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Neurosurgical treatment for nonmalignant pain

Roberto C. Heros

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Destructive procedures for the treatment of nonmalignant pain: a structured literature review

Justin S. Cetas, Targol Saedi, and Kim J. Burchiel

Object

Nonmalignant pain has been treated in the past century with ablative, or more appropriately, destructive procedures. Although individual outcomes for these procedures have previously been described in the literature, to the authors' knowledge this is the first comprehensive and systematic review on this topic.

Methods

A US National Library of Medicine PubMed search was conducted for the following ablative procedures: cingulotomy, cordotomy, DREZ (also input as dorsal root entry zone), ganglionectomy, mesencephalotomy, myelotomy, neurotomy, rhizotomy, sympathectomy, thalamotomy, and tractotomy. Articles related to pain resulting from malignancy and those not in peer-reviewed journals were excluded. In reviewing pertinent articles, focus was placed on patient number, outcome, and follow-up.

Results

A total of 146 articles was included in the review. The large majority of studies (131) constituted Class III evidence. Eleven Class I and 4 Class II studies were found, of which nearly all (13 of 15) evaluated radiofrequency rhizotomies for different pain origins, including lumbar facet syndrome, cervical facet pain, and Type I or typical trigeminal neuralgia. Overall, support for ablative procedures for nonmalignant pain is derived almost entirely from Class III evidence; despite a long history of use in neurosurgery, the evidence supporting destructive procedures for benign pain conditions remains limited.

Conclusions

Newly designed prospective standardized studies are required to define surgical indications and outcomes for these procedures, to provide more systematic review, and to advance the field.

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Editorial: Vestibular schwannoma and the facial nerve

Roberto C. Heros and Rita Bhatia

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Preoperative identification of the facial nerve in patients with large cerebellopontine angle tumors using high-density diffusion tensor imaging

Clinical article

Neil Roundy, Johnny B. Delashaw, and Justin S. Cetas

Object

Facial nerve paresis can be a devastating complication following resection of large (> 2.5 cm) cerebellopontine angle (CPA) tumors. The authors have developed and used a new high-density diffusion tensor imaging (HD-DT imaging) method, aimed at preoperatively identifying the location and course of the facial nerve in relation to large CPA tumors. Their study objective was to preoperatively identify the facial nerve in patients with large CPA tumors and compare their HD-DT imaging method with a traditional standard DT imaging method and correlate with intraoperative findings.

Methods

The authors prospectively studied 5 patients with large (> 2.5 cm) CPA tumors. All patients underwent preoperative traditional standard- and HD-DT imaging. Imaging results were correlated with intraoperative findings.

Results

Utilizing their HD-DT imaging method, the authors positively identified the location and course of the facial nerve in all patients. In contrast, using a standard DT imaging method, the authors were unable to identify the facial nerve in 4 of the 5 patients.

Conclusions

The HD-DT imaging method that the authors describe and use has proven to be a powerful, accurate, and rapid method for preoperatively identifying the facial nerve in relation to large CPA tumors. Routine integration of HD-DT imaging in preoperative planning for CPA tumor resection could lead to improved facial nerve preservation.

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Destructive procedures for control of cancer pain: the case for cordotomy

A review

Ahmed M. Raslan, Justin S. Cetas, Shirley McCartney, and Kim J. Burchiel

Object

Historically, destructive procedures for cancer pain were the main line of treatment therapy. However, the use of high-dose opioids has essentially replaced such procedures. Recognition of the limits of medical therapy to treat cancer pain effectively is growing, while conversely, in regions with limited access to pain medications, the importance of destructive surgical techniques is increasing. A critical evaluation of the evidence for destructive techniques is warranted, and the authors review current evidence underlying these procedures.

Methods

A US National Library of Medicine PubMed search for “ablation,” “DREZ,” “dorsal root entry zone,” “cingulotomy,” “cordotomy,” “ganglionectomy,” “mesencephalotomy,” “myelotomy,” “neurotomy,” “neurectomy,” “rhizotomy,” “sympathectomy,” “thalamotomy,” “tractotomy,” and “pain” was undertaken. The search was then limited to human studies, English-language literature, cancer pain, and reports with more than 1 patient.

Results

One hundred twenty papers were identified and reviewed based on the selection criteria described. According to the Canadian and US task forces, classification of clinical research literature only “sympathectomy” was supported by Class I or II studies, with 2 Class I papers and 1 Class II paper identified for cancer pain. All other procedures were supported by Class III studies of variable quality. Cordotomy in particular was the most extensively studied and reviewed procedure. Given the large number of patients studied, consistent results, multiplicity of reports and, even though evidence quality for individual studies was relatively low, cumulative evidence suggests that cordotomy may play an important role in the treatment of cancer pain.

