.

RESULTS

The mean age of the CM-I cohort was 7.39 years, and 50% of these subjects were male. The mean time interval between fsMRI and conventional T2-weighted MRI was 97.8 days. Forty-four percent of the subjects had undergone imaging after posterior fossa decompression. The sensitivity and specificity of fsMRI in detecting CM-I was 100% (95% CI 71.51%–100%) and 92.11% (95% CI 78.62%–98.34%), respectively. If only preoperative patients are considered, both sensitivity and specificity increase to 100%. The authors also performed a cost analysis and determined that fsMRI was significantly cost-effective compared to T2-weighted MRI or CT.

CONCLUSIONS

Despite known limitations, fsMRI may serve as a useful diagnostic and surveillance tool for CM-I. It is more cost-effective than full conventional brain MRI and decreases the need for sedation in young children.

Free access

Katie Shpanskaya, Jennifer L. Quon, Robert M. Lober, Sid Nair, Eli Johnson, Samuel H. Cheshier, Michael S. B. Edwards, Gerald A. Grant, and Kristen W. Yeom

OBJECTIVE

While conventional imaging can readily identify ventricular enlargement in hydrocephalus, structural changes that underlie microscopic tissue injury might be more difficult to capture. MRI-based diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) uses properties of water motion to uncover changes in the tissue microenvironment. The authors hypothesized that DTI can identify alterations in optic nerve microstructure in children with hydrocephalus.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed 21 children (< 18 years old) who underwent DTI before and after neurosurgical intervention for acute obstructive hydrocephalus from posterior fossa tumors. Their optic nerve quantitative DTI metrics of mean diffusivity (MD) and fractional anisotropy (FA) were compared to those of 21 age-matched healthy controls.

RESULTS

Patients with hydrocephalus had increased MD and decreased FA in bilateral optic nerves, compared to controls (p < 0.001). Normalization of bilateral optic nerve MD and FA on short-term follow-up (median 1 day) after neurosurgical intervention was observed, as was near-complete recovery of MD on long-term follow-up (median 1.8 years).

CONCLUSIONS

DTI was used to demonstrate reversible alterations of optic nerve microstructure in children presenting acutely with obstructive hydrocephalus. Alterations in optic nerve MD and FA returned to near-normal levels on short- and long-term follow-up, suggesting that surgical intervention can restore optic nerve tissue microstructure. This technique is a safe, noninvasive imaging tool that quantifies alterations of neural tissue, with a potential role for evaluation of pediatric hydrocephalus.

Restricted access

Solomiia Savchuk, Michael C. Jin, Stephanie Choi, Lily H. Kim, Jennifer L. Quon, Anthony Bet, Laura M. Prolo, David S. Hong, Kelly B. Mahaney, and Gerald A. Grant

OBJECTIVE

Optimal management of pediatric Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) is much debated, chiefly due to the lack of validated tools for outcome assessment, with very few tools incorporating patient-centered measures of health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Although posterior fossa decompression (PFD) benefits a subset of patients, prediction of its impact across patients is challenging. The primary aim of this study was to investigate the role of patient-centered HRQOL measures in the assessment and prediction of outcomes after PFD.

METHODS

The authors collected HRQOL data from a cohort of 20 pediatric CM-I patients before and after PFD. The surveys included assessments of selected Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) health domains and were used to generate the PROMIS preference (PROPr) score, which is a measure of HRQOL. PROMIS is a reliable standardized measure of HRQOL domains such as pain, fatigue, depression, and physical function, which are all relevant to CM-I. The authors then compared the PROPr scores with Chicago Chiari Outcome Scale (CCOS) scores derived from time-matched clinical documentation. Finally, the authors used the PROPr scores as an outcome measure to predict postsurgical HRQOL improvement at 1 year on the basis of patient demographic characteristics, comorbidities, and radiological and physical findings. The Wilcoxon signed-rank test, Mann-Whitney U-test, and Kendall’s correlation were used for statistical analysis.

RESULTS

Aggregate analysis revealed improvement of pain severity after PFD (p = 0.007) in anatomical patterns characteristic of CM-I. Most PROMIS domain scores trended toward improvement after surgery, with anxiety and pain interference reaching statistical significance (p < 0.002 and p < 0.03, respectively). PROPr scores also significantly improved after PFD (p < 0.008). Of the baseline patient characteristics, preexisting scoliosis was the most accurate negative predictor of HRQOL improvement after PFD (median −0.095 vs 0.106, p < 0.001). A correlation with modest magnitude (Kendall’s tau range 0.19–0.47) was detected between the patient-centered measures and CCOS score.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors observed moderate improvement of HRQOL, when measured using a modified panel of PROMIS question banks, in this pilot cohort of pediatric CM-I patients after PFD. Further investigations are necessary to validate this tool for children with CM-I and to determine whether these scores correlate with clinical and radiographic findings.

Free access

Jennifer L. Quon, Michelle Han, Lily H. Kim, Mary Ellen Koran, Leo C. Chen, Edward H. Lee, Jason Wright, Vijay Ramaswamy, Robert M. Lober, Michael D. Taylor, Gerald A. Grant, Samuel H. Cheshier, John R. W. Kestle, Michael S. B. Edwards, and Kristen W. Yeom

OBJECTIVE

Imaging evaluation of the cerebral ventricles is important for clinical decision-making in pediatric hydrocephalus. Although quantitative measurements of ventricular size, over time, can facilitate objective comparison, automated tools for calculating ventricular volume are not structured for clinical use. The authors aimed to develop a fully automated deep learning (DL) model for pediatric cerebral ventricle segmentation and volume calculation for widespread clinical implementation across multiple hospitals.

METHODS

The study cohort consisted of 200 children with obstructive hydrocephalus from four pediatric hospitals, along with 199 controls. Manual ventricle segmentation and volume calculation values served as “ground truth” data. An encoder-decoder convolutional neural network architecture, in which T2-weighted MR images were used as input, automatically delineated the ventricles and output volumetric measurements. On a held-out test set, segmentation accuracy was assessed using the Dice similarity coefficient (0 to 1) and volume calculation was assessed using linear regression. Model generalizability was evaluated on an external MRI data set from a fifth hospital. The DL model performance was compared against FreeSurfer research segmentation software.

RESULTS

Model segmentation performed with an overall Dice score of 0.901 (0.946 in hydrocephalus, 0.856 in controls). The model generalized to external MR images from a fifth pediatric hospital with a Dice score of 0.926. The model was more accurate than FreeSurfer, with faster operating times (1.48 seconds per scan).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors present a DL model for automatic ventricle segmentation and volume calculation that is more accurate and rapid than currently available methods. With near-immediate volumetric output and reliable performance across institutional scanner types, this model can be adapted to the real-time clinical evaluation of hydrocephalus and improve clinician workflow.