Mazda K. Turel, Sumit Thakar, and Vedantam Rajshekhar
Prospective studies of quality of life (QOL) are infrequently performed in patients undergoing surgery for vestibular schwannoma (VS). The authors designed this to study to investigate health-related QOL (HR-QOL) in patients with large and giant VSs before and after surgery.
Between January 2009 and December 2012, HR-QOL was measured prospectively before and after surgery, using the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36), in 100 patients who underwent surgery for unilateral large or giant VS (tumor size ≥ 3 cm). The Glasgow Benefit Inventory (GBI) was also used to evaluate the effect of surgery.
A total of 100 patients were included in the study (65 men and 35 women). Their mean age (± SD) was 44.2 ± 11.5 years. The preoperative QOL was decreased in all SF-36 domains. A 1-year follow-up evaluation was conducted for all patients (mean 13.5 ± 5.3 months after surgery). The results showed an improvement in HR-QOL compared with preoperative status in all cases, with 63%–85% of patients showing a minimum clinically important difference (MCID) in various domains. A second follow-up evaluation was performed in 51 cases (mean time after surgery, 29.0 ± 8.3 months) and showed sustained improvement in SF-36 scores. In some domains there was further improvement beyond the first follow-up. On the GBI, 87% of patients reported improvement, 1% felt no change, and 12% of patients reported deterioration.
Patients harboring large or giant VSs score lower on all the QOL domains compared with the normative population. More than 60% showed a clinically significant improvement in HR-QOL 1 year after surgery, a result that was sustained at subsequent follow-up.
Sumit Thakar, Yasha T. Chickabasaviah, and Alangar S. Hegde
Invasive craniocerebral aspergillosis, often encountered in an immunocompromised setting, is almost uniformly fatal despite radical surgical and medical management, and is frequently a necropsy finding. The authors report a unique, self-resolving clinical course of this aggressive infection in a 10-month-old infant. The infant was brought to the emergency services in altered sensorium with a 1-week history of left-sided hemiparesis, excessive irritability, and vomiting. An MRI study of the brain revealed multiple, heterogeneously enhancing lesions in the right cerebral hemisphere with mass effect. The largest lesion in the frontotemporal cortical and subcortical regions was decompressed on an emergent basis. Histopathological findings were suggestive of invasive aspergillosis, although there was no evidence of the infection in the lungs or paranasal sinuses. Computed tomography–guided aspiration of the remaining lesions and follow-up antifungal therapy were recommended. The parents, however, requested discharge without further treatment. The child was seen at a follow-up visit 3 years later without having received any antifungal treatment. Imaging showed resolution of the infection and features of Dyke-Davidoff-Masson syndrome (cerebral hemiatrophy). This report of invasive cerebral aspergillosis resolving without medical therapy is the first of its kind. Its clinicoradiological aspects are discussed in light of previously reported cases.
Sumit Thakar, Solomon Christopher, and Vedantam Rajshekhar
In this study, the authors assessed the construct validity and the reliability of the World Health Organization Quality of Life–Bref (WHOQOL-Bref) questionnaire in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) and compared the performance of the WHOQOL-Bref and the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) in assessing quality of life (QOL) in patients with CSM.
In this prospective study, 70 patients with CSM were assessed preoperatively and again 1 year after central corpectomy using the Nurick scale, the SF-36, and the WHOQOL-Bref. Construct validity and reliability of the WHOQOL-Bref, its responsiveness compared with that of the SF-36, and the correlations between the 2 scales were studied.
The WHOQOL-Bref was found to be valid (p < 0.001, Cuzick test for trend between the physical domain of the WHOQOL-Bref and Nurick grade) and reliable (Cronbach α > 0.7). It had smaller floor and ceiling effects (ranges 1.4–7.1% and 0–7.1%, respectively) than the SF-36 (ranges 2.9–71.4% and 0–14.1%, respectively). There was significant postoperative improvement in patient scores on all the SF-36 scales (p < 0.001) and the physical, psychological, and environment domains of the WHOQOL-Bref (p < 0.001). The SF-36 scales were more responsive to change (relative efficiency range 0.24–1) than the WHOQOL-Bref domains (relative efficiency range 0.002–0.73). Among scales measuring similar concepts, only the physical functioning and bodily pain scales of the SF-36 had a moderate correlation (r = 0.57 and 0.53, respectively; p < 0.001) with the physical domain of WHOQOL-Bref. Many of the scales of these 2 QOL instruments unexpectedly had a fair correlation with one another (r range = 0.2–0.4).
The WHOQOL-Bref, like the SF-36, is valid and reliable in assessing outcome in patients with CSM. It measures impairment in CSM in a more uniform manner than the SF-36, but its domains are less responsive to postoperative changes. Because the WHOQOL-Bref measures different constructs and has additive value, it should be used along with the SF-36 for QOL assessment in patients with CSM.
Sumit Thakar, M.Ch., Aditya Vedantam, and Vedantam Rajshekhar
This study was undertaken to examine the correlation between change in graft height and change in angulation across grafted segments (segmental angle) in patients undergoing central corpectomy (CC) with autologous bone reconstruction for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).
