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Kim J. Burchiel, Timothy J. Johans, and Jose Ochoa

✓ Pain following suspected nerve injury was comprehensively evaluated with detailed examination including history', neurological evaluation, electrodiagnostic studies, quantitative sensory testing, thermography, anesthetic agents, and sympathetic nerve blocks. Forty-two surgically treated patients fell into four discrete groups: Group 1 patients had distal sensory neuromas treated by excision of the neuroma and reimplantation of the proximal nerve into muscle or bone marrow; Group 2 patients had suspected distal sensory neuromas in which the involved nerve was sectioned proximal to the injury site and reimplanted; Group 3 patients had proximal in-continuity neuromas of major sensorimotor nerves treated by external neurolysis; and Group 4 patients had proximal major sensorimotor nerve injuries at points of anatomical entrapment treated by external neurolysis and transposition, if possible. Patient follow-up monitoring from 2 to 32 months (average 11 months) was possible in 40 (95%) of 42 patients. Surgical success was defined as 50% or greater improvement in pain using the Visual Analog Scale or pain relief subjectively rated as either good or excellent, without postoperative narcotic usage. Overall, 16 (40%) of 40 patients met those criteria. Success rates varied as follows: 44% in 18 Group 1 patients, 40% in 10 Group 2 patients, 0% in five Group 3 patients, and 57% in seven Group 4 patients. Twelve (30%) of 40 patients were employed both pre- and postoperatively.

It is concluded that: 1) neuroma excision, neurectomy, and nerve release for injury-related pain of peripheral nerve origin yield substantial subjective improvement in a minority of patients; 2) external neurolysis of proximal mixed nerves is ineffective in relieving pain; 3) surgically proving the existence of a neuroma with confirmed excision may be preferable; 4) traumatic neuroma pain is only partly due to a peripheral source; 5) demographic and neurological variables do not predict success; 6) the presence of a discrete nerve syndrome and mechanical hyperalgesia modestly predict pain relief; 7) ongoing litigation is the strongest predictor of failure; and 8) change in work status is not a likely outcome.

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Jeanne K. Pomatto, Timothy R. Littlefield, Kim Manwaring, and Stephen P. Beals

In 1994 a set of triplets presented to the authors for treatment of their positional plagiocephaly with Dynamic Orthotic Cranioplasty (DOC™). The three 8-month-old infants were diagnosed with severe, moderate, and mild plagiocephaly. Only the severe and moderate cases were treated with the DOC band. The mild case was not treated with the DOC band because it was thought that the condition could be addressed through alteration in the child's sleeping position. The child with severe deformation required 8.5 months of treatment with two DOC bands and had significant residual asymmetries at the end of the treatment course. The child with moderate deformity required 2.5 months of treatment with only one DOC band and had excellent correction of the initial asymmetries. The results of their treatment provide a unique forum for discussing the etiology of positional plagiocephaly, as well as those factors that can influence the efficacy of DOC treatment.

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Jacques Favre, Jamal M. Taha, Timothy Steel, and Kim J. Burchiel

✓ The authors report a new technique to anchor deep brain stimulation electrodes using a titanium microplate. This technique has been safely used to secure 20 quadripolar deep brain stimulation electrodes implanted for movement disorders (18 electrodes) and pain (two electrodes). Twelve electrodes were implanted in the thalamus, four in the subthalamic nucleus, and four in the pallidum. No electrode migration or rupture occurred, and all electrodes have been shown to work properly after internalization of the system.

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Bobby D. Kim, Timothy R. Smith, Seokchun Lim, George R. Cybulski, and John Y. S. Kim

Object

Unplanned hospital readmission represents a large financial burden on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, commercial insurance payers, hospitals, and individual patients, and is a principal target for cost reduction. A large-scale, multi-institutional study that evaluates risk factors for readmission has not been previously performed in patients undergoing lumbar decompression procedures. The goal of this multicenter retrospective study was to find preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative predictive factors that result in unplanned readmission (UR) after lumbar decompression surgery.

Methods

The National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) database was retrospectively reviewed to identify all patients who received lumbar decompression procedures in 2011. Risk-adjusted multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to estimate independent predictors of UR.

