Neurosurgery Blog


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

The value of sitting radiographs: analysis of spine flexibility and its utility in preoperative planning for adult spinal deformity surgery

J Neurosurg Spine 29:414–421, 2018

Preoperative planning of thoracolumbar deformity (TLD) surgery has been shown to improve radiographic and clinical outcomes. One of the confounders in attaining optimal postoperative alignment is the reciprocal hyperkyphosis of unfused thoracic segments. Traditional planning utilizes standing radiographs, but the value of sitting radiographs to predict thoracic flexibility has not been investigated. Authors of the present study propose that alignment changes from a sitting to a standing position will predict changes in unfused thoracic segments after TLD correction.

METHODS Patients with degenerative spine pathology underwent preoperative sitting and standing full-spine stereotactic radiography. A subset of TLD patients who had undergone corrections with minimum T10-pelvis fusions was analyzed in terms of pre- to postoperative alignment. Radiographic parameters were analyzed, including the T1 pelvic angle (TPA), T1–L1 pelvic angle (TLPA), lumbar pelvic angle (LPA), pelvic tilt (PT), mismatch between pelvic incidence and lumbar lordosis (PI-LL mismatch), and T2–12 kyphosis (TK). Thoracic compensation was calculated as the expected TK minus actual TK (i.e., [2/3 × PI] – actual TK). Statistical analysis consisted of paired and unpaired t-tests and linear regression analysis.

RESULTS The authors retrospectively identified 137 patients with full-body standing and sitting radiographs. The mean age of the patients was 60.9 years old, 60.0% were female, and the mean BMI was 27.8 kg/m2. The patients demonstrated significantly different radiographic alignments in baseline spinopelvic and global parameters from the preoperative sitting versus the standing positions: LL (-34.20° vs -47.87°, p < 0.001), PT (28.31° vs 17.50°, p < 0.001), TPA (27.85° vs 16.89°, p < 0.001), TLPA (10.63° vs 5.17°, p < 0.001), and LPA (15.86° vs 9.67°, p < 0.001). Twenty patients (65.0% female) with a mean age of 65.3 years and mean BMI of 30.2 kg/m2 had TLD and underwent surgical correction (pre- to postoperative standing change in TPA: 33.90° to 24.50°, p = 0.001). Preoperative sitting radiographs demonstrated significant differences in alignment compared to postoperative standing radiographs: larger TPA (39.10° vs 24.50°, p < 0.001), PT (35.40° vs 28.10°, p < 0.001), LL (-11.20° vs -44.80°, p < 0.001), LPA (22.80° vs 14.20°, p < 0.001), and unfused Cobb (T2 to upper instrumented vertebra [UIV] Cobb angle: 19.95° vs 27.50°, p = 0.039). Also in the TLD group, mean thoracic compensation was 6.75°. In the linear regression analysis, the change from sitting to standing predicted pre- to postoperative changes for TK and the unfused thoracic component of TPA (5° change in preoperative sitting to preoperative standing corresponded to a pre- to postoperative change in standing TK of 6.35° and in standing TPA of 7.23°, R2 = 0.30 and 0.38, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS Sitting radiographs were useful in demonstrating spine flexibility. Among the TLD surgery group, relaxation of the unfused thoracic spine in the sitting position predicted the postoperative increase in kyphosis of the unfused thoracic segments. Sitting radiographs are a useful tool to anticipate reciprocal changes in thoracic alignment that diminish global corrections.


Cost-Effectiveness in Adult Spinal Deformity Surgery

Neurosurgery 83:597–601, 2018

The complexity and heterogeneity of adult spinal deformity (ASD) creates significant difficulties in performing high-quality, complete economic analyses. For the same reasons, however, such studies are immensely valuable to clinicians and health policy experts. There has been a paradigm shift towards value-based healthcare provision and as such, there is an increasing focus on demonstrating not just the value ASD surgery, but the provision of care at large. Health-related quality of life measures are an important tool for assessing value of an intervention and its effect on a quality-adjusted life year (QALY). Currently, there are no definitive criteria in regard to assigning the appropriate value to a QALY. A general accepted threshold discussed in literature is $100 000 per QALY gained. However, this figure may be variable across populations, and may not necessarily be applicable in today’s economy, or in all healthcare economies. Fundamentally, an effective treatment method may be associated with a high upfront cost, however, if durable, will be costeffective over time. The emphasis on carotid endarterectomy and CUA in the field of adult spine deformity is relatively recent; therefore, there is a limited amount of data on cost-effectiveness analyses. Continued efforts with emphasis on value-based outcomes are needed with long-term follow-up studies.