Conclusions

Destructive procedures for cancer pain may play more than a historic role in the management of cancer pain. Cumulative evidence from even the poorest quality studies suggests that some procedures, such as cordotomy, should be included in the armamentarium available to the neurosurgeon today. To renew appropriate interest in these procedures, evidence and studies that meets today's evidence-based research criteria are warranted.

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External retrospective validation of Brain Injury Guidelines criteria and modified guidelines for improved care value in the management of patients with low-risk neurotrauma

Miner Ross, Priscilla S. Pang, Ahmed M. Raslan, Nathan R. Selden, and Justin S. Cetas

OBJECTIVE

Conventional management of patients with neurotrauma frequently consists of routine, repeat head CT at preordained intervals with ICU-level monitoring, regardless of injury severity. The Brain Injury Guidelines (BIG) are a classification tool for stratifying patients into injury severity and risk-of-progression categories based on presenting clinical and radiographic findings. In the present study, the authors aimed to validate BIG criteria at a single level 1 trauma center.

METHODS

Patients were classified according to BIG criteria and evaluated for subsequent radiographic progression or development of neurological decline. A 2-year retrospective cohort review of consecutive patients with neurotrauma (n = 590) was undertaken. The authors then developed a modified BIG algorithm for use at their institution and followed its implementation prospectively over 555 consecutive patients.

RESULTS

In the retrospective analysis, no patient in the BIG 1 category (n = 88, 14.9%) demonstrated progression or neurological decline, and 7.5% of BIG 2 patients (n = 107, 18.1%) demonstrated mild radiographic progression without any decline or need for additional neurosurgical or medical intervention, whereas 15.4% of BIG 3 patients (n = 395, 66.9%) underwent additional neurosurgical procedures. In the prospective analysis, no BIG 1 (n = 105, 18.9%) or BIG 2 (n = 48, 8.6%) patients demonstrated a clinical decline or required any further neurosurgical intervention. By contrast, 12.9% of BIG 3 patients (n = 402, 72%) required immediate neurosurgical intervention, and a further 2.0% required delayed intervention based on clinical and/or radiographic evidence of injury progression.

CONCLUSIONS

Application of the BIG criteria in a single large level 1 trauma center reliably sorted patients into appropriate risk categories that accurately guided ongoing management.

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External retrospective validation of Brain Injury Guidelines criteria and modified guidelines for improved care value in the management of patients with low-risk neurotrauma

Miner Ross, Priscilla S. Pang, Ahmed M. Raslan, Nathan R. Selden, and Justin S. Cetas

OBJECTIVE

Conventional management of patients with neurotrauma frequently consists of routine, repeat head CT at preordained intervals with ICU-level monitoring, regardless of injury severity. The Brain Injury Guidelines (BIG) are a classification tool for stratifying patients into injury severity and risk-of-progression categories based on presenting clinical and radiographic findings. In the present study, the authors aimed to validate BIG criteria at a single level 1 trauma center.

METHODS

Patients were classified according to BIG criteria and evaluated for subsequent radiographic progression or development of neurological decline. A 2-year retrospective cohort review of consecutive patients with neurotrauma (n = 590) was undertaken. The authors then developed a modified BIG algorithm for use at their institution and followed its implementation prospectively over 555 consecutive patients.

RESULTS

In the retrospective analysis, no patient in the BIG 1 category (n = 88, 14.9%) demonstrated progression or neurological decline, and 7.5% of BIG 2 patients (n = 107, 18.1%) demonstrated mild radiographic progression without any decline or need for additional neurosurgical or medical intervention, whereas 15.4% of BIG 3 patients (n = 395, 66.9%) underwent additional neurosurgical procedures. In the prospective analysis, no BIG 1 (n = 105, 18.9%) or BIG 2 (n = 48, 8.6%) patients demonstrated a clinical decline or required any further neurosurgical intervention. By contrast, 12.9% of BIG 3 patients (n = 402, 72%) required immediate neurosurgical intervention, and a further 2.0% required delayed intervention based on clinical and/or radiographic evidence of injury progression.

CONCLUSIONS

Application of the BIG criteria in a single large level 1 trauma center reliably sorted patients into appropriate risk categories that accurately guided ongoing management.

