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Kevin Carr, Scott L. Zuckerman, Luke Tomycz and Matthew M. Pearson

The endoscopic resection of intraventricular tumors represents a unique challenge to the neurological surgeon. These neoplasms are invested deep within the brain parenchyma and are situated among neurologically vital structures. Additionally, the cerebrospinal fluid system presents a dynamic pathway for resected tumors to be mobilized and entrapped in other regions of the brain. In 2011, the authors treated a 3-year-old girl with a third ventricular mass identified on stereotactic brain biopsy as a WHO Grade IV CNS primitive neuroectodermal tumor. After successful neoadjuvant chemotherapy, endoscopic resection was performed. Despite successful resection of the tumor, the operation was complicated by mobilization of the resected tumor and entrapment in the atrial horn of the lateral ventricle. Using a urological stone basket retriever, the authors were able to retrieve the intact tumor without additional complications. The flexibility afforded by the nitinol urological stone basket was useful in the endoscopic removal of a free-floating intraventricular tumor. This device may prove to be useful for other practitioners performing these complicated intraventricular resections.

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Tomas Menovsky and Maxim R. Parizel

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Andrew D. Legarreta, Benjamin L. Brett, Gary S. Solomon and Scott L. Zuckerman

OBJECTIVE

Sport-related concussion (SRC) has become a major public health concern. Prolonged recovery after SRC, named postconcussion syndrome (PCS), has been associated with several biopsychosocial factors, yet the role of both family and personal psychiatric histories requires investigation. In a cohort of concussed high school athletes, the authors examined the role(s) of family and personal psychiatric histories in the risk of developing PCS.

METHODS

A retrospective cohort study of 154 high school athletes with complete documentation of postconcussion symptom resolution or persistence at 6 weeks was conducted. PCS was defined as 3 or more symptoms present 6 weeks after SRC. Three groups were defined: 1) positive family psychiatric history and personal psychiatric history (FPH/PPH), 2) positive FPH only, and 3) negative family and personal psychiatric histories (controls). Three bivariate regression analyses were conducted: FPH/PPH to controls, FPH only to controls, and FPH/PPH to FPH. Post hoc bivariate regression analyses examined specific FPH pathologies and PCS.

RESULTS

Athletes with FPH/PPH compared with controls had an increased risk of PCS (χ2 = 8.90, p = 0.018; OR 5.06, 95% CI 1.71–14.99). Athletes with FPH only compared with controls also had an increased risk of PCS (χ2 = 6.04, p = 0.03; OR 2.52, 95% CI 1.20–5.30). Comparing athletes with FPH/PPH to athletes with FPH only, no added PCS risk was noted (χ2 = 1.64, p = 0.247; OR 2.01, 95% CI 0.68–5.94). Among various FPH diagnoses, anxiety (χ2 = 7.48, p = 0.021; OR 2.99, 95% CI 1.36–6.49) and bipolar disorder (χ2 = 5.13, p = 0.036; OR 2.74, 95% CI 1.14–6.67) were significantly associated with the presence of PCS.

CONCLUSIONS

Concussed high school athletes with FPH/PPH were greater than 5 times more likely to develop PCS than controls. Athletes with only FPH were over 2.5 times more likely to develop PCS than controls. Those with an FPH of anxiety or bipolar disorder are specifically at increased risk of PCS. These results suggest that not only are athletes with FPH/PPH at risk for slower recovery after SRC, but those with an FPH only—especially anxiety or bipolar disorder—may also be at risk. Overall, this study supports taking a detailed FPH and PPH in the management of SRC.

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Scott L. Parker, Saniya S. Godil, Stephen K. Mendenhall, Scott L. Zuckerman, David N. Shau and Matthew J. McGirt

Object

Current health care reform calls for a reduction of procedures and treatments that are less effective, more costly, and of little value (high cost/low quality). The authors assessed the 2-year cost and effectiveness of comprehensive medical management for lumbar spondylolisthesis, stenosis, and herniation by utilizing a prospective single-center multidisciplinary spine center registry in a real-world practice setting.

Methods

Analysis was performed on a prospective longitudinal quality of life spine registry. Patients with lumbar spondylolisthesis (n = 50), stenosis (n = 50), and disc herniation (n = 50) who had symptoms persisting after 6 weeks of medical management and who were eligible for surgical treatment were entered into a prospective registry after deciding on nonsurgical treatment. In all cases, comprehensive medical management included spinal steroid injections, physical therapy, muscle relaxants, antiinflammatory medication, and narcotic oral agents. Two-year patient-reported outcomes, back-related medical resource utilization, and occupational work-day losses were prospectively collected and used to calculate Medicare fee–based direct and indirect costs from the payer and societal perspectives. The maximum health gain associated with medical management was defined as the improvement in pain, disability, and quality of life experienced after 2 years of medical treatment or at the time a patient decided to cross over to surgery.

