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Jesse L. Winer, Daniel R. Kramer, Richard A. Robison, Ifije Ohiorhenuan, Michael Minneti, Steven Giannotta, and Gabriel Zada

Cadaveric surgical simulation carries the advantage of realistic anatomy and haptic feedback but has been historically difficult to model for intraventricular approaches given the need for active flow of CSF. This feasibility study was designed to simulate intraventricular neuroendoscopic approaches and techniques by reconstituting natural CSF flow in a cadaveric model. In 10 fresh human cadavers, a simple cervical laminectomy and dural opening were made, and a 12-gauge arterial catheter was introduced. Saline was continuously perfused at physiological CSF pressures to reconstitute the subarachnoid space and ventricles. A neuroendoscope was subsequently inserted via a standard right frontal bur hole. In 8 of the 10 cadavers, adequate reconstitution and endoscopic access of the lateral and third ventricles were achieved. In 2 cadavers, ventricular access was not feasible, perhaps because of a small ventricle size and/or deteriorated tissue quality. In all 8 cadavers with successful CSF flow reconstitution and endoscopic access, identifying the foramen of Monro was possible, as was performing septum pellucidotomy and endoscopic third ventriculostomy. Furthermore, navigation of the cerebral aqueduct, fourth ventricle, prepontine cistern, and suprasellar cistern via the lamina terminalis was possible, providing a complementary educational paradigm for resident education that cannot typically be performed in live surgery. Surgical simulation plays a critical and increasingly prominent role in surgical education, particularly for techniques with steep learning curves including intraventricular neuroendoscopic procedures. This novel model provides feasible and realistic surgical simulation of neuroendoscopic intraventricular procedures and approaches.

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Gabriel Zada, Parham Yashar, Aaron Robison, Jesse Winer, Alexander Khalessi, William J. Mack, and Steven L. Giannotta

Object

Tumor consistency plays an important and underrecognized role in the surgeon's ability to resect meningiomas, especially with evolving trends toward minimally invasive and keyhole surgical approaches. Aside from descriptors such as “hard” or “soft,” no objective criteria exist for grading, studying, and conveying the consistency of meningiomas.

Methods

The authors designed a practical 5-point scale for intraoperative grading of meningiomas based on the surgeon's ability to internally debulk the tumor and on the subsequent resistance to folding of the tumor capsule. Tumor consistency grades and features are as follows: 1) extremely soft tumor, internal debulking with suction only; 2) soft tumor, internal debulking mostly with suction, and remaining fibrous strands resected with easily folded capsule; 3) average consistency, tumor cannot be freely suctioned and requires mechanical debulking, and the capsule then folds with relative ease; 4) firm tumor, high degree of mechanical debulking required, and capsule remains difficult to fold; and 5) extremely firm, calcified tumor, approaches density of bone, and capsule does not fold. Additional grading categories included tumor heterogeneity (with minimum and maximum consistency scores) and a 3-point vascularity score. This grading system was prospectively assessed in 50 consecutive patients undergoing craniotomy for meningioma resection by 2 surgeons in an independent fashion. Grading scores were subjected to a linear weighted kappa analysis for interuser reliability.

Results

Fifty patients (100 scores) were included in the analysis. The mean maximal tumor diameter was 4.3 cm. The distribution of overall tumor consistency scores was as follows: Grade 1, 4%; Grade 2, 9%; Grade 3, 43%; Grade 4, 44%; and Grade 5, 0%. Regions of Grade 5 consistency were reported only focally in 14% of heterogeneous tumors. Tumors were designated as homogeneous in 68% and heterogeneous in 32% of grades. The kappa analysis score for overall tumor consistency grade was 0.87 (SE 0.06, 95% CI 0.76–0.99), with 90% user agreement. Kappa analysis scores for minimum and maximum grades of tumor regions were 0.69 (agreement 72%) and 0.75 (agreement 78%), respectively. The kappa analysis score for tumor vascularity grading was 0.56 (agreement 76%). Overall consistency did not correlate with patient age, tumor location, or tumor size. A higher tumor vascularity grade was associated with a larger tumor diameter (p = 0.045) and with skull base location (p = 0.02).

