Congress of Neurological Surgeons Systematic Review and Evidence-Based Guidelines on the Management of Progressive Glioblastoma in Adults: Update of the 2014 Guidelines

Neurosurgery 90:E112–E115, 2022

The Institute of Medicine best practice recommendation to review guidelines every 5 years is followed by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons Guidelines Committee. The aim of this work was to provide an updated literature review and evidence-based recommendations on the topic of diagnosis and treatment of patients with progressive glioblastoma (pGBM).

OBJECTIVE: To review the literature published since the last guidelines on pGBM dated 2014, with literature search ending in June 2012.

METHODS: PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane were searched for the period July 1, 2012, to March 31, 2019, using search terms and search strategies to identify pertinent abstracts. These were then screened using published exclusion/inclusion criteria to identify full-text review articles. Evidence tables were constructed using data derived from full-text reviews and recommendations made from the evidence derived.

RESULTS: From the total 8786 abstracts identified by the search, 237 full-text articles met inclusion/exclusion criteria and were included in this update. Two new level II recommendations derived from this work. For the diagnosis of patients with GBM, the use of diffusion-weighted images is recommended to be included in the magnetic resonance images with and without contrast used for surveillance to detect pGBM. For the treatment of patients with pGBM, repeat cytoreductive surgery is recommended to improve overall survival. An additional 21 level III recommendations were provided.

CONCLUSION: Recent published literature provides new recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of pGBM. The Central Nervous System Guidelines Committee will continue to pursue timely updates to further improve the care of patients with diagnosis.

Evolution and Impact of the Brain Trauma Foundation Guidelines

Neurosurgery 89:1148–1156, 2021

The Brain Trauma Foundation (BTF) Guidelines for the Management of Severe Head Injury were the first clinical practice guidelines published by any surgical specialty. These guidelines have earned a reputation for rigor and have been widely adopted around the world. Implementation of these guidelines has been associated with a 50% reduction in mortality and reduced costs of patient care.

Over their 25-yr history the traumatic brain injury (TBI) guidelines have been expanded, refined, and made increasingly more rigorous in conjunction with new clinical evidence and evolving methodologic standards.

Here, we discuss the history and accomplishments of BTF guidelines for TBI as well as their limitations. We also discuss planned changes to future TBI guidelines intended to increase their utility and positive impact in an evolving medical landscape. Perhaps the greatest limitation of TBI guidelines now is the lack of high-quality clinical research as well as novel diagnostics and treatments with which to generate substantially new recommendations.

Surgical management for large vestibular schwannomas: a systematic review, meta-analysis, and consensus statement on behalf of the EANS skull base section

Acta Neurochir (2020) 162:2595–2617

The optimal management of large vestibular schwannomas continues to be debated. We constituted a task force comprising the members of the EANS skull base committee along with international experts to derive recommendations for the management of this problem from a European perspective.

Material and methods A systematic review of MEDLINE database, in compliance with the PRISMA guidelines, was performed. A subgroup analysis screening all surgical series published within the last 20 years (January 2000 to March 2020) was performed. Weighted summary rates for tumor resection, oncological control, and facial nerve preservation were determined using metaanalysis models. This data along with contemporary practice patterns were discussed within the task force to generate consensual recommendations regarding preoperative evaluations, optimal surgical strategy, and follow-up management.

Results Tumor classification grades should be systematically used in the perioperative management of patients, with large vestibular schwannomas (VS) defined as > 30 mm in the largest extrameatal diameter. Grading scales for pre- and postoperative hearing (AAO-HNS or GR) and facial nerve function (HB) are to be used for reporting functional outcome. There is a lack of consensus to support the superiority of any surgical strategy with respect to extent of resection and use of adjuvant radiosurgery. Intraoperative neuromonitoring needs to be routinely used to preserve neural function. Recommendations for postoperative clinico-radiological evaluations have been elucidated based on the surgical strategy employed.