Results

The maximum health gain in back pain, leg pain, disability, quality of life, depression, and general health state did not achieve statistical significance by 2 years of medical management, except for pain and disability in patients with disc herniation and back pain in patients with lumbar stenosis. Eighteen patients (36%) with spondylolisthesis, 11 (22%) with stenosis, and 17 (34%) with disc herniation eventually required surgical management due to lack of improvement. The 2-year improvement did not achieve a minimum clinically important difference in any outcome measure. The mean 2-year total cost (direct plus indirect) of medical management was $6606 for spondylolisthesis, $7747 for stenosis, and $7097 for herniation.

Conclusions

In an institution-wide, prospective, longitudinal quality of life registry that measures cost and effectiveness of all spine care provided, comprehensive medical management did not result in sustained improvement in pain, disability, or quality of life for patients with surgically eligible degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis, stenosis, or disc herniation. From both the societal and payer perspective, continued medical management of patients with these lumbar pathologies in whom 6 weeks of conservative therapy failed was of minimal value given its lack of health utility and effectiveness and its health care costs. The findings from this real-world practice setting may more accurately reflect the true value and effectiveness of nonoperative care in surgically eligible patient populations.

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Scott L. Parker, Saniya S. Godil, Scott L. Zuckerman, Stephen K. Mendenhall, Noel B. Tulipan and Matthew J. McGirt

Object

Suboccipital decompression is a common procedure for patients with Chiari malformation Type I (CMI). Published studies have reported complication rates ranging from 3% to 40%, with pseudomeningocele being one of the most common complications. To date, there are no studies assessing the effect of this complication on long-term outcome. Therefore, the authors set out to assess the effect of symptomatic pseudomeningocele on patient outcomes following suboccipital decompression for CM-I.

Methods

The study comprised 50 adult patients with CM-I who underwent suboccipital craniectomy and C-1 laminectomy with or without duraplasty. Clinical presentation, radiological studies, operative variables, and complications were assessed for each case. Baseline and 1-year postoperative patient-reported outcomes were assessed to determine improvement in pain, disability, and quality of life. The extent of improvement was compared for patients with and without development of a postoperative symptomatic pseudomeningocele.

Results

A symptomatic pseudomeningocele developed postoperatively in 9 patients (18%). There was no difference with regard to clinical, radiological, or operative variables for patients with or without a postoperative pseudomeningocele. Patients without a pseudomeningocele had significant improvement in all 9 patient-reported outcome measures assessed. On the other hand, patients with pseudomeningocele only had significant improvement in headache (as measured on the Numeric Rating Scale) and headache-related disability (as measured on the Headache Disability Index) but no improvement in quality of life. Twenty-nine (71%) of 41 patients without a pseudomeningocele reported improvement in health status postoperatively compared with only 3 (33%) of 9 patients with a postoperative pseudomeningocele (p = 0.05).

Conclusions

Surgical management of CM-I in adults provides significant and sustained improvement in pain, disability, general health, and quality of life. Development of a postoperative symptomatic pseudomeningocele has lingering effects at 1 year, and it significantly diminishes the overall benefit of suboccipital decompression for CM-related symptoms. Further research is needed to accurately predict which patients may benefit from decompression alone without duraplasty.

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Babatunde J. Akinpelu, Scott L. Zuckerman, Stephen R. Gannon, Ashly Westrick, Chevis Shannon and Robert P. Naftel

OBJECTIVE

Isolated transverse and spinous process fractures (TPFx and SPFx) in the thoracic and/or lumbar region have been deemed clinically insignificant in the adult population. This same rule is often applied to the pediatric population; however, little evidence exists in this younger group. The goal of this study was to describe the clinical, radiographic, and long-term data on isolated TPFx and SPFx in an exclusively pediatric population.

METHODS

A retrospective chart review at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University identified 82 pediatric patients with isolated TPFx and/or SPFx following a traumatic event between January 2000 and December 2013. Patient demographic information, presenting symptoms, radiographic characteristics, and follow-up data were collected. Follow-up was used to determine the outcome (presence of neurological deficits) of such injuries via complete physical examination and, when available, radiographic evidence.

RESULTS

In the 82 identified patients, the mean age was 15.5 ± 3.1 years (mean is expressed ± SD throughout), with 72 injuries (87.8%) resulting from a motor vehicle, motorcycle, or all-terrain vehicle accident. There was a mean of 1.7 ± 1.0 fractured vertebral levels involved and a mean of 1.8 ± 1.1 fractures was identified per patient. Seventy-one patients (86.6%) needed bedside pain control, 7 (8.5%) were prescribed a brace, and 4 patients (4.9%) received a collar. Physical therapy was recommended for 12 patients (14.6%). A total of 84.1% had follow-up, and the mean length of follow-up was 19 ± 37 months. No patients had true neurological deficits at presentation or follow-up as a result of their isolated fractures, whereas 95.1% had other associated system injuries.

