Neurosurgery Blog

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

Brainstem arteriovenous malformations: lesion characteristics and treatment outcomes

J Neurosurg 128:126–136, 2018

Brainstem arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are rare lesions that are difficult to diagnose and treat. They are often more aggressive in their behavior when compared with their supratentorial counterparts. The consequence of a brainstem hemorrhage is often devastating, and many patients are in poor neurological status at presentation. The authors examine the factors associated with angiographically confirmed cure and those affecting management outcomes for these complex lesions.

METHODS This was a retrospective analysis of data gathered from the prospectively maintained Stanford AVM database. Lesions were grouped based on their location in the brainstem (medulla, pons, or midbrain) and the quadrant they occupied. Angiographic cure was dichotomized as completely obliterated or not, and functional outcome was dichotomized as either independent or not independent at last follow-up.

RESULTS Over a 23-year period, 39 lesions were treated. Of these, 3 were located in the medulla, 14 in the pons, and 22 in the midbrain. At presentation, 92% of the patients had hemorrhage, and only 43.6% were functionally independent. Surgery resulted in the best radiographic cure rates, with a morbidity rate of 12.5%. In all, 53% of patients either improved or remained stable after surgery. Absence of residual nidus and female sex correlated with better outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS Brainstem AVMs usually present with hemorrhage. Surgery offers the best chance of cure, either in isolation or in combination with other modalities as appropriate.

What Is the Fate of Pseudarthrosis Detected 1 Year After Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion?

Spine 2018;43:E23–E28

Objective. To investigate the consequences and appropriate management of pseudarthrosis after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).

Summary of Background Data. Pseudarthrosis is a frequent complication of ACDF and causes unsatisfactory results. Little is known about long-term prognosis of detecting pseudarthrosis 1 year after ACDF.

Methods. Eighty-nine patients with a minimum 2-year followup were included. ACDF surgery using allograft and plating was performed: single-level in 51 patients, two-level in 26 patients, and three-level in 12 patients. Presence of pseudarthrosis was evaluated 1 year postoperatively and then the nonunion segments were re-evaluated 2 years postoperatively. Demographic data were assessed to identify the risk factors associated with pseudarthrosis. A visual analogue scale for neck/arm pain and the Neck Disability Index were analyzed preoperatively and at 1 and 2 years postoperatively.

Results. Pseudarthrosis was detected in 29 patients (32.6%) 1 year postoperatively: 15of 51 patients after single-level surgery, 9 of 26 patients after two-level surgery, and 5 of 12 patients after three-level surgery. Only eight patients showed persistent nonunion at 2 years: 3 of 15 patients after single-level surgery, 3 of 9 after two-level surgery, and 2 of 5 after three-level surgery. The remaining 21 patients (72.4%) achieved bony fusion 2 years postoperatively without any intervention. Patients who underwent two-level or three-level ACDF had a significantly higher pseudarthrosis rate than those who underwent single-level ACDF, with odds ratios of 1.844 and 3.147, respectively. The improvements in visual analogue scale for neck pain and Neck Disability Index scores in the persistent nonunion group were significantly lower than those in the final union group at 2 years.

Conclusion. Patients with pseudarthrosis detected 1 year postoperatively may be observed without any intervention because approximately 70% of them will eventually fuse by the 2-year point. Early revision could, however, be considered if the pseudarthrosis is associated with considerable neck pain after multilevel ACDF.

Level of Evidence: 3

Clinical features and surgical outcomes of patients with skull base chordoma

J Neurosurg 127:1257–1267, 2017

Skull base chordoma is relatively rare, and a limited number of reports have been published regarding its clinical features. Moreover, the factors associated with extent of resection, as well as the value of marginal resection for long-term survival, are still in question for this disease. The objective of this study was to investigate these factors by evaluating their clinical features and surgical outcomes.

METHODS A retrospective analysis of 238 patients with skull base chordomas, who met the inclusion criteria, was performed. This study summarized the clinical features, selection of approaches, degree of resection, and postoperative complications by statistical description analyses; proposed modified classifications of tumor location and bone invasion; studied the contributions of the clinical and radiological factors to the extent of resection by Pearson c2, ANOVA, rank test, and binary logistic regression analysis; and estimated the differences in overall survival and progression-free survival rates with respect to therapeutic history, classification of tumor location, extent of bone invasion, and extent of tumor resection by the Kaplan-Meier method. A p value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

