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Michael Synowitz and Juergen Kiwit

Object

In this study the authors evaluated levels of radiation exposure to surgeons’ protected and unprotected hands during fluoroscopically assisted vertebroplasty.

Methods

The amount of radiation administered to 30 patients during 41 procedures in a controlled prospective trial over 6 months was assessed, comparing radiation exposure to the right and left hands in two neurosurgeons. Effective skin doses were evaluated using thermoluminescent finger dosimeters (ring dosimeters). The ratios of finger dosimeter exposure were compared between the glove-protected and unprotected left hands of two surgeons and both unprotected right hands. In addition, dose-area product (DAP) and fluoroscopy times were recorded in all patients.

The mean treatment-effective dose to the surgeons’ hands was 0.49 ± 0.4 mSv in the glove-protected left hand and 1.81 ± 1.31 mSv in the unprotected left hand (p < 0.05). The mean effective hand doses were 0.59 ± 0.55 mSv in the unprotected right hand of the glove-protected surgeon and 0.62 ± 0.55 mSv in the unprotected right hand of the control surgeon. The total corresponding fluoroscopy time was 38.55 minutes for the protected surgeon and 41.23 minutes for the unprotected one (p > 0.05). Lead glove shielding resulted in a radiation dose reduction of 75%. The total DAP for all procedures was 256,496 mGy/cm2 and 221,408 mGy/cm2 (p >0.05) for the protected and unprotected surgeons, respectively.

Conclusions

This study emphasizes the importance of surgeons wearing lead glove protection on their leading hands during percutaneous vertebroplasty procedures and demonstrates a 75% reduction rate of exposure to radiation.

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Martin Jakobs, Ann-Kristin Helmers, Michael Synowitz, Philipp J. Slotty, Judith M. Anthofer, Jürgen R. Schlaier, Manja Kloss, Andreas W. Unterberg and Karl L. Kiening

OBJECTIVE

Rechargeable neurostimulators for deep brain stimulation have been available since 2008, promising longer battery life and fewer replacement surgeries compared to non-rechargeable systems. Long-term data on how recharging affects movement disorder patients are sparse. This is the first multicenter, patient-focused, industry-independent study on rechargeable neurostimulators.

METHODS

Four neurosurgical centers sent a questionnaire to all adult movement disorder patients with a rechargeable neurostimulator implanted at the time of the trial. The primary endpoint was the convenience of the recharging process rated on an ordinal scale from “very hard” (1) to “very easy” (5). Secondary endpoints were charge burden (time spent per week on recharging), user confidence, and complication rates. Endpoints were compared for several subgroups.

RESULTS

Datasets of 195 movement disorder patients (66.1% of sent questionnaires) with Parkinson’s disease (PD), tremor, or dystonia were returned and included in the analysis. Patients had a mean age of 61.3 years and the device was implanted for a mean of 40.3 months. The overall convenience of recharging was rated as “easy” (4). The mean charge burden was 122 min/wk and showed a positive correlation with duration of therapy; 93.8% of users felt confident recharging the device. The rate of surgical revisions was 4.1%, and the infection rate was 2.1%. Failed recharges occurred in 8.7% of patients, and 3.6% of patients experienced an interruption of therapy because of a failed recharge. Convenience ratings by PD patients were significantly worse than ratings by dystonia patients. Caregivers recharged the device for the patient in 12.3% of cases. Patients who switched from a non-rechargeable to a rechargeable neurostimulator found recharging to be significantly less convenient at a higher charge burden than did patients whose primary implant was rechargeable. Age did not have a significant impact on any endpoint.

CONCLUSIONS

Overall, patients with movement disorders rated recharging as easy, with low complication rates and acceptable charge burden.

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Margit Jehna, Juliane Becker, Karla Zaar, Gord von Campe, Kariem Mahdy Ali, Gernot Reishofer, Franz Payer, Michael Synowitz, Franz Fazekas, Christian Enzinger and Hannes Deutschmann

OBJECTIVE

Cerebral damage in frontal, parietal, and temporal brain areas and, probably more importantly, their interconnections can lead to deficits in language. However, neural plasticity and repair allow the brain to partly compensate for neural injury, mediated by both functional and structural changes. In this study, the authors sought to systematically investigate the relationship between language performance in brain tumor patients and structural perisylvian pathways (i.e., the arcuate fasciculus [AF]) using probabilistic fiber tracking on diffusion tensor imaging. The authors used a previously proposed model in which the AF is divided into anterior, long, and posterior segments. The authors hypothesized that right-handed patients with gliomas in the language-dominant (left) hemisphere would benefit from a more symmetrical or right-lateralized language pathway in terms of better preservation of language abilities. Furthermore, they investigated to what extent specific tumor characteristics, including proximity to the AF, affect language outcome in such patients.

METHODS

Twenty-seven right-handed patients (12 males and 15 females; mean age 52 ± 16 years) with 11 low-grade and 16 high-grade gliomas of the left hemisphere underwent 3-T diffusion-weighted MRI (30 directions) and language assessment as part of presurgical planning. For a systematic quantitative evaluation of the AF, probabilistic fiber tracking with a 2 regions of interest approach was carried out. Volumes of the 3 segments of both hemispheric AFs were evaluated by quantifying normalized and thresholded pathways. Resulting values served to generate the laterality index of the AFs.

RESULTS

Patients without language deficits tended to have an AF that was symmetric or lateralized to the right, whereas patients with deficits in language significantly more often demonstrated a left-lateralized posterior segment of the AF. Patients with high-grade gliomas had more severe language deficits than those with low-grade gliomas. Backward logistic regression revealed the laterality index of the posterior AF segment and tumor grade as the only independent statistically significant predictors for language deficits in this cohort.

CONCLUSIONS

In addition to the well-known fact that tumor entity influences behavioral outcome, the authors' findings suggest that the right homologs of structural language-associated pathways could be supportive for language function and facilitate compensation mechanisms after brain damage in functionally eloquent areas. This further indicates that knowledge about preoperative functional redistribution (identified by neurofunctional imaging) increases the chance for total or near-total resections of tumors in eloquent areas. In the future, longitudinal studies with larger groups are mandatory to overcome the methodological limitations of this cross-sectional study and to map neuroplastic changes associated with language performance and rehabilitation in brain tumor patients.

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Andrej Paľa, Jan Coburger, Moritz Scherer, Hajrullah Ahmeti, Constantin Roder, Florian Gessler, Christine Jungk, Angelika Scheuerle, Christian Senft, Marcos Tatagiba, Michael Synowitz, Christian Rainer Wirtz, Bernd Schmitz and Andreas W. Unterberg

OBJECTIVE

The level of evidence for adjuvant treatment of diffuse WHO grade II glioma (low-grade glioma, LGG) is low. In so-called “high-risk” patients most centers currently apply an early aggressive adjuvant treatment after surgery. The aim of this assessment was to compare progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in patients receiving radiation therapy (RT) alone, chemotherapy (CT) alone, or a combined/consecutive RT+CT, with patients receiving no primary adjuvant treatment after surgery.

METHODS

Based on a retrospective multicenter cohort of 288 patients (≥ 18 years old) with diffuse WHO grade II gliomas, a subgroup analysis of patients with a confirmed isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH) mutation was performed. The influence of primary adjuvant treatment after surgery on PFS and OS was assessed using Kaplan-Meier estimates and multivariate Cox regression models, including age (≥ 40 years), complete tumor resection (CTR), recurrent surgery, and astrocytoma versus oligodendroglioma.

RESULTS

One hundred forty-four patients matched the inclusion criteria. Forty patients (27.8%) received adjuvant treatment. The median follow-up duration was 6 years (95% confidence interval 4.8–6.3 years). The median overall PFS was 3.9 years and OS 16.1 years. PFS and OS were significantly longer without adjuvant treatment (p = 0.003). A significant difference in favor of no adjuvant therapy was observed even in high-risk patients (age ≥ 40 years or residual tumor, 3.9 vs 3.1 years, p = 0.025). In the multivariate model (controlled for age, CTR, oligodendroglial diagnosis, and recurrent surgery), patients who received no adjuvant therapy showed a significantly positive influence on PFS (p = 0.030) and OS (p = 0.009) compared to any other adjuvant treatment regimen. This effect was most pronounced if RT+CT was applied (p = 0.004, hazard ratio [HR] 2.7 for PFS, and p = 0.001, HR 20.2 for OS). CTR was independently associated with longer PFS (p = 0.019). Age ≥ 40 years, histopathological diagnosis, and recurrence did not achieve statistical significance.

CONCLUSIONS

In this series of IDH-mutated LGGs, adjuvant treatment with RT, CT with temozolomide (TMZ), or the combination of both showed no significant advantage in terms of PFS and OS. Even in high-risk patients, the authors observed a similar significantly negative impact of adjuvant treatment on PFS and OS. These results underscore the importance of a CTR in LGG. Whether patients ≥ 40 years old should receive adjuvant treatment despite a CTR should be a matter of debate. A potential tumor dedifferentiation by administration of early TMZ, RT, or RT+CT in IDH-mutated LGG should be considered. However, these data are limited by the retrospective study design and the potentially heterogeneous indication for adjuvant treatment.