Global hydrocephalus epidemiology and incidence: systematic review and meta-analysis

J Neurosurg 130:1065–1079, 2019

Hydrocephalus is one of the most common brain disorders, yet a reliable assessment of the global burden of disease is lacking. The authors sought a reliable estimate of the prevalence and annual incidence of hydrocephalus worldwide.

METHODS The authors performed a systematic literature review and meta-analysis to estimate the incidence of congenital hydrocephalus by WHO region and World Bank income level using the MEDLINE/PubMed and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews databases. A global estimate of pediatric hydrocephalus was obtained by adding acquired forms of childhood hydrocephalus to the baseline congenital figures using neural tube defect (NTD) registry data and known proportions of posthemorrhagic and postinfectious cases. Adult forms of hydrocephalus were also examined qualitatively.

RESULTS Seventy-eight articles were included from the systematic review, representative of all WHO regions and each income level. The pooled incidence of congenital hydrocephalus was highest in Africa and Latin America (145 and 316 per 100,000 births, respectively) and lowest in the United States/Canada (68 per 100,000 births) (p for interaction < 0.1). The incidence was higher in low- and middle-income countries (123 per 100,000 births; 95% CI 98–152 births) than in high-income countries (79 per 100,000 births; 95% CI 68–90 births) (p for interaction < 0.01). While likely representing an underestimate, this model predicts that each year, nearly 400,000 new cases of pediatric hydrocephalus will develop worldwide. The greatest burden of disease falls on the African, Latin American, and Southeast Asian regions, accounting for three-quarters of the total volume of new cases. The high crude birth rate, greater proportion of patients with postinfectious etiology, and higher incidence of NTDs all contribute to a case volume in low- and middle-income countries that outweighs that in high-income countries by more than 20-fold. Global estimates of adult and other forms of acquired hydrocephalus are lacking.

CONCLUSIONS For the first time in a global model, the annual incidence of pediatric hydrocephalus is estimated. Low and middle-income countries incur the greatest burden of disease, particularly those within the African and Latin American regions. Reliable incidence and burden figures for adult forms of hydrocephalus are absent in the literature and warrant specific investigation. A global effort to address hydrocephalus in regions with the greatest demand is imperative to reduce disease incidence, morbidity, mortality, and disparities of access to treatment.

Endoscopic endonasal transoculomotor triangle approach for adenomas invading the parapeduncular space

J Neurosurg 130:1304–1314, 2019

Pituitary adenomas may extend into the parapeduncular space by invading through the roof of the cavernous sinus. Currently, a transcranial approach is the preferred choice, with or without the combination of an endonasal approach. In this paper the authors present a novel surgical approach that takes advantage of the natural corridor provided by the tumor to further open the oculomotor triangle and resect tumor extension into the parapeduncular space.

METHODS Six injected specimens were used to demonstrate in detail the surgical anatomy related to the approach. Four cases in which the proposed approach was used were retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS From a technical perspective, the first step involves accessing the superior compartment of the cavernous sinus. The interclinoid ligament should be identified and the dura forming the oculomotor triangle exposed. The oculomotor dural opening may be then extended posteriorly toward the posterior petroclinoidal ligament and inferolaterally toward the anterior petroclinoidal ligament. The oculomotor nerve should then be identified; in this series it was displaced superomedially in all 4 cases. The posterior communicating artery should also be identified to avoid its injury. In all 4 cases, the tumor invading the parapeduncular space was completely removed. There were no vascular injuries and only 1 patient had a partial oculomotor nerve palsy that completely resolved in 2 weeks.

CONCLUSIONS The endoscopic endonasal transoculomotor approach is an original alternative for removal of tumor extension into the parapeduncular space in a single procedure. The surgical corridor is increased by opening the dura of the oculomotor triangle and by working below and lateral to the cisternal segment of the oculomotor nerve.


Neurosurgical Coverage for Emergency and Trauma Call

Neurosurgery, Volume 84, Issue 4, April 2019, Pages 977–984

Traditionally, neurosurgeons have responded to calls to treat new patients or address emergent, acute neurosurgical pathology in the hospitals they staff as part of their duty to the medical profession and community. Due to increasing financial pressures placed upon neurosurgical practice from hospitals and regulatory mandates, remuneration for neurosurgeon availability to serve on trauma call has become more frequent and is increasingly seen as essential.

In this study, we present the first peer-review published survey of neurosurgical emergency and trauma call coverage patterns, scope, schedules, compensation, liability exposure, and call cessation. We surveyed all practicing neurosurgeon members of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons with a 24% response rate. The vast majority of respondents (86%), through their practice, provide 24/7/365 trauma coverage at their primary hospital site. About a third (29%) of respondents have been sued by a patient seen in the emergency department. Twenty percent of respondents anticipate retiring within the next 2 yr.

