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Michael P. Catalino and Edward R. Laws Jr.

Harvey Cushing overcame tremendous obstacles to his personal and professional development from 1912 to 1919. These trials could have jeopardized the early and necessary formation of the Society of Neurological Surgeons in 1920. War separated young neurosurgeons pursuing the advancement of this “special field,” but Cushing’s principled mentoring of these aspiring surgeons in the midst of this demanding time was unwavering. This historical vignette is a collection of stories composed to highlight certain trainees during this period in his career. It also puts the mentoring relationship into a context that is often encountered today. There is much to learn from those who endure trials of any kind, but there is much more to learn from those, like Cushing, who inspire perseverance in others during their trials.

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Eric Suero Molina, Michael P. Catalino and Edward R. Laws

Harvey Cushing is considered the father of neurosurgery, not just for his work within the United States, but also for his global influence through international visitors and trainees. Starting in 1920, the neurosurgical clinic at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, led by Cushing, trained surgeons from all over the globe, many of whom returned home to establish neurosurgical departments and become neurosurgical pioneers themselves. The objective of this vignette is to highlight the importance of Cushing’s international trainees, describe their contributions, and discuss how each had an impact on the development of the practice of neurosurgery worldwide. The authors demonstrate how Cushing provided the impetus for a movement that revolutionized neurology and neurosurgery worldwide. Even today, international cooperation continues to shape the success of our delicate specialty.

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Brice A. Kessler, Michael P. Catalino, Carolyn Quinsey, William Goodnight and Scott Elton

OBJECTIVE

Prenatal myelomeningocele (MMC) closure has been performed in the United States for 2 decades. While prior work has focused on clinical outcomes of prenatal MMC closure, the cost of this procedure in comparison with that of postnatal MMC closure is unclear. The authors’ aim was to compare the cost of prenatal versus postnatal MMC closure for both the child and mother at 1 year.

METHODS

A prospective database of patients undergoing prenatal and postnatal MMC closure between 2011 and 2018 with 1-year follow-up was retrospectively reviewed. Charge data for relevant admissions were converted to a cost estimate using the authors’ institution’s Medicare hospital-specific cost-to-charge ratio. Children, mothers, and mother/child pairs were considered separately. The primary outcome was cost. Secondary outcomes included the need for hydrocephalus treatment, length of stay (LOS), and readmissions. Other covariates included gestational age at birth, MMC lesion level, and obstetric complications.

RESULTS

The median cost of care for children in the prenatal group was greater, although not significantly so, at $58,406.71 (IQR $16,900.24–$88,951.01) compared with $49,889.95 (IQR $38,425.18–$115,163.86) for children in the postnatal group (p = 0.204). The median cost for mothers in the prenatal group was significantly greater at $24,548.29 (IQR $20,231.55–$36,862.31) compared with $5087.30 (IQR $4430.72–$5362.56) (p < 0.001). The median cost for mother/child pairs in the prenatal group was $102,377.75 (IQR $37,384.30–$118,527.74) compared with $55,667.82 (IQR $42,840.78–$120,058.06) (p = 0.45). Children in the prenatal group had a lower gestational age at birth (235.81 days vs 265.77 days, p < 0.001) and fewer readmissions (33.3% vs 72.7%, p < 0.001), and hydrocephalus treatment was less common (33.3% vs 90.9%, p < 0.001). Index LOS did not differ between children in the prenatal and postnatal groups (26.8 days vs 23.5 days, p = 0.63). Mothers in the prenatal group had longer LOS (15.92 days vs 4.68 days, p < 0.001) and more readmissions (18.5% vs 0.0%, p = 0.06).

CONCLUSIONS

The median cost of prenatal versus postnatal MMC closure did not significantly differ from a hospital perspective at 1 year, although variability in cost was high for both groups. When considering the mother alone, prenatal MMC closure was costlier. Future work is needed to assess cost from a patient and societal perspective both at 1 year and beyond.

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David J. Cote, Sherry L. Iuliano, Michael P. Catalino and Edward R. Laws Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Perioperative management of patients with sellar lesions is complex, requiring input from a multidisciplinary team of specialists for ongoing management of both endocrinological and neurosurgical issues. Here, the authors reviewed the experience of a single multidisciplinary center over 10 years to identify key postoperative practices that ensure positive outcomes for patients with sellar lesions who undergo transsphenoidal surgery.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of all transsphenoidal operations carried out by the senior author at a single center from April 2008 through November 2018. They included only adult patients and recorded perioperative management. They also reviewed the evolution of clinical practices for perioperative care at their institution to identify strategies for ensuring positive patient outcomes, and they reviewed the literature on select related topics.

