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Seungwon Yoon, Jan-Karl Burkhardt and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Large cohort analysis concerning intracerebral bypass patency in patients with long-term follow-up (FU) results is rarely reported in the literature. The authors analyzed the long-term patency of extracranial-to-intracranial (EC-IC) and intracranial-to-intracranial (IC-IC) bypass procedures.

METHODS

All intracranial bypass procedures performed between 1997 and 2017 by a single surgeon were screened. Patients with postoperative imaging (CT angiography, MR angiography, or catheter angiography) were included and grouped into immediate (< 7 days), short-term (7 days–1 year), and long-term (> 1 year) FU groups. Data on patient demographics, bypass type, interposition graft type, bypass indication, and radiological patency were collected and analyzed with univariate and multivariate (adjusted multiple regression) models.

RESULTS

In total, 430 consecutive bypass procedures were performed during the study period (FU time [mean ± SD] 0.9 ± 2.2 years, range 0–17 years). Twelve cases were occluded at FU imaging, resulting in an overall cumulative patency rate of 97%. All bypass occlusions occurred within a week of revascularization. All patients in the short-term FU group (n = 76, mean FU time 0.3 ± 0.3 years) and long-term FU group (n = 89, mean FU time 4.1 ± 3.5 years) had patent bypasses at last FU. Patients who presented with aneurysms had a lower rate of patency than those with moyamoya disease or chronic vessel occlusion (p = 0.029). Low-flow bypasses had a significantly higher patency rate than high-flow bypasses (p = 0.033). In addition, bypasses with one anastomosis site compared to two anastomosis sites showed a significantly higher bypass patency (p = 0.005). No differences were seen in the patency rate among different grafts, single versus bilateral, or between EC-IC and IC-IC bypasses.

CONCLUSIONS

The overall bypass patency of 97% indicates a high likelihood of success with microsurgical revascularization. Surgical indication (ischemia), low-flow bypass, and number of anastomosis (one site) were associated with higher patency rates. EC-IC and IC-IC bypasses have comparable patency rates, supporting the use of intracranial reconstructive techniques. Bypasses that remain patent 1 week postoperatively and have the opportunity to mature have a high likelihood of remaining patent in the long term. In experienced hands, cerebral revascularization is a durable treatment option with high patency rates.

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Seungwon Yoon, Michael A. Mooney, Michael A. Bohl, John P. Sheehy, Peter Nakaji, Andrew S. Little and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

With drastic changes to the health insurance market, patient cost sharing has significantly increased in recent years. However, the patient financial burden, or out-of-pocket (OOP) costs, for surgical procedures is poorly understood. The goal of this study was to analyze patient OOP spending in cranial neurosurgery and identify drivers of OOP spending growth.

METHODS

For 6569 consecutive patients who underwent cranial neurosurgery from 2013 to 2016 at the authors’ institution, the authors created univariate and multivariate mixed-effects models to investigate the effect of patient demographic and clinical factors on patient OOP spending. The authors examined OOP payments stratified into 10 subsets of case categories and created a generalized linear model to study the growth of OOP spending over time.

RESULTS

In the multivariate model, case categories (craniotomy for pain, tumor, and vascular lesions), commercial insurance, and out-of-network plans were significant predictors of higher OOP payments for patients (all p < 0.05). Patient spending varied substantially across procedure types, with patients undergoing craniotomy for pain ($1151 ± $209) having the highest mean OOP payments. On average, commercially insured patients spent nearly twice as much in OOP payments as the overall population. From 2013 to 2016, the mean patient OOP spending increased 17%, from $598 to $698 per patient encounter. Commercially insured patients experienced more significant growth in OOP spending, with a cumulative rate of growth of 42% ($991 in 2013 to $1403 in 2016).

CONCLUSIONS

Even after controlling for inflation, case-mix differences, and partial fiscal periods, OOP spending for cranial neurosurgery patients significantly increased from 2013 to 2016. The mean OOP spending for commercially insured neurosurgical patients exceeded $1400 in 2016, with an average annual growth rate of 13%. As patient cost sharing in health insurance plans becomes more prevalent, patients and providers must consider the potential financial burden for patients receiving specialized neurosurgical care.

