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William C. Newman, Yue-Fang Chang and L. Dade Lunsford

OBJECTIVE

Neurosurgery is often self-selecting. Concern has been raised that residents in the millennial era (born between 1982 and 2004) may have more serious professionalism and performance issues (PPIs) during training compared to prior trainees. Serious PPIs were defined as concerns that led to specific resident disciplinary actions ranging from initial warnings to termination. In order to evaluate this concern, the authors retrospectively reviewed a 50-year experience at a single training center. They then prospectively surveyed living graduates of the program to assess variations in practice patterns and job satisfaction over 5 decades.

METHODS

The PPIs of 141 residents admitted for training at the University of Pittsburgh (subsequently UPMC) Department of Neurological Surgery were reviewed by decade starting in 1971 when the first department chair was appointed. The review was conducted by the senior author, who served from 1975 to 1980 as a resident, as a faculty member since 1980, and as the resident director since 1986. A review of resident PPIs between 1971 and 1974 was performed in consultation with a senior faculty member active at that time. During the last decade, electronic reporting of PPIs was performed by entry into an electronic reporting system. In order to further evaluate whether the frequency of PPIs affected subsequent job satisfaction and practice patterns after completion of training, the authors surveyed living graduates.

RESULTS

There was no statistically significant difference by decade in serious PPIs. Although millennial residents had no significant increase in the reporting of serious PPIs, the increased use of electronic event reporting over the most recent 2 decades coincided with a trend of increased reporting of all levels of suspected PPIs (p < 0.05). Residents surveyed after completion of training showed no difference by decade in types of practice or satisfaction-based metrics (p > 0.05) but reported increasing concerns related to the impact of their profession on their own lifestyle as well as their family’s.

CONCLUSIONS

There was no statistically significant difference in the incidence of serious PPIs over 5 decades of training neurosurgery residents at the authors’ institution. During the millennial era, serious PPIs have not been increasing. However, reporting of all levels of PPIs is increasing coincident with the ease of electronic reporting. There was remarkably little variance in satisfaction metrics or type of practice over the 5 decades studied.

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Parthasarathy Thirumala, Andrew M. Frederickson, Jeffrey Balzer, Donald Crammond, Miguel E. Habeych, Yue-Fang Chang and Raymond F. Sekula Jr.

OBJECT

Microvascular decompression is a safe and effective procedure to treat hemifacial spasm, but the operation poses some risk to the patient’s hearing. While severe sensorineural hearing loss across all frequencies occurs at a low rate in experienced hands, a recent study suggests that as many as one-half of patients who undergo this procedure may experience ipsilateral high-frequency hearing loss (HFHL), and as many as one-quarter may experience contralateral HFHL. While it has been suggested that drill-related noise may account for this finding, this study was designed to examine the effect of a number of techniques designed to protect the vestibulocochlear nerve from operative manipulation on the incidence of HFHL.

METHODS

Pure-tone audiometry was performed both preoperatively and postoperatively on 67 patients who underwent microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm during the study period. A change of greater than 10 dB at either 4 kHz or 8 kHz was considered to be HFHL. Additionally, the authors analyzed intraoperative brainstem auditory evoked potentials from this patient cohort.

RESULTS

The incidence of ipsilateral HFHL in this cohort was 7.4%, while the incidence of contralateral HFHL was 4.5%. One patient (1.5%; also included in the HFHL group) experienced an ipsilateral nonserviceable hearing loss.

CONCLUSIONS

The reduced incidence of HFHL in this study suggests that technical modifications including performing the procedure without the use of fixed retraction may greatly reduce, but not eliminate, the occurrence of HFHL following microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm.

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Ahmed Kashkoush, Nitin Agarwal, Ashley Ayres, Victoria Novak, Yue-Fang Chang and Robert M. Friedlander

OBJECTIVE

The preoperative scrub has been shown to lower the incidence of surgical site infections (SSIs). Various scrubbing and gloving techniques exist; however, it is unknown how specific scrubbing technique influences SSI rates in neurosurgery. The authors aimed to assess whether the range of scrubbing practice in neurosurgery is associated with the incidence of SSIs.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of a prospectively maintained database to identify all 90-day SSIs for neurosurgical procedures between 2012 and 2017 at one of their teaching hospitals. SSIs were classified by procedure type (craniotomy, shunt, fusion, or laminectomy). Surveys were administered to attending and resident physicians to understand the variation in scrubbing methods (wet vs dry, iodine vs chlorhexidine, single vs double glove). The chi-square followed by multivariate logistic regression analyses were utilized to identify independent predictors of SSI.