The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 70 cases in which patients with CSM underwent uninstrumented single- or multilevel CC and had evidence of osseous fusion of their grafts at follow-up. The segmental angles and heights of the grafted segments on preoperative, postoperative, and follow-up radiographs were compared.
The mean change in graft height (± standard deviation) was −7.3 ± 3.8 mm (mean duration of follow-up 19.7 ± 5.4 months, range 13–53 months). There was a mean kyphotic change in segmental angle of −7.3 ± 3.8° (p < 0.001). In patients who had a straight or kyphotic cervical spine (28 patients) or a straight or kyphotic segment (32 patients) preoperatively, there was a significant linear correlation between changes in graft height and changes in segmental angle (Pearson correlation, r = 0.40, p = 0.03; r = 0.40, p = 0.02, respectively). Such a correlation was not seen in the patients who had a lordotic cervical spine (42 patients) or a lordotic segment (38 patients) preoperatively (Pearson correlation, r = −0.04, p = 0.81; r = 0.08, p = 0.62, respectively). The change in segmental angle did not influence improvement in Nurick grade (p = 0.8). The degree of agreement between the 2 observers was almost perfect for measurement of graft height (postoperative intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC] = 0.94, follow-up ICC = 0.90) but was significantly lower for measurement of segmental angles (postoperative ICC = 0.71, follow-up ICC = 0.67).
Among patients undergoing uninstrumented CC for CSM, there is a significant correlation between postoperative settling and kyphotic change across fused segments in those who had straight or kyphotic cervical spines or segments preoperatively but not in those who had lordotic cervical spines or segments preoperatively. A more vigorous surgical correction of the segmental kyphosis than achieved in this study might have caused the kyphotic segments to behave like the lordotic segments. Paraspinal muscles and ligaments may play a role in determining the segmental angle as graft settling in patients with lordotic spines or segments is not linearly correlated with angular change.
Sumit Thakar, Narayanam Anantha Sai Kiran, and Alangar S. Hegde
Spinal extradural arachnoid cysts (ACs) have an infrequent predilection for the sacrum. As with their counterparts in other regions of the spine, cysts in this location are mostly asymptomatic. Common presentations in symptomatic cases include pain in the low back or perineum, radiculopathy, and sphincteric dysfunction. The authors report a hitherto undescribed presentation in which the predominant symptoms are those related to an associated holocord syrinx. This 15-year-old boy presented with fluctuating, spastic paraparesis and a dissociated sensory loss in the trunk. Admission MR imaging of the spine showed an extradural AC from S-2 to S-4 and a holocord, nonenhancing syrinx. The patient underwent S-2 laminectomy, fenestration of the cyst, and partial excision of its wall. Intradural exploration revealed a normal-looking filum terminale and the absence of any dural communication with the cyst. At a follow-up visit 6 months after surgery, his motor and sensory deficits had resolved. Follow-up MR imaging showed complete resolution of the syrinx in the absence of the sacral AC. This is the first report of a sacral extradural AC causing holocord syringomyelia. Because conventional theories of syrinx formation were not helpful in elucidating this case, a hypothesis is postulated to explain the clinicoradiological oddity.
Sumit Thakar, Laxminadh Sivaraju, Saritha Aryan, Dilip Mohan, Narayanam Anantha Sai Kiran, and Alangar S. Hegde
The objective of this study was to assess the cross-sectional areas (CSAs) of lumbar paraspinal muscles in adults with isthmic spondylolisthesis (IS), to compare them with those in the normative population, and to evaluate their correlations with demographic factors and MRI changes in various spinal elements.
The authors conducted a retrospective study of patients who had undergone posterior lumbar interbody fusion for IS, and 2 of the authors acting as independent observers calculated the CSAs of various lumbar paraspinal muscles (psoas, erector spinae [ES], multifidus [MF]) on preoperative axial T2-weighted MR images from the L-3 to L-5 vertebral levels and computed the CSAs as ratios with respect to the corresponding vertebral body areas. These values were then compared with those in an age- and sex-matched normative population and were analyzed with respect to age, sex, duration of symptoms, grade of listhesis, and various MRI changes at the level of the listhesis (pedicle signal change, disc degeneration, and facetal arthropathy).
Compared with values in normative controls, the mean CSA value for the ES muscle was significantly higher in the study cohort of 120 patients (p = 0.002), whereas that for the MF muscle was significantly lower (p = 0.009), and more so in the patients with PSC (p = 0.002). Magnetic resonance imaging signal change in the pedicle was seen in half of the patients, all of whom demonstrated a Type 2 change. Of the variables tested in a multivariate analysis, age independently predicted lower area values for all 3 muscles (p ≤ 0.001), whereas female sex predicted a lower mean psoas area value (p < 0.001). None of the other variables significantly predicted any of the muscle area values. A decrease in the mean MF muscle area value alone was associated with a significantly increased likelihood of a PSC (p = 0.039).
