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Kalil G. Abdullah, Mark A. Attiah, Andrew S. Olsen, Andrew Richardson and Timothy H. Lucas

OBJECT

Although the use of topical vancomycin has been shown to be safe and effective for reducing postoperative infection rates in patients after spine surgery, its use in cranial wounds has not been studied systematically. The authors hypothesized that topical vancomycin, applied in powder form directly to the subgaleal space during closure, would reduce cranial wound infection rates.

METHODS

A cohort of 150 consecutive patients who underwent craniotomy was studied retrospectively. Seventy-five patients received 1 g of vancomycin powder applied in the subgaleal space at the time of closure. This group was compared with 75 matched-control patients who were accrued over the same time interval and did not receive vancomycin. The primary outcome measure was the presence of surgical site infection within 3 months. Secondary outcome measures included tissue pH from a subgaleal drain and vancomycin levels from the subgaleal space and serum.

RESULTS

Vancomycin was associated with significantly fewer surgical site infections (1 of 75) than was standard antibiotic prophylaxis alone (5 of 75; p < 0.05). Cultures were positive for typical skin flora species. As expected, local measured vancomycin concentrations peaked immediately after surgery (mean ± SD 499 ± 37 μg/ml) and gradually decreased over 12 hours. Vancomycin in the circulating serum remained undetectable. Subgaleal topical vancomycin was associated with a lower incidence of surgical site infections after craniotomy. The authors attribute this reduction in the infection rate to local vancomycin concentrations well above the minimum inhibitory concentration for antimicrobial efficacy.

CONCLUSIONS

Topical vancomycin is safe and effective for reducing surgical site infections after craniotomy. These data support the need for a prospective randomized examination of topical vancomycin in the setting of cranial surgery.

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Raqeeb Haque, Teresa J. Wojtasiewicz, Paul R. Gigante, Mark A. Attiah, Brendan Huang, Steven R. Isaacson and Michael B. Sisti

Object

The goal of this article was to show that a combination of facial nerve–sparing microsurgical resection and Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for expansion of any residual tumor can preserve good facial nerve function in patients with recurrent vestibular schwannoma (VS).

Methods

Records of individuals treated by a single surgeon with a facial nerve–sparing technique for a VS between 1998 and 2009 were retrospectively analyzed for tumor recurrence. Of the 383 patients treated for VS, 151 underwent microsurgical resection, and 20 (13.2%) of these patients required postoperative retreatment for a significant expansion of residual tumor after microsurgery. These 20 patients were re-treated with GKS.

Results

The rate of preservation of good facial nerve function (Grade I or II on the House-Brackmann scale) in patients treated with microsurgery for VS was 97%. Both subtotal and gross-total resection had excellent facial nerve preservation rates (97% vs 96%), although subtotal resection carried a higher risk that patients would require retreatment. In patients re-treated with GKS after microsurgery, the rate of facial nerve preservation was 95%.

Conclusions

In patients with tumors that cannot be managed with radiosurgery alone, a facial nerve–sparing resection followed by GKS for any significant regrowth provides excellent facial nerve preservation rates.