Results

The overall rate of UR among patients undergoing lumbar decompression was 4.4%. After multivariate logistic regression analysis, anemia (odds ratio [OR] 1.48), dependent functional status (OR 3.03), total operative duration (OR 1.003), and American Society of Anesthesiologists Physical Status Class 4 (OR 3.61) remained as independent predictors of UR. Postoperative complications that were significantly associated with UR included overall complications (OR 5.18), pulmonary embolism (OR 3.72), and unplanned reoperation (OR 56.91).

Conclusions

There were several risk factors for UR after lumbar spine decompression surgery. Identification of high-risk patients and appropriate allocation of resources to reduce postoperative incidence may reduce the readmission rate.

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Paul E. Kaloostian, Jennifer E. Kim, Ali Bydon, Daniel M. Sciubba, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, Ziya L. Gokaslan, and Timothy F. Witham

Object

The authors describe the largest case series of 8 patients with intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) after spinal surgery and identify associated pre-, intra-, and postoperative risk factors in relation to outcome.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the cases of 8 patients treated over 16 years at a single institution and also reviewed the existing literature and collected demographic, treatment, and outcome information from 33 unique cases of remote ICH after spinal surgery.

Results

The risk factors most correlated with ICH postoperatively were the presence of a CSF leak intraoperatively and the use of drains postoperatively with moderate hourly serosanguineous output in the early postoperative period.

Conclusions

Intracranial hemorrhage is a rare complication of spinal surgery that is associated with CSF leakage and use of drains postoperatively, with moderate serosanguinous output. These associations do not justify a complete avoidance of drains in patients with CSF leakage but may guide the treating physician to keep in mind drain output and timing of drain removal, while noting any changes in neurological examination status in the meantime. Additionally, continued and worsening neurological symptoms after spinal surgery may warrant cranial imaging to rule out intracranial hemorrhage, usually within the first 24 hours after surgery. The presence of cerebellar hemorrhage and hydrocephalus indicated a trend toward worse outcome.

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Timothy C. Ryken, John Kim, Brent D. Owen, Gary E. Christensen, and Joseph M. Reinhardt

Object

The authors describe a method of using computer models to generate customized cervical implants. A promising yet challenging technique in cervical spine surgery involves the use of pedicle screws to assist with posterior instrumentation. Surrounding anatomical structures such as the vertebral arteries and cervical nerve roots present challenges for safe screw placement; however, the use of computer-generated templates seems to be a promising method to assist with placement. In this study, the authors explore the use of computer-generated templates and introduce their methods for creating custom, bioabsorbable posterior cervical implants.

Methods

The cervical spines (C2–T1) from 4 cadavers were scanned with volumetric CT. Using commercially available software, the authors generated volumetric models of a cervical drill template and the mold for a cervical plate spanning a desired number of vertebrae. The computer generated models of the cervical drill template and cervical plate mold were converted into physical models using a rapid prototyping machine. The biopolymer polylactic acid resin was heated to 250°C and resolidified to form thin ~ 5-mm-thick plates. The newly formed plates were reheated to 60°C and cast on the cervical mold.

Results

The resulting translucent plates were found on visual inspection to have a secure lock-and-key fit on the original cadaver spine, and the techniques used were robust and reproducible. The process described in this brief report provides the background to proceed with development and testing of these patient-absorbable templates.

Conclusions

The creation and use of patient-specific bioabsorbable posterior cervical plates in conjunction with multilevel drill templates appear promising. Additional feasibility studies are planned, and in vitro studies are required to determine the safety and efficacy of using patient-specific drill templates and converting them into bioabsorbable implants.

