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Mark S. Dias, Kim Smith and Kathy deGuehery

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Bobby D. Kim, Timothy R. Smith, Seokchun Lim, George R. Cybulski and John Y. S. Kim

Object

Unplanned hospital readmission represents a large financial burden on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, commercial insurance payers, hospitals, and individual patients, and is a principal target for cost reduction. A large-scale, multi-institutional study that evaluates risk factors for readmission has not been previously performed in patients undergoing lumbar decompression procedures. The goal of this multicenter retrospective study was to find preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative predictive factors that result in unplanned readmission (UR) after lumbar decompression surgery.

Methods

The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) database was retrospectively reviewed to identify all patients who received lumbar decompression procedures in 2011. Risk-adjusted multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to estimate independent predictors of UR.

Results

The overall rate of UR among patients undergoing lumbar decompression was 4.4%. After multivariate logistic regression analysis, anemia (odds ratio [OR] 1.48), dependent functional status (OR 3.03), total operative duration (OR 1.003), and American Society of Anesthesiologists Physical Status Class 4 (OR 3.61) remained as independent predictors of UR. Postoperative complications that were significantly associated with UR included overall complications (OR 5.18), pulmonary embolism (OR 3.72), and unplanned reoperation (OR 56.91).

Conclusions

There were several risk factors for UR after lumbar spine decompression surgery. Identification of high-risk patients and appropriate allocation of resources to reduce postoperative incidence may reduce the readmission rate.

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Daniel H. Kim, Sean E. Connolly, David G. Kline, Rand M. Voorhies, Andrea Smith, Mary Powell, Tracy Yoes and Joanne K. Daniloff

✓ This study evaluated the ability of Schwann cell transplants to enhance the recovery of function in injured nerves and compared the results to those produced by sural nerve grafts. Schwann cells were isolated from sciatic nerves, prelabeled with gold fluorescent dye admixed with collagen gel, and placed in resorbable collagen tubes. Twenty-four adult rats underwent severing of the bilateral sciatic nerves, with a 10-mm gap between the nerve stumps. The rats were then divided into two groups. A collagen tube with implanted Schwann cells was implanted in one leg of the Group I rats, and the contralateral leg served as a control and was repaired with a collagen tube filled with collagen gel only. The Group II animals received conduits packed with labeled Schwann cells in one leg to bridge the 10-mm gap; the contralateral leg was repaired with an autogenous sural nerve graft. Recovery of function was assessed physiologically and morphologically.

Nerve conduction velocity and nerve action potential amplitude measurements showed that the Schwann cell implants induced return of function comparable to that of the sural nerve grafts. Morphological assessments of myelination suggested a tendency toward greater numbers of myelinated axons in Schwann cell implants than in sural nerve grafts. Anatomical analyses of gold fluorescent dye showed both high viability of prelabeled Schwann cells at 120 days after transplantation and migration as far as 30 mm away from the implant site.

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Lijun Ma, Lynn Verhey, Cynthia Chuang, Martina Descovich, Vernon Smith, Kim Huang, Michael McDermott and Penny Sneed

Object

The new capability of composite sector collimation in Gamma Knife Perfexion produces complex, nonspherical, and nonelliptical dose distributions. In this study, the authors investigated the effect of composite sector collimation on average dose fall-off compared with the previous Gamma Knife model.

Methods

A general formalism was derived to describe the peripheral dose distribution of all Gamma Knife models in the form of (V/V0) = (D/D0)γ, where V is the volume of the peripheral isodose line with the value of D, V0 is the reference prescription isodose volume, D0 is the prescription dose, and γ is the fitting parameter that determines how fast the dose falls off near the target. Based on this formula, the authors compared 40 cases involving patients treated with Gamma Knife Perfexion with 40 similar cases involving patients treated with Gamma Knife model 4C. The cases were grouped based on the use of the sector collimators in the treatment planning process. For each group as well as all cases combined, the mean γ values were compared by means of the Student t-test for varying ranges of the peripheral dose distribution—from 100% of the prescription dose to 75, 50, and 25% of the prescription dose.

Results

The fit of general formula to the data was excellent for both Gamma Knife Perfexion and Gamma Knife 4C with R2> 0.99 for all the cases. The overall γ values (mean ± 2 standard deviations) were as follows: γ = −1.74 ± 0.47 (Model 4C) versus −1.77 ± 0.40 (Perfexion) within 100–75% of the prescription dose; γ = −1.57 ± 0.26 (Model 4C) versus −1.58 ± 0.25 (Perfexion) within 100–50% of the prescription dose; γ = −1.47 ± 0.18 (Model 4C) versus −1.50 ± 0.16 (Perfexion) within 100–25% of the prescription dose. No statistical significance between the mean differences for Gamma Knife Perfexion and Model 4C was found within these ranges. The probability values were 0.65, 0.84, and 0.22, respectively.