The influence of spinopelvic parameters on adjacent-segment degeneration after short spinal fusion for degenerative spondylolisthesis

J Neurosurg Spine 29:407–413, 2018

Spinopelvic parameters, such as the pelvic incidence (PI) angle, sacral slope angle, and pelvic tilt angle, are important anatomical indices for determining the sagittal curvature of the spine and the individual variability of the lumbar lordosis (LL) curve. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of spinopelvic parameters and LL on adjacent-segment degeneration (ASD) after short lumbar and lumbosacral fusion for single-level degenerative spondylolisthesis.

METHODS The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of all short lumbar and lumbosacral fusion surgeries performed between August 2003 and July 2010 for single-level degenerative spondylolisthesis in their orthopedic department.

RESULTS A total of 30 patients (21 women and 9 men, mean age 64 years) with ASD after lower lumbar or lumbosacral fusion surgery comprised the study group. Thirty matched patients (21 women and 9 men, mean age 63 years) without ASD comprised the control group, according to the following matching criteria: same diagnosis on admission, similar pathologic level (≤ 1 level difference), similar sex, and age. The average follow-up was 6.8 years (range 5–8 years). The spinopelvic parameters had no significant influence on ASD after short spinal fusion.

CONCLUSIONS Neither the spinopelvic parameters nor a mismatch of PI and LL were significant factors responsible for ASD after short spinal fusion due to single-level degenerative spondylolisthesis.

Robot-assisted multi-level anterior lumbar interbody fusion: an anatomical study

Acta Neurochirurgica (2018) 160:1891–189

Minimally invasive surgical approaches still provide limited exposure. Access to the L2–L5 intervertebral discs during a single procedure is challenging and often requires repositioning of the patient and adopting an alternative approach.

Objectives Investigate the windows to the L2–L5 intervertebral discs to assess the dimensions of the interbody implants suitable for the procedure and evaluate the feasibility of multi-level lumbar intervertebral disc surgery in robot-assisted surgery (RAS)

Methods Sixteen fresh-frozen cadaveric specimens underwent a retroperitoneal approach to access the L2–L5 intervertebral discs. The L2–L3 to L4–L5 windows were defined as the distance between the left lateral border of the aorta (or nearest common iliac vessel) and the medial border of the psoas, measured in a static state and after gentle medial retraction of the vascular structures. Two living porcine specimens and one cadaveric specimen underwent da Vinci robot-assisted transperitoneal approach to expose the L2–L3 to L4–L5 intervertebral discs and perform multi-level discectomy and interbody implant placement.

Results The L2–L3 to L4–L5 intervertebral disc windows significantly increased from a static to a retracted state (p < 0.05). The mean L2–L3, L3–L4, and L4–L5 windows measured respectively 20.1, 21.6, and 19.6 mm in the static state, and 27.2, 30.9, and 30.3 mm after gentle vascular retraction. The intervertebral windows from L2–L3 to L4–L5 were successfully exposed through an anterior transperitoneal approach with the da Vinci robot on the cadaveric and living porcine specimens, and interbody implants were inserted.

Conclusion RAS appears to be feasible for a mini-invasive multi-level lumbar intervertebral disc surgery. The RAS procedure, longer and more expensive than conventional MIS approaches, should be reserved for elective patients.


Reduced Acute Care Costs With the ERAS ® Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion Compared With Conventional Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Neurosurgery 83:827–834, 2018

Enhancing Recovery After Surgery (ERAS (R)  ) programs have been widely adopted throughout the world, but not in spinal surgery. In this report, we review the implementation of a “fast track”surgery for lumbar fusion and its effect on acute care hospitalization costs.

OBJECTIVE: To determine if a “fast track” surgery methodology results in acute care cost savings.

METHODS: Thirty-eight consecutive ERAS patients were compared with patients undergoing conventional minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion. Differences between these groups included the use of endoscopic decompression, injections of liposomal bupivacaine, and performing the surgery under sedation in the ERAS R  group.

