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Deborah L. Benzil, Karin M. Muraszko, Pranay Soni, Ellen L. Air, Katie O. Orrico, and James T. Rutka

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was the creation and administration of a survey to assess the depth and breadth of sexual harassment across neurosurgery.

METHODS

A survey was created to 1) assess perceived attitudes toward systemic issues that might be permissive of sexual harassment; 2) measure the reported prevalence and severity of sexual harassment; and 3) determine the populations at highest risk and those most likely to perpetrate sexual harassment. Demographic information was also included to facilitate further analysis. The SurveyMonkey platform was used, and a request to complete the survey was sent to all Society of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) active and resident members as well as CNS transitional, emeritus, and inactive members. Data were analyzed using RStudio version 1.2.5019.

RESULTS

Nearly two-thirds of responders indicated having witnessed sexual harassment in some form (62%, n = 382). Males were overwhelmingly identified as the offenders in allegations of sexual harassment (72%), with individuals in a “superior position” identified as offenders in 86%. Less than one-third of responders addressed the incidents of sexual harassment when they happened (yes 31%, no 62%, unsure 7%). Of those who did report, most felt there was either no impact or a negative one (negative: 34%, no impact: 38%). Almost all (85%) cited barriers to taking action about sexual harassment, including retaliation/retribution (87%), impact on future career (85%), reputation concerns (72%), and associated stress (50%). Female neurosurgeons were statistically more likely than male neurosurgeons to report witnessing or experiencing sexual harassment, as well as assessing it as a problem.

CONCLUSIONS

This study demonstrates that neurosurgeons report significant sexual harassment across all ages and practice settings. Sexual harassment impacts both men and women, with more than half personally subjected to this behavior and two-thirds having witnessed it. Male dominance, a hierarchical environment, and a permissive environment remain prevalent within the neurosurgical community. This is not just a historical problem, but it continues today. A change of culture will be required for neurosurgery to shed this mantle, which must include zero tolerance of this behavior, new policies, awareness of unconscious bias, and commitment to best practices to enhance diversity. Above all, it will require that all neurosurgeons and neurosurgical leaders develop an awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace and establish consistent mechanisms to mitigate against its highly deleterious effects in the specialty.

Restricted access

Pranay Soni, Ghaith Habboub, Varun R. Kshettry, Richard Schlenk, Frederick Lautzenheiser, and Edward C. Benzel

The Cleveland Clinic was established in 1921 under the direction of 4 experienced and iconic physicians: George Crile, Frank Bunts, William Lower, and John Phillips. The Clinic initially employed a staff of only 6 surgeons, 4 internists, 1 radiologist, and 1 biophysicist, but Crile was quick to realize the need for broadening its scope of practice. He asked his close friend, Harvey Cushing, for assistance in finding a suitable candidate to establish a department of neurosurgery at the Cleveland Clinic. With his full endorsement, Cushing recommended Dr. Charles Edward Locke Jr., a former student and burgeoning star in the field of neurosurgery. Unfortunately, Locke’s life and career both ended prematurely in the Cleveland Clinic fire of 1929, but not before he would leave a lasting legacy, both at the Cleveland Clinic and in the field of neurosurgery.

Free access

Deborah L. Benzil, Karin M. Muraszko, Pranay Soni, Ellen L. Air, Katie O. Orrico, and James T. Rutka

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was the creation and administration of a survey to assess the depth and breadth of sexual harassment across neurosurgery.

METHODS

A survey was created to 1) assess perceived attitudes toward systemic issues that might be permissive of sexual harassment; 2) measure the reported prevalence and severity of sexual harassment; and 3) determine the populations at highest risk and those most likely to perpetrate sexual harassment. Demographic information was also included to facilitate further analysis. The SurveyMonkey platform was used, and a request to complete the survey was sent to all Society of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) active and resident members as well as CNS transitional, emeritus, and inactive members. Data were analyzed using RStudio version 1.2.5019.

RESULTS

Nearly two-thirds of responders indicated having witnessed sexual harassment in some form (62%, n = 382). Males were overwhelmingly identified as the offenders in allegations of sexual harassment (72%), with individuals in a “superior position” identified as offenders in 86%. Less than one-third of responders addressed the incidents of sexual harassment when they happened (yes 31%, no 62%, unsure 7%). Of those who did report, most felt there was either no impact or a negative one (negative: 34%, no impact: 38%). Almost all (85%) cited barriers to taking action about sexual harassment, including retaliation/retribution (87%), impact on future career (85%), reputation concerns (72%), and associated stress (50%). Female neurosurgeons were statistically more likely than male neurosurgeons to report witnessing or experiencing sexual harassment, as well as assessing it as a problem.

CONCLUSIONS

This study demonstrates that neurosurgeons report significant sexual harassment across all ages and practice settings. Sexual harassment impacts both men and women, with more than half personally subjected to this behavior and two-thirds having witnessed it. Male dominance, a hierarchical environment, and a permissive environment remain prevalent within the neurosurgical community. This is not just a historical problem, but it continues today. A change of culture will be required for neurosurgery to shed this mantle, which must include zero tolerance of this behavior, new policies, awareness of unconscious bias, and commitment to best practices to enhance diversity. Above all, it will require that all neurosurgeons and neurosurgical leaders develop an awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace and establish consistent mechanisms to mitigate against its highly deleterious effects in the specialty.