Conclusion The main goal of management of large vestibular schwannomas should focus on maintaining/improving quality of life (QoL), making every attempt at facial/cochlear nerve functional preservation while ensuring optimal oncological control, thereby allowing to meet patient expectations. Despite the fact that this analysis yielded only a few Class B evidences and mostly expert opinions, it will guide practitioners to manage these patients and form the basis for future clinical trials.


The Danish Chronic Subdural Hematoma Study—comparison of hematoma age to the radiological appearance at time of diagnosis

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:2007–2013

Chronic subdural hematomas (CSDH) show different radiological characteristics on CT scans at the time of diagnosis. The reason for this is largely unknown. We hypothesize that the imaging characteristics reflect a time-linked pathophysiological evolution. We therefore conducted a retrospective study to examine a possible relation between the hematoma age and the radiological subtype of a CSDH.

Methods Demographic data on patients with CSDH were retrieved from a Danish national cohort from 2010 to 2012. CT scans obtained on admission to a neurosurgical department were categorized as homogenous, separated, mixed, or membranous hematoma subtypes. The time from a known date of head injury to time of diagnostic CT was defined as hematoma age. The hematoma age was correlated to radiological hematoma subtype at the time of diagnosis by analysis of variance testing.

Results In total, 543 patients were analyzed for hematoma age and classified in the following hematoma subtypes: 231 homogenous, 44 separated, 119 mixed, and 149 membranous. Patients with homogenous, separated, mixed, and membranous hematoma subtypes had a median interval of 37, 36, 40, and 60 days from head injury to diagnostic CT. We found that membranous hematoma is significantly older than other subtypes. Comparison between the other radiological subtypes showed no statistical hematoma age difference. The distribution of radiological subtypes in 590 patients without a known head injury was similar to that of patients with a known head injury. Additionally, we found that hematoma age was significantly younger for patients on antiplatelet medication.

Conclusion In this large national cohort, patients with membranous CSDH had a significantly longer interval between head injury and diagnosis compared to other radiological subtypes. This indicates that the radiological appearance of CSDH evolves over time, causing an alteration from different early radiological subtypes to a radiological subtype with membranes.

Clinical trial registration number The study was approved by the Danish Data Protection Agency (journal no.30-1145).

Surgical management of Tuberculum sellae Meningiomas: Myths, facts, and controversies

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:631–640

The optimal management of tuberculum sellae (TS) meningiomas, especially the surgical strategy, continues to be debated along with several controversies that persist.

Methods A task force was created by the EANS skull base section committee along with its members and other renowned experts in the field to generate recommendations for the surgical management of these tumors on a European perspective. To achieve this, the task force also reviewed in detail the literature in this field and had formal discussions within the group.

Results The constituted task force dealt with the practice patterns that exist with respect to pre-operative radiological investigations, ophthalmological and endocrinological assessments, optimal surgical strategies, and follow-up management.

Conclusion This article represents the consensually derived opinion of the task force with respect to the surgical treatment of tuberculum sellae meningiomas. Areas of uncertainty where further clinical research is required were identified.

Towards Evidence-Based Guidelines in Neurological Surgery


Neurological surgery practice is based on the science of balancing probabilities. A variety of clinical guidance documents have influenced how we collectively practice our art since the early 20th century. The quality of the science within these guidelines varies widely, as does their utility in positively shaping our practice.

The guidelines development process in neurological surgery has evolved significantly over the last 30 yr. Historically based in expert opinion, as a specialty we have increasingly relied on objective medical evidence to guide our clinical practice. We assessed the changing practice guidelines development process and the impact of scientifically robust guidelines on patient care.

The evolution of the guidelines development process in neurological surgery was chronicled. Several subspecialty guidelines were extracted and reviewed in detail. Their impact on practice patterns was evaluated. The importance of evidence-based research and practice guidelines development was discussed.

