Nonoperative versus operative management of type II odontoid fracture in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis

J Neurosurg Spine 40:45–53, 2024

Odontoid fractures are the most common fracture of the cervical spine in adults older than 65 years of age. Fracture management remains controversial, given the inherently increased surgical risks in older patients. The objective of this study was to compare fusion rates and outcomes between operative and nonoperative treatments of type II odontoid fractures in the older population.

METHODS A systematic literature review was performed to identify studies reporting the management of type II odontoid fractures in patients older than 65 years from database inception to September 2022. A meta-analysis was performed to compare rates of fusion, stable and unstable nonunion, mortality, and complication.

RESULTS Forty-six articles were included in the final review. There were 2822 patients included in the different studies (48.9% female, 51.1% male), with a mean ± SD age of 81.5 ± 3.6 years. Patients in the operative group were significantly younger than patients in the nonoperative group (81.5 ± 3.5 vs 83.4 ± 2.5 years, p < 0.001). The overall (operative and nonoperative patients) fusion rate was 52.9% (720/1361). The fusion rate was higher in patients who underwent surgery (74.3%) than in those who underwent nonoperative management (40.3%) (OR 4.27, 95% CI 3.36–5.44). The likelihood of stable or unstable nonunion was lower in patients who underwent surgery (OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.28–0.49 vs OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.22–0.47). Overall, 4.8% (46/964) of nonoperatively managed patients subsequently required surgery due to treatment failure. Patient mortality across all studies was 16.6% (452/2721), lower in the operative cohort (13.2%) than the nonoperative cohort (19.0%) (OR 0.64, 95% CI 0.52–0.80). Complications were more likely in patients who underwent surgery (26.0% vs 18.5%) (OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.23–1.95). Length of stay was also higher with surgery (13.6 ± 3.8 vs 8.1 ± 1.9 days, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS Patients older than 65 years of age with type II odontoid fractures had higher fusion rates when treated with surgery and higher stable nonunion rates when managed nonoperatively. Complications and length of stay were higher in the surgical cohort. Mortality rates were lower in patients managed with surgery, but this phenomenon could be related to surgical selection bias. Fewer than 5% of patients who underwent nonoperative treatment required revision surgery due to treatment failure, suggesting that stable nonunion is an acceptable treatment goal.

Stereotactic radiosurgery for Koos grade IV vestibular schwannoma in patients ≥ 65 years old

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:211–220

Surgery is the preferred treatment for large vestibular schwannomas (VS). Good tumor control and cranial nerve outcomes were described in selected Koos IV VS after single-session stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), but outcomes in elderly patients have never been specifically studied. The aim of this study is to report clinical and radiological outcomes after single-session SRS for Koos IV VS in patients ≥ 65 years old.

Method This multicenter, retrospective study included patients ≥ 65 years old, treated with primary, single-session SRS for a Koos IV VS, and at least 12 months of follow-up. Patients with life-threatening or incapacitating symptoms were excluded. Tumor control rate, hearing, trigeminal, and facial nerve function were studied at last follow-up.

Results One-hundred and fifty patients (median age of 71.0 (IQR 9.0) years old with a median tumor volume of 8.3 cc (IQR 4.4)) were included. The median prescription dose was 12.0 Gy (IQR 1.4). The local tumor control rate was 96.0% and 86.2% at 5 and 10 years, respectively. Early tumor expansion occurred in 6.7% and was symptomatic in 40% of cases. A serviceable hearing was present in 16.1% prior to SRS and in 7.4% at a last follow-up of 46.5 months (IQR 55.8). The actuarial serviceable hearing preservation rate was 69.3% and 50.9% at 5 and 10 years, respectively. Facial nerve function preservation or improvement rates at 5 and 10 years were 98.7% and 91.0%, respectively. At last follow-up, the trigeminal nerve function was improved in 14.0%, stable in 80.7%, and worsened in 5.3% of the patients. ARE were noted in 12.7%. New hydrocephalus was seen in 8.0% of patients.

Conclusion SRS can be a safe alternative to surgery for selected Koos IV VS in patients ≥ 65 years old. Further follow-up is warranted.

Older meningioma patients: a retrospective population‐based study of risk factors for morbidity and mortality after neurosurgery

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:2987–2997

Meningioma is the most common primary CNS tumour. Most meningiomas are benign, and most patients are 65 years or older. Surgery is usually the primary treatment option. Most prior studies on early surgical outcomes in older patients with meningioma are small, and there is a lack of larger population-based studies to guide clinical decision-making. We aimed to explore the risks for perioperative mortality and morbidity in older patients with meningioma and to investigate changes in surgical incidence over time.