Understanding trauma call coverage, remuneration, and the barriers to taking call provide needed transparency to neurosurgeons who are providing emergency, life-saving services for patients across the country. An understanding of supply and demand forces governing call coverage also assists the field in necessary workforce planning and innovation in providing access to needed, timely acute neurosurgical care.

Predictors of postoperative motor function in rolandic meningiomas

J Neurosurg 130:1283–1288, 2019

Resection of supratentorial meningiomas is generally considered a low-risk procedure, but tumors involving the rolandic cortex present a unique challenge. The rate of motor function deterioration associated with resecting such tumors is not well described in the literature. Thus, the authors sought to report the rates and predictors of postoperative motor deficit following the resection of rolandic meningiomas to assist with patient counseling and surgical decision-making.

METHODS An institution’s pathology database was screened for meningiomas removed between 2000 and 2017, and patients with neuroradiological evidence of rolandic involvement were identified. Parameters screened as potential predictors included patient age, sex, preoperative motor severity, tumor location, tumor origin (falx vs convexity), histological grade, FLAIR signal (T2-weighted MRI), venous involvement (T1-weighted MRI with contrast), intratumoral hemorrhage, embolization, and degree of resection (Simpson grade). Variables of interest included preoperative weakness and postoperative motor decline (novel or worsened permanent deficit). The SPSS univariate and bivariate analysis functions were used, and statistical significance was determined with alpha < 0.05.

RESULTS In 89 patients who had undergone resection of convexity (80.9%) or parasagittal (19.1%) rolandic meningiomas, a postoperative motor decline occurred in 24.7%. Of 53 patients (59.6%) with preoperative motor deficits, 60.3% improved, 13.2% were unchanged, and 26.4% worsened following surgery. Among the 36 patients without preoperative deficits, 22.2% developed new weakness. Predictors of preoperative motor deficit included tumor size (41.6 vs 33.2 cm3, p = 0.040) and presence of FLAIR signal (69.8% vs 50.0%, p = 0.046). Predictors of postoperative motor decline were preoperative motor deficit (47.2% vs 22.2%, p = 0.017), minor (compared with severe) preoperative weakness (25.6% vs 21.4%, p < 0.001), and preoperative embolization (54.5% vs 20.5%, p = 0.014). Factors that trended toward significance included parafalcine tumor origin (41.2% vs 20.8% convexity, p = 0.08), significant venous involvement (44.4% vs 23.5% none, p = 0.09), and Simpson grade II+ (34.2% vs 17.6% grade I, p = 0.07).

CONCLUSIONS Resection of rolandic area meningiomas carries a high rate of postoperative morbidity and deserves special preoperative planning. Large tumor size, peritumoral edema, preoperative embolization, parafalcine origin, and venous involvement may further increase the risk. Alternative surgical strategies, such as aggressive internal debulking, may prevent motor decline in a subset of high-risk patients.


Pedicle Screw Placement Using Augmented Reality Surgical Navigation With Intraoperative 3D Imaging

Spine 2019;44:517–525

The aim of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of pedicle screw placement using augmented reality surgical navigation (ARSN) in a clinical trial.

Summary of Background Data. Recent cadaveric studies have shown improved accuracy for pedicle screw placement in the thoracic spine using ARSN with intraoperative 3D imaging, without the need for periprocedural x-ray. In this clinical study, we used the same system to place pedicle screws in the thoracic and lumbosacral spine of 20 patients.

Methods. The study was performed in a hybrid operating room with an integrated ARSN system encompassing a surgical table, a motorized flat detector C-arm with intraoperative 2D/3D capabilities, integrated optical cameras for augmented reality navigation, and noninvasive patient motion tracking. Three independent reviewers assessed screw placement accuracy using the Gertzbein grading on 3D scans obtained before wound closure. In addition, the navigation time per screw placement was measured.

Results. One orthopedic spinal surgeon placed 253 lumbosacral and thoracic pedicle screws on 20 consenting patients scheduled for spinal fixation surgery. An overall accuracy of 94.1% of primarily thoracic pedicle screws was achieved. No screws were deemed severely misplaced (Gertzbein grade 3). Fifteen (5.9%) screws had 2 to 4mm breach (Gertzbein grade 2), occurring in scoliosis patients only. Thirteen of those 15 screws were larger than the pedicle in which they were placed. Two medial breaches were observed and 13 were lateral. Thirteen of the grade 2 breaches were in the thoracic spine. The average screw placement time was 5.24.1 minutes. During the study, no device-related adverse event occurred. Conclusion. ARSN can be clinically used to place thoracic and lumbosacral pedicle screws with high accuracy and with acceptable navigation time. Consequently, the risk for revision surgery and complications could be minimized. Key words: augmented reality, image-guided surgery, intraoperative 3D cone beam computed tomography imaging, pedicle screw accuracy, scoliosis.