RESULTS The study included 140 male and 98 female patients with a mean age of 38.1 years. Headache and neck pain (33.2%) and diplopia (29%) were the most common initial symptoms. Sphenoclival type accounted for the largest proportion of tumor location (59.2%); endophytic chordoma was the more common type of bone invasion (81.5%). Lateral open approaches were performed in two-thirds of the study population (78.6%). The rate of marginal resection was 66%, composed of gross-total resection (11.8%) and near-total resection (54.2%). Meningitis (8%) and CSF leakage (3.8%) were the most frequent complications. The mean follow-up period was 43.7 months. The overall survival and progression-free survival rates at 5 years were 76% and 45%, respectively. Recurrent tumor and larger tumor volume (≥ 40 cm3) were identified as risk factors of marginal resection. Patients who presented with recurrent tumor and underwent intralesional resection had a worse long-term outcome.

CONCLUSIONS The classifications of both tumor location and bone invasion demonstrated clinical value. Marginal resection was more likely to be achieved for primary lesions with smaller volumes (< 40 cm3). The rate of CSF leakage declined due to improved dura mater repair with free fat grafts. Marginal resection, or gross-total resection when possible, should be performed in patients with primary chordomas to achieve better long-term survival.

Surgical Treatment of Mesiotemporal Lobe Epilepsy: Which Approach is Favorable?

Neurosurgery 81:992–1004, 2017

Mesiotemporal lobe epilepsy is one of the most frequent causes for pharmacoresistant epilepsy. Different surgical approaches to the mesiotemporal area are used.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze epileptological and neuropsychological results as well as complications of different surgical strategies.

METHODS: This retrospective study is based on a consecutive series of 458 patients all harboring pharmacoresistant mesiotemporal lobe epilepsy. Following procedures were performed: standard anterior temporal lobectomy, anterior temporal or key-hole resection, extended lesionectomy, and transsylvian and subtemporal selective amygdalohippocampectomy. Postoperative outcome was evaluated according to different surgical procedures.

RESULTS: Overall, 1 yr after surgery 315 of 432 patients (72.9%) were classified Engel I; in particular, 72.8% were seizure-free after anterior temporal lobectomy, 76.9% after key-hole resection, 84.4% after extended lesionectomy, 70.3% after transylvian selective amygdalohippocampectomy, and 59.1% after subtemporal selective amygdalohippocampectomy. No significant differences in seizure outcome were found between different resective procedures, neither in short-term nor long-term follow-up. There was no perioperative mortality. Permanent morbidity was encountered in 4.4%. There were no significant differences in complications between different resection types. In the majority of patients, selective attention improved following surgery. Patients after left-sided operations performed significantly worse regarding verbal memory as compared to right-sided procedures. However, surgical approach had no significant effect on memory outcome.

CONCLUSION: Different surgical approaches for mesiotemporal epilepsy analyzed resulted in similar epileptological, neuropsychological results, and complication rates. Therefore, the approach for the individual patient does not only depend on the specific localization of the epileptogenic area, but also on the experience of the surgeon.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Brainstem Arteriovenous Malformations

Neurosurgery 81:910–920, 2017

The management of brainstem arteriovenous malformations (bAVMs) is a formidable challenge. bAVMs harbor higher morbidity and mortality compared to other locations.

OBJECTIVE: To review the outcomes following stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) of bAVMs in a multicenter study.

METHODS: Six medical centers contributed data from 205 patients through the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Median age was 32 yr (6-81). Median nidus volume was 1.4 mL (0.1-69 mL). Favorable outcome (FO) was defined as AVM obliteration and no post-treatment hemorrhage or permanent symptomatic radiation-induced complications.

RESULTS: Overall obliteration was reported in 65.4% (n = 134) at a mean follow-up of 69 mo. Obliteration was angiographically proven in 53.2% (n = 109) and on MRA in 12.2% (n=25). Actuarial rate of obliteration at 2, 3, 5, 7, and 10 yr after SRS was 24.5%, 43.3%, 62.3%, 73%, and 81.8% respectively. Patients treated with a margin dose >20 Gy were more likely to achieve obliteration (P = .001). Obliteration occurred earlier in patients who received a higher prescribed margin dose (P = .05) and maximum dose (P = .041). Post-SRS hemorrhage occurred in 8.8% (n = 18). Annual post gamma knife latency period hemorrhage was 1.5%. Radiation-induced complications were radiologically evident in 35.6% (n = 73), symptomatic in 14.6% (n=30), and permanent in 14.6% (n=30, which included long-tract signs and new cranial nerve deficits). FO was achieved in 64.4% (n = 132). Predictors of an FO were a higher Virginia radiosurgery AVM scale score (P = .003), prior hemorrhage (P = .045), and a lower prescribed maximum dose (P = .006).

