Neurosurgery Blog


Daily bibliographic review of the Neurosurgery Department. La Fe University Hospital. Valencia, Spain

Predictors for Patient Discharge Destination After Elective Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion

Spine 2017;42:1538–1544

Study Design. Retrospective study of prospectively collected data.

Objective. To identify risk factors for nonhome patient discharge after elective anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).

Summary of Background Data. ACDF is one of the most performed spinal procedures and this is expected to increase in the coming years. To effectively deal with an increasing patient volume, identifying variables associated with patient discharge destination can expedite placement applications and subsequently reduce hospital length of stay.

Methods. The 2011 to 2014 ACS-NSQIP database was queried using Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes 22551 or 22554. Patients were divided into two cohorts based on discharge destination. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were employed to identify predictors for patient discharge destination and extended hospital length of stay.

Results. A total of 14,602 patients met the inclusion criteria for the study of which 498 (3.4%) had nonhome discharge. Multivariate logistic regression found that Hispanic versus Black race/ ethnicity (odds ratio, OR¼0.21, 0.05–0.91, P¼0.037), American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander versus Black race/ethnicity (OR¼0.52, 0.34–0.80, p-value¼0.003), White versus Black race/ethnicity (OR¼0.55, 0.42–0.71), elderly age 65 years (OR¼3.32, 2.72–4.06), obesity (OR¼0.77, 0.63–0.93, P¼0.008), diabetes (OR¼1.32, 1.06–1.65, P¼0.013), independent versus partially/totally dependent functional status (OR¼0.11, 0.08–0.15), operation time 4hours (OR¼2.46, 1.87–3.25), cardiac comorbidity (OR ¼1.38, 1.10– 1.72, P ¼0.005), and ASA Class 3 (OR¼2.57, 2.05–3.20) were predictive factors in patient discharge to a facility other than home. In addition, multivariate logistic regression analysis also found nonhome discharge to be the most predictive variable in prolonged hospital length of stay.

Conclusion. Several predictive factors were identified in patient discharge to a facility other than home, many being preoperative variables. Identification of these factors can expedite patient discharge applications and potentially can reduce hospital stay, thereby reducing the risk of hospital acquired conditions and minimizing health care costs.

Level of Evidence: 3

Stereoelectroencephalography Using Magnetic Resonance Angiography for Avascular Trajectory Planning

Neurosurgery 81:688–695, 2017

Stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) requires high-quality angiographic studies because avascular trajectory planning is a prerequisite for the safety of this procedure. Some epilepsy surgery groups have begun to use computed tomography angiography and magnetic resonance T1-weighted sequence with contrast enhancement for this purpose.

OBJECTIVE: To present the first series of patients with avascular trajectory planning of SEEG based on magnetic resonance angiography (MRA).

METHODS: Thirty-six SEEG explorations for drug-resistant focal epilepsy were performed from January 2013 to December 2015. A retrospective analysis of this consecutive surgical series was then performed. Magnetic resonance imaging included MRA with a modified contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance venography (MRV) protocol with a short acquisition delay, which allowed simultaneous arterial and venous visualization. Our criteria for satisfactoryMRAwere the visualization of at least first-order branches of the angular artery, paracentral and calcarine artery, and third-order tributaries of the superficial Sylvian vein, vein of Labbe, and vein of Trolard.

RESULTS: Thirty-four patients underwent 36 SEEG explorations with 369 electrodes carrying 4321 contacts. Contrast-enhanced MRA using the MRV protocol was judged satisfactory for SEEG planning in all explorations. Postoperative complications were not observed in our series of 36 SEEG explorations, which included 50 transopercular insular trajectories.

CONCLUSION: MRA using an MRV protocol may be applied for avascular trajectory planning during SEEG procedures. This technique provides a simultaneous visualization of cortical arteries and veins without the need for additional radiation exposure or intraarterial catheter placement.


Factors Associated With Pre- and Postoperative Seizures in 1033 Patients Undergoing Supratentorial Meningioma Resection

Neurosurgery 81:297–306, 2017

Risk factors for pre- and postoperative seizures in supratentorial meningiomas are understudied compared to other brain tumors.

OBJECTIVE: To report seizure frequency and identify factors associated with pre- and postoperative seizures in a large single-center population study of patients undergoing resection of supratentorial meningioma.

METHODS: Retrospective chart review of 1033 subjects undergoing resection of supratentorial meningioma at the author’s institution (1991-2014). Multivariate regression was used to identify variables significantly associated with pre- and postoperative seizures.

