Christopher I. Shaffrey
Melvin Field, Timothy F. Witham, John C. Flickinger, Douglas Kondziolka and L. Dade Lunsford
Object. Stereotactic brain biopsy has played an integral role in the diagnosis and management of brain lesions. At most centers, imaging studies following biopsy are rarely performed. The authors prospectively determined the acute hemorrhage rate after stereotactic biopsy by performing immediate postbiopsy intraoperative computerized tomography (CT) scanning. They then analyzed factors that may influence the risk of hemorrhage and the diagnostic accuracy rate.
Methods. Five hundred consecutive patients undergoing stereotactic brain biopsy underwent immediate postbiopsy intraoperative CT scanning. Before surgery, routine preoperative coagulation studies were performed in all patients. All medical charts, laboratory results, preoperative imaging studies, and postoperative imaging studies were reviewed.
In 40 patients (8%) hemorrhage was detected using immediate postbiopsy intraoperative CT scanning. Neurological deficits developed in six patients (1.2%) and one patient (0.2%) died. Symptomatic delayed neurological deficits developed in two patients (0.4%), despite the fact that the initial postbiopsy CT scans in these cases did not show acute hemorrhage. Both patients had large intracerebral hemorrhages that were confirmed at the time of repeated imaging. The results of a multivariate logistic regression analysis of the risk of postbiopsy hemorrhage of any size showed a significant correlation only with the degree to which the platelet count was below 150,000/mm3 (p = 0.006). The results of a multivariate analysis of a hemorrhage measuring greater than 5 mm in diameter also showed a correlation between the risk of hemorrhage and a lesion location in the pineal region (p = 0.0086). The rate at which a nondiagnostic biopsy specimen was obtained increased as the number of biopsy samples increased (p = 0.0073) and in accordance with younger patient age (p = 0.026).
Conclusions. Stereotactic brain biopsy was associated with a low likelihood of postbiopsy hemorrhage. The risk of hemorrhage increased steadily as the platelet count fell below 150,000/mm3. The authors found a small but definable risk of delayed hemorrhage, despite unremarkable findings on an immediate postbiopsy head CT scan. This risk justifies an overnight hospital observation stay for all patients after having undergone stereotactic brain biopsy.
Y. Raja Rampersaud
Carlos A. Bagley, Markus J. Bookland, Jonathan A. Pindrik, Tolga Ozmen, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Timothy F. Witham
Spinal column metastatic disease clinically affects thousands of cancer patients every year. Local chemotherapy represents a new option in the treatment of metastatic disease of the spine. Despite the clinical impact of metastatic spine disease, the literature currently lacks an accurate animal model for the effective dosing of local chemotherapeutic agents within the vertebral column.
Female Fischer 344 rats, weighing 150 to 200 g each, were used in this study. After induction of anesthesia, a transabdominal approach to the ventral vertebral body of L-6 was performed. A small hole was drilled and 5 μL of ReGel (blank polymer), OncoGel (paclitaxel and ReGel) 1.5%, OncoGel 3.0%, or OncoGel 6.0% were immediately injected to determine drug toxicity. Based on these results, efficacy studies were performed by intratumoral injection of 5 μL of ReGel, OncoGel 3.0%, and OncoGel 6.0% on Day 6 in a CRL-1666 breast adenocarcinoma metastatic spine tumor model. Hind limb function was tested pre- and postoperatively using the Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan rating scale. Histological analysis of the spinal cord and vertebral column was performed when the animal died or was killed.
There were no signs of toxicity observed in association with any of the agents under study. No increased benefit was seen in the blank polymer group compared with the control group (tumor only). OncoGel 3.0% and OncoGel 6.0% were effective in delaying the onset of paralysis in the respective study groups.
These findings demonstrate the potential benefit of OncoGel in cases of subtotal resections of metastatic spinal column tumors. OncoGel 6.0% is the most efficacious drug concentration and offers the best therapeutic option in this experimental model. These results provide promise for the development of local chemotherapeutic means to treat spinal metastases.