Methods In this retrospective population-based study on patients in Sweden, 65 years or older with surgery 1999–2017 for meningioma, we used data from the Swedish Brain Tumour Registry. We analysed factors contributing to perioperative mor- tality and morbidity and used official demographic data to calculate yearly incidence of surgical procedures for meningioma.

Results Thefinal study cohort included 1676 patients with a 3.1% perioperative mortality and a 37.6% perioperative morbidity. In multivariate analysis, higher age showed a statistically significant association with higher perioperative mortality, whereas larger tumour size and having preoperative symptoms were associated with higher perioperative morbidity. A numerical increased rate of surgical interventions after 2012 was observed, without evidence of worsening short-term surgical outcomes.

Conclusions Higher mortality with increased age and higher morbidity risk in larger and/or symptomatic tumours imply a possible benefit from considering surgery in selected older patients with a growing meningioma before the development of tumour-related symptoms. This study further underlines the need for a standardized method of reporting and classifying complications from neurosurgery.

Outcomes and complications of minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion in the elderly: a systematic review and meta-analysis

J Neurosurg Spine 36:741–752, 2022

Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS-TLIF) may be used to treat degenerative spinal pathologies while reducing risks associated with open procedures. As an increasing number of lumbar fusions are performed in the aging United States population, MIS-TLIF has been widely adopted into clinical practice in recent years. However, its complication rate and functional outcomes in elderly patients remain poorly characterized. The objective of this study was to assess complication rates and functional outcomes in elderly patients (≥ 65 years old) undergoing MIS-TLIF.

METHODS The PubMed, Embase, and Scopus databases were searched for relevant records in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines. Inclusion criteria were peer-reviewed original research; English language; full text available; use of MIS-TLIF; and an elderly cohort of at least 5 patients. Risk of bias was assessed using the ROBINS-I (Risk of Bias in Nonrandomized Studies—of Interventions) tool. Pooled complication rates were calculated for elderly patients, with subgroup analyses performed for single versus multiple-level fusions. Complication rates in elderly compared to nonelderly patients were also assessed. Postoperative changes in patient-reported outcomes, including Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and visual analog scale (VAS) back pain (BP) and leg pain (LP) scores, were calculated.

RESULTS Twelve studies were included in the final analysis. Compared to nonelderly patients, MIS-TLIF in elderly patients resulted in significantly higher rates of major (OR 2.15, 95% CI 1.07–4.34) and minor (OR 2.20, 95% CI 1.22–3.95) complications. The pooled major complication rate in elderly patients was 0.05 (95% CI 0.03–0.08) and the pooled minor complication rate was 0.20 (95% CI 0.13–0.30). Single-level MIS-TLIF had lower major and minor complication rates than multilevel MIS-TLIF, although not reaching significance. At a minimum follow-up of 6 months, the postoperative change in ODI (−30.70, 95% CI −41.84 to −19.55), VAS-BP (−3.87, 95% CI −4.97 to −2.77), and VAS-LP (−5.11, 95% CI −6.69 to −3.53) in elderly patients all exceeded the respective minimum clinically important difference. The pooled rate of fusion was 0.86 (95% CI 0.80–0.90).

CONCLUSIONS MIS-TLIF in elderly patients results in a high rate of fusion and significant improvement of patientreported outcomes, but has significantly higher complication rates than in nonelderly patients. Limitations of this study include heterogeneity in the definition of elderly and limited reporting of risk factors among included studies. Further study of the impact of complications and the factors predisposing elderly patients to poor outcomes is needed.

Complications of degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis and stenosis surgery in patients over 80 s

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:923–931

Degenerative spondylolisthesis (DS) is a debilitating condition that carries a high economic burden. As the global population ages, the number of patients over 80 years old demanding spinal fusion is constantly rising. Therefore, neurosurgeons often face the important decision as to whether to perform surgery or not in this age group, commonly perceived at high risk for complications.

Methods Six hundred seventy-eight elder patients, who underwent posterolateral lumbar fusion for DS (performed in three different centers) from 2012 to 2020, were screened for medical, early and late surgical complications and for the presence of potential preoperative risk factors. Patients were divided in three categories based on their age: (1) 60–69 years, (2) 70–79 years, (3) 80 and over. Multiple logistic regression was used to determine the predictive power of age and of other risk factors (i.e., ASA score; BMI; sex; presence or absence of insulin-dependent and -independent diabetes, use of anticoagulants, use of antiaggregants and osteoporosis) for the development of postoperative complications.

Results In univariate analysis, age was significantly and positively correlated with medical complications. However, when controls for other risk factors were added in the regressions, age never reached significance, with the only noticeable exception of cerebrovascular accidents. ASA score and BMI were the two risk factors that significantly correlated with the higher numbers of complication rates (especially medical).