CONCLUSION: SRS for bAVMs results in obliteration and avoids permanent complications in the majority of patients.

Long-term surgical results of supplementary motor area epilepsy surgery

J Neurosurg 127:1153–1159, 2017

Supplementary motor area (SMA) epilepsy is a well-known clinical condition; however, long-term surgical outcome reports are scarce and correspond to small series or isolated case reports. The aim of this study is to present the surgical results of SMA epilepsy patients treated at 2 reference centers in Mexico City.

METHODS For this retrospective descriptive study (1999–2014), 52 patients underwent lesionectomy and/or corticectomy of the SMA that was guided by electrocorticography (ECoG). The clinical, neurophysiological, neuroimaging, and pathological findings are described. The Engel scale was used to classify surgical outcome. Descriptive statistics, Student t-test, and Friedman, Kruskal-Wallis, and chi-square tests were used.

RESULTS Of these 52 patients, the mean age at epilepsy onset was 26.3 years, and the mean preoperative seizure frequency was 14 seizures per month. Etiologies included low-grade tumors in 28 (53.8%) patients, cortical dysplasia in 17 (32.7%) patients, and cavernomas in 7 (13.5%) patients. At a mean follow-up of 5.7 years (range 1–10 years), 32 patients (61%) were classified as Engel Class I, 16 patients (31%) were classified as Engel Class II, and 4 (8%) patients were classified as Engel Class III. Overall seizure reduction was significant (p = 0.001). The absence of early postsurgical seizures and lesional etiology were associated with the outcome of Engel Class I (p = 0.05). Twenty-six (50%) patients had complications in the immediate postoperative period, all of which resolved completely with no residual neurological deficits.

CONCLUSIONS Surgery for SMA epilepsy guided by ECoG using a multidisciplinary and multimodality approach is a safe, feasible procedure that shows good seizure control, moderate morbidity, and no mortality.

Which Cerebral Cavernous Malformations are Most Difficult to Dissect From Surrounding Eloquent Brain Tissue?

Neurosurgery 81:498–503, 2017

Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM) may lead to repetitive intracerebral hemorrhage. In selected cases, a surgical resection is indicated.

OBJECTIVE: To identify magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features of CCM that correlate with the difficulty of dissection and postoperative outcome.

METHODS: This study prospectively analyzed pre- and postoperative MRI features, intraoperative findings (surgical questionnaire), and postoperative outcome of 41 patients with eloquent CCM. Based on the results of the surgeon’s questionnaire and postoperative MRI findings, all surgical procedureswere dichotomized in a “difficult”(groupA) or “not difficult” (group B) lesion dissection. Based on the correlation of preoperative MRI features with groups A and B, a 3-tiered classification was established and tested for sensitivity and specificity.

RESULTS: In 22 patients, dissection of the lesion was rated difficult. This was significantly correlated with amount of postoperative diffusion restriction on MRI (P=.001) and postoperative outcome(P=.05). Various preoperative MRI featureswere tested for correlation and combined in a 3-tiered classification. Receiver operating characteristics revealed excellent and good results for predicting difficulty of dissection for the different classification types.

CONCLUSION: We provide a meticulous analysis and new classification of preoperative MRI features that seem to be involved in the microsurgical resection of CCM.

Spinal epidural hematomas: personal experience and literature review of more than 1000 cases

J Neurosurg Spine 27:198–208, 2017

The goal of this study was to identify factors that contribute to the formation of acute spinal epidural hematoma (SEH) by correlating etiology, age, site, clinical status, and treatment with immediate results and long-term outcomes.

METHODS The authors reviewed their series of 15 patients who had been treated for SEH between 1996 and 2012. In addition, the authors reviewed the relevant international literature from 1869 (when SEH was first described) to 2012, collecting a total of 1010 cases. Statistical analysis was performed in 959 (95%) cases that were considered valid for assessing the incidence of age, sex, site, and clinical status at admission, correlating each of these parameters with the treatment results. Statistical analysis was also performed in 720 (71.3%) cases to study the incidence of etiological factors that favor SEH formation: coagulopathy, trauma, spinal puncture, pregnancy, and multifactorial disorders. The clinical status at admission and long-term outcome were studied for each group. Clinical status was assessed using the Neuro-Grade (NG) scale.

