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Marike L. D. Broekman, Janneke van Beijnum, Wilco C. Peul, and Luca Regli

Many neurosurgeons remove their patients' hair before surgery. They claim that this practice reduces the chance of postoperative surgical site infections, and facilitates planning, attachment of the drapes, and closure. However, most patients dread this procedure. The authors performed the first systematic review on shaving before neurosurgical procedures to investigate whether this commonly performed procedure is based on evidence. They systematically reviewed the literature on wound infections following different shaving strategies. Data on the type of surgery, surgeryrelated infections, preoperative shaving policy, decontamination protocols, and perioperative antibiotics protocols were collected. The search detected 165 articles, of which 21 studies—involving 11,071 patients—were suitable for inclusion. Two of these studies were randomized controlled trials. The authors reviewed 13 studies that reported on the role of preoperative hair removal in craniotomies, 14 on implantation surgery, 5 on bur hole procedures, and 3 on spine surgery. Nine studies described shaving policies in pediatric patients. None of these papers provided evidence that preoperative shaving decreases the occurrence of postoperative wound infections. The authors conclude that there is no evidence to support the routine performance of preoperative hair removal in neurosurgery. Therefore, properly designed studies are needed to provide evidence for preoperative shaving recommendations.

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Mark P. Arts, Arjan Nieborg, Ronald Brand, and Wilco C. Peul

Object

Muscle injury is inevitable during surgical exposure of the spine and is quantified by the release of creatine phosphokinase (CPK). No studies have been conducted on different spinal approaches and nonspinal surgery with regard to muscle injury. The present prospective cohort study was conducted to evaluate the results of postoperative serum CPK as an indicator of muscle injury in relation to various spinal and nonspinal procedures.

Methods

The authors analyzed data in 322 consecutive patients who had undergone 257 spinal and 65 nonspinal procedures. Primary procedures were performed in 264 patients and revision surgeries in 58. Spinal procedures were subdivided according to the degree of surgical invasiveness as follows: minimally invasive (microendoscopic lumbar discectomy, unilateral transflaval discectomy, and minithoracotomy), average invasiveness (bilateral lumbar discectomy, laminectomy, and anterior cervical discectomy), and extensive surgery (instrumented single or multilevel spondylodesis of the entire spinal column). Spinal localization, number of spinal levels involved, surgical approach, duration of surgery, and body mass index (BMI) were recorded. Creatine phosphokinase was measured before surgery and 1 day after surgery, and the CPK ratio (that is, the difference within one patient) was used as the outcome measure.

Results

There was a significant dose-response relationship between the CPK ratio and the degree of surgical invasiveness; extensively invasive surgery had the highest CPK ratio and minimally invasive surgery had the lowest. Thoracolumbar surgery had a significantly higher CPK ratio compared with those for cervical and nonspinal surgery. There was a slightly negative relationship between the number of spinal segments involved and the CPK ratio. The CPK ratio in revision surgery was significantly higher than in primary surgery. Posterior surgical approaches had a higher CPK ratio, and the ratios for unilateral compared with bilateral approaches were not significantly different. The duration of surgery and preoperative serum level of CPK significantly influenced postoperative CPK. There was also a significant association between CPK ratio and nonspinal surgery. Age, sex, and BMI were not significant factors.

Conclusions

Data in this study have shown a dose-response relationship between CPK and the extent of surgical invasiveness. Thoracolumbar surgery, posterior approaches, duration of surgery, revision surgery, and preoperative value of CPK were significant influencing factors for the CPK ratio. The clinical significance of the results in the present study is not known.

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Ralph T. W. M. Thomeer, J. Marc C. van Dijk, and Wilco C. Peul

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Godard C. W. de Ruiter, Mark P. Arts, J. Wolter A. Oosterhuis, Andreas Marinelli, and Wilco C. Peul

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Pravesh S. Gadjradj, Maurits W. van Tulder, Clemens M. F. Dirven, Wilco C. Peul, and B. Sanjay Harhangi

OBJECTIVE

Throughout the last decades, full-endoscopic techniques to treat lumbar disc herniation (LDH) have gained popularity in clinical practice. To date, however, no Class I evidence on the efficacy of percutaneous transforaminal endoscopic discectomy (PTED) has been published, and studies describing its safety and short- and long-term efficacy are scarce. In this study the authors aimed to evaluate the clinical outcomes and safety in patients undergoing PTED for LDH.