RESULTS

Forty-two operating physicians were included in the study (18 attending physicians, 24 resident physicians), who performed 14,200 total cases. Overall, SSI rates were 2.1% (296 SSIs of 14,200 total cases) and 2.0% (192 of 9,669 cases) for attending physicians and residents, respectively. Shunts were independently associated with an increased risk of SSI (OR 1.7 [95% CI 1.3–2.1]), whereas laminectomies were associated with a decreased SSI risk (OR 0.4 [95% CI 0.2–0.8]). Wet versus dry scrub (OR 0.9 [95% CI 0.6–1.4]), iodine versus chlorhexidine (OR 0.6 [95% CI 0.4–1.1]), and single- versus double-gloving (OR 1.1 [95% CI 0.8–1.4]) preferences were not associated with SSIs.

CONCLUSIONS

There is no evidence to suggest that perioperative infection is associated with personal scrubbing or gloving preference in neurosurgical procedures.

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Jesse D. Lawrence, Andrew M. Frederickson, Yue-Fang Chang, Patricia M. Weiss, Peter C. Gerszten and Raymond F. Sekula Jr.

OBJECTIVE

Hemifacial spasm (HFS) is a movement disorder characterized by involuntary spasms of the facial muscles, and it can negatively impact quality of life (QOL). This retrospective study and systematic review with meta-analysis was conducted to investigate the QOL in patients with HFS following intervention with microvascular decompression (MVD) and botulinum toxin (BT).

METHODS

In the retrospective analysis, a QOL questionnaire was administered to all patients undergoing MVD performed by a single surgeon. The QOL questionnaire included unique questions developed based on the authors' experience with HFS patients in addition to the health-related QOL HFS-8 questionnaire. The authors also report on a systematic review of the English literature providing outcomes and complications in patients with HFS undergoing treatment with either MVD or BT.

RESULTS

Regarding the retrospective analysis, 242 of 331 patients completed the questionnaire. The mean score of the 10 QOL questions improved from 22.78 (SD 9.83) to 2.17 (SD 5.75) following MVD (p < 0.001). There was significant improvement across all subscales of the questionnaire between pre- and postoperative responses (p < 0.001). Regarding the systematic review, it is reported that approximately 90% of patients undergoing MVD for HFS experience a complete recovery from symptoms, whereas the mean peak improvement of symptoms following treatment with BT is 77%. Furthermore, patients undergoing MVD reported a greater improvement in the mean supplemental index of QOL as compared with patients receiving BT therapy.

CONCLUSIONS

Microvascular decompression offers a significant improvement in QOL in well-selected patients suffering from HFS, and may offer an increased benefit for QOL over BT injections.

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Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara, Amin B. Kassam, Michael H. Horowitz, Louise Urgo, Constantinos Hadjipanayis, Elad I. Levy and Yue-Fang Chang

Object. Microvascular decompression (MVD) has become one of the primary treatments for typical trigeminal neuralgia (TN). Not all patients with facial pain, however, suffer from the typical form of this disease; many patients who present for surgical intervention actually have atypical TN. The authors compare the results of MVD performed for typical and atypical TN at their institution.

Methods. The results of 2675 MVDs in 2264 patients were reviewed using information obtained from the department database. The authors examined immediate postoperative relief in 2003 patients with typical and 672 with atypical TN, and long-term follow-up results in patients for whom more than 5 years of follow-up data were available (969 with typical and 219 with atypical TN). Outcomes were divided into three categories: excellent, pain relief without medication; good, mild or intermittent pain controlled with low-dose medication; and poor, no or poor pain relief with large amounts of medication. The results for typical and atypical TN were compared and patient history and pain characteristics were evaluated for possible predictive factors.

Conclusions. In this study, MVD for typical TN resulted in complete postoperative pain relief in 80% of patients, compared with 47% with complete relief in those with atypical TN. Significant pain relief was achieved after 97% of MVDs in patients with typical TN and after 87% of these procedures for atypical TN. When patients were followed for more than 5 years, the long-term pain relief after MVD for those with typical TN was excellent in 73% and good in an additional 7%, for an overall significant pain relief in 80% of patients. In contrast, following MVD for atypical TN, the long-term results were excellent in only 35% of cases and good in an additional 16%, for overall significant pain relief in only 51%. Memorable onset and trigger points were predictive of better postoperative pain relief in both atypical and typical TN. Preoperative sensory loss was a negative predictor for good long-term results following MVD for atypical TN.

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Nathan T. Zwagerman, Eric W. Wang, Samuel S. Shin, Yue-Fang Chang, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Carl H. Snyderman and Paul A. Gardner

OBJECTIVE

Based on a null hypothesis that the use of short-term lumbar drainage (LD) after endoscopic endonasal surgery (EES) for intradural pathology does not prevent postoperative CSF leaks, a trial was conducted to assess the effect of postoperative LD on postoperative CSF leak following standard reconstruction.

