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Jonathan E. Martin, Markus Bookland, Douglas Moote and Catherine Cebulla

OBJECTIVE

Grabb’s line—the perpendicular distance from the basion-C2 line (pB-C2)—is a widely used radiographic measurement with significant clinical implications in patients with a complex Chiari malformation. Rigorous demonstration of the reproducibility of this measurement has not previously been reported. The authors report a standardized measurement technique with excellent inter- and intrarater reliability on T1-weighted sagittal MRI.

METHODS

The authors developed a standardized measurement technique that included specifications of midline slice selection, landmark and reference line definitions, and measurement technique on T1-weighted sagittal images. Twenty MR images were reviewed by 2 pediatric neurosurgeons, 1 pediatric radiologist, and 1 undergraduate student. Measurements were performed using the technique specified on 2 separate occasions. Intrarater and interrater reliabilities were calculated using the intraclass correlation coefficient.

RESULTS

A combined interrater reliability of 0.879 was achieved for the pB-C2, and 0.916 for the clival-canal angle, another measure of interest in patients with complex Chiari malformations. Intrarater reliability for these measurements exceeded 0.858 for all 4 reviewers.

CONCLUSIONS

Grabb’s line—the pB-C2—can be measured with excellent reliability using a standardized measurement protocol. Individual clinicians and collaborative databases should consider using validated measurement techniques to guide clinical decision making in patients with craniocervical junction pathology.

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Wesley Hsu, Khan W. Li, Markus Bookland and George I. Jallo

In the early 1920s, Walter E. Dandy began translating the field of endoscopy to neurosurgery. In the ensuing years, Dandy, who would become known as the “Father of Neuroendoscopy,” applied his own ingenuity in combination with guidance from prominent medical contemporaries in the development of the early neuroendoscope. This paper reviews his contributions to the early evolution of this growing and important field of neurosurgery.

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Jonathan E. Martin, Thomas Manning, Markus Bookland and Charles Castiglione

The authors report their initial experience with supine patient positioning for minimally invasive treatment of sagittal craniosynostosis. Supine positioning offers potential advantages that include reduced anesthetic risk and may be considered as an option by craniofacial surgeons performing minimally invasive synostectomy for sagittal craniosynostosis.

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Markus J. Bookland, Vishad Sukul and Patrick J. Connolly

Object

Ventriculitis related to external ventricular drain (EVD) placement is a significant source of morbidity in neurological intensive care patients. Current rates of EVD-related infections range from 2% to 45% in the literature. The authors sought to determine if a 2-octyl cyanoacrylate adhesive would result in lower infection rate than standard semiocclusive dressings.

Methods

The authors tracked ventriculitis rates via CSF cultures among 259 patients whose EVD sites were dressed with sterile semiocclusive dressings and underwent routine sterile dressing exchanges every 48 hours. They analyzed data obtained in an additional 113 patients whose EVD sites were dressed one time with a surgical adhesive, 2-octyl cyanoacrylate.

Results

Ventriculitis rate in patients with standard bioocclusive dressings and wound care was 15.1%, whereas that in patients with a 2-octyl cyanoacrylate dressing was 3.54% (p = 0.002). Staphylococcus genus accounted for 79.5% of instances of ventriculitis among patients with bioocclusive dressings and routine wound care, whereas it accounted for 25.0% of the instances of ventriculitis among patients with a liquid polymer sealant dressing. A 90% reduction in Staphylococcus infection completely accounts for the observed effect (p = 0.04).

Conclusions

The one-time application of 2-octyl cyanoacrylate to EVD wounds and exit sites provided superior protection against EVD-related ventriculitis compared to conventional EVD-site wound care. Likely this protection results from a barrier to the entry of gram-positive skin flora along the EVD exit tract. The results should be validated in a randomized trial.

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Carlos A. Bagley, Markus J. Bookland, Jonathan A. Pindrik, Tolga Ozmen, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Timothy F. Witham

Object.

Spinal column metastatic disease clinically affects thousands of cancer patients every year. Local chemotherapy represents a new option in the treatment of metastatic disease of the spine. Despite the clinical impact of metastatic spine disease, the literature currently lacks an accurate animal model for the effective dosing of local chemotherapeutic agents within the vertebral column.

Methods.

Female Fischer 344 rats, weighing 150 to 200 g each, were used in this study. After induction of anesthesia, a transabdominal approach to the ventral vertebral body of L-6 was performed. A small hole was drilled and 5 μL of ReGel (blank polymer), OncoGel (paclitaxel and ReGel) 1.5%, OncoGel 3.0%, or OncoGel 6.0% were immediately injected to determine drug toxicity. Based on these results, efficacy studies were performed by intratumoral injection of 5 μL of ReGel, OncoGel 3.0%, and OncoGel 6.0% on Day 6 in a CRL-1666 breast adenocarcinoma metastatic spine tumor model. Hind limb function was tested pre- and postoperatively using the Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan rating scale. Histological analysis of the spinal cord and vertebral column was performed when the animal died or was killed.