METHODS

Patients who underwent PTED for LDH between January 2009 and December 2012 were prospectively followed. The primary outcomes were the visual analog scale (VAS) score for leg pain and the score on the Quebec Back Pain Disability Scale (QBPDS). Secondary outcomes were the perceived experience with the local anesthesia used and satisfaction with the results after 1 year using Likert-type scales. The pretreatment means were compared with the means obtained 6 and 52 weeks after surgery using paired t-tests.

RESULTS

A total of 166 patients underwent surgery for a total of 167 LDHs. The mean duration of surgery (± SD) was 51.0 ± 9.0 minutes. The 1-year follow-up rate was 95.2%. The mean reported scores on the VAS and QBPDS were 82.5 ± 17.3 mm and 60.0 ± 18.4 at baseline, respectively. Six weeks after surgery, the scores on the VAS and QBPDS were significantly reduced to 28.8 ± 24.5 mm and 26.7 ± 20.6, respectively (p < 0.001). After 52 weeks of follow-up, the scores were further reduced compared with baseline scores (p < 0.001) to 19.6 ± 23.5 mm on the VAS and 20.2 ± 18.1 on the QBPDS. A total of 4 complications were observed, namely 1 dural tear, 1 deficit of ankle dorsiflexion, and 2 cases of transient paresis in the foot due to the use of local anesthetics.

CONCLUSIONS

PTED appears to be a safe and effective intervention for LDH and has similar clinical outcomes compared to conventional open microdiscectomy. High-quality randomized controlled trials are required to study the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of PTED.

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Mark P. Arts, Wilco C. Peul, Bart W. Koes, Ralph T. W. M. Thomeer, and for the Leiden–The Hague Spine Intervention Prognostic Study (SIPS) Group

Object

Although clinical guidelines for sciatica have been developed, various aspects of lumbar disc herniation remain unclear, and daily clinical practice may vary. The authors conducted a descriptive survey among spine surgeons in the Netherlands to obtain an overview of routine management of lumbar disc herniation.

Methods

One hundred thirty-one spine surgeons were sent a questionnaire regarding various aspects of different surgical procedures. Eighty-six (70%) of the 122 who performed lumbar disc surgery provided usable questionnaires.

Results

Unilateral transflaval discectomy was the most frequently performed procedure and was expected to be the most effective, whereas percutaneous laser disc decompression was expected to be the least effective. Bilateral discectomy was expected to be associated with the most postoperative low-back pain. Recurrent disc herniation was expected to be lowest after bilateral discectomy and highest after percutaneous laser disc decompression. Complications were expected to be highest after bilateral discectomy and lowest after unilateral transflaval discectomy. Nearly half of the surgeons preferentially treated patients with 8–12 weeks of disabling leg pain. Some consensus was shown on acute surgery in patients with short-lasting drop foot and those with a cauda equina syndrome, and nonsurgical treatment in patients with long-lasting, painless drop foot. Most respondents allowed postoperative mobilization within 24 hours but advised their patients not to resume work until 8–12 weeks postoperatively.

Conclusions

Unilateral transflaval discectomy was the most frequently performed procedure. Minimally invasive techniques were expected to be less effective, with higher recurrence rates but less postoperative low-back pain. Variety was shown between surgeons in the management of patients with neurological deficit. Most responding surgeons allowed early mobilization but appeared to give conservative advice in resumption of work.

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David McKalip

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Ken R. Winston

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Aditya V. Karhade, Paul Ogink, Quirina Thio, Marike Broekman, Thomas Cha, William B. Gormley, Stuart Hershman, Wilco C. Peul, Christopher M. Bono, and Joseph H. Schwab

OBJECTIVE

If not anticipated and prearranged, hospital stay can be prolonged while the patient awaits placement in a rehabilitation unit or skilled nursing facility following elective spine surgery. Preoperative prediction of the likelihood of postoperative discharge to any setting other than home (i.e., nonroutine discharge) after elective inpatient spine surgery would be helpful in terms of decreasing hospital length of stay. The purpose of this study was to use machine learning algorithms to develop an open-access web application for preoperative prediction of nonroutine discharges in surgery for elective inpatient lumbar degenerative disc disorders.

