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Elias Dakwar, Rafael F. Cardona, Donald A. Smith, and Juan S. Uribe

Object

The object of this study was to evaluate an alternative surgical approach to degenerative thoracolumbar deformity in adults. The authors present their early experience with the minimally invasive, lateral retroperitoneal transpsoas approach for placing interbody grafts and providing anterior column support for adult degenerative deformity.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed a prospectively acquired database of all patients with adult thoracolumbar degenerative deformity treated with the minimally invasive, lateral retroperitoneal transpsoas approach at our institution. All patient data were recorded including demographics, preoperative evaluation, procedure used, postoperative follow-up, operative time, blood loss, length of hospital stay, and complications. The Oswestry Disability Index and visual analog scale (for pain) were also administered pre- and postoperatively as early outcome measures. All patients were scheduled for follow-up postoperatively at weeks 2, 6, 12, and 24, and at 1 year.

Results

The authors identified 25 patients with adult degenerative deformity who were treated using the minimally invasive, lateral retroperitoneal transpsoas approach. All patients underwent discectomy and lateral interbody graft placement for anterior column support and interbody fusion. The mean total blood loss was 53 ml per level. The average length of stay in the hospital was 6.2 days. Mean follow-up was 11 months (range 3–20 months). A mean improvement of 5.7 points on visual analog scale scores and 23.7% on the Oswestry Disability Index was observed. Perioperative complications include 1 patient with rhabdomyolysis requiring temporary hemodialysis, 1 patient with subsidence, and 1 patient with hardware failure. Three patients (12%) experienced transient postoperative anterior thigh numbness, ipsilateral to the side of approach. In this series, 20 patients (80%) were identified who had more than 6 months of follow-up and radiographic evidence of fusion. The minimally invasive, lateral retroperitoneal transpsoas approach, without the use of osteotomies, did not correct the sagittal balance in approximately one-third of the patients.

Conclusions

Degenerative scoliosis of the adult spine is secondary to asymmetrical degeneration of the discs. Surgical decompression and correction of the deformity can be performed from an anterior, posterior, or combined approach. These procedures are often associated with long operative times and a high incidence of complications. The authors' experience with the minimally invasive, lateral retroperitoneal transpsoas approach for placement of a large interbody graft for anterior column support, restoration of disc height, arthrodesis, and realignment is a feasible alternative to these procedures.

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Jonathan Pindrik, Joseph Molenda, Rafael Uribe-Cardenas, Amir H. Dorafshar, and Edward S. Ahn

OBJECTIVE

Subjective evaluations typically guide craniosynostosis repair. This study provides normative values of anthropometric cranial indices that are clinically useful for the evaluation of multiple types of craniosynostosis and introduces 2 new indices that are useful in the evaluation and management of metopic and bicoronal synostosis. The authors hypothesize that normative values of the new indices as well as for established measures like the cephalic index can be drawn from the evaluation of CT scans of normal individuals.

METHODS

High-resolution 3D CT scans obtained in normal infants (age 0–24 months) were retrospectively reviewed. Calvarial measurements obtained from advanced imaging visualization software were used to compute cranial indices. Additionally, metopic sutures were evaluated for patency or closure.

RESULTS

A total of 312 participants were included in the study. Each monthly age group (total 24) included 12–18 patients, yielding 324 head CT scans studied. The mean cephalic index decreased from 0.85 at age 0–3 months to 0.81 at 19–24 months, the mean frontoparietal index decreased from 0.68 to 0.65, the metopic index from 0.59 to 0.55, and the towering index remained comparatively uniform at 0.64 and 0.65. Trends were statistically significant for all measured indices. There were no significant differences found in mean cranial indices between sexes in any age group. Metopic suture closure frequency for ages 3, 6, and 9 months were 38.5%, 69.2%, and 100.0%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Radiographically acquired normative values for anthropometric cranial indices during infancy can be used as standards for guiding preoperative decision making, surgical correction, and postoperative helmeting in various forms of craniosynostosis. Metopic and towering indices represent new cranial indices that are potentially useful for the clinical evaluation of metopic and bicoronal synostoses, respectively. The present study additionally shows that metopic suture closure appears ubiquitous after 9 months of age.