Evidence-based practice guidelines serve to chronicle multiple acceptable treatment options and help us move towards more standardized care for specific disease processes. Theyhelprefutefalse“standardsofcare.” Guidelines-basedcaresupportedbysolidmedical evidence has the potential to streamline patient care and improve patient outcomes. The guidelines development process identifies areas, issues, and strategies for which little medical evidence exists, as well as topics that need focused scientific investigation and future study.

The production of evidence-based practice recommendations is a vital part of furthering our specialty. Guidelines development advances our science, augments the resident education process, and protects our practice from undue external influence.

Koos Classification of Vestibular Schwannomas: A Reliability Study

Neurosurgery, Volume 85, Issue 3, September 2019, 409–414

The Koos classification of vestibular schwannomas is designed to stratify tumors based on extrameatal extension and compression of the brainstem. While this classification system is widely reported in the literature, to date no study has assessed its reliability.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the intra- and inter-rater reliability of the Koos classification system.

METHODS: After institutional review board approval was obtained, a cross-sectional group of the Magnetic Resonance imagings of 40 patients with vestibular schwannomas varying in size comprised the study sample. Four raters were selected to assign a Koos grade to 50 total scans. Inter- and intrarater reliability were calculated and reported using Fleiss’ kappa, Kendall’s W, and Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC).

RESULTS: Inter-rater reliability was found to be substantial when measured using Fleiss’ kappa (.71), extremely strong using Kendall’sW(.92), and excellent as calculated by ICC (.88). Intrarater reliability was perfect for 3 out of 4 raters as assessed using weighted kappa, Kendall’s W and ICC, with the intrarater agreement for the fourth rater measured as extremely high.

CONCLUSION: We have demonstrated that the Koos classification system for vestibular schwannoma is a reliable method for tumor classification. This study lends further support to the results of current literature using Koos grading system. Further studies are required to evaluate its validity and utility in counseling patients with regard to outcomes.

Pediatric Supratentorial Ependymoma: Surgical, Clinical, and Molecular Analysis

Neurosurgery 85:41–49, 2019

Pediatric supratentorial ependymomas (SEs) have distinct molecular and behavioral differences from their infratentorial counterparts.

OBJECTIVE: To present our experience with pediatric SEs over a 24-yr period.

METHODS: Clinical, operative, and radiographic information was abstracted retrospectively. Our primary outcomes were progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Detection of C11or f95-RELA rearrangement was performed using interphase fluorescence in situ hybridization (iFISH).

RESULTS: Seventy-three patients were identified (41 female, 32 male); median age was 6.7 yrs (range, 1 mo-18.8 yr); median follow-up was 8.3 yrs (range, 2.0-26.3). Fifty-eight (79.5%) of 73 patients underwent gross total resection (GTR); no patient with subtotal resection had greater than 1 cm3 of residual tumor; 42 patients (57.5%) experienced subsequent disease progression with 17 patients ultimately dying of their disease. Median PFS was 3.7 yrs. Molecular analysis was available for 51 patients (70%). On bivariate analysis, PFS and OS were not statistically affected by age, tumor grade, or extent of resection, although there was a clinically significant trend for the latter in favor of aggressive resection on PFS (P = .061). Children with RELA fusion had significantly higher PFS (P = .013) than those without, although there was no difference in OS when compared with those with no C11orf95-RELA fusion or C11orf95 gene rearrangement alone.

CONCLUSION: In our series, GTR may be associated with better PFS, but did not impact OS. Surprisingly, RELA fusion was not found to be a negative prognostic factor, raising the possibility that the deleterious effects may be overcome by aggressive resection.

Esthesioneuroblastoma: A Comprehensive Review of Diagnosis, Management, and Current Treatment Options

World Neurosurg. (2019) 126:194-211

Many controversies exist in the diagnosis and management of this aggressively malignant condition, mainly because of limited literature and lack of randomized control trials, resulting in nonstandardized treatment methods. We performed a comprehensive review of the literature to identify management approach and treatment options for esthesioneuroblastoma.