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Justin R. Mascitelli, Seungwon Yoon, Tyler S. Cole, Helen Kim and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Although numerous arteriovenous malformation (AVM) grading scales consider eloquence in risk assessment, none differentiate the types of eloquence. The purpose of this study was to determine if eloquence subtype affects clinical outcome.

METHODS

This is a retrospective review of a prospectively collected clinical database of brain AVMs treated with microsurgery in the period from 1997 to 2017. The only inclusion criterion for this study was the presence of eloquence as defined by the Spetzler-Martin grading scale. Eloquence was preoperatively categorized by radiologists. Poor outcome was defined as a modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score 3–6, and worsening clinical status was defined as an increase in the mRS score at follow-up. Logistic regression analyses were performed.

RESULTS

Two hundred forty-one patients (49.4% female; average age 33.9 years) with eloquent brain AVMs were included in this review. Of the AVMs (average size 2.7 cm), 54.4% presented with hemorrhage, 46.2% had deep venous drainage, and 17.0% were diffuse. The most common eloquence type was sensorimotor (46.1%), followed by visual (27.0%) and language (22.0%). Treatments included microsurgery alone (32.8%), microsurgery plus embolization (51.9%), microsurgery plus radiosurgery (7.9%), and all three modalities (7.5%). Motor mapping was used in 9% of sensorimotor AVM cases, and awake speech mapping was used in 13.2% of AVMs with language eloquence. Complications occurred in 24 patients (10%). At the last follow-up (average 24 months), 71.4% of the patients were unchanged or improved and 16.6% had a poor outcome. There was no statistically significant difference in the baseline patient and AVM characteristics among the different subtypes of eloquence. In a multivariate analysis, in comparison to visual eloquence, both sensorimotor (OR 7.4, p = 0.004) and language (OR 6.5, p = 0.015) eloquence were associated with poor outcomes. Additionally, older age (OR 1.31, p = 0.016) and larger AVM size (OR 1.37, p = 0.034) were associated with poor outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

Unlike visual eloquence, sensorimotor and language eloquence were associated with worse clinical outcomes after the resection of eloquent AVMs. This nuance in AVM eloquence demands consideration before deciding on microsurgical intervention, especially when numerical grading systems produce a score near the borderline between operative and nonoperative management.

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Corinna C. Zygourakis, Seungwon Yoon, Victoria Valencia, Christy Boscardin, Christopher Moriates, Ralph Gonzales and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Disposable supplies constitute a large portion of operating room (OR) costs and are often left over at the end of a surgical case. Despite financial and environmental implications of such waste, there has been little evaluation of OR supply utilization. The goal of this study was to quantify the utilization of disposable supplies and the costs associated with opened but unused items (i.e., “waste”) in neurosurgical procedures.

METHODS

Every disposable supply that was unused at the end of surgery was quantified through direct observation of 58 neurosurgical cases at the University of California, San Francisco, in August 2015. Item costs (in US dollars) were determined from the authors' supply catalog, and statistical analyses were performed.

RESULTS

Across 58 procedures (36 cranial, 22 spinal), the average cost of unused supplies was $653 (range $89-$3640, median $448, interquartile range $230–$810), or 13.1% of total surgical supply cost. Univariate analyses revealed that case type (cranial versus spinal), case category (vascular, tumor, functional, instrumented, and noninstrumented spine), and surgeon were important predictors of the percentage of unused surgical supply cost. Case length and years of surgical training did not affect the percentage of unused supply cost. Accounting for the different case distribution in the 58 selected cases, the authors estimate approximately $968 of OR waste per case, $242,968 per month, and $2.9 million per year, for their neurosurgical department.

CONCLUSIONS

This study shows a large variation and significant magnitude of OR waste in neurosurgical procedures. At the authors' institution, they recommend price transparency, education about OR waste to surgeons and nurses, preference card reviews, and clarification of supplies that should be opened versus available as needed to reduce waste.