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William E. Gordon, William M. Mangham, L. Madison Michael II and Paul Klimo Jr.

OBJECTIVE

The cost of training neurosurgical residents is especially high considering the duration of training and the technical nature of the specialty. Despite these costs, on-call residents are a source of significant economic value, through both indirectly and directly supervised activities. The authors sought to identify the economic value of on-call services provided by neurosurgical residents.

METHODS

A personal call log kept by a single junior neurosurgical resident over a 2-year period was used to obtain the total number of consultations, admissions, and procedures. Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes were used to estimate the resident’s on-call economic value.

RESULTS

A single on-call neurosurgical resident at the authors’ institution produced 8172 work relative value units (wRVUs) over the study period from indirectly and directly supervised activities. Indirectly supervised procedures produced 7052 wRVUs, and directly supervised activities using the CPT modifier 80 yielded an additional 1120 wRVUs. Using the assistant surgeon billing rate for directly supervised activities and the Medical Group Management Association nationwide median neurosurgery reimbursement rate, the on-call activities of a single resident generated a theoretical billing value of $689,514 over the 2-year period, or $344,757 annually. As a program, the on-call residents collectively produced 39,550 wRVUs over the study period, or 19,775 wRVUs annually, which equates to potential reimbursements of $1,668,386 annually.

CONCLUSIONS

Neurosurgery residents at the authors’ institution theoretically produce enough economic value exclusively from on-call activities to far exceed the cost of their education. This information could be used to more precisely estimate the true overall cost of neurosurgical training and determine future graduate medical education funding.

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Kiarash Shahlaie and Griffith R. Harsh IV

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Jeffrey M. Burns, Steve Wilkinson, John Overman, Jennifer Kieltyka, Thorsten Lundsgaarde, Travis Tollefson, William C. Koller, Rajesh Pahwa, Alexander I. Tröster, Kelly E. Lyons, Solomon Batnitzky, Louis Wetzel and Michael A. Gordon

Determination of acute pallidotomy-produced lesion volumes, pre- and postpallidotomy globus pallidus (GP) volumes, and assessment of lesion shape using magnetic resonance (MR) imaging-based computerized segmentation (contouring) and three-dimensional rendering was made in 19 patients. Magnetic resonance image slice thickness (1.5 mm or 6 mm) was not found to be a significant factor influencing contour-based pallidotomy lesion volume estimates. Previously reported lesion volumes produced by pallidotomy have often been estimated using the ellipsoid volume formula. Using 1.5-mm-thick MR sections, contour-based pallidotomy-produced lesion volumes were significantly different from those volumes estimated by the ellipsoid formula. Globus pallidus volumes, estimated by contouring T2-weighted MR images, were bilaterally similar (2.4 ± 0.37 ml [right]; 2.2 ± 0.45 ml [left]). Postoperative GP volumes were found on the contralateral, unlesioned side to be 2 ± 0.45 ml and on the lesioned side to be 1.25 ± 0.45 ml. Using the contralateral, unlesioned side as a reference volume, approximately 39 ± 14% of the GP was visibly affected on the lesioned side. Seventeen of 18 patients had a favorable outcome with reduced dyskinesias and "off" time with improvement in parkinsonian symptoms.

Analysis of computerized three-dimensional rendering of pallidotomy-produced lesions based on MR images showed no relationship between lesioning technique and resulting lesion shape. Important factors in the volumetric analysis of pallidotomy lesions are identified and allow reasonable assessment of the pallidotomy lesion volume and shape and the extent of the affected GP.

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Francisco A. Ponce, Wael F. Asaad, Kelly D. Foote, William S. Anderson, G. Rees Cosgrove, Gordon H. Baltuch, Kara Beasley, Donald E. Reymers, Esther S. Oh, Steven D. Targum, Gwenn S. Smith, Constantine G. Lyketsos and Andres M. Lozano

OBJECT

This report describes the stereotactic technique, hospitalization, and 90-day perioperative safety of bilateral deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the fornix in patients who underwent DBS for the treatment of mild, probable Alzheimer's disease (AD).

METHODS

The ADvance Trial is a multicenter, 12-month, double-blind, randomized, controlled feasibility study being conducted to evaluate the safety, efficacy, and tolerability of DBS of the fornix in patients with mild, probable AD. Intraoperative and perioperative data were collected prospectively. All patients underwent postoperative MRI. Stereotactic analyses were performed in a blinded fashion by a single surgeon. Adverse events (AEs) were reported to an independent clinical events committee and adjudicated to determine the relationship between the AE and the study procedure.