RESULTS The mean patient age was 47.97 years (range 0–91 years), and a significant proportion of patients were male (60%, p < 0.001). A bimodal distribution has been reported for age at onset with peaks in the 2nd and 6th decades of life. The cause of the SEH was not reported in 42% of cases. The etiology concerned mainly iatrogenic factors (18%), such as coagulopathy or spinal puncture, rather than noniatrogenic factors (29%), such as genetic or metabolic coagulopathy, trauma, and pregnancy. The etiology was multifactorial in 11.1% of cases. The most common sites for SEH were C-6 (n = 293, 31%) and T-12 (n = 208, 22%), with maximum extension of 6 vertebral bodies in 720 cases (75%). At admission, 806 (84%) cases had moderate neurological impairment (NG 2 or 3), and only lumbar hematoma was associated with a good initial clinical neurological status (NG 0 or 1). Surgery was performed in 767 (80%) cases. Mortality was greater in patients older than 40 years of age (9%; p < 0.01). Sex did not influence any of these data (p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS Factors that contribute to the formation of acute SEH are iatrogenic, not iatrogenic, or multifactorial. The treatment of choice is surgery, and the results of treatment are influenced by the patient’s clinical and neurological status at admission, age, and the craniocaudal site.

Causes of poor outcome in patients admitted with good-grade subarachnoid haemorrhage

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:559–565

Surgical risk in patients with unruptured aneurysms is well known. The relative impact of surgery and natural history of subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) on patients in good clinical condition (World Federation of Neurological Surgeons [WFNS] grades 1 and 2) is less well quantified. The aim of this study was to determine causes of poor outcome in patients admitted in good grade SAH.

Methods A retrospective study of prospectively collected data among WFNS-1 and -2 patients: demographics, SAH and aneurysm-related data, surgical complications and outcome as assesed by the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS). Causes of poor outcome (GOS 1–3) were determined.

Results During a 7-year period (2009–15), 56 patients with SAH WFNS-1 (39 patients) or WFNS-2 (17 patients) were treated surgically (21 men, 35 women; mean age, 52.4 years). According to the Fisher scale, 19 patients were grade 1 or 2; 37 patients were grade 3 or 4. Most aneurysms were located at anterior communicating (26) or middle cerebral (15) artery.

Altogether, 11 patients (19.6%) achieved GOS 1–3. This was attributed to SAH-related complications in six patients (rebleeding, vasospasm), surgery in four patients (postopera-tive ischaemia in two, haematoma and ventriculitis in one patient each), grand-mal seizure with aspiration in one patient. Age over 60 years (p = 0.017) and presence of hydrocephalus (p < 0.001) were statistically significant predictors of poor GOS; other variables (e.g. sex, Fisher grade, aneurysm size or location, use of temporary clips, intraoperative rupture, vasospasm) were not significant.

Conclusions Patients admitted in good-grade SAH achieve favourable outcome following surgical aneurysm repair in the majority of cases. Negative factors include age over 60 years and presence of hydrocephalus. Aneurysm surgery following good-grade SAH still carries a small but significant risk similar to that shown in large multi-institutional trials.

Outcome and prognostic factors after delayed second subarachnoid haemorrhage

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:307–315

Data of patients suffering from delayed second subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) after aneurysm treatment are still missing. Patients become clearly older than before. Thus, the risk suffering from a second delayed SAH rises. The aim of this study was to analyse clinical outcome and prognostic factors in patients after delayed second SAH.

Method From 1999 to 2013, 18 of 1,493 patients (1.2%) suffered from a second SAH. Clinical and radiological character- istics were entered into a prospective conducted database. Outcome was assessed according to modified Rankin Scale 6 months after second SAH. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results Eighteen patients were admitted to our department with a second SAH. The second SAH occurred at a mean interval of 144 months after surgical treatment and 78 months after endovascular treatment (P < 0.05), with an overall mean interval of 125 months. The earliest event of second SAH was after 35 months. In 11 (61%) patients, a de novo aneurysm was detected; in one patient (6%), no cause of second SAH was detected. In six (33%) cases, re-rupture of the formerly secured aneurysm was found. Half of the rebleedings occurred from a basilar aneurysm, 33% from an aneurysm of anterior communicating artery and in one patient from a median cere- bral artery aneurysm. At second SAH, 8 of 18 patients pre- sented WFNS grade I-III at time of admission (44%). Overall, favourable outcome was achieved in seven patients (39%). Four patients died (22%), one of them before treatment. Favourable outcome seems to be associated with younger age. In our patients, 39% achieved a favourable outcome after second SAH.

