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Joshua M. Beckman, Ernest K. Amankwah, Lisa L. Tetreault and Gerald F. Tuite

OBJECT

The application of concentrated topical antibiotic powder directly to surgical wounds has been associated with a reduction in wound infection in cardiac, spinal, and deep brain stimulator surgery. As a result of these findings, the corresponding author began systematically applying concentrated bacitracin powder directly to wounds during shunt surgery more than 5 years ago. The object of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of concentrated bacitracin powder applied directly to wounds prior to closure during cranial shunt surgery and to evaluate the association between shunt infection and other risk factors. A single surgeon’s cranial shunt surgery experience, equally divided between periods during which antibiotic powder was and was not applied, was studied to assess the effect of concentrated bacitracin powder application on shunt infection rates.

METHODS

This retrospective cohort study included all patients who underwent a cranial shunting procedure at All Children’s Hospital performed by a single surgeon (G.F.T.) from 2001 to 2013. The surgeon applied bacitracin powder to all shunt wounds prior to closure between 2008 and 2013, whereas no antibiotic powder was applied to wounds prior to 2008. Both initial and revision shunting procedures were included, and all procedures were performed at a large children’s hospital (All Children’s Hospital). The primary outcome measure was shunt infection, which was defined using clinical criteria previously used by the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network. The association between bacitracin powder use and shunt infection was estimated using hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs from Cox proportional hazard regression models.

RESULTS

A total of 47 infections out of 539 shunt operations occurred during the study period, resulting in an overall infection rate of 8.7%. Procedures performed before the use of concentrated bacitracin powder was instituted resulted in a 13% infection rate, whereas procedures performed after systematic use of bacitracin powder had been adopted experienced a 1% infection rate. Bacitracin powder use was associated with a reduced risk of shunt infection in univariate analysis (HR 0.11, 95% CI 0.03–0.34, p = 0.0002) and also in multivariate analysis (HR 0.12, 95% CI 0.04–0.41, p = 0.0006) when controlling for covariates that were associated with infection from the univariate analysis. The presence of a tracheostomy or a gastrostomy tube was also found to be independently associated with shunt infection in multivariate analysis (HR 3.15, 95% CI 1.05–9.50, p = 0.04, and HR 2.82, 95% CI 1.33–5.96, p = 0.007, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

This study suggests, for the first time, that the systematic application of concentrated bacitracin powder to surgical wounds prior to closure during shunt surgery may be associated with a reduction in cranial shunt infection. This initial finding requires validation in a large prospective study before widespread application can be advocated.

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Rajiv R. Iyer, Carolyn M. Carey, S. Alex Rottgers, Lisa Tetreault, Nir Shimony, Jennifer Katzenstein, Ernesto Ruas and Gerald F. Tuite

OBJECTIVE

Infants with severe hydrocephalus and extreme macrocephaly typically undergo CSF diversion early in life, which can result in significant cranial deformity due to CSF overdrainage. In this scenario, overlap of the cranial plates can precede the development of secondary synostosis and/or severe, permanent cranial deformity. As a result, extensive cranial vault remodeling is sometimes undertaken later in life, which is often challenging and has been associated with mortality and a high morbidity rate. The authors have previously described a technique for early postnatal cranial vault reduction and fixation (CVRF), in which the calvarial bones are stabilized using absorbable fixation plates in the neonatal period, in an attempt to facilitate patient positioning, simplify hydrocephalus management, and improve cosmesis. Here, the authors describe their institutional experience managing patients with extreme neonatal hydrocephalus with CSF diversion, with and without CVRF, over the past 12 years.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the charts of infants with extreme hydrocephalus (head circumference > 49 cm) treated at their children’s hospital with ventriculoperitoneal shunting, with or without CVRF, between 2005 and 2017. Data collected included age, sex, etiology of hydrocephalus, type of CVRF performed (anterior, posterior, or combined), follow-up duration, orbitofrontal circumference, craniometric measurements, intraoperative blood loss, operative duration, and postoperative complications. Developmental data were collected using the third edition of the Ages and Stages Questionnaire. Photographic imaging was used to demonstrate esthetic outcomes, and family questionnaires were used to evaluate satisfaction with the esthetic outcome.

RESULTS

Eleven patients with extreme neonatal hydrocephalus underwent CSF shunting; 5 underwent shunting alone and 6 patients underwent shunting and CVRF. For patients who underwent shunting and CVRF, the median age at CVRF was 6 days and the median interval between shunt placement and CVRF was 2.5 days. The mean extent of calvarial vault volume reduction was 44.5% (± 3.9%). The mean duration of the CVRF procedure was 108 minutes, and 5 of 6 patients required intraoperative transfusion. Of the 5 patients who underwent shunting alone, 3 developed severe cranial deformities. Of 6 patients who underwent shunting and CVRF, 1 had a poor cosmetic outcome. In the shunting-alone group, 2 patients died and 1 required extensive cranial vault correction at 10 years of age. One patient in the shunting and CVRF group also died.