RESULTS

Between June 6, 2012, and April 28, 2014, a total of 42 patients with mild, probable AD were treated with bilateral fornix DBS (mean age 68.2 ± 7.8 years; range 48.0–79.7 years; 23 men and 19 women). The mean planned target coordinates were x = 5.2 ± 1.0 mm (range 3.0–7.9 mm), y = 9.6 ± 0.9 mm (range 8.0–11.6 mm), z = −7.5 ± 1.2 mm (range −5.4 to −10.0 mm), and the mean postoperative stereotactic radial error on MRI was 1.5 ± 1.0 mm (range 0.2–4.0 mm). The mean length of hospitalization was 1.4 ± 0.8 days. Twenty-six (61.9%) patients experienced 64 AEs related to the study procedure, of which 7 were serious AEs experienced by 5 patients (11.9%). Four (9.5%) patients required return to surgery: 2 patients for explantation due to infection, 1 patient for lead repositioning, and 1 patient for chronic subdural hematoma. No patients experienced neurological deficits as a result of the study, and no deaths were reported.

CONCLUSIONS

Accurate targeting of DBS to the fornix without direct injury to it is feasible across surgeons and treatment centers. At 90 days after surgery, bilateral fornix DBS was well tolerated by patients with mild, probable AD.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01608061 (clinicaltrials.gov)

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Andrew T. Hale, P. David Adelson, Gregory W. Albert, Philipp R. Aldana, Tord D. Alden, Richard C. E. Anderson, David F. Bauer, Christopher M. Bonfield, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, Joshua J. Chern, Daniel E. Couture, David J. Daniels, Susan R. Durham, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Ramin Eskandari, Timothy M. George, Gerald A. Grant, Patrick C. Graupman, Stephanie Greene, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Naina L. Gross, Daniel J. Guillaume, Gregory G. Heuer, Mark Iantosca, Bermans J. Iskandar, Eric M. Jackson, James M. Johnston, Robert F. Keating, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Cormac O. Maher, Francesco T. Mangano, J. Gordon McComb, Thanda Meehan, Arnold H. Menezes, Brent O’Neill, Greg Olavarria, Tae Sung Park, John Ragheb, Nathan R. Selden, Manish N. Shah, Matthew D. Smyth, Scellig S. D. Stone, Jennifer M. Strahle, Scott D. Wait, John C. Wellons, William E. Whitehead, Chevis N. Shannon, David D. Limbrick Jr. and for the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium Investigators

OBJECTIVE

Factors associated with syrinx size in pediatric patients undergoing posterior fossa decompression (PFD) or PFD with duraplasty (PFDD) for Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) with syringomyelia (SM; CM-I+SM) are not well established.

METHODS

Using the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium registry, the authors analyzed variables associated with syrinx radiological outcomes in patients (< 20 years old at the time of surgery) with CM-I+SM undergoing PFD or PFDD. Syrinx resolution was defined as an anteroposterior (AP) diameter of ≤ 2 mm or ≤ 3 mm or a reduction in AP diameter of ≥ 50%. Syrinx regression or progression was defined using 1) change in syrinx AP diameter (≥ 1 mm), or 2) change in syrinx length (craniocaudal, ≥ 1 vertebral level). Syrinx stability was defined as a < 1-mm change in syrinx AP diameter and no change in syrinx length.

RESULTS

The authors identified 380 patients with CM-I+SM who underwent PFD or PFDD. Cox proportional hazards modeling revealed younger age at surgery and PFDD as being independently associated with syrinx resolution, defined as a ≤ 2-mm or ≤ 3-mm AP diameter or ≥ 50% reduction in AP diameter. Radiological syrinx resolution was associated with improvement in headache (p < 0.005) and neck pain (p < 0.011) after PFD or PFDD. Next, PFDD (p = 0.005), scoliosis (p = 0.007), and syrinx location across multiple spinal segments (p = 0.001) were associated with syrinx diameter regression, whereas increased preoperative frontal-occipital horn ratio (FOHR; p = 0.007) and syrinx location spanning multiple spinal segments (p = 0.04) were associated with syrinx length regression. Scoliosis (HR 0.38 [95% CI 0.16–0.91], p = 0.03) and smaller syrinx diameter (5.82 ± 3.38 vs 7.86 ± 3.05 mm; HR 0.60 [95% CI 0.34–1.03], p = 0.002) were associated with syrinx diameter stability, whereas shorter preoperative syrinx length (5.75 ± 4.01 vs 9.65 ± 4.31 levels; HR 0.21 [95% CI 0.12–0.38], p = 0.0001) and smaller pB-C2 distance (6.86 ± 1.27 vs 7.18 ± 1.38 mm; HR 1.44 [95% CI 1.02–2.05], p = 0.04) were associated with syrinx length stability. Finally, younger age at surgery (8.19 ± 5.02 vs 10.29 ± 4.25 years; HR 1.89 [95% CI 1.31–3.04], p = 0.01) was associated with syrinx diameter progression, whereas increased postoperative syrinx diameter (6.73 ± 3.64 vs 3.97 ± 3.07 mm; HR 3.10 [95% CI 1.67–5.76], p = 0.003), was associated with syrinx length progression. PFD versus PFDD was not associated with syrinx progression or reoperation rate.