Conclusions A delayed second SAH is a rare entity. After delayed second SAH, age seems to be a prognostic factor for patients’ outcome and patients seem to have a worse prognosis. Nonetheless, up to 40% of patients can achieve a favourable outcome.

Trigeminal neuralgia due to venous neurovascular conflicts

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159: 237

Implication of veins as neurovascular conflict (NVC) in the genesis of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) remains a matter of debate. Few reports dealing with venous NVC have been published. The objective of this study is to describe the outcome in a historical cohort of consecutive patients with classical TN due to venous compression.

Methods: All patients with TN treated by microvascular decompression (MVD) from 2005 to 2013 were included if a marked venous compression was found at the surgery either alone or accompanied by an artery. Patients were evaluated for clinical presentation, operative findings and the long-term outcome. Outcome was considered favourable if patients were classed as BNI I or II (i.e. not requiring any medication). Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to determine probability of a favourable outcome at 10 years of follow-up.

Results:  Out of the overall series of 313 patients having been treated by MVD and considered for the study, in 55 (17.5 %) a vein was the main compressive vessel; in 26 (8.3 %) it was the only compressive vessel. Probability of relief with no need for medication at 10 years was 70.6 %. The patients with focal arachnoiditis had a poor long-term outcome, i.e. BNI III-V, in 85.7 % compared with 20.8 % without arachnoiditis (p = 0.0037 Fisher’s exact test). No differences in outcome were found between patients presenting with purely venous compression and patients with mixed compression. Outcome was similarly good for patients with atypical neuralgia when compared to patients with typical clinical presentation.

Conclusions: Venous NVC as a cause of TN is far from rare. MVD with complete liberation of the entire root in cases with clear-cut venous compression on imaging studies gives a good probability of long-term pain relief, thus encouraging to propose surgery for such patients.

A 5- to 8-year randomized study on the treatment of cervical radiculopathy: anterior cervical decompression and fusion plus physiotherapy versus physiotherapy alone

Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine 26(1):19-27

The aim of this study was to evaluate the 5- to 8-year outcome of anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ACDF) combined with a structured physiotherapy program as compared with that following the same physiotherapy program alone in patients with cervical radiculopathy. No previous prospective randomized studies with a follow-up of more than 2 years have compared outcomes of surgical versus nonsurgical intervention for cervical radiculopathy.

METHODS: Fifty-nine patients were randomized to ACDF surgery with postoperative physiotherapy (30 patients) or to structured physiotherapy alone (29 patients). The physiotherapy program included general and specific exercises as well as pain coping strategies. Outcome measures included neck disability (Neck Disability Index [NDI]), neck and arm pain intensity (visual analog scale [VAS]), health state (EQ-5D questionnaire), and a patient global assessment. Patients were followed up for 5–8 years.

RESULTS: After 5–8 years, the NDI was reduced by a mean score% of 21 (95% CI 14–28) in the surgical group and 11% (95% CI 4%–18%) in the nonsurgical group (p = 0.03). Neck pain was reduced by a mean score of 39 mm (95% CI 26–53 mm) compared with 19 mm (95% CI 7–30 mm; p = 0.01), and arm pain was reduced by a mean score of 33 mm (95% CI 18–49 mm) compared with 19 mm (95% CI 7–32 mm; p = 0.1), respectively. The EQ-5D had a mean respective increase of 0.29 (95% CI 0.13–0.45) compared with 0.14 (95% CI 0.01–0.27; p = 0.12). Ninety-three percent of patients in the surgical group rated their symptoms as “better” or “much better” compared with 62% in the nonsurgical group (p = 0.005). Both treatment groups experienced significant improvement over baseline for all outcome measures.

CONCLUSIONS: In this prospective randomized study of 5- to 8-year outcomes of surgical versus nonsurgical treatment in patients with cervical radiculopathy, ACDF combined with physiotherapy reduced neck disability and neck pain more effectively than physiotherapy alone. Self-rating by patients as regards treatment outcome was also superior in the surgery group. No significant differences were seen between the 2 patient groups as regards arm pain and health outcome.

 

Diffusion Tensor Imaging: A Possible Biomarker in Severe Traumatic Brain Injury and Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage?

diffusion-tensor-imaging-a-possible-biomarker-in-severe-traumatic-brain-injury-and-aneurysmal-subarachnoid-hemorrhage

Neurosurgery 79:786–793, 2016

A great need exists in traumatic brain injury (TBI) and aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) for objective biomarkers to better characterize the disease process and to serve as early endpoints in clinical studies. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has shown promise in TBI, but much less is known about aSAH.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the use of whole-brain DTI tractography in TBI and aSAH as a biomarker and early endpoint.