Conclusion Patients of different age but with comparable preoperative risk factors share similar postoperative morbidity rates. When considering octogenarians for lumbar arthrodesis, the importance of biological age overrides that of chronological.

Outcome of glioblastoma resection in patients 80 years of age and older

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:373–383

Objective To evaluate the role and possible complications of tumor resection in the management of glioblastoma (GBM) in a series of patients 80 years of age and older with review of literature.

Methods The authors retrospectively analyzed cases involving patients 80 years or older who underwent biopsy or initial resection of GBM at their hospital between 2007 and 2018. A total of 117 patients (mean age 82 years) met the inclusion criteria; 57 had resection (group A) and 60 had biopsy (group B). Functional outcomes and survival at follow-up were analyzed.

Results Group A differed significantly from group B at baseline in having betterWHO performance status, better ASA scores, more right-sided tumors, and no basal ganglia or “butterfly” gliomas. Nevertheless, 56% of group A patients had an ASA score of 3. Median survival was 9.5 months (95% CI 8–17 months) in group A, 4 months (95% CI 3.5–6 months) in group B, and 17.5 months (95% CI 12–24 months) in the 56% of group A patients treated with resection and Stupp protocol. Rates of postoperative neurologic and medical complications were almost identical in the 2 groups, but the rate of surgical site complications was substantially greater in group A (12% vs 5%). There was no significant difference in mean preoperative and postoperative KPS scores (group A).

Conclusions In selected patients 80 years or older, radical removal of GBM was associated with acceptable survival and a low perioperative complication rate which is comparable to that of a biopsy. Although the median survival of the whole group was lower than reported for younger patients, a subgroup amenable to radical surgery and Stupp protocol achieved a median survival of 17.5 months.

Perioperative complications of deep brain stimulation among patients with advanced age

J Neurosurg 135:1421–1428, 2021

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an elective procedure that can dramatically enhance quality of life. Because DBS is not considered lifesaving, it is important that providers produce consistently good outcomes, and one factor they usually consider is patient age. While older age may be a relative contraindication for some elective surgeries, the progressive nature of movement disorders treated with DBS may suggest that older patients stand to benefit substantially from surgery. To better understand the risks of treating patients of advanced age with DBS, this study compares perioperative complication rates in patients ≥ 75 to those < 75 years old.

METHODS Patients undergoing DBS surgery for various indications by a single surgeon (May 2013–July 2019) were stratified into elderly (age ≥ 75 years) and younger (age < 75 years) cohorts. The risks of common perioperative complications and various outcome measures were compared between the two age groups using risk ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

RESULTS A total of 861 patients were available for analysis: 179 (21%) were ≥ 75 years old and 682 (79%) were < 75 years old (p < 0.001). Patients ≥ 75 years old, compared with those < 75 years old, did not have significantly different RRs (95% CIs) of seizure (RR 0.4, 95% CI 0.1–3.3), cerebrovascular accident (RR 1.9, 95% CI 0.4–10.3), readmission within 90 days of discharge (RR 1.22, 95% CI 0.8–1.8), explantation due to infection (RR 2.5, 95% CI 0.4–15.1), or surgical revision (for lead, RR 2.5, 95% CI 0.4–15.1; for internal pulse generator, RR 3.8, 95% CI 0.2–61.7). Although the risk of postoperative intracranial bleeding was higher in the elderly group (6.1%) than in the younger group (3.1%), this difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.06). However, patients ≥ 75 years old did have significantly increased risk of altered mental status (RR 2.5, 95% CI 1.6–4.0), experiencing more than a 1-night stay (RR 1.7, 95% CI 1.4–2.0), and urinary retention (RR 2.3, 95% CI 1.2–4.2; p = 0.009).

CONCLUSIONS Although elderly patients had higher risks of certain outcome measures than younger patients, this study showed that elderly patients undergoing DBS for movement disorders did not have an increased risk of more serious complications, such as intracranial hemorrhage, infection, or readmission. Advanced age alone should not be considered a contraindication for DBS.

How safe are elective craniotomies in elderly patients in neurosurgery today?

J Neurosurg 134:1113–1121, 2021

With global aging, elective craniotomies are increasingly being performed in elderly patients. There is a paucity of prospective studies evaluating the impact of these procedures on the geriatric population. The goal of this study was to assess the safety of elective craniotomies for elderly patients in modern neurosurgery.