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Whitney E. Parker, Elizabeth K. Weidman, J. Levi Chazen, Sumit N. Niogi, Rafael Uribe-Cardenas, Michael G. Kaplitt, and Caitlin E. Hoffman

OBJECTIVE

The authors tested the feasibility of magnetic resonance–guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) ablation of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) seizure circuits. Up to one-third of patients with mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) suffer from medically refractory epilepsy requiring surgery. Because current options such as open resection, laser ablation, and Gamma Knife radiosurgery pose potential risks, such as infection, hemorrhage, and ionizing radiation, and because they often produce visual or neuropsychological deficits, the authors developed a noninvasive MRgFUS ablation strategy for mesial temporal disconnection to mitigate these risks.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed 3-T MRI scans obtained with diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). The study group included 10 patients with essential tremor (ET) who underwent pretreatment CT and MRI prior to MRgFUS, and 2 patients with MTS who underwent MRI. Fiber tracking of the fornix-fimbria pathway and inferior optic radiations was performed, ablation sites mimicking targets of open posterior hippocampal disconnection were modeled, and theoretical MRgFUS surgical plans were devised. Distances between the targets and optic radiations were measured, helmet angulations were prescribed, and the numbers of available MRgFUS array elements were calculated.

RESULTS

Tractograms of fornix-fimbria and optic radiations were generated in all ET and MTS patients successfully. Of the 10 patients with both the CT and MRI data necessary for the analysis, 8 patients had adequate elements available to target the ablation site. A margin (mean 8.5 mm, range 6.5–9.8 mm) of separation was maintained between the target lesion and optic radiations.

CONCLUSIONS

MRgFUS offers a noninvasive option for seizure tract disruption. DTI identifies fornix-fimbria and optic radiations to localize optimal ablation targets and critical surrounding structures, minimizing risk of postoperative visual field deficits. This theoretical modeling study provides the necessary groundwork for future clinical trials to apply this novel neurosurgical technique to patients with refractory MTLE and surgical contraindications, multiple prior surgeries, or other factors favoring noninvasive treatment.

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Jacques J. Lara-Reyna, Rafael Uribe-Cardenas, Imali Perera, Nicholas Szerlip, Anastasios Giamouriadis, Nicole Savage, Therese Haussner, and Mark M. Souweidane

OBJECTIVE

Removal of colloid cysts of the third ventricle using a purely endoscopic method has been established as a safe and advantageous technique. It is hypothesized that endoscopic removal in recurrent cases might pose more technical challenges and result in less success. The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility and outcomes of using a purely endoscopic approach for the management of recurrent colloid cysts compared to primary cysts.

METHODS

A retrospective cohort study was performed on patients who underwent purely endoscopic removal of their colloid cyst. Descriptive statistics were compared for patients undergoing surgery for a recurrent cyst and those for a control cohort undergoing surgery for a primary cyst. Bivariate analysis was conducted using a Fisher’s exact test for categorical variables and Mann-Whitney U-test for continuous variables.

RESULTS

In total, 121 patients had a primary colloid cyst endoscopically removed and 10 patients had a total of 11 recurrent cysts removed. Recurrence or progression after surgery occurred in 3 (2.5%) cases in the primary cyst group and 2 (18.2%) cases in the recurrent cyst group. Symptomatic presentation during the follow-up period occurred in 6 (54.5%) cases in the recurrent cyst group versus 75 (62%) cases in the primary cyst group (p = 0.749). Two patients (20%) in the recurrent group had a second recurrence in a mean period of 30 months (1 patient at 15 and 1 patient at 45 months). One of these patients required a tertiary endoscopic removal 8 years after the second resection. No immediate postoperative complications or new morbidities were observed after repeat endoscopic surgery. The authors’ findings indicated a nonsignificant trend toward a higher recurrence rate (18.2% vs 2.5%, p = 0.055) and a decreased proportion of complete removal (90.9% vs 81.8%, p = 0.296) in the recurrent cyst group compared to the primary cyst group. However, a significantly higher rate of preoperative hydrocephalus was observed in the primary cyst group compared with the recurrent cyst group (63.6% vs 18.2%, p = 0.007).