Conclusions

The use of composite sector collimators in Gamma Knife Perfexion demonstrated no statistically significant effects on the volume-averaged dose fall-off near a target periphery for typical treatment cases.

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Albert H. Kim, Manish K. Kasliwal, Brendan McNeish, V. Michelle Silvera, Mark R. Proctor and Edward R. Smith

Object

Spinal cord tethering due to a thickened filum terminale is a well-described entity that can be treated surgically. Postoperative MR imaging of the lumbar spine is performed for unrelated issues or for the development of new symptoms suggestive of cord retethering. A lack of radiological criteria for successful detethering makes interpretation of postoperative MR images challenging. The delineation of postoperative radiological characteristics of a sectioned filum terminale is therefore valuable to clinicians managing these often complex cases.

Methods

The clinical data for 16 patients who underwent sectioning of a fatty and thickened filum between 2001 and 2010 and in whom pre- and postoperative MR imaging studies were available were analyzed. Medical records were interrogated for preoperative neurological examination, operative details, and postoperative follow-up. The MR images were examined by both a neurosurgeon and a neuroradiologist to assess postoperative radiological characteristics.

Results

The patients' age at time of surgery ranged from 0.3 to 19.8 years (mean 7.5 years). Postoperative MR imaging was performed between 0.03 and 7.36 years after the procedure (mean 2.5 years). Indications for postoperative imaging included new neurological symptoms (11 of 16 patients), routine interval imaging (3 of 16), and possible development of pseudomeningocele (2 of 16). Filum discontinuity was confirmed in 79% of cases postoperatively. Filum remnants appeared thicker after surgery in most cases (80%), a phenomenon most often appreciated in the cephalad end of the sectioned filum. Postoperatively, the conus was elevated in 5 cases (31%) and was found to be more ventrally located in 7 cases (44%).

Conclusions

Discontinuity, along with thickening of the upper and lower remnants of a sectioned filum, may constitute important radiological features of a detethered filum. Radiological signs of conus relaxation, signified by elevation or a more ventral position, although reassuring, were less reliably observed postoperatively. Because it may be difficult to know if the goals of surgery were met on purely clinical grounds in this patient population, knowledge of the postoperative characteristics of a sectioned filum may aid the practicing neurosurgeon in the management of these complex cases.

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Christopher I. Shaffrey and Justin S. Smith

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Kim M. Cecil, Everett C. Hills, M. Elizabeth Sandel, Douglas H. Smith, Tracy K. McIntosh, Lois J. Mannon, Grant P. Sinson, Linda J. Bagley, Robert I. Grossman and Robert E. Lenkinski

Object. This study was conducted to determine whether proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is a sensitive method for detecting diffuse axonal injury, which is a primary sequela of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Diffuse axonal injury is characterized by selective damage to white matter tracts that is caused in part by the severe inertial strain created by rotational acceleration and deceleration, which is often associated with motor vehicle accidents. This axonal injury is typically difficult to detect by using conventional imaging techniques because it is microscopic in nature. The splenium was selected because it is a site vulnerable to shearing forces that produce diffuse axonal injury.

Methods. The authors used proton MRS to evaluate the splenium, the posterior commissure of the corpus callosum, in normal control volunteers and in patients with TBI. Proton MRS provided an index of neuronal and axonal viability by measuring levels of N-acetyl aspartate (NAA).

Conclusions. A majority of mildly brain injured patients, as well as those more severely injured, showed diminished NAA/creatine (Cr) levels in the splenium compared with normal control volunteers. The patients displaying lowered NAA/Cr in the splenium were also likely to exhibit lowered NAA/Cr in lobar white matter. Also, the levels of NAA/Cr in the splenium of normal volunteers were higher compared with those found in lobar white matter. Decreases in NAA/Cr levels in the splenium may be a marker for diffuse injury. A proton MRS examination may be particularly useful in evaluating mildly injured patients with unexplained neurological and cognitive deficits. It is concluded that MRS is a sensitive tool in detecting axonal injury.

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Paul C. Francel, Kevin S. Smith, F. Alan Stevens, Soon C. Kim, James Gossett, Cynthia Gossett, Mark E. Davis, Marc Lenaerts and Paul Tompkins

Object. This study was conducted to evaluate peripheral nerve regeneration through a conduit composed of a bioresorbable material (LactoSorb).