Level of Evidence: 3


Comparative durability and costs analysis of ventricular shunts

J Neurosurg 130:1252–1259, 2019

Ventricular shunt (VS) durability has been well studied in the pediatric population and in patients with normal pressure hydrocephalus; however, further evaluation in a more heterogeneous adult population is needed. This study aims to evaluate the effect of diagnosis and valve type—fixed versus programmable—on shunt durability and cost for placement of shunts in adult patients.

METHODS The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records of all patients who underwent implantation of a VS for hydrocephalus at their institution over a 3-year period between August 2013 and October 2016 with a minimum postoperative follow-up of 6 months. The primary outcome was shunt revision, which was defined as reoperation for any indication after the initial procedure. Supply costs, shunt durability, and hydrocephalus etiologies were compared between fixed and programmable valves.

RESULTS A total of 417 patients underwent shunt placement during the index time frame, consisting of 62 fixed shunts (15%) and 355 programmable shunts (85%). The mean follow-up was 30 ± 12 (SD) months. The shunt revision rate was 22% for programmable pressure valves and 21% for fixed pressure valves (HR 1.1 [95% CI 0.6–1.8]). Shunt complications, such as valve failure, infection, and overdrainage, occurred with similar frequency across valve types. Kaplan-Meier survival curve analysis showed no difference in durability between fixed (mean 39 months) and programmable (mean 40 months) shunts (p = 0.980, log-rank test). The median shunt supply cost per index case and accounting for subsequent revisions was $3438 (interquartile range $2938–$3876) and $1504 (interquartile range $753–$1584) for programmable and fixed shunts, respectively (p < 0.001, Wilcoxon rank-sum test). Of all hydrocephalus etiologies, pseudotumor cerebri (HR 1.9 [95% CI 1.2–3.1]) and previous shunt malfunction (HR 1.8 [95% CI 1.2–2.7]) were found to significantly increase the risk of shunt revision. Within each diagnosis, there were no significant differences in revision rates between shunts with a fixed valve and shunts with a programmable valve.

CONCLUSIONS Long-term shunt revision rates are similar for fixed and programmable shunt pressure valves in adult patients. Hydrocephalus etiology may play a significant role in predicting shunt revision, although programmable valves incur higher supply costs regardless of initial diagnosis. Utilization of fixed pressure valves versus programmable pressure valves may reduce supply costs while maintaining similar revision rates. Given the importance of developing cost-effective management protocols, this study highlights the critical need for large-scale prospective observational studies and randomized clinical trials of ventricular shunt valve revisions and additional patient-centered outcomes.

Complications for minimally invasive lateral interbody arthrodesis: a systematic review and meta-analysis comparing prepsoas and transpsoas approaches

J Neurosurg Spine 30:446–460, 2019

Minimally invasive anterolateral retroperitoneal approaches for lumbar interbody arthrodesis have distinct advantages attractive to spine surgeons. Prepsoas or transpsoas trajectories can be employed with differing complication profiles because of the inherent anatomical differences encountered in each approach. The evidence comparing them remains limited because of poor quality data. Here, the authors sought to systematically review the available literature and perform a meta-analysis comparing the two techniques.

METHODS A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. A database search was used to identify eligible studies. Prepsoas and transpsoas studies were compiled, and each study was assessed for inclusion criteria. Complication rates were recorded and compared between approach groups. Studies incorporating an analysis of postoperative subsidence and pseudarthrosis rates were also assessed and compared.

RESULTS For the prepsoas studies, 20 studies for the complications analysis and 8 studies for the pseudarthrosis outcomes analysis were included. For the transpsoas studies, 39 studies for the complications analysis and 19 studies for the pseudarthrosis outcomes analysis were included. For the complications analysis, 1874 patients treated via the prepsoas approach and 4607 treated with the transpsoas approach were included. In the transpsoas group, there was a higher rate of transient sensory symptoms (21.7% vs 8.7%, p = 0.002), transient hip flexor weakness (19.7% vs 5.7%, p < 0.001), and permanent neurological weakness (2.8% vs 1.0%, p = 0.005). A higher rate of sympathetic nerve injury was seen in the prepsoas group (5.4% vs 0.0%, p = 0.03). Of the nonneurological complications, major vascular injury was significantly higher in the prepsoas approach (1.8% vs 0.4%, p = 0.01). There was no difference in urological or peritoneal/bowel injury, postoperative ileus, or hematomas (all p > 0.05). A higher infection rate was noted for the trans-psoas group (3.1% vs 1.1%, p = 0.01). With regard to postoperative fusion outcomes, similar rates of subsidence (12.2% prepsoas vs 13.8% transpsoas, p = 0.78) and pseudarthrosis (9.9% vs 7.5%, respectively, p = 0.57) were seen between the groups at the last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS Complication rates vary for the prepsoas and transpsoas approaches owing to the variable retroperitoneal anatomy encountered during surgical dissection. While the risks of a lasting motor deficit and transient sensory dis- turbances are higher for the transpsoas approach, there is a reciprocal reduction in the risks of major vascular injury and sympathetic nerve injury. These results can facilitate informed decision-making and tailored surgical planning regarding the choice of minimally invasive anterolateral access to the spine.