RESULTS: Patients had similar medical comorbidities (2.02 vs 2 for ERAS R  and comparator groups, respectively; P = .458). Body mass index was similar (26.5 vs 27.0; P = .329). ERAS R  patients were older (65 vs 59 yr, P= .031). Both groups had excellent clinical results with an improvement of 23% and 24%, respectively. Intraoperative blood loss was less (68±31 cc vs 231±73, P<0.001). Length of staywas also less with ERAS R  surgery, at ameanof 1.23±0.8 d vs 3.9 ± 1.1 d (P = 0.009). When comparing ERAS R  surgery to standard minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion, the total cost for the acute care hospitalization was $19212vs $22656, respectively(P<0.001). This reflected an average of $3444 in savings, which was a 15.2% reduction.

CONCLUSION: ERAS (R)  programs for spinal fusion surgery have the potential to reduce the costs of acute care. This is made possible by leveraging less invasive interventions to minimize soft tissue damage.

Randomized controlled study comparing 2 surgical techniques for decompressive craniectomy: with watertight duraplasty and without watertight duraplasty

J Neurosurg 129:1017–1023, 2018

Decompressive craniectomy (DC) is a widely used procedure in neurosurgery; however, few studies focus on the best surgical technique for the procedure. The authors’ objective was to conduct a prospective randomized controlled trial comparing 2 techniques for performing DC: with watertight duraplasty and without watertight duraplasty (rapid-closure DC).

METHODS The study population comprised patients ranging in age from 18 to 60 years who were admitted to the Neurotrauma Service of the Hospital da Restauração with a clinical indication for unilateral decompressive craniectomy. Patients were randomized by numbered envelopes into 2 groups: with watertight duraplasty (control group) and without watertight duraplasty (test group). After unilateral DC was completed, watertight duraplasty was performed in the control group, while in the test group, no watertight duraplasty was performed and the exposed parenchyma was covered with Surgicel and the remaining dura mater. Patients were then monitored daily from the date of surgery until hospital discharge or death. The primary end point was the incidence of surgical complications (CSF leak, wound infection, brain abscess, or subgaleal fluid collections). The following were analyzed as secondary end points: clinical outcome (analyzed using the Glasgow Outcome Scale [GOS]), surgical time, and hospital costs.

RESULTS Fifty-eight patients were enrolled, 29 in each group. Three patients were excluded, leaving 27 in the test group and 28 in the control group. There were no significant differences between groups regarding age, Glasgow Coma Scale score at the time of surgery, GOS score, and number of postoperative follow-up days. There were 9 surgical complications (5 in the control group and 4 in the test group), with no significant differences between the groups. The mean surgical time in the control group was 132 minutes, while in the test group the average surgical time was 101 minutes, a difference of 31 minutes (p = 0.001). The mean reduction in total cost was $420.00 USD (a 23.4% reduction) per procedure in the test group.

CONCLUSIONS Rapid-closure DC without watertight duraplasty is a safe procedure. It is not associated with a higher incidence of surgical complications (CSF leak, wound infection, brain abscess, or subgaleal fluid collections), and it decreased surgical time by 31 minutes on average. There was also a hospital cost reduction of $420.00 USD (23.4% reduction) per procedure. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT02594137 (


Robotic Stereotaxy in Cranial Neurosurgery

Neurosurgery 83:642–650, 2018

Modern-day stereotactic techniques have evolved to tackle the neurosurgical challenge of accurately and reproducibly accessing specific brain targets. Neurosurgical advances have beenmadein synergywith sophisticated technological developments and engineering innovations such as automated robotic platforms. Robotic systems offer a unique combination of dexterity, durability, indefatigability, and precision.

OBJECTIVE: To perform a systematic review of robotic integration for cranial stereotactic guidance in neurosurgery. Specifically, we comprehensively analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a spectrum of robotic technologies, past and present, including details pertaining to each system’s kinematic specifications and targeting accuracy profiles.

METHODS: Eligible articles on human clinical applications of cranial robotic-guided stereotactic systems between 1985 and 2017 were extracted from several electronic databases, with a focus on stereotactic biopsy procedures, stereoelectroencephalography, and deep brain stimulation electrode insertion.