Methods. Sprague—Dawley rats weighing approximately 250 g were randomized into five groups. A 20-mm-long sciatic nerve gap was created, then it was bridged by a reverse nerve autograft (Group I), an empty silicone tube (Group II), a silicone tube containing a short (2-mm) interposed nerve segment (Group III), an empty LactoSorb conduit (Group IV), or a LactoSorb conduit containing a 2-mm interposed nerve segment (Group V). The intact sciatic nerve served as the control in each animal.

At 16 weeks postoperatively, no nerve regeneration was observed through either the empty silicone tube or the empty LactoSorb conduit. There was regeneration in all animals receiving the reverse autograft as well as in all animals receiving the silicone or LactoSorb conduit containing the 2-mm interposed nerve segment. Effective regeneration was assessed based on histological, electrophysiological, and morphometric criteria.

Conclusions. The results indicate that a conduit made of resorbable material will support sciatic nerve regeneration over a critical gap defect.

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Jason S. Weinstein, Kenneth C. Liu, Johnny B. Delashaw Jr., Kim J. Burchiel, Harry R. van Loveren, Fernando L. Vale, Siviero Agazzi, Mark S. Greenberg, Donald A. Smith and John Tew Jr.

Object

The DuraSeal dural sealant system, a polyethylene glycol hydrogel, has been shown to be safe and effective when used with commercial and autologous duraplasty materials. The authors report on the safety and effectiveness of this sealant when used in conjunction with nonautologous duraplasty materials.

Methods

In this retrospective, nonrandomized, multicenter study, the safety and efficacy of a dural sealant system was assessed in conjunction with primarily collagen-based nonautologous duraplasty materials in a sample of 66 patients undergoing elective cranial procedures at 3 institutions. This cohort was compared with 50 well-matched patients from the DuraSeal Pivotal Trial who were treated with this sealant system and autologous duraplasty material.

Results

The key end points of the study were the incidences of CSF leaks, surgical site infections, and meningitis 90 days after surgery. The incidence of postoperative CSF leakage was 7.6% in the study group (retrospective population) and 6.0% in the Pivotal Trial population. The incidence of meningitis was 0% and 4.0% in the retrospective and Pivotal Trial groups, respectively. There were no serious device-related adverse events or unanticipated adverse device effects noted for either population.

Conclusions

This study demonstrates that the DuraSeal sealant system is safe and effective when used for watertight dural closure in conjunction with nonautologous duraplasty materials.

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Michael P. Kelly, Michael A. Kallen, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Justin S. Smith, Douglas C. Burton, Christopher P. Ames, Virginie Lafage, Frank J. Schwab, Han Jo Kim, Eric O. Klineberg, Shay Bess and the International Spine Study Group

OBJECTIVE

After using PROsetta Stone crosswalk tables to calculate Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Physical Function (PF) and Pain Interference (PI) scores, the authors sought to examine 1) correlations with Scoliosis Research Society–22r (SRS-22r) scores, 2) responsiveness to change, and 3) the relationship between baseline scores and 2-year follow-up scores in adult spinal deformity (ASD).

METHODS

PROsetta Stone crosswalk tables were used to converted SF-36 scores to PROMIS scores for pain and physical function in a cohort of ASD patients with 2-year follow-up. Spearman correlations were used to evaluate the relationship of PROMIS scores with SRS-22r scores. Effect size (ES) and adjusted standardized response mean (aSRM) were used to assess responsiveness to change. Linear regression was used to evaluate the association between baseline scores and 2-year follow-up scores.

RESULTS

In total, 425 (425/625, 68%) patients met inclusion criteria. Strong correlations (all |r| > 0.7, p < 0.001) were found between baseline and 2-year PROMIS values and corresponding SRS-22r domain scores. PROMIS-PI showed a large ES (1.09) and aSRM (0.88), indicating good responsiveness to change. PROMIS-PF showed a moderate ES (0.52) and moderate aSRM (0.69), indicating a moderate responsiveness to change. Patients with greater baseline pain complaints were associated with greater pain improvement at 2 years for both SRS-22r Pain (B = 0.39, p < 0.001) and PROMIS-PI (B = 0.45, p < 0.001). Higher functional scores at baseline were associated with greater average improvements in both SRS-22r Activity (B = 0.62, p < 0.001) and PROMIS-PF (B = 0.40, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found strong correlations between the SRS-22r Pain and Activity domains with corresponding PROMIS-PI and -PF scores. Pain measurements showed similar and strong ES and aSRM while the function measurements showed similar, moderate ES and aSRM at 2-year follow-up. These data support further exploration of the use of PROMIS–computer adaptive test instruments in ASD.