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Tyler Cardinal, Martin J. Rutkowski, Alexander Micko, Mark Shiroishi, Chia-Shang Jason Liu, Bozena Wrobel, John Carmichael, and Gabriel Zada

OBJECTIVE

Acromegaly is a disease of acral enlargement and elevated serum levels of insulin-like growth factor–1 (IGF-1) and growth hormone (GH), usually caused by a pituitary adenoma. A lack of consensus on factors that reliably predict outcomes in acromegalic patients following endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery (EETS) warrants additional investigation.

METHODS

The authors identified 52 patients with acromegaly who underwent an endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) for resection of a GH-secreting pituitary adenoma. Preoperative and postoperative tumor and endocrinological characteristics such as tumor size, invasiveness, and GH/IGF-1 levels were evaluated as potential indicators of postoperative hormonal remission. Endocrinological remission was defined as postoperative IGF-1 levels at or below the age- and sex-normalized values.

RESULTS

The 52 patients had a mean age of 50.7 ± 13.4 years and a mean follow-up duration of 24.4 ± 19.1 months. Ten patients (19%) had microadenomas and 42 (81%) had macroadenomas. Five patients (9.6%) had giant adenomas. Forty-four tumors (85%) had extrasellar extension, with 40 (77%) exhibiting infrasellar invasion, 18 (35%) extending above the sella, and 7 (13%) invading the cavernous sinuses. Thirty-six patients (69%) underwent gross-total resection (GTR; mean maximal tumor diameter 1.47 cm), and 16 (31%) underwent subtotal resection (STR; mean maximal tumor diameter 2.74 cm). Invasive tumors were significantly larger, and Knosp scores were negatively correlated with GTR. Thirty-eight patients (73%) achieved hormonal remission after EEA resection alone, which increased to 87% with adjunctive medical therapy. Ninety percent of patients with microadenomas and 86% of patients with macroadenomas achieved hormonal remission. Preoperative IGF-1 and postoperative day 1 (POD1) GH levels were inversely correlated with hormonal remission. Postoperative CSF leakage occurred in 2 patients (4%), and none experienced vision loss, death, or injury to internal carotid arteries or cranial nerves.

CONCLUSIONS

Endoscopic transsphenoidal resection of GH-secreting pituitary adenomas is a safe and highly effective treatment for achieving hormonal remission and tumor control in up to 87% of patients with acromegaly when combined with postoperative medical therapy. Patients with lower preoperative IGF-1 and POD1 GH levels, with less invasive pituitary adenomas, and who undergo GTR are more likely to achieve postoperative biochemical remission.

Restricted access

Alexander S. G. Micko, Omar Keritam, Wolfgang Marik, Ben A. Strickland, Robert G. Briggs, Shane Shahrestani, Tyler Cardinal, Engelbert Knosp, Gabriel Zada, and Stefan Wolfsberger

OBJECTIVE

Dumbbell-shaped pituitary adenomas (DSPAs) are a subgroup of macroadenomas with suprasellar extension that are characterized by a smaller diameter at the level of the diaphragma sellae opening compared with the supradiaphragmal tumor component (SDTC). Hence, DSPAs may be particularly prone to a nondescending suprasellar tumor component and risk for residual tumor or postoperative bleeding.

METHODS

A multicenter retrospective cohort analysis of 99 patients with DSPA operated on via direct endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal approach between 2011 and 2020 was conducted. Patient recruitment was performed at two tertiary care centers (Medical University of Vienna and University of Southern California) with expertise in endoscopic skull base surgery. DSPA was defined as having a smaller diameter at the level of the diaphragma sellae compared with the SDTC.

