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Julia Velz, Flavio Vasella, Kevin Akeret, Sandra F. Dias, Elisabeth Jehli, Oliver Bozinov, Luca Regli, Menno R. Germans, and Martin N. Stienen

OBJECTIVE

Skin depressions may appear as undesired effects after burr-hole trepanation for the evacuation of chronic subdural hematomas (cSDH). Placement of burr-hole covers to reconstruct skull defects can prevent skin depressions, with the potential to improve the aesthetic result and patient satisfaction. The perception of the relevance of this practice, however, appears to vary substantially among neurosurgeons. The authors aimed to identify current practice variations with regard to the application of burr-hole covers after trepanation for cSDH.

METHODS

An electronic survey containing 12 questions was sent to resident and faculty neurosurgeons practicing in different parts of the world, as identified by an Internet search. All responses completed between September 2018 and December 2018 were considered. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression were used to analyze the data.

RESULTS

A total of 604 responses were obtained, of which 576 (95.4%) provided complete data. The respondents’ mean age was 42.4 years (SD 10.5), and 86.5% were male. The sample consisted of residents, fellows, junior/senior consultants, and department chairs from 79 countries (77.4% Europe, 11.8% Asia, 5.4% America, 3.5% Africa, and 1.9% Australasia). Skin depressions were considered a relevant issue by 31.6%, and 76.0% indicated that patients complain about skin depressions more or less frequently. Burr-hole covers are placed by 28.1% in the context of cSDH evacuation more or less frequently. The most frequent reasons for not placing a burr-hole cover were the lack of proven benefit (34.8%), followed by additional costs (21.9%), technical difficulty (19.9%), and fear of increased complications (4.9%). Most respondents (77.5%) stated that they would consider placing burr-hole covers in the future if there was evidence for superiority of the practice. The use of burr-hole covers varied substantially across countries, but a country’s gross domestic product per capita was not associated with their placement.

CONCLUSIONS

Only a minority of neurosurgeons place burr-hole covers after trepanation for cSDH on a regular basis, even though the majority of participants reported complaints from patients regarding postoperative skin depressions. There are significant differences in the patterns of care among countries. Class I evidence with regard to patient satisfaction and safety of burr-hole cover placement is likely to have an impact on future cSDH management.

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Julia Velz, Sena Özkaratufan, Niklaus Krayenbühl, Kevin Beccaria, Kevin Akeret, Christian Attieh, Boulos Ghannam, Lelio Guida, Sandro Benichi, Oliver Bozinov, Stephanie Puget, Thomas Blauwblomme, and Luca Regli

OBJECTIVE

Brainstem cavernous malformations (BSCMs) are relatively uncommon, low-flow vascular lesions in children. Given the paucity of data, guidelines regarding the clinical management of BSCMs in children are lacking and the surgical indication is most commonly based on an individual surgeon’s judgment and experience. The goal in this study was to evaluate the clinical behavior of BSCMs in childhood and the long-term outcome in children managed conservatively and surgically.

METHODS

This was an observational, retrospective study including all children with BSCMs who were followed at 2 institutions between 2008 and 2020.

RESULTS

The study population consisted of 40 children (27 boys, 67.5%) with a mean age of 11.4 years. Twenty-three children (57.5%) were managed conservatively, whereas 17 children (42.5%) underwent resection of BSCMs. An aggressive clinical course was observed in 13 children (32.5%), who experienced multiple hemorrhages with a progressive pattern of neurological decline. Multiple BSCMs were observed in 8 patients, of whom 3 patients presented with a complex of multiple tightly attached BSCMs and posed a significant therapeutic challenge. The overall long-term outcome was favorable (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] scores 0–2) in 36 patients (90%), whereas an unfavorable outcome (mRS scores 3 and 4) was seen in 4 children (10%). An mRS score of 5 or 6 was not observed. The mean (± SD) follow-up was 88.0 (± 92.6) months.

CONCLUSIONS

The clinical course of BSCMs in children is highly variable, with benign lesions on the one hand and highly aggressive lesions with repetitive hemorrhages on the other. Given the greater life expectancy and the known higher functional recovery in children, surgical treatment should be considered early in young patients presenting with surgically accessible lesions and an aggressive clinical course, and it should be performed in a high-volume center.

Free access

Victor E. Staartjes, Morgan Broggi, Costanza Maria Zattra, Flavio Vasella, Julia Velz, Silvia Schiavolin, Carlo Serra, Jiri Bartek Jr., Alexander Fletcher-Sandersjöö, Petter Förander, Darius Kalasauskas, Mirjam Renovanz, Florian Ringel, Konstantin R. Brawanski, Johannes Kerschbaumer, Christian F. Freyschlag, Asgeir S. Jakola, Kristin Sjåvik, Ole Solheim, Bawarjan Schatlo, Alexandra Sachkova, Hans Christoph Bock, Abdelhalim Hussein, Veit Rohde, Marike L. D. Broekman, Claudine O. Nogarede, Cynthia M. C. Lemmens, Julius M. Kernbach, Georg Neuloh, Oliver Bozinov, Niklaus Krayenbühl, Johannes Sarnthein, Paolo Ferroli, Luca Regli, Martin N. Stienen, and FEBNS

OBJECTIVE

Decision-making for intracranial tumor surgery requires balancing the oncological benefit against the risk for resection-related impairment. Risk estimates are commonly based on subjective experience and generalized numbers from the literature, but even experienced surgeons overestimate functional outcome after surgery. Today, there is no reliable and objective way to preoperatively predict an individual patient’s risk of experiencing any functional impairment.