RESULTS: Cranial robotic stereotactic systems feature serial or parallel architectures with 4 to 7 degrees of freedom, and frame-based or frameless registration. Indications for robotic assistance are diversifying, and include stereotactic biopsy, deep brain stimulation and stereoelectroencephalography electrode placement, ventriculostomy, and ablation procedures. Complication rates are low, and mainly consist of hemorrhage. Newer systems benefit fromincreasing targeting accuracy, intraoperative imaging ability, improved safety profiles, and reduced operating times.

CONCLUSION: We highlight emerging future directions pertaining to the integration of robotic technologies into future neurosurgical procedures. Notably, a trend toward miniaturization, cost-effectiveness, frameless registration, and increasing safety and accuracy characterize successful stereotactic robotic technologies.

Head-up display may facilitate safe keyhole surgery for cerebral aneurysm clipping

J Neurosurg 129:883–889, 2018

The head-up display (HUD) is a modern technology that projects images or numeric information directly into the observer’s sight line. Surgeons will no longer need to look away from the surgical view using the HUD system to confirm the preoperative or navigation image. The present study investigated the usefulness of the HUD system for performing cerebral aneurysm clipping surgeries.

METHODS Thirty-five patients underwent clipping surgery, including 20 keyhole surgeries for unruptured cerebral aneurysm, using the HUD system. Image information of structures such as the skull, cerebral vasculature, and aneurysm was integrated by the navigation software and linked with the positional coordinates of the microscope field of view. “Image injection” allowed visualization of the main structures that were concurrently tracked by the navigation image, and “closed shutter” switched the microscope field of view and the pointer image of the 3D brain image.

RESULTS The HUD system was effective for estimating the location and 3D anatomy of the aneurysm before craniotomy or dural opening in most patients. Scheduled keyhole minicraniotomy and opening of the sylvian fissure or partial rectal gyrus resection were performed on the optimized location with a minimum size in 20 patients.

CONCLUSIONS The HUD images superimposed on the microscope field of view were remarkably useful for less invasive and more safe aneurysm clipping and, in particular, keyhole clipping.


Topical Vancomycin Reduces Surgical-Site Infections After Craniotomy: A Prospective, Controlled Study

Neurosurgery 83:761–767, 2018

Surgical-site infections (SSIs) are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in neurosurgical patients. Topical antibiotics are one potential method to reduce the incidence of these infections.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the efficacy of topical vancomycin applied within the wound during craniotomy in a large prospective cohort study at a major academic center.

METHODS: Three hundred fifty-five patients were studied prospectively in this cohort study; 205 patients received 1 g of topical vancomycin powder in the subgaleal space while 150 matched control patients did not. Patients otherwise received identical care. The primary outcome variable was SSI rate factored by cohort. Secondary analysis examined cost savings from vancomycin usage estimated from hospital costs associated with SSI in craniotomy patients.

RESULTS: The addition of topical vancomycinwas associated with a significantly lower rate of SSI than standard of care alone (0.49% [1/205] vs 6% [9/150], P=.002). Based on the costs of revision surgery for infections, topical vancomycin usage was estimated to save $1367 446 per 1000 craniotomy patients. No adverse reactions occurred.

CONCLUSION: Topical vancomycin is a safe, effective, and cost-saving measure to prevent SSIs following craniotomy. These results have broad implications for standard of care in craniotomy.

Double-barrel STA to proximal MCA bypass and proximal parent artery occlusion for a fusiform superior clinoidal ICA aneurysm

Acta Neurochirurgica (2018) 160:1939–1943

Blood flow replacement and parent artery occlusion are alternative treatments of complex fusiform superior clinoidal ICA aneurysms. While double-barrel STA to proximal MCA bypass is a conventional approach among these reported bypass algorithms, its technical details remain underexplored.

Method We have applied the double-barrel STA to proximal MCA bypass and parent artery occlusion to treat a 45-year-old female patient with a right fusiform superior clinoidal ICA aneurysm. The technical nuances of this approach are reported.

Conclusion We show that double-barrel STA to proximal MCA bypass and proximal parent artery occlusion can be alternative treatments of complex fusiform superior clinoidal ICA aneurysms.

The Impact of Diffusion Tensor Imaging Fiber Tracking of the Corticospinal Tract Based on Navigated Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation on Surgery of Motor-Eloquent Brain Lesions

Neurosurgery 83:768–782, 2018

Navigated transcranialmagnetic stimulation (nTMS) enables preoperative mapping of the motor cortex (M1). The combination of nTMSwith diffusion tensor imaging fiber tracking (DTI-FT) of the corticospinal tract (CST) has been described; however, its impact on surgery of motor-eloquent lesions has not been addressed.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the impact of nTMS-basedmapping on surgery ofmotor-eloquent lesions.