Mohamad Bydon, Nicholas B. Abt, Rafael De la Garza-Ramos, Mohamed Macki, Timothy F. Witham, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Ali Bydon and Judy Huang
The authors sought to determine the impact of resident participation on overall 30-day morbidity and mortality following neurosurgical procedures.
The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database was queried for all patients who had undergone neurosurgical procedures between 2006 and 2012. The operating surgeon(s), whether an attending only or attending plus resident, was assessed for his or her influence on morbidity and mortality. Multivariate logistic regression, was used to estimate odds ratios for 30-day postoperative morbidity and mortality outcomes for the attending-only compared with the attending plus resident cohorts (attending group and attending+resident group, respectively).
The study population consisted of 16,098 patients who had undergone elective or emergent neurosurgical procedures. The mean patient age was 56.8 ± 15.0 years, and 49.8% of patients were women. Overall, 15.8% of all patients had at least one postoperative complication. The attending+resident group demonstrated a complication rate of 20.12%, while patients with an attending-only surgeon had a statistically significantly lower complication rate at 11.70% (p < 0.001). In the total population, 263 patients (1.63%) died within 30 days of surgery. Stratified by operating surgeon status, 162 patients (2.07%) in the attending+resident group died versus 101 (1.22%) in the attending group, which was statistically significant (p < 0.001). Regression analyses compared patients who had resident participation to those with only attending surgeons, the referent group. Following adjustment for preoperative patient characteristics and comorbidities, multivariate regression analysis demonstrated that patients with resident participation in their surgery had the same odds of 30-day morbidity (OR = 1.05, 95% CI 0.94–1.17) and mortality (OR = 0.92, 95% CI 0.66–1.28) as their attendingonly counterparts.
Cases with resident participation had higher rates of mortality and morbidity; however, these cases also involved patients with more comorbidities initially. On multivariate analysis, resident participation was not an independent risk factor for postoperative 30-day morbidity or mortality following elective or emergent neurosurgical procedures.
Benjamin D. Elder, Wataru Ishida, C. Rory Goodwin, Ali Bydon, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Daniel M. Sciubba, Jean-Paul Wolinsky and Timothy F. Witham
With the advent of new adjunctive therapy, the overall survival of patients harboring spinal column tumors has improved. However, there is limited knowledge regarding the optimal bone graft options following resection of spinal column tumors, due to their relative rarity and because fusion outcomes in this cohort are affected by various factors, such as radiation therapy (RT) and chemotherapy. Furthermore, bone graft options are often limited following tumor resection because the use of local bone grafts and bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are usually avoided in light of microscopic infiltration of tumors into local bone and potential carcinogenicity of BMP. The objective of this study was to review and meta-analyze the relevant clinical literature to provide further clinical insight regarding bone graft options.
A web-based MEDLINE search was conducted in accordance with preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis (PRISMA) guidelines, which yielded 27 articles with 383 patients. Information on baseline characteristics, tumor histology, adjunctive treatments, reconstruction methods, bone graft options, fusion rates, and time to fusion were collected. Pooled fusion rates (PFRs) and I2 values were calculated in meta-analysis. Meta-regression analyses were also performed if each variable appeared to affect fusion outcomes. Furthermore, data on 272 individual patients were available, which were additionally reviewed and statistically analyzed.
Overall, fusion rates varied widely from 36.0% to 100.0% due to both inter- and intrastudy heterogeneity, with a PFR of 85.7% (I2 = 36.4). The studies in which cages were filled with morselized iliac crest autogenic bone graft (ICABG) and/or other bone graft options were used for anterior fusion showed a significantly higher PFR of 92.8, compared with the other studies (83.3%, p = 0.04). In per-patient analysis, anterior plus posterior fusion resulted in a higher fusion rate than anterior fusion only (98.8% vs 86.4%, p < 0.001). Although unmodifiable, RT (90.3% vs 98.6%, p = 0.03) and lumbosacral tumors (74.6% vs 97.9%, p < 0.001) were associated with lower fusion rates in univariate analysis. The mean time to fusion was 5.4 ± 1.4 months (range 3–9 months), whereas 16 of 272 patients died before the confirmation of solid fusion with a mean survival of 3.1 ± 2.1 months (range 0.5–6 months). The average time to fusion of patients who received RT and chemotherapy were significantly longer than those who did not receive these adjunctive treatments (RT: 6.1 months vs 4.3 months, p < 0.001; chemotherapy: 6.0 months vs 4.3 months, p = 0.02).