CONCLUSIONS

CVRF in combination with CSF shunting in the neonatal period can simplify the treatment of the rare case of severe hydrocephalic macrocephaly and leads to cosmetic outcomes that are considered good by their families.

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Joshua M. Beckman, Ernest K. Amankwah, Lisa L. Tetreault, Sharon A. Perlman and Gerald F. Tuite

OBJECT

There has been renewed interest in the application of concentrated antibiotic powder to surgical wounds as a method to decrease infection rates. While there is substantial medical literature describing the effectiveness and complications associated with vancomycin and gentamycin powders, very little has been reported regarding the safety and effectiveness of bacitracin powder in surgical wounds. In this paper the authors report their detailed analysis of potential bacitracin powder-related complications in a population of pediatric patients who underwent shunt surgery.

METHODS

A detailed retrospective analysis was completed of all CSF shunt surgeries performed by the corresponding author at a large children’s hospital between 2001 and 2013. This cohort consisted of many patients who were the subject of a previous report that showed the use of bacitracin powder in shunt wounds potentially decreased infection rates. Data were collected regarding the most common known complications of bacitracin, i.e., anaphylaxis, wound healing difficulties, and renal dysfunction. Data were stratified by typical demographic, medical, and surgical variables, including whether bacitracin powder was applied to wounds prior to closure.

RESULTS

A total of 597 patients were reviewed in the analysis: 389 underwent surgery without bacitracin powder and 208 had concentrated bacitracin powder applied to the wounds prior to closure. The application of bacitracin powder was not associated with anaphylaxis (n = 0 both groups) or with an increase in wound breakdown (n = 5 in the control group, n = 0 in the bacitracin powder group) or renal dysfunction (creatinine/estimated glomerular filtration rate) using both comparative and multivariate analyses between the 2 groups. The sample size evaluating renal function was significantly lower (range 6–320) than that of anaphylaxis and wound breakdown analysis because only clinical values acquired during the routine care of these patients were available for analysis. The only significant difference in demographics was the more frequent use of intrathecal vancomycin and gentamycin in patients who received bacitracin powder (n = 1 for controls, n = 21 for bacitracin powder). In the multivariate analysis, only 1 factor, surgery performed on a premature infant within the first 3 months of life, was independently associated with a change in creatinine at 3 months (creatinine decreased by 0.18) compared with the level before surgery (p < 0.0001). Bacitracin powder was not a significant factor.

CONCLUSIONS

To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to systematically analyze the potential complications of concentrated bacitracin powder applied to surgical wounds. The use of topical bacitracin powder in CSF shunt wounds was not associated with anaphylaxis, wound breakdown, or renal dysfunction. Further study using standardized protocols is necessary before widespread use can be recommended.

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Jotham C. Manwaring, Devon Truong, Armen R. Deukmedjian, Carolyn M. Carey, Bruce B. Storrs, Luis F. Rodriguez, Lisa Tetreault and Gerald F. Tuite

The management of newborns with extreme macrocephaly related to hydrocephalus can be difficult; balancing the treatment of severe cranial deformity with optimal hydrocephalus management can be complicated. Excessive CSF drainage can result in significant suture overlap that leads to difficulties in patient positioning, secondary synostosis, and long-term aesthetic complications. Delayed cranial reduction and remodeling procedures carry significant risk, and the aesthetic outcomes have sometimes been poor.

The authors describe a newborn with severe macrocephaly who underwent shunt placement followed by a limited cranial reduction and fixation procedure using an absorbable plate within the 1st week of life. The procedure produced an immediate intracranial volume reduction of 49%. This novel management strategy facilitated patient positioning, simplified hydrocephalus management, and provided an excellent aesthetic outcome.

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Gerald F. Tuite, Bruce B. Storrs, Yves L. Homsy, Sarah J. Gaskill, Ethan G. Polsky, Margaret A. Reilly, Ignacio Gonzalez-Gomez, S. Parrish Winesett, Luis F. Rodriguez, Carolyn M. Carey, Sharon A. Perlman and Lisa Tetreault

An intradural somatic-to-autonomic anastomosis, or Xiao procedure, has been described to create a “skin-CNS-bladder” reflex that improves bladder and bowel function in patients with neurogenic bladder and bowel dysfunction. The authors present their experience with a 10-year-old boy with chronic neurogenic bladder and bowel dysfunction related to spinal cord injury who underwent the Xiao procedure. After undergoing a left L-5 ventral root to left S2–3 intradural anastomosis, the patient reported that his bladder and bowel dysfunction improved between 6 and 12 months. Two years after the procedure, however, he reported that there was no change in his bladder or bowel dysfunction as compared with his condition prior to the procedure. Frequent, systematic multidisciplinary evaluations produced conflicting data.

