Robot-Assisted Minimally Invasive Asleep Single-Stage Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery

Operative Neurosurgery 26:363–371, 2024

Robotic assistance has garnered increased use in neurosurgery. Recently, this has expanded to include deep brain stimulation (DBS). Several studies have reported increased accuracy and improved efficiency with robotic assistance, but these are limited to individual robotic platforms with smaller sample sizes or are broader studies on robotics not specific to DBS. Our objectives are to report our technique for robot-assisted, minimally invasive, asleep, single-stage DBS surgery and to perform a meta-analysis comparing techniques from previous studies.

METHODS: We performed a single-center retrospective review of DBS procedures using a floor-mounted robot with a frameless transient fiducial array registration. We compiled accuracy data (radial entry error, radial target error, and 3dimensional target error) and efficiency data (operative time, setup time, and total procedure time). We then performed a meta-analysis of previous studies and compared these metrics.

RESULTS: We analyzed 315 electrodes implanted in 160 patients. The mean radial target error was 0.9 ± 0.5 mm, mean target 3-dimensional error was 1.3 ± 0.7 mm, and mean radial entry error was 1.1 ± 0.8 mm. The mean procedure time (including pulse generator placement) was 182.4 ± 47.8 minutes, and the mean setup time was 132.9 ± 32.0 minutes. The overall complication rate was 8.8% (2.5% hemorrhagic/ischemic, 2.5% infectious, and 0.6% revision). Our meta-analysis showed increased accuracy with floor-mounted over skull-mounted robotic platforms and with fiducial-based registrations over optical registrations.

CONCLUSION: Our technique for robot-assisted, minimally invasive, asleep, single-stage DBS surgery is safe, accurate, and efficient. Our data, combined with a meta-analysis of previous studies, demonstrate that robotic assistance can provide similar or increased accuracy and improved efficiency compared with traditional frame-based techniques. Our analysis also suggests that floor-mounted robots and fiducial-based registration methods may be more accurate.


Minimally invasive keyhole approach for supramaximal frontal glioma resections

J Neurosurg 140:949–957, 2024

The authors aimed to review the frontal lobe’s surgical anatomy, describe their keyhole frontal lobectomy technique, and analyze the surgical results.

METHODS Patients with newly diagnosed frontal gliomas treated using a keyhole approach with supramaximal resection (SMR) from 2016 to 2022 were retrospectively reviewed. Surgeries were performed on patients asleep and awake. A human donor head was dissected to demonstrate the surgical anatomy. Kaplan-Meier curves were used for survival analysis.

RESULTS Of the 790 craniotomies performed during the study period, those in 47 patients met our inclusion criteria. The minimally invasive approach involved four steps: 1) debulking the frontal pole; 2) subpial dissection identifying the sphenoid ridge, olfactory nerve, and optic nerve; 3) medial dissection to expose the falx cerebri and interhemispheric structures; and 4) posterior dissection guided by motor mapping, avoiding crossing the inferior plane defined by the corpus callosum. A fifth step could be added for nondominant lesions by resecting the inferior frontal gyrus. Perioperative complications were recorded in 5 cases (10.6%). The average hospital length of stay was 3.3 days. High-grade gliomas had a median progression-free survival of 14.8 months and overall survival of 23.9 months.

CONCLUSIONS Keyhole approaches enabled successful SMR of frontal gliomas without added risks. Robust anatomical knowledge and meticulous surgical technique are paramount for obtaining successful resections.

Minimally Invasive Approaches for Lumbosacral Plexus Schwannomas

Operative Neurosurgery 26:149–155, 2024

Lumbosacral plexus schwannomas (LSPSs) are benign, slow-growing tumors that arise from the myelin sheath of the lumbar or sacral plexus nerves. Surgery is the treatment of choice for symptomatic LSPSs. Conventional retroperitoneal or transabdominal approaches provide wide exposure of the lesion but are often associated with complications in the abdominal wall, lumbar or sacral plexus, ureter, and intraperitoneal organs. Advances in technology and minimally invasive (MIS) techniques have provided alternative approaches with reliable efficacy compared with traditional open surgery. We describe 3 MIS approaches using tubular retractor systems according to the lesion level.

METHODS: This was a multicenter, retrospective observational cohort study to evaluate the use of MIS tubular approaches for surgical resection of LSPSs. We included 23 lumbar and upper sacral plexus schwannomas. Clinical presentation, spinal level, surgical duration, degree of resection, days of hospitalization, pathological anatomy of the tumor, approach-related surgical difficulties, and outcomes were collected.