CONCLUSIONS

These data suggest that PFDD and age are independently associated with radiological syrinx improvement, although forthcoming results from the PFDD versus PFD randomized controlled trial (NCT02669836, clinicaltrials.gov) will best answer this question.

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Jennifer M. Strahle, Rukayat Taiwo, Christine Averill, James Torner, Chevis N. Shannon, Christopher M. Bonfield, Gerald F. Tuite, Tammy Bethel-Anderson, Jerrel Rutlin, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, John C. Wellons III, Jeffrey R. Leonard, Francesco T. Mangano, James M. Johnston, Manish N. Shah, Bermans J. Iskandar, Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara, David J. Daniels, Eric M. Jackson, Gerald A. Grant, Daniel E. Couture, P. David Adelson, Tord D. Alden, Philipp R. Aldana, Richard C. E. Anderson, Nathan R. Selden, Lissa C. Baird, Karin Bierbrauer, Joshua J. Chern, William E. Whitehead, Richard G. Ellenbogen, Herbert E. Fuchs, Daniel J. Guillaume, Todd C. Hankinson, Mark R. Iantosca, W. Jerry Oakes, Robert F. Keating, Nickalus R. Khan, Michael S. Muhlbauer, J. Gordon McComb, Arnold H. Menezes, John Ragheb, Jodi L. Smith, Cormac O. Maher, Stephanie Greene, Michael Kelly, Brent R. O’Neill, Mark D. Krieger, Mandeep Tamber, Susan R. Durham, Greg Olavarria, Scellig S. D. Stone, Bruce A. Kaufman, Gregory G. Heuer, David F. Bauer, Gregory Albert, Jeffrey P. Greenfield, Scott D. Wait, Mark D. Van Poppel, Ramin Eskandari, Timothy Mapstone, Joshua S. Shimony, Ralph G. Dacey Jr., Matthew D. Smyth, Tae Sung Park and David D. Limbrick Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Scoliosis is frequently a presenting sign of Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) with syrinx. The authors’ goal was to define scoliosis in this population and describe how radiological characteristics of CM-I and syrinx relate to the presence and severity of scoliosis.

METHODS

A large multicenter retrospective and prospective registry of pediatric patients with CM-I (tonsils ≥ 5 mm below the foramen magnum) and syrinx (≥ 3 mm in axial width) was reviewed for clinical and radiological characteristics of CM-I, syrinx, and scoliosis (coronal curve ≥ 10°).

RESULTS

Based on available imaging of patients with CM-I and syrinx, 260 of 825 patients (31%) had a clear diagnosis of scoliosis based on radiographs or coronal MRI. Forty-nine patients (5.9%) did not have scoliosis, and in 516 (63%) patients, a clear determination of the presence or absence of scoliosis could not be made. Comparison of patients with and those without a definite scoliosis diagnosis indicated that scoliosis was associated with wider syrinxes (8.7 vs 6.3 mm, OR 1.25, p < 0.001), longer syrinxes (10.3 vs 6.2 levels, OR 1.18, p < 0.001), syrinxes with their rostral extent located in the cervical spine (94% vs 80%, OR 3.91, p = 0.001), and holocord syrinxes (50% vs 16%, OR 5.61, p < 0.001). Multivariable regression analysis revealed syrinx length and the presence of holocord syrinx to be independent predictors of scoliosis in this patient cohort. Scoliosis was not associated with sex, age at CM-I diagnosis, tonsil position, pB–C2 distance (measured perpendicular distance from the ventral dura to a line drawn from the basion to the posterior-inferior aspect of C2), clivoaxial angle, or frontal-occipital horn ratio. Average curve magnitude was 29.9°, and 37.7% of patients had a left thoracic curve. Older age at CM-I or syrinx diagnosis (p < 0.0001) was associated with greater curve magnitude whereas there was no association between syrinx dimensions and curve magnitude.

CONCLUSIONS

Syrinx characteristics, but not tonsil position, were related to the presence of scoliosis in patients with CM-I, and there was an independent association of syrinx length and holocord syrinx with scoliosis. Further study is needed to evaluate the nature of the relationship between syrinx and scoliosis in patients with CM-I.