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Omar M. Uddin, Raqeeb Haque, Patrick A. Sugrue, Yousef M. Ahmed, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Joel M. Press, Tyler Koski and Richard G. Fessler

OBJECT

Back pain is an increasing concern for the aging population. This study aims to evaluate if minimally invasive surgery presents cost-minimization benefits compared with open surgery in treating adult degenerative scoliosis.

METHODS

Seventy-one patients with adult degenerative scoliosis received 2-stage, multilevel surgical correction through either a minimally invasive spine surgery (MIS) approach with posterior instrumentation (n = 38) or an open midline (Open) approach (n = 33). Costs were derived from hospital and rehabilitation charges. Length of stay, blood loss, and radiographic outcomes were obtained from electronic medical records. Functional outcomes were measured with Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and visual analog scale (VAS) surveys.

RESULTS

Patients in both cohorts were similar in age (AgeMIS = 65.68 yrs, AgeOpen = 63.58 yrs, p = 0.28). The mean follow-up was 18.16 months and 21.82 months for the MIS and Open cohorts, respectively (p = 0.34). MIS and Open cohorts had an average of 4.37 and 7.61 levels of fusion, respectively (p < 0.01). Total inpatient charges were lower for the MIS cohort ($269,807 vs $391,889, p < 0.01), and outpatient rehabilitation charges were similar ($41,072 vs $49,272, p = 0.48). MIS patients experienced reduced length of hospital stay (7.03 days vs 14.88 days, p < 0.01) and estimated blood loss (EBL) (EBLMIS = 470.26 ml, EBLOpen= 2872.73 ml, p < 0.01). Baseline ODI scores were lower in the MIS cohort (40.03 vs 48.04, p = 0.03), and the cohorts experienced similar 1-year improvement (ΔODIMIS = −15.98, ΔODIOpen = −21.96, p = 0.25). Baseline VAS scores were similar (VASMIS = 6.56, VASOpen= 7.10, p = 0.32), but MIS patients experienced less reduction after 1 year (ΔVASMIS = −3.36, ΔVASOpen = −4.73, p = 0.04). Preoperative sagittal vertical axis (SVA) were comparable (preoperative SVAMIS = 63.47 mm, preoperative SVAOpen = 71.3 mm, p = 0.60), but MIS patients had larger postoperative SVA (postoperative SVAMIS = 51.17 mm, postoperative SVAOpen = 28.17 mm, p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS

Minimally invasive surgery demonstrated reduced costs, blood loss, and hospital stays, whereas open surgery exhibited greater improvement in VAS scores, deformity correction, and sagittal balance. Additional studies with more patients and longer follow-up will determine if MIS provides cost-minimization opportunities for treatment of adult degenerative scoliosis.

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Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Cody B. Wolfe, Joyce Koueik, Bradley E. Weprin, Bermans J. Iskandar and Angela V. Price

Neuroendoscopy has demonstrated safety and efficacy in the treatment of a host of pediatric neurosurgical pathologies. With the increase in its applicability, several associated complications have been described in the literature. A common practice in pediatric neurosurgery is the use of Gelfoam sponge pledget in the burr hole, followed by bone fragments and dust (obtained from the created burr hole), to cover the dural defect. This technique is used to enhance burr hole sealing and potentially prevent CSF leakage from the surgical site. Reports on intracranial bone dust migration associated with this technique are scarce. The authors report 2 cases of intracranial migration of bone fragments after an endoscopic third ventriculostomy and an endoscopic colloid cyst resection. The bone fragment migration was thought to be caused by negative pressure from a lumbar puncture in one case and external trauma to the head in the other. As endoscopy becomes more widely used, it is important to be aware of this potential complication that may in some cases require an intervention. A review of the cases reported in the literature is provided and a technique is suggested to help prevent this complication.

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Nader S. Dahdaleh, Cort D. Lawton, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Alexander T. Nixon, Najib E. El Tecle, Sanders Oh, Richard G. Fessler and Zachary A. Smith

Object

Evidence-based medicine is used to examine the current treatment options, timing of surgical intervention, and prognostic factors in the management of patients with traumatic central cord syndrome (TCCS).

Methods

A computerized literature search of the National Library of Medicine database, Cochrane database, and Google Scholar was performed for published material between January 1966 and February 2013 using key words and Medical Subject Headings. Abstracts were reviewed and selected, with the articles segregated into 3 main categories: surgical versus conservative management, timing of surgery, and prognostic factors. Evidentiary tables were then assembled, summarizing data and quality of evidence (Classes I–III) for papers included in this review.

Results

The authors compiled 3 evidentiary tables summarizing 16 studies, all of which were retrospective in design. Regarding surgical intervention versus conservative management, there was Class III evidence to support the superiority of surgery for patients presenting with TCCS. In regards to timing of surgery, most Class III evidence demonstrated no difference in early versus late surgical management. Most Class III studies agreed that older age, especially age greater than 60–70 years, correlated with worse outcomes.