METHODS: In this retrospective case-control study, we reviewed the data of patients operated for suspected motor-eloquent lesions between 2012 and 2015. The patients underwent nTMS mapping of M1 and, from 2014, nTMS-based DTI-FT of the CST. The impact on the preoperative risk/benefit analysis, surgical strategy, craniotomy size, extent of resection (EOR), and outcome were compared with a control group.

RESULTS: We included 35 patients who underwent nTMS mapping of M1 (group A), 35 patients who also underwent nTMS-based DTI-FT of the CST (group B), and a control group composed of 35 patients treated without nTMS (group C). The patients in groups A and B received smaller craniotomies (P = .01; P = .001), had less postoperative seizures (P = .02), and a better postoperativemotor performance (P=.04) and Karnofsky Performance Status (P=.009) than the controls. Group B exhibited an improved risk/benefit analysis (P=.006), an increased EOR of nTMS-negative lesions in absence of preoperative motor deficits (P = .01), and less motor and Karnofsky Performance Status worsening in case of preoperative motor deficits (P = .02, P = .03) than group A.

CONCLUSION: nTMS-based mapping enables a tailored surgical approach for motor eloquent lesions. It may improve the risk/benefit analysis, EOR and outcome, particularly when nTMS-based DTI-FT is performed.

The eyebrow approach for anterior circle of Willis aneurysms

Acta Neurochirurgica (2018) 160:1749–1753

The eyebrow approach is a keyhole technique that gives a wide access to the anterior circle of Willis.

Methods A 4-cm linear incision is placed in the upper limit of the eyebrow and a small supraorbital bone flap is raised. A wide arachnoid dissection is essential to maximize the working space. One or multiple aneurysms may be treated by the same approach.

Conclusions The eyebrow approach is a safe technique for selected aneurysms of the anterior circle of Willis

Open-versus French-Door Laminoplasty for the Treatment of Cervical Multilevel Compressive Myelopathy: A Meta-Analysis

World Neurosurg. (2018) 117:129-136

OBJECTIVE: To compare the clinical outcomes and postoperative complications between open-door laminoplasty (ODL) versus French-door laminoplasty (FDL) for the treatment of cervical multilevel compressive myelopathy.

METHODS: We comprehensively searched PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane library, and China National Knowledge Infrastructure to identify relevant articles. The search results were last updated on January 1, 2018. All values of weighted mean difference (WMD) and odds ratio are expressed as ODL relative to FDL.

RESULTS: Six studies containing 430 patients were included in our metaanalysis. In randomized controlled trials, there was no significant difference in Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores between ODL and FDL groups (WMD, 0.06; 95% confidence limits [CL], e0.52 to 0.64; P [ 0.84). However, in the retrospective trials, JOA scores were significantly higher in the ODL group than in the FDL group (WMD, 0.95; 95% CL, 0.55e1.34; P < 0.05). The pooled data showed that the magnitude of spinal canal expansion in the ODL group was higher than in the FDL group (WMD, 24.39%; 95% confidence interval, 12.33e36.45; P < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: The present meta-analysis showed that the magnitude of canal expansion was higher with ODL than with FDL. There is a lack of compelling evidence to prove the superiority of one procedure over the other.

Veins of the Cerebellopontine Angle and Specific Complications of Sacrifice, with Special Emphasis on Microvascular Decompression Surgery

World Neurosurg. (2018) 117:422-432

Good knowledge of the anatomy of veins is of crucial importance for the functional surgery of cranial nerve (CN) disorders, especially microvascular decompression for trigeminal neuralgia (TN), hemifacial spasm (HFS), and vagoglossopharyngeal neuralgia (VGPN). Although controversial, veins may be involved in neurovascular conflicts and may constitute dangerous obstacles to access to the CNs. With the aim of estimating the implications of veins in those diseases and evaluating the linked surgical difficulties, we carried out a review of the literature from 2000 to the end of February 2018.

For this review, articles found on PubMed that gave enough precision about veins were retained (39 articles on TN, 38 on HFS, 8 on VGPN, and 26 on complications related to venous sacrifices). Before this review, we described a simplified anatomic classification of veins, amenable to easing the surgical approach to CNs.