Conclusions

The proposed grading system provides a reliable, practical, and objective assessment of meningioma consistency and facilitates communication among providers. This system also accounts for heterogeneity in tumor consistency. With the proposed scale, meningioma consistency can be standardized as groundwork for future studies relating to surgical outcomes, predictability of consistency and vascularity using neuroimaging techniques, and effectiveness of various surgical instruments.

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Shenandoah Robinson, Jesse L. Winer, Justin Berkner, Lindsay A. S. Chan, Jesse L. Denson, Jessie R. Maxwell, Yirong Yang, Laurel O. Sillerud, Robert C. Tasker, William P. Meehan III, Rebekah Mannix, and Lauren L. Jantzie

OBJECTIVE

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and severe morbidity for otherwise healthy full-term infants around the world. Currently, the primary treatment for infant TBI is supportive, as no targeted therapies exist to actively promote recovery. The developing infant brain, in particular, has a unique response to injury and the potential for repair, both of which vary with maturation. Targeted interventions and objective measures of therapeutic efficacy are needed in this special population. The authors hypothesized that MRI and serum biomarkers can be used to quantify outcomes following infantile TBI in a preclinical rat model and that the potential efficacy of the neuro-reparative agent erythropoietin (EPO) in promoting recovery can be tested using these biomarkers as surrogates for functional outcomes.

METHODS

With institutional approval, a controlled cortical impact (CCI) was delivered to postnatal Day (P)12 rats of both sexes (76 rats). On postinjury Day (PID)1, the 49 CCI rats designated for chronic studies were randomized to EPO (3000 U/kg/dose, CCI-EPO, 24 rats) or vehicle (CCI-veh, 25 rats) administered intraperitoneally on PID1–4, 6, and 8. Acute injury (PID3) was evaluated with an immunoassay of injured cortex and serum, and chronic injury (PID13–28) was evaluated with digitized gait analyses, MRI, and serum immunoassay. The CCI-veh and CCI-EPO rats were compared with shams (49 rats) primarily using 2-way ANOVA with Bonferroni post hoc correction.

RESULTS

Following CCI, there was 4.8% mortality and 55% of injured rats exhibited convulsions. Of the injured rats designated for chronic analyses, 8.1% developed leptomeningeal cyst–like lesions verified with MRI and were excluded from further study. On PID3, Western blot showed that EPO receptor expression was increased in the injured cortex (p = 0.008). These Western blots also showed elevated ipsilateral cortex calpain degradation products for αII-spectrin (αII-SDPs; p < 0.001), potassium chloride cotransporter 2 (KCC2-DPs; p = 0.037), and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP-DPs; p = 0.002), as well as serum GFAP (serum GFAP-DPs; p = 0.001). In injured rats multiplex electrochemiluminescence analyses on PID3 revealed elevated serum tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα p = 0.01) and chemokine (CXC) ligand 1 (CXCL1). Chronically, that is, in PID13–16 CCI-veh rats, as compared with sham rats, gait deficits were demonstrated (p = 0.033) but then were reversed (p = 0.022) with EPO treatment. Diffusion tensor MRI of the ipsilateral and contralateral cortex and white matter in PID16–23 CCI-veh rats showed widespread injury and significant abnormalities of functional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD), and radial diffusivity (RD); MD, AD, and RD improved after EPO treatment. Chronically, P13–P28 CCI-veh rats also had elevated serum CXCL1 levels, which normalized in CCI-EPO rats.

CONCLUSIONS

Efficient translation of emerging neuro-reparative interventions dictates the use of age-appropriate preclinical models with human clinical trial–compatible biomarkers. In the present study, the authors showed that CCI produced chronic gait deficits in P12 rats that resolved with EPO treatment and that chronic imaging and serum biomarkers correlated with this improvement.

