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Travis Hamilton and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

The role of Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) has expanded worldwide during the past 3 decades. The authors sought to evaluate whether experienced users vary in their estimate of its potential use.

METHODS

Sixty-six current Gamma Knife users from 24 countries responded to an electronic survey. They estimated the potential role of GKRS for benign and malignant tumors, vascular malformations, and functional disorders. These estimates were compared with published disease epidemiological statistics and the 2014 use reports provided by the Leksell Gamma Knife Society (16,750 cases).

RESULTS

Respondents reported no significant variation in the estimated use in many conditions for which GKRS is performed: meningiomas, vestibular schwannomas, and arteriovenous malformations. Significant variance in the estimated use of GKRS was noted for pituitary tumors, craniopharyngiomas, and cavernous malformations. For many current indications, the authors found significant variance in GKRS users based in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Experts estimated that GKRS was used in only 8.5% of the 196,000 eligible cases in 2014.

CONCLUSIONS

Although there was a general worldwide consensus regarding many major indications for GKRS, significant variability was noted for several more controversial roles. This expert opinion survey also suggested that GKRS is significantly underutilized for many current diagnoses, especially in the Americas. Future studies should be conducted to investigate health care barriers to GKRS for many patients.

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Mohamed Macki, Travis Hamilton, Seokchun Lim, Edvin Telemi, Michael Bazydlo, David R. Nerenz, Hesham Mostafa Zakaria, Lonni Schultz, Jad G. Khalil, Miguelangelo J. Perez-Cruet, Ilyas S. Aleem, Paul Park, Jason M. Schwalb, Muwaffak M. Abdulhak, and Victor Chang

OBJECTIVE

Most studies on racial disparities in spine surgery lack data granularity to control for both comorbidities and self-assessment metrics. Analyses from large, multicenter surgical registries can provide an enhanced platform for understanding different factors that influence outcome. In this study, the authors aimed to determine the effects of race on outcomes after lumbar surgery, using patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in 3 areas: the North American Spine Society patient satisfaction index, the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) on the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) for low-back pain, and return to work.

METHODS

The Michigan Spine Surgery Improvement Collaborative was queried for all elective lumbar operations. Patient race/ethnicity was categorized as Caucasian, African American, and “other.” Measures of association between race and PROs were calculated with generalized estimating equations (GEEs) to report adjusted risk ratios.

RESULTS

The African American cohort consisted of a greater proportion of women with the highest comorbidity burden. Among the 7980 and 4222 patients followed up at 1 and 2 years postoperatively, respectively, African American patients experienced the lowest rates of satisfaction, MCID on ODI, and return to work. Following a GEE, African American race decreased the probability of satisfaction at both 1 and 2 years postoperatively. Race did not affect return to work or achieving MCID on the ODI. The variable of greatest association with all 3 PROs at both follow-up times was postoperative depression.

CONCLUSIONS

While a complex myriad of socioeconomic factors interplay between race and surgical success, the authors identified modifiable risk factors, specifically depression, that may improve PROs among African American patients after elective lumbar spine surgery.