RESULTS

On preoperative MRI, all DSPAs were macroadenomas (maximum diameter range 17–71 mm, volume range 2–88 cm3). Tumor descent was found in 73 (74%) of 99 patients (group A), and nondescent in 26 (26%) of 99 patients (group B) intraoperatively. DSPAs in group A had a significantly smaller diameter (30 vs 42 mm, p < 0.001) and significantly smaller volume (10 vs 22 cm3, p < 0.001) than those in group B. The ratio of the minimum area at the level of the diaphragmal opening in comparison with the maximum area of the suprasellar tumor component ("neck-to-dome area") was significantly lower in group A than in group B (1.7 vs 2.7, p < 0.001). Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis revealed an area under the curve of 0.75 (95% CI 0.63–0.87). At a cutoff ratio of 1.9, the sensitivity and specificity for a nondescending suprasellar tumor component were 77% and 34%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

In the present study, the neck-to-dome area ratio was of prognostic value for prediction of intraoperative tumor nondescent in DSPAs operated on via a direct endonasal endoscopic approach. Pituitary adenoma SDTC nondescent carried the inherent risk of hemorrhagic transformation in all cases.

Free access

Justin Chan, Dhiraj J. Pangal, Tyler Cardinal, Guillaume Kugener, Yichao Zhu, Arman Roshannai, Nicholas Markarian, Aditya Sinha, Anima Anandkumar, Andrew Hung, Gabriel Zada, and Daniel A. Donoho

OBJECTIVE

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) systems are increasingly available to neurosurgeons. These systems may provide opportunities for technical rehearsal and assessments of surgeon performance. The assessment of neurosurgeon skill in VR and AR environments and the validity of VR and AR feedback has not been systematically reviewed.

METHODS

A systematic review following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines was conducted through MEDLINE and PubMed. Studies published in English between January 1990 and February 2021 describing the use of VR or AR to quantify surgical technical performance of neurosurgeons without the use of human raters were included. The types and categories of automated performance metrics (APMs) from each of these studies were recorded.

RESULTS

Thirty-three VR studies were included in the review; no AR studies met inclusion criteria. VR APMs were categorized as either distance to target, force, kinematics, time, blood loss, or volume of resection. Distance and time were the most well-studied APM domains, although all domains were effective at differentiating surgeon experience levels. Distance was successfully used to track improvements with practice. Examining volume of resection demonstrated that attending surgeons removed less simulated tumor but preserved more normal tissue than trainees. More recently, APMs have been used in machine learning algorithms to predict level of training with a high degree of accuracy. Key limitations to enhanced-reality systems include limited AR usage for automated surgical assessment and lack of external and longitudinal validation of VR systems.

CONCLUSIONS

VR has been used to assess surgeon performance across a wide spectrum of domains. The VR environment can be used to quantify surgeon performance, assess surgeon proficiency, and track training progression. AR systems have not yet been used to provide metrics for surgeon performance assessment despite potential for intraoperative integration. VR-based APMs may be especially useful for metrics that are difficult to assess intraoperatively, including blood loss and extent of resection.

Restricted access

Dhiraj J. Pangal, Guillaume Kugener, Tyler Cardinal, Elizabeth Lechtholz-Zey, Casey Collet, Sasha Lasky, Shivani Sundaram, Yichao Zhu, Arman Roshannai, Justin Chan, Aditya Sinha, Andrew J. Hung, Animashree Anandkumar, Gabriel Zada, and Daniel A. Donoho

OBJECTIVE

Experts can assess surgeon skill using surgical video, but a limited number of expert surgeons are available. Automated performance metrics (APMs) are a promising alternative but have not been created from operative videos in neurosurgery to date. The authors aimed to evaluate whether video-based APMs can predict task success and blood loss during endonasal endoscopic surgery in a validated cadaveric simulator of vascular injury of the internal carotid artery.

METHODS

Videos of cadaveric simulation trials by 73 neurosurgeons and otorhinolaryngologists were analyzed and manually annotated with bounding boxes to identify the surgical instruments in the frame. APMs in five domains were defined—instrument usage, time-to-phase, instrument disappearance, instrument movement, and instrument interactions—on the basis of expert analysis and task-specific surgical progressions. Bounding-box data of instrument position were then used to generate APMs for each trial. Multivariate linear regression was used to test for the associations between APMs and blood loss and task success (hemorrhage control in less than 5 minutes). The APMs of 93 successful trials were compared with the APMs of 49 unsuccessful trials.