Comparison of Outcomes Following Anterior vs Posterior Fusion Surgery for Patients With Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy

Neurosurgery, 84 (4) 919–926. 2019

The choice of anterior vs posterior approach for degenerative cervical myelopathy that spans multiple segments remains controversial.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the outcomes following the 2 approaches using multicenter prospectively collected data.

METHODS: Quality Outcomes Database (QOD) for patients undergoing surgery for 3 to 5 level degenerative cervicalmyelopathywas analyzed. The anterior group (anterior cervical discectomy [ACDF] or corpectomy [ACCF] with fusion) was compared with posterior cervical fusion. Outcomes included: patient reported outcomes (PROs): neck disability index (NDI), numeric rating scale (NRS) of neck pain and arm pain, EQ-5D, modified Japanese Orthopedic Association score for myelopathy (mJOA), and NASS satisfaction questionnaire; hospital length of stay (LOS), 90-d readmission, and return to work (RTW). Multivariable regression models were fitted for outcomes.

RESULTS: Of total 245 patients analyzed, 163 patients underwent anterior surgery (ACDF- 116, ACCF-47) and 82 underwent posterior surgery. Patients undergoing an anterior approach had lower odds of having higher LOS (P < .001, odds ratio 0.16, 95% confidence interval 0.08-0.30). The 12-moNDI, EQ-5D,NRS,mJOA, and satisfaction scores aswell as 90-d readmission and RTW did not differ significantly between anterior and posterior groups.

CONCLUSION: Patients undergoing anterior approaches for 3 to 5 level degenerative cervical myelopathy had shorter hospital LOS compared to those undergoing posterior decompression and fusion. Also, patients in both groups exhibited similar long-term PROs, readmission, and RTW rates. Further investigations are needed to compare the differences in longer term reoperation rates and functional outcomes before the clinical superiority of one approach over the other can be established.

Safety and Efficacy of Endoscopic Third Ventriculostomy in Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma Related Hydrocephalus

World Neurosurg. (2019) 124:29-35

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) related hydrocephalus occurs as the result of tumor growth and sylvian aqueduct obstruction. There is no consensus about the best surgical option; thus, a review has been performed to clarify the rate of success, complications, and possible issues of endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) in comparison to other available techniques.

METHODS: This systematic review followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement, and was registered with the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) (registration number CRD42018089001). MEDLINE, Web of Knowledge, and EMBASE were searched for published series in which ETV was performed to treat hydrocephalus in DIPG patients.

RESULTS: Six studies were included. Two further cases from our experience were added for a total amount of 55 patients treated through either ETV, ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS), or ventriculocisternal shunt according to Torkildsen. Eighty-six percent of patients who underwent ETV experienced clinical improvement after surgery (P value 0.03). Torkildsen shunt placement was associated with a 50% failure rate. Two patients implanted with VPS developed symptoms of shunt malfunction and increased ventricular sizes (10%). The Fisher exact test was applied to compare efficacy of VPS and ETV with no statistical difference between the 2 groups (P value 0.17). Patients who underwent ETV did not experience major complications, and no procedural termination was observed.

CONCLUSIONS: ETV is an effective and safe treatment option, associated with a low complication rate and a high success rate. Evidences from this review suggest considering ETV as the first-line treatment of hydrocephalus in DIPG patients.

Comparing the diagnostic accuracies of F-18 FDG PET and MRI for the detection of spondylodiscitis: A meta-analysis

Spine. 44(7):E414-E422, April 1, 2019

The aim of this study was to compare the diagnostic accuracies of F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (F-18 FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the detection of spondylodiscitis through a meta-analysis.

Summary of Background Data. There is no meta-analysis study that compares the diagnostic accuracies of F-18 FDG PET and MRI for the detection of spondylodiscitis.

Methods. The MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were searched from the earliest available date of indexing to January 10, 2018 for studies comparing the diagnostic performance F-18 FDG PET with that of MRI for the detection of spondylodiscitis. We determined the sensitivities and specificities across studies, calculated the positive and negative likelihood ratios (LR+ and LR-), and constructed the summary receiver operating characteristic curves.