RESULTS: Preoperative seizures occurred in 234 (22.7%) subjects. At 5 years postoperative, probability of seizure freedom was 89.9% among subjects without preoperative seizures and 62.2% with preoperative seizures. Multivariate analysis identified the following predictors of preoperative seizures: presence of ≥1 cmperitumoral edema (odds ratio [OR]: 4.45, 2.55-8.50), nonskull base tumor location (OR: 2.13, 1.26-3.67), greater age (OR per unit increase: 1.03, 1.01-1.05), while presenting symptom of headache (OR: 0.50, 0.29- 0.84) or cranial nerve deficit (OR: 0.36, 0.17-0.71) decreased odds of preoperative seizures. Postoperative seizures after dischargewere associated with preoperative seizures (OR: 5.70, 2.57-13.13), in-hospital seizure (OR: 4.31, 1.28-13.67), and among patients without preoperative seizure, occurrence ofmedical or surgical complications (OR 3.39, 1.09-9.48). Perioperative anti-epileptic drug use was not associated with decreased incidence of postoperative seizures.

CONCLUSIONS: Nonskull base supratentorial meningiomaswith surrounding edema have the highest risk for preoperative seizure. Long-term follow-up showing persistent seizures in meningioma patients with preoperative seizures raises the possibility that these patients may benefit from electrocorticographic mapping of adjacent cortex and resection of noneloquent, epileptically active cortex.

Complications in awake versus asleep DBS

J Neurosurg 127:360–369, 2017

As the number of deep brain stimulation (DBS) procedures performed under general anesthesia (“asleep” DBS) increases, it is more important to assess the rates of adverse events, inpatient lengths of stay (LOS), and 30-day readmission rates in patients undergoing these procedures compared with those in patients undergoing traditional “awake” DBS without general anesthesia.

METHODS All patients in an institutional database who had undergone awake or asleep DBS procedures performed by a single surgeon between August 2011 and August 2014 were reviewed. Adverse events, inpatient LOS, and 30-day readmissions were analyzed.

RESULTS A total of 490 electrodes were placed in 284 patients, of whom 126 (44.4%) underwent awake surgery and 158 (55.6%) underwent asleep surgery. The most frequent overall complication for the cohort was postoperative mental status change (13 patients [4.6%]), followed by hemorrhage (4 patients [1.4%]), seizure (4 patients [1.4%]), and hardwarerelated infection (3 patients [1.1%]). Mean LOS for all 284 patients was 1.19 ± 1.29 days (awake: 1.06 ± 0.46 days; asleep: 1.30 ± 1.67 days; p = 0.08). Overall, the 30-day readmission rate was 1.4% (1 awake patient, 3 asleep patients). There were no significant differences in complications, LOS, and 30-day readmissions between awake and asleep groups.

CONCLUSIONS Both awake and asleep DBS can be performed safely with low complication rates. The authors found no significant differences between the 2 procedure groups in adverse events, inpatient LOS, and 30-day readmission rates.

Efficacy, complications and cost of surgical interventions for idiopathic intracranial hypertension: a systematic review of the literature

Acta Neurochirurgica 2017 (159) 33–49

To define the efficacy, complication profile and cost of surgical options for treating idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) with respect to the following endpoints: vision and headache improvement, normal CSF pressure restoration, papilloedema resolution, relapse rate, operative complications, cost of intervention and quality of life.


A systematic review of the surgical treatment of IIH was carried out. Cochrane Library, MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were systematically searched from 1985 to 2014 to identify all relevant manuscripts written in English. Additional studies were identified by searching the references of retrieved papers and relative narrative reviews.


Forty-one (41) studies were included (36 case series and 5 case reports), totalling 728 patients. Three hundred forty-one patients were treated with optic nerve sheath fenestration (ONSF), 128 patients with lumboperitoneal shunting (LPS), 72 patients with ventriculoperitoneal shunting (VPS), 155 patients with venous sinus stenting and 32 patients with bariatric surgery. ONSF showed considerable efficacy in vision improvement, while CSF shunting had a superior headache response. Venous sinus stenting demonstrated satisfactory results in both vision and headache improvement along with the best complication profile and low relapse rate, but longer follow-up periods are needed. The complication rate of bariatric surgery was high when compared to other interventions and visual outcomes have not been reported adequately. ONSF had the lowest cost.


No surgical modality proved to be clearly superior to any other in IIH management. However, in certain contexts, a given approach appears more justified. Therefore, a treatment algorithm has been formulated, based on the extracted evidence of this review. The traditional treatment paradigm may need to be re-examined with sinus stenting as a first-line treatment modality.