RESULTS

In total, 29,151 frames of surgical video were annotated. Successful simulation trials had superior APMs in each domain, including proportionately more time spent with the key instruments in view (p < 0.001) and less time without hemorrhage control (p = 0.002). APMs in all domains improved in subsequent trials after the participants received personalized expert instruction. Attending surgeons had superior instrument usage, time-to-phase, and instrument disappearance metrics compared with resident surgeons (p < 0.01). APMs predicted surgeon performance better than surgeon training level or prior experience. A regression model that included APMs predicted blood loss with an R2 value of 0.87 (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Video-based APMs were superior predictors of simulation trial success and blood loss than surgeon characteristics such as case volume and attending status. Surgeon educators can use APMs to assess competency, quantify performance, and provide actionable, structured feedback in order to improve patient outcomes. Validation of APMs provides a benchmark for further development of fully automated video assessment pipelines that utilize machine learning and computer vision.

Free access

Martin J. Rutkowski, Ki-Eun Chang, Tyler Cardinal, Robin Du, Ali R. Tafreshi, Daniel A. Donoho, Andrew Brunswick, Alexander Micko, Chia-Shang J. Liu, Mark S. Shiroishi, John D. Carmichael, and Gabriel Zada

OBJECTIVE

Pituitary adenoma (PA) consistency, or texture, is an important intraoperative characteristic that may dictate operative dissection techniques and/or instruments used for tumor removal during endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs). The impact of PA consistency on surgical outcomes has yet to be elucidated.

METHODS

The authors developed an objective 5-point grading scale for PA consistency based on intraoperative characteristics, including ease of tumor debulking, manipulation, and instrument selection, ranging from cystic/hemorrhagic tumors (grade 1) to calcified tumors (grade 5). The proposed grading system was prospectively assessed in 306 consecutive patients who underwent an EEA for PAs, and who were subsequently analyzed for associations with surgical outcomes, including extent of resection (EOR) and complication profiles.

RESULTS

Institutional database review identified 306 patients who underwent intraoperative assessment of PA consistency, of which 96% were macroadenomas, 70% had suprasellar extension, and 44% had cavernous sinus invasion (CSI). There were 214 (69.9%) nonfunctional PAs and 92 functional PAs (31.1%). Distribution of scores included 15 grade 1 tumors (4.9%), 112 grade 2 tumors (36.6%), 125 grade 3 tumors (40.8%), 52 grade 4 tumors (17%), and 2 grade 5 tumors (0.7%). Compared to grade 1/2 and grade 3 PAs, grade 4/5 PAs were significantly larger (22.5 vs 26.6 vs 27.4 mm, p < 0.01), more likely to exhibit CSI (39% vs 42% vs 59%, p < 0.05), and trended toward nonfunctionality (67% vs 68% vs 82%, p = 0.086). Although there was no association between PA consistency and preoperative headaches or visual dysfunction, grade 4/5 PAs trended toward preoperative (p = 0.058) and postoperative panhypopituitarism (p = 0.066). Patients with preoperative visual dysfunction experienced greater improvement if they had a grade 1/2 PA (p < 0.05). Intraoperative CSF leaks were noted in 32% of cases and were more common with higher-consistency-grade tumors (p = 0.048), although this difference did not translate to postoperative CSF leaks. Gross-total resection (%) was more likely with lower PA consistency score as follows: grade 1/2 (60%), grade 3 (50%), grade 4/5 (44%; p = 0.045). Extracapsular techniques were almost exclusively performed in grade 4/5 PAs. Assignment of scores showed low variance and high reproducibility, with an intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.905 (95% CI 0.815–0.958), indicating excellent interrater reliability.

CONCLUSIONS

These findings demonstrate clinical validity of the proposed intraoperative grading scale with respect to PA subtype, neuroimaging features, EOR, and endocrine complications. Future studies will assess the relation of PA consistency to preoperative MRI findings to accurately predict consistency, thereby allowing the surgeon to tailor the exposure and prepare for varying resection strategies.