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Delayed intracranial hypertension after cranial vault remodeling for nonsyndromic single-suture synostosis

Clinical article

Justin S. Cetas, Morad Nasseri, Targol Saedi, Anna A. Kuang, and Nathan R. Selden

Object

Delayed intracranial hypertension may occur after cranial vault remodeling for synostosis and may result in visual loss and developmental delay. Delayed intracranial hypertension is relatively common in children with syndromic, multisuture synostosis, but the incidence is poorly defined in children with single-suture nonsyndromic synostosis. This study evaluates the frequency of reoperation for delayed intracranial hypertension after single-suture synostosis repair.

Methods

Patients who had undergone cranial vault remodeling for nonsyndromic single-suture synostosis and were treated at a single tertiary pediatric hospital between July 2000 and December 2010 were analyzed for the occurrence of delayed intracranial hypertension and reoperation for cranial vault remodeling.

Results

Eighty-one patients with clinical follow-up of at least 3 years were analyzed from a total of 156 consecutive patients. The average patient age at the initial operation was 9.1 months. Five (6.2%) of 81 patients presented with delayed clinical and ophthalmological signs and symptoms of intracranial hypertension following initial cranial vault reconstruction, confirmed indirectly in each case by CT findings and directly by intracranial pressure monitoring. These 5 patients underwent repeat cranial vault reconstruction.

Conclusions

Calvarial growth restriction and intracranial hypertension occur sporadically following primary cranial vault reconstruction for single-suture nonsyndromic cranial synostosis. In this series, delayed intracranial hypertension occurred only in male patients who underwent primary repair of isolated sagittal synostoses at an age less than or equal to 5 months.

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The deleterious effects of methamphetamine use on initial presentation and clinical outcomes in aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage

Clinical article

Noah C. Beadell, Eric M. Thompson, Johnny B. Delashaw, and Justin S. Cetas

Object

The objective of this study was to retrospectively look at methamphetamine (MA) use in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) to determine if MA use affects clinical presentation and outcomes after aneurysmal SAH.

Methods

A retrospective review of patients admitted to the Oregon Health & Science University neurosurgical service with aneurysmal SAH during the past 6 years was undertaken. Variables analyzed included MA use, age, sex, cigarette use, Hunt and Hess grade, Fisher grade, admission blood pressure, aneurysm characteristics, occurrence of vasospasm, hospital length of stay (LOS), cerebral infarction, aneurysm treatment, and Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score. Data differences between MA users and nonusers were statistically analyzed using multivariate logistic regression analysis. A separate comparison with randomly selected age-matched nonuser controls was also performed.

Results

Twenty-eight (7%) of 374 patients with aneurysmal SAH were identified as MA users. Methamphetamine users were younger than nonusers (45.2 vs 55.9 years, respectively; p <0.001). Despite a younger age, MA users had significantly higher Hunt and Hess grades than nonusers (3.0 vs 2.5, respectively; p <0.020) and age-matched controls (3.0 vs 2.0, respectively; p <0.001). Earliest available mean arterial pressure was significantly higher in MA users (122.1 vs 109.7, respectively; p = 0.005) than all nonusers but not age-matched controls. Methamphetamine users had significantly higher vasospasm rates than nonusers (92.9% vs 71.1%, respectively; p = 0.008) but similar rates as age-matched controls (92.9% vs 89.3%, respectively; p = 0.500). Glasgow Outcome Scale score did not differ significantly between users and nonusers (3 vs 4, respectively; p = 0.170), but users had significantly lower GOS scores than age-matched controls (3 vs 5, respectively; p <0.001). There was no statistically significant difference in the LOS between users and nonusers (18 days vs 16 days, respectively; p = 0.431) or users and age-matched controls (18 days vs 14 days, respectively; p = 0.250). In the multivariate analysis, MA use (OR 3.777, p = 0.018), age (p <0.001), Fisher grade (p = 0.011), Hunt and Hess grade (p <0.001), and cerebral infarction (p <0.001) were predictors of poor GOS score. The only predictor of vasospasm was age (p <0.001), although a strong predictive trend in MA use (p = 0.149) was found. Predictors of a hospital LOS >15 days included age (p = 0.002), Fisher grade (p = 0.002), Hunt and Hess grade (p <0.001), and cerebral infarction (p <0.001). Predictors of cerebral infarction include male sex (p = 0.022) and Hunt and Hess grade (p = 0.006), with vasospasm demonstrating a strong trend (p = 0.056).

Conclusions

A history of MA use may predict poorer outcomes in patients who present with aneurysmal SAH. Methamphetamine users have significantly worse presentations and outcomes when compared with age-matched controls.

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Editorial: Neurosurgical treatment of cancer pain

Roberto C. Heros