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Timothy Y. Kim, Christopher M. Jackson, Yuanxuan Xia, Leila A. Mashouf, Kisha K. Patel, Eileen S. Kim, Alice L. Hung, Adela Wu, Tomas Garzon-Muvdi, Matthew T. Bender, Chetan Bettegowda, John Y. K. Lee, and Michael Lim

OBJECTIVE

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a neuropathic pain disorder characterized by severe, lancinating facial pain that is commonly treated with neuropathic medication, percutaneous rhizotomy, and/or microvascular decompression (MVD). Patients who are not found to have distinct arterial compression during MVD present a management challenge. In 2013, the authors reported on a small case series of such patients in whom glycerin was injected intraoperatively into the cisternal segment of the trigeminal nerve. The objective of the authors’ present study was to report their updated experience with this technique to further validate this novel approach.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of data obtained in patients in whom glycerin was directly injected into the inferior third of the cisternal portion of the trigeminal nerve. Seventy-four patients, including 14 patients from the authors’ prior study, were identified, and demographic information, intraoperative findings, postoperative course, and complications were recorded. Fisher’s exact test, unpaired t-tests, and Kaplan-Meier survival curves using Mantel log-rank test were used to compare the 74 patients with a cohort of 476 patients who received standard MVD by the same surgeon.

RESULTS

The 74 patients who underwent MVD and glycerin injection had an average follow-up of 19.1 ± 18.0 months, and the male/female ratio was 1:2.9. In 33 patients (44.6%), a previous intervention for TN had failed. On average, patients had an improvement in the Barrow Neurological Institute Pain Intensity score from 4.1 ± 0.4 before surgery to 2.1 ± 1.2 after surgery. Pain improvement after the surgery was documented in 95.9% of patients. Thirteen patients (17.6%) developed burning pain following surgery. Five patients developed complications (6.7%), including incisional infection, facial palsy, CSF leak, and hearing deficit, all of which were minor.

CONCLUSIONS

Intraoperative injection of glycerin into the trigeminal nerve is a generally safe and potentially effective treatment for TN when no distinct site of arterial compression is identified during surgery or when decompression of the nerve is deemed to be inadequate.

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Robert Young, Ethan Cottrill, Zach Pennington, Jeff Ehresman, A. Karim Ahmed, Timothy Kim, Bowen Jiang, Daniel Lubelski, Alex M. Zhu, Katherine S. Wright, Donna Gavin, Alyson Russo, Marie N. Hanna, Ali Bydon, Timothy F. Witham, Corinna Zygourakis, and Nicholas Theodore

OBJECTIVE

Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocols have rapidly gained popularity in multiple surgical specialties and are recognized for their potential to improve patient outcomes and decrease hospitalization costs. However, they have only recently been applied to spinal surgery. The goal in the present work was to describe the development, implementation, and impact of an Enhanced Recovery After Spine Surgery (ERASS) protocol for patients undergoing elective spine procedures at an academic community hospital.

METHODS

A multidisciplinary team, drawing on prior publications and spine surgery best practices, collaborated to develop an ERASS protocol. Patients undergoing elective cervical or lumbar procedures were prospectively enrolled at a single tertiary care center; interventions were standardized across the cohort for pre-, intra-, and postoperative care using standardized order sets in the electronic medical record. Protocol efficacy was evaluated by comparing enrolled patients to a historic cohort of age- and procedure-matched controls. The primary study outcomes were quantity of opiate use in morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs) on postoperative day (POD) 1 and length of stay. Secondary outcomes included frequency and duration of indwelling urinary catheter use, discharge disposition, 30-day readmission and reoperation rates, and complication rates. Multivariable linear regression was used to determine whether ERASS protocol use was independently predictive of opiate use on POD 1.

RESULTS

In total, 97 patients were included in the study cohort and were compared with a historic cohort of 146 patients. The patients in the ERASS group had lower POD 1 opiate use than the control group (26 ± 33 vs 42 ± 40 MMEs, p < 0.001), driven largely by differences in opiate-naive patients (16 ± 21 vs 38 ± 36 MMEs, p < 0.001). Additionally, patients in the ERASS group had shorter hospitalizations than patients in the control group (51 ± 30 vs 62 ± 49 hours, p = 0.047). On multivariable regression, implementation of the ERASS protocol was independently predictive of lower POD 1 opiate consumption (β = −7.32, p < 0.001). There were no significant differences in any of the secondary outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that the development and implementation of a comprehensive ERASS protocol led to a modest reduction in postoperative opiate consumption and hospital length of stay in patients undergoing elective cervical or lumbar procedures. As suggested by these results and those of other groups, the implementation of ERASS protocols may reduce care costs and improve patient outcomes after spine surgery.