Results.

There were no signs of toxicity observed in association with any of the agents under study. No increased benefit was seen in the blank polymer group compared with the control group (tumor only). OncoGel 3.0% and OncoGel 6.0% were effective in delaying the onset of paralysis in the respective study groups.

Conclusions.

These findings demonstrate the potential benefit of OncoGel in cases of subtotal resections of metastatic spinal column tumors. OncoGel 6.0% is the most efficacious drug concentration and offers the best therapeutic option in this experimental model. These results provide promise for the development of local chemotherapeutic means to treat spinal metastases.

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Carlos A. Bagley, Jonathan A. Pindrik, Markus J. Bookland, Joaquin Q. Camara-Quintana and Benjamin S. Carson

Object

Achondroplasia is the most common hereditary form of dwarfism, and is characterized by short stature, macrocephaly, and a myriad of skeletal abnormalities. In the pediatric population, stenosis and compression at the level of the cervicomedullary junction commonly occurs. The goal in this study was to assess the outcomes in children with achondroplasia who underwent cervicomedullary decompression.

Methods

Forty-three pediatric patients with heterozygous achondroplasia and foramen magnum stenosis underwent 45 cervicomedullary decompressions at the authors’ institution over an 11-year period. After surgical decompression, complete resolution or partial improvement in the preoperative symptoms was observed in all patients. There were no deaths in the treated patients. The surgical morbidity rate was low and usually consisted of a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak in patients in whom the dura mater had been opened (either intentionally or accidentally). This problem was successfully managed in all cases with local measures (wound oversewing) or CSF diversion.

Conclusions

In this review the authors demonstrate that decompression of the cervicomedullary junction in the setting of achondroplasia may be accomplished safely with significant clinical benefit and minimal morbidity.

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Carlos A. Bagley, Markus J. Bookland, Jonathan A. Pindrik, Tolga Ozmen, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Jean-Paul Wolinsky and Timothy F. Witham

Object

Spinal column metastatic disease affects thousands of cancer patients every year. Radiation therapy frequently represents the primary treatment for this condition. Despite the enormous clinical impact of spinal column metastatic disease, the literature currently lacks an accurate animal model for testing the efficacy of irradiation on spinal column metastases.

Methods

After anesthesia was induced, female Fischer 344 rats underwent a transabdominal approach to the ventral vertebral body (VB) of L-6. A 2- to 3-mm-diameter bur hole was drilled for the implantation of a section of CRL-1666 breast adenocarcinoma. After the animals had recovered from the surgery, they underwent fractionated, single-port radiotherapy beginning on postoperative Day 7. Each group of animals underwent five daily fractions of radiation treatment. Group I animals received a total dose of 10 Gy in 200-cGy daily fractions, Group II animals received a total dose of 20 Gy in 400-cGy daily fractions, and Group III animals received a total dose of 30 Gy in 600-cGy daily fractions. A control group of rats with implanted VB lesions did not receive radiation. To test the effects of radiation toxicity alone, additional rats without implanted tumors received radiation treatments in the same fractions as the rats with tumors. Hindlimb function in all rats was rated before and after radiation treatment using the Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan locomotor rating scale. Histological analysis of spinal cord and vertebral column sections was performed after each animal's death.

Results

Functional assessments demonstrated a statistically significant delay in the onset of paresis between the three treatment groups and the control group (tumor implanted but no radiotherapy). The rats in the three treatment groups, however, did not exhibit any significant differences related to hindlimb function. A dose-dependent relationship was found for the percentage of animals who had become paralyzed at the time of death, with all members of the control group and no members of the 30-Gy group exhibiting paralysis. The results of this study do not indicate any overall survival benefit for any level of radiation dose.

Conclusions

These findings demonstrate the efficacy of focal spinal irradiation in delaying the onset of paralysis in a rat metastatic spine tumor model, but without a clear survival benefit. Because of the dose-related toxicity observed in the rats treated with 30 Gy, this effect was most profound for the 20-Gy group. This finding parallels the observed clinical course of spinal column metastatic disease in humans and provides a basis for the future comparison of novel local and systemic treatments to augment the observed effects of focal irradiation.

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Carlos A. Bagley, Karl F. Kothbauer, Sean Wilson, Markus J. Bookland, Fred J. Epstein and George I. Jallo

Object

Currently, the optimal treatment of children harboring myxopapillary ependymomas of the spinal cord remains somewhat debatable. The authors present a retrospective study in which they evaluated the records of patients in whom resection of these lesions had been performed.