METHODS: An extensive review of the published literature was conducted in PubMed, OVID Medline, and EMBASE journals for studies of esthesioneuroblastoma. Terms for search included esthesioneuroblastoma (ENB) and olfactory neuroblastoma (ONB). No date restrictions were used.

RESULTS: The search yielded 3876 related articles. Cross-checking of articles led to exclusion of duplicate articles. The remaining 1170 articles were screened for their full text and English language availability. Of 609 full-text articles available, animal studies, irrelevant articles, and studies with mixed/ confusing data were excluded. We finalized 149 articles pertaining to the topic, including 119 original research articles, 3 book chapters, 11 reviews, 9 case reports, and 7 case series.

CONCLUSIONS: Surgical resection followed by radiotherapy is the standard for treatment for higher-grade lesions. The endoscopic endonasal approach is gaining further recognition with more favorable outcomes and better survival than for open surgery. Postoperative radiotherapy is associated with the highest overall survival and shows benefit for patients with higher-stage disease and those who receive chemotherapy. Recurrence rates after treatment vary drastically in the literature and, therefore, prolonged follow-up with repeated imaging is recommended. Lifelong surveillance is recommended because of late recurrences associated with this tumor.

Guidelines for the Clinical Management of Cerebral Cavernous Malformations

Neurosurgery 80:665–680, 2017

Despite many publications about cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs), controversy remains regarding diagnostic and management strategies.

OBJECTIVE: To develop guidelines for CCM management.

METHODS: The Angioma Alliance (, the patient support group in the United States advocating on behalf of patients and research in CCM, convened a multidisciplinary writing group comprising expert CCM clinicians to help summarize the existing literature related to the clinical care of CCM, focusing on 5 topics: (1) epidemiology and natural history, (2) genetic testing and counseling, (3) diagnostic criteria and radiology standards, (4) neurosurgical considerations, and (5) neurological considerations. The group reviewed literature, rated evidence, developed recommendations, and established consensus, controversies, and knowledge gaps according to a prespecified protocol.

RESULTS: Of 1270 publications published between January 1, 1983 and September 31, 2014, we selected 98 based on methodological criteria, and identified 38 additional recent or relevant publications. Topic authors used these publications to summarize current knowledge and arrive at 23 consensus management recommendations, which we rated by class (size of effect) and level (estimate of certainty) according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association criteria. No recommendation was level A (because of the absence of randomized controlled trials), 11 (48%)were level B, and 12 (52%) were level C. Recommendations were class I in 8 (35%), class II in 10 (43%), and class III in 5 (22%).

CONCLUSION: Current evidence supports recommendations for the management of CCM, but their generally low levels and classes mandate further research to better inform clinical practice and update these recommendations. The complete recommendations document, including the criteria for selecting reference citations, a more detailed justification of the respective recommendations, and a summary of controversies and knowledge gaps, was similarly peer reviewed and is available on line

Consensus guidelines for postoperative spine SBRT

J Neurosurg Spine 26:299–306, 2017

Although postoperative stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) for spinal metastases is increasingly performed, few guidelines exist for this application. The purpose of this study is to develop consensus guidelines to promote safe and effective treatment for patients with spinal metastases.

METHODS Fifteen radiation oncologists and 5 neurosurgeons, representing 19 centers in 4 countries and having a collective experience of more than 1300 postoperative spine SBRT cases, completed a 19-question survey about postoperative spine SBRT practice. Responses were defined as follows: 1) consensus: selected by ≥ 75% of respondents; 2) predominant: selected by 50% of respondents or more; and 3) controversial: no single response selected by a majority of respondents.

