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John P. Sheehy and H. Alan Crockard

✓ Ten cases of multiple meningiomas seen over a 34-year period have been reviewed. The total case load from which these cases were selected was 566. The incidence of multiple meningiomas found prior to the introduction of computerized tomography (CT) in this series was 1.1%. The incidence since the introduction of CT was 8%. In eight cases all the tumors were found at the initial presentation and surgery; in the other two cases new tumors were discovered 1 and 4 years later. In only one case was von Recklinghausen's disease known to be present, and this patient developed new tumors. Six cases have been followed for 5 or more years, two for 16 years. Tumor recurrence has not been seen. All the patients were females. There was a higher proportion than usual of the whorling psammomatous type of tumor; papillary, angioblastic or malignant forms were not noted. The possibility of multiple meningiomas being a forme fruste of von Recklinghausen's disease is considered.

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Seungwon Yoon, Michael A. Mooney, Michael A. Bohl, John P. Sheehy, Peter Nakaji, Andrew S. Little and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

With drastic changes to the health insurance market, patient cost sharing has significantly increased in recent years. However, the patient financial burden, or out-of-pocket (OOP) costs, for surgical procedures is poorly understood. The goal of this study was to analyze patient OOP spending in cranial neurosurgery and identify drivers of OOP spending growth.

METHODS

For 6569 consecutive patients who underwent cranial neurosurgery from 2013 to 2016 at the authors’ institution, the authors created univariate and multivariate mixed-effects models to investigate the effect of patient demographic and clinical factors on patient OOP spending. The authors examined OOP payments stratified into 10 subsets of case categories and created a generalized linear model to study the growth of OOP spending over time.

RESULTS

In the multivariate model, case categories (craniotomy for pain, tumor, and vascular lesions), commercial insurance, and out-of-network plans were significant predictors of higher OOP payments for patients (all p < 0.05). Patient spending varied substantially across procedure types, with patients undergoing craniotomy for pain ($1151 ± $209) having the highest mean OOP payments. On average, commercially insured patients spent nearly twice as much in OOP payments as the overall population. From 2013 to 2016, the mean patient OOP spending increased 17%, from $598 to $698 per patient encounter. Commercially insured patients experienced more significant growth in OOP spending, with a cumulative rate of growth of 42% ($991 in 2013 to $1403 in 2016).

CONCLUSIONS

Even after controlling for inflation, case-mix differences, and partial fiscal periods, OOP spending for cranial neurosurgery patients significantly increased from 2013 to 2016. The mean OOP spending for commercially insured neurosurgical patients exceeded $1400 in 2016, with an average annual growth rate of 13%. As patient cost sharing in health insurance plans becomes more prevalent, patients and providers must consider the potential financial burden for patients receiving specialized neurosurgical care.

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Michael A. Mooney, Scott Brigeman, Michael A. Bohl, Elias D. Simon, John P. Sheehy, Steve W. Chang and Robert F. Spetzler

OBJECTIVE

Overlapping surgery is a controversial subject in medicine today; however, few studies have examined the outcomes of this practice. The authors analyzed outcomes of patients with acutely ruptured saccular aneurysms who were treated with microsurgical clipping in a prospectively collected database from the Barrow Ruptured Aneurysm Trial. Acute and long-term outcomes for overlapping versus nonoverlapping cases were compared.

METHODS

During the study period, 241 patients with ruptured saccular aneurysms underwent microsurgical clipping. Patients were separated into overlapping (n = 123) and nonoverlapping (n = 118) groups based on surgical start/stop times. Outcomes at discharge and at 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, and 6 years after surgery were analyzed.

RESULTS

Patient variables (e.g., age, smoking status, cardiovascular history, Hunt and Hess grade, Fisher grade, and aneurysm size) were similar between the 2 groups. Aneurysm locations were similar, with the exception of the overlapping group having more posterior circulation aneurysms (18/123 [15%]) than the nonoverlapping group (8/118 [7%]) (p = 0.0495). Confirmed aneurysm obliteration at discharge was significantly higher for the overlapping group (109/119 [91.6%]) than for the nonoverlapping group (95/116 [81.9%]) (p = 0.03). Hospital length of stay, discharge location, and proportions of patients with a modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score > 2 at discharge and up to 6 years postoperatively were similar. The mean and median mRS, Glasgow Outcome Scale, Mini–Mental State Examination, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, and Barthel Index scores at all time points were not statistically different between the groups.