Compared with normative controls, patients with IS suffer selective atrophy of their MF muscle, whereas their ES muscle undergoes a compensatory hypertrophy. Advancing age has a detrimental effect on the areas of the lumbar PSMs, whereas female sex predisposes to a decreased psoas muscle area. Multifidus muscle atrophy correlates with PSC, indicating the role of this deep stabilizer in the biomechanical stability of spondylolisthetic spines. This may be of clinical significance in targeted physiotherapy programs during the conservative management of IS.
Sumit Thakar, Avinash Kurudi Siddappa, Saritha Aryan, Dilip Mohan, Narayanam Anantha Sai Kiran, and Alangar S. Hegde
The mesodermal derangement in Chiari Type I malformation (CMI) has been postulated to encompass the cervical spine. The objectives of this study were to assess the cross-sectional areas (CSAs) of cervical paraspinal muscles (PSMs) in patients with CMI without syringomyelia, compare them with those in non-CMI subjects, and evaluate their correlations with various factors.
In this retrospective study, the CSAs of cervical PSMs in 25 patients were calculated on T2-weighted axial MR images and computed as ratios with respect to the corresponding vertebral body areas. These values and the cervical taper ratios were then compared with those of age- and sex-matched non-CMI subjects and analyzed with respect to demographic data and clinicoradiological factors.
Compared with the non-CMI group, the mean CSA values for the rectus capitis minor and all of the subaxial PSMs were lower in the study group, and those of the deep extensors were significantly lower (p = 0.004). The cervical taper ratio was found to be significantly higher in the study cohort (p = 0.0003). A longer duration of symptoms and a steeper cervical taper ratio were independently associated with lower CSA values for the deep extensors (p = 0.04 and p = 0.03, respectively). The presence of neck pain was associated with a lower CSA value for the deep flexors (p = 0.03).
Patients with CMI demonstrate alterations in their cervical paraspinal musculature even in the absence of coexistent syringomyelia. Their deep extensor muscles undergo significant atrophic changes that worsen with the duration of their symptoms. This could be related to a significantly steeper cervical taper ratio that their cervical cords are exposed to. Neck pain in these patients is related to atrophy of their deep flexor muscles. A steeper cervical taper ratio and alterations in the PSMs could be additional indicators for surgery in patients with CMI without syringomyelia.
Sunil V. Furtado, Sumit Thakar, Ganesh K. Murthy, Ravi Dadlani, and Alangar S. Hegde
A giant spinal arachnoid cyst is an unusual cause of progressive epidural compressive syndrome. The authors describe 4 cases of a “complex” subtype of this lesion and discuss aspects of surgical management. The patients presented with progressive spastic paraparesis and were found to harbor extensive spinal extradural arachnoid cysts with multiple septations and significant paraspinal extensions. Extensive laminotomy and excision of the cyst along with its extensions were performed in all cases.
Compared with previously indexed cases of surgically managed extensive spinal extradural arachnoid cysts, the cases reported here are unique because of their complex nature. Curative treatment consists of radical excision inclusive of the paraspinal extensions as well as closure of a dural defect, if found. A laminotomy or laminoplasty should be performed to avoid postoperative instability related to the extensive exposure. Extended follow-up and instrumentation may be required in select cases.
Sumit Thakar, Niranjana Rajagopal, Subramaniyan Mani, Maya Shyam, Saritha Aryan, Arun S. Rao, Rakshith Srinivasa, Dilip Mohan, and Alangar S. Hegde
The utility of telemedicine (TM) in neurosurgery is underexplored, with most of the studies relating to teletrauma or telestroke programs. In this study, the authors evaluate the cost-effectiveness of TM consultations for follow-up care of a large population of patients who underwent neurosurgical procedures.
A decision-analytical model was used to assess the cost-effectiveness of TM for elective post–neurosurgical care patients from a predominantly nonurban cohort in West Bengal, India. The model compared TM care via a nodal center in West Bengal to routine, in-person, per-episode care at the provider site in Bangalore, India. Cost and effectiveness data relating to 1200 patients were collected for a 52-month period. The effectiveness of TM care was calculated using efficiency in terms of the percentage of successful TM consultations, as well as patient-perceived utility values for overall experience of the type of health care access that they received. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) analysis was done using the 4-quadrant charting of the cost-effectiveness plane. One-way sensitivity and tornado analyses were performed to identify thresholds where the care strategy would change.
The overall utility for the 3 TM scenarios was found to be higher (89%) than for the utility of routine care (80%). TM was found to be more cost-effective (Indian rupee [INR] 2630 per patient) compared to routine care (INR 6848 per patient). The TM strategy “dominates” that of routine care by being more effective and less expensive (ICER value of -39,400 INR/unit of effectiveness). Sensitivity analysis revealed that cost-effectiveness of TM was most sensitive to changes in the number of TM patients, utility and success rate of TM, and travel distance to the TM center.
TM care dominates the in-person care strategy by providing more effective and less expensive follow-up care for a remote post–neurosurgical care population in India. In the authors’ setting, this benefit of TM is sustainable even if half the TM consultations turn out to be unsuccessful. The viability of TM as a cost-effective care protocol is attributed to a combination of factors, like an adequate patient volume utilizing TM, patient utility, success rate of TM, and the patient travel distance.