METHODS

The authors developed a prediction model for functional impairment at 3 to 6 months after microsurgical resection, defined as a decrease in Karnofsky Performance Status of ≥ 10 points. Two prospective registries in Switzerland and Italy were used for development. External validation was performed in 7 cohorts from Sweden, Norway, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands. Age, sex, prior surgery, tumor histology and maximum diameter, expected major brain vessel or cranial nerve manipulation, resection in eloquent areas and the posterior fossa, and surgical approach were recorded. Discrimination and calibration metrics were evaluated.

RESULTS

In the development (2437 patients, 48.2% male; mean age ± SD: 55 ± 15 years) and external validation (2427 patients, 42.4% male; mean age ± SD: 58 ± 13 years) cohorts, functional impairment rates were 21.5% and 28.5%, respectively. In the development cohort, area under the curve (AUC) values of 0.72 (95% CI 0.69–0.74) were observed. In the pooled external validation cohort, the AUC was 0.72 (95% CI 0.69–0.74), confirming generalizability. Calibration plots indicated fair calibration in both cohorts. The tool has been incorporated into a web-based application available at https://neurosurgery.shinyapps.io/impairment/.

CONCLUSIONS

Functional impairment after intracranial tumor surgery remains extraordinarily difficult to predict, although machine learning can help quantify risk. This externally validated prediction tool can serve as the basis for case-by-case discussions and risk-to-benefit estimation of surgical treatment in the individual patient.

Restricted access

Martin N. Stienen, Menno R. Germans, Olivia Zindel-Geisseler, Noemi Dannecker, Yannick Rothacher, Ladina Schlosser, Julia Velz, Martina Sebök, Noemi Eggenberger, Adrien May, Julien Haemmerli, Philippe Bijlenga, Karl Schaller, Ursula Guerra-Lopez, Rodolfo Maduri, Valérie Beaud, Khalid Al-Taha, Roy Thomas Daniel, Alessio Chiappini, Stefania Rossi, Thomas Robert, Sara Bonasia, Johannes Goldberg, Christian Fung, David Bervini, Marie Elise Maradan-Gachet, Klemens Gutbrod, Nicolai Maldaner, Marian C. Neidert, Severin Früh, Marc Schwind, Oliver Bozinov, Peter Brugger, Emanuela Keller, Angelina Marr, Sébastien Roux, Luca Regli, and

OBJECTIVE

While prior retrospective studies have suggested that delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) is a predictor of neuropsychological deficits after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH), all studies to date have shown a high risk of bias. This study was designed to determine the impact of DCI on the longitudinal neuropsychological outcome after aSAH, and importantly, it includes a baseline examination after aSAH but before DCI onset to reduce the risk of bias.

METHODS

In a prospective, multicenter study (8 Swiss centers), 112 consecutive alert patients underwent serial neuropsychological assessments (Montreal Cognitive Assessment [MoCA]) before and after the DCI period (first assessment, < 72 hours after aSAH; second, 14 days after aSAH; third, 3 months after aSAH). The authors compared standardized MoCA scores and determined the likelihood for a clinically meaningful decline of ≥ 2 points from baseline in patients with DCI versus those without.

RESULTS

The authors screened 519 patients, enrolled 128, and obtained complete data in 112 (87.5%; mean [± SD] age 53.9 ± 13.9 years; 66.1% female; 73% World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies [WFNS] grade I, 17% WFNS grade II, 10% WFNS grades III–V), of whom 30 (26.8%) developed DCI. MoCA z-scores were worse in the DCI group at baseline (−2.6 vs −1.4, p = 0.013) and 14 days (−3.4 vs −0.9, p < 0.001), and 3 months (−0.8 vs 0.0, p = 0.037) after aSAH. Patients with DCI were more likely to experience a decline of ≥ 2 points in MoCA score at 14 days after aSAH (adjusted OR [aOR] 3.02, 95% CI 1.07–8.54; p = 0.037), but the likelihood was similar to that in patients without DCI at 3 months after aSAH (aOR 1.58, 95% CI 0.28–8.89; p = 0.606).

CONCLUSIONS

Aneurysmal SAH patients experiencing DCI have worse neuropsychological function before and until 3 months after the DCI period. DCI itself is responsible for a temporary and clinically meaningful decline in neuropsychological function, but its effect on the MoCA score could not be measured at the time of the 3-month follow-up in patients with low-grade aSAH with little or no impairment of consciousness. Whether these findings can be extrapolated to patients with high-grade aSAH remains unclear.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT03032471 (ClinicalTrials.gov)