RESULTS: The posterior oblique approach was used in 43.5% of the cases, the transpsoas approach in 39.1%, and the transiliac in 17.4%. The mean operative time was 3.3 hours, and the mean hospitalization was 2.5 days. All tumors were WHO grade 1 schwannoma. Postoperative MRI confirms gross total resection in 91.3% of the patients. No patient requires instrumentation. The pros and cons of each approach were summarized.

CONCLUSION: The MIS approaches adapted to the lumbar level may improve surgeons’ comfort allowing a safe resection of retroperitoneal LSPS.

Prognostic significance of perihematomal edema in basal ganglia hemorrhage after minimally invasive endoscopic evacuation

J Neurosurg 139:1784–1791, 2023

Spontaneous basal ganglia hemorrhage is a common type of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) with no definitive treatment. Minimally invasive endoscopic evacuation is a promising therapeutic approach for ICH. In this study the authors examined prognostic factors associated with long-term functional dependence (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score ≥ 4) in patients who had undergone endoscopic evacuation of basal ganglia hemorrhage.

METHODS In total, 222 consecutive patients who underwent endoscopic evacuation between July 2019 and April 2022 at four neurosurgical centers were enrolled prospectively. Patients were dichotomized into functionally independent (mRS score ≤ 3) and functionally dependent (mRS score ≥ 4) groups. Hematoma and perihematomal edema (PHE) volumes were calculated using 3D Slicer software. Predictors of functional dependence were assessed using logistic regression models.

RESULTS Among the enrolled patients, the functional dependence rate was 45.50%. Factors independently associated with long-term functional dependence included female sex, older age (≥ 60 years), Glasgow Coma Scale score ≤ 8, larger preoperative hematoma volume (OR 1.02), and larger postoperative PHE volume (OR 1.03, 95% CI 1.01–1.05). A subsequent analysis evaluated the effect of stratified postoperative PHE volume on functional dependence. Specifically, patients with large (≥ 50 to < 75 ml) and extra-large (≥ 75 to 100 ml) postoperative PHE volumes had 4.61 (95% CI 0.99–21.53) and 6.75 (95% CI 1.20–37.85) times greater likelihood of long-term dependence, respectively, than patients with a small postoperative PHE volume (≥ 10 to < 25 ml).

CONCLUSIONS A large postoperative PHE volume is an independent risk factor for functional dependence among basal ganglia hemorrhage patients after endoscopic evacuation, especially with postoperative PHE volume ≥ 50 ml.

Utility of minimally invasive endoscopic skull base approaches for the treatment of drug-resistant mesial temporal lobe epilepsy

J Neurosurg 139:1604–1612, 2023

Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE) is an important cause of drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE) in adults and children. Traditionally, the surgical option of choice for mTLE includes a frontotemporal craniotomy and open resection of the anterior temporal cortex and mesial temporal structures. Although this technique is effective and durable, the neuropsychological morbidity resulting from temporal neocortical resections has resulted in the investigation of alternative approaches to resect the mesial temporal structures to achieve seizure freedom while minimizing postoperative cognitive deficits. Outcomes supporting the use of selective temporal resections have resulted in alternative approaches to directly access the mesial temporal structures via endoscopic approaches whose direct trajectory to the epileptogenic zone minimizes retraction, resection, and manipulation of surrounding cortex.

The authors reviewed the utility of the endoscopic transmaxillary, endoscopic endonasal, endoscopic transorbital, and endoscopic supracerebellar transtentorial approaches for the treatment of drug-resistant mesial temporal lobe epilepsy. First, a review of the literature demonstrated the anatomical feasibility of each approach, including the limits of exposure provided by each trajectory. Next, clinical data assessing the safety and effectiveness of these techniques in the treatment of DRE were analyzed. An outline of the surgical techniques is provided to highlight the technical nuances of each approach.

The direct access to mesial temporal structures and avoidance of lateral temporal manipulation makes endoscopic approaches promising alternatives to traditional methods for the treatment of DRE arising from the temporal pole and mesial temporal lobe. A dearth of literature outlining clinical outcomes, a need for qualified cosurgeons, and a lack of experience with endoscopic approaches remain major barriers to widespread application of the aforementioned techniques. Future studies are warranted to define the utility of these approaches moving forward.

Midline lumbar interbody fusion: a review of the surgical technique and outcomes

J Neurosurg Spine 39:462–470, 2023

Midline lumbar interbody fusion (MidLIF) is a mini-open posterior interbody fusion technique defined by a cortical screw trajectory wherein screws are placed from a more medial to lateral trajectory compared with traditional pedicle screws. This enables the surgeon to perform a smaller muscle dissection with the benefits of improved blood loss, less muscle retraction, decreased operative time, shorter length of stay, and improved back pain outcomes compared with the traditional posterior lumbar interbody fusion techniques utilizing pedicle screw fixation.