RESULTS Consensus treatment indications included: radioresistant primary, 1–2 levels of adjacent disease, and previous radiation therapy. Contraindications included: involvement of more than 3 contiguous vertebral bodies, ASIA Grade A status (complete spinal cord injury without preservation of motor or sensory function), and postoperative Bilsky Grade 3 residual (cord compression without any CSF around the cord). For treatment planning, co-registration of the preoperative MRI and postoperative T1-weighted MRI (with or without gadolinium) and delineation of the cord on the T2-weighted MRI (and/or CT myelogram in cases of significant hardware artifact) were predominant. Consensus GTV (gross tumor volume) was the postoperative residual tumor based on MRI. Predominant CTV (clinical tumor volume) practice was to include the postoperative bed defined as the entire extent of preoperative tumor, the relevant anatomical compartment and any residual disease. Consensus was achieved with respect to not including the surgical hardware and incision in the CTV. PTV (planning tumor volume) expansion was controversial, ranging from 0 to 2 mm. The spinal cord avoidance structure was predominantly the true cord. Circumferential treatment of the epidural space and margin for paraspinal extension was controversial. Prescription doses and spinal cord tolerances based on clinical scenario, neurological compromise, and prior overlapping treatments were controversial, but reasonable ranges are presented. Fifty percent of those surveyed practiced an integrated boost to areas of residual tumor and density override for hardware within the beam path. Acceptable PTV coverage was controversial, but consensus was achieved with respect to compromising coverage to meet cord constraint and fractionation to improve coverage while meeting cord constraint.

CONCLUSIONS The consensus by spinal radiosurgery experts suggests that postoperative SBRT is indicated for radioresistant primary lesions, disease confined to 1–2 vertebral levels, and/or prior overlapping radiotherapy. The GTV is the postoperative residual tumor, and the CTV is the postoperative bed defined as the entire extent of preoperative tumor and anatomical compartment plus residual disease. Hardware and scar do not need to be included in CTV. While predominant agreement was reached about treatment planning and definition of organs at risk, future investigation will be critical in better understanding areas of controversy, including whether circumferential treatment of the epidural space is necessary, management of paraspinal extension, and the optimal dose fractionation schedules.

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

Acta Neurochirurgica 2017 (159) 33–49

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


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


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


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

Guideline on the Role of Cranial Molding Orthosis (Helmet) Therapy for Patients With Positional Plagiocephaly


Neurosurgery 79:E632–E633, 2016

No evidence-based guidelines exist on the role of cranial-molding orthosis (helmet) therapy for patients with positional plagiocephaly.

OBJECTIVE: To address the clinical question: “Does helmet therapy provide effective treatment for positional plagiocephaly?” and to make treatment recommendations based on the available evidence.

METHODS: The US National Library of Medicine Medline database and the Cochrane Library were queried by using MeSH headings and key words relevant to the objective of this systematic review. Abstracts were reviewed, after which studies meeting the inclusion criteria were selected and graded according to their quality of evidence (Classes I-III). Evidentiary tables were constructed that summarized pertinent study results, and, based on the quality of the literature, recommendations were made (Levels I-III).

RESULTS: Fifteen articles met criteria for inclusion into the evidence tables. There was 1 prospective randomized controlled trial (Class II), 5 prospective comparative studies (Class II), and 9 retrospective comparative studies (Class II).

CONCLUSION: There is a fairly substantive body of nonrandomized evidence that demonstrates more significant and faster improvement of cranial shape in infants with positional plagiocephaly treated with a helmet in comparison with conservative therapy, especially if the deformity is severe, provided that helmet therapy is applied during the appropriate period of infancy. Specific criteria regarding the measurement and quantification of deformity and the most appropriate time window in infancy for treatment of positional plagiocephaly with a helmet remains elusive. In general, infants with a more severe presenting deformity and infants who are helmeted early in infancy tend to have more significant correction (and even normalization) of head shape.