Access to the trigeminal nerve, via the infratentorial-supracerebellar route, is almost always affected by the superficial superior petrosal venous system, whereas access to the facial and cochleovestibular complex as well as to the lower CNs, through the infrafloccular trajectory, is almost always exempt of important venous obstacles. Respective incidences of venous compression at the origin of hyperactive CN syndromes are given. The percentages of a venous conflict alone were calculated at 10.8% for TN, 0.1% for HFS, and 2.9% for VGPN.

We review the complications considered in relation with venous sacrifices. Precautions to minimize these complications are given.

A pedicle-lengthening osteotomy for the treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis

J Neurosurg Spine 29:241–249, 2018

Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is a common condition that leads to significant disability, particularly in the elderly. Current therapeutic options have certain drawbacks. This study evaluates the 5-year clinical and radiographic results of a minimally invasive pedicle-lengthening osteotomy (PLO) for symptomatic LSS.
METHODS A prospective, single-arm, clinical pilot study was conducted involving 20 patients (mean age 61.7 years) with symptomatic LSS treated by a PLO procedure at 1 or 2 lumbar levels. All patients had symptoms of neurogenic claudication or radiculopathy secondary to LSS, and had not improved after a minimum 6-month course of nonoperative treatment. Eleven patients had a Meyerding grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis in addition to LSS. Clinical outcomes were measured using the Oswestry Disability Index, Zürich Claudication Questionnaire, 12-Item Short Form Health Survey, and a visual analog scale for back and leg pain. Procedural variables, neurological outcomes, adverse events, and radiological imaging (plain radiographs and CT scans) were collected at the 1.5-, 3-, 6-, 9-, 12-, 24-, and 60-month time points.
RESULTS The PLOs were performed through percutaneous incisions, with minimal blood loss in all cases. There were no operative complications. Four adverse events occurred during the follow-up period. Statistically significant improvement was observed in each of the outcome instruments and maintained over the 5-year follow-up period. Imaging studies, reviewed by an independent radiologist, showed no evidence of device subsidence, migration, breakage, or heterotopic ossification. Thin-slice CT scans documented healing of the osteotomy site in all patients at the 6-month time point and an increase of 115% in the mean cross-sectional area of the spinal canal.
CONCLUSIONS Treatment of patients with symptomatic LSS with a PLO procedure provided substantial enlargement of the area of the spinal canal and favorable clinical results for both disease-specific and non–disease-specific outcome
measures at all follow-up time points out to 5 years. Future research is needed to compare this technique to alternative
therapies for LSS.
KEYWORDS lumbar; spine; spinal stenosis; decompression; pedicle osteotomy; minimally invasive; clinical trial;

Minimally Invasive Brain Port Approach for Accessing Deep-Seated Lesions Using Simple Syringe

World Neurosurg. (2018) 117:54-61

Retraction-related injury is a recognized complication in neurosurgery. Use of tubular retractors that distribute the pressure on brain tissue was introduced to minimize brain injury. We developed a modified technique using a simple plastic syringe with a Foley catheter to achieve atraumatic cannulation in accessing deep lesions.
METHODS: A retrospective pilot study was conducted to assess safety of the syringe transtubular technique for accessing deep lesions as a cost-effective substitute for commercial brain port methods and to identify retractionrelated injury using diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging postoperatively. Nine patients were operated on using the syringe technique. Lesions selected were intraparenchymal, deeply located in the supratentorial compartment. Lesions were located in the insula (n [ 2), thalamus or basal ganglia (n [ 5), subcortical frontoparietal (n [ 1) lobe, and right temporal lobe (n [ 1). Patients with hematomas, intraventricular lesions, superficially located lesions; pediatric patients less than 12 years old; and patients undergoing redo surgeries were excluded.
RESULTS: Surgical goals were achieved in 8 patients. Three patients had transient deficits; one patient had significant morbidity, which was diagnosed postoperatively as toxoplasmosis. Diffusion restriction was noted in all patients at the surgical cavity but not in the cannulation path.
CONCLUSIONS: Transtubular approaches have a good safety profile and can help achieve surgical goals. Larger studies are needed to compare this approach with other methods, including its effect on hospital stay and survival. The syringe technique is an alternative safe method that can be used in certain neurosurgical centers where commercial tube systems are unavailable.