RESULTS

In total, 1023 operations in 928 patients were reviewed. Of these, 712 operations were for pituitary adenomas (69.6%), and 122 were for Rathke cleft cysts (11.9%). The remainder included operations for craniopharyngiomas (3.6%), arachnoid cysts (1.7%), pituitary tumor apoplexy (1.0%), and other sellar pathologies (12.2%). Among the reviewed operations, the median hospital stay was 3 days (IQR 2–3). Patient management details during the pre-, intra-, and postoperative periods were identified, including both shared characteristics of all patients undergoing transsphenoidal surgery and unique characteristics that are specific to certain lesion types or patient populations.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with sellar lesions who undergo transsphenoidal surgery require complex, multidisciplinary perioperative care to monitor for common adverse events and to improve outcomes, but there is a dearth of high-quality evidence guiding most perioperative practices. Here, the authors reviewed practices at their institution across more than 1000 transsphenoidal operations that may help ensure successful patient outcomes.

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Michael P. Catalino, Shun Yao, Deborah L. Green, Edward R. Laws Jr., Alexandra J. Golby and Yanmei Tie

Neurosurgery has been at the forefront of a paradigm shift from a localizationist perspective to a network-based approach to brain mapping. Over the last 2 decades, we have seen dramatic improvements in the way we can image the human brain and noninvasively estimate the location of critical functional networks. In certain patients with brain tumors and epilepsy, intraoperative electrical stimulation has revealed direct links between these networks and their function. The focus of these techniques has rightfully been identification and preservation of so-called “eloquent” brain functions (i.e., motor and language), but there is building momentum for more extensive mapping of cognitive and emotional networks. In addition, there is growing interest in mapping these functions in patients with a broad range of neurosurgical diseases. Resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) is a noninvasive imaging modality that is able to measure spontaneous low-frequency blood oxygen level–dependent signal fluctuations at rest to infer neuronal activity. Rs-fMRI may be able to map cognitive and emotional networks for individual patients. In this review, the authors give an overview of the rs-fMRI technique and associated cognitive and emotional resting-state networks, discuss the potential applications of rs-fMRI, and propose future directions for the mapping of cognition and emotion in neurosurgical patients.

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Michael P. Catalino, David M. Meredith, Umberto De Girolami, Sherwin Tavakol, Le Min and Edward R. Laws Jr.

OBJECTIVE

This study was done to compare corticotroph hyperplasia and histopathologically proven adenomas in patients with Cushing disease by analyzing diagnostic features, surgical management, and clinical outcomes.

METHODS

Patients with suspected pituitary Cushing disease were included in a retrospective cohort study and were excluded if results of pathological analysis of the surgical specimen were nondiagnostic or normal. Cases were reviewed by two experienced neuropathologists. Total lesion removal was used as a dichotomized surgical variable; it was defined as an extracapsular resection (including a rim of normal gland) in patients with an adenoma, and for hyperplasia patients it was defined as removal of the presumed lesion plus a rim of surrounding normal gland. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were performed. Recurrence-free survival was compared between the two groups.

RESULTS

The final cohort consisted of 63 patients (15 with hyperplasia and 48 with adenoma). Normal pituitary acinar architecture was highly variable. Corticotroph hyperplasia was diagnosed based on the presence of expanded acini showing retained reticulin architecture and predominant staining for adrenocorticotropic hormone. Crooke’s hyaline change was seen in 46.7% of specimens, and its frequency was equal in nonlesional tissue of both groups. The two groups differed only by MRI findings (equivocal/diffuse lesion in 46% of hyperplasia and 17% of adenoma; p = 0.03). Diagnostic uncertainty in the hyperplasia group resulted in additional confirmatory testing by 24-hour urinary free cortisol. Total lesion removal was infrequent in patients with hyperplasia compared to those with adenoma (33% vs 65%; p = 0.03). Initial biochemical remission was similar (67% in hyperplasia and 85% in adenoma; p = 0.11). There was no difference in hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis recovery or disease recurrence. The median follow-up was 1.9 years (IQR 0.7–7.6 years) for the hyperplasia group and 1.2 years (IQR 0.4–2.4 years) for the adenoma group. Lack of a discrete lesion and diagnostic uncertainty were the only significant predictors of hyperplasia (sensitivity 53.3%, specificity 97.7%, positive predictive value 88.9%, negative predictive value 85.7%). An adjusted Cox proportional hazards model showed similar recurrence-free survival in the two groups.

CONCLUSIONS

This study suggests an association between biochemically proven Cushing disease and histopathologically proven corticotroph hyperplasia. Imaging and operative findings can be ambiguous, and, compared to typical adenomas with a pseudocapsule, the surgical approach is more nuanced. Nevertheless, if treated appropriately, biochemical outcomes may be similar.