METHODS

A prospective, randomized controlled trial of lumbar drain placement after endoscopic endonasal skull base surgery was performed from February 2011 to March 2015. All patients had 3-month follow-up data. Surgeons were blinded to which patients would or would not receive the drain until after closure was completed. An a priori power analysis calculation assuming 80% of power, 5% postoperative CSF leak rate in the no-LD group, and 16% in the LD group determined a planned sample size of 186 patients. A routine data and safety check was performed with every 50 patients being recruited to ensure the efficacy of randomization and safety. These interim tests were run by a statistician who was not blinded to the arms they were evaluating. This study accrued 230 consecutive adult patients with skull base pathology who were eligible for endoscopic endonasal resection. Inclusion criteria (high-flow leak) were dural defect greater than 1 cm2 (mandatory), extensive arachnoid dissection, and/or dissection into a ventricle or cistern. Sixty patients were excluded because they did not meet the inclusion criteria. One hundred seventy patients were randomized to either receive or not receive a lumbar drain.

RESULTS

One hundred seventy patients were randomized, with a mean age of 51.6 years (range 19–86 years) and 38% were male. The mean BMI for the entire cohort was 28.1 kg/m2. The experimental cohort with postoperative LD had an 8.2% rate of CSF leak compared to a 21.2% rate in the control group (odds ratio 3.0, 95% confidence interval 1.2–7.6, p = 0.017). In 106 patients in whom defect size was measured intraoperatively, a larger defect was associated with postoperative CSF leak (6.2 vs 2.9 cm2, p = 0.03). No significant difference was identified in BMI between those with (mean 28.4 ± 4.3 kg/m2) and without (mean 28.1 ± 5.6 kg/m2) postoperative CSF leak (p = 0.79). Furthermore, when patients were grouped based on BMI < 25, 25–29.9, and > 30 kg/m2, no difference was noted in the rates of CSF fistula (p = 0.97).

CONCLUSIONS

Among patients undergoing intradural EES judged to be at high risk for CSF leak as defined by the study’s inclusion criteria, perioperative LD used in the context of vascularized nasoseptal flap closure significantly reduced the rate of postoperative CSF leaks.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT03163134 (clinicaltrials.gov).

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Marion A. Hughes, Ronak H. Jani, Saeed Fakhran, Yue-Fang Chang, Barton F. Branstetter IV, Parthasarathy D. Thirumala and Raymond F. Sekula Jr.

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this study was to identify preoperative imaging predictors of surgical success in patients with classic trigeminal neuralgia (cTN) undergoing microvascular decompression (MVD) via retrospective multivariate regression analysis.

METHODS

All included patients met criteria for cTN and underwent preoperative MRI prior to MVD. MR images were blindly graded regarding the presence and severity (i.e., mild or severe) of neurovascular compression (NVC). All patients were contacted by telephone to determine their postoperative pain status.

RESULTS

A total of 79 patients were included in this study. Sixty-two patients (78.5%) were pain-free without medication following MVD. The following findings were more commonly observed with the symptomatic nerve when compared to the contralateral asymptomatic nerve: NVC (any form), arterial compression alone, NVC along the proximal trigeminal nerve, and severe NVC (p values < 0.0001). The only imaging variable that was a statistically significant predictor of being pain-free without medication following MVD was severe NVC. Patients with severe NVC were 6.36 times more likely to be pain-free following MVD compared to those without severe NVC (p = 0.007).

CONCLUSIONS

In patients with cTN undergoing MVD, severe NVC on preoperative MRI is a strong predictor of an excellent surgical outcome.

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Wendy Chen, Paul A. Gardner, Barton F. Branstetter, Shih-Dun Liu, Yue Fang Chang, Carl H. Snyderman, Jesse A. Goldstein, Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara and Lindsay A. Schuster

OBJECTIVE

Cranial base development plays a large role in anterior and vertical maxillary growth through 7 years of age, and the effect of early endonasal cranial base surgery on midface growth is unknown. The authors present their experience with pediatric endoscopic endonasal surgery (EES) and long-term midface growth.

METHODS

This is a retrospective review of cases where EES was performed from 2000 to 2016. Patients who underwent their first EES of the skull base before age 7 (prior to cranial suture fusion) and had a complete set of pre- and postoperative imaging studies (CT or MRI) with at least 1 year of follow-up were included. A radiologist performed measurements (sella-nasion [S-N] distance and angles between the sella, nasion, and the most concave points of the anterior maxilla [A point] or anterior mandibular synthesis [B point], the SNA, SNB, and ANB angles), which were compared to age- and sex-matched Bolton standards. A Z-score test was used; significance was set at p < 0.05.