Outcomes in craniotomy vs endoscopic craniopharyngioma resection

Neurosurg Focus 41 (6):E6, 2016

Craniopharyngiomas have historically been resected via transcranial microsurgery (TCM). In the last 2 decades, the extended endoscopic endonasal (transtuberculum) approach to these tumors has become more widely accepted, yet there remains controversy over which approach leads to better outcomes. The purpose of this study is to determine whether differences in outcomes were identified between TCM and extended endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEEAs) in adult patients undergoing primary resection of suprasellar craniopharyngiomas at a single institution.

Methods A retrospective review of all patients who underwent resection of their histopathologically confirmed craniopharyngiomas at the authors’ institution between 2005 and 2015 was performed. Pediatric patients, revision cases, and patients with tumors greater than 2 standard deviations above the mean volume were excluded. The patients were divided into 2 groups: those undergoing primary TCM and those undergoing a primary EEEA. Preoperative patient demographics, presenting symptoms, and preoperative tumor volumes were determined. Extent of resection, tumor histological subtype, postoperative complications, and additional outcome data were obtained. Statistical significance between variables was determined utilizing Student t-tests, chi-square tests, and Fisher exact tests when applicable.

Results After exclusions, 21 patients satisfied the aforementioned inclusion criteria, 12 underwent TCM for resection while 9 benefitted from the EEEA. There were no significant differences in patient demographics, presenting symptoms, tumor subtype, or preoperative tumor volumes, no tumors had significant lateral or prechiasmatic extension. The extent of resection was similar between these 2 groups, as was the necessity for additional surgery or adjuvant therapy. CSF leakage was encountered only in the EEEA group (2 patients). Importantly, the rate of postoperative visual improvement was significantly higher in the EEEA group than in the TCM group (88.9% vs 25.0%, p = 0.0075). Postoperative visual deterioration only occurred in the TCM group (3 patients). Recurrence was uncommon, with similar rates between the groups. Other complication rates, overall complication risk, and additional outcome measures were similar between these groups as well.

Conclusions Based on this study, most outcome variables appear to be similar between TCM and EEEA routes for similarly sized tumors in adults. The multidisciplinary EEEA to craniopharyngioma resection represents a safe and compelling alternative to TCM. The authors’ data demonstrate that postoperative visual improvement is statistically more likely in the EEEA despite the increased risk of CSF leakage. These results add to the growing evidence that the EEEA may be considered the approach of choice for resection of select confined primary craniopharyngiomas without significant lateral extension in centers with experienced surgeons. Further prospective, multiinstitutional collaboration is needed to power studies capable of fully evaluating indications and appropriate approaches for craniopharyngiomas.

Hydrocephalus: an underrated long-term complication of microvascular decompression for trigeminal neuralgia

External lumbar drain- A pragmatic test for prediction of shunt outcomes in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus

Acta Neurochir (2016) 158:2203–2206

Hydrocephalus is a common complication of posterior fossa surgery, but its real incidence after microvascular decompression (MVD) for idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia (TN) still remains unclear. The aim of this study was to focus on the potential association between MVD and hydrocephalus as a surgery-related complication.

Methods All patients who underwent MVD procedure for idiopathic TN at our institute between 2009 and 2014 were reviewed to search for early or late postoperative hydrocephalus.

Results There were 259 consecutive patients affected by idiopathic TN who underwent MVD procedure at our institution between 2009 and 2014 (113 men, 146 women; mean age 59 years, range 30–87 years; mean follow-up 40.92 months, range 8–48 months). Nine patients (3.47 %) developed communicating hydrocephalus after hospital discharge and underwent standard ventriculo-peritoneal shunt. No cases of acute hydrocephalus were noticed.

Conclusions Our study suggests that late communicating hydrocephalus may be an underrated potential long-term complication of MVD surgery.


Clinical and Surgical Predictors of Complications Following Surgery for the Treatment of Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy


Neurosurgery 79:33–44, 2016

Surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is generally safe and effective. Nonetheless, complications occur in 11% to 38% of patients. Knowledge of important predictors of complications will help clinicians identify high-risk patients and institute prevention and management strategies.

OBJECTIVE: To identify clinical and surgical predictors of perioperative complications in CSM patients.

METHODS: Four hundred seventy-nine surgical CSM patients were enrolled in the prospective CSM-International study at 16 sites. A panel of physicians reviewed all adverse events and classified each as related or unrelated to surgery. Univariate analyses were performed to determine differences between patients who experienced a perioperative complication and those who did not. A complication prediction rule was developed using multiple logistic regression.