METHODS For this cohort study, adult patients, who underwent elective craniotomies between November 1, 2011, and October 31, 2018, were allocated to 3 age groups (group 1, < 65 years [n = 1008], group 2, ≥ 65 to < 75 [n = 315], and group 3, ≥ 75 [n = 129]). Primary outcome was the 30-day mortality after craniotomy. Secondary outcomes included rate of delayed extubation (> 1 hour), need for emergency head CT scan and reoperation within 48 hours after surgery, length of postoperative intensive or intermediate care unit stay, hospital length of stay (LOS), and rate of discharge to home. Adjustment for American Society of Anesthesiologists Physical Status (ASA PS) class, estimated blood loss, and duration of surgery were analyzed as a comparison using multiple logistic regression. For significant differences a post hoc analysis was performed.

RESULTS In total, 1452 patients (mean age 55.4 ± 14.7 years) were included. The overall mortality rate was 0.55% (n = 8), with no significant differences between groups (group 1: 0.5% [95% binominal CI 0.2%, 1.2%]; group 2: 0.3% [95% binominal CI 0.0%, 1.7%]; group 3: 1.6% [95% binominal CI 0.2%, 5.5%]). Deceased patients had a significantly higher ASA PS class (2.88 ± 0.35 vs 2.42 ± 0.62; difference 0.46 [95% CI 0.03, 0.89]; p = 0.036) and increased estimated blood loss (1444 ± 1973 ml vs 436 ± 545 ml [95% CI 618, 1398]; p <0.001). Significant differences were found in the rate of postoperative head CT scans (group 1: 6.65% [n = 67], group 2: 7.30% [n = 23], group 3: 15.50% [n = 20]; p = 0.006), LOS (group 1: median 5 days [IQR 4; 7 days], group 2: 5 days [IQR 4; 7 days], and group 3: 7 days [5; 9 days]; p = 0.001), and rate of discharge to home (group 1: 79.0% [n = 796], group 2: 72.0% [n = 227], and group 3: 44.2% [n = 57]; p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS Mortality following elective craniotomy was low in all age groups. Today, elective craniotomy for well selected patients is safe, and for elderly patients, too. Elderly patients are more dependent on discharge to other hospitals and postacute care facilities after elective craniotomy. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01987648 (

Long-term pain outcomes in elderly patients with trigeminal neuralgia: comparison of first-time microvascular decompression and stereotactic radiosurgery

Neurosurg Focus 49 (4):E23, 2020

Common surgical treatments for trigeminal neuralgia (TN) include microvascular decompression (MVD) and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). The use of MVD in elderly patients has been described but has yet to be prospectively compared to SRS, which is well-tolerated and noninvasive. The authors aimed to directly compare long-term pain control and adverse event rates for first-time surgical treatments for idiopathic TN in the elderly.

METHODS A prospectively collected database was reviewed for TN patients who had undergone treatment between 1997 and 2017 at a single institution. Standardized collection of preoperative demographics, surgical procedure, and postoperative outcomes was performed. Data analysis was limited to patients over the age of 65 years who had undergone a first-time procedure for the treatment of idiopathic TN with at least 1 year of follow-up.

RESULTS One hundred ninety-three patients meeting the study inclusion criteria underwent surgical procedures for TN during the study period (54 MVD, 24 MVD+Rhiz, 115 SRS). In patients in whom an artery was not compressing the trigeminal nerve during MVD, a partial sensory rhizotomy (MVD+Rhiz) was performed. Patients in the SRS cohort were older than those in the MVD and MVD+Rhiz cohorts (mean ± SD, 79.2 ± 7.8 vs 72.9 ± 5.7 and 70.9 ± 4.8 years, respectively; p < 0.0001) and had a higher mean Charlson Comorbidity Index (3.8 ± 1.1 vs 3.0 ± 0.9 and 2.9 ± 1.0, respectively; p < 0.0001). Immediate or short-term postoperative pain-free rates (Barrow Neurological Institute [BNI] pain intensity score I) were 98.1% for MVD, 95.8% for MVD+Rhiz, and 78.3% for SRS (p = 0.0008). At the last follow-up, 72.2% of MVD patients had a favorable outcome (BNI score I–IIIa) compared to 54.2% and 49.6% of MVD+Rhiz and SRS patients, respectively (p = 0.02). In total, 0 (0%) SRS, 5 (9.3%) MVD, and 1 (4.2%) MVD+Rhiz patients developed any adverse event. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards analysis demonstrated that procedure type (p = 0.001) and postprocedure sensory change (p = 0.003) were statistically significantly associated with pain control.

CONCLUSIONS In this study cohort, patients who had undergone MVD had a statistically significantly longer duration of pain freedom than those who had undergone MVD+Rhiz or SRS as their first procedure. Fewer adverse events were seen after SRS, though the MVD-associated complication rate was comparable to published rates in younger patients. Overall, the results suggest that both MVD and SRS are effective options for the elderly, despite their advanced age. Treatment choice can be tailored to a patient’s unique condition and wishes.