Due to inter- and intrastudy heterogeneity in patient, disease, fusion criteria, and treatment characteristics, the optimal surgical techniques and factors predictive of fusion remain unclear. Clearly, future prospective, randomized studies will be necessary to better understand the issues surrounding bone graft selection following resection of spinal column tumors.
Risheng Xu, Mohamad Bydon, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, Timothy F. Witham and Ali Bydon
Epidural steroid injections are relatively safe procedures, although the risk of hemorrhagic complications in patients undergoing long-term anticoagulation therapy is higher. The American Society for Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine has specific guidelines for treatment of these patients when they undergo neuraxial anesthetic procedures. In this paper, the authors present a case in which the current American Society for Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine guidelines were strictly followed with respect to withholding and reintroducing warfarin and enoxaparin after an epidural steroid injection, but the patient nevertheless developed a spinal epidural hematoma requiring emergency surgical evacuation. The authors compare the case with the 8 other published cases of postinjection epidural hematomas in patients with coagulopathy, and the specific risk factors that may have contributed to the hemorrhagic complication in this patient is analyzed.
Rafael De la Garza Ramos, C. Rory Goodwin, Nancy Abu-Bonsrah, Ali Bydon, Timothy F. Witham, Jean-Paul Wolinsky and Daniel M. Sciubba
The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence of spinal tuberculosis (TB) in the US between 2002 and 2011.
The Nationwide Inpatient Sample database from 2002 to 2011 was used to identify patients with a discharge diagnosis of TB and spinal TB. Demographic and hospital data were obtained for all admissions, and included age, sex, race, comorbid conditions, insurance status, hospital location, hospital teaching status, and hospital region. The incidence rate of spinal TB adjusted for population growth was calculated after application of discharge weights.
A total of 75,858 patients with a diagnosis of TB were identified, of whom 2789 had a diagnosis of spinal TB (3.7%); this represents an average of 278.9 cases per year between 2002 and 2011. The incidence of spinal TB decreased significantly—from 0.07 cases per 100,000 persons in 2002 to 0.05 cases per 100,000 in 2011 (p < 0.001), corresponding to 1 case per 2 million persons in the latter year. The median age for patients with spinal TB was 51 years, and 61% were male; 11.6% were patients with diabetes, 11.4% reported recent weight loss, and 8.1% presented with paralysis. There were 619 patients who underwent spinal surgery for TB, with the most common location being the thoracolumbar spine (61.9% of cases); 50% of patients had instrumentation of 3 or more spinal segments.
During the examined 10-year period, the incidence of spinal TB was found to significantly decrease over time in the US, reaching a rate of 1 case per 2 million persons in 2011. However, the absolute reduction was relatively small, suggesting that although it is uncommon, spinal TB remains a public health concern and most commonly affects male patients approximately 50 years of age. Approximately 20% of patients with spinal TB underwent surgery, most commonly in the thoracolumbar spine.
Scott L. Parker, Risheng Xu, Matthew J. McGirt, Timothy F. Witham, Donlin M. Long and Ali Bydon
The most common spinal procedure performed in the US is lumbar discectomy for disc herniation. Longterm disc degeneration and height loss occur in many patients after lumbar discectomy. The incidence of mechanical back pain following discectomy varies widely in the literature, and its associated health care costs are unknown. The authors set out to determine the incidence of and the health care costs associated with mechanical back pain attributed to segmental degeneration or instability at the level of a prior discectomy performed at their institution.