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Timothy Wen, Shuhan He, Frank Attenello, Steven Y. Cen, May Kim-Tenser, Peter Adamczyk, Arun P. Amar, Nerses Sanossian, and William J. Mack

Object

As health care administrators focus on patient safety and cost-effectiveness, methodical assessment of quality outcome measures is critical. In 2008 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a series of “never events” that included 11 hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) for which related costs of treatment are not reimbursed. Cerebrovascular procedures (CVPs) are complex and are often performed in patients with significant medical comorbidities.

Methods

This study examines the impact of patient age and medical comorbidities on the occurrence of CMS-defined HACs, as well as the effect of these factors on the length of stay (LOS) and hospitalization charges in patients undergoing common CVPs.

Results

The HACs occurred at a frequency of 0.49% (1.33% in the intracranial procedures and 0.33% in the carotid procedures). Falls/trauma (n = 4610, 72.3% HACs, 357 HACs per 100,000 CVPs) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (n = 714, 11.2% HACs, 55 HACs per 100,000 CVPs) were the most common events. Age and the presence of ≥ 2 comorbidities were strong independent predictors of HACs (p < 0.0001). The occurrence of HACs negatively impacts both LOS and hospital costs. Patients with at least 1 HAC were 10 times more likely to have prolonged LOS (≥ 90th percentile) (p < 0.0001), and 8 times more likely to have high inpatient costs (≥ 90th percentile) (p < 0.0001) when adjusting for patient and hospital factors.

Conclusions

Improved quality protocols focused on individual patient characteristics might help to decrease the frequency of HACs in this high-risk population. These data suggest that risk adjustment according to underlying patient factors may be warranted when considering reimbursement for costs related to HACs in the setting of CVPs.

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Jennifer E. Kim, John Pang, Joani M. Christensen, Devin Coon, Patricia L. Zadnik, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Ali Bydon, Daniel M. Sciubba, Timothy Witham, Richard J. Redett, and Justin M. Sacks

OBJECT

Total en bloc sacrectomy is a dramatic procedure that results in extensive sacral defects. The authors present a series of patients who underwent flap reconstruction after total sacrectomy, report clinical outcomes, and provide a treatment algorithm to guide surgical care of this unique patient population.

METHODS

After institutional review board approval, data were collected for all patients who underwent total sacrectomy between 2002 and 2012 at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Variables included demographic data, medical history, tumor characteristics, surgical details, postoperative complications, and clinical outcomes. All subtotal sacrectomies were excluded.

RESULTS

Between 2002 and 2012, 9 patients underwent total sacrectomy with flap reconstruction. Diagnoses included chordoma (n = 5), osteoblastoma (n = 1), sarcoma (n = 2), and metastatic colon cancer (n = 1). Six patients received gluteus maximus (GM) flaps with a prosthetic rectal sling following a single-stage, posterior sacrectomy. Four required additional paraspinous muscle (PSM) or pedicled latissimus dorsi (LD) fasciocutaneous flaps. Three patients underwent multistage sacrectomy with an anterior-posterior approach, 2 of whom received pedicled vertical rectus abdominis myocutaneous (VRAM) flaps, and 1 of whom received local GM, LD, and PSM flaps. Flap complications included dehiscence (n = 4) and infection (n = 1). During the 1st year of follow-up, 2 of 9 patients (22%) were able to ambulate with an assistive device by the 1st postoperative month, and 6 of 9 (67%) were ambulatory with a walker by the 3rd postoperative month. By postoperative Month 12, 5 of 9 patients (56%)—or 5 of 5 patients not lost to follow-up (100%)—were able to able to ambulate independently.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' experience suggests that the GM and pedicled VRAM flaps are reliable options for softtissue reconstruction of total sacrectomy defects. For posterior-only operations, GM flaps with or without a prosthetic rectal sling are generally used. For multistage operations including a laparotomy, the authors consider the pedicled VRAM flap to be the gold standard for simultaneous reconstruction of the pelvic diaphragm and obliteration of dead space.