RESULTS: Seventy-eight patients experienced 89 perioperative complications (16.25%). On univariate analysis, the major clinical risk factors were ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) (P = .055), number of comorbidities (P = .002), comorbidity score (P = .006), diabetes mellitus (P = .001), and coexisting gastrointestinal (P = .039) and cardiovascular (P = .046) disorders. Patients undergoing a 2-stage surgery (P = .002) and those with a longer operative duration (P = .001) were at greater risk of perioperative complications. A final prediction model consisted of diabetes mellitus (odds ratio [OR] = 1.96, P = .060), number of comorbidities (OR = 1.20, P = .069), operative duration (OR = 1.07, P = .002), and OPLL (OR = 1.75, P = .040).

CONCLUSION: Surgical CSM patients have a higher risk of perioperative complications if they have a greater number of comorbidities, coexisting diabetes mellitus, OPLL, and a longer operative duration. Surgeons can use this information to discuss the risks and benefits of surgery with patients, to plan case-specific preventive strategies, and to ensure appropriate management in the perioperative period.

Control of vestibular schwannomas treated with Gamma Knife


J Neurosurg 124:1619–1626, 2016

The authors of this study sought to assess tumor control and complication rates in a large cohort of patients who underwent Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) for vestibular schwannoma (VS) and to identify predictors of tumor control. Methods The records of 420 patients treated with GKRS for VS with a median marginal dose of 11 Gy were retrospectively analyzed. Patients with neurofibromatosis Type 2 or who had undergone treatment for VS previously were excluded. The authors assessed tumor control and complication rates with chart review and used the Cox proportional hazards model to identify predictors of tumor control. Preservation of serviceable hearing, defined as Gardner-Robertson Class I–II, was evaluated in a subgroup of 71 patients with serviceable hearing at baseline and with available followup audiograms.

Results The median VS tumor volume was 1.4 cm3, and the median length of follow-up was 5.1 years. Actuarial 5- and 10-year tumor control rates were 91.3% and 84.8%, respectively. Only tumor volume was a statistically significant predictor of tumor control rate. The tumor control rate decreased from 94.1% for tumors smaller than 0.5 cm3 to 80.7% for tumors larger than 6 cm3. Thirteen patients (3.1%) had new or increased permanent trigeminal nerve neuropathy, 4 (1.0%) had new or increased permanent facial weakness, and 5 (1.2%) exhibited new or increased hydrocephalus requiring a shunting procedure. Actuarial 3-year and 5-year hearing preservation rates were 65% and 42%, respectively.

Conclusions The 5-year actuarial tumor control rate of 91.3% in this cohort of patients with VS compared slightly unfavorably with the rates reported in other large studies, but the complication and hearing preservation rates in this study were similar to those reported previously. Various factors may contribute to the observed differences in reported outcomes. These factors include variations in treatment indication and in the definition of treatment failure, as well as a lack of standardization of terminology and of evaluation of complications. Last, differences in dosimetric variables may also be an explanatory factor.

Outcomes of Operative and Nonoperative Treatment for Adult Spinal Deformity

adult lumbar scoliosis

Neurosurgery 78:851–861, 2016

High-quality studies that compare operative and nonoperative treatment for adult spinal deformity (ASD) are needed.

OBJECTIVE: To compare outcomes of operative and nonoperative treatment for ASD.

METHODS: This is a multicenter, prospective analysis of consecutive ASD patients opting for operative or nonoperative care. Inclusion criteria were age .18 years and ASD. Operative and nonoperative patients were propensity matched with the baseline Oswestry Disability Index, Scoliosis Research Society-22r, thoracolumbar/lumbar Cobb angle, pelvic incidence–to–lumbar lordosis mismatch (PI-LL), and leg pain score. Analyses were confined to patients with a minimum of 2 years of follow-up.

RESULTS: Two hundred eighty-six operative and 403 nonoperative patients met the criteria, with mean ages of 53 and 55 years, 2-year follow-up rates of 86% and 55%, and mean follow-up of 24.7 and 24.8 months, respectively. At baseline, operative patients had significantly worse health-related quality of life (HRQOL) based on all measures assessed (P < .001) and had worse deformity based on pelvic tilt, pelvic incidence–to– lumbar lordosis mismatch, and sagittal vertical axis (P ≤ .002). At the minimum 2-year follow-up, all HRQOL measures assessed significantly improved for operative patients (P < .001), but none improved significantly for nonoperative patients except for modest improvements in the Scoliosis Research Society-22r pain (P = .04) and satisfaction (P < .001) domains. On the basis of matched operative-nonoperative cohorts (97 in each group), operative patients had significantly better HRQOL at follow-up for all measures assessed (P < .001), except Short Form-36 mental component score (P = .06). At the minimum 2-year follow-up, 71.5% of operative patients had ≥1 complications.

