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David C. Lobb, Smruti K. Patel, Brian S. Pan, and Jesse Skoch

OBJECTIVE

Patients presenting with head shape changes phenotypical for craniosynostosis may have incomplete fusion of the involved sutures. The surgical literature is lacking in appropriate management strategies for these patients. In this paper, the authors evaluate their experience with a novel treatment strategy: suturectomy of only the fused portion followed by helmeting therapy in patients with skull deformity secondary to incomplete suture synostosis.

METHODS

Patients with craniosynostosis with incomplete suture fusion requiring operative intervention between 2018 and 2020 were included for evaluation. Patients were selected for partial suturectomy if the patent portion of the suture had a normal appearance. All patients underwent craniectomy of the involved portion of the synostosed suture. Intraoperative ultrasound was used to reassess the degree of fusion at the time of surgery and incision planning. A 2- to 3-cm strip craniectomy was performed under direct visualization through a single minimal access incision. Postoperative helmeting was utilized for all patients. Demographic and perioperative data were collected, including laser scan data in the form of cranial index (CI) and cranial vault asymmetry (CVA), defined as the difference between two diagonal measurements, from the frontozygomaticus to the opposite eurion.

RESULTS

Four males and 1 female with a mean age of 2.8 months (range 1.1–3.9 months) at presentation were included. All patients had incomplete sagittal synostosis (one patient also had an incomplete left lambdoid synostosis and another had an incomplete left coronal synostosis). The mean age at surgery was 3.5 months (range 2.0–4.7 months) without any major complications. All patients were compliant with postoperative helmeting. The average age at the last follow-up was 12.8 months (range 5.3–23.7 months) with a mean follow-up duration of 9.3 months (range 0.5–19.6 months). Final laser scan evaluations were available for 3 patients and showed an improvement of the CI from an average of 71.3 (range 70–73) to 84.3 (range 82–86). The CVA improved from an average of 9.67 mm (range 2–22 mm) to 1.67 mm (range 1–2 mm).

CONCLUSIONS

Minimally invasive direct excision of the involved portion of fused cranial sutures followed by helmet therapy for phenotypical craniosynostosis is a safe and effective treatment strategy. This technique is suitable for very young patients and appears to offer similar outcomes to complete suturectomy. Further studies are required to see if this approach reduces the deformity severity for patients requiring vault remodeling later in life.

Free access

Smruti K. Patel, Jorge Zamorano-Fernández, Carlie McCoy, and Jesse Skoch

OBJECTIVE

External magnetic forces can have an impact on programmable valve mechanisms and potentially alter the opening pressure. As wearable technology has begun to permeate mainstream living, there is a clear need to provide information regarding safety of these devices for use near a programmable valve (PV). The aim of this study was to evaluate the magnetic fields of reference devices using smartphone-integrated magnetometers and compare the results with published shunt tolerances.

METHODS

Five smartphones from different manufacturers were used to evaluate the magnetic properties of various commonly used (n = 6) and newer-generation (n = 10) devices using measurements generated from the internal smartphone magnetometers. PV tolerance testing using calibrated magnets of varying field strengths was also performed by smartphone magnetometers.

RESULTS

All tested smartphone-integrated magnetometers had a factory sensor saturation point at around 5000 µT or 50 Gauss (G). This is well below the threshold at which a magnet can potentially deprogram a shunt, based on manufacturer reports as well as the authors’ experimental data with a threshold of more than 300 G. While many of the devices did saturate the smartphone sensors at the source, the magnetic flux density of the objects decreases significantly at 2 inches.

CONCLUSIONS

The existence of an upper limit on the magnetometers of all the smartphones used, although well below the published deprogramming threshold for modern programmable valves, does not allow us to give precise recommendations on those devices that saturate the sensor. Based on the authors’ experimental data using smartphone-integrated magnetometers, they concluded that devices that measure < 40 G can be used safely close to a PV.

