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Matthew A. Kirkman, William Muirhead, and Nick Sevdalis

OBJECTIVE

Ventriculostomy is a relatively common neurosurgical procedure, often performed in the setting of acute hydrocephalus. Accurate positioning of the catheter is vital to minimize morbidity and mortality, and several anatomical landmarks are currently used. The aim of this study was to prospectively evaluate the relative performance of 3 recognized trajectories for frontal ventriculostomy using imaging-derived metrics: perpendicular to skull (PTS), contralateral medial canthus/external auditory meatus (CMC/EAM), and ipsilateral medial canthus/external auditory meatus (IMC/EAM).

METHODS

Participants completed 9 simulated ventriculostomy attempts (3 of each trajectory) on a model head with Medtronic StealthStation coregistered imaging. Performance measures were distance of the ventricular catheter tip to the foramen of Monro (FoM) and presence of the catheter tip in a lateral ventricle.

RESULTS

Thirty-one individuals of varying seniority and prior ventriculostomy experience performed a total of 279 simulated freehand frontal ventriculostomies. The PTS and CMC/EAM trajectories were found to be significantly more likely to result in both the catheter tip being closer to the FoM and in a lateral ventricle compared with the IMC/EAM trajectory. These findings were not influenced by the prior ventriculostomy experience of the participant, corroborating the significance of these results.

CONCLUSIONS

The PTS and CMC/EAM trajectories were superior to the IMC/EAM trajectories during freehand frontal ventriculostomy in this study, and further data from studies incorporating varying ventricular sizes and bur hole locations are required to facilitate a change in clinical practice. In addition, neuronavigation and other guidance techniques for ventriculostomy are becoming increasingly popular and may be superior to freehand techniques, necessitating further prospective data evaluating their safety, efficacy, and feasibility for routine clinical use.

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R. Loch Macdonald

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Matthew A. Kirkman, Richard Hayward, Kim Phipps, and Kristian Aquilina

OBJECTIVE

It is relatively unusual for pediatric CNS tumors to be disseminated at presentation, and the literature on the clinical features, management, and outcomes of this specific group is scarce. Surgical management in this population is often challenging, particularly in the presence of hydrocephalus. The authors present their recent experience of treating pediatric CNS tumors that were disseminated at presentation, and they compare these lesions with focal tumors.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of prospectively collected data on children presenting to a tertiary center between 2003 and 2016 inclusive.

RESULTS

Of 361 children with CNS tumors, the authors identified 53 patients with disease dissemination at presentation (male/female ratio 34:19, median age 3.8 years, age range 7 days to 15.6 years) and 308 without dissemination at presentation (male/female ratio 161:147, median age 5.8 years, age range 1 day to 16.9 years). Five tumor groups were studied: medulloblastoma (disseminated n = 29, focal n = 74), other primitive neuroectodermal tumor (n = 8, n = 17), atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (n = 8, n = 22), pilocytic astrocytoma (n = 6, n = 138), and ependymoma (n = 2, n = 57). The median follow-up duration in survivors was not significantly different between those with disease dissemination at presentation (64.0 months, range 5.2–152.0 months) and those without it (74.5 months, range 4.7–170.1 months) (p > 0.05). When combining data from all 5 tumor groups, dissemination status at presentation was significantly associated with a higher risk of requiring CSF diversion, a higher surgical complication rate, and a reduced likelihood of achieving gross-total resection of the targeted lesion (all variables p < 0.05). Differences between the 5 tumor groups were evident. No factors that predicted the need for permanent CSF diversion following temporary external ventricular drainage were identified on multivariate analysis, and there was no clear superiority of either ventriculoperitoneal shunt surgery or endoscopic third ventriculostomy as a permanent CSF diversion procedure.

CONCLUSIONS

Tumor type and dissemination status at initial presentation significantly affect outcomes across a range of measures. The management of hydrocephalus in patients with CNS tumors is challenging, and further prospective studies are required to identify the optimal CSF diversion strategy in this population.

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Dora Steel, Matthew A. Kirkman, Dominic N. P. Thompson, and Kristian Aquilina

Open anterolateral cordotomy is an effective treatment option for adults with intractable pain, but it has seldom been attempted in children. In the 2 previously reported cases in children, the procedure was used within 10 days of death from neoplastic disease. In this paper the authors describe 2 cases in which open cordotomy was used successfully in children outside the immediate terminal phase of disease. Both patients experienced effective analgesia with minimal adverse effects. The authors propose that consideration of cordotomy as an option for the management of intractable pain in children does not need to be delayed until death is imminent.

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Matthew A. Kirkman, Maria Ahmed, Angelique F. Albert, Mark H. Wilson, Dipankar Nandi, and Nick Sevdalis

Object

There is increasing evidence that simulation provides high-quality, time-effective training in an era of resident duty-hour restrictions. Simulation may also permit trainees to acquire key skills in a safe environment, important in a specialty such as neurosurgery, where technical error can result in devastating consequences. The authors systematically reviewed the application of simulation within neurosurgical training and explored the state of the art in simulation within this specialty. To their knowledge this is the first systematic review published on this topic to date.

Methods

The authors searched the Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, and PsycINFO databases and identified 4101 articles; 195 abstracts were screened by 2 authors for inclusion. The authors reviewed data on study population, study design and setting, outcome measures, key findings, and limitations.

Results

Twenty-eight articles formed the basis of this systematic review. Several different simulators are at the neurosurgeon's disposal, including those for ventriculostomy, neuroendoscopic procedures, and spinal surgery, with evidence for improved performance in a range of procedures. Feedback from participants has generally been favorable. However, study quality was found to be poor overall, with many studies hampered by nonrandomized design, presenting normal rather than abnormal anatomy, lack of control groups and long-term follow-up, poor study reporting, lack of evidence of improved simulator performance translating into clinical benefit, and poor reliability and validity evidence. The mean Medical Education Research Study Quality Instrument score of included studies was 9.21 ± 1.95 (± SD) out of a possible score of 18.

Conclusions

The authors demonstrate qualitative and quantitative benefits of a range of neurosurgical simulators but find significant shortfalls in methodology and design. Future studies should seek to improve study design and reporting, and provide long-term follow-up data on simulated and ideally patient outcomes.