Importantly, MidLIF offers comparable clinical outcomes and radiographic outcomes to other posterior lumbar interbody fusion techniques.

In the current review, the authors aimed to educate readers about the MidLIF surgical technique, as well as surgical, clinical, radiographic, cost effectiveness, and biomechanical outcomes, when compared with both open and minimally invasive posterior lumbar interbody fusion techniques with pedicle screw fixation.

Readers will be able to utilize this information to determine how the MidLIF procedure compares as an alternative to traditional techniques.

Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion in the Ambulatory Surgery Center Versus Inpatient Setting: A 1-Year Comparative Effectiveness Analysis

Neurosurgery 93:867–874, 2023

Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) have emerged as an alternative setting for surgical care as part of the national effort to lower health care costs. The literature regarding the safety of minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS TLIF) in the ASC setting is limited to few small case series.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the safety and efficacy of MIS TLIF performed in the ASC vs inpatient hospital setting.

METHODS: A total of 775 patients prospectively enrolled in the Quality Outcomes Database undergoing single-level MIS TLIF at a single ASC (100) or the inpatient hospital setting (675) were compared. Propensity matching generated 200 patients for analysis (100 per cohort). Demographic data, resource utilization, patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs), and patient satisfaction were assessed.

RESULTS: There were no significant differences regarding baseline demographic data, clinical history, or comorbidities after propensity matching. Only 1 patient required inpatient transfer from the ASC because of intractable pain. All other patients were discharged home within 23 hours of surgery. The rates of 90-day readmission (2.0%) and reoperation (0%) were equivalent between groups. Both groups experienced significant improvements in all PROMs (Oswestry Disability Index, EuroQol-5D, back pain, and leg pain) at 3 months that were maintained at 1 year. PROMs did not differ between groups at any time point. Patient satisfaction was similar between groups at 3 and 12 months after surgery.

CONCLUSION: In carefully selected patients, MIS TLIF may be performed safely in the ASC setting with no statistically significant difference in safety or efficacy in comparison with the inpatient setting.

Surgical Resection of Deep-Seated Arteriovenous Malformations Through Stereotactically Guided Tubular Retractor Systems

Operative Neurosurgery 24:499–506, 2023

Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) in the subcortical and/or periventricular regions can cause significant intraventricular and intracranial hemorrhage. These AVMs can pose a unique surgical challenge because traditional, open approaches to the periventricular region require significant cortical/white matter retraction to establish sufficient operative corridors, which may result in risk of neurological injury. Minimally invasive tubular retractor systems represent a novel, feasible surgical option for treating deep-seated AVMs.

OBJECTIVE: To explore 5 cases of NICO BrainPath-assisted resection of subcortical/ periventricular AVMs.

METHODS: Five patients from a single institution were operated on for deep-seated AVMs using tubular retractor systems. Collected data included demographics, AVM specifications, preoperative neurological status, postoperative neurological status, and postoperative/intraoperative angiogram results.

RESULTS: Five patients, ranging from age 10 to 45 years, underwent mini-craniotomy for stereotactically guided tubular retractor-assisted AVM resection using neuronavigation for selecting a safe operative corridor. No preoperative embolization was necessary. Mean maximum AVM nidal diameter was 8.2 mm. All deep-seated AVMs were completely resected without complications. All AVMs demonstrated complete obliteration on intraoperative angiogram and on 6-month follow-up angiogram.

CONCLUSION: Minimally invasive tubular retractors are safe and present a promising surgical option for well-selected deep-seated AVMs. Furthermore, study may elucidate whether tubular retractors improve outcomes after microsurgical AVM resection secondary to mitigation of iatrogenic retraction injury risk.

Minimally Invasive Preganglionic C2 Root Section for Occipital Neuralgia

Operative Neurosurgery 24:E148–E152, 2023

Occipital neuralgia is a painful condition that is believed to occur from processes that affect the greater, lesser, or third occipital nerves. Diagnosis is often made with a combination of classical symptoms, tenderness over the occipital region, and response to occipital nerve blocks. Cervical computed tomography or MRI may be obtained in multiple positions to detect any impingement. Diagnosis can be made with MRI tractography. Nonsurgical treatments include local anesthetic and steroid injections, anticonvulsant medications, botulinum toxin injections, physical therapy, acupuncture, transcutaneous electrical stimulation, cryoneurolysis, and radiofrequency ablation. Surgical treatments include greater occipital nerve decompression, C2 root section, intradural dorsal root rhizotomy, C1-2 fusion, and occipital nerve stimulation. Although stimulation has been favored in the past decade, complications and maintenance of the devices have led us to return to C2 ganglionectomy.