Free access

Mónica Patricia Herrera-Martinez, Ezequiel García-Ballestas, Ivan Lozada-Martinez, Daniela Torres-Llinás, and Luis Moscote-Salazar

Free access

Mónica Patricia Herrera-Martinez, Ezequiel García-Ballestas, Ivan Lozada-Martinez, Daniela Torres-Llinás, and Luis Moscote-Salazar

Restricted access

Pranay Soni, Jeremy G. Loss, Callan M. Gillespie, Robb W. Colbrunn, Richard Schlenk, Michael P. Steinmetz, Pablo F. Recinos, Edward C. Benzel, and Varun R. Kshettry

OBJECTIVE

The direct lateral approach is an alternative to the transoral or endonasal approaches to ventral epidural lesions at the lower craniocervical junction. In this study, the authors performed, to their knowledge, the first in vitro biomechanical evaluation of the craniovertebral junction after sequential unilateral C1 lateral mass resection. The authors hypothesized that partial resection of the lateral mass would not result in a significant increase in range of motion (ROM) and may not require internal stabilization.

METHODS

The authors performed multidirectional in vitro ROM testing using a robotic spine testing system on 8 fresh cadaveric specimens. We evaluated ROM in 3 primary movements (axial rotation [AR], flexion/extension [FE], and lateral bending [LB]) and 4 coupled movements (AR+E, AR+F, LB + left AR, and LB + right AR). Testing was performed in the intact state, after C1 hemilaminectomy, and after sequential 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% C1 lateral mass resection.

RESULTS

There were no significant increases in occipital bone (Oc)–C1, C1–2, or Oc–C2 ROM after C1 hemilaminectomy and 25% lateral mass resection. After 50% resection, Oc–C1 AR ROM increased by 54.4% (p = 0.002), Oc LB ROM increased by 47.8% (p = 0.010), and Oc–C1 AR+E ROM increased by 65.8% (p < 0.001). Oc–C2 FE ROM increased by 7.2% (p = 0.016) after 50% resection; 75% and 100% lateral mass resection resulted in further increases in ROM.

CONCLUSIONS

In this cadaveric biomechanical study, the authors found that unilateral C1 hemilaminectomy and 25% resection of the C1 lateral mass did not result in significant biomechanical instability at the occipitocervical junction, and 50% resection led to significant increases in Oc–C2 ROM. This is the first biomechanical study of lateral mass resection, and future studies can serve to validate these findings.

Restricted access

Arbaz A. Momin, Pranay Soni, Jianning Shao, Amy S. Nowacki, John H. Suh, Erin S. Murphy, Samuel T. Chao, Lilyana Angelov, Alireza M. Mohammadi, Gene H. Barnett, Pablo F. Recinos, and Varun R. Kshettry

OBJECTIVE

After gross-total resection (GTR) of a newly diagnosed WHO grade II meningioma, the decision to treat with radiation upfront or at initial recurrence remains controversial. A comparison of progression-free survival (PFS) between observation and adjuvant radiation fails to account for the potential success of salvage radiation, and a direct comparison of PFS between adjuvant and salvage radiation is hampered by strong selection bias against salvage radiation cohorts in which only more aggressive, recurrent tumors are included. To account for the limitations of traditional PFS measures, the authors evaluated radiation failure-free survival (RFFS) between two treatment strategies after GTR: adjuvant radiation versus observation with salvage radiation, if necessary.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of patients who underwent GTR of newly diagnosed WHO grade II meningiomas at their institution between 1996 and 2019. They assessed traditional PFS in patients who underwent adjuvant radiation, postoperative observation, and salvage radiation. For RFFS, treatment failure was defined as time from initial surgery to failure of first radiation. To assess the association between treatment strategy and RFFS while accounting for potential confounders, a multivariable Cox regression analysis adjusted for the propensity score (PS) and inverse probability of treatment weighted (IPTW) Cox regression analysis were performed.

RESULTS

A total of 160 patients underwent GTR and were included in this study. Of the 121 patients who underwent observation, 32 (26.4%) developed recurrence and required salvage radiation. PFS at 3, 5, and 10 years after observation was 75.1%, 65.6%, and 45.5%, respectively. PFS at 3 and 5 years after salvage radiation was 81.7% and 61.3%, respectively. Of 160 patients, 39 received adjuvant radiation, and 3- and 5-year PFS/RFFS rates were 86.1% and 59.2%, respectively. In patients who underwent observation with salvage radiation, if necessary, the 3-, 5-, and 10-year RFFS rates were 97.7%, 90.3%, and 87.9%, respectively. Both PS and IPTW Cox regression models demonstrated that patients who underwent observation with salvage radiation treatment, if necessary, had significantly longer RFFS (PS model: hazard ratio [HR] 0.21, p < 0.01; IPTW model: HR 0.21, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

In this retrospective, nonrandomized study, adjuvant radiation after GTR of a WHO II meningioma did not add significant benefit over a strategy of observation and salvage radiation at initial recurrence, if necessary, but results must be considered in the context of the limitations of the study design.