Lateral lumbar interbody fusion in the elderly

J Neurosurg Spine 29:525–529, 2018

Elderly patients, often presenting with multiple medical comorbidities, are touted to be at an increased risk of peri- and postoperative complications following spine surgery. Various minimally invasive surgical techniques have been developed and employed to treat an array of spinal conditions while minimizing complications. Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) is one such approach. The authors describe clinical outcomes in patients over the age of 70 years following stand-alone LLIF.

METHODS A retrospective query of a prospectively maintained database was performed for patients over the age of 70 years who underwent stand-alone LLIF. Patients with posterior segmental fixation and/or fusion were excluded. The preoperative and postoperative values for the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) were analyzed to compare outcomes after intervention. Femoral neck t-scores were acquired from bone density scans and correlated with the incidence of graft subsidence.

RESULTS Among the study cohort of 55 patients, the median age at the time of surgery was 74 years (range 70–87 years). Seventeen patients had at least 3 medical comorbidities at surgery. Twenty-three patients underwent a 1-level, 14 a 2-level, and 18 patients a 3-level or greater stand-alone lateral fusion. The median estimated blood loss was 25 ml (range 5–280 ml). No statistically significant relationship was detected between volume of blood loss and the number of operative levels. The median length of hospital stay was 2 days (range 1–4 days). No statistically significant relationship was observed between the length of hospital stay and age at the time of surgery. There was one intraoperative death secondary to cardiac arrest, with a mortality rate of 1.8%. One patient developed a transient femoral nerve injury. Five patients with symptomatic graft subsidence subsequently underwent posterior instrumentation. A lower femoral neck t-score < -1.0 correlated with a higher incidence of graft subsidence (p = 0.006). The mean ODI score 1 year postoperatively of 31.1 was significantly (p = 0.003) less than the mean preoperative ODI score of 46.2.

CONCLUSIONS Stand-alone LLIF can be safely and effectively performed in the elderly population. Careful evaluation of preoperative bone density parameters should be employed to minimize risk of subsidence and need for additional surgery. Despite an association with increased comorbidities, age alone should not be a deterrent when considering stand-alone LLIF in the elderly population.


Endonasal endoscopic pituitary surgery in the elderly

J Neurosurg 128:429–436, 2018

Pituitary adenomas are benign, slow-growing tumors that cause symptoms either through mass effect or hormone overproduction. The decision to operate on a healthy young person is relatively straightforward. In the elderly population, however, the risks of complications may increase, rendering the decision more complex. Few studies have documented the risks of surgery using the endonasal endoscopic approach in a large number of elderly patients. The purpose of this study was to audit a single center’s data regarding outcomes of purely endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal resection of pituitary adenomas in elderly patients and to compare them to the current literature.

METHODS A retrospective review of a prospectively acquired database of all endonasal endoscopic surgeries done by the senior authors was queried for patients aged 60–69 years and for those aged 70 years or older. Demographic and radiographic preoperative data were reviewed. Outcomes with respect to extent of resection and complications were examined and compared with appropriate statistical tests.

RESULTS A total of 135 patents were identified (81 aged 60–69 years and 54 aged 70 years or older [70+]). The average tumor diameter was slightly larger for the patients in the 70+ age group (mean [SD] 25.7 ± 9.2 mm) than for patients aged 60–69 years (23.1 ± 9.8 mm, p = 0.056). There was no significant difference in intraoperative blood loss (p > 0.99), length of stay (p = 0.22), or duration of follow-up (p = 0.21) between the 2 groups. There was a 7.4% complication rate in patients aged 60–69 years (3 nasal and 3 medical complications) and an 18.5% complication rate in patients older than 70 years (4 cranial, 3 nasal, 1 visual, and 2 medical complications; p = 0.05 overall and 0.013 for cranial complications). Cranial complications in the 70+ age category included 2 postoperative hematomas, 1 pseudoaneurysm formation, and 1 case of symptomatic subdural hygromas.

CONCLUSIONS Endonasal endoscopic surgery in elderly patients is safe, but there is a graded increase in complication rates with increasing age. The decision to operate on an asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patient in these age groups should take this increasing complication rate into account. The use of a lumbar drain or lumbar punctures should be weighed against the risk of subdural hematoma in patients with preexisting atrophy.

Developing an Algorithm for Optimizing Care of Elderly Patients With Glioblastoma

Neurosurgery 82:64–75, 2018

Elderly patients with glioblastoma have an especially poor prognosis; optimizing their medical and surgical care remains of paramount importance.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate patient and treatment characteristics of elderly vs nonelderly patients and develop an algorithm to predict elderly patients’ survival.

METHODS: Retrospective analysis of 554 patients (mean age=60.8; 42.0% female) undergoing first glioblastoma resection or biopsy at our institution (2005-2011).