OBJECTIVE: To report on the use of a minimally invasive technique for C2 ganglionectomy to treat occipital neuralgia.

METHODS: Review demographic, surgery, and outcome data of a minimally invasive C2 root ganglionectomy used to treat to 2 patients with occipital neuralgia.

RESULTS: We report on 2 patients with clinically stereotypical unilateral occipital neuralgia confirmed by greater occipital nerve block, but with no imaging correlate. Both were successfully managed by C2 ganglionectomy through an 18-mm tubular retractor and outpatient surgery. Accompanying text, still photographs, and video describe the technique in detail.

CONCLUSION: Minimally invasive C2 ganglionectomy can be used to successfully treat occipital neuralgia.

Percutaneous Direct Pars Repair in Young Athletes

Neurosurgery 92:263–270, 2023

Lumbar pars defects are common in adolescent athletes and are often due to recurrent axial loading and traumatic stressors.

OBJECTIVE: To present an updated case series of young athletes who underwent percutaneous direct pars repair after failure of conservative management.

METHODS: A single-center, nonrandomized, retrospective observation study of athletes who were referred for minimally invasive direct pars repair after failure of at least 6 months of conservative management was performed. Summary demographic information, clinical features of presentation, perioperative and intraoperative radiographic imaging, and visual analog scale back pain scores were collected and analyzed.

RESULTS: A total of 21 patients were included (mean age [± SD] 17.47 ± 3.02 years, range 14-25 years), 6 of whom were female (29%). All patients presented with bilateral pars fractures, with L5 being the most frequent level involved (n = 13). The average follow-up time was 31.52 ± 9.38 months (range 3-110 months). The visual analog scale score for back pain was significantly reduced from 7.62 ± 1.83 preoperatively to 0.28 ± 0.56 at the final postoperative examination (P < .01). Fusion was noted in 20 of the 21 patients on final follow-up (95%).

CONCLUSION: Percutaneous direct pars repair is a safe and effective means in treating young adolescents who have failed conservative management. The advantages included minimized muscle and soft tissue dissection, reduced blood loss, and early mobilization and recovery. In young athletes who desire return to high-level physical activity, this surgical technique is of particular benefit and should be considered in this patient population.

Long-term functional independence after minimally invasive endoscopic intracerebral hemorrhage evacuation

J Neurosurg 138:154–164, 2023

Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a devastating form of stroke with no proven treatment. However, minimally invasive endoscopic evacuation is a promising potential therapeutic option for ICH. Herein, the authors examine factors associated with long-term functional independence (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score ≤ 2) in patients with spontaneous ICH who underwent minimally invasive endoscopic evacuation.

METHODS Patients with spontaneous supratentorial ICH who had presented to a large urban healthcare system from December 2015 to October 2018 were triaged to a central hospital for minimally invasive endoscopic evacuation. Inclusion criteria for this study included age ≥ 18 years, hematoma volume ≥ 15 ml, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score ≥ 6, premorbid mRS score ≤ 3, and time from ictus ≤ 72 hours. Demographic, clinical, and radiographic factors previously shown to impact functional outcome in ICH were included in a retrospective univariate analysis with patients dichotomized into independent (mRS score ≤ 2) and dependent (mRS score ≥ 3) outcome groups, according to 6-month mRS scores. Factors that reached a threshold of p < 0.05 in a univariate analysis were included in a multivariate logistic regression.

RESULTS A total of 90 patients met the study inclusion criteria. The median preoperative hematoma volume was 41 (IQR 27–65) ml and the median postoperative volume was 1.2 (0.3–7.5) ml, resulting in a median evacuation percentage of 97% (85%–99%). The median hospital length of stay was 17 (IQR 9–25) days, and 8 (9%) patients died within 30 days of surgery. Twenty-four (27%) patients had attained functional independence by 6 months. Factors independently associated with long-term functional independence included lower NIHSS score at presentation (OR per point 0.78, 95% CI 0.67–0.91, p = 0.002), lack of intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH; OR 0.20, 95% CI 0.05–0.77, p = 0.02), and shorter time to evacuation (OR per hour 0.95, 95% CI 0.91–0.99, p = 0.007). Specifically, patients who had undergone evacuation within 24 hours of ictus demonstrated an mRS score ≤ 2 rate of 36% and were associated with an increased likelihood of long-term independence (OR 17.7, 95% CI 1.90–164, p = 0.01) as compared to those who had undergone evacuation after 48 hours.