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Charles E. Mackel, Brent C. Morel, Jesse L. Winer, Hannah G. Park, Megan Sweeney, Robert S. Heller, Leslie Rideout, Ron I. Riesenburger, and Steven W. Hwang

OBJECTIVE

The authors reviewed the transfer requests for isolated pediatric traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) at a Level I/II facility with the goal of identifying clinical and radiographic traits associated with potentially avoidable transfers that could be safely managed in a non–tertiary care setting.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective study of patients < 18 years of age classified as having TBI and transferred to their Level I tertiary care center over a 12-year period. The primary outcome of interest was identifying potentially avoidable transfers, defined as transfers of patients not requiring any neurosurgical intervention and discharged 1 hospital day after admission.

RESULTS

Overall, 70.8% of pediatric patients with isolated TBI did not require neurosurgical intervention or monitoring, indicating an avoidable transfer. Potentially avoidable transfers were associated with outside hospital imaging that was negative (86%) or showed isolated, nondisplaced skull fractures (86%) compared to patients with cranial pathology (53.8%, p < 0.001) as well as age ≤ 6 years (81% [negative imaging/isolated, nondisplaced fractures] vs 54% [positive cranial pathology], p < 0.001). The presence of headaches, nonfocal deficits, and loss of consciousness were associated with necessary transfer (p < 0.05). Patients with potentially avoidable transfers underwent frequent repeat CT studies (19.1%) and admissions to the pediatric intensive care unit (55.9%) but at a lower rate than those whose transfers were necessary (p < 0.001). Neurosurgical interventions occurred in 11% of patients with cranial pathology, which accounted for 17.9% of necessary transfers and 5.2% of all transfers.

CONCLUSIONS

In the authors’ region, potentially up to 70% of interfacility transfers for pediatric brain trauma in the absence of other systemic injuries warranting surgical intervention may not require neurosurgical intervention and could be managed locally. No patients transferred with isolated, nondisplaced skull fractures or negative CT scans required neurosurgical intervention, and 86% were discharged the day after admission. In contrast, 11% of patients with CT scans indicative of cranial pathology required neurosurgical intervention. Age > 6 years, loss of consciousness, and nonfocal deficits were associated with a greater likelihood of needing a transfer. Further studies are required to clarify which patients can be managed at local institutions, but referring centers should practice overcaution given the potential risks.

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Stephen G. Bowden, Dominic A. Siler, Maryam N. Shahin, David J. Mazur-Hart, Daniel N. Munger, Miner N. Ross, Brannan E. O’Neill, Caleb S. Nerison, Michael Rothbaum, Seunggu J. Han, James M. Wright, Josiah N. Orina, Jesse L. Winer, and Nathan R. Selden

OBJECTIVE

To comply with the removal of the 88-hour week exemption and to support additional operative experience during junior residency, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) switched from a night-float call schedule to a modified 24-hour call schedule on July 1, 2019. This study compared the volumes of clinical, procedural, and operative cases experienced by postgraduate year 2 (PGY-2) and PGY-3 residents under these systems.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively studied billing and related clinical records, call schedules, and Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education case logs for PGY-2 and PGY-3 residents at OHSU, a tertiary academic health center, for the first 4 months of the academic years from 2017 to 2020. The authors analyzed the volumes of new patient consultations, bedside procedures, and operative procedures performed by each PGY-2 and PGY-3 resident during these years, comparing the volumes experienced under each call system.

RESULTS

Changing from a PGY-2 resident–focused night-float call system to a 24-hour call system that was more evenly distributed between PGY-2 and PGY-3 residents resulted in decreased volume of new patient consultations, increased volume of operative procedures, and no change in volume of bedside procedures for PGY-2 residents. PGY-3 residents experienced a decrease in operative procedure volume under the 24-hour call system.

CONCLUSIONS

Transition from a night-float system to a 24-hour call system altered the distribution of clinical and procedural experiences between PGY-2 and PGY-3 residents. Further research is necessary to understand the impact of these changes on educational outcomes, quality and safety of patient care, and resident satisfaction.