Conclusions

No Class I or Class II evidence was available to determine the efficacy of surgery, timing of surgical intervention, or prognostic factors in patients managed for TCCS. Hence, there is a need to perform well-controlled prospective studies and randomized controlled clinical trials to further investigate the optimal management (surgical vs conservative) and timing of surgical intervention in patients suffering from TCCS.

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Salah G. Aoun, Valery Peinado Reyes, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Matthew Davies, Ankur R. Patel, Vin Shen Ban, Aaron Plitt, Najib E. El Tecle, Jessica R. Moreno, Jack Raisanen and Carlos A. Bagley

OBJECTIVE

Axial low-back pain is a disease of epidemic proportions that exerts a heavy global toll on the active workforce and results in more than half a trillion dollars in annual costs. Stem cell injections are being increasingly advertised as a restorative solution for various degenerative diseases and are becoming more affordable and attainable by the public. There have been multiple reports in the media of these injections being easily available abroad outside of clinical trials, but scientific evidence supporting them remains scarce. The authors present a case of a serious complication after a stem cell injection for back pain and provide a systematic review of the literature of the efficacy of this treatment as well as the associated risks and complications.

METHODS

A systematic review of the literature was performed using the PubMed, Google Scholar, and Scopus online electronic databases to identify articles reporting stem cell injections for axial back pain in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines. The primary focus was on outcomes and complications. A case of glial hyperplasia of the roots of the cauda equina directly related to stem cell injections performed abroad is also reported.

RESULTS

The authors identified 14 publications (including a total of 147 patients) that met the search criteria. Three of the articles presented data for the same patient population with different durations of follow-up and were thus analyzed as a single study, reducing the total number of studies to 12. In these 12 studies, follow-up periods ranged from 6 months to 6 years, with 50% having a follow-up period of 1 year or less. Most studies reported favorable outcomes, although 36% used subjective measures. There was a tendency for pain relief to wane after 6 months to 2 years, with patients seeking a surgical solution. Only 1 study was a randomized controlled trial (RCT).

CONCLUSIONS

There are still insufficient data to support stem cell injections for back pain. Additional RCTs with long-term follow-up are necessary before statements can be made regarding the efficacy and safety.

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Youssef J. Hamade, Najib E. El Tecle, Samer G. Zammar, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Byron K. Yip and Bernard R. Bendok

We report the case of a 62-year-old female who presented for stent-assistant coiling of an incidental 11-mm complex bilobed left superior hypophyseal internal carotid artery aneurysm. A microcatheter was navigated into the aneurysm and trapped by a 37-mm stent. Using three-dimensional and two-dimensional coils, the elongated aneurysm was coiled. The bigger lobe was coiled first followed by the smaller lobe. Minimal residual filling of the smaller lobe will be re-evaluated at 6-month follow up. The patient tolerated the procedure well and no complications were encountered.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/TrXfsaICQVo.

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Salah G. Aoun, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Najib E. El Tecle, Marc R. Daou, Joseph G. Adel, Christine S. Park, H. Hunt Batjer and Bernard R. Bendok

OBJECT

Microsurgical skills remain an integral component of neurosurgical education. There is a need for an objective scale to assess microsurgical skills. The objective of this study was to assess the face and construct validity of a benchtraining microanastomosis module and an objective assessment scale, i.e., the Northwestern Objective Microanastomosis Assessment Tool (NOMAT).

METHODS

Medical students, neurosurgical residents, and postdoctoral research fellows at Northwestern University were enrolled in the study. Trainees were divided into 3 groups based on microsurgical experience: 1) experienced, 2) exposed, and 3) novices. Each trainee completed two end-to-end microanastomoses using a 1-mm and a 3-mm synthetic vessel. Two cameras were installed to capture procedural footage. One neurosurgeon blindly graded the performance of trainees using both objective and subjective methods to assess construct validity. Two neurosurgeons reviewed the contents of the simulation module to assess face validity.

RESULTS

Twenty-one trainees participated in the study, including 6 experienced, 6 exposed, and 9 novices. The mean NOMAT score for experienced trainees on the 1-mm module was 47.3/70 compared with 26.0/70 and 25.8/70 for exposed and novice trainees, respectively (p = 0.02). Using subjective grading, experienced trainees performed significantly better on the 1-mm module (64.2/100) compared with exposed or novice trainees (23.3/100 and 25.0/100, respectively; p = 0.02). No statistical difference between groups was noted for the 3-mm module with both NOMAT and subjective grading. Experienced trainees took less time to perform both tasks compared with the others.

CONCLUSIONS

Face and construct validities of the microanastomosis module were established. The scale and the microanastomosis module could help assess the microsurgical skills of neurosurgical trainees and serve as a basis for the creation of a microsurgical curriculum.

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Eva M. Wu, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Cameron M. McDougall, Salah G. Aoun, Nikhil Mehta, Om James Neeley, Aaron Plitt, Vin Shen Ban, Rafael Sillero, Jonathan A. White, H. Hunt Batjer and Babu G. Welch

OBJECTIVE

Endovascular embolization has been established as an adjuvant treatment strategy for brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). A growing body of literature has discussed curative embolization for select lesions. The transition of endovascular embolization from an adjunctive to a definitive treatment modality remains controversial. Here, the authors reviewed the literature to assess the lesional characteristics, technical factors, and angiographic and clinical outcomes of endovascular embolization of AVMs with intent to cure.