Guideline on Surgical Techniques and Technologies for the Management of Patients With Nonfunctioning Pituitary Adenomas

Invasion of the cavernous sinus space in pituitary adenomas- endoscopic verification and its correlation with an MRI-based classification

Neurosurgery 79:E536–E538, 2016

Numerous technological adjuncts are used during transsphenoidal surgery for nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs), including endoscopy, neuronavigation, intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) diversion, and dural closure techniques.

OBJECTIVE: To generate evidence-based guidelines for the use of NFPA surgical techniques and technologies.

METHODS: An extensive literature search spanning January 1, 1966, to October 1, 2014, was performed, and only articles pertaining to technological adjuncts for NFPA resection were included. The clinical assessment evidence-based classification was used to ascertain the class of evidence.

RESULTS: Fifty-six studies met the inclusion criteria, and evidence-based guidelines were formulated on the use of endoscopy, neuronavigation, intraoperative MRI, CSF diversion, and dural closure techniques.

CONCLUSION: Both endoscopic and microscopic transsphenoidal approaches are recommended for symptom relief in patients with NFPAs, with the extent of tumor resection improved by adequate bony exposure and endoscopic visualization. In select cases, combined transcranial and transsphenoidal approaches are recommended. Although intraoperative MRI can improve gross total resection, its use is associated with an increased false-positive rate and is thus not recommended. There is insufficient evidence to recommend the use of neuronavigation, CSF diversion, intrathecal injection, or specific dural closure techniques.

A standardized nomenclature for cervical spine soft-tissue release and osteotomy for deformity correction

Standardized nomenclature cervical osteotomies

J Neurosurg Spine 19:269–278, 2013

Cervical spine osteotomies are powerful techniques to correct rigid cervical spine deformity. Many variations exist, however, and there is no current standardized system with which to describe and classify cervical osteotomies. This complicates the ability to compare outcomes across procedures and studies. The authors’ objective was to establish a universal nomenclature for cervical spine osteotomies to provide a common language among spine surgeons.


A proposed nomenclature with 7 anatomical grades of increasing extent of bone/soft tissue resection and destabilization was designed. The highest grade of resection is termed the major osteotomy, and an approach modifier is used to denote the surgical approach(es), including anterior (A), posterior (P), anterior-posterior (AP), posterior-anterior (PA), anterior-posterior-anterior (APA), and posterior-anterior-posterior (PAP). For cases in which multiple grades of osteotomies were performed, the highest grade is termed the major osteotomy, and lower-grade osteotomies are termed minor osteotomies. The nomenclature was evaluated by 11 reviewers through 25 different radiographic clinical cases. The review was performed twice, separated by a minimum 1-week interval. Reliability was assessed using Fleiss kappa coefficients.


The average intrarater reliability was classified as “almost perfect agreement” for the major osteotomy (0.89 [range 0.60–1.00]) and approach modifier (0.99 [0.95–1.00]); it was classified as “moderate agreement” for the minor osteotomy (0.73 [range 0.41–1.00]). The average interrater reliability for the 2 readings was the following: major osteotomy, 0.87 (“almost perfect agreement”); approach modifier, 0.99 (“almost perfect agreement”); and minor osteotomy, 0.55 (“moderate agreement”). Analysis of only major osteotomy plus approach modifier yielded a classification that was “almost perfect” with an average intrarater reliability of 0.90 (0.63–1.00) and an interrater reliability of 0.88 and 0.86 for the two reviews.


The proposed cervical spine osteotomy nomenclature provides the surgeon with a simple, standard description of the various cervical osteotomies. The reliability analysis demonstrated that this system is consistent and directly applicable. Future work will evaluate the relationship between this system and health-related quality of life metrics.

Incidence of Neurosurgical Wrong-Site Surgery Before and After Implementation of the Universal Protocol

Wrong-site spinal surgery

Neurosurgery 72:590–595, 2013

Although exceedingly rare, wrong-site surgery (WSS) remains a persistent problem in the United States. The incidence is thought to be 2 to 3 per 10 000 craniotomies and about 6 to 14 per 10 000 spine surgeries. In July 2004, the Joint Commission mandated the Universal Protocol (UP) for all accredited hospitals.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of UP implementation on the incidence of neurosurgical WSS at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria/Illinois Neurological Institute.

