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Iyan Younus, Mina Gerges, Theodore H. Schwartz and Rohan Ramakrishna

OBJECTIVE

Despite the rise of studies in the neurosurgical literature suggesting that patients with Medicaid insurance have inferior outcomes, there remains a paucity of data on the impact of insurance on outcomes after endonasal endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery (EETS). Given the increasing importance of complications in quality-based healthcare metrics, the objective of this study was to assess whether Medicaid insurance type influences outcomes in EETS for pituitary adenoma.

METHODS

The authors analyzed a prospectively acquired database of EETS for pituitary adenoma from 2005 to 2018 at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medicine. All patients with Medicaid insurance were identified. As a control group, the clinical, socioeconomic, and radiographic data of all other patients in the series with non-Medicaid insurance were reviewed. Statistical significance was determined with an alpha < 0.05 using Pearson chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests for categorical variables and the independent-samples t-test for continuous variables.

RESULTS

Of 584 patients undergoing EETS for pituitary adenoma, 57 (10%) had Medicaid insurance. The maximum tumor diameter was significantly larger for Medicaid patients (26.1 ± 12 vs 23.1 ± 11 mm for controls, p < 0.05). Baseline comorbidities including diabetes mellitus, hypertension, smoking history, and BMI were not significantly different between Medicaid patients and controls. Patients with Medicaid insurance had a significantly higher rate of any complication (14% vs 7% for controls, p < 0.05) and long-term cranial neuropathy (5% vs 1% for controls, p < 0.05). There were no statistically significant differences in endocrine outcome or vision outcome. The mean postoperative length of stay was significantly longer for Medicaid patients compared to the controls (9.4 ± 31 vs 3.6 ± 3 days, p < 0.05). This difference remained significant even when accounting for outliers (5.6 ± 2.5 vs 3.0 ± 2.7 days for controls, p < 0.05). The most common causes of extended length of stay greater than 1 standard deviation for Medicaid patients were management of perioperative complications and disposition challenges. The rate of 30-day readmission was 7% for Medicaid patients and 4.4% for controls, which was not a statistically significant difference.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that larger tumor diameter, longer postoperative length of stay, higher rate of complications, and long-term cranial neuropathy were significantly associated with Medicaid insurance. There were no statistically significant differences in baseline comorbidities, apoplexy, endocrine outcome, vision outcome, or 30-day readmission.

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Evan D. Bander, Evgeny Shelkov, Oleg Modik, Padmaja Kandula, Steven C. Karceski and Rohan Ramakrishna

OBJECTIVE

Intraoperative cortical and subcortical mapping techniques have become integral for achieving a maximal safe resection of tumors that are in or near regions of eloquent brain. The recent literature has demonstrated successful motor/language mapping with lower rates of stimulation-induced seizures when using monopolar high-frequency stimulation compared to traditional low-frequency bipolar stimulation mapping. However, monopolar stimulation carries with it disadvantages that include more radiant spread of electrical stimulation and a theoretically higher potential for tissue damage. The authors report on the successful use of bipolar stimulation with a high-frequency train-of-five (TOF) pulse physiology for motor mapping.

METHODS

Between 2018 and 2019, 13 patients underwent motor mapping with phase-reversal and both low-frequency and high-frequency bipolar stimulation. A retrospective chart review was conducted to determine the success rate of motor mapping and to acquire intraoperative details.

RESULTS

Thirteen patients underwent both high- and low-frequency bipolar motor mapping to aid in tumor resection. Of the lesions treated, 69% were gliomas, and the remainder were metastases. The motor cortex was identified at a significantly greater rate when using high-frequency TOF bipolar stimulation (n = 13) compared to the low-frequency bipolar stimulation (n = 4) (100% vs 31%, respectively; p = 0.0005). Intraoperative seizures and afterdischarges occurred only in the group of patients who underwent low-frequency bipolar stimulation, and none occurred in the TOF group (31% vs 0%, respectively; p = 0.09).

CONCLUSIONS

Using a bipolar wand with high-frequency TOF stimulation, the authors achieved a significantly higher rate of successful motor mapping and a low rate of intraoperative seizure compared to traditional low-frequency bipolar stimulation. This preliminary study suggests that high-frequency TOF stimulation provides a reliable additional tool for motor cortex identification in asleep patients.

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Iyan Younus, Mina M. Gerges, Georgiana A. Dobri, Rohan Ramakrishna and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Hospital readmission is a key component in value-based healthcare models but there are limited data about the 30-day readmission rate after endonasal endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery (EETS) for pituitary adenoma. The objective of this study was to determine the incidence and identify factors associated with 30-day readmission after EETS for pituitary adenoma.