RESULTS: Of the 554 patients, 218 (39%) were elderly (≥65 yr). Compared with nonelderly, elderly patients were more likely to receive biopsy only (26% vs 16%), have ≥1 medical comorbidity (40% vs 20%), and develop postresection morbidity (eg, seizure, delirium; 25% vs 14%), and were less likely to receive temozolomide (TMZ) (78% vs 90%) and gross total resection (31% vs 45%). To predict benefit of resection in elderly patients (n = 161), we identified 5 factors known in the preoperative period that predicted survival in a multivariate analysis. We then assigned points to each (1 point: Charlson comorbidity score >0, subtotal resection, tumor >3 cm; 2 points: preoperative weakness, Charlson comorbidity score >1, tumor >5 cm, age >75 yr; 4 points: age >85 yr). Having 3 to 5 points (n = 78, 56%) was associated with decreased survival compared to 0 to 2 points (n = 41, 29%, 8.5 vs 16.9 mo; P = .001) and increased survival compared to 6 to 9 points (n = 20, 14%, 8.5 vs 4.5 mo; P < .001). Patients with 6 to 9 points did not survive significantly longer than elderly patients receiving biopsy only (n = 57, 4.5 vs 2.7 mo; P = .58).

CONCLUSION: Further optimization of the medical and surgical care of elderly glioblastoma patients may be achieved by providing more beneficial therapies while avoiding unnecessary resection in those not likely to receive benefit from this intervention.


Morbidity and Mortality Associated with Surgery of Traumatic C2 Fractures in Octogenarians

Neurosurgery 80:854–862, 2017

Management of axis fractures in the elderly remains controversial. As the US population increasingly lives past 80 years, published C2 fracture morbidity/mortality profiles in younger cohorts (55+) have become less applicable to octogenarians.

OBJECTIVE: To report associations between surgery and mortality, hospital length of stay and discharge disposition in octogenarians with traumatic C2 fractures.

METHODS: Retrospective cohort study of 3847 patients age ≥ 80 years representing 17 702 incidents nationwide, divided into surgery/nonsurgery cohorts, using the National Sample Program of the National Trauma Data Bank from 2003 to 2012. Inpatient complications, mortality, length of stay, and discharge disposition are characterized; multivariable regression was utilized to determine associations between surgery and outcomes. Institutional Review Board (IRB): The National Sample Program dataset from the National Trauma Data Bank is fully deidentified and does not contain Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act identifiers; therefore, this study is exempt from IRB review at the University of California, San Francisco.

RESULTS: Incidence of surgery was 10.3%. Surgery was associated with increased pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and decubitus ulcer risks (P < .001). Inpatient mortality was 12.8% (nonsurgery—13.0%; surgery—10.3%; P = .120). Length of stay was 8.31±9.32 days (nonsurgery 7.78±9.21; surgery 12.86±9.07; P<.001) and showed an adjusted mean increase of 5.68 days with surgery (95% confidence interval [4.74-6.61]). Of patients surviving to discharge, 26% returned home (nonsurgery—26.8%; surgery— 18.8%; P=.001); surgery patientswere less likely to returnhome(odds ratio 0.59 [0.44-0.78]).

CONCLUSION: The present study confirms that surgery of traumatic C2 fractures in octogenarians does not significantly affect inpatient mortality and increases discharge to institutionalized care. Patients undergoing surgery are more likely to require longer hospitalization and suffer increased medical complications during their stay. Given the retrospective nature of this study, it is unclear whether these conclusions reflect differences in injury severity between surgery cohorts. This question may be considered in a future prospective study.

Bilateral chronic subdural hematoma: unilateral or bilateral drainage?

J Neurosurg 126:1905–1911, 2017

Bilateral chronic subdural hematoma (bCSDH) is a common neurosurgical condition frequently associated with the need for retreatment. The reason for the high rate of retreatment has not been thoroughly investigated. Thus, the authors focused on determining which independent predictors are associated with the retreatment of bCSDH with a focus on surgical laterality.

METHODS In a national database of CSDHs (Danish Chronic Subdural Hematoma Study) the authors retrospectively identified all bCSDHs treated in the 4 Danish neurosurgical departments over the 3-year period from 2010 to 2012. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to determine the relationship between retreatment of bCSDH and clinical, radiological, and surgical variables.

RESULTS Two hundred ninety-one patients with bCSDH were identified, and 264 of them underwent unilateral (136 patients) or bilateral (128 patients) surgery. The overall retreatment rate was 21.6% (57 of 264 patients). Cases treated with unilateral surgery had twice the risk of retreatment compared with cases undergoing bilateral surgery (28.7% vs 14.1%, respectively, p = 0.002). In accordance with previous studies, the data also showed that a separated hematoma density and the absence of postoperative drainage were independent predictors of retreatment.