METHODS: Of a cohort of 43 patients with severe TBI (n = 20) or aSAH (n = 23) enrolled in a prospective, observational, multimodality monitoring study, DTI data were acquired at approximately day 12 (median, 12 days; interquartile range, 12-14 days) after injury in 22 patients (TBI, n = 12; aSAH, n = 10). Whole-brain DTI tractography was performed, and the following parameters quantified: average fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity, tract length, and the total number of reconstructed fiber tracts. These were compared between TBI and aSAH patients and correlated with mortality and functional outcome assessed at 6 months by the Glasgow Outcome Scale Extended.

RESULTS: Significant differences were found for fractional anisotropy values (P = .01), total number of tracts (P = .03), and average tract length (P = .002) between survivors and nonsurvivors. A sensitivity analysis showed consistency of results between the TBI and aSAH patients for the various DTI measures.

CONCLUSION: DTI parameters, assessed at approximately day 12 after injury, correlated with mortality at 6 months in patients with severe TBI or aSAH. Similar patterns were found for both TBI and aSAH patients. This supports a potential role of DTI as early endpoint for clinical studies and a predictor of late mortality.

Predictive outcome factors in the young patient treated with lumbar disc herniation surgery

Surgical technique and effectiveness of microendoscopic discectomy for large uncontained lumbar disc herniations

J Neurosurg Spine 25:448–455, 2016

The aim of this study was to evaluate predictive factors for outcome after lumbar disc herniation surgery in young patients.

Methods In the national Swedish spine register, the authors identified 180 patients age 20 years or younger, in whom preoperative and 1-year postoperative data were available. The cohort was treated with primary open surgery due to lumbar disc herniation between 2000 and 2010. Before and 1 year after surgery, the patients graded their back and leg pain on a visual analog scale, quality of life by the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey and EuroQol–5 Dimensions, and disability by the Oswestry Disability Index. Subjective satisfaction rate was registered on a Likert scale (satisfied, undecided, or dissatisfied). The authors evaluated if age, sex, preoperative level of leg and back pain, duration of leg pain, pain distribution, quality of life, mental status, and/or disability were associated with the outcome. The primary end point variable was the grade of patient satisfaction.

Results Lumbar disc herniation surgery in young patients normalizes quality of life according to the 36-Item Short- Form Health Survey, and only 4.5% of the patients were unsatisfied with the surgical outcome. Predictive factors for inferior postoperative patient-reported outcome measures (PROM) scores were severe preoperative leg or back pain, low preoperative mental health, and pronounced preoperative disability, but only low preoperative mental health was associated with inferiority in the subjective grade of satisfaction. No associations were found between preoperative duration of leg pain, distribution of pain, or health-related quality of life and the postoperative PROM scores or the subjective grade of satisfaction.

Conclusions Lumbar disc herniation surgery in young patients generally yields a satisfactory outcome. Severe preoperative pain, low mental health, and severe disability increase the risk of reaching low postoperative PROM scores, but are only of relevance clinically (low subjective satisfaction) for patients with low preoperative mental health.

Occipitocervical Fixation: A Single Surgeon’s Experience With 120 Patients

occipitocervical-fixation-a-single-surgeons-experience-with-120-patients

Neurosurgery 79:549–560, 2016

Occipitocervical junction instability can lead to serious neurological injury or death. Open surgical fixation is often necessary to provide definitive stabilization. However, long-term results are limited to small case series.

OBJECTIVE: To review the causes of occipitocervical instability, discuss the indications for surgical intervention, and evaluate long-term surgical outcomes after occipitocervical fixation.

METHODS: The charts of all patients undergoing posterior surgical fixation of the occipitocervical junction by the senior author were retrospectively reviewed. A total of 120 consecutive patients were identified for analysis. Patient demographic characteristics, occipitocervical junction pathology, surgical indications, and clinical and radiographic outcomes are reported.

RESULTS: The study population consisted of 64 male and 56 female patients with a mean age of 39.9 years (range, 7 months to 88 years). Trauma was the most common cause of instability, occurring in 56 patients (47%). Ninety patients (75%) were treated with screw/rod constructs; wiring was used in 30 patients (25%). The median number of fixated segments was 5 (O-C4). Structural bone grafts were implanted in all patients (100%). Preoperative neurological deficits were present in 83 patients (69%); 91% of those patients improved with surgery. Mean follow-up was 35.1 6 27.4 months (range, 0-123 months). Two patients died, and 10 were lost to follow-up before the end of the 6-month follow-up period. Fusion was confirmed in 107 patients (89.1%). The overall complication rate was 10%, including 3 patients with vertebral artery injuries and 2 patients who required revision surgery.