CONCLUSIONS

Purely endoscopic approaches for the removal of recurrent colloid cysts of the third ventricle are feasible and equally safe compared with endoscopic removal of primary cysts. The study’s findings did not show a statistically significant difference in the rate of recurrence between the 2 groups. The proportion of patients with symptomatic cysts on presentation was lower in patients with recurrent cysts than in patients with primary cysts. Due to the high rate of complete removal with negligible morbidity, the authors continue to advocate for an endoscopic removal at the time of cyst recurrence.

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Iyan Younus, Mina M. Gerges, Saniya S. Godil, Rafael Uribe-Cardenas, Georgiana A. Dobri, Rohan Ramakrishna, and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Postoperative sellar hematoma is an uncommon complication of endonasal endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery (EETS) for pituitary adenoma that often requires emergency surgical evacuation. Sellar hematomas can cause mass effect and compress parasellar structures, leading to clinically significant symptoms such as visual impairment and severe headache. The objective of this study was to determine the incidence and risk factors associated with reoperation for postoperative hematoma after EETS for pituitary adenoma.

METHODS

The authors reviewed a prospectively acquired database of EETS for pituitary adenoma over 13 years at Weill Cornell Medicine, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and identified cases that required reoperation for confirmed hematoma. They also reviewed clinical and radiographic data of a consecutive series of patients undergoing EETS for pituitary adenoma who did not have postoperative hematoma, which served as the control group. Demographic data and risk factors were compared between the groups using univariate and multivariate analyses via binary logistic regression.

RESULTS

Among a cohort of 583 patients undergoing EETS for pituitary adenoma, 9 patients (1.5%) required operation for sellar hematoma evacuation. All 9 patients with reoperation for sellar hematoma presented with worsening in their vision, and severe headache was present in 67%. New postoperative endocrine dysfunction developed in 78%. Clot evacuation improved vision in 88%. The mean time to hematoma evacuation was 4.5 days. The median length of stay for patients with sellar hematoma was 8 days (range 4–210 days) compared with a median length of stay of 3 days (range 1–32 days) for the control patients (p < 0.005). Significant risk factors in univariate analysis were tumor diameter ≥ 30 mm (p < 0.005), suprasellar extension (p < 0.005), tumor volume (p < 0.005), cavernous sinus invasion (p < 0.05), gonadotroph histology (p < 0.05), antiplatelet use (p < 0.05), and elevated BMI (p < 0.05). On multivariate analysis, tumor diameter ≥ 30 mm (OR 4.555, CI 1.30–28.90; p < 0.05) and suprasellar extension (OR 1.048, CI 1.01–1.10; p < 0.05) were found to be the only independent predictors of sellar hematoma. The incidence of hematoma in tumors ≥ 30 mm was 5% (7/139).

CONCLUSIONS

Postoperative sellar hematoma requiring reoperation is a rare phenomenon after transsphenoidal surgery, often presenting with visual loss and headache. Clot evacuation results in improvement in vision, but long-term endocrinopathy often ensues. Tumor diameter ≥ 30 mm and suprasellar extent are the most reliable risk factors. Close postoperative scrutiny should be given to patients at high risk.

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Iyan Younus, Mina M. Gerges, Rafael Uribe-Cardenas, Peter F. Morgenstern, Mahmoud Eljalby, Abtin Tabaee, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Ashutosh Kacker, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs) to the skull base have evolved over the last 20 years to become an essential component of a comprehensive skull base practice. Many case series show a learning curve from the earliest cases, in which the authors were inexperienced or were not using advanced closure techniques. It is generally accepted that once this learning curve is achieved, a plateau is reached with little incremental improvement. Cases performed during the early steep learning curve were eliminated to examine whether the continued improvement exists over the “tail end” of the curve.

METHODS

A prospectively acquired database of all EEA cases performed by the senior authors at Weill Cornell Medicine/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital was reviewed. The first 200 cases were eliminated and the next 1000 consecutive cases were examined to avoid the bias created by the early learning curve.

