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Karin R. Swartz and Gregory R. Trost

Recurrent lumbar disc herniation is a common disease process. It has been noted to occur in 5 to 15% of cases surgically treated for primary lumbar disc herniation. Outcomes in one series approached those after the initial operations, although this is not the case in the experience of most surgeons.

The removal of recurrent lumbar disc herniations requires meticulous surgical technique. Great care is taken to identify the osseous margins of the previous surgical site. Identification and dissection of scar from the dura mater is greatly aided with the use of a microscope.

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Karin R. Swartz, Nicole N. Scheff, Kelly N. Roberts and Dominic B. Fee


The authors used a rat model to assess spinal cord compression following an incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI).


Incomplete SCI was created in the thoracic spinal cord in a novel application of a rodent spinal cord compression model. A moderate impaction force was applied instantaneously to the spinal cord and was followed by 0 seconds, 10 seconds, 30 seconds, or 5 minutes of continued compression (termed “dwell”). The different groups were assessed by behavioral testing with the Basso, Beattie, Bresnahan locomotor rating scale, and with histological injury quantification and morphometrical analysis.


Compression after the SCI resulted in worsened Basso, Beattie, Bresnahan scale scores; however, the duration of compression was not significant. Compression did not significantly affect the percentage of spared total tissue, percent spared total white matter, or percent spared total gray matter. Percent spared tissue at the epicenter of injury was statistically worsened by compression but not in a time-dependent manner.


The authors' results suggest that spinal cord compression after the initial injury is an additional mechanism by which SCI worsens, and that the mechanism of this injury occurs rapidly. These data, however, do not support duration of compression as a significant variable.

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The impact of continued cord compression following traumatic spinal cord injury

Michael G. Fehlings

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Letter to the Editor

Hip- and pelvic-related intraneural ganglia

Robert J. Spinner, Marie-Noëlle Hébert-Blouin, Shota Tanaka, Kimberly K. Amrami, Karin R. Swartz, Dominic B. Fee and Makoto Sugita

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Frank J. Attenello, Ian A. Buchanan, Timothy Wen, Daniel A. Donoho, Shirley McCartney, Steven Y. Cen, Alexander A. Khalessi, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol, Joseph S. Cheng, William J. Mack, Clemens M. Schirmer, Karin R. Swartz, J. Adair Prall, Ann R. Stroink, Steven L. Giannotta and Paul Klimo Jr.


Excessive dissatisfaction and stress among physicians can precipitate burnout, which results in diminished productivity, quality of care, and patient satisfaction and treatment adherence. Given the multiplicity of its harms and detriments to workforce retention and in light of the growing physician shortage, burnout has garnered much attention in recent years. Using a national survey, the authors formally evaluated burnout among neurosurgery trainees.


An 86-item questionnaire was disseminated to residents in the American Association of Neurological Surgeons database between June and November 2015. Questions evaluated personal and workplace stressors, mentorship, career satisfaction, and burnout. Burnout was assessed using the previously validated Maslach Burnout Inventory. Factors associated with burnout were determined using univariate and multivariate logistic regression.


The response rate with completed surveys was 21% (346/1643). The majority of residents were male (78%), 26–35 years old (92%), in a stable relationship (70%), and without children (73%). Respondents were equally distributed across all residency years. Eighty-one percent of residents were satisfied with their career choice, although 41% had at some point given serious thought to quitting. The overall burnout rate was 67%. In the multivariate analysis, notable factors associated with burnout included inadequate operating room exposure (OR 7.57, p = 0.011), hostile faculty (OR 4.07, p = 0.008), and social stressors outside of work (OR 4.52, p = 0.008). Meaningful mentorship was protective against burnout in the multivariate regression models (OR 0.338, p = 0.031).


Rates of burnout and career satisfaction are paradoxically high among neurosurgery trainees. While several factors were predictive of burnout, including inadequate operative exposure and social stressors, meaningful mentorship proved to be protective against burnout. The documented negative effects of burnout on patient care and health care economics necessitate further studies for potential solutions to curb its rise.