CONCLUSION: Occipitocervical fixation is a durable treatment option with acceptable morbidity for patients with occipitocervical instability.

Rates and Predictors of Seizure Freedom With Vagus Nerve Stimulation for Intractable Epilepsy

vnsdevice

Neurosurgery 79:345–353, 2016

Neuromodulation-based treatments have become increasingly important in epilepsy treatment. Most patients with epilepsy treated with neuromodulation do not achieve complete seizure freedom, and, therefore, previous studies of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) therapy have focused instead on reduction of seizure frequency as a measure of treatment response.

OBJECTIVE: To elucidate rates and predictors of seizure freedom with VNS.

METHODS: We examined 5554 patients from the VNS therapy Patient Outcome Registry, and also performed a systematic review of the literature including 2869 patients across 78 studies.

RESULTS: Registry data revealed a progressive increase over time in seizure freedom after VNS therapy. Overall, 49% of patients responded to VNS therapy 0 to 4 months after implantation ($50% reduction seizure frequency), with 5.1% of patients becoming seizure-free, while 63% of patients were responders at 24 to 48 months, with 8.2% achieving seizure freedom. On multivariate analysis, seizure freedom was predicted by age of epilepsy onset .12 years (odds ratio [OR], 1.89; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.38- 2.58), and predominantly generalized seizure type (OR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.01-1.82), while overall response to VNS was predicted by nonlesional epilepsy (OR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.06- 1.81). Systematic literature review results were consistent with the registry analysis: At 0 to 4 months, 40.0% of patients had responded to VNS, with 2.6% becoming seizurefree, while at last follow-up, 60.1% of individuals were responders, with 8.0% achieving seizure freedom.

CONCLUSION: Response and seizure freedom rates increase over time with VNS therapy, although complete seizure freedom is achieved in a small percentage of patients.

Optic nerve mobilization to enhance the exposure of the pituitary stalk during craniopharyngioma resection

optic-nerve-mobilization-to-enhance-the-exposure-of-the-pituitary-stalk-during-craniopharyngioma-resection

J Neurosurg 125:683–688, 2016

Preservation of the pituitary stalk and its vasculature is a key step in good postoperative endocrinological outcome in patients with craniopharyngiomas. In this article, the authors describe the surgical technique of medial optic nerve mobilization for better inspection and preservation of the pituitary stalk.

Methods This operative technique has been applied in 3 patients. Following tumor exposure via a frontolateral approach, the pituitary stalk could be seen partially hidden under the optic nerve and the optic chiasm. The subchiasmatic and opticocarotid spaces were narrow, and tumor dissection from the pituitary stalk under direct vision was not possible. The optic canal was therefore unroofed, the falciform ligament was incised, and the lateral part of the tuberculum sellae was drilled medial to the optic nerve. The optic nerve could be mobilized medially to widen the opticocarotid triangle, which enhanced visualization of and access to the pituitary stalk.

Results By using the optic nerve mobilization technique, the tumor could be removed completely, and the pituitary stalk and its vasculature were preserved in all patients. In 2 patients, vision improved after surgery, while in 1 patient it remained normal, as it was before surgery. The hormonal status remained normal after surgery in 2 patients. In the patient with preoperative hormonal deficiencies, improvement occurred early after surgery and hormonal levels were normal after 3 months. No approach-related complications occurred.

Conclusions This early experience shows that this technique is safe and could be used as a complementary step during microsurgery of craniopharyngiomas. It allows for tumor dissection from the pituitary stalk under direct vision. The pituitary stalk can thus be preserved without jeopardizing the optic nerve.

Origin of craniopharyngiomas: implications for growth pattern, clinical characteristics, and outcomes of tumor recurrence

Origin of craniopharyngiomas

J Neurosurg 125:24–32, 2016

Craniopharyngiomas are associated with a high rate of recurrence. The surgical management of recurrent lesions has been among the most challenging neurosurgical procedures because of the craniopharyngioma’s complex topographical relationship with surrounding structures. The aim of this study was to define the determinative role of the site of origin on the growth pattern and clinical features of recurrent craniopharyngiomas.

Methods The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 52 patients who had undergone uniform treatment by a single surgeon. For each patient, data concerning symptoms and signs, imaging features, hypothalamic-pituitary function, and recurrence-free survival rate were collected.