CONCLUSION: Operative treatment for ASD can provide significant improvement of HRQOL at a minimum 2-year follow-up. In contrast, nonoperative treatment on average maintains presenting levels of pain and disability.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Arteriovenous Malformations: The Effect of Treatment Period on Patient Outcomes


Neurosurgery 78:499–509, 2016

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has been performed on patients with cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) for over 40 years.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of treatment period on obliteration, intracranial hemorrhage (ICH), and radiation-induced complications (RICs).

METHODS: Retrospective comparison of 381 AVM patients having SRS during a 20-year period (group 1, January 1990 through March 1997, n = 160; group 2, April 1997 through December 2009, n = 221). The median radiological and clinical follow-up after initial SRS was 77 months and 93 months, respectively.

RESULTS: Obliteration was 59.1% at 4 years and 85.1% at 8 years. Obliteration was more common in patients with hemispheric or cerebellar AVMs (P = .001), smaller prescription isodose volume (PIV) (P < .001), and group 1 patients (P < .001). The ICH rate was 7.7% at 4 years and 10.6% at 8 years. ICH was more common in older patients (P = .02), patients with deep AVM (P = .01), and larger PIV (P < .001). There was no difference in the ICH rate between the treatment groups (P = .18). The rate of permanent RICs was 4.4% at 4 years and 8.6% at 8 years. RICs were more common with larger PIVs (P < .001) and group 1 patients (P = .02). There was no difference in the number of patients having obliteration without new deficits between the 2 treatment periods (68.8% vs 73.3%, P = .33).

CONCLUSION: Advances in SRS procedures over the past 20 years have resulted in a lower risk of RIC, but fewer patients had AVM obliteration. Increasing the prescription dose for patients with medium- and large-volume AVMs by using current conformal dose-planning techniques may improve the obliteration rate while maintaining a low risk of RICs.

Comparative analysis of outcomes following craniotomy and expanded endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal resection of craniopharyngioma and related tumors

Endoscopic endonasal surgery for craniopharyngiomas

J Neurosurg 124:627–638, 2016

Craniopharyngiomas and similar midline suprasellar tumors have traditionally been resected via transcranial approaches. More recently, expanded endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal approaches have gained interest. Surgeons have advocated for both approaches, and at present there is no consensus whether one approach is superior to the other. The authors therefore compared surgical outcomes between craniotomy and endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery (EETS) for suprasellar tumors treated at their institution.

Methods: A retrospective review of patients undergoing resection of suprasellar lesions at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center between 2000 and 2013 was performed. Patients harboring suspected craniopharyngioma were selected for extensive review. Other pathologies or predominantly intrasellar masses were excluded. Cases were separated into 2 groups, based on the surgical approach taken. One group underwent EETS and the other cohort underwent craniotomy. Patient demographic data, presenting symptoms, and previous therapies were tabulated. Preoperative and postoperative tumor volume was calculated for each case based on MRI. Student t-test and the chi-square test were used to evaluate differences in patient demographics, tumor characteristics, and outcomes between the 2 cohorts. To assess for selection bias, 3 neurosurgeons who did not perform the surgeries reviewed the preoperative imaging studies and clinical data for each patient in blinded fashion and indicated his/her preferred approach. These data were subject to concordance analysis using Cohen’s kappa test to determine if factors other than surgeon preference influenced the choice of surgical approach.

Results: Complete data were available for 53 surgeries; 19 cases were treated via EETS, and 34 were treated via craniotomy. Patient demographic data, preoperative symptoms, and tumor characteristics were similar between the 2 cohorts, except that fewer operations for recurrent tumor were observed in the craniotomy cohort compared with EETS (17.6% vs 42.1%, p = 0.05). The extent of resection was similar between the 2 groups (85.6% EETS vs 90.7% craniotomy, p = 0.77). An increased rate of cranial nerve injury was noted in the craniotomy group (0% EETS vs 23.5% craniotomy, p = 0.04). Postoperative CSF leak rate was higher in the EETS group (26.3% EETS vs 0% craniotomy, p = 0.004). The progression-free survival curves (log-rank p = 0.99) and recurrence rates (21.1% EETS vs 23.5% craniotomy, p = 1.00) were similar between the 2 groups. Concordance analysis of cases reviewed by 3 neurosurgeons indicated that individual surgeon preference was the only factor that determined surgical approach (kappa coefficient -0.039, p = 0.762)

Conclusions: Surgical outcomes were similar for tumors resected via craniotomy or EETS, except that more CSF leaks occurred in the EETS cohort, whereas more neurological injuries occurred in the craniotomy cohort. Surgical approach appears to mostly reflect surgeon preference rather than specific tumor characteristics. These data support the view that EETS is a viable alternative to craniotomy, providing a similar extent of resection with less neurological injury.