RESULTS

Of the 1000 cases, the most common pathologies included pituitary adenoma (51%), meningoencephalocele or CSF leak repair (8.6%), meningioma (8.4%), craniopharyngioma (7.3%), basilar invagination (3.1%), Rathke’s cleft cyst (2.8%), and chordoma (2.4%). Use of lumbar drains decreased from the first half to the second half of our series (p <0.05) as did the authors’ use of fat alone (p <0.005) or gasket alone (p <0.005) for dural closure, while the use of a nasoseptal flap increased (p <0.005). Although mean tumor diameter was constant (on average), gross-total resection (GTR) increased from 60% in the first half to 73% in the second half (p <0.005). GTR increased for all pathologies but most significantly for chordoma (56% vs 100%, p <0.05), craniopharyngioma (47% vs 0.71%, p <0.05) and pituitary adenoma (67% vs 75%, p <0.05). Hormonal cure for secreting adenomas also increased from 83% in the first half to 89% in the second half (p <0.05). The rate of any complication was unchanged at 6.4% in the first half and 6.2% in the latter half of cases, and vascular injury occurred in only 0.6% of cases. Postoperative CSF leak occurred in 2% of cases and was unchanged between the first and second half of the series.

CONCLUSIONS

This study demonstrates that contrary to popular belief, the surgical learning curve does not plateau but can continue for several years depending on the complexity of the endpoints considered. These findings may have implications for clinical trial design, surgical education, and patient safety measures.

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Rafael Uribe-Cardenas, Andre E. Boyke, Justin T. Schwarz, Peter F. Morgenstern, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Theodore H. Schwartz, James T. Rutka, James Drake, and Caitlin E. Hoffman

OBJECTIVE

Early surgical intervention for pediatric refractory epilepsy is increasingly advocated as surgery has become safer and data have demonstrated improved outcomes with early seizure control. There is concern that the risks associated with staged invasive electroencephalography (EEG) in very young children outweigh the potential benefits. Here, the authors present a cohort of children with refractory epilepsy who were referred for invasive monitoring, and they evaluate the role and safety of staged invasive EEG in those 3 years old and younger.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of children 3 years and younger with epilepsy, who had been managed surgically at two institutions between 2001 and 2015. A cohort of pediatric patients older than 3 years of age was used for comparison. Demographics, seizure etiology, surgical management, surgical complications, and adverse events were recorded. Statistical analysis was completed using Stata version 13. A p < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Fisher’s exact test was used to compare proportions.

RESULTS

Ninety-four patients (45 patients aged ≤ 3 [47.9%]) and 208 procedures were included for analysis. Eighty-six procedures (41.3%) were performed in children younger than 3 years versus 122 in the older cohort (58.7%). Forty-two patients underwent grid placement (14 patients aged ≤ 3 [33.3%]); 3 of them developed complications associated with the implant (3/42 [7.14%]), none of whom were among the younger cohort. Across all procedures, 11 complications occurred in the younger cohort versus 5 in the older patients (11/86 [12.8%] vs 5/122 [4.1%], p = 0.032). Two adverse events occurred in the younger group versus 1 in the older group (2/86 [2.32%] vs 1/122 [0.82%], p = 0.571). Following grid placement, 13/14 younger patients underwent guided resections compared to 20/28 older patients (92.9% vs 71.4%, p = 0.23).

CONCLUSIONS

While overall complication rates were higher in the younger cohort, subdural grid placement was not associated with an increased risk of surgical complications in that population. Invasive electrocorticography informs management in very young children with refractory, localization-related epilepsy and should therefore be used when clinically indicated.

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Iyan Younus, Mina M. Gerges, Rafael Uribe-Cardenas, Peter F. Morgenstern, Mahmoud Eljalby, Abtin Tabaee, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Ashutosh Kacker, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs) to the skull base have evolved over the last 20 years to become an essential component of a comprehensive skull base practice. Many case series show a learning curve from the earliest cases, in which the authors were inexperienced or were not using advanced closure techniques. It is generally accepted that once this learning curve is achieved, a plateau is reached with little incremental improvement. Cases performed during the early steep learning curve were eliminated to examine whether the continued improvement exists over the “tail end” of the curve.