METHODS: The Morbidity and Mortality Database in the Department of Neurosurgery was reviewed to identify all recorded cases of WSS since 1999. This was compared with the total operative load (excluding endovascular procedures) of all attending neurosurgeons to determine the incidence of overall WSS. A comparison was then made between the incidences before and after UP implementation.

RESULTS: Fifteen WSS events were found with an overall incidence of 0.07% and Poisson 95% confidence interval of 8.4 to 25. All but one of these were wrong-level spine surgeries (14/15). There was only 1 recorded case of wrong-side surgery and this occurred after implementation of the UP. A statistically greater number of WSS events occurred before (n = 12) in comparison with after (n = 3) UP implementation (P < .001).

CONCLUSION: A statistically significant reduction in overall WSS was seen after implementation of the UP. This reduction can be attributed to less frequent wronglevel spine surgery. There was no case of wrong procedure or patient surgery and the 1 case of wrong-side surgery occurred after UP implementation.

A Simple and Quantitative Method to Predict Symptomatic Vasospasm After Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Based on Computed Tomography: Beyond the Fisher Scale

Neurosurgery 71:869–876, 2012

Although the Fisher scale is commonly used to grade vasospasm risk in aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) patients, it fails to account for increasing subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) thickness.

OBJECTIVE: We developed a simple quantitative scale based on maximal SAH thickness and compared its reproducibility and ability to predict symptomatic vasospasm against the Fisher scale.

METHODS: The incidence of radiographic and symptomatic vasospasm among 250 aSAH patients treated at our institution was investigated. Admission head computed tomography scans were graded according to the Fisher scale and the proposed scale, which assigns a score from 1 to 5 based on a single measurement of maximum SAH thickness. We calculated vasospasm risk per grade for the Fisher scale and the proposed scale, and compared inter- and intraobserver variability for both scales.

RESULTS: Forty-five patients (20.6%) developed symptomatic vasospasm. On the proposed scale, grade 5 patients were at highest risk, with an odds ratio for symptomatic vasospasm of 11 (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.27-53.37). Odds ratios for proposed grades 4 and 3 were 4.63 (95% CI 1.10-19.59) and 3.04 (95% CI 0.85-10.90), respectively. The odds ratio for Fisher grade 3 was 3.3 (0.96-11.30). Mean inter- and intraobserver agreement was greater for the proposed scale in comparison with the Fisher scale (k0.65 and k0.81 vs k0.51 and k0.35, respectively).

CONCLUSION: The new scale accounted for increasing SAH thickness and was superior to the Fisher scale in inter- and intraobserver agreement and in predicting symptomatic vasospasm, particularly among the highest-risk patients.

Intracranial hypotension producing reversible coma

J Neurosurg 117:615–628, 2012

Intracranial hypotension is a disorder of CSF hypovolemia due to iatrogenic or spontaneous spinal CSF leakage. Rarely, positional headaches may progress to coma, with frequent misdiagnosis. The authors review reported cases of verified intracranial hypotension–associated coma, including 3 previously unpublished cases, totaling 29. Most patients presented with headache prior to neurological deterioration, with positional symptoms elicited in almost half. Eight patients had recently undergone a spinal procedure such as lumbar drainage. Diagnostic workup almost always began with a head CT scan. Subdural collections were present in 86%; however, intracranial hypotension was frequently unrecognized as the underlying cause. Twelve patients underwent one or more procedures to evacuate the collections, sometimes with transiently improved mental status. However, no patient experienced lasting neurological improvement after subdural fluid evacuation alone, and some deteriorated further. Intracranial hypotension was diagnosed in most patients via MRI studies, which were often obtained due to failure to improve after subdural hematoma (SDH) evacuation. Once the diagnosis of intracranial hypotension was made, placement of epidural blood patches was curative in 85% of patients. Twenty-seven patients (93%) experienced favorable outcomes after diagnosis and treatment; 1 patient died, and 1 patient had a morbid outcome secondary to duret hemorrhages. The literature review revealed that numerous additional patients with clinical histories consistent with intracranial hypotension but no radiological confirmation developed SDH following a spinal procedure. Several such patients experienced poor outcomes, and there were multiple deaths. To facilitate recognition of this treatable but potentially life-threatening condition, the authors propose criteria that should prompt intracranial hypotension workup in the comatose patient and present a stepwise management algorithm to guide the appropriate diagnosis and treatment of these patients.