CONCLUSIONS

Compared with nonoverlapping surgery, overlapping surgery was not associated with worse outcomes for any variable at any time point, despite the complexity of the surgical management in this patient population. These findings should be considered during the discussion of future guidelines on the practice of overlapping surgery.

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Michael A. Mooney, Douglas A. Hardesty, John P. Sheehy, Robert Bird, Kristina Chapple, William L. White and Andrew S. Little

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to determine the interrater and intrarater reliability of the Knosp grading scale for predicting pituitary adenoma cavernous sinus (CS) involvement.

METHODS

Six independent raters (3 neurosurgery residents, 2 pituitary surgeons, and 1 neuroradiologist) participated in the study. Each rater scored 50 unique pituitary MRI scans (with contrast) of biopsy-proven pituitary adenoma. Reliabilities for the full scale were determined 3 ways: 1) using all 50 scans, 2) using scans with midrange scores versus end scores, and 3) using a dichotomized scale that reflects common clinical practice. The performance of resident raters was compared with that of faculty raters to assess the influence of training level on reliability.

RESULTS

Overall, the interrater reliability of the Knosp scale was “strong” (0.73, 95% CI 0.56–0.84). However, the percent agreement for all 6 reviewers was only 10% (26% for faculty members, 30% for residents). The reliability of the middle scores (i.e., average rated Knosp Grades 1 and 2) was “very weak” (0.18, 95% CI −0.27 to 0.56) and the percent agreement for all reviewers was only 5%. When the scale was dichotomized into tumors unlikely to have intraoperative CS involvement (Grades 0, 1, and 2) and those likely to have CS involvement (Grades 3 and 4), the reliability was “strong” (0.60, 95% CI 0.39–0.75) and the percent agreement for all raters improved to 60%. There was no significant difference in reliability between residents and faculty (residents 0.72, 95% CI 0.55–0.83 vs faculty 0.73, 95% CI 0.56–0.84). Intrarater reliability was moderate to strong and increased with the level of experience.

CONCLUSIONS

Although these findings suggest that the Knosp grading scale has acceptable interrater reliability overall, it raises important questions about the “very weak” reliability of the scale's middle grades. By dichotomizing the scale into clinically useful groups, the authors were able to address the poor reliability and percent agreement of the intermediate grades and to isolate the most important grades for use in surgical decision making (Grades 3 and 4). Authors of future pituitary surgery studies should consider reporting Knosp grades as dichotomized results rather than as the full scale to optimize the reliability of the scale.

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Robert A. McGovern, John P. Sheehy, Brad E. Zacharia, Andrew K. Chan, Blair Ford and Guy M. McKhann II

Object

Early work on deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery, when procedures were mostly carried out in a small number of high-volume centers, demonstrated a relationship between surgical volume and procedural safety. However, over the past decade, DBS has become more widely available in the community rather than solely at academic medical centers. The authors examined the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) to study the safety of DBS surgery for Parkinson disease (PD) in association with this change in practice patterns.

Methods

The NIS is a stratified sample of 20% of all patient discharges from nonfederal hospitals in the United States. The authors identified patients with a primary diagnosis of PD (332.0) and a primary procedure code for implantation/replacement of intracranial neurostimulator leads (02.93) who underwent surgery between 2002 and 2009. They analyzed outcomes using univariate and hierarchical, logistic regression analyses.

Results

The total number of DBS cases remained stable from 2002 through 2009. Despite older and sicker patients undergoing DBS, procedural safety (rates of non-home discharges, complications) remained stable. Patients at low-volume hospitals were virtually indistinguishable from those at high-volume hospitals, except that patients at low-volume hospitals had slightly higher comorbidity scores (0.90 vs 0.75, p < 0.01). Complications, non-home discharges, length of hospital stay, and mortality rates did not significantly differ between low- and high-volume hospitals when accounting for hospital-related variables (caseload, teaching status, location).

Conclusions

Prior investigations have demonstrated a robust volume-outcome relationship for a variety of surgical procedures. However, the present study supports safety of DBS at smaller-volume centers. Prospective studies are required to determine whether low-volume centers and higher-volume centers have similar DBS efficacy, a critical factor in determining whether DBS is comparable between centers.