Results. In the seven studies (212 patients) selected, the pooled sensitivity and specificity of F- 18 FDG PET were 0.95 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.87-0.98) and 0.88 (95% CI: 0.73-0.95), respectively. The LR syntheses showed an overall LR+ of 7.6 (95% CI: 3.4-17.2) and LR- of 0.05 (95% CI: 0.02-0.14). The pooled diagnostic odds ratio (DOR) was 141 (95% CI: 44-444). The pooled sensitivity and specificity of MRI were 0.85 (95% CI: 0.65-0.95) and 0.66 (95% CI: 0.48-0.80), respectively. The LR syntheses showed an overall LR+ of 2.5 (95% CI: 1.5-4.2) and LR- of 0.22 (95% CI: 0.08-0.60). The pooled DOR was 11 (95% CI: 3-42). In the metaregression analysis, no variable was identified as the source of the study heterogeneity.

Conclusions. The current meta-analysis shows that F-18 FDG PET has better diagnostic accuracy than MRI for the detection of spondylodiscitis. Further large multicenter studies would be necessary to substantiate the diagnostic accuracies of F-18 FDG PET and MRI for spondylodiscitis.

Level of Evidence: 2

A novel neural prosthesis providing long-term electrocorticography recording and cortical stimulation for epilepsy and brain-computer interface

J Neurosurg 130:1166–1179, 2019

Wireless technology is a novel tool for the transmission of cortical signals. Wireless electrocorticography (ECoG) aims to improve the safety and diagnostic gain of procedures requiring invasive localization of seizure foci and also to provide long-term recording of brain activity for brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). However, no wireless devices aimed at these clinical applications are currently available. The authors present the application of a fully implantable and externally rechargeable neural prosthesis providing wireless ECoG recording and direct cortical stimulation (DCS). Prolonged wireless ECoG monitoring was tested in nonhuman primates by using a custom-made device (the ECoG im- plantable wireless 16-electrode [ECOGIW-16E] device) containing a 16-contact subdural grid. This is a preliminary step toward large-scale, long-term wireless ECoG recording in humans.

METHODS The authors implanted the ECOGIW-16E device over the left sensorimotor cortex of a nonhuman primate (Macaca fascicularis), recording ECoG signals over a time span of 6 months. Daily electrode impedances were mea- sured, aiming to maintain the impedance values below a threshold of 100 KW. Brain mapping was obtained through wireless cortical stimulation at fixed intervals (1, 3, and 6 months). After 6 months, the device was removed. The authors analyzed cortical tissues by using conventional histological and immunohistological investigation to assess whether there was evidence of damage after the long-term implantation of the grid.

RESULTS The implant was well tolerated; no neurological or behavioral consequences were reported in the monkey, which resumed his normal activities within a few hours of the procedure. The signal quality of wireless ECoG remained excellent over the 6-month observation period. Impedance values remained well below the threshold value; the average impedance per contact remains approximately 40 KW. Wireless cortical stimulation induced movements of the upper and lower limbs, and elicited fine movements of the digits as well. After the monkey was euthanized, the grid was found to be encapsulated by a newly formed dural sheet. The grid removal was performed easily, and no direct adhesions of the grid to the cortex were found. Conventional histological studies showed no cortical damage in the brain region covered by
the grid, except for a single microscopic spot of cortical necrosis (not visible to the naked eye) in a region that had under- gone repeated procedures of electrical stimulation. Immunohistological studies of the cortex underlying the grid showed
a mild inflammatory process.

CONCLUSIONS This preliminary experience in a nonhuman primate shows that a wireless neuroprosthesis, with related long-term ECoG recording (up to 6 months) and multiple DCSs, was tolerated without sequelae. The authors predict that epilepsy surgery could realize great benefit from this novel prosthesis, providing an extended time span for ECoG recording.

Trigeminal Nerve Atrophy Predicts Pain Recurrence After Gamma Knife Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Classical Trigeminal Neuralgia

Neurosurgery 84:927–934, 2019

Trigeminal nerve atrophy and neurovascular compression (NVC) are frequently observed in classical trigeminal neuralgia (CTN).

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether nerve characteristics contribute to Gamma Knife (ElektaAB, Stockholm, Sweden) surgery (GKS) outcomes in unilateral CTN without previous surgery.

METHODS: From 2006 to 2012, 67 patients with unilateral CTN without previous surgery received GKS with a maximal dose of 90 Gy delivered to the trigeminal nerve juxta brainstem. Two evaluators, blinded to the side of pain, analyzed the magnetic resonance images before GKS to obtain the parameters, including nerve cross-sectional area (CSA), vessel type of NVC, and site of NVC along the nerve. Correlations of the parameters with pain relief (Barrow Neurological Institute [BNI] grades I-IIIb) and recurrence (BNI grades VIV) were made by using Cox regression and Kaplan–Meier analyses.

RESULTS: The median CSA of the symptomatic nerves was significantly smaller than that of the asymptomatic nerves (4.95 vs 5.9 mm2, P < .001). After adjustment for age and sex, larger nerve CSA was associated with lower initial pain relief (hazard ratio 0.81, P=.03) and lower pain recurrence after initial response (hazard ratio 0.58, P= .02). Patients with nerve atrophy (CSA of ≤ 4.4 mm2 after receiver operating characteristic curve analysis) had a lower 5-yr probability of maintaining pain relief after initial response than those without nerve atrophy (65% vs 86%, P= .04).

