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Robbin de Goederen, Iris E. Cuperus, Robert C. Tasker, Bianca K. den Ottelander, Marjolein H. G. Dremmen, Marie-Lise C. van Veelen, Jochem K. H. Spoor, Koen F. M. Joosten and Irene M. J. Mathijssen

OBJECTIVE

Intracranial hypertension is a major concern in children with syndromic craniosynostosis (sCS). Cerebral venous hypertension caused by cerebral venous outflow obstruction is believed to contribute to intracranial hypertension. The authors therefore hypothesized that cerebral venous volume would be increased in those children with sCS and intracranial hypertension.

METHODS

In a case series of 105 children with sCS, of whom 32 had intracranial hypertension, cerebral MRI techniques were used to quantify the volume of the superior sagittal sinus, straight sinus (StrS), and both transverse sinuses.

RESULTS

Linear regression showed that total cerebral venous volume increased by 580.8 mm3 per cm increase in occipitofrontal head circumference (p < 0.001). No significant difference was found between the intracranial hypertension group and the nonintracranial hypertension group (p = 0.470). Multivariate ANOVA showed increased StrS volume (as a proportion of total volume) in the intracranial hypertension group (8.5% vs 5.1% in the nonintracranial hypertension group, p < 0.001). Multivariate logistic regression showed that a 100-mm3 increase in StrS volume is associated with increased odds of having intracranial hypertension by 60% (OR 1.60, 95% CI 1.24–2.08).

CONCLUSIONS

Although intracranial hypertension was not associated with total cerebral venous volume increase, it was associated with an isolated increase in StrS volume. Hence, it is unlikely that general cerebral venous outflow obstruction is the mechanism of intracranial hypertension in sCS. Rather, these findings indicate either a central cerebral vulnerability to intracranial hypertension or a mechanism involving venous blood redistribution.

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Jochem K. H. Spoor, Pravesh S. Gadjradj, Alex J. Eggink, Philip L. J. DeKoninck, Bart Lutters, Jeroen R. Scheepe, Jetty van Meeteren, Peter C. J. de Laat, Marie Lise van Veelen and Tjeerd H. R. de Jong

OBJECTIVE

Myelomeningocele (MMC) is the most common form of spina bifida, with a lifelong impact on the quality of life for infants born with this condition. In recent decades, fetal surgery has evolved from an experimental therapy to standard of care for many centers in the world. In this study, the authors aimed to provide an overview of the current management and outcomes for infants with MMC managed at their institution. This then provides a center-specific historical cohort for comparison with future antenatal-treated MMC cases.

METHODS

This is a retrospective, single-institution cohort study including all consecutive MMC cases between January 1, 2000, and June 1, 2018, at Erasmus MC. Outcome data included closure of the defect (location, timing, and surgical parameters), hydrocephalus management, Chiari malformation type II (CMTII) management, incidence of spinal cord tethering and outcome, motor outcomes, and continence.

RESULTS

A total of 93 patients were included with predominantly lumbosacral lesions. Two patients died during follow-up. Hydrocephalus was present in 84%, with a 71% ventriculoperitoneal shunt reoperation rate. Surgery was performed in 12% for a tethered spinal cord at a mean age of 8 years. Decompression surgery was performed in 3 patients for CMTII. Special education in 63% was significantly associated with hydrocephalus (p < 0.015). Nineteen percent of patients were able to walk independently, and 47% were nonambulators. Social continence for urine was obtained in 75% of patients, 4% had fecal incontinence.

CONCLUSIONS

This study provides an overview of current MMC outcomes at the authors’ center and will serve as a historical cohort for comparison with future fetal surgery cases operated on at the center in the coming years. Apart from a relatively low surgical untethering rate, the authors’ outcome data are comparable to those in the literature. Hydrocephalus is highly prevalent in postnatally treated MMC patients; in this study as in much of the literature, hydrocephalus is correlated with a low cognitive function. Fetal surgery for MMC halves the need for shunt treatment in a select group of MMC pregnancies, constituting a major indication for us to undergo the transition to a fetal surgery center. The fetal benefits of open antenatal surgery for MMC are well established, yet long-term data on especially tethered spinal cord are eagerly awaited.