Electrophysiological and histological evaluation of the previously performed anastomosis during surgical reexploration 3 years after the Xiao procedure revealed that the anastomosis was in anatomical continuity but neuroma formation had prevented reinnervation. Nerve action potentials were not demonstrable across the anastomosis, and stimulation of the nerve above and below the anastomosis created no bladder or perineal contractions.

This is the first clinical report on the outcome of the Xiao procedure in a child with spinal cord injury outside of China. It is impossible to draw broad conclusions about the efficacy of the procedure based on a single patient with no demonstrable benefit. However, future studies should carefully interpret transient improvements in bladder function, urodynamic findings, and the patient's ability to void in response to scratching after the Xiao procedure. The authors' experience with the featured patient, in whom reinnervation could not be demonstrated, suggests that such changes could be related to factors other than the establishment of a skin-CNS-bladder reflex as a result of a somatic-to-autonomic anastomosis.

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Gerald F. Tuite, Ethan G. Polsky, Yves Homsy, Margaret A. Reilly, Carolyn M. Carey, S. Parrish Winesett, Luis F. Rodriguez, Bruce B. Storrs, Sarah J. Gaskill, Lisa L. Tetreault, Denise G. Martinez and Ernest K. Amankwah

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Gerald F. Tuite, Ethan G. Polsky, Yves Homsy, Margaret A. Reilly, Carolyn M. Carey, S. Parrish Winesett, Luis F. Rodriguez, Bruce B. Storrs, Sarah J. Gaskill, Lisa L. Tetreault, Denise G. Martinez and Ernest K. Amankwah

OBJECTIVE

Xiao et al. and other investigators have studied an intradural somatic-to-autonomic (e.g., L-5 to S3–4) nerve transfer as a method to create a reflex arc to allow bladder emptying in response to cutaneous stimulation (the Xiao procedure). In previous clinical studies of patients with spinal dysraphism who underwent the Xiao procedure, high success rates (70%–85%) were reported for the establishment of a “skin-CNS-bladder” reflex arc that allows spontaneous, controlled voiding in children with neurogenic bladder dysfunction. However, many of these studies did not use blinded observers, did not have control groups, and/or featured only limited follow-up durations.

METHODS

A randomized, prospective, double-blind trial was initiated in March 2009, enrolling children with myelomeningocele (MM), lipomyelomeningocele (LMM), and neurogenic bladder dysfunction who were scheduled for spinal cord detethering (DT) for the usual indications. At the time of DT, patients were randomized between 2 arms of the study: half of the patients underwent a standard spinal cord DT procedure alone (DT group) and half underwent DT as well as the Xiao procedure (DT+X group). Patients, families, and study investigators, all of whom were blinded to the surgical details, analyzed the patients' strength, sensory function, mobility, voiding, and urodynamic bladder function before surgery and at regular intervals during the 3-year follow-up.

RESULTS

Twenty patients were enrolled in the study: 10 underwent only DT and the other 10 underwent DT+X. The addition of the Xiao procedure to spinal cord DT resulted in longer operative times (p = 0.024) and a greater chance of wound infection (p = 0.03). Patients in both treatment arms could intermittently void or dribble small amounts of urine (< 20% total bladder capacity) in response to scratching in dermatomes T-9 through S-2 using a standardized protocol, but the voiding was not reproducible and the volume voided was not clinically useful in any patient. Voiding in response to scratching was not more frequent in patients who underwent DT+X compared with those who underwent only DT. Bladder contractions in response to scratching occurred in both treatment arms at various intervals after surgery, but they were not more reproducible or more frequent in the patients who underwent the Xiao procedure than in the patients who did not. No patient in either treatment arm was continent of urine before, during, or after the study.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with MM and LMM who underwent the Xiao procedure during spinal cord DT were no more likely to be able to void, to control their urination, to achieve continence, or to have a demonstrable urodynamic bladder contraction in response to cutaneous stimulation than patients who underwent only spinal cord DT. This study, in the context of disappointing results reported in other recent studies of the Xiao procedure, raises doubts about the clinical applicability of this procedure in humans until further basic science research is performed.