Methods

Fourteen pediatric patients who had undergone resection of a spinal cord tumor between September 1982 and July 2004 were identified from the database as having histologically classified myxopapillary ependymomas. There were 10 boys and four girls ranging in age from 7 to 18 years (mean age 12.6 years); 71% of the patients were boys. The clinical presentation of the tumor's course was slow and indolent, and the patients had a mean symptom duration of 19.6 months. Twelve patients, who underwent a total of 16 operations, were available for long-term follow-up review. Thirteen gross-total resections and three subtotal resections were performed. There were no deaths due to surgery. Postoperatively, patients initially remained at their preoperative level of function or improved. Patients who had undergone previous surgery and radiotherapy were treated more conservatively than patients who were undergoing surgery for the first time. Four children experienced significant complications following treatment.

Conclusions

As the authors demonstrate in this study, excellent outcomes may be obtained with the use of aggressive surgical techniques with the goal being that of gross-total resection. Despite the best of resections, however, the risk of recurrence remains. Therefore, periodic neuroimaging surveillance of the neuraxis and close clinical follow up are warranted throughout the patient's life. The role for adjunctive chemo- and radiotherapy remains to be defined in the management of myxopapillary ependymomas.

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Joshua J. Chern, Markus Bookland, Javier Tejedor-Sojo, Jonathan Riley, Mohammadali M. Shoja, R. Shane Tubbs and Andrew Reisner

Object

The rate of readmission after CSF shunt surgery is significant and has caught the attention of purchasers of health care. However, a detailed description of clinical scenarios that lead to readmissions and reoperations after index shunt surgery is lacking in the medical literature.

Methods

This study included 1755 shunt revision and insertion surgeries that were performed at a single institution between May 1, 2009, and April 30, 2013. Demographic, socioeconomic, and clinical characteristics were prospectively collected in the administrative, business, and operating room databases. Clinical events within the 30 days following discharge were reviewed and analyzed. Two events of interest, Emergency Department (ED) utilization and reoperation, were further analyzed for risk factor associations by using multivariate logistic regression.

Results

There were 290 readmissions within 30 days of discharge (16.5%). Admission sources included ED (n = 216), hospital transfers (n = 23), and others. Of the 290 readmissions, 184 were associated with an operation, but only 165 of these were performed by the neurosurgical service. These included surgeries for shunt occlusion and externalization (n = 150), wound revision (n = 7), and other neurosurgical procedures that were not shunt related (n = 8). The remaining readmissions (n = 106) were not associated with an operation, and only 59 patients were admitted for issues related to the index shunt surgery.

When return to the ED was the dependent variable in a multivariate regression model, patients who returned to the ED were more likely to be from the Atlanta metropolitan area and to be either uninsured or insured with public assistance. When reoperation was the dependent variable, patients whose surgery started after 3 p.m. were more likely to undergo subsequent CSF shunt revision surgery on readmission.

Conclusions

Of the readmissions within 30 days of shunt surgery, 74.5% were related to the index shunt surgery. Whether and to what extent these readmissions are preventable continues to be controversial. Further study is needed to identify modifiable risk factors that may eventually improve patient care.

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Daniel M. Sciubba, Joseph C. Noggle, Neena I. Marupudi, Carlos A. Bagley, Markus J. Bookland, Benjamin S. Carson Sr., Michael C. Ain and George I. Jallo

Object

Achondroplasia is a hereditary form of dwarfism caused by a defect in endochondral bone formation, resulting in skeletal abnormalities including short stature, shortened limb bones, macrocephaly, and small vertebral bodies. In the pediatric population, symptomatic spinal stenosis occurs at all spinal levels due to the abnormally narrow bone canal. In this study, clinical outcomes were assessed in children with achondroplasia after spinal canal decompression.

Methods

A retrospective review was conducted involving pediatric patients with heterozygous achondroplasia and symptomatic stenosis after decompressive procedures at the authors' institution within a 9-year period. Measured outcomes included resolution of symptoms, need for repeated surgery, presence of fusion, development of deformity, and complications.

Forty-four pediatric patients underwent a total of 60 decompressive procedures. The average patient age at surgery was 12.7 years (range 5–21 years). Forty-nine operations were performed for initial treatment of stenosis, and 11 were performed as revision surgeries on previously operated levels. A large proportion of patients (> 60%) required additional cervicomedullary decompressions, most often preceding the symptoms of spinal stenosis. Of the initial procedures, decompression locations included 32 thoracolumbar (65%), 10 lumbar (20%), four cervical (8%), two cervicothoracic (4%), and one thoracic (2%). Forty-three of the decompressive procedures (72%) included spinal fusion procedures. Of the 11 revisions, five were fusion procedures for progressive deformity at levels previously decompressed but not fused (all thoracolumbar), five were for decompressions of symptomatic junctional stenosis with extension of fusion, and one was for repeated decompression at the same level due to recurrence of symptomatic stenosis.

Conclusions

Decompression of the spinal canal in pediatric patients with achondroplasia can be accomplished safely with significant clinical benefit. Patients with a history of cervicomedullary compression may be at an increased risk of developing symptomatic stenosis prior to adolescence. Fusion procedures are recommended in patients with a large decompression overlying a thoracolumbar kyphosis to avoid progressive postoperative deformity.