CONCLUSION: Trigeminal nerve atrophy may predict pain recurrence in patients with initial post-GKS relief of CTN.Arterial and proximalNVCare not predictive ofGKS outcomes. Future studies are required to determine optimal treatments for long-term pain relief in patients with CTN and trigeminal nerve atrophy.

Prevalence of Schizophrenia in Idiopathic Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Neurosurgery 84:883–889, 2019

Idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) is a progressive and potentially treatable neurodegenerative disease affecting elderly people, characterized by gait impairment and ventricular enlargement in brain imaging. Similar findings are seen in some patients with schizophrenia (SCZ).

OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of SCZ among patients suffering from probable or possible iNPH and the specific effects of comorbid SCZ on the outcome of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunting.

METHODS: All medical records of the 521 iNPH patients in the NPH registry were retrospectively analyzed from 1991 until 2017. The prevalence of comorbidity of SCZ was determined and compared to that of general aged (≥65 yr) population in Finland.

RESULTS: We identified a total of 16 (3.1%) iNPH patients suffering from comorbid SCZ. The prevalence of SCZ among the iNPH patients was significantly higher compared to the general population (3.1% vs 0.9%, P < .001). All iNPH patients with comorbid SCZ were CSF shunted and 12 (75%) had a clinically verified shunt response 3 to 12mo after the procedure. The CSF shunt response rate did not differ between patients with and without comorbid SCZ.

CONCLUSION: SCZ seems to occur 3 times more frequently among iNPH patients compared to the general aged population in Finland. The outcome of the treatment was not affected by comorbid SCZ and therefore iNPH patients suffering from comorbid SCZ should not be left untreated. These results merit validation in other populations. In addition, further research towards the potential connection between these chronic conditions is warranted.

Randomized controlled trials comparing surgery to non-operative management in neurosurgery: a systematic review

Acta Neurochirurgica (2019) 161:627–634

A randomized controlled trial (RCT) remains the pinnacle of clinical research design. However, RCTs in neurosurgery, especially those comparing surgery to non-operative treatment, are rare and their relevance and applicability have been questioned. This study set out to assess trial design and quality and identify their influence on outcomes in recent neurosurgical trials that compare surgery to non-operative treatment.

Methods From 2000 to 2017, PubMed and Embase databases and four trial registries were searched. RCTs were evaluated for study design, funding, adjustments to reported outcome measures, accrual of patients, and academic impact.

Results Eighty-two neurosurgical RCTs were identified, 40 in spine disorders, 19 neurovascular and neurotrauma, 11 functional neurosurgery, ten peripheral nerve, and two pituitary surgery. Eighty-four RCTs were registered, of which some are ongoing. Trial registration rate differed per subspecialty. Funding was mostly from non-industry institutions (58.5%), but 25.6% of RCTs did not report funding sources. 36.4% of RCTs did not report a difference between surgical and non-operative treatment, 3.7% favored non-operative management. Primary and secondary outcome measures were changed in 13.2% and 34.2% of RCTs respectively and varied by subspecialty. 41.9% of RCTs subtracted ≥ 10% of the anticipated accrual and 12.9% of RCTs added ≥ 10%. 7.3% of registered RCTs were terminated, mostly due to too slow recruitment. Subspecialty, registration, funding, masking, population size, and changing outcome measures were not significantly associated with a reported benefit of surgery. High Jadad scores (≥ 4) were negatively associated with a demonstration of surgical benefit (P < 0.05).

Conclusions Neurosurgical RCTs comparing surgical to non-operative treatment often find a benefit for surgical treatment. Changes to outcome measurements and anticipated accrual are common and funding sources are not always reported.

Brain invasion and the risk of seizures in patients with meningioma

J Neurosurg 130:789–796, 2019

Identification of risk factors for perioperative epilepsy remains crucial in the care of patients with meningioma. Moreover, associations of brain invasion with clinical and radiological variables have been largely unexplored. The authors hypothesized that invasion of the cortex and subsequent increased edema facilitate seizures, and they compared radiological data and perioperative seizures in patients with brain-invasive or noninvasive meningioma.

METHODS Correlations of brain invasion with tumor and edema volumes and preoperative and postoperative seizures were analyzed in univariate and multivariate analyses.

