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Zulma Tovar-Spinoza and Hoon Choi

OBJECTIVE

Magnetic resonance–guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (MRgLITT) is a novel, minimally invasive treatment that has multiple advantages in pediatric use and broad applicability for different types of lesions. Here, the authors report the preliminary results of the first series of pediatric brain tumors treated with MRgLITT at Golisano Children's Hospital in Syracuse, New York.

METHODS

Pediatric brain tumors treated with MRgLITT between February 2012 and August 2014 at Golisano Children's Hospital were evaluated retrospectively. Medical records, radiological findings, surgical data, complications, and results of tumor volumetric analyses were reviewed. The Visualase thermal laser system (Medtronic) was used in all MRgLITT procedures.

RESULTS

This series included 11 patients with 12 tumors (pilocytic astrocytoma, ependymoma, medulloblastoma, choroid plexus xanthogranuloma, subependymal giant cell astrocytoma, and ganglioglioma). A single laser and multiple overlapping ablations were used for all procedures. The mean laser dose was 10.23 W, and the mean total ablation time was 68.95 seconds. The mean initial target volume was 6.79 cm3, and the mean immediate post-ablation volume was 7.86 cm3. The mean hospital stay was 3.25 days, and the mean follow-up time was 24.5 months. Tumor volume decreased in the first 3 months after surgery (n = 11; p = 0.007) and continued to decrease by the 4- to 6-month followup (n = 11; mean volume 2.61 cm3; p = 0.009). Two patients experienced post-ablation complications: transient right leg weakness in one patient, and transient hemiparesis, akinetic mutism, and eye movement disorder in the other.

CONCLUSIONS

Magnetic resonance–guided laser interstitial thermal therapy is an effective first- or second-line treatment for select pediatric brain tumors. Larger multiinstitutional clinical trials are necessary to evaluate its use for different types of lesions to further standardize practices.

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Zulma Tovar-Spinoza, Robert Ziechmann, and Stephanie Zyck

OBJECTIVE

Magnetic resonance–guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (MRgLITT) is a novel, minimally invasive treatment for the surgical treatment of epilepsy. In this paper, the authors report on clinical outcomes for a series of pediatric patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) and medication-refractory epileptogenic cortical tubers.

METHODS

A retrospective chart review was performed at SUNY Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse, New York. The authors included all cases involving pediatric patients (< 18 years) who underwent MRgLITT for ablation of epileptogenic cortical tubers between February 2013 and November 2015.

RESULTS

Seven patients with cortical tubers were treated (4 female and 3 male). The patients’ average age was 6.6 years (range 2–17 years). Two patients had a single procedure, and 5 patients had staged procedures. The mean time between procedures in the staged cases was 6 months. All of the patients had a meaningful reduction in seizure frequency as reported by Engel and ILAE seizure outcome classifications, and most (71.4%) of the patients experienced a reduction in AED burden. Three of the 4 patients who presented with neuropsychiatric symptoms had some improvement in these domains after laser ablation. No perioperative complications were noted. The mean duration of follow-up was 19.3 months (range 4–49 months).

CONCLUSIONS

Laser ablation represents a minimally invasive alternative to resective epilepsy surgery and is an effective treatment for refractory epilepsy due to cortical tubers.

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Zulma Tovar-Spinoza and Michelle Bode

Spinal epidural abscess constitutes a neurosurgical emergency in which early diagnosis and prompt decompression are necessary to avoid permanent cord damage. This entity is rare in premature infants and neonates in whom diagnosis can be challenging. The authors present a case of a premature twin neonate who developed an epidural abscess with complete paraparesis after coagulase-negative Staphylococcus epidermidis bacteremia that was treated with a single-level flavotomy and catheter irrigation.

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George W. Koutsouras, Lu Zhang, Nelci Zanon, Sandi Lam, Frederick A. Boop, and Zulma Tovar-Spinoza

OBJECTIVE

The global neurosurgery workforce does not have a defined stance on gender equity. The authors sought to study and characterize the demographic features of the international women neurosurgery community and to better understand the perceptions and reflections of their neurosurgical careers. The objective was to define and characterize the workplace inequities faced by the global women neurosurgeon community.

METHODS

A 58-item cross-sectional survey was distributed to the global women neurosurgery community. The survey was distributed via an online and mobile platform between October 2018 and December 2020. Responses were anonymized. The authors utilized chi-square analysis to differentiate variables (e.g., career satisfaction) between various groups (e.g., those based on academic position). The authors calculated 95% CIs to establish significance.