METHODS

Electronic databases—Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, and PubMed—were searched for studies in which there was evidence of AVMs treated using endovascular embolization with intent to cure. The primary outcomes of interest were angiographic obliteration immediately postembolization and at follow-up. The secondary outcomes of interest were complication rates. Descriptive statistics were used to calculate rates and means.

RESULTS

Fifteen studies with 597 patients and 598 AVMs treated with intent-to-cure embolization were included in this analysis. Thirty-four percent of AVMs were Spetzler-Martin grade III. Complete obliteration immediately postembolization was reported in 58.3% of AVMs that had complete treatment and in 45.8% of AVMs in the entire patient cohort. The overall clinical complication rate was 24.1%. The most common complication was hemorrhage, occurring in 9.7% of patients. Procedure-related mortality was 1.5%.

CONCLUSIONS

While endovascular embolization with intent to cure can be an option for select AVMs, the reported complication rates appear to be increased compared with those in studies in which adjunctive embolization was the goal. Given the high complication rate related to a primary embolization approach, the risks and benefits of such a treatment strategy should be discussed among a multidisciplinary team. Curative embolization of AVMs should be considered an unanticipated benefit of such therapy rather than a goal.

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Pasquale Gallina, Giancarlo Lastrucci, Saverio Caini and Beradino Porfirio

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Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Eva M. Wu, Benjamin Kafka, James P. Caruso, Om J. Neeley, Aaron Plitt, Salah G. Aoun, Daiwai M. Olson, Robert A. Ruchinskas, C. Munro Cullum, Samuel Barnett, Babu G. Welch, H. Hunt Batjer and Jonathan A. White

OBJECTIVE

A short-term lumbar drain (LD) trial is commonly used to assess the response of normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) patients to CSF diversion. However, it remains unknown whether the predictors of passing an LD trial match the predictors of improvement after ventriculoperitoneal shunting. The aim of this study was to examine outcomes, complication rates, and associations between predictors and outcomes after an LD trial in patients with NPH.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of 254 patients with probable NPH who underwent an LD trial between March 2008 and September 2017. Multivariate regression models were constructed to examine predictors of passing the LD trial. Complications associated with the LD trial procedure were recorded.

RESULTS

The mean patient age was 77 years and 56.7% were male. The mean durations of gait disturbance, cognitive decline, and urinary incontinence were 29 months, 32 months, and 28 months, respectively. Of the 254 patients, 30% and 16% reported objective and subjective improvement after the LD trial, respectively. Complications included a sheared LD catheter, meningitis, lumbar epidural abscess, CSF leak at insertion site, transient lower extremity numbness, slurred speech, refractory headaches, and hyponatremia. Multivariate analyses using MAX-R revealed that a prior history of stroke predicted worse outcomes, while disproportionate subarachnoid spaces (uneven enlargement of supratentorial spaces) predicted better outcomes after the LD trial (r2 = 0.12, p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

The LD trial is generally safe and well tolerated. The best predictors of passing the LD trial include a negative history of stroke and having disproportionate subarachnoid spaces.

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Eva M. Wu, Tarek Y. El Ahmadieh, Benjamin Kafka, James P. Caruso, Om J. Neeley, Aaron R. Plitt, Salah G. Aoun, Daiwai Olson, Robert A. Ruchinskas, C. Munro Cullum, Babu G. Welch, H. Hunt Batjer and Jonathan A. White

OBJECTIVE

Objective assessment tests are commonly used to predict the response to ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunting in patients with normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH). Whether subjective reports of improvement after a lumbar drain (LD) trial can predict response to VP shunting remains controversial. The goal in this study was to compare clinical characteristics, complication rates, and shunt outcomes of objective and subjective LD responders who underwent VP shunt placement.

METHODS

This was a retrospective review of patients with NPH who underwent VP shunt placement after clinical improvement with the LD trial. Patients who responded after the LD trial were subclassified into objective LD responders and subjective LD responders. Clinical characteristics, complication rates, and shunt outcomes between the 2 groups were compared with chi-square test of independence and t-test.

RESULTS

A total of 116 patients received a VP shunt; 75 were objective LD responders and 41 were subjective LD responders. There was no statistically significant difference in patient characteristics between the 2 groups, except for a shorter length of stay after LD trial seen with subjective responders. The complication rates after LD trial and VP shunting were not significantly different between the 2 groups. Similarly, there was no significant difference in shunt response between objective and subjective LD responders. The mean duration of follow-up was 1.73 years.

CONCLUSIONS

Reports of subjective improvement after LD trial in patients with NPH can be a reliable predictor of shunt response. The currently used objective assessment scales may not be sensitive enough to detect subtle changes in symptomatology after LD trial.