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Vernard S. Fennell, Sheri Palejwala, Jesse Skoch, David A. Stidd, and Ali A. Baaj

Object

Experience with freehand thoracic pedicle screw placement is well described in the literature. Published techniques rely on various starting points and trajectories for each level or segment of the thoracic spine. Furthermore, few studies provide specific guidance on sagittal and axial trajectories. The goal of this study was to propose a uniform entry point and sagittal trajectory for all thoracic levels during freehand pedicle screw placement and determine the accuracy of this technique.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed postoperative CT scans of 33 consecutive patients who underwent open, freehand thoracic pedicle-screw fixation using a uniform entry point and sagittal trajectory for all levels. The same entry point for each level was defined as a point 3 mm caudal to the junction of the transverse process and the lateral margin of the superior articulating process, and the sagittal trajectory was always orthogonal to the dorsal curvature of the spine at that level. The medial angulation (axial trajectory) was approximately 30° at T-1 and T-2, and 20° from T-3 to T-12. Breach was defined as greater than 25% of the screw diameter residing outside of the pedicle or vertebral body.

Results

A total of 219 thoracic pedicle screws were placed with a 96% accuracy rate. There were no medial breaches and 9 minor lateral breaches (4.1%). None of the screws had to be repositioned postoperatively, and there were no neurovascular complications associated with the breaches.

Conclusions

It is feasible to place freehand thoracic pedicle screws using a uniform entry point and sagittal trajectory for all levels. The entry point does not have to be adjusted for each level as reported in existing studies, although this technique was not tested in severe scoliotic spines. While other techniques are effective and widely used, this particular method provides more specific parameters and may be easier to learn, teach, and adopt.

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Mauricio J. Avila, Jesse Skoch, Vernard S. Fennell, Sheri K. Palejwala, Christina M. Walter, Samuel Kim, and Ali A. Baaj

Primary bone tumors of the spine are rare entities with a poor prognosis if left untreated. En bloc excision is the preferred surgical approach to minimize the rate of recurrence. Paraspinal primary bone tumors are even less common. In this technical note the authors present an approach to the en bloc resection of primary bone tumors of the paraspinal thoracic region with posterior vertebral body hemiosteotomies and lateral thoracotomy. They also describe 2 illustrative cases.

Restricted access

Sara M. Hartnett, Hansel M. Greiner, Ravindra Arya, Jeffrey R. Tenney, Gewalin Aungaroon, Katherine Holland, James L. Leach, Ellen L. Air, Jesse Skoch, and Francesco T. Mangano

OBJECTIVE

Pediatric epilepsy is characterized as drug resistant in 20%–30% of patients and defined as persistent seizures despite adequate treatment with two first-line antiepileptic medications. The American Academy of Neurology advocates surgical options earlier in the treatment of epilepsy to provide long-term seizure reduction. The new development of minimally invasive approaches has recently allowed for surgical options to patients not previously deemed surgical candidates. These may include patients with bilateral, deep, eloquent, or poorly localizing epileptogenic foci. To this end, responsive neurostimulation (RNS) is an FDA-approved closed-loop neuromodulation device for adjuvant treatment of adults with medically intractable epilepsy arising from one or multiple foci.

METHODS

In this study, the authors describe their initial institutional experience with the use of RNS in pediatric patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. An IRB-approved retrospective review was conducted of 8 pediatric patients who underwent RNS implantation at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center between 2019 and 2021.

RESULTS

Eight patients met the inclusion criteria for the study. The average age at the time of surgery was 14.7 years (range 8–18 years) with a mean follow-up of 16.5 months. All patients underwent invasive monitoring with stereo-EEG, subdural grid placement, or a combination of both. All patients had either bilateral or eloquent cortex targets. Trajectories were based on noninvasive (phase 1) and invasive (phase 2) seizure onset zone localization data. Four (50%) of the 8 patients underwent surgical intervention for epilepsy prior to RNS placement. RNS electrodes were placed with robot-assisted guidance in a hybrid operating room with intraoperative CT and electrocorticography. The authors demonstrated individualized RNS electrode trajectory and placement with targets in the amygdala/hippocampus, bilateral insula, bilateral parietal and occipital targets, and frontoparietal regions for a total of 14 implanted electrodes. One adverse event occurred, a wound infection requiring return to the operating room for removal of the RNS implant. All patients demonstrated a reduction in seizure frequency. All patients achieved > 50% reduction in seizure frequency at last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

RNS implantation in carefully selected pediatric patients appears safe and efficacious in reducing seizure burden with a low rate of operative complications.

Free access

Thomas Larrew, Jesse Skoch, S. Katie Z. Ihnen, Ravindra Arya, Katherine D. Holland, Jeffrey R. Tenney, Paul S. Horn, James L. Leach, Darcy A. Krueger, Hansel M. Greiner, and Francesco T. Mangano

OBJECTIVE

Patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) epilepsy present with unique clinical challenges such as early seizure onset and high rates of intractability and multifocality. Although there are numerous studies about the safety and efficacy of stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG), this topic has not been studied in TSC patients who have distinct epilepsy profiles. The authors investigated subdural grid (SDG) and SEEG monitoring to determine whether these procedures lead to similar seizure and safety outcomes and to identify features unique to this pediatric population.

