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Jesse L. Winer, Daniel R. Kramer, Richard A. Robison, Ifije Ohiorhenuan, Michael Minneti, Steven Giannotta, and Gabriel Zada

Cadaveric surgical simulation carries the advantage of realistic anatomy and haptic feedback but has been historically difficult to model for intraventricular approaches given the need for active flow of CSF. This feasibility study was designed to simulate intraventricular neuroendoscopic approaches and techniques by reconstituting natural CSF flow in a cadaveric model. In 10 fresh human cadavers, a simple cervical laminectomy and dural opening were made, and a 12-gauge arterial catheter was introduced. Saline was continuously perfused at physiological CSF pressures to reconstitute the subarachnoid space and ventricles. A neuroendoscope was subsequently inserted via a standard right frontal bur hole. In 8 of the 10 cadavers, adequate reconstitution and endoscopic access of the lateral and third ventricles were achieved. In 2 cadavers, ventricular access was not feasible, perhaps because of a small ventricle size and/or deteriorated tissue quality. In all 8 cadavers with successful CSF flow reconstitution and endoscopic access, identifying the foramen of Monro was possible, as was performing septum pellucidotomy and endoscopic third ventriculostomy. Furthermore, navigation of the cerebral aqueduct, fourth ventricle, prepontine cistern, and suprasellar cistern via the lamina terminalis was possible, providing a complementary educational paradigm for resident education that cannot typically be performed in live surgery. Surgical simulation plays a critical and increasingly prominent role in surgical education, particularly for techniques with steep learning curves including intraventricular neuroendoscopic procedures. This novel model provides feasible and realistic surgical simulation of neuroendoscopic intraventricular procedures and approaches.

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Daniel A. Donoho, Dhiraj J. Pangal, Guillaume Kugener, Martin Rutkowski, Alexander Micko, Shane Shahrestani, Andrew Brunswick, Michael Minneti, Bozena B. Wrobel, and Gabriel Zada

OBJECTIVE

Internal carotid artery injury (ICAI) is a rare, life-threatening complication of endoscopic endonasal approaches that will be encountered by most skull base neurosurgeons and otolaryngologists. Rates of surgical proficiency for managing ICAI are not known, and the role of simulation to improve performance has not been studied on a nationwide scale.

METHODS

Attending and resident neurosurgery and otorhinolaryngology surgeons (n = 177) were recruited from multicenter regional and national training courses to assess training outcomes and validity at scale of a prospective educational intervention to improve surgeon technical skills using a previously validated, perfused human cadaveric simulator. Participants attempted an initial trial (T1) of simulated ICAI control using their preferred technique. An educational intervention including personalized instruction was performed. Participants attempted a second trial (T2). Task success (dichotomous), time to hemostasis (TTH), estimated blood loss (EBL), and surgeon heart rate were measured.

RESULTS

Participant rating scales confirmed that the simulation retained face and construct validity across eight instructional settings. Trial success (ICAI control) improved from 56% in T1 to 90% in T2 (p < 0.0001). EBL and TTH decreased by 37% and 38%, respectively (p < 0.0001). Postintervention resident surgeon performance (TTH, EBL, and success rate) was superior to preintervention attending surgeon performance. The most improved quartile of participants achieved 62% improvement in TTH and 73% improvement in EBL, with trial success improvement from 25.6% in T1 to 100% in T2 (p < 0.0001). Baseline surgeon confidence was uncorrelated with T1 success, while posttraining confidence correlated with T2 success. Tachycardia was measured in 57% of surgeon participants, but was attenuated during T2, consistent with development of resiliency.

CONCLUSIONS

Prior to training, many attending and most resident surgeons could not manage the rare, life-threatening intraoperative complication of ICAI. A simulated educational intervention significantly improved surgeon performance and remained valid when deployed at scale. Simulation also promoted the development of favorable cognitive skills (accurate perception of skill and resiliency). Rare, life-threatening intraoperative complications may be optimal targets for educational interventions using surgical simulation.

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Eisha A. Christian, Joshua Bakhsheshian, Ben A. Strickland, Vance L. Fredrickson, Ian A. Buchanan, Martin H. Pham, Andrew Cervantes, Michael Minneti, Bozena B. Wrobel, Steven Giannotta, and Gabriel Zada

OBJECTIVE

Competency in endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs) to repair high-flow cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks is an essential component of the neurosurgical training process. The objective of this study was to demonstrate the feasibility of a simulation model for EEA repair of anterior skull base CSF leaks.

METHODS

Human cadaveric specimens were utilized with a perfusion system to simulate a high-flow CSF leak. Neurological surgery residents (postgraduate year 3 or greater) performed a standard EEA to repair a CSF leak using a combination of fat, fascia lata, and pedicled nasoseptal flaps. A standardized 5-point Likert questionnaire was used to assess the knowledge gained, techniques learned, degree of safety, benefit of CSF perfusion during repair, and pre- and posttraining confidence scores.

RESULTS

Intrathecal perfusion of fluorescein-infused saline into the ventricular/subarachnoid space was successful in 9 of 9 cases. The addition of CSF reconstitution offered the residents visual feedback for confirmation of intraoperative CSF leak repair. Residents gained new knowledge and a realistic simulation experience by rehearsing the psychomotor skills and techniques required to repair a CSF leak with fat and fascial grafts, as well as to prepare and rotate vascularized nasoseptal flaps. All trainees reported feeling safer with the procedure in a clinical setting and higher average posttraining confidence scores (pretraining 2.22 ± 0.83, posttraining 4.22 ± 0.44, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Perfusion-based human cadaveric models can be utilized as a simulation training model for repairing CSF leaks during EEA.