METHODS

The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program was queried to identify patients who underwent elective inpatient spine surgery for lumbar disc herniation or lumbar disc degeneration between 2011 and 2016. Four machine learning algorithms were developed to predict nonroutine discharge and the best algorithm was incorporated into an open-access web application.

RESULTS

The rate of nonroutine discharge for 26,364 patients who underwent elective inpatient surgery for lumbar degenerative disc disorders was 9.28%. Predictive factors selected by random forest algorithms were age, sex, body mass index, fusion, level, functional status, extent and severity of comorbid disease (American Society of Anesthesiologists classification), diabetes, and preoperative hematocrit level. On evaluation in the testing set (n = 5273), the neural network had a c-statistic of 0.823, calibration slope of 0.935, calibration intercept of 0.026, and Brier score of 0.0713. On decision curve analysis, the algorithm showed greater net benefit for changing management over all threshold probabilities than changing management on the basis of the American Society of Anesthesiologists classification alone or for all patients or for no patients. The model can be found here: https://sorg-apps.shinyapps.io/discdisposition/.

CONCLUSIONS

Machine learning algorithms show promising results on internal validation for preoperative prediction of nonroutine discharges. If found to be externally valid, widespread use of these algorithms via the open-access web application by healthcare professionals may help preoperative risk stratification of patients undergoing elective surgery for lumbar degenerative disc disorders.

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Fleur L. Fisher, Amir H. Zamanipoor Najafabadi, Pim B. van der Meer, Florien W. Boele, Saskia M. Peerdeman, Wilco C. Peul, Martin J. B. Taphoorn, Linda Dirven, and Wouter R. van Furth

OBJECTIVE

Patients with skull base meningioma (SBM) often require complex surgery around critical neurovascular structures, placing them at high risk of poor health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and possibly neurocognitive dysfunction. As the survival of meningioma patients is near normal, long-term neurocognitive and HRQOL outcomes are important to evaluate, including evaluation of the impact of specific tumor location and treatment modalities on these outcomes.

METHODS

In this multicenter cross-sectional study including patients 5 years or more after their last tumor intervention, Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) and European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-BN20 questionnaires were used to assess generic and disease-specific HRQOL. Neurocognitive functioning was assessed with standardized neuropsychological assessment. SBM patient assessments were compared with those of 1) informal caregivers of SBM patients who served as controls and 2) convexity meningioma patients. In addition, the authors compared anterior/middle SBM patients with posterior SBM patients and anterior/middle and posterior SBM patients separately with controls. Multivariable and propensity score regression analyses were performed to correct for possible confounders.

RESULTS

Patients with SBM (n = 89) with a median follow-up of 9 years after the last intervention did not significantly differ from controls (n = 65) or convexity meningioma patients (n = 84) on generic HRQOL assessment. Statistically significantly but not clinically relevantly better disease-specific HRQOL was found for SBM patients compared with convexity meningioma patients. Anterior/middle SBM patients (n = 62) had significantly and clinically relevantly better HRQOL in SF-36 and EORTC QLQ-BN20 scores than posterior SBM patients (n = 27): physical role functioning (corrected difference 17.1, 95% CI 0.2–34.0), motor dysfunction (−10.1, 95% CI −17.5 to −2.7), communication deficit (−14.2, 95% CI −22.7 to −5.6), and weakness in both legs (−10.1, 95% CI −18.8 to −1.5). SBM patients whose primary treatment was radiotherapy had lower HRQOL scores compared with SBM patients who underwent surgery on two domains: bodily pain (−33.0, 95% CI −55.2 to −10.9) and vitality (−18.9. 95% CI −33.7 to −4.1). Tumor location and treatment modality did not result in significant differences in neurocognitive functioning, although 44% of SBM patients had deficits in at least one domain.

CONCLUSIONS

In the long term, SBM patients do not experience significantly more sequelae in HRQOL and neurocognitive functioning than do controls or patients with convexity meningioma. Patients with posterior SBM had poorer HRQOL than anterior/middle SBM patients, and primary treatment with radiotherapy was associated with worse HRQOL. Neurocognitive functioning was not affected by tumor location or treatment modality.