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Nicholas C. Bambakidis and Krystal L. Tomei

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Christina E. Sarris, Krystal L. Tomei, Peter W. Carmel, and Chirag D. Gandhi

Lipomyelomeningocele represents a rare but complex neurological disorder that may present with neurological deterioration secondary to an inherent tethered spinal cord. Radiological testing is beneficial in determining the morphology of the malformation. Specialized testing such as urodynamic studies and neurophysiological testing may be beneficial in assessing for neurological dysfunction secondary to the lipomyelomeningocele. Early surgical intervention may be beneficial in preventing further neurological decline.

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Michael D. White, Brandon M. Fox, and Nitin Agarwal

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Matthew A. Amarante, Jeffrey A. Shrensel, Krystal L. Tomei, Peter W. Carmel, and Chirag D. Gandhi

An intact, fully functional spine is the result of a complex sequence of embryological events involving both nervous and musculoskeletal system precursors. Deviations from this highly ordered system can result in congenital abnormalities ranging from clinically insignificant cosmetic changes to CNS malformations that are incompatible with life. Closure of the neural tube, which is believed to be the embryological event gone awry in these cases, is complete by just 28 days' gestation, often before pregnancy is detected. Although progress has been made to help prevent neural tube defects in the children of those attempting to conceive, these congenital deformities unfortunately continue to affect a startling number of infants worldwide each year. Furthermore, the precise mechanisms governing closure of the neural tube and how they might be interrupted remain elusive. What is known is that there are a large number of individuals who must deal with congenital spine dysraphism and the clinical sequelae on a daily basis. Bladder and urinary dysfunction are frequently encountered, and urological care is a critical, often neglected, component in the lifelong multidisciplinary approach to treatment. Although many treatment strategies have been devised, a need remains for evidence-based interventions, analysis of quality of life, and preemptive education of both caregivers and patients as they grow older. Pediatric neurosurgeons in particular have the unique opportunity to address these issues, often in the first few days of life and throughout pre- and postoperative evaluation. With proper management instituted at birth, many patients could potentially delay or avoid the potential urological complications resulting from congenital neurogenic bladder.

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Krystal L. Tomei, Christopher Doe, Charles J. Prestigiacomo, and Chirag D. Gandhi


Forty-two states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation based on the Lystedt law of Washington state, enacted in 2009 to protect young athletes who have sustained a concussion. The aim of this study was to note the several similarities and differences among the various laws.


Concussion legislation was compared for 50 states and the District of Columbia. Evaluation parameters of this study included stipulations of concussion education, criteria for removal from play, requirements for evaluation and return to play after concussion, and individuals required to assess young athletes. Other parameters that were not consistent across states were also noted.


Forty-three states and the District of Columbia have passed concussion legislation, and an additional 4 states have pending legislation. All states with existing legislation support concussion education for coaches; however, only 48% require coaches to undergo formal education. Athletes must be educated on concussion in 86% of states and parents in 88.7%. Suspicion of concussion is a criterion for removal from play in 75% of states; signs and symptoms of concussion are criteria for removal from play in 16% of states. The individuals allowed to evaluate and clear an athlete for return to play differ greatly among states.


Injury prevention legislation holds historical precedent, and given the increasing attention to long-term sequelae of repeated head trauma and concussion, concussion legislation has been rapidly passed in 43 states and the District of Columbia. Although the exact stipulations of these laws vary among states, the overall theme is to increase recognition of concussion in young athletes and ensure that they are appropriately cleared for return to play after concussion.

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David E. Kurlander, Mona Ascha, Danielle C. Marshall, Derek Wang, Mustafa S. Ascha, Paul A. Tripi, Hollie M. Reeves, Katharine A. Downes, Sanjay Ahuja, Alexandre T. Rotta, Gregory E. Lakin, and Krystal L. Tomei


Patients undergoing open cranial vault remodeling for craniosynostosis frequently experience substantial blood loss requiring blood transfusion. Multiple reports in the literature have evaluated the impact of individual blood conservation techniques on blood transfusion rates during craniosynostosis surgery. The authors engaged a multidisciplinary team and assessed the impact of input from multiple stakeholders on the evolution of a comprehensive quality improvement protocol aimed at reducing or eliminating blood transfusion in patients undergoing open surgery for craniosynostosis.


Over a 4-year period from 2012 to 2016, 39 nonsyndromic patients were operated on by a single craniofacial plastic surgeon. Initially, no clear blood conservation protocol existed, and specific interventions were individually driven. In 2014, a new pediatric neurosurgeon joined the craniofacial team, and additional stakeholders in anesthesiology, transfusion medicine, critical care, and hematology were brought together to evaluate opportunities for developing a comprehensive blood conservation protocol. The initial version of the protocol involved the standardized administration of intraoperative aminocaproic acid (ACA) and the use of a cell saver. In the second version of the protocol, the team implemented the preoperative use of erythropoietin (EPO). In addition, intraoperative and postoperative resuscitation and transfusion guidelines were more clearly defined. The primary outcomes of estimated blood loss (EBL), transfusion rate, and intraoperative transfusion volume were analyzed. The secondary impact of multidisciplinary stakeholder input was inferred by trends in the data obtained with the implementation of the partial and full protocols.


Implementing the full quality improvement protocol resulted in a 66% transfusion-free rate at the time of discharge compared to 0% without any conservation protocol and 27% with the intermediate protocol. The administration of EPO significantly increased starting hemoglobin/hematocrit (11.1 g/dl/31.8% to 14.7 g/dl/45.6%, p < 0.05). The group of patients receiving ACA had lower intraoperative EBL than those not receiving ACA, and trends in the final-protocol cohort, which had received both preoperative EPO and intraoperative ACA, demonstrated decreasing transfusion volumes, though the decrease did not reach statistical significance.


Patients undergoing open calvarial vault remodeling procedures benefit from the input of a multidisciplinary stakeholder group in blood conservation protocols. Further research into comprehensive protocols for blood conservation may benefit from input from the full surgical team (plastic surgery, neurosurgery, anesthesiology) as well as additional pediatric subspecialty stakeholders including transfusion medicine, critical care, and hematology.