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William Gump

The practice of induced skull deformity has long existed in numerous disparate cultures, but for the first time in history it can be applied to adults. While extremely limited in application, some ideas have persisted in the far fringes of modern Western culture with remarkable tenacity. Practitioners of extreme body modification undergo procedures, outside the sphere of traditional medical practice, to make striking, permanent, nontraditional esthetic tissue distortions with the goal of transgressing societal norms. The International Trepanation Advocacy Group represents another example of a fringe cultural movement, whose goal, rather than being purely aesthetic in nature, is to promote elective trepanation as a method for achieving a heightened level of consciousness. Both movements have relatively short and well-defined histories. Despite their tiny numbers of adherents, neurosurgeons may be called on to address relevant patient concerns preprocedurally, or complications postprocedurally, and would benefit from awareness of these peculiar subcultures.

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William C. Gump, Karen L. Skjei and Shefali N. Karkare

Reports on seizure outcomes following surgery for lesional epilepsy consistently cite extent of resection as a significant predictor of outcome. Unfortunately, gross-total resection is not technically feasible in all cases of medically refractory tumor-associated epilepsy. Here, the authors present the case of a 4-year-old girl whose epilepsy was medically controlled after 1-stage electrocorticography-guided subtotal resection (STR) of a large diffuse protoplasmic astrocytoma. They also review the modern literature on epilepsy associated with brain tumors. Outcomes are compared with those following surgical treatment of focal cortical dysplasia and vascular lesions. Gross-total lesional resection shows significant superiority across pathologies and anatomical regions. Despite a considerable number of STRs yielding seizure freedom, other favorable treatment factors have not been defined. Although gross-total lesional resection, if possible, is clearly superior, tailored surgery may still offer patients a significant opportunity for a good outcome. Treatment factors yielding successful seizure control following STR remain to be fully elucidated.

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William C. Gump and John W. Walsh

✓ Nosocomial infections with organisms resistant to multiple antibiotic agents represent an evolving challenge in the intensive care setting, particularly in patients requiring surgical diversion of cerebrospinal fluid. The authors present the case of a 51-year-old woman who endured protracted hospitalization and required multiple surgeries including placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt. The shunt subsequently became colonized with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which demonstrated intermediate sensitivity to amikacin and full resistance to all other antibiotics tested. After failing to respond to intravenous imipenem as well as intravenous and intrathecal amikacin, the patient was successfully treated with intravenous and intrathecal colistin. Colistin is a polymyxin-type antibiotic, rarely used outside of topical application because of reported nephrotoxicity associated with parenteral administration. With activity limited to Gram-negative organisms, colistin is bactericidal by directly disrupting the structure of cell membranes. Authors of a few case reports in the literature have described successful treatment of various ventriculitis with the intrathecal administration of colistin. With bacterial resistances outpacing the pharmaceutical industry's ability to develop novel antibiotics, colistin represents an important alternative in situations involving multidrug-resistant organisms.

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William C. Gump, Ian S. Mutchnick and Thomas M. Moriarty

Molding helmet therapy is a widely accepted treatment for positional plagiocephaly that is generally considered to be low risk. Multiple large outcome studies have shown good results, but adverse events are rarely reported. The literature on helmet therapy was reviewed to clarify the clinical experience with associated complications. Although significant complications were extremely rare, there was a large degree of variability in detection of lesser problems such as minor skin irritation. Patients with a primarily brachycephalic morphology may be at higher risk for poorly fitting orthoses. Most reported complications are minor and self-limited. Maintenance of good helmet hygiene appears to be the most effective strategy for reducing or eliminating complications.

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William C. Gump, Ian S. Mutchnick and Thomas M. Moriarty

Children with spastic diplegia from cerebral palsy (CP) experience measurable improvement in their spasticity and motor function following selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR). The role of this operation in the treatment of other spasticity causes is less well defined. A literature review was undertaken to survey outcomes from SDRs performed outside the CP population. Multiple sclerosis was the most common diagnosis found, accounting for 74 of 145 patients described. Selective dorsal rhizotomies have also been reported in patients with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, neurodegenerative disease, hypoxic encephalopathy, and other causes of spasticity. Outcomes from surgery are generally described as favorable, although postoperative assessments and follow-up times are not standardized across reports. Long-term outcomes are sparsely reported. Larger numbers of patients and more detailed outcomes data have the potential to form a basis for expanding the inclusion criteria for SDR.

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Ian Mutchnick, Meena Thatikunta, Julianne Braun, Martha Bohn, Barbara Polivka, Michael W. Daniels, Rachel Vickers-Smith, William Gump and Thomas Moriarty

OBJECTIVE

Perioperative hypothermia (PH) is a preventable, pathological, and iatrogenic state that has been shown to result in increased surgical blood loss, increased surgical site infections, increased hospital length of stay, and patient discomfort. Maintenance of normothermia is recommended by multiple surgical quality organizations; however, no group yet provides an ergonomic, evidence-based protocol to reduce PH for pediatric neurosurgery patients. The authors’ aim was to evaluate the efficacy of a PH prevention protocol in the pediatric neurosurgery population.

METHODS

A prospective, nonrandomized study of 120 pediatric neurosurgery patients was performed. Thirty-eight patients received targeted warming interventions throughout their perioperative phases of care (warming group—WG). The remaining 82 patients received no extra warming care during their perioperative period (control group—CG). Patients were well matched for age, sex, and preparation time intraoperatively. Hypothermia was defined as < 36°C. The primary outcome of the study was maintenance of normothermia preoperatively, intraoperatively, and postoperatively.

RESULTS

WG patients were significantly warmer on arrival to the operating room (OR) and were 60% less likely to develop PH (p < 0.001). Preoperative forced air warmer use both reduced the risk of PH at time 0 intraoperatively and significantly reduced the risk of any PH intraoperatively (p < 0.001). All patients, regardless of group, experienced a drop in core temperature until a nadir occurred at 30 minutes intraoperatively for the WG and 45 minutes for the CG. At every time interval, from preoperatively to 120 minutes intraoperatively, CG patients were between 2 and 3 times more likely to experience PH (p < 0.001). All patients were warm on arrival to the postanesthesia care unit regardless of patient group.

CONCLUSIONS

Preoperative forced air warmer use significantly increases the average intraoperative time 0 temperature, helping to prevent a fall into PH at the intraoperative nadir. Intraoperatively, a strictly and consistently applied warming protocol made intraoperative hypothermia significantly less likely as well as less severe when it did occur. Implementation of a warming protocol necessitated only limited resources and an OR culture change, and was well tolerated by OR staff.