The authors retrospectively reviewed the data for 111 patients who underwent primary, single-level lumbar hemilaminotomy and discectomy for radiculopathy. All diagnostic modalities, conservative therapies, and operative treatments used for the management of postdiscectomy back pain were recorded. Institutional billing and accounting records were reviewed to determine the billed costs of all diagnostic and therapeutic measures.
At a mean follow-up of 37.3 months after primary discectomy, 75 patients (68%) experienced minimal to no back pain, 26 (23%) had moderate back pain requiring conservative treatment only, and 10 (9%) suffered severe back pain that required a subsequent fusion surgery at the site of the primary discectomy. The mean cost per patient for conservative treatment alone was $4696. The mean cost per patient for operative treatment was $42,554. The estimated cost of treatment for mechanical back pain associated with postoperative same-level degeneration or instability was $493,383 per 100 cases of first-time, single-level lumbar discectomy ($4934 per primary discectomy).
Postoperative mechanical back pain associated with same-level degeneration is not uncommon in patients undergoing single-level lumbar discectomy and is associated with substantial health care costs.
Hormuzdiyar H. Dasenbrock, Stephen P. Juraschek, Lonni R. Schultz, Timothy F. Witham, Daniel M. Sciubba, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Ali Bydon
Advocates of minimally invasive discectomy (MID) have promoted this operation as an alternative to open discectomy (OD), arguing that there may be less injury to the paraspinal muscles, decreased postoperative pain, and a faster recovery time. However, a recently published large randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing these approaches reported inferior relief of leg pain in patients undergoing MID. The authors conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate complications and improvement in leg pain in patients with radiculopathy enrolled in RCTs comparing OD to MID.
The authors performed a literature search using Medline and EMBASE of studies indexed between January 1990 and January 2011. Predetermined RCT eligibility included the usage of tubular retractors during MID, a minimum follow-up duration of 1 year, and quantification of pain with the visual analog scale (VAS). Trials that only evaluated patients with recurrent disc herniation were excluded. Data on operative parameters, complications, and VAS scores of leg pain were extracted by 2 investigators. A meta-analysis was performed assuming random effects to determine the difference in mean change for continuous outcomes and the risk ratio for binary outcomes.
Six trials comprising 837 patients (of whom 388 were randomized to MID and 449 were randomized to OD) were included. The mean operative time was 49 minutes during MID and 44 minutes during OD; this difference was not statistically significant. Incidental durotomies occurred significantly more frequently during MID (5.67% compared with 2.90% for OD; RR 2.05, 95% CI 1.05–3.98). Intraoperative complications (incidental durotomies and nerve root injuries) were also significantly more common in patients undergoing MID (RR 2.01, 95% CI 1.07–3.77). The mean preoperative VAS score for leg pain was 6.9 in patients randomized to MID and 7.2 in those randomized to OD. With long-term follow-up (1–2 years postoperatively), the mean VAS score improved to 1.6 in both the MID and OD cohorts. There was no significant difference in relief of leg pain between the 2 approaches with either short-term follow-up (2–3 months postoperatively, 0.81 points on the VAS, 95% CI −4.71 to 6.32) or long-term follow-up (2.64 on the VAS, 95% CI −2.15 to 7.43). Reoperation for recurrent herniation was more common in patients randomized to the MID group (8.50% compared with 5.35% in patients randomized to the OD group), but this difference was not statistically significant (RR 1.56, 95% CI 0.92–2.66). Total complications did not differ significantly between the operations (RR 1.50, 95% CI 0.97–2.33).
The current evidence suggests that both OD and MID lead to a substantial and equivalent long-term improvement in leg pain. Adequate decompression, regardless of the operative approach used, may be the primary determinant of pain relief—the major complaint of many patients with radiculopathy. Incidental durotomies occurred significantly more frequently during MID, but total complications did not differ between the techniques.