METHODS

The authors analyzed a prospectively acquired database of patients who underwent EETS for pituitary adenoma from 2005 to 2018 at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medicine. Clinical, socioeconomic, and radiographic data were reviewed for cases of unplanned readmission within 30 days of surgery and, as a control group, for all other patients in the series who were not readmitted. Statistical significance was determined with an alpha < 0.05 using Pearson’s chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests for categorical variables and the independent-samples t-test for continuous variables.

RESULTS

Of 584 patients undergoing EETS for pituitary adenoma, 27 (4.6%) had unplanned readmission within 30 days. Most readmissions occurred within the first week after surgery, with a mean time to readmission of 6.6 ± 3.9 days. The majority of readmissions (59%) were for hyponatremia. These patients had a mean sodium level of 120.6 ± 4.6 mEq/L at presentation. Other causes of readmission were epistaxis (11%), spinal headache (11%), sellar hematoma (7.4%), CSF leak (3.7%), nonspecific headache (3.7%), and pulmonary embolism (3.7%). The postoperative length of stay was significantly shorter for patients who were readmitted than for the controls (2.7 ± 1.0 days vs 3.9 ± 3.2 days; p < 0.05). Patients readmitted for hyponatremia had an initial length of stay of 2.6 ± 0.9 days, the shortest of any cause for readmission. The mean BMI was significantly lower for readmitted patients than for the controls (26.4 ± 3.9 kg/m2 vs 29.3 ± 6.1 kg/m2; p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

Readmission after EETS for pituitary adenoma is a relatively rare phenomenon, with delayed hyponatremia being the primary cause. The study results demonstrate that shorter postoperative length of stay and lower BMI were associated with 30-day readmission.

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Rohan Ramakrishna, Shaan M. Raza, Michael Kupferman, Ehab Hanna and Franco DeMonte

OBJECT

Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) is a locally aggressive tumor of salivary gland origin. Little data exist to guide treatment when this tumor extends to involve the structures of the skull base.

METHODS

Fifty-one patients with a diagnosis of ACC affecting the skull base were identified from a prospective database at MD Anderson Cancer Center (from 1992 to 2010).

RESULTS

Median follow-up for study patients was 6.75 years. The 5- and 10-year overall survival (OS) rates were 78% and 50%, respectively. Sixty-six percent of patients had progression of their disease. The 5- and 10-year progression-free survival (PFS) rates were 46.7% and 21.0%, respectively. Gross-total resection was achieved in 75% of patients, with 49% having microscopically negative margins at the time of first operation. On univariate analysis, resections with microscopically negative margins were associated with a significant OS advantage (20.1 ± 3.3 years) compared with resections that left residual disease, even if microscopic (10.3 ± 1.6 years, p = 0.035). In patients who underwent reoperation, the effect persisted, with improved OS in those with negative margins (21.4 ± 0.0 vs 16.7 ± 4.0 years, p = 0.06). The use of adjuvant radiotherapy was associated with an OS advantage (16.2 ± 2.5 vs 5.5 ± 2.2 years, p = 0.03) at initial diagnosis and improved PFS (7.8 ± 1.0 vs 2.1 ± 0.62 years, p = 0.005), whereas repeat irradiation provided no benefit. The use of adjuvant chemotherapy at diagnosis or at recurrence was not associated with any significant advantage. Multivariate analysis revealed margin-negative resection at initial operation and at recurrence retained OS significance, even after controlling for age, radiation therapy, and T stage.

CONCLUSIONS

ACC of the skull base is best treated with a multidisciplinary approach aimed at maximal, safe resection. Adjuvant radiotherapy should be offered, whereas chemotherapy does not confer benefit.

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Rohan Ramakrishna, Jeffrey C. Mai, Tanya Filardi, Samuel R. Browd and Richard G. Ellenbogen

This 18-year-old woman presented with symptoms of right upper-extremity ataxia and imaging evidence of syringomyelia and an acquired Chiari malformation after a previous suboccipital decompression for cerebellar hemorrhage. The patient underwent posterior fossa reexploration to detether any adhesions and release scar tissue in the fourth ventricular outlet. Her symptoms of syringomyelia resolved but she then developed symptoms of lethargy, confusion, and amnesia in addition to ataxia. Repeat neural axis imaging revealed resolution of the syrinx but prominent brainstem hypertrophy. Eventually, the placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt resulted in the resolution of both symptoms and brainstem hypertrophy. In the present article, the authors elaborate on this first reported case of a reversible brainstem hypertrophy responsive to CSF shunting.