Radiological adjacent-segment degeneration in L4–5 spondylolisthesis: comparison between dynamic stabilization and minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion

J Neurosurg Spine 29:250–258, 2018

Pedicle screw–based dynamic stabilization has been an alternative to conventional lumbar fusion for the surgical management of low-grade spondylolisthesis. However, the true effect of dynamic stabilization on adjacent segment degeneration (ASD) remains undetermined. Authors of this study aimed to investigate the incidence of ASD and to compare the clinical outcomes of dynamic stabilization and minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF).

METHODS The records of consecutive patients with Meyerding grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis who had undergone surgical management at L4–5 in the period from 2007 to 2014 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients were divided into two groups according to the surgery performed: Dynesys dynamic stabilization (DDS) group and MI-TLIF group. Pre- and postoperative radiological evaluations, including radiography, CT, and MRI studies, were compared. Adjacent discs were evaluated using 4 radiological parameters: instability (antero- or retrolisthesis), disc degeneration (Pfirrmann classification), endplate degeneration (Modic classification), and range of motion (ROM). Clinical outcomes, measured with the visual analog scale (VAS) for back and leg pain, the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores, were also compared.

RESULTS A total of 79 patients with L4–5 degenerative spondylolisthesis were included in the analysis. During a mean follow-up of 35.2 months (range 24–89 months), there were 56 patients in the DDS group and 23 in the MI-TLIF group. Prior to surgery, both groups were very similar in demographic, radiological, and clinical data. Postoperation, both groups had similarly significant improvement in clinical outcomes (VAS, ODI, and JOA scores) at each time point of evaluation. There was a lower chance of disc degeneration (Pfirrmann classification) of the adjacent discs in the DDS group than in the MI-TLIF group (17% vs 37%, p = 0.01). However, the DDS and MI-TLIF groups had similar rates of instability (15.2% vs 17.4%, respectively, p = 0.92) and endplate degeneration (1.8% vs 6.5%, p = 0.30) at the cranial (L3–4) and caudal (L5–S1) adjacent levels after surgery. The mean ROM in the cranial and caudal levels was also similar in the two groups. None of the patients required secondary surgery for any ASD (defined by radiological criteria).

CONCLUSIONS The clinical improvements after DDS were similar to those following MI-TLIF for L4–5 Meyerding grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis at 3 years postoperation. According to radiological evaluations, there was a lower chance of disc degeneration in the adjacent levels of the patients who had undergone DDS. However, other radiological signs of ASD, including instability, endplate degeneration, and ROM, were similar between the two groups. Although none of the patients in the present series required secondary surgery, a longer follow-up and a larger number of patients would be necessary to corroborate the protective effect of DDS against ASD.

Ultrasonographic features of focal cortical dysplasia and their relevance for epilepsy surgery

Neurosurg Focus 45 (3):E5, 2018

Surgery has proven to be the best therapeutic option for drug-refractory cases of focal cortical dysplasia (FCD)–associated epilepsy. Seizure outcome primarily depends on the completeness of resection, rendering the intraoperative FCD identification and delineation particularly important. This study aims to assess the diagnostic yield of intraoperative ultrasound (IOUS) in surgery for FCD-associated drug-refractory epilepsy.

METHODS The authors prospectively enrolled 15 consecutive patients with drug-refractory epilepsy who underwent an IOUS-assisted microsurgical resection of a radiologically suspected FCD between January 2013 and July 2016. The findings of IOUS were compared with those of presurgical MRI postprocessing and the sonographic characteristics were analyzed in relation to the histopathological findings. The authors investigated the added value of IOUS in achieving completeness of resection and improving postsurgical seizure outcome.

RESULTS The neurosurgeon was able to identify the dysplastic tissue by IOUS in all cases. The visualization of FCD type I was more challenging compared to FCD II and the demarcation of its borders was less clear. Postsurgical MRI showed residual dysplasia in 2 of the 3 patients with FCD type I. In all FCD type II cases, IOUS allowed for a clear intraoperative visualization and demarcation, strongly correlating with presurgical MRI postprocessing. Postsurgical MRI confirmed complete resection in all FCD type II cases. Sonographic features correlated with the histopathological classification of dysplasia (sonographic abnormalities increase continuously in the following order: FCD IA/IB, FCD IC, FCD IIA, FCD IIB). In 1 patient with IOUS features atypical for FCD, histopathological investigation showed nonspecific gliosis.