CONCLUSIONS In bCSDHs bilateral surgical intervention significantly lowers the risk of retreatment compared with unilateral intervention and should be considered when choosing a surgical procedure.


Shunting of the over 80s in normal pressure hydrocephalus

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:987–994

Idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus is predominantly a disease of the elderly. By its nature, many of those who present to clinic are in advanced old age with multiple comorbidities. Majority of patients treated are younger than 80 years old. We present the clinical outcomes and complication rates of patients over the age of 80 years at the time of operation, during the past 11 years at a single institution.

Methods Retrospective analysis of clinical records of all patients over the age of 80 years, who presented to our institution between 2006 and 2016.

Results were analysed for co-morbidities, immediate and delayed complications, change in mobility/cognitive function post shunting of hydrocephalus.

Results 39 patients (24 male, 15 female) met criteria. Mean [SD] age at the time of shunt insertion was 84 years (+/− 3.22) (range 80–94). No patients developed immediate CSF infection or sub-dural collection, or extended length of stay due to surgical or anaesthetic complications. There were no perioperative or anaesthetic complications. 4 patients required a delayed surgical revision to encourage greater CSF drainage. 3 patients went on to develop delayed subdural haematoma, 1 of which was associated with trauma, 2 through overdrainage. 1 patient experienced poor post-operative wound healing and subsequently underwent removal of shunt. Of the 34 patient followed up, 27 patients (79.4%) improved in their mobility. (64.7%) patients/families reported symptomatic improvement in their cognition and memory. 6 (17.7%) patients did not experience an improvement in either mobility or cognitive function.

Conclusions Our data supports the assertion that, with proper patient selection, shunting of the over 80s with iNPH is a safe and effective procedure.

Management of the Elderly With Vertebral Compression Fractures

Management of the Elderly With Vertebral Compression Fractures

Neurosurgery 77:S33–S45, 2015

Vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) are the most common type of fracture secondary to osteoporosis. These fractures are associated with significant rates of morbidity and mortality and annual direct medical expenditures of more than $1 billion in the United States. Although many patients will respond favorably to nonsurgical care of their VCF, contemporary natural history data suggest that more than 40% of patients may fail to achieve significant pain relief within 12 months of symptom onset. As a result, percutaneous vertebral augmentation is often used to hasten symptom resolution and return of function. However, controversy regarding the role of kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty in the treatment of symptomatic VCFs exists.

The purposes of this review are (1) to outline the epidemiology of VCFs as well as the physical morbidity and economic impact of these injuries, (2) to familiarize the reader with the best available evidence surrounding the operative and nonoperative treatment of VCFs, and (3) to examine the literature pertaining to the cost-effectiveness of surgical management of VCFs with the overarching goal of helping physicians make informed decisions regarding symptomatic VCF treatment.

Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery in the Elderly: Does It Make Sense?

Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery in the Elderly- Does It Make Sense

Neurosurgery 77:S108–S115, 2015

Lumbar degenerative disease can have varied pathoanatomy, with stenosis, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis contributing to significant pain and disability. Among appropriately selected patients, surgical intervention can treat both back pain and leg pain and improve quality of life in a cost-effective manner with an acceptable safety profile. The evolution of minimally invasive surgical (MIS) techniques offers the potential to decrease the physiological impact of surgery and to improve the complication profile while achieving the same spine surgical objectives. The utility of such techniques among elderly patients >65 years of age has not been rigorously evaluated, and this systematic review sought to define the utility and safety of MIS spinal surgery for decompression, interbody fusion, and deformity correction in this population.

Review of 2 studies for MIS lumbar decompression reveals that the majority of elderly patients exhibit significant improvements in pain (change in visual analog score for leg pain, 3.4 points) and disability (change in Oswestry Disability Index, 19 points), with inadvertent durotomy in 3% of patients. Review of 4 studies for MIS lumbar interbody fusion reveals robust improvement in pain (change in visual analog score for leg pain, 3.4 points; change in visual analog score for back pain, 7.2 points), with inadvertent durotomy in 5% of patients.

Narrative review was performed for adult degenerative deformity correction, revealing that MIS techniques are feasible for managing such patients with acceptable rates of osseous union and complication. On the basis of largely low-quality, retrospective evidence, we recommend that elderly patients should not be excluded from MIS interventions for symptomatic lumbar degenerative spinal disease.

Intracranial meningioma surgery in the elderly (over 65 years): prognostic factors and outcome

Tuberculum Sellae Meningiomas

Acta Neurochir 157 (9): 1549-1557

Meningiomas are more prevalent in elderly individuals; however, the surgical outcome and prognostic factors in this age group are unclear. This retrospective study aimed to identify the prognostic factors of elderly patients with intracranial meningiomas who underwent surgical resection.