RESULTS Totals of 108 (61%) females and 68 (39%) males with a median age of 60 years and harboring totals of 92 (52%) grade I, 79 (45%) grade II, and 5 (3%) grade III tumors were included. Brain invasion was found in 38 (22%) patients and was absent in 138 (78%) patients. The tumors were located at the convexity in 72 (41%) patients, at the falx cerebri in 26 (15%), at the skull base in 69 (39%), in the posterior fossa in 7 (4%), and in the ventricle in 2 (1%); the median tumor and edema volumes were 13.73 cm3 (range 0.81–162.22 cm3) and 1.38 cm3 (range 0.00–355.80 cm3), respectively. As expected, edema volume increased with rising tumor volume (p < 0.001). Brain invasion was independent of tumor volume (p = 0.176) but strongly correlated with edema volume (p < 0.001). The mean edema volume in noninvasive tumors was 33.0 cm3, but in invasive tumors, it was 130.7 cm3 (p = 0.008). The frequency of preoperative seizures was independent of the patients’ age, sex, and tumor location; however, the frequency was 32% (n = 12) in patients with invasive meningioma and 15% (n = 21) in those with noninvasive meningioma (p = 0.033). In contrast, the probability of detecting brain invasion microscopically was increased more than 2-fold in patients with a history of preoperative seizures (OR 2.57, 95% CI 1.13–5.88; p = 0.025). In univariate analyses, the rate of preoperative seizures correlated slightly with tumor volume (p = 0.049) but strongly with edema volume (p = 0.014), whereas seizure semiology was found to be independent of brain invasion (p = 0.211). In multivariate analyses adjusted for age, sex, tumor location, tumor and edema volumes, and WHO grade, rising tumor volume (OR 1.02, 95% CI 1.00–1.03; p = 0.042) and especially brain invasion (OR 5.26, 95% CI 1.52–18.15; p = 0.009) were identified as independent predictors of preoperative seizures. Nine (5%) patients developed new seizures within a median follow-up time of 15 months after surgery. Development of postoperative epilepsy was independent of all clinical variables, including Simpson grade (p = 0.133), tumor location (p = 0.936), brain invasion (p = 0.408), and preoperative edema volume (p = 0.081), but was correlated with increasing preoperative tumor volume (p = 0.004). Postoperative seizure-free rates were similar among patients with invasive and those with noninvasive meningioma (p = 0.372).

CONCLUSIONS Brain invasion was identified as a new and strong predictor for preoperative, but not postoperative, seizures. Although also associated with increased peritumoral edema, seizures in patients with invasive meningioma might be facilitated substantially by cortical invasion itself. Consideration of seizures in consultations between the neurosurgeon and neuropathologist can improve the microscopic detection of brain invasion.


Correlation of magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging parameters with American Spinal Injury Association score for prognostication and long-term outcomes

Neurosurg Focus 46 (3):E2, 2019

Conventional MRI is routinely used to demonstrate the anatomical site of spinal cord injury (SCI). However, quantitative and qualitative imaging parameters have limited use in predicting neurological outcomes. Currently, there are no reliable neuroimaging biomarkers to predict short- and long-term outcome after SCI.

METHODS A prospective cohort of 23 patients with SCI (19 with cervical SCI [CSCI] and 4 with thoracic SCI [TSCI]) treated between 2007 and 2014 was included in the study. The American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) score was determined at the time of arrival and at 1-year follow-up. Only 15 patients (12 with CSCI and 3 with TSCI) had 1-year follow-up. Whole-cord fractional anisotropy (FA) was determined at C1–2, following which C1–2 was divided into upper, middle, and lower segments and the corresponding FA value at each of these segments was calculated. Correlation analysis was performed between FA and ASIA score at time of arrival and 1-year follow-up.

RESULTS Correlation analysis showed a positive but nonsignificant correlation (p = 0.095) between FA and ASIA score for all patients (CSCI and TCSI) at the time of arrival. Additional regression analysis consisting of only patients with CSCI showed a significant correlation (p = 0.008) between FA and ASIA score at time of arrival as well as at 1-year follow-up (p = 0.025). Furthermore, in case of patients with CSCI, a significant correlation between FA value at each of the segments (upper, middle, and lower) of C1–2 and ASIA score at time of arrival was found (p = 0.017, p = 0.015, and p = 0.002, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS In patients with CSCI, the measurement of diffusion anisotropy of the high cervical cord (C1–2) correlates significantly with injury severity and long-term follow-up. However, this correlation is not seen in patients with TSCI. Therefore, FA can be used as an imaging biomarker for evaluating neural injury and monitoring recovery in patients with CSCI.


Robot-assisted stereoelectroencephalography in children

J Neurosurg Pediatr 23:288–296, 2019

The goal in the study was to describe the clinical outcomes associated with robot-assisted stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) in children.

METHODS The authors performed a retrospective, single-center study in consecutive children with medically refractory epilepsy who were undergoing robot-assisted SEEG. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was used to calculate the probability of seizure freedom. Both univariate and multivariate methods were used to analyze the preoperative and operative factors associated with seizure freedom.