CONCLUSIONS In a single-center minimally invasive endoscopic ICH evacuation cohort, NIHSS score on presentation, lack of IVH, and shorter time to evacuation were independently associated with functional independence at 6 months. Factors associated with functional independence may help to better predict populations suitable for minimally invasive endoscopic evacuation and guide protocols for future clinical trials.

Comparison of local and regional radiographic outcomes in minimally invasive and open TLIF

J Neurosurg Spine 37:384–394, 2022

Local and regional radiographic outcomes following minimally invasive (MI) transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) versus open TLIF remain unclear. The purpose of this study was to provide a comprehensive assessment of local and regional radiographic parameters following MI-TLIF and open TLIF. The authors hypothesized that open TLIF provides greater segmental and global lordosis correction than MI-TLIF.

METHODS A single-center retrospective cohort study of consecutive patients undergoing MI- or open TLIF for grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis was performed. One-to-one nearest-neighbor propensity score matching (PSM) was used to match patients who underwent open TLIF to those who underwent MI-TLIF. Sagittal segmental radiographic measures included segmental lordosis (SL), anterior disc height (ADH), posterior disc height (PDH), foraminal height (FH), percent spondylolisthesis, and cage position. Lumbopelvic radiographic parameters included overall lumbar lordosis (LL), pelvic incidence (PI)–lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) mismatch, sacral slope (SS), and pelvic tilt (PT). Change in segmental or overall lordosis after surgery was considered “lordosing” if the change was > 0° and “kyphosing” if it was ≤ 0°. Student t-tests or Wilcoxon rank-sum tests were used to compare outcomes between MI-TLIF and open-TLIF groups.

RESULTS A total of 267 patients were included in the study, 114 (43%) who underwent MI-TLIF and 153 (57%) who underwent open TLIF, with an average follow-up of 56.6 weeks (SD 23.5 weeks). After PSM, there were 75 patients in each group. At the latest follow-up both MI- and open-TLIF patients experienced significant improvements in assessment scores obtained with the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and the numeric rating scale for low-back pain (NRS-BP), without significant differences between groups (p > 0.05). Both MI- and open-TLIF patients experienced significant improvements in SL, ADH, and percent corrected spondylolisthesis compared to baseline (p < 0.001). However, the MI-TLIF group experienced significantly larger magnitudes of correction with respect to these metrics (ΔSL 4.14° ± 4.35° vs 1.15° ± 3.88°, p < 0.001; ΔADH 4.25 ± 3.68 vs 1.41 ± 3.77 mm, p < 0.001; percent corrected spondylolisthesis: −10.82% ± 6.47% vs −5.87% ± 8.32%, p < 0.001). In the MI-TLIF group, LL improved in 44% (0.3° ± 8.5°) of the cases, compared to 48% (0.9° ± 6.4°) of the cases in the open-TLIF group (p > 0.05). Stratification by operative technique (unilateral vs bilateral facetectomy) and by interbody device (static vs expandable) did not yield statistically significant differences (p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS Both MI- and open-TLIF patients experienced significant improvements in patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures and local radiographic parameters, with neutral effects on regional alignment. Surprisingly, in our cohort, change in SL was significantly greater in MI-TLIF patients, perhaps reflecting the effect of operative techniques, technological innovations, and the preservation of the posterior tension band. Taking these results together, no significant overall differences in LL between groups were demonstrated, which suggests that MI-TLIF is comparable to open approaches in providing radiographic correction after surgery. These findings suggest that alignment targets can be achieved by either MI- or open-TLIF approaches, highlighting the importance of surgeon attention to these variables.

Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion: Cost of a Surgeon’s Learning Curve

World Neurosurg. (2022) 162:e1-e7

Minimally invasive transforaminal interbody fusion has become an increasingly common approach in adult degenerative spine disease but is associated with a steep learning curve. We sought to evaluate the impact of the learning experience on mean procedure time and mean cost associated with each procedure.

METHODS: We studied the first 100 consecutive minimally invasive transforaminal interbody fusion procedures of a single surgeon. We performed multivariable linear regression models, modeling operating time, and costs in function of the procedure order adjusted for patients’ age, sex, and number of surgical levels. The number of procedures necessary to attain proficiency was determined through a k-means cluster analysis. Finally, the total excess operative time and total excess cost until obtaining proficiency was evaluated.