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Jonathan P. S. Knisely, Rohan Ramakrishna and Theodore H. Schwartz

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Erratum

Brain oxygen tension and outcome in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage

Rohan Ramakrishna, Michael Stiefel, Joshua Udoetuk, Alejandro Spiotta, Joshua M. Levine, W. Andrew Kofke, Eric Zager, Wei Yang and Peter Le Roux

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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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Ryan P. Morton, Renee M. Reynolds, Rohan Ramakrishna, Michael R. Levitt, Richard A. Hopper, Amy Lee and Samuel R. Browd

Object

In this study, the authors describe their experience with a low-dose head CT protocol for a preselected neurosurgical population at a dedicated pediatric hospital (Seattle Children's Hospital), the largest number of patients with this protocol reported to date.

Methods

All low-dose head CT scans between October 2011 and November 2012 were reviewed. Two different low-dose radiation dosages were used, at one-half or one-quarter the dose of a standard head CT scan, based on patient characteristics agreed upon by the neurosurgery and radiology departments. Patient information was also recorded, including diagnosis and indication for CT scan.

Results

Six hundred twenty-four low-dose head CT procedures were performed within the 12-month study period. Although indications for the CT scans varied, the most common reason was to evaluate the ventricles and catheter placement in hydrocephalic patients with shunts (70%), followed by postoperative craniosynostosis imaging (12%). These scans provided adequate diagnostic imaging, and no patient required a follow-up full-dose CT scan as a result of poor image quality on a low-dose CT scan. Overall physician comfort and satisfaction with interpretation of the images was high. An additional 2150 full-dose head CT scans were performed during the same 12-month time period, making the total number of CT scans 2774. This value compares to 3730 full-dose head CT scans obtained during the year prior to the study when low-dose CT and rapid-sequence MRI was not a reliable option at Seattle Children's Hospital. Thus, over a 1-year period, 22% of the total CT scans were able to be converted to low-dose scans, and full-dose CT scans were able to be reduced by 42%.

Conclusions

The implementation of a low-dose head CT protocol substantially reduced the amount of ionizing radiation exposure in a preselected population of pediatric neurosurgical patients. Image quality and diagnostic utility were not significantly compromised.

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Shaan M. Raza, Rohan Ramakrishna, Randal S. Weber, Michael E. Kupferman, Paul W. Gidley, Ehab Y. Hanna and Franco DeMonte

OBJECT

A relative paucity of information exists regarding outcomes from craniofacial resection for advanced nonmelanoma skin cancers involving the skull base. In light of advances in surgical technique and adjuvant therapy protocols, the authors reviewed their surgical experience to determine disease control rates, overall survival (OS), morbidity, and mortality.

METHODS

A retrospective review of 24 patients with nonmelanoma cutaneous cancers with skull base involvement treated with craniofacial resection at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center from 1994 to 2012 was performed. Of these patients, 19 (79%) had squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), 4 (17%) had basosquamous carcinoma (BSCC), and 1 patient (4%) had adenocarcinoma. Factors as assessed were prior treatment, TNM staging, tumor involvement, extent of intracranial extension, margin status, postoperative complications, recurrence, disease status at last follow-up, and long-term survival. The majority of tumors were T4 (67%) according to the TNM classification; perineural extension was noted in 58%, cavernous sinus involvement in 25%, and dural involvement in 29%.

RESULTS

Postoperative complications occurred in 4 patients (17%) including 1 death. Kaplan-Meier estimates were calculated for OS and progression-free survival (PFS). Median OS was 43.2 months with an 82% 1-year OS and 37% 5-year OS; the median PFS was 91.2 months. Margin status was positively associated with median OS in SCC (91 months [for negative margins] vs 57 months, p = 0.8) and in BSCC (23.7 vs 3.2 months, p < 0.05). Postoperative radiotherapy was associated with improved median OS (43.2 vs 22 months, p = 0.6). Brain involvement was uniformly fatal after 1 year, while cavernous sinus involvement (31 vs 43 months, p = 0.82), perineural disease (31 vs 54 months, p = 0.30), and T4 stage (22 vs 91.2 months, p = 0.09) were associated with worsened OS. Similar associations were found with median PFS.

CONCLUSIONS

Aggressive multimodality management with surgery and postoperative radiotherapy can positively impact locoregional control and OS. With improvements in technique and adjuvant therapy protocols, treatment can still be considered in situations of perineural disease and cavernous sinus involvement and as a salvage option for patients in whom prior treatment has failed. As patients with advanced NMSCs often have few options, craniofacial resection, as part of a coordinated multimodal management plan, is justified if it can be performed safely.