Robot-Assisted Stereoelectroencephalography

Robot-Assisted Stereoelectroencephalography

Neurosurgery 78:169–180, 2016

Robot-assisted stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) may represent a simplified, precise, and safe alternative to the more traditional SEEG techniques.

OBJECTIVE: To report our clinical experience with robotic SEEG implantation and to define its utility in the management of patients with medically refractory epilepsy.

METHODS: The prospective observational analyses included all patients with medically refractory focal epilepsy who underwent robot-assisted stereotactic placement of depth electrodes for extraoperative brain monitoring between November 2009 and May 2013. Technical nuances of the robotic implantation technique are presented, as well as an analysis of demographics, time of planning and procedure, seizure outcome, in vivo accuracy, and procedure-related complications.

RESULTS: One hundred patients underwent 101 robot-assisted SEEG procedures. Their mean age was 33.2 years. In total, 1245 depth electrodes were implanted. On average, 12.5 electrodes were implanted per patient. The time of implantation planning was 30 minutes on average (range, 15-60 minutes). The average operative time was 130 minutes (range, 45-160 minutes). In vivo accuracy (calculated in 500 trajectories) demonstrated a median entry point error of 1.2 mm (interquartile range, 0.78-1.83 mm) and a median target point error of 1.7 mm (interquartile range, 1.20-2.30 mm). Of the group of patients who underwent resective surgery (68 patients), 45 (66.2%) gained seizure freedom status. Mean follow-up was 18 months. The total complication rate was 4%.

CONCLUSION: The robotic SEEG technique and method were demonstrated to be safe, accurate, and efficient in anatomically defining the epileptogenic zone and subsequently promoting sustained seizure freedom status in patients with difficult-to- localize seizures.

Complications associated with the Dynesys dynamic stabilization system


Neurosurg Focus 40 (1):E2, 2016

The Dynesys dynamic stabilization system is an alternative to rigid instrumentation and fusion for the treatment of lumbar degenerative disease. Although many outcomes studies have shown good results, currently lacking is a comprehensive report on complications associated with this system, especially in terms of how it compares with reported complication rates of fusion.

For the present study, the authors reviewed the literature to find all studies involving the Dynesys dynamic stabilization system that reported complications or adverse events. Twenty-one studies were included for a total of 1166 patients with a mean age of 55.5 years (range 39–71 years) and a mean follow-up period of 33.7 months (range 12.0–81.6 months). Analysis of these studies demonstrated a surgical-site infection rate of 4.3%, pedicle screw loosening rate of 11.7%, pedicle screw fracture rate of 1.6%, and adjacent-segment disease (ASD) rate of 7.0%. Of studies reporting revision surgeries, 11.3% of patients underwent a reoperation. Of patients who developed ASD, 40.6% underwent a reoperation for treatment.

The Dynesys dynamic stabilization system appears to have a fairly similar complication-rate profile compared with published literature on lumbar fusion, and is associated with a slightly lower incidence of ASD.

Impact of Age on Short-term Outcomes After Lumbar Fusion

Three-Dimensional Computed Tomography-Based Spinal Navigation in Minimally Invasive Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion4

Neurosurgery 77:347–354, 2015

The safety and efficacy of spinal fusion in the elderly population remains uncertain with conflicting data.

OBJECTIVE: To determine if elderly patients undergoing instrumented lumbar fusion have increased 30-day complication rates compared to younger patients.

METHODS: The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program was used to identify all patients undergoing instrumented posterolateral lumbar fusion between 2005 and 2011. Patients were stratified by decade cohorts as follows: ,65, 65 to 75, 75 to 85, and $85 years old. All 30-day complications were grouped as overall composite morbidity and were compared using multivariate analysis.

RESULTS: A total of 1395 patients were identified and the overall 30-day complication rate was 11.47%. The complication rates were 9.04% and 14.05% for patients younger than 65 and older than 65, respectively. When stratified by decade cohorts, the complication rates were 9.04% for the ,65 cohort, 13.46% for the 65 to 75 cohort, 16.17% for the .75 to 85 cohort, and 4.00% for the $85 cohort. Multivariable regression analysis revealed no statistically significant difference between the ,65 and $65 age cohorts (odds ratio = 1.26; 95% confidence interval: 0.87-2.19). After stratifying into age cohorts, multivariable analyses revealed no difference in odds of postoperative complication occurrence for any age cohort when compared with the referent group (,65 years of age).