CONCLUSIONS

These data shows that there is no appreciable long-term complication associated with isolated thoracic and/or lumbar TPFx and/or SPFx in an exclusively pediatric population. Because these fractures are, however, associated with high-energy blunt trauma, they often result in associated soft-tissue or other skeletal injury. All pediatric patients in the cohort benefited from conservative management and aggressive treatment of their comorbidities.

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Young M. Lee, Mitchell J. Odom, Scott L. Zuckerman, Gary S. Solomon and Allen K. Sills

Object

Sport-related concussions (SRCs) in high school and college athletes represent a significant public health concern. Research suggests that younger athletes fare worse symptomatically than older athletes after an SRC. Using reliable change index (RCI) methodology, the authors conducted a study to determine if there are age-related differences in number, severity, and resolution of postconcussion symptoms.

Methods

Between 2009 and 2011, baseline measures of neurocognitive functions and symptoms in high school and college athletes were entered into a regional database. Seven hundred forty of these athletes later sustained an SRC. Ninety-two athletes in the 13- to 16-year-old group and 92 athletes in the 18- to 22-year-old group were matched for number of prior concussions, sex, biopsychosocial variables, and days to first postconcussion testing and symptom assessment. A nonparametric Mann-Whitney U-test was used to compare the severity of each of 22 symptoms comprising the Total Symptom Scale (TSS) at baseline and first postconcussion test. To obtain a family-wise p value of 0.05 for each test, the significance level for each symptom comparison was set at an alpha of 0.05/22 = 0.0023. The number of days to return to baseline TSS score was compared using the RCI methodology, set at the 80% confidence interval, equal to a change in raw score of 9.18 points on the TSS.

Results

There was no statistically significant difference in symptom presence, symptom severity, and total symptoms between the age groups at baseline or at postconcussion testing. There was no statistically significant difference in return to baseline symptom scores between the age groups.

Conclusions

Using RCI methodology, there was no statistically significant difference between younger and older athletes in return to baseline symptoms postconcussion.

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Scott L. Zuckerman, Young M. Lee, Mitchell J. Odom, Gary S. Solomon and Allen K. Sills

Object

Up to 16% of children in the US between the ages of 3 and 17 years have either attention deficit–spectrum disorder or a learning disability (LD). Sports-related concussions among youth athletes represent a significant public health concern, and neurocognitive testing is a method to evaluate the severity of cognitive impairment and recovery after a sports-related concussion. The goal of this study was to assess baseline neurocognitive differences between athletes with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and/or LD versus those with neither disorder and to establish normative data for these special populations.

Methods

Between August 2007 and March 2012, 6636 young athletes underwent baseline neurocognitive testing performed using the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) battery. Of these participants, 90 had self-reported LD only, 262 had self-reported ADHD only, and 55 reported both. Those with ADHD and/or LD were matched with 407 participants with no history of ADHD or LD by age, sex, and number of prior concussions. The mean scores and SDs were calculated for each group to obtain normative values. A pairwise comparison between each diagnostic group was done to assess whether LD and/or ADHD diagnostic status predicted participants' baseline neurocognitive scores.

Results

Participants with ADHD had significantly lower verbal memory, visual memory, and visual motor processing speed scores, along with significantly higher reaction time, impulse control, and symptom scores compared with those without LD or ADHD. Participants with LD had similar results, with significantly lower verbal memory, visual memory, and visual motor processing speed scores, higher reaction time and symptom score, but did not differ in their impulse control score compared with those without LD or ADHD. Participants with both LD and ADHD had a significantly lower visual motor speed score and a significantly higher reaction time and symptom score than those without LD or ADHD, but did not differ with regard to the other composite scores.

Conclusions

Athletes with ADHD and/or LD have lower baseline ImPACT neurocognitive scores compared with athletes without ADHD and LD. Preliminary normative neurocognitive data for these special populations are provided.

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Ann-Christine Duhaime

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Scott L. Zuckerman, Daniel J. France, Cain Green, Susie Leming-Lee, Shilo Anders and J Mocco

Morbidity and mortality due to preventable medical errors are a disastrous reality in medicine. Debriefing, a process that allows individuals to discuss team performance in a constructive, supportive environment, has been linked to improved performance in various medical and surgical fields, including improvements in specific procedures, teamwork and communication, and error identification. However, the neurosurgical literature on this topic is limited. The authors review the debriefing literature in the field of medicine, with a specific emphasis on the operating room, and they report their own institutional experience with a debriefing module, from invention to pilot implementation, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The authors share the challenges and lessons learned from their quality improvement project. The field of neurosurgery would undoubtedly benefit from embracing debriefing, as its potential has been established in other medical specialties and can serve as a valuable role in immediately learning from mistakes. The authors hope that their colleagues can learn from this experience and improve their own.