RESULTS

Among 237 respondents, approximately 40% were between the ages of 26 and 35 years. Within their respective departments, 45% identified themselves as the only woman neurosurgeon in their practice. Forty-three percent stated that their department supported women neurosurgeons for leadership roles. Seventy-five percent of respondents were members of organized neurosurgery professional societies; of these, 38% had been involved in leadership roles. Almost 60% of respondents postponed their decision to get pregnant because of resident or work-related influences.

CONCLUSIONS

This survey provides international feedback for characterizing and understanding the experiences of women neurosurgeons worldwide. Future research should aim to understand all neurosurgeons’ experiences throughout the pipeline and career life cycle of neurosurgery in order to improve the field of neurosurgery.

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Zulma S. Tovar-Spinoza, Ayako Ochi, James T. Rutka, Cristina Go, and Hiroshi Otsubo

Epilepsy surgery requires the precise localization of the epileptogenic zone and the anatomical localization of eloquent cortex so that these areas can be preserved during cortical resection. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a technique that maps interictal magnetic dipole sources onto MR imaging to produce a magnetic source image. Magneto-encephalographic spike sources can be used to localize the epileptogenic zone and be part of the workup of the patient for epilepsy surgery in conjunction with data derived from an analysis of seizure semiology, scalp video electroencephalography, PET, functional MR imaging, and neuropsychological testing. In addition, magnetoencephalographic spike sources can be linked to neuronavigation platforms for use in the neurosurgical field. Finally, paradigms have been developed so that MEG can be used to identify functional areas of the cerebral cortex including the somatosensory, motor, language, and visual evoked fields.

The authors review the basic principles of MEG and the utility of MEG for presurgical planning as well as intra-operative mapping and discuss future applications of MEG technology.

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Rebecca A. Reynolds and John C. Wellons III

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Elsa V. Arocho-Quinones, Sean M. Lew, Michael H. Handler, Zulma Tovar-Spinoza, Matthew Smyth, Robert Bollo, David Donahue, M. Scott Perry, Michael L. Levy, David Gonda, Francesco T. Mangano, Phillip B. Storm, Angela V. Price, Daniel E. Couture, Chima Oluigbo, Ann-Christine Duhaime, Gene H. Barnett, Carrie R. Muh, Michael D. Sather, Aria Fallah, Anthony C. Wang, Sanjiv Bhatia, Kadam Patel, Sergey Tarima, Sarah Graber, Sean Huckins, Daniel M. Hafez, Kavelin Rumalla, Laurie Bailey, Sabrina Shandley, Ashton Roach, Erin Alexander, Wendy Jenkins, Deki Tsering, George Price, Antonio Meola, Wendi Evanoff, Eric M. Thompson, Nicholas Brandmeir, and the Pediatric Stereotactic Laser Ablation Workgroup

OBJECTIVE

This study aimed to assess the safety and efficacy of MR-guided stereotactic laser ablation (SLA) therapy in the treatment of pediatric brain tumors.

METHODS

Data from 17 North American centers were retrospectively reviewed. Clinical, technical, and radiographic data for pediatric patients treated with SLA for a diagnosis of brain tumor from 2008 to 2016 were collected and analyzed.

RESULTS

A total of 86 patients (mean age 12.2 ± 4.5 years) with 76 low-grade (I or II) and 10 high-grade (III or IV) tumors were included. Tumor location included lobar (38.4%), deep (45.3%), and cerebellar (16.3%) compartments. The mean follow-up time was 24 months (median 18 months, range 3–72 months). At the last follow-up, the volume of SLA-treated tumors had decreased in 80.6% of patients with follow-up data. Patients with high-grade tumors were more likely to have an unchanged or larger tumor size after SLA treatment than those with low-grade tumors (OR 7.49, p = 0.0364). Subsequent surgery and adjuvant treatment were not required after SLA treatment in 90.4% and 86.7% of patients, respectively. Patients with high-grade tumors were more likely to receive subsequent surgery (OR 2.25, p = 0.4957) and adjuvant treatment (OR 3.77, p = 0.1711) after SLA therapy, without reaching significance. A total of 29 acute complications in 23 patients were reported and included malpositioned catheters (n = 3), intracranial hemorrhages (n = 2), transient neurological deficits (n = 11), permanent neurological deficits (n = 5), symptomatic perilesional edema (n = 2), hydrocephalus (n = 4), and death (n = 2). On long-term follow-up, 3 patients were reported to have worsened neuropsychological test results. Pre-SLA tumor volume, tumor location, number of laser trajectories, and number of lesions created did not result in a significantly increased risk of complications; however, the odds of complications increased by 14% (OR 1.14, p = 0.0159) with every 1-cm increase in the volume of the lesion created.

CONCLUSIONS

SLA is an effective, minimally invasive treatment option for pediatric brain tumors, although it is not without risks. Limiting the volume of the generated thermal lesion may help decrease the incidence of complications.