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Harsh Deora, Kanwaljeet Garg, Manjul Tripathi, Shashwat Mishra, and Bipin Chaurasia

OBJECTIVE

The evolution of the neurosurgical specialty in lower-middle-income countries is uniformly a narrative of continuous struggle for recognition and resource allocation. Therefore, it is not surprising that neurosurgical education and residency training in these countries is relatively nascent. Dr. Harvey Cushing in 1901 declared that he would specialize in neurosurgery and gave his greatest contribution to the advancement of neurosurgical education by laying the foundations of a structured residency training program. Similar efforts in lower-middle-income countries have been impeded by economic instability and the lack of well-established medical education paradigms. The authors sought to evaluate the residency programs in these nations by conducting a survey among the biggest stakeholders in these educational programs: the neurosurgical residents.

METHODS

A questionnaire addressing various aspects of the residency program from a resident’s perspective was prepared with Google Forms and circulated among neurosurgery residents through social media and email groups. Where applicable, a 5-point Likert scale was used to grade the responses to the questions. Responses were collected from May to October 2019 and analyzed using descriptive statistics. Complete anonymity of the respondents was ensured to keep the responses unbiased.

RESULTS

A total of 195 responses were received, with 189 of them from lower-middle-income countries (LMICs). The majority of these were from India (75%), followed by Brazil and Pakistan. An abiding concern among residents was lack of work hour regulations, inadequate exposure to emerging subspecialties, and the need for better hands-on training (> 60% each). Of the training institutions represented, 89% were offering more than 500 major neurosurgical surgeries per year, and 40% of the respondents never got exposure to any subspecialty. The popularity of electronic learning resources was discernible and most residents seemed to be satisfied with the existent system of evaluation. Significant differences (p < 0.05) among responses from India compared with those from other countries were found in terms of work hour regulations and subspecialty exposure.

CONCLUSIONS

It is prudent that concerned authorities in LMICs recognize and address the deficiencies perceived by neurosurgery residents in their training programs. A determined effort in this direction would be endorsed and assisted by a host of international neurosurgical societies when it is felt that domestic resources may not be adequate. Quality control and close scrutiny of training programs should ensure that the interests of neurosurgical trainees are best served.

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Karim ReFaey, Kaisorn L. Chaichana, Anteneh M. Feyissa, Tito Vivas-Buitrago, Benjamin H. Brinkmann, Erik H. Middlebrooks, Jake H. McKay, David J. Lankford, Shashwat Tripathi, Elird Bojaxhi, Grayson E. Roth, William O. Tatum, and Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

OBJECTIVE

Epilepsy is common among patients with supratentorial brain tumors; approximately 40%–70% of patients with glioma develop brain tumor–related epilepsy (BTRE). Intraoperative localization of the epileptogenic zone during surgical tumor resection (real-time data) may improve intervention techniques in patients with lesional epilepsy, including BTRE. Accurate localization of the epileptogenic signals requires electrodes with high-density spatial organization that must be placed on the cortical surface during surgery. The authors investigated a 360° high-density ring-shaped cortical electrode assembly device, called the “circular grid,” that allows for simultaneous tumor resection and real-time electrophysiology data recording from the brain surface.

METHODS

The authors collected data from 99 patients who underwent awake craniotomy from January 2008 to December 2018 (29 patients with the circular grid and 70 patients with strip electrodes), of whom 50 patients were matched-pair analyzed (25 patients with the circular grid and 25 patients with strip electrodes). Multiple variables were then retrospectively assessed to determine if utilization of this device provides more accurate real-time data and improves patient outcomes.

RESULTS

Matched-pair analysis showed higher extent of resection (p = 0.03) and a shorter transient motor recovery period during the hospitalization course (by approximately 6.6 days, p ≤ 0.05) in the circular grid patients. Postoperative versus preoperative Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score difference/drop was greater for the strip electrode patients (p = 0.007). No significant difference in postoperative seizures between the 2 groups was present (p = 0.80).

CONCLUSIONS

The circular grid is a safe, feasible tool that grants direct access to the cortical surgical surface for tissue resection while simultaneously monitoring electrical activity. Application of the circular grid to different brain pathologies may improve intraoperative epileptogenic detection accuracy and functional outcomes, while decreasing postoperative complications.

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Michael Lumintang Loe, Tito Vivas-Buitrago, Ricardo A. Domingo, Johan Heemskerk, Shashwat Tripathi, Bernard R. Bendok, Mohamad Bydon, Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, and Kingsley Abode-Iyamah

OBJECTIVE

The authors assessed the prognostic significance of various clinical and radiographic characteristics, including C1–C2 facet malalignment, in terms of surgical outcomes after foramen magnum decompression of adult Chiari malformation type I.

METHODS

The electronic medical records of 273 symptomatic patients with Chiari malformation type I who were treated with foramen magnum decompression, C1 laminectomy, and duraplasty at Mayo Clinic were retrospectively reviewed. Preoperative and postoperative Neurological Scoring System scores were compared using the Friedman test. Bivariate analysis was conducted to identify the preoperative variables that correlated with the patient Chicago Chiari Outcome Scale (CCOS) scores. Multiple linear regression analysis was subsequently performed using the variables with p < 0.05 on the bivariate analysis to check for independent associations with the outcome measures. Statistical software SPSS version 25.0 was used for the data analysis. Significance was defined as p < 0.05 for all analyses.

RESULTS

Fifty-two adult patients with preoperative clinical and radiological data and a minimum follow-up of 12 months were included. Motor deficits, syrinx, and C1–C2 facet malalignment were found to have significant negative associations with the CCOS score at the 1- to 3-month follow-up (p < 0.05), while at the 9- to 12-month follow-up only swallowing function and C1–C2 facet malalignment were significantly associated with the CCOS score (p < 0.05). Multivariate analysis showed that syrinx presence and C1–C2 facet malalignment were independently associated with the CCOS score at the 1- to 3-month follow-up. Swallowing function and C1–C2 facet malalignment were found to be independently associated with the CCOS score at the 9- to 12-month follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

The observed results in this pilot study suggest a significant negative correlation between C1–C2 facet malalignment and clinical outcomes evaluated by the CCOS score at 1–3 months and 9–12 months postoperatively. Prospective studies are needed to further validate the prognostic value of C1–C2 facet malalignment and the potential role of atlantoaxial fixation as part of the treatment.