CONCLUSIONS Morphological features of FCD, as identified by IOUS, correlate well with advanced presurgical imaging. The resolution of IOUS was superior to MRI in all FCD types. The appreciation of distinct sonographic features on IOUS allows the intraoperative differentiation between FCD and non-FCD lesions as well as the discrimination of different histological subtypes of FCD. Sonographic demarcation depends on the underlying degree of dysplasia. IOUS allows for more tailored resections by facilitating the delineation of the dysplastic tissue.

Unruptured intracranial aneurysms in patients over 80 years

Acta Neurochirurgica (2018) 160:1773–1777

Patients over the age of 80 years when diagnosed with an unruptured intracranial aneurysm (UIA) pose unique decisionmaking challenges due to shortened life-expectancy and increased risk of treatment. Thus, we investigated the risk of rupture and survival of a consecutive series of patients who were diagnosed with an UIA after the age of 80 years.

Methods Data of consecutive patients with an UIA were reviewed, and patients were included in our study if they were first evaluated for a UIA by the senior author during their ninth decade of life. Outcomes were aneurysm rupture and overall survival after diagnosis. Survival was estimated from a Kaplan-Meier survival curve. Incidence of risk factors was compared to a population of patients less than 65 years who were seen by the senior author over the same time period.

Results Eighty-three patients who were over 80 years when diagnosed with a UIA were included in this study. In our population, there is a risk of rupture of 3.2% per patient-year. One-, three-, and five-year survival rates for our population were estimated to be 92, 64, and 35%, respectively. When compared to patients under 65 years diagnosed with a UIA, Bover 80^ patients had a significantly higher incidence of hypertension, and a significantly lower incidence of smoking history and familial aneurysm history.

Conclusions In our study population, UIAs greater than 7 mm carry a non-negligible risk of rupture of 3.2% per patient-year, and further studies investigating the risk-to-benefit ratio of treatment in this population are warranted.

Effect of body mass index on outcome after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage treated with clipping versus coiling

J Neurosurg 129:658–669, 2018

It has been suggested that increased body mass index (BMI) may confer a protective effect on patients who suffer from aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). Whether the modality of aneurysm occlusion influences the effect of BMI on patient outcomes is not well understood. The authors aimed to compare the effect of BMI on outcomes for patients with aSAH treated with surgical clipping versus endovascular coiling.

METHODS The authors retrospectively reviewed the outcomes for patients admitted to their institution for the management of aSAH treated with either clipping or coiling. BMI at the time of admission was recorded and used to assign patients to a group according to low or high BMI. Cutoff values for BMI were determined by classification and regression tree analysis. Predictors of poor functional outcome (defined as modified Rankin Scale score > 2 measured ≥ 90 days after the ictus) and posttreatment cerebral hypodensities detected during admission were then determined separately for patients treated with clipping or coiling using stepwise multivariate logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS Of the 469 patients admitted to the authors’ institution with aSAH who met the study’s inclusion criteria, 144 were treated with clipping and 325 were treated with coiling. In the clipping group, the frequency of poor functional outcome was higher in patients with BMI ≥ 32.3 kg/m2 (47.6% vs 19.0%; p = 0.007). In contrast, in the coiling group, patients with BMI ≥ 32.3 kg/m2 had a lower frequency of poor functional outcome at ≥ 90 days (5.8% vs 30.9%; p < 0.001). On multivariate analysis, high BMI was independently associated with an increased (OR 3.92, 95% CI 1.20–13.41; p = 0.024) and decreased (OR 0.13, 95% CI 0.03–0.40; p < 0.001) likelihood of poor functional outcome for patients treated with clipping and coiling, respectively. For patients in the surgical group, BMI ≥ 28.4 kg/m2 was independently associated with incidence of cerebral hypodensities during admission (OR 2.44, 95% CI 1.16–5.25; p = 0.018) on multivariate analysis. For patients treated with coiling, BMI ≥ 33.2 kg/m2 was independently associated with reduced odds of hypodensities (OR 0.45, 95% CI 0.21–0.89; p = 0.021).

CONCLUSIONS The results of this study suggest that BMI may differentially affect functional outcomes after aSAH, depending on treatment modality. These findings may aid in treatment selection for patients with aSAH.


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


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