Eighty-six patients (aged ≥65) diagnosed with an intracranial meningioma were surgically treated at our department. The clinical, radiological, and follow-up data were retrospectively reviewed. Univariate and multivariate logistic analyses were performed to identify relationships between factors [age, sex, neurological condition, concomitant disease, American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA) classification, preoperative Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score, tumor location and size, peritumoral edema, and Simpson resection grade] and outcome.


One patient (1.2 %) died within 30 days of surgery. The morbidity rate was 37.2 %. Postoperative morbidities occurred more frequently in the patients with preoperative neurological deficits than in those without (p = 0.049). Univariate analysis identified significant relationships between a low KPS score (≤70) at discharge and preoperative neurological deficits, low preoperative KPS score (≤70), and critical tumor location (p < 0.001, p < 0.001, and p = 0.04, respectively). In the multivariate logistic analysis, only the preoperative KPS score remained significant for the KPS score at discharge (p = 0.005); there was no significant association with the most recent KPS score.


The outcome of intracranial meningioma resection in elderly individuals is favorable if the preoperative KPS score is >70 and no neurological deficits are present. Treatment decisions should be patient-specific, and additional factors should be considered when operations are performed in patients with a low preoperative KPS score or neurological deficits.

Transsphenoidal surgical treatment of pituitary adenomas in patients aged 80 years or older

Pituitary adenomas patients aged 80

Neurosurg Rev (2014) 37:269–277

To know the clinical characteristics of pituitary adenomas in the elderly patients aged 80 years or older who were surgically treated.

From1995 through 2012, 907 patients underwent surgery for the pituitary adenomas at Kagoshima and Hiroshima University hospitals in Japan. Ten (1.1 %) patients were aged 80 years or older. We retrospectively assessed the clinical characteristics including preoperative comorbidities, manifestations, neuroimaging findings, and endocrinologic features of these ten patients.

The subjects included eight males and two females. Their ages ranged from 80 to 86 with mean of 83.1 years. Of these, besides one case of growth hormone-producing adenoma, others were clinically nonfunctioning adenoma. Six patients had modest comorbidities such as hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, or chronic kidney dysfunction, and all patients were classified into grade 2–3 on American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Physical Status grading. Transsphenoidal surgery was performed in all due to visual disturbance in eight, diabetes mellitus as an intercurrent illness of acromegaly in one, and for the purpose of preventing visual disturbance in one patient who had an adenoma impinging optic chiasm but still had normal visual field. The surgeries provided sufficient decompression of the optic pathways and improved visual disorder in all. In an acromegalic male, his comorbidities considerably improved. No permanent surgical morbidity ensued. More than three axes of anterior pituitary hormones were preoperatively impaired in all, which were rarely recovered.

Transsphenoidal surgery is safe and efficient treatment way for patients aged 80 years or older with pituitary adenomas with chiasmatic symptoms when the patients’ general condition is well preserved and pituitary hormonal deficiency is adequately replaced.

Delayed Neurological Deterioration After Mild Head Injury: Cause, Temporal Course, and Outcomes


Neurosurgery 73:753–760, 2013

Mild head injury (MHI) complicated by an intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) is a common cause of hospital admission after head trauma. Most patients are treated nonoperatively, remain neurologically stable, and are discharged uneventfully. However, a small percentage of patients suffer delayed neurological deterioration (DND). Little is known about the characteristics of DND after an MHI complicated by ICH.

OBJECTIVE: To identify the cause, temporal course, and outcomes of patients who deteriorated neurologically after presenting with MHI and ICH. METHODS: A retrospective review was performed of all adult patients presenting over 54 consecutive months with MHI and ICH. Patients who were treated nonoperatively after initial head computed tomography and had a subsequent DND (Glasgow Coma Scale score decrease $2) were identified. Demographics, neurological status, clinical course, radiographic findings, and outcome data were collected.

RESULTS: Over 54 months, 757 patients with MHI plus ICH were admitted for observation; of these, 31 (4.1%) experienced DND. Eighty-seven percent of patients deteriorated within 24 hours after admission. Twenty-one patients (68%) deteriorated as a result of progressive intracranial hemorrhage, and 10 patients (32%) deteriorated as a result of medical causes. Seven patients (23%) died. Variables significantly associated with mortality included age . 60 years, coagulopathy, and change in Marshall computed tomography classification.

CONCLUSION: The incidence of delayed neurological deterioration after MHI with ICH is low and usually occurs within 24 hours after admission. It results in significant morbidity and mortality if it is the result of progressive intracranial hemorrhage. Further research is needed to identify risk factors that can allow early detection and improve outcomes in these patients.