CONCLUSION: Patients older than 65 years of age have significantly higher rates of complications after lumbar fusion when compared to younger patients. However, multivariable analysis revealed that age was not an independent risk factor for complication occurrence after lumbar fusion.

A Novel Single Twist-Drill Access Device for Multimodal Intracranial Monitoring

A Novel Single Twist-Drill Access Device

Operative Neurosurgery 10:400–411, 2014

Multimodal intracranial monitoring in the neurosurgical patient requires insertion of probes through multiple craniostomies.

OBJECTIVE: To report our 5-year experience with a novel device allowing multimodal monitoring though a single twist-drill hole.

METHODS: All devices (Hummingbird Synergy, Innerspace) were placed at the Kocher point between 2008 and 2013 at our institution. An independent clinical research nurse prospectively collected data on all bedside placements. Placement accuracy was graded on computed tomography scan as grade 1 (ipsilateral frontal horn or third ventricle), grade 2 (contralateral lateral ventricle), and grade 3 (anywhere else). Infection was monitored with serial cerebrospinal fluid samples.

RESULTS: Two hundred seventy-five devices (198 at bedside, 77 in operating room) were placed in patients with spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage (49%), traumatic brain injury (47%), and others (4%) for a median duration of 6 days. A junior (postgraduate year 1-2), midlevel (postgraduate year 3-4), or senior resident (postgraduate year 5-6) placed 39%, 32%, and 29% of the devices, respectively. Ninety-two percent of all devices placed were draining cerebrospinal fluid, ie, were grade 1 (75%) or 2 (17%). Placement accuracy did not vary with level of training. Complications included hemorrhage (10%) and infection (4%), with 1 patient requiring intraparenchymal hematoma evacuation and a second requiring abscess drainage. These rates were lower than reported in the literature for standard external ventricular drains.

CONCLUSION: Hummingbird Synergy is a novel single-port access device for multimodal intracranial monitoring that can be placed safely at the bedside or in the operating room with placement accuracy and has a complication profile similar to or better than that for standard external ventricular drains.

Complications of occipitocervical fusion: a 316 cases retrospective analysis

Occipito-cervical fusion

Eur Spine J (2014) 23:1720–1724

Disorders in occipitocervical region are difficult to treat. Complications often occur after fusion surgery and may be life-threatening in severe cases. This study is to investigate the causes and treatment strategies for the postoperative complications of occipitocervical fusion.

Methods Between May 1985 and May 2011, 316 patients with various occipitocervical diseases underwent occipitocervical surgery, with or without internal fixation. Two physicians were assigned for patients follow-up. Their medical records and radiographs were reviewed and the postoperative complications, including those at the occipitocervical region and donor site, were analyzed.

Results Three hundred cases were followed up from 24 months to 26 years with an average of 9 years and 8 months, and the follow-up rate was 94.9 %. There were 16 cases with complications after surgery in the uninstrumented fusion group; the incidence was 33.3 %. These included 11 patients (22.9 %) with complications in occipitocervical region and five patients (11.9 %) with donor-site complications. 45 complications presented in the instrumented fusion group, the incidence was 17.9 %. These included 30 patients (11.9 %) with complications in occipitocervical region and 15 patients (5.9 %) with donorsite complications. Perioperative complications included vertebral artery injury, spinal cord injury, nerve root injury, suffocation, cerebrospinal fluid leakage, and infection. Mid- to long-term complications included bone-graft displacement or absorption, aggravated vertebral dislocation, improper screw placement, spinous process fracture, and internal fixation breakage. Donor-site complications were hematoma, pain and infection.

Conclusion The surgery of occipitocervical fusion carries a relative high risk for complications, especially if no instrumentation is used. The key points in reducing complications are the surgeon’s familiarity with the anatomy of occipitocervical region and the appropriate internal fixation.

Surgical complications after transsphenoidal microscopic and endoscopic surgery for pituitary adenoma: a consecutive series of 506 procedures

Treatment of acromegaly by endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery

Acta Neurochir (2014) 156:441–449

This single-institution, consecutive series of transsphenoidal procedures included all patients in a defined population of 2.6 million inhabitants who underwent surgery during a specific time period.

Objective We sought to determine the surgical complication rate and overall survival rate after transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenoma.

Methods All transsphenoidal procedures for histologically verified pituitary adenomas performed between September 2002 and February 2011 at our institution were included in this study. The data were obtained from a prospectively collected database and from reviewing medical records. No patients were lost to follow-up, and the median follow-up time was 28 months.

