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Cover Neurosurgical Focus: Video

Contemporary intraoperative visualization for GBM with use of exoscope, 5-ALA fluorescence-guided surgery and tractography

Alexander J. Schupper, Jorge A. Roa, and Constantinos G. Hadjipanayis

Maximal safe resection is the primary goal of glioma surgery. By incorporating improved intraoperative visualization with the 3D exoscope combined with 5-ALA fluorescence, in addition to neuronavigation and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) fiber tracking, the safety of resection of tumors in eloquent brain regions can be maximized. This video highlights some of the various intraoperative adjuncts used in brain tumor surgery for high-grade glioma.

In this case, the authors highlight the resection of a left posterior temporal lobe high-grade glioma in a 33-year-old patient, who initially presented with seizures, word-finding difficulty, and right-sided weakness. They demonstrate the multiple surgical adjuncts used both before and during surgical resection, and how multiple adjuncts can be effectively orchestrated to make surgery in eloquent brain areas safer for patients. Patient consent was obtained for publication.

The video can be found here: https://stream.cadmore.media/r10.3171/2021.10.FOCVID21174

Free access

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Cover Journal of Neurosurgery

Novel approaches to targeting gliomas at the leading/cutting edge

Alexander J. Schupper and Constantinos G. Hadjipanayis

Despite decades of clinical trials and surgical advances, the most common high-grade glioma, glioblastoma (GBM), remains an incurable disease with a dismal prognosis. Because of its infiltrative nature, GBM almost always recurs at the margin, or leading edge, where tumor cells invade the surrounding brain parenchyma. This region of GBMs is unique, or heterogeneous, with its own microenvironment that is different from the tumor bulk or core. The GBM microenvironment at the margin contains immunosuppressive constituents as well as invasive and therapy-resistant tumor cells that are difficult to treat. In addition, the blood-brain barrier remains essentially intact at the infiltrative margin of tumors; further limiting the effectiveness of therapies. The invasive margin creates the greatest challenge for neurosurgeons when managing these tumors. The current paradigm of resection of GBM tumors mainly focuses on resection of the contrast-enhancing component of tumors, while GBMs extend well beyond the contrast enhancement. The infiltrative margin represents a unique challenge and opportunity for solutions that may overcome current limitations in tumor treatments. In this review of the current literature, the authors discuss the current and developing advances focused on the detection and treatment of GBM at the infiltrative margin and how this could impact patient outcomes.

Open access

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Cover Journal of Neurosurgery: Case Lessons

Use of the 3D exoscope for the supracerebellar infratentorial approach in the concorde position: an effective and ergonomic alternative. Illustrative cases

Jorge A. Roa, Alexander J. Schupper, Kurt Yaeger, and Constantinos G. Hadjipanayis

BACKGROUND

The supracerebellar infratentorial approach provides wide flexibility as a far-reaching corridor to the pineal region, posterior third ventricle, posterior medial temporal lobe, posterolateral mesencephalon, quadrigeminal cistern, and thalamus. Traditionally, the patient is placed in the sitting position, allowing gravity retraction on the cerebellum to widen the supracerebellar operative corridor beneath the tentorium. What this approach gains in anatomical orientation it lacks in surgeon ergonomics, as the sitting position presents technical challenges, forces the surgeon to adopt to an uncomfortable posture while performing the microsurgical dissection/tumor resection under the microscope, and is also associated with an increased risk of venous air embolism.

OBSERVATIONS

In this article, the authors present the use of the three-dimensional (3D) exoscope with a standard prone Concorde position as an alternative for the treatment of lesions requiring a supracerebellar infratentorial approach for lesions in the pineal region, posterior third ventricle, and the superior surface of the cerebellar vermis. The authors present four illustrative cases (one pineal cyst, one ependymoma, and two cerebellar metastases) in which this approach provided excellent intraoperative visualization and resulted in good postoperative results. A step-by-step description of our surgical technique is reviewed in detail.

LESSONS

The use of the 3D exoscope with the patient in the prone Concorde position is an effective and ergonomically favorable alternative to the traditional sitting position for the treatment of lesions requiring a supracerebellar infratentorial approach. This technique allows improved visualization of deep structures, with a possible decreased risk of potential complications.