RESULTS

The early surgery group had 11 patients, with an average follow-up of 5 years; the late surgery group had 33 patients. Most tumors were benign; 1 patient with a panclival arteriovenous malformation was a significant outlier for all measurements. Comparing the measurements obtained in the early surgery group to Bolton standard norms, the authors found no significant difference in postoperative SNA (p = 0.10), SNB (p = 0.14), or ANB (0.67) angles. The S-N distance was reduced both pre- and postoperatively (SD 1.5, p = 0.01 and p = 0.009). Sex had no significant effect. Compared to patients who had surgery after the age of 7 years, the early surgery group demonstrated no significant difference in pre- to postoperative changes with regard to S-N distance (p = 0.87), SNA angle (p = 0.89), or ANB angle (p = 0.14). Lesion type (craniopharyngioma, angiofibroma, and other types) had no significant effect in either age group.

CONCLUSIONS

Though our cohort of patients with skull base lesions demonstrated some abnormal measurements in the maxillary-mandibular relationship before their operation, their postoperative cephalometrics fell within the normal range and showed no significant difference from those of patients who underwent operations at an older age. Therefore, there appears to be no evidence of impact of endoscopic endonasal skull base surgery on craniofacial development within the growth period studied.

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Martina Stippler, Veronica Ortiz, P. David Adelson, Yue-Fang Chang, Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara, Stephen R. Wisniewski, Ericka L. Fink, Patrick M. Kochanek, S. Danielle Brown and Michael J. Bell

Object

Minimizing secondary brain injuries after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children is critical to maximizing neurological outcome. Brain tissue oxygenation monitoring (as measured by interstitial partial pressure of O2 [PbO2]) is a new tool that may aid in guiding therapies, yet experience in children is limited. This study aims to describe the authors' experience of PbO2 monitoring after TBI. It was hypothesized that PbO2 thresholds could be established that were associated with favorable neurological outcome, and it was determined whether any relationships between PbO2 and other important clinical variables existed.

Methods

Forty-six children with severe TBI (Glasgow Coma Scale score ≤ 8 after resuscitation) who underwent PbO2 and brain temperature monitoring between September 2004 and June 2008 were studied. All patients received standard neurocritical care, and 24 were concurrently enrolled in a trial of therapeutic early hypothermia (n = 12/group). The PbO2 was measured in the uninjured frontal cortex. Hourly recordings and calculated daily means of various variables including PbO2, intracranial pressure (ICP), cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP), mean arterial blood pressure, partial pressure of arterial O2, and fraction of inspired O2 were compared using several statistical approaches. Glasgow Outcome Scale scores were determined at 6 months after injury.

Results

The mean patient age was 9.4 years (range 0.1–16.5 years; 13 girls) and 8554 hours of monitoring were analyzed (PbO2 range 0.0–97.2 mm Hg). A PbO2 of 30 mm Hg was associated with the highest sensitivity/specificity for favorable neurological outcome at 6 months after TBI, yet CPP was the only factor that was independently associated with favorable outcome. Surprisingly, instances of preserved PbO2 with altered ICP and CPP were observed in some children with unfavorable outcomes.

Conclusions

Monitoring of PbO2 demonstrated complex interactions with clinical variables reflecting intracranial dynamics using this protocol. A higher threshold than reported in studies in adults was suggested as a potential therapeutic target, but this threshold was not associated with improved outcomes. Additional studies to assess the utility of PbO2 monitoring after TBI in children are needed.

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Georgios A. Zenonos, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Debraj Mukherjee, Yue-Fang Chang, Klea Panayidou, Carl H. Snyderman, Eric W. Wang, Raja R. Seethala and Paul A. Gardner

OBJECTIVE

There are currently no reliable means to predict the wide variability in behavior of clival chordoma so as to guide clinical decision-making and patient education. Furthermore, there is no method of predicting a tumor’s response to radiation therapy.

METHODS

A molecular prognostication panel, consisting of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) of the chromosomal loci 1p36 and 9p21, as well as immunohistochemistry for Ki-67, was prospectively evaluated in 105 clival chordoma samples from November 2007 to April 2016. The results were correlated with overall progression-free survival after surgery (PFSS), as well as progression-free survival after radiotherapy (PFSR).

RESULTS

Although Ki-67 and the percentages of tumor cells with 1q25 hyperploidy, 1p36 deletions, and homozygous 9p21 deletions were all found to be predictive of PFSS and PFSR in univariate analyses, only 1p36 deletions and homozygous 9p21 deletions were shown to be independently predictive in a multivariate analysis. Using a prognostication calculator formulated by a separate multivariate Cox model, two 1p36 deletion strata (0%–15% and > 15% deleted tumor cells) and three 9p21 homozygous deletion strata (0%–3%, 4%–24%, and ≥ 25% deleted tumor cells) accounted for a range of cumulative hazard ratios of 1 to 56.1 for PFSS and 1 to 75.6 for PFSR.

CONCLUSIONS

Homozygous 9p21 deletions and 1p36 deletions are independent prognostic factors in clival chordoma and can account for a wide spectrum of overall PFSS and PFSR. This panel can be used to guide management after resection of clival chordomas.