Results For children, delayed puberty was more frequent in the group with Type I (infradiaphragmatic) craniopharyngioma than in the group with Type TS (tuberoinfundibular and suprasellar extraventricular) lesions (p < 0.05). For adults, blindness was more frequent in the Type I group than in the Type TS group (p < 0.05). Nausea or vomiting, delayed puberty, and growth retardation were more frequent in children than in adults (p < 0.05). Overall clinical outcome was good in 48.07% of the patients and poor in 51.92%. Patients with Type TS recurrent tumors had significantly worse functional outcomes and hypothalamic function than patients with the Type I recurrent tumors but better pituitary function especially in children.

Conclusions The origin of recurrent craniopharyngiomas significantly affected the symptoms, signs, functional outcomes, and hypothalamic-pituitary functions of patients undergoing repeated surgery. Differences in tumor growth patterns and site of origin should be considered when one is comparing outcomes and survival across treatment paradigms in patients with recurrent craniopharyngiomas.

Low-grade Glioma Surgery in Intraoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Hypnosis for Awake Surgery of Low-grade Gliomas

Neurosurgery 78:775–786, 2016

The ideal treatment strategy for low-grade gliomas (LGGs) is a controversial topic. Additionally, only smaller single-center series dealing with the concept of intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI) have been published.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate determinants for patient outcome and progression-freesurvival (PFS) after iMRI-guided surgery for LGGs in a multicenter retrospective study initiated by the German Study Group for Intraoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

METHODS: A retrospective consecutive assessment of patients treated for LGGs (World Health Organization grade II) with iMRI-guided resection at 6 neurosurgical centers was performed. Eloquent location, extent of resection, first-line adjuvant treatment, neurophysiological monitoring, awake brain surgery, intraoperative ultrasound, and fieldstrength of iMRI were analyzed, as well as progression-free survival (PFS), new permanent neurological deficits, and complications. Multivariate binary logistic and Cox regression models were calculated to evaluate determinants of PFS, gross total resection (GTR), and adjuvant treatment.

RESULTS: A total of 288 patients met the inclusion criteria. On multivariate analysis, GTR significantly increased PFS (hazard ratio, 0.44; P < .01), whereas “failed” GTR did not differ significantly from intended subtotal-resection. Combined radiochemotherapy as adjuvant therapy was a negative prognostic factor (hazard ratio: 2.84, P < .01). Field strength of iMRI was not associated with PFS. In the binary logistic regression model, use of high-field iMRI (odds ratio: 0.51, P < .01) was positively and eloquent location (odds ratio: 1.99, P < .01) was negatively associated with GTR. GTR was not associated with increased rates of new permanent neurological deficits.

CONCLUSION: GTR was an independent positive prognostic factor for PFS in LGG surgery. Patients with accidentally left tumor remnants showed a similar prognosis compared with patients harboring only partially resectable tumors. Use of high-field iMRI was significantly associated with GTR. However, the field strength of iMRI did not affect PFS.

Outcome of conservative and surgical treatment of pyogenic spondylodiscitis

pyogenic spondylodiscitis

Eur Spine J (2016) 25:983–999

Spondylodiscitis is a spinal infection affecting primarily the intervertebral disk and the adjacent vertebral bodies. Currently many aspects of the treatment of pyogenic spondylodiscitis are still a matter of debate.

Purpose The aim of this study was to review the currently available literature systematically to determine the outcome of patients with pyogenic spondylodiscitis for conservative and surgical treatment strategies.

Methods A systematic electronic search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Collaboration, and Web of Science regarding the treatment of pyogenic spondylodiscitis was performed. Included articles were assessed on risk of bias according the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, and the quality of evidence and strength of recommendation was evaluated according the GRADE approach.

Results: 25 studies were included. Five studies had a high or moderate quality of evidence. One RCT suggest that 6 weeks of antibiotic treatment of pyogenic spondylodiscitis results in a similar outcome when compared to longer treatment duration. However, microorganism-specific studies suggest that at least 8 weeks of treatment is required for S. aureus and 8 weeks of Daptomycin for MRSA. The articles that described the outcome of surgical treatment strategies show that a large variety of surgical techniques can successfully treat spondylodiscitis. No additional long-term beneficial effect of surgical treatment could be shown in the studies comparing surgical versus antibiotic only treatment.

Conclusion There is a strong level of recommendation for 6 weeks of antibiotic treatment in pyogenic spondylodiscitis although this has only been shown by one recent RCT. If surgical treatment is indicated, it has been suggested by two prospective studies with strong level of recommendation that an isolated anterior approach could result in a better clinical outcome.

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

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