METHODS

A prospectively acquired database of all EEA cases performed by the senior authors at Weill Cornell Medicine/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital was reviewed. The first 200 cases were eliminated and the next 1000 consecutive cases were examined to avoid the bias created by the early learning curve.

RESULTS

Of the 1000 cases, the most common pathologies included pituitary adenoma (51%), meningoencephalocele or CSF leak repair (8.6%), meningioma (8.4%), craniopharyngioma (7.3%), basilar invagination (3.1%), Rathke’s cleft cyst (2.8%), and chordoma (2.4%). Use of lumbar drains decreased from the first half to the second half of our series (p <0.05) as did the authors’ use of fat alone (p <0.005) or gasket alone (p <0.005) for dural closure, while the use of a nasoseptal flap increased (p <0.005). Although mean tumor diameter was constant (on average), gross-total resection (GTR) increased from 60% in the first half to 73% in the second half (p <0.005). GTR increased for all pathologies but most significantly for chordoma (56% vs 100%, p <0.05), craniopharyngioma (47% vs 0.71%, p <0.05) and pituitary adenoma (67% vs 75%, p <0.05). Hormonal cure for secreting adenomas also increased from 83% in the first half to 89% in the second half (p <0.05). The rate of any complication was unchanged at 6.4% in the first half and 6.2% in the latter half of cases, and vascular injury occurred in only 0.6% of cases. Postoperative CSF leak occurred in 2% of cases and was unchanged between the first and second half of the series.

CONCLUSIONS

This study demonstrates that contrary to popular belief, the surgical learning curve does not plateau but can continue for several years depending on the complexity of the endpoints considered. These findings may have implications for clinical trial design, surgical education, and patient safety measures.

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Heather J McCrea, Jacques Lara-Reyna, Imali Perera, Rafael Uribe, Silky Chotai, Nicole Savage, Eliza H Hersh, Therese Haussner, and Mark M Souweidane

OBJECTIVE

The rarity of colloid cysts in children makes it difficult to characterize this entity and offer meaningful advice on treatment. Infrequent case reports exist, but to date there has been no age-specific assessment. The purpose of this study was to define any differences between children and adults who are evaluated and treated for colloid cysts of the third ventricle.

METHODS

Patients with colloid cysts were reviewed and stratified by age. Individuals ≤ 18 years of age were defined as pediatric patients and those > 18 years of age as adults. Clinical and radiographic data, treatment, and postoperative outcomes were compared between both groups. Bivariate analysis was conducted using the Fisher exact test for categorical variables and Mann-Whitney U-test for continuous variables.

RESULTS

Of 132 endoscopic resections (121 primary, 10 secondary, and 1 tertiary) of a colloid cyst, 9 (6.8%) were performed in pediatric patients (mean age 14.1 years, range 9–18 years) and 123 (93.2%) were performed in adult patients (mean age 43.8 years, range 19–73 years). Cases were found incidentally more commonly in pediatric than adult patients (66.7% vs 37.4%, p > 0.05), and pediatric patients had lower rates of hydrocephalus than adult patients (11.1% vs 63.4%, p < 0.05). Acute decompensation at presentation was found in 8 adults (6.5%) but no children. Complete cyst removal (88.9% vs 90.2%, p > 0.05) and length of stay (1.6 days vs 2.9 days, p > 0.05) were not significantly different between the groups. Postoperative complications (6.5% in adults, 0% in children) and recurrence (2.4% in adults, 0% in children) were rare in both groups, and there were no treatment-related deaths. The mean postoperative radiological follow-up was longer in pediatric patients (45 months, range 4–89 months) than adults (44.1 months, range 1–171 months).

CONCLUSIONS

While differences exist between children and adults regarding colloid cyst presentation, these are in keeping with the predicted evolution of a slow-growing lesion. Consistent with this observation, children had lower rates of hydrocephalus and a smaller mean maximal cyst diameter. Contrary to the published literature, however, sudden deterioration was not observed in pediatric patients but occurred in adult patients. In this limited pediatric sample size, the authors have not recorded any postoperative complications or recurrences to date. These encouraging results with endoscopic removal may positively impact future decisions related to children given their protracted life expectancy and projected rates of progression.