Results A total of 506 transsphenoidal procedures were performed on 446 patients. There were 268 microscopic and 238 endoscopic procedures involving 352 non-functioning and 154 hormone-secreting adenomas. A total of 73 % of the procedures were primary surgeries, and 27 % were repeat surgeries for tumor recurrence. The overall complication rate was 9.1 %. The three most frequent complications were cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage (4.7 %), meningitis (2 %), and visual deterioration (2 %). Multivariate analyses showed that the overall risk for complications increased with older age, surgery for recurrent tumors, and surgery performed by a low-volume surgeon. There was no significant difference in the overall complication rate between the microsurgical and endoscopic techniques. The rate of surgical mortality was 0.6 %, and the overall survival rates at 1 and 5 years were 95 % and 90 %, respectively. The only negative predictor of survival was older age.

Conclusions Transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenomas has a low complication rate and a low rate of mortality. We did not find a significant difference in the complication rate between endoscopic and microscopic techniques.

Fifty Consecutive Hemispherectomies

50 Hemispherectomies

Neurosurgery 74:182–195, 2014

Techniques for achieving hemispheric disconnection in patients with epilepsy continue to evolve.

OBJECTIVE: To review the outcomes of the first 50 hemispherectomy surgeries performed by a single surgeon with an emphasis on outcomes, complications, and how these results led to changes in practice.

METHODS: The first 50 hemispherectomy cases performed by the lead author were identified from a prospectively maintained database. Patient demographics, surgical details, clinical outcomes, and complications were critically reviewed.

RESULTS: From 2004 to 2012, 50 patients underwent hemispherectomy surgery (mean follow-up time, 3.5 years). Modified lateral hemispherotomy became the preferred technique and was performed on 44 patients. Forty patients (80%) achieved complete seizure freedom (Engel I). Presurgical and postsurgical neuropsychological evaluations demonstrated cognitive stability. Two cases were performed for palliation only. Previous hemispherectomy surgery was associated with worsened seizure outcome (2 of 6 seizure free; P .005). The use of Avitene was associated with a higher incidence of postoperative hydrocephalus (56% vs 18%; P = .03). In modified lateral hemispherotomy patients without the use of Avitene, the incidence of hydrocephalus was 13%. Complications included infection (n = 3), incomplete disconnection requiring reoperation (n = 1), reversible ischemic neurological deficit (n = 1), and craniosynostosis (n = 1). There were no (unanticipated) permanent neurological deficits or deaths. Minor technique modifications were made in response to specific complications.

CONCLUSION: The modified lateral hemispherotomy is effective and safe for both initial and revision hemispherectomy surgery. Avitene use appears to result in a greater incidence of postoperative hydrocephalus.

Overdrainage shunt complications in idiopathic normal-pressure hydrocephalus and lumbar puncture opening pressure

Shunt complications of overdrainage

J Neurosurg 119:1498–1502, 2013

Management of idiopathic normal-pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) is hard because the diagnosis is difficult and shunt surgery has high complication rates. An important complication is overdrainage, which often can be treated with adjustable–shunt valve manipulations but also may result in the need for subdural hematoma evacuation. The authors evaluated shunt surgery overdrainage complications in iNPH and their relationship to lumbar puncture opening pressure (LPOP).

Methods. The authors reviewed the charts of 164 consecutive patients with iNPH who underwent shunt surgery at their institution from 2005 to 2011. They noted age, sex, presenting symptoms, symptom duration, hypertension, body mass index (BMI), imaging findings of atrophy, white matter changes, entrapped sulci, LPOP, valve opening pressure (VOP) setting, number of valve adjustments, serious overdrainage (subdural hematoma requiring surgery), radiological overdrainage (subdural hematomas or hygroma seen on postoperative imaging), clinical overdrainage (sustained or postural headache), other complications, and improvements in gait, urine control, and memory.

Results. Eight patients (5%) developed subdural hematomas requiring surgery. All had an LPOP of greater than 160 mm H2O and an LPOP-VOP of greater than 40 mm H2O. Radiological overdrainage was more common in those with an LPOP of greater than 160 mm H2O than in those with an LPOP of less than 160 mm H2O (38% vs 21%, respectively; p = 0.024). The BMI was also significantly higher in those with an LPOP of greater than 160 mm H2O (median 30.2 vs 27.0, respectively; p = 0.005).

Conclusions. Serious overdrainage that caused subdural hematomas and also required surgery after shunting was related to LPOP and LPOP-VOP, which in turn were related to BMI. If this can be replicated, individuals with a high LPOP should have their VOP set close to the LPOP, or even higher. In doing this, perhaps overdrainage complications can be reduced.

Neurosurgery Department. “La Fe” University Hospital. Valencia, Spain


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