METHODS

TSC patients who underwent SDG or SEEG placement and a second epilepsy surgery during the period from 2007 to 2021 were included in this single-center retrospective cohort analysis. Various patient, hospitalization, and epilepsy characteristics were collected.

RESULTS

A total of 50 TSC patients were included in this study: 30 were included in the SDG cohort and 20 in the SEEG cohort. Baseline weekly seizure count did not significantly differ between the 2 groups (p = 0.412). The SEEG group had a greater mean baseline number of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) (3.0 vs 2.0, p = 0.003), higher rate of previous surgical interventions (25% vs 0%, p = 0.007), and larger proportion of patients who underwent bilateral monitoring (50% vs 13.3%, p = 0.005). Despite this, there was no significant difference in seizure freedom between the SDG and SEEG cohorts. The mean reduction in seizure count was 84.9% and 47.8% of patients were seizure free at last follow-up (mean 79.4 months). SEEG trended toward being a safer procedure than SDG monitoring, with a shorter mean ICU stay (0.7 days vs 3.9 days, p < 0.001), lower blood transfusion rate (0% vs 13.3%, p = 0.140), and lower surgical complication rate (0% vs 10%, p = 0.265).

CONCLUSIONS

In the comparison of the SDG and SEEG cohorts, the SEEG group included patients who appeared to receive more aggressive management and have a higher rate of multifocality, more prior surgical interventions, more AEDs at baseline, and a higher rate of bilateral invasive monitoring. Despite this, the SEEG cohort had similar seizure outcomes and a trend toward increased safety. Based on these findings, SEEG appears to allow for monitoring of a wider breadth of TSC patients given its minimally invasive nature and its relative simplicity for monitoring numerous regions of the brain.

Restricted access

Jonathan Roth, Yurii Perekopaiko, Danil A. Kozyrev, Shlomi Constantini, and

OBJECTIVE

Colloid cysts (CCs) are rare at all ages, and particularly among children. The current literature on pediatric CC is limited, and often included in mixed adult/pediatric series. The goal of this multinational, multicenter study was to combine forces among centers and investigate the clinical course of pediatric CCs.

METHODS

A multinational, multicenter retrospective study was performed to attain a large sample size, focusing on CC diagnosis in patients younger than 18 years of age. Collected data included clinical presentation, radiological characteristics, treatment, and outcome.

RESULTS

One hundred thirty-four children with CCs were included. Patient age at diagnosis ranged from 2.4 to 18 years (mean 12.8 ± 3.4 years, median 13.2 years, interquartile range 10.3–15.4 years; 22% were < 10 years of age). Twenty-two cases (16%) were diagnosed incidentally, including 48% of those younger than 10 years of age. Most of the other patients had symptoms related to increased intracranial pressure and hydrocephalus. The average follow-up duration for the entire group was 49.5 ± 45.8 months. Fifty-nine patients were initially followed, of whom 28 were eventually operated on at a mean of 19 ± 32 months later due to cyst growth, increasing hydrocephalus, and/or new symptoms. There was a clear correlation between larger cysts and symptomatology, acuteness of symptoms, hydrocephalus, and need for surgery. Older age was also associated with the need for surgery. One hundred three children (77%) underwent cyst resection, 60% using a purely endoscopic approach. There was 1 death related to acute hydrocephalus at presentation. Ten percent of operated patients had some form of complication, and 7.7% of operated cases required a shunt at some point during follow-up. Functional outcome was good; however, the need for immediate surgery was associated with educational limitations. Twenty operated cases (20%) experienced a recurrence of their CC at a mean of 38 ± 46 months after the primary surgery. The CC recurrence rate was 24% following endoscopic resection and 15% following open resections (p = 0.28).

CONCLUSIONS

CCs may present in all pediatric age groups, although most that are symptomatic present after the age of 10 years. Incidentally discovered cysts should be closely followed, as many may grow, leading to hydrocephalus and other new symptoms. Presentation of CC may be acute and may cause life-threatening conditions related to hydrocephalus, necessitating urgent treatment. The outcome of treated children with CCs is favorable.