Free access

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Cover Journal of Neurosurgery

Making a match: trends in the application, interview, and ranking process for the neurological surgery residency programs

Kurt A. Yaeger, Alexander J. Schupper, Jeffrey T. Gilligan, and Isabelle M. Germano

OBJECTIVE

Neurosurgery is a highly competitive residency field with a match rate lower than that of other specialties. The aim of this study was to analyze trends associated with the residency match process from the applicants’ and program directors’ perspectives.

METHODS

Between 2010 and 2020, the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) Applicant and Program Director Surveys, the NRMP Charting Outcomes reports, and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Data Resource Books were analyzed to identify the number of applicants interviewed and ranked in US programs, the applicants’ ranking preferences, the program directors’ preferential factors in offering interviews, and rank list order. Applicants were divided between US senior medical students and independent applicants. Each cohort was dichotomized for matched and unmatched applicants.

RESULTS

Over the study period, 2935 applicants applied to neurosurgery residency, including 2135 US senior medical students and 800 independent applicants, with an overall match rate of 65%. Overall, matched applicants had a significantly higher number of publications (p < 0.05). Among US senior medical student applicants, the application-to-interview ratio more than doubled over the study period, yet the number of interview invitations received, interviews accepted, and programs ranked remained unchanged. In the US senior medical student cohort, the number of submitted applications, interview invitations, accepted interviews, and programs ranked did not significantly differ between matched and unmatched applicants. In both cohorts, applicants shifted ranking factors from a more academic focus in early years to more well-being in later years. Letters of recommendation and board scores were key factors for program directors while screening applicants for interviews and ranking.

CONCLUSIONS

Neurosurgery residency continues to be a highly competitive field in medicine, with match rates of 65%. Recently, applicants have placed greater importance on ranking programs that value residents’ well-being, as opposed to strictly academic factors. A data-driven understanding of factors important to applicants and program directors during the match process has the potential to improve resident candidate recruitment and overall resident-program fit, thereby improving well-being during residency, reducing the attrition rate, and overall enhancing the diversity of the neurosurgery resident workforce.

Open access

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Cover Neurosurgical Focus: Video

Exoscopic resection of a parasagittal atypical meningioma

Alejandro Carrasquilla, Artur Zgurov, Mira Salih, Chi Le, Stavros Matsoukas, Rui Feng, Alexander J Schupper, and Constantinos Hadjipanayis

This video demonstrates use of the Synaptive 3D exoscope to enhance complex meningioma resection. The patient was a 58-year-old female who presented with new-onset seizures. Workup revealed a parasagittal meningioma over the bilateral cortices. She was started on 750 mg of Keppra twice daily and tapered dexamethasone and discharged. MR venography demonstrated segmental occlusion of the superior sagittal sinus. She then underwent a diagnostic angiogram and tumor Onyx embolization of the bilateral middle meningeal artery feeders. She then underwent a craniotomy for meningioma resection using 3D exoscope guidance. She awoke with a stable examination in the intensive care unit and worked with physical therapy on postoperative day 1.

The video can be found here: https://stream.cadmore.media/r10.3171/2023.10.FOCVID23164

Open access

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Cover Journal of Neurosurgery: Case Lessons

Ondine’s curse: clinical presentation with diaphragmatic pacing and spontaneous respiratory recovery. Illustrative case

Alexander J. Schupper, Alex Devarajan, Dong-Seok Lee, Enrique Perez, and Raj K. Shrivastava

BACKGROUND

The complexity of posterior fossa surgery can often lead to rare complications due to the anatomy involved. Vestibular schwannoma resection is a common pathology in the posterior fossa, often requiring surgical intervention. Given the proximity of this space to the brainstem, cranial nerve VII/VIII complex, and posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA), neurovascular complications are not infrequent. A rare vascular complication from this surgical approach is a lateral medullary infarction from injury to the lateral medullary segment of the proximal PICA, leading to central hypoventilation syndrome (CHS).

OBSERVATIONS

This report presents a unique case of a 51-year-old man who underwent a retrosigmoid craniectomy for resection of a vestibular schwannoma. Following surgery, the patient was unable to be weaned off the ventilator and was noted to become apneic while he slept, a clinical picture consistent with Ondine’s curse.

LESSONS

This report discusses the anatomical considerations of this surgical corridor leading to this complication and the management of a patient with acquired Ondine’s curse and reviews the scarce literature on this uncommon cause of acquired CHS.

Open access

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Cover Journal of Neurosurgery: Case Lessons

Early outcomes in hybrid fixation for idiopathic scoliosis: posterior fusion combined with anterior vertebral body tethering. Patient series

Daniel Cherian, Amer F Samdani, Alexander J Schüpper, Alan A Stein, Zan Naseer, Joshua M Pahys, Emily Nice, and Steven W Hwang

BACKGROUND

Anterior vertebral body tethering (AVBT) and posterior spinal fusion (PSF) are options for patients with idiopathic scoliosis. Combining both procedures in patients with double curves, a procedure in which PSF is performed for the thoracic curve and AVBT for the lumbar curve, provides maximal correction of the thoracic curve with a theoretical maintenance of motion in the lumbar spine.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors retrospectively reviewed 20 skeletally immature patients diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis at a single institution with an average age of 12.7 ± 1.6 years and who had undergone hybrid treatment with an average follow-up of 8 months. The PSF procedures averaged 276 ± 63 minutes with 442.8 ± 295 mL of blood loss, and the AVBT averaged 275 ± 54 minutes with 118.3 ± 80 mL of blood loss. Following the hybrid correction, the thoracic and lumbar coronal curve angles improved from 67.6° to 21.6° and from 65.2° to 24°, respectively. The three-dimensional kyphosis improved from 3.3° to 24°.

LESSONS

A combined approach of PSF and AVBT is safe and effective for idiopathic scoliosis. This approach combines the gold standard of thoracic fusion with the motion preservation benefits of AVBT in the lumbar spine. This study will continue to refine indications for AVBT.

Restricted access

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Cover Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics

Return to play after head injury in adolescent sports: evaluating football versus other sports

Bahie Ezzat, Eugene I. Hrabarchuk, Alexander J. Schupper, Addison Quinones, Muhammad Ali, Michael B. Lemonick, Benjamin Rodriguez, Alex Gometz, Mark Lovell, and Tanvir Choudhri

OBJECTIVE

Increased adolescent sports participation has raised concerns about higher rates of concussions, a prevalent injury among young athletes with potential long-term effects. Discrepancies in concussion recovery and management protocols across various sports underscore a critical issue in youth athletics. This study aimed to examine the relationship between sport type and the number of games missed following a concussion to inform targeted management strategies.

METHODS

Data from 7445 postinjury ImPACT tests for athletes aged 12–22 years, collected from 2009 to 2019, were analyzed across different sports: baseball, basketball, cheerleading, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, track and field, volleyball, and wrestling. The number of days and normalized missed games (NMG), a metric accounting for the different number of games in a season for different sports, were used to evaluate the effect of concussions across different sports. ANOVA, t-tests, and linear regression analyses were performed to model the effect of sport type on games missed in a season while controlling for sex, age, concussion history, diagnosed learning disability (DLD), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

RESULTS

Multivariable linear regression analysis demonstrated that football participation significantly increased NMG (β 1.681, 95% CI 0.807–2.554; p < 0.001) and days missed (β 1.637, 95% CI 1.044–2.231; p < 0.001) after head injury. Concussion diagnoses were also found to significantly increase NMG (β 2.344, 95% CI 1.629–3.059; p < 0.001) and days missed (β 1.560, 95% CI 1.074–2.045; p < 0.001), as well as history of prior concussion (NMG: β 7.791, 95% CI 7.368–8.215; p < 0.001; days missed: β 5.232, 95% CI 4.945–5.520; p < 0.001). In contrast, factors such as age, sex, DLD, ADHD, and concussions causing loss of consciousness did not significantly affect NMG or days missed. ANOVA with Tukey Honest Significant Difference indicated that compared with football, ice hockey (mean difference [MD] 5.4 days, p = 0.011) and track and field (MD 4.1 days, p = 0.006) were associated with significantly more days being missed after head injury. Conversely, basketball (MD −3.0, p < 0.001) and volleyball (MD −2.6, p = 0.005) were associated with fewer missed games.

CONCLUSIONS

Adolescents playing football missed fewer days and games after concussion than other contact and noncontact sports, including ice hockey and track and field, raising questions about variations in return-to-play protocols and cultural attitudes within sports. Further research is needed to determine the factors affecting games missed across sport types in adolescent athletics and return-to-play protocols.

Restricted access

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Cover Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics

The identification of a subgroup of children with traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage at low risk of neuroworsening

Cecilia L. Dalle Ore, Robert C. Rennert, Alexander J. Schupper, Brandon C. Gabel, David Gonda, Bradley Peterson, Lawrence F. Marshall, Michael Levy, and Hal S. Meltzer

OBJECTIVE

Pediatric traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (tSAH) often results in intensive care unit (ICU) admission, the performance of additional diagnostic studies, and ICU-level therapeutic interventions to identify and prevent episodes of neuroworsening.

METHODS

Data prospectively collected in an institutionally specific trauma registry between 2006 and 2015 were supplemented with a retrospective chart review of children admitted with isolated traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (tSAH) and an admission Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of 13–15. Risk of blunt cerebrovascular injury (BCVI) was calculated using the BCVI clinical prediction score.

RESULTS

Three hundred seventeen of 10,395 pediatric trauma patients were admitted with tSAH. Of the 317 patients with tSAH, 51 children (16%, 23 female, 28 male) were identified with isolated tSAH without midline shift on neuroimaging and a GCS score of 13–15 at presentation. The median patient age was 4 years (range 18 days to 15 years). Seven had modified Fisher grade 3 tSAH; the remainder had grade 1 tSAH. Twenty-six patients (51%) had associated skull fractures; 4 involved the petrous temporal bone and 1 the carotid canal. Thirty-nine (76.5%) were admitted to the ICU and 12 (23.5%) to the surgical ward. Four had an elevated BCVI score. Eight underwent CT angiography; no vascular injuries were identified. Nine patients received an imaging-associated general anesthetic. Five received hypertonic saline in the ICU. Patients with a modified Fisher grade 1 tSAH had a significantly shorter ICU stay as compared to modified Fisher grade 3 tSAH (1.1 vs 2.5 days, p = 0.029). Neuroworsening was not observed in any child.

CONCLUSIONS

Children with isolated tSAH without midline shift and a GCS score of 13–15 at presentation appear to have minimal risk of neuroworsening despite the findings in some children of skull fractures, elevated modified Fisher grade, and elevated BCVI score. In this subgroup of children with tSAH, routine ICU-level care and additional diagnostic imaging may not be necessary for all patients. Children with modified Fisher grade 1 tSAH may be particularly unlikely to require ICU-level admission. Benefits to identifying a subgroup of children at low risk of neuroworsening include improvement in healthcare efficiency as well as decreased utilization of unnecessary and potentially morbid interventions, including exposure to ionizing radiation and general anesthesia.

Free access

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Cover Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use and concussions in adolescent athletes: incidence, severity, and recovery

Zachary Spiera, Theodore Hannah, Adam Li, Nickolas Dreher, Naoum Fares Marayati, Muhammad Ali, Dhruv S. Shankar, John Durbin, Alexander J. Schupper, Alex Gometz, Mark Lovell, and Tanvir Choudhri

OBJECTIVE

Given concerns about the potential long-term effects of concussion in young athletes, concussion prevention has become a major focus for amateur sports leagues. Athletes have been known to frequently use anti-inflammatory medications to manage injuries, expedite return to play, and treat concussion symptoms. However, the effects of baseline nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use on the susceptibility to head injury and concussion remain unclear. This study aims to assess the effects of preinjury NSAID use on concussion incidence, severity, and recovery in young athletes.

METHODS

Data from 25,815 ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) tests were obtained through a research agreement with ImPACT Applications Inc. Subjects ranged in age from 12 to 22 years old. Those who reported NSAID use at baseline were assigned to one (anti-inflammatory [AI]) cohort, whereas all others were assigned to the control (CT) cohort. Differences in head trauma and concussion incidence, severity, and recovery were assessed using chi-square tests, unpaired t-tests, and Kaplan-Meier plots.

RESULTS

The CT cohort comprised a higher percentage (p < 0.0001) of males (66.30%) than the AI cohort (44.16%) and had a significantly greater portion of athletes who played football (p = 0.004). However, no statistically significant differences were found between the two cohorts in terms of the incidence of head trauma (CT = 0.489, AI = 0.500, p = 0.9219), concussion incidence (CT = 0.175, AI = 0.169, p = 0.7201), injury severity, or median concussion recovery time (CT = 8, AI = 8, p = 0.6416). In a multivariable analysis controlling for baseline differences between the cohorts, no association was found between NSAID use and concussion incidence or severity.

CONCLUSIONS

In this analysis, the authors found no evidence that preinjury use of NSAIDs affects concussion risk in adolescent athletes. They also found no indication that preinjury NSAID use affects the severity of initial injury presentation or concussion recovery.