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Devi P. Patra, Ryan A. Hess, Karl R. Abi-Aad, Iryna M. Muzyka, and Bernard R. Bendok

Roberts Bartholow, a physician, born and raised in Maryland, was a surgeon and Professor in Medicine who had previously served the Union during the Civil War. His interest in scientific research drove him to perform the first experiment that tested the excitability of the human brain cortex. His historical experiment on one of his patients, Mary Rafferty, with a cancerous ulcer on the skull, was one of his great accomplishments. His inference from this experiment and proposed scientific theory of cortical excitation and localization in humans was one of the most critically acclaimed topics in the medical community, which attracted the highest commendation for the unique discovery as well as criticism for possible ethical violations. Despite that criticism, his theory and methods of cortical localization are the cornerstone of modern brain mapping and have, in turn, led to countless medical innovations.

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Haydn Hoffman, Karl Abi-Aad, Katherine M. Bunch, Timothy Beutler, Fadar O. Otite, and Lawrence S. Chin


Brain tissue oxygen monitoring combined with intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring in patients with severe traumatic brain injury (sTBI) may confer better outcomes than ICP monitoring alone. The authors sought to investigate this using a national database.


The National Trauma Data Bank from 2013 to 2017 was queried to identify patients with sTBI who had an external ventricular drain or intraparenchymal ICP monitor placed. Patients were stratified according to the placement of an intraparenchymal brain tissue oxygen tension (PbtO2) monitor, and a 2:1 propensity score matching pair was used to compare outcomes in patients with and those without PbtO2 monitoring. Sensitivity analyses were performed using the entire cohort, and each model was adjusted for age, sex, Glasgow Coma Scale score, Injury Severity Score, presence of hypotension, insurance, race, and hospital teaching status. The primary outcome of interest was in-hospital mortality, and secondary outcomes included ICU length of stay (LOS) and overall LOS.


A total of 3421 patients with sTBI who underwent ICP monitoring were identified. Of these, 155 (4.5%) patients had a PbtO2 monitor placed. Among the propensity score–matched patients, mortality occurred in 35.4% of patients without oxygen monitoring and 23.4% of patients with oxygen monitoring (OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.33–0.85; p = 0.007). The unfavorable discharge rates were 56.3% and 47.4%, respectively, in patients with and those without oxygen monitoring (OR 1.41, 95% CI 0.87–2.30; p = 0.168). There was no difference in overall LOS, but patients with PbtO2 monitoring had a significantly longer ICU LOS and duration of mechanical ventilation. In the sensitivity analysis, PbtO2 monitoring was associated with decreased odds of mortality (OR 0.56, 95% CI 0.37–0.84) but higher odds of unfavorable discharge (OR 1.59, 95% CI 1.06–2.40).


When combined with ICP monitoring, PbtO2 monitoring was associated with lower inpatient mortality for patients with sTBI. This supports the findings of the recent Brain Oxygen Optimization in Severe Traumatic Brain Injury phase 2 (BOOST 2) trial and highlights the importance of the ongoing BOOST3 trial.

Open access

Jamal McClendon, Richard Shindell, Karl R. Abi-Aad, Ahmad Kareem Almekkawi, Tanmoy Maiti, and Bernard R. Bendok

This 3D video showcases the surgical techniques for patients with proximal junctional kyphosis. The surgical repair for patients with proximal junctional kyphosis is an individualized approach depending on patient history and imaging with adequate surgical measurements. This video will shed light on two cases with proximal junctional kyphosis and the method taken for their repair. The first case is of an 11-year-old female known to have osteogenesis imperfecta and status post T5–L3 posterior spinal fusion with segmental instrumentation. The patient underwent change of older instruments and scoliosis repair, with full correction on postoperative x-ray. The second patient is a 16-year-old male known to have cerebral palsy and kyphoscoliosis status post spinal fusion. The patient underwent scoliosis repair surgery with replacement of old instrumentation and scoliosis correction.

The video can be found here:

Open access

Karl R. Abi-Aad, Devi P. Patra, Matthew E. Welz, Evelyn Turcotte, and Bernard R. Bendok

Cavernomas at the posterolateral pontomesencephalic surface can be approached from a lateral infratentorial supracerebellar corridor. In this surgical video, we demonstrate two cases of brainstem cavernomas resected through a lateral supracerebellar infratentorial approach. A supine position with lateral turn of the head was used along with significant reverse Trendelenburg to allow the cerebellum to fall away with gravity from the tentorium. After exposure of the posterior surface of the brainstem between the tentorium and the superior cerebellar surface with aid of neuronavigation, the cavernomas were safely resected.

The video can be found here: