Extraction of a bullet fragment seated in deep brain parenchyma utilizing a neuroendoscope has not been previously reported in the literature. The authors report the case of a 4-year-old patient who presented after a pellet gun injury with a projectile located 6 cm intracranially and lodged within the posterior thalamus and near the posterior limb of the internal capsule. Initial operative repair included repair of a CSF leak with duraplasty, minimal brain debridement, and elevation of a depressed skull fracture. Subsequent CT at 2 months postoperatively revealed migration of the deep intracranial pellet. This finding correlated with intermittent worsening neurological symptoms and signs. A rigid 3-mm neuroendoscope with CT stereotactic navigation was then used to remove the pellet fragment from the thalamus. The patient returned home with alleviation of clinical symptoms and an uneventful postoperative recovery. This case demonstrates that navigation-guided neuroendoscopy can be successfully used to remove projectile fragments from deep brain structures, especially when the migration is along the initial path of the bullet. This technique represents another low-risk curative option in the management of retained bullet fragments in gunshot wound injuries to the head.
Pate J. Duddleston, Julian L. Gendreau, Kristen A. Little, Amber Andrews, and Willard D. Thompson Jr.
Mihir Gupta, Varun Sagi, Aditya Mittal, Anudeep Yekula, Devan Hawkins, Justin Shimizu, Pate J. Duddleston, Kathleen Thomas, Steven J. Goetsch, John F. Alksne, David W. Hodgens, Kenneth Ott, Kenneth T. Shimizu, Christopher Duma, and Sharona Ben-Haim
Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) is an established surgical option for the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia (TN), particularly for high-risk surgical candidates and those with recurrent pain. However, outcomes after three or more GKRS treatments have rarely been reported. Herein, the authors reviewed outcomes among patients who had undergone three or more GKRS procedures for recurrent TN.
The authors conducted a multicenter retrospective analysis of patients who had undergone at least three GKRS treatments for TN between July 1997 and April 2019 at two different institutions. Clinical characteristics, radiosurgical dosimetry and technique, pain outcomes, and complications were reviewed. Pain outcomes were scored on the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) scale, including time to pain relief (BNI score ≤ III) and recurrence (BNI score > III).
A total of 30 patients were identified, including 16 women and 14 men. Median pain duration prior to the first GKRS treatment was 10 years. Three patients (10%) had multiple sclerosis. Time to pain relief was longer after the third treatment (p = 0.0003), whereas time to pain recurrence was similar across each of the successive treatments (p = 0.842). Complete or partial pain relief was achieved in 93.1% of patients after the third treatment. The maximum pain relief achieved after the third treatment was significantly better among patients with no prior percutaneous procedures (p = 0.0111) and patients with shorter durations of pain before initiation of GKRS therapy (p = 0.0449). New or progressive facial sensory dysfunction occurred in 29% of patients after the third GKRS treatment and was reported as bothersome in 14%. One patient developed facial twitching, while another experienced persistent lacrimation. No statistically significant predictors of adverse effects following the third treatment were found. Over a median of 39 months of follow-up, 77% of patients maintained complete or partial pain relief. Three patients underwent a fourth GKRS treatment, including one who ultimately received five treatments; all of them reported sustained pain relief at the extended follow-up.
The authors describe the largest series to date of patients undergoing three or more GKRS treatments for refractory TN. A third treatment may produce outcomes similar to those of the first two treatments in terms of long-term pain relief, recurrence, and adverse effects.
Mihir Gupta, Allison Reichl, Luis Daniel Diaz-Aguilar, Pate J. Duddleston, Jamie S. Ullman, Karin M. Muraszko, Shelly D. Timmons, Isabelle M. Germano, Aviva Abosch, Jennifer A. Sweet, Susan C. Pannullo, Deborah L. Benzil, and Sharona Ben-Haim
Despite recently heightened advocacy efforts relating to pregnancy and family leave policies in multiple surgical specialties, no studies to date have described female neurosurgeons’ experiences with childbearing. The AANS/CNS Section of Women in Neurosurgery created the Women and Pregnancy Task Force to ascertain female neurosurgeons’ experiences with and attitudes toward pregnancy and the role of family leave policies.
A voluntary online 28-question survey examined the pregnancy experiences of female neurosurgeons and perceived barriers to childbearing. The survey was developed and electronically distributed to all members of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons who self-identified as female in February 2016. Responses from female resident physicians, fellows, and current or retired practicing neurosurgeons were analyzed.
A total of 126 women (20.3%) responded to the survey; 57 participants (49%) already had children, and 39 (33%) planned to do so. Participants overwhelmingly had or planned to have children during the early practice and senior residency years. The most frequent obstacles experienced or anticipated included insufficient time to care for newborns (47% of women with children, 92% of women planning to have children), discrimination by coworkers (31% and 77%, respectively), and inadequate time for completion of board requirements (18% and 51%, respectively). There was substantial variability in family leave policies, and a minority of participants (35%) endorsed the presence of any formal policy at their institution. Respondents described myriad unique challenges associated with pregnancy and family leave.
Pregnancy and family leave pose significant challenges to the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in neurosurgery. It is thus imperative to promote clear family leave policies for trainees and practitioners, address discrimination surrounding these topics, and encourage forethought and flexibility to tackle obstacles inherent in pregnancy and the early stages of child rearing.