RESULTS Fifty-seven children underwent a total of 64 robot-assisted procedures. The patients’ mean age was 12 years, an average of 6.4 antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) per patient had failed prior to implantation, and in 56% of the patients the disease was considered nonlesional. On average, children had 12.4 electrodes placed per implantation, with an implantation time of 9.6 minutes per electrode and a 10-day postoperative stay. SEEG analysis yielded a definable epileptogenic zone in 51 (89%) patients; 42 (74%) patients underwent surgery, half of whom were seizure free at last follow-up, 19.6 months from resection. In a multivariate generalized linear model, resective surgery, older age, and shorter SEEGrelated hospital length of stay were associated with seizure freedom. In a Cox proportional hazards model including only the children who underwent resective surgery, older age was the only significant factor associated with seizure freedom. Complications related to bleeding were the major contributors to morbidity. One patient (1.5%) had a symptomatic hemorrhage resulting in a permanent neurological deficit.

CONCLUSIONS The authors report one of the largest pediatric-specific SEEG series demonstrating that the modern surgical management of medically refractory epilepsy in children can lead to seizure freedom in many patients, while also highlighting the challenges posed by this difficult patient population.


The emerging role of gamma knife radiosurgery in the management of glossopharyngeal neuralgia

Neurosurg Rev (2019) 42:31–38

Glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN) represents a rare craniofacial disorder accounting for about 1% of all craniofacial pain syndromes. GPN shares several pathophysiologic and clinical features with the more common trigeminal neuralgia. Medical therapy and microvascular decompression, in case of vascular nerve compression, represented the mainstay of GPN management. Other ablative therapies have been reported to date; however, few data are available because of the rarity of this pain syndrome. Among the ablative procedures, gamma knife radiosurgery (GKRS) has been recently introduced in the management of GPN with good pain control and low complication rates.

Authors performed a systematic review of the published literature about GKRS in the management of GPN. Radiosurgical treatment data, pain control and recurrence rate have been analysed and compared.

GKRS represented a valuable and effective treatment option for the management of GPN. Pain control and complication rates are better than those reported by other ablative procedures and microvascular decompression; however, future studies should be focused on the long-term efficacy of GKRS.

Utility of preoperative meningioma consistency measurement with magnetic resonance elastography (MRE)

Neurosurg Rev (2019) 42:1–7

Meningioma consistency is a critical factor that influences preoperative planning for surgical resection. Recent studies have investigated the utility of preoperative magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) in predicting meningioma consistency. However, it is unclear whether existing methods are optimal for application to clinical practice.

The results and conclusions of these studies are limited by their imaging acquisition methods, such as the use of a single MRE frequency and the use of shear modulus as the final measurement variable, rather than its storage and loss modulus components. In addition, existing studies do not account for the effects of cranial anatomy, which have been shown to significantly distort the MRE signal.

Given the interaction of meningiomas with these anatomic structures and the lack of supporting evidence with more accurate imaging parameters, MRE may not yet be reliable for use in clinical practice

Reconsidering an important subclass of high-risk dural arteriovenous fistulas for stereotactic radiosurgery

J Neurosurg 130:972–976, 2019

Aggressive dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) with cortical venous drainage (CVD) are known for their relatively high risk of recurrent neurological events or hemorrhage. However, recent natural history literature has indicated that nonaggressive dAVFs with CVD have a significantly lower prospective risk of hemorrhage. These nonaggressive dAVFs are typically diagnosed because of symptomatic headache, pulsatile tinnitus, or ocular symptoms, as in low-risk dAVFs. Therefore, the viability of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) as a treatment for this lesion subclass should be investigated.

METHODS The authors evaluated their institutional experience with SRS for dAVFs with CVD for the period from 1991 to 2016, assessing angiographic outcomes and posttreatment hemorrhage rates. They subsequently pooled their results with those published in the literature and stratified the results based on the mode of clinical presentation.

RESULTS In an institutional cohort of 42 dAVFs with CVD treated using SRS, there were no complications or hemorrhages after treatment in 19 patients with nonaggressive dAVFs, but there was 1 radiation-induced complication and 1 hemorrhage among the 23 patients with aggressive dAVFs. In pooling these cases with 155 additional cases from the literature, the authors found that the hemorrhage rate after SRS was significantly lower among the patients with nonaggressive dAVFs (0% vs 6.8%, p = 0.003). Similarly, the number of radiation-related complications was 0/124 in nonaggressive dAVF cases versus 6/73 in aggressive dAVF cases (p = 0.001). The annual rate of hemorrhage after SRS for aggressive fistulas was 3.0% over 164.5 patient-years, whereas none of the nonaggressive fistulas bled after radiosurgery over 279.4 patient-years of follow-up despite the presence of CVD.

CONCLUSIONS Cortical venous drainage is thought to be a significant risk factor in all dAVFs. In the institutional experience described here, SRS proved to be a low-risk strategy associated with a very low risk of subsequent hemorrhage or radiation-related complications in nonaggressive dAVFs with CVD.