RESULTS: Procedure order was found to impact procedure time and mean costs, with each successive case being associated with progressively less procedure time and cost. On average, each successive case was associated with a reduction in procedure time of 0.97 minutes (95% confidence interval 0.54e1.40; P < 0.001) and an average adjusted reduction in overall costs of $82.75 (95% confidence interval $35.93e129.57; P < 0.001). An estimated 58 procedures were needed to attain proficiency, translating into an excess procedure time of 2604.2 minutes (average of 45 minutes per case), overall costs associated with the learning experience of $226,563.8 (average of $3974.80 per case), and excess surgical cost of $125,836.6 (average of $2207.66 per case).

CONCLUSIONS: Successive cases were associated with progressively less procedure time and mean overall and surgical costs, until a proficiency threshold was attained.

Supraorbital and mini-pterional keyhole craniotomies for brain tumors

J Neurosurg 136:1314–1324, 2022

The authors’ objective was to compare the indications, outcomes, and anatomical limits of supraorbital (SO) and mini-pterional (MP) craniotomies in patients with intra- and extraaxial brain tumors, and to assess approach selection, utility of endoscopy, and surgical field overlap.

METHODS A retrospective analysis was conducted of all brain tumor patients who underwent an SO or MP approach. The analyzed characteristics included pathology, endoscopy use, extent of resection, length of stay (LOS), and complications. On the basis of preoperative MRI data, tumor heatmaps were constructed to compare surgical access provided by both routes, including coronal projection heatmaps for parasellar tumors.

RESULTS From 2007 to 2020, 158 patients underwent 173 (84.8%) SO craniotomies and 30 patients underwent 31 (15.2%) MP craniotomies; 71 (34.8%) procedures were reoperations. Of these 204 operations, 110 (63.6%) SO and 21 (67.7%) MP approaches were for extraaxial tumors (meningiomas in 65% and 76.2%, respectively). Gliomas and metastases together represented 84.1% and 70% of intraaxial tumors accessed with SO and MP approaches, respectively. Overall, 56.1% of tumors accessed with the SO approach and 41.9% of those accessed with the MP approach were in the parasellar region. Axial projection heatmaps showed that SO access extended along the entire ipsilateral and medial contralateral anterior cranial fossa, parasellar region, ipsilateral sylvian fissure, medial middle cranial fossa, and anterior midbrain, whereas MP access was limited to the ipsilateral middle cranial fossa, sylvian fissure, lateral parasellar region, and posterior aspect of anterior cranial fossa. Coronal projection heatmaps showed that parasellar access extended further superiorly with the SO approach compared with that of the MP approach. Endoscopy was utilized in 98 (56.6%) SO craniotomies and 7 (22.6%) MP craniotomies, with further tumor resection in 48 (49%) and 5 (71.4%) cases, respectively. Endoscope-assisted tumor removal was clustered in areas that were generally at farther distances from the craniotomy or in angled locations such as the cribriform plate region where microscopic visualization is limited. Gross-total or neartotal resection was achieved in 120/173 (69%) SO approaches and 21/31 (68%) MP approaches. Major complications occurred in 11 (6.4%) SO approaches and 1 (3.2%) MP approach (p = 0.49). The median LOS decreased to 2 days in the last 2 years of the study.

CONCLUSIONS This clinical experience suggests the SO and MP craniotomies are versatile, safe, and complementary approaches for tumors located in the anterior and middle cranial fossae and perisylvian and parasellar regions. The SO route, used in 85% of cases, achieved greater overall reach than the MP route. Both approaches may benefit from expanded visualization with endoscopy.


Robotic-Assisted vs Nonrobotic-Assisted Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion: A Cost-Utility Analysis

Neurosurgery 90:192–198, 2022

Management of degenerative disease of the spine has evolved to favor minimally invasive techniques, including nonrobotic-assisted and robotic-assisted minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS-TLIF). Value-based spending is being increasingly implemented to control rising costs in the US healthcare system. With an aging population, it is fundamental to understand which procedure(s) may be most cost-effective.

OBJECTIVE: To compare robotic and nonrobotic MIS-TLIF through a cost-utility analysis.

METHODS: We considered direct medical costs related to surgical intervention and to the hospital stay, as well as 1-yr utilities. We estimated costs by assessing all cases involving adults undergoing robotic surgery at a single institution and an equal number of patients undergoing nonrobotic surgery, matched by demographic and clinical characteristics. We adopted a willingness to pay of $50 000/quality-adjusted life year (QALY). Uncertainty was addressed by deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses.

RESULTS: Costs were estimated based on a total of 76 patients, including 38 undergoing robot-assisted and 38 matched patients undergoing nonrobot MIS-TLIF. Using point estimates, robotic surgery was projected to cost $21 546.80 and to be associated with 0.68 QALY, and nonrobotic surgery was projected to cost $22 398.98 and to be associated with 0.67 QALY. Robotic surgery was found to be more cost-effective strategy, with costeffectiveness being sensitive operating room/materials and room costs. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis identified robotic surgery as cost-effective in 63% of simulations.

CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that at a willingness to pay of $50 000/QALY, robotic assisted MIS-TLIF was cost-effective in 63% of simulations. Cost-effectiveness depends on operating room and room (admission) costs, with potentially different results under distinct neurosurgical practices.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Guided Stereotactic Laser Ablation of Deep Cerebral Cavernous Malformations

Neurosurgery 89:635–644, 2021

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (MRgLITT) has been used successfully to treat epileptogenic cortical cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM). It is unclear whether MRgLITT would be as feasible or safe for deep CCMs

OBJECTIVE: To describe our experience with MRgLITT for symptomatic deep CCMs

METHODS: Patients’records were reviewed retrospectively. MRgLITT was carried out using a commercially available system in an interventional MRI suite with efforts to protect adjacent brain structures. Immediate postoperative imaging was used to judge ablation adequacy. Delayed postoperative MRI was used to measure lesion volume changes during follow-up.

RESULTS: Four patients with CCM in the thalamus, putamen, midbrain, or subthalamus presented with persistent and disabling neurological symptoms. A total of 2 patients presented with disabling headaches and sensory disturbances and 2 with recurrent symptomatic hemorrhages, of which 1 had familial CCM. Patients were considered by vascular neurosurgeons to be poor candidates for open surgery or had refused it. Multiple trajectories were used in most cases. Adverse events included device malfunction with leakage of saline causing transient mass effect in one patient, and asymptomatic tract hemorrhage in another. One patient suffered an expected mild but persistent exacerbation of baseline deficits. All patients showed improvement from a previously aggressive clinical course with lesion volume decreased by 20% to 73% in follow-up.

CONCLUSION: MRgLITT is feasible in the treatment of symptomatic deep CCM but may carry a high risk of complications without the benefit of definitive resection. We recommend cautious patient selection, low laser power settings, and conservative temper- ature monitoring in surrounding brain parenchyma.

Safety of lateral access to the concave side for adult spinal deformity

J Neurosurg Spine 35:100–104, 2021

Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) techniques, particularly lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF), have become increasingly popular for adult spinal deformity (ASD) correction. Much discussion has been had regarding theoretical and clinical advantages to addressing coronal curvature from the convex versus concave side of the curve. In this study, the authors aimed to broadly evaluate the clinical outcomes of addressing ASD with circumferential MIS (cMIS) techniques while accessing the lumbar coronal curvature from the concave side.

METHODS A multi-institution, retrospective chart and radiographic review was performed for all ASD patients with at least a 10° curvature, as defined by the Scoliosis Research Society, who underwent cMIS correction. The data collected included convex versus concave access to the coronal curve, durable or sensory femoral nerve injury lasting longer than 6 weeks, vascular injury, visceral injury, and any additional major complication, with at least a 2-year follow-up. Neither health-related quality-of-life metrics nor spinopelvic parameters were included within the scope of this study.

RESULTS A total of 152 patients with ASD treated with cMIS correction via lateral access were identified and analyzed. Of these, 126 (82.9%) were approached from the concave side and 26 (17.1%) were approached from the convex side. In the concave group, 1 (0.8%) motor and 4 (3.2%) sensory deficit cases remained at 6 weeks after the operation. No vascular, visceral, or catastrophic intraoperative injuries were encountered in the concave group. Of the 26 patients in the convex group, 2 (7.7%) experienced motor deficits lasting longer than 6 weeks and 5 (19.2%) had lower-extremity sensory deficits.

CONCLUSIONS It has been reported that lateral access to the convex side is associated with similar clinical and radiographic outcomes with fewer complications when compared with access to the concave side. Advantages to approaching the lumbar spine from the concave side include using one incision to access multiple levels, breaking the operative table to assist with curvature correction, easier access to the L4–5 disc space, the ability to release the contracted side, and, often, avoidance of the need to access or traverse the thoracic cavity. This study illustrates the largest reported cohort of concave access for cMIS scoliosis correction; few postoperative sensory and motor deficits were found.


Coronal balance with circumferential minimally invasive spinal deformity surgery for the treatment of degenerative scoliosis

J Neurosurg Spine 34:879–887, 2021

Coronal malalignment (CM) in adult spinal deformity is associated with poor outcomes and remains underappreciated in the literature. Recent attempts at classifying CM indicate that some coronal shifts may be more difficult to treat than others. To date, outcomes for circumferential minimally invasive surgery (cMIS) of the spine in the context of these new CM classifications are unreported.