Clinical presentation and prognostic factors of spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas

Neurosurg Focus 32 (5):E17, 2012. (

Spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs), the most common type of spinal cord vascular malformation, can be a challenge to diagnose and treat promptly. The disorder is rare, and the presenting clinical symptoms and signs are nonspecific and insidious at onset.

Spinal dural AVFs preferentially affect middle-aged men, and patients most commonly present with gait abnormality or lower-extremity weakness and sensory disturbances. Symptoms gradually progress or decline in a stepwise manner and are commonly associated with pain and sphincter disturbances. Surgical or endovascular disconnection of the fistula has a high success rate with a low rate of morbidity. Motor symptoms are most likely to improve after treatment, followed by sensory disturbances, and lastly sphincter disturbances.

Patients with severe neurological deficits at presentation tend to have worse posttreatment functional outcomes than those with mild or moderate pretreatment disability. However, improvement or stabilization of symptoms is seen in the vast majority of treated patients, and thus treatment is justified even in patients with substantial neurological deficits.

The extent of intramedullary spinal cord T2 signal abnormality does not correlate with outcomes and should not be used as a prognostic factor.

A standardized protocol to reduce cerebrospinal fluid shunt infection: The Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network Quality Improvement Initiative

J Neurosurg Pediatrics 8:22–29, 2011. DOI: 10.3171/2011.4.PEDS10551

Quality improvement techniques are being implemented in many areas of medicine. In an effort to reduce the ventriculoperitoneal shunt infection rate, a standardized protocol was developed and implemented at 4 centers of the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN).

Methods. The protocol was developed sequentially by HCRN members using the current literature and prior institutional experience until consensus was obtained. The protocol was prospectively applied at each HCRN center to all children undergoing a shunt insertion or revision procedure. Infections were defined on the basis of CSF, wound, or pseudocyst cultures; wound breakdown; abdominal pseudocyst; or positive blood cultures in the presence of a ventriculoatrial shunt. Procedures and infections were measured before and after protocol implementation.

Results. Twenty-one surgeons at 4 centers performed 1571 procedures between June 1, 2007, and February 28, 2009. The minimum follow-up was 6 months. The Network infection rate decreased from 8.8% prior to the protocol to 5.7% while using the protocol (p = 0.0028, absolute risk reduction 3.15%, relative risk reduction 36%). Three of 4 centers lowered their infection rate. Shunt surgery after external ventricular drainage (with or without prior infection) had the highest infection rate. Overall protocol compliance was 74.5% and improved over the course of the observation period. Based on logistic regression analysis, the use of BioGlide catheters (odds ratio [OR] 1.91, 95% CI 1.19–3.05; p = 0.007) and the use of antiseptic cream by any members of the surgical team (instead of a formal surgical scrub by all members of the surgical team; OR 4.53, 95% CI 1.43–14.41; p = 0.01) were associated with an increased risk of infection.

Conclusions. The standardized protocol for shunt surgery significantly reduced shunt infection across the HCRN. Overall protocol compliance was good. The protocol has established a common baseline within the Network, which will facilitate assessment of new treatments. Identification of factors associated with infection will allow further protocol refinement in the future.