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Jochem K. H. Spoor, Alof H. G. Dallenga, Pravesh S. Gadjradj, Luuk de Klerk, Frans C. van Biezen, Henk W. C. Bijvoet and Biswadjiet S. Harhangi

OBJECTIVE

The health care costs for instrumented spine surgery have increased dramatically in the last few decades. The authors present a novel noninstrumented surgical approach for patients with isthmic spondylolisthesis, with clinical and radiographic results.

METHODS

Charts of patients who underwent this technique were reviewed. The procedure consisted of nerve root decompression by reconstruction of the intervertebral foramen. This was achieved by removal of the pedicle followed by noninstrumented posterolateral fusion in which autologous bone graft from the right iliac crest was used. Outcomes regarding radicular complaints, bony fusion, progression of the slip, and complications were evaluated using patient history and radiographs obtained at follow-up intervals of 3–18 months after surgery.

RESULTS

A total of 58 patients with a mean age of 47 years were treated with this method. Partial removal of the pedicle was performed in 93.1% of the cases, whereas in 6.9% of the cases the entire pedicle was removed. The mean duration of surgery was 216.5 ± 54.5 minutes (range 91–340 minutes). The mean (± SD) duration of hospitalization was 10.1 ± 2.9 days (range 5–18 days).

After 3 months of follow-up, 86% of the patients reported no leg pain, and this dropped to 81% at last follow-up. Radiographic follow-up showed bony fusion in 87.7% of the patients. At 1 year, 5 patients showed progression of the slip, which in 1 patient prompted a second operation within 1 year. No major complications occurred.

CONCLUSIONS

Treatment of isthmic spondylolisthesis by reconstruction of the intervertebral neuroforamen and posterolateral fusion in situ is a safe procedure and has comparable results with the existing techniques. Cost-effectiveness research comparing this technique to conventional instrumented fusion techniques is necessary to evaluate the merits for both patients and society.

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Pravesh S. Gadjradj, Jochem K. H. Spoor, Alex J. Eggink, René Wijnen, Jena L. Miller, Mara Rosner, Mari L. Groves, Philip L. J. DeKoninck, Biswadjiet S. Harhangi, Ahmet Baschat, Marie-Lise van Veelen and Tjeerd H. R. de Jong

OBJECTIVE

Improvements in imaging and surgical technological innovations have led to the increasing implementation of fetal surgical techniques. Open fetal surgery has demonstrated more favorable clinical outcomes in children born with open myelomeningocele (MMC) than those following postnatal repair. However, primarily because of maternal risks but also because of fetal risks, fetal surgery for MMC remains controversial. Here, the authors evaluated the contemporary management of MMC in the hope of identifying barriers and facilitators for neurosurgeons in providing fetal surgery for MMC.

METHODS

An online survey was emailed to members of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) and the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery (ISPN) in March 2019. The survey focused on 1) characteristics of the respondents, 2) the practice of counseling on and managing prenatally diagnosed MMC, and 3) barriers, facilitators, and expectations of fetal surgery for MMC. Reminders were sent to improve the response rate.

RESULTS

A total of 446 respondents filled out the survey, most (59.2%) of whom specialized in pediatric neurosurgery. The respondents repaired an average of 9.6 MMC defects per year, regardless of technique. Regardless of the departments in which respondents were employed, 91.0% provided postnatal repair of MMC, 13.0% open fetal repair, and 4.9% fetoscopic repair. According to the surgeons, the most important objections to performing open fetal surgery were a lack of cases available to become proficient in the technique (33.8%), the risk of maternal complications (23.6%), and concern for fetal complications (15.2%). The most important facilitators according to advocates of prenatal closure are a decreased rate of shunt dependency (37.8%), a decreased rate of hindbrain herniation (27.0%), and an improved rate of motor function (18.9%). Of the respondents, only 16.9% agreed that open fetal surgery should be the standard of care.

CONCLUSIONS

The survey results showed diversity in the management of patients with MMC. In addition, significant diversity remains regarding fetal surgery for MMC closure. Despite the apparent benefits of open fetal surgery in selected pregnancies, only a minority of centers and providers offer this technique. As a more technically demanding technique that requires multidisciplinary effort with less well-established long-term outcomes, fetoscopic surgery may face similar limited implementation, although the surgery may pose fewer maternal risks than open fetal surgery. Centralization of prenatal treatment to tertiary care referral centers, as well as the use of sophisticated training models, may help to augment the most commonly cited objection to the implementation of prenatal closure, which is the overall limited caseload.