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Manuel Ferreira Jr., Brian P. Walcott, Brian V. Nahed, and Laligam N. Sekhar

Object

Hemifacial spasm (HFS) is caused by arterial or venous compression of cranial nerve VII at its root exit zone. Traditionally, microvascular decompression of the facial nerve has been an effective treatment for posterior inferior and anterior inferior cerebellar artery as well as venous compression. The traditional technique involves Teflon felt or another construct to cushion the offending vessel from the facial nerve, or cautery and division of the offending vein. However, using this technique for severe vertebral artery (VA) compression can be ineffective and fraught with complications. The authors report the use of a new technique of VA pexy to the petrous or clival dura mater in patients with HFS attributed to a severely ectatic and tortuous VA, and detail the results in a series of patients.

Methods

Six patients with HFS due to VA compression underwent a retrosigmoid craniotomy, combined with a far-lateral approach in some patients. On identification of the site of VA compression, the vessel was mobilized adequately for the decompression. Great care was taken to avoid kinking the perforating vessels arising from the VA. Two 8-0 nylon sutures were passed through to the wall of the VA and then through the clival or petrous dura, and then tied to alleviate compression on cranial nerve VII.

Results

Patients were followed for at least 1 year postoperatively (mean 2.7 years, range 1–4 years). All 6 patients had complete resolution of their HFS. Facial function was tested postoperatively, and was stable when compared with the preoperative baseline. Two of the 3 patients with preoperative tinnitus had resolution of this symptom after the procedure. Postoperative imaging demonstrated VA decompression of the facial nerve and no evidence of stroke in all patients. One patient suffered from hearing loss, another developed a postoperative transient unilateral vocal cord paralysis, and a third patient developed a pseudomeningocele that resolved with the placement of a lumbar drain.

Conclusions

Hemifacial spasm and other neurovascular syndromes are effectively treated by repositioning the compressing artery. Careful study of the preoperative MR images may identify a select group of patients with HFS due to an ectatic VA. Rather than traditional decompression with only pledget placement, these patients may benefit from a VA pexy to provide an effective, safe, and durable resolution of their symptoms while minimizing surgical complications.

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Edwin Nieblas-Bedolla, Fatima El-ghazali, Saman Qadri, John R. Williams, Nabiha Quadri, Amy Lee, and Manuel Ferreira Jr.

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to identify trends in the demographic constitution of applicants and matriculants to neurological surgery based on race, ethnicity, and gender.

METHODS

The authors conducted a cross-sectional study using compiled demographic data obtained from the Association of American Medical Colleges. Trends analyzed included proportional changes in race, ethnicity, and gender of applicants and matriculants to neurosurgical residency programs from academic years 2010–2011 to 2018–2019.

RESULTS

A total of 5100 applicants and 2104 matriculants to neurosurgical residency programs were analyzed. No significant change in the percentage of overall women applicants (+0.3%, 95% CI −0.7% to 1.3%; p = 0.77) or in the percentage of women matriculants (+0.3%, 95% CI −2.2% to 2.9%; p = 0.71) was observed. For applicants, no change over time was observed in the percentages of American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN) men (0.0%, 95% CI −0.3% to 0.3%; p = 0.65); Asian men (−0.1%, 95% CI −1.2% to 1.1%; p = 0.97); Black or African American men (−0.2%, 95% CI −0.7% to 0.4%; p = 0.91); Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish Origin men (+0.4%, 95% CI −0.8% to 1.7%; p = 0.26); White men (+0.5%, 95% CI −2.1% to 3.0%; p = 0.27); Asian women (+0.1,% 95% CI −0.9% to 1.1%; p = 0.73); Black or African American women (0.0%, 95% CI −0.6% to 0.5%; p = 0.30); Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish Origin women (0.0%, 95% CI −0.4% to 0.4%; p = 0.71); and White women (+0.3%, 95% CI −1.1% to 1.7%; p = 0.34). For matriculants, no change over time was observed in the percentages of AI/AN men (0.0%, 95% CI −0.6% to 0.6%; p = 0.56); Asian men (0.0%, 95% CI −2.7% to 2.7%; p = 0.45); Black or African American men (−0.3%, 95% CI −1.4% to 0.8%; p = 0.52); Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish Origin men (+0.6%, 95% CI −0.8 to 2.0%; p = 0.12); White men (−1.0%, 95% CI −5.3% to 3.3%; p = 0.92); Asian women (+0.1%, 95% CI −1.3% to 1.5%; p = 0.85); Black or African American women (0.0%, 95% CI −0.6% to 0.7%; p = 0.38); Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish Origin women (−0.1%, 95% CI −0.7% to 0.5%; p = 0.46); and White women (+0.3%, 95% CI −2.4% to 3.0%; p = 0.70).

CONCLUSIONS

Despite efforts to diversify the demographic constitution of incoming neurosurgical trainees, few significant advances have been made in recent years. This study suggests that improved strategies for recruitment and cultivating early interest in neurological surgery are required to further increase the diversification of future cohorts of neurosurgical trainees.

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Brian V. Nahed, Manuel Ferreira Jr., Matthew R. Naunheim, Kristopher T. Kahle, Mark R. Proctor, and Edward R. Smith

Clinical and radiographic evidence of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH)-related vasospasm is rare in children and has not been reported in infants. In this report the authors present the case of a 22-month-old child who developed clinically symptomatic, radiographically identifiable vasospasm after traumatic SAH. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of vasospasm associated with SAH in a child this young. This 22-month-old boy fell and had a dense SAH. He had a history of surgically corrected craniosynostosis and nonsymptomatic ventriculomegaly. The boy was evaluated for occult vascular lesions using imaging; none were found and normal vessel caliber was noted. Ten days later, the child developed left-sided weakness and a right middle cerebral artery infarct was identified. Evaluation disclosed significant intracranial vasospasm. This diagnosis was supported by findings on CT angiography, transcranial Doppler ultrasonography, MR imaging, and conventional angiography. The child was treated using intraarterial verapamil with a good result, as well as with conventional intensive care measures to reduce vasospasm. This report documents the first known case of intracranial vasospasm with stroke after SAH in a patient under the age of 2 years. This finding is important because it demonstrates that the entity of SAH-associated vasospasm can affect the very young, widening the spectrum of ages susceptible to this condition. This case is also important because it demonstrates that even very young children can respond to conventional therapeutic interventions such as intraarterial verapamil. Thus, clinicians need to be alert to the possibility of vasospasm as a potential diagnosis when evaluating young children with SAH.