METHODS A retrospective evaluation of patients with degenerative scoliosis (Cobb angle > 20 ) consecutively treated with cMIS at a single institution was performed. Preoperative and 1-year postoperative standing radiographs were used to make the comparisons. Clinical outcome measures were compared. Patients were subgrouped according to the preoperative distance between their C7 plumb line and central sacral vertical line (C7-CSVL) as either coronally aligned (type A, C7-CSVL < 3 cm); shifted ≥ 3 cm toward the concavity (type B); or shifted ≥ 3 cm toward the convexity (type C) of the main lumbar curve.

RESULTS Forty-two patients were included (mean age 67.7 years). Twenty-six patients (62%) were classified as type A, 5 patients (12%) as type B, and 11 patients (26%) as type C. An average of 4.9 segments were treated. No type A patients developed postoperative CM. All type B patients had CM correction. Six of the 11 type C patients had CM after surgery. Overall, there was an improvement in the C7-CSVL (from 2.4 to 1.8 cm, p = 0.04). Among subgroups, only type B patients improved (from 4.5 to 0.8 cm, p = 0.002); no difference was seen for type A patients (from 1.2 to 1.4 cm, p = 0.32) or type C patients (from 4.3 to 3.1 cm, p = 0.11). Comparing type C patients with postoperative CM versus those without postoperative CM, patients with CM had worse visual analog scale back scores at 1 year (5 vs 1, p = 0.01). Moreover, they had higher postoperative L4 tilt angles (11  vs 5 , p = 0.01), indicating inadequate correction of the lumbosacral fractional curve.

CONCLUSIONS cMIS improved coronal alignment, curve magnitudes, and clinical outcomes among patients with degenerative scoliosis. It did not result in CM in type A patients and was successful at improving the C7-CSVL in type B patients. Type C patients remain the most difficult to treat coronally, with worse visual analog scale back pain scores in those with postoperative CM. Regional coronal restoration of the lumbosacral fracture curve should be the focus of correction in cMIS for these patients.


Minimally Invasive Intracerebral Hematoma Evacuation Using a Novel Cost-Effective Tubular Retractor

World Neurosurg. (2021) 150:42-53

Spontaneous intracerebral hematoma (ICH) is a common disease with a dismal overall prognosis. Recent development of minimally invasive ICH evacuation techniques has shown promising results. Commercially available tubular retractors are commonly used for minimally invasive ICH evacuation yet are globally unavailable.

METHODS: A novel U.S. $7 cost-effective, off-the-shelf, atraumatic tubular retractor for minimally invasive intracranial surgery is described. Patients with acute spontaneous ICH underwent microsurgical tubular retractor assisted minimally invasive ICH evacuation using the novel retractor. Patient outcome was retrospectively analyzed and compared with open surgery and with commercial tubular retractors.

RESULTS: Ten adult patients with spontaneous supratentorial ICH and median preoperative Glasgow Coma Scale score of 10 were included. ICH involved the frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipitotemporal region, and solely basal ganglia in 3, 3, 2, and 2 patients, respectively. Mean preoperative ICH volume was 80 mL. Mean residual hematoma volume was 8.7 mL and mean volumetric hematoma reduction was 91% (median, 94%). Seven patients (70%) underwent >90% volumetric hematoma reduction. The total median length of hospitalization was 26 days. On discharge, the median Glasgow Coma Scale score was 12.5 (mean, 11.7). Thirty to 90 days’ follow-up data were available for 9 patients (90%). The mean follow-up modified Rankin Scale score was 3.7 and 5 patients (56%) had a modified Rankin Scale score of 3.

CONCLUSIONS: The novel cost-effective tubular retractor and microsurgical technique offer a safe and effective method for minimally invasive ICH evacuation. Cost-effective tubular retractors may continue to present a valid alternative to commercial tubular retractors.

Comparative anatomical analysis between the minipterional and supraorbital approaches

J Neurosurg 134:1276–1284, 2021

Keyhole approaches, namely the minipterional approach (MPTa) and the supraorbital approach (SOa), are alternatives to the standard pterional approach to treat lesions located in the anterior and middle cranial fossae. Despite their increasing popularity and acceptance, the indications and limitations of these approaches require further assessment. The purpose of the present study was to determine the differences in the area of surgical exposure and surgical maneuverability provided by the MPTa and SOa.

METHODS The areas of surgical exposure afforded by the MPTa and SOa were analyzed in 12 sides of cadaver heads by using a microscope and a neuronavigation system. The area of exposure of the region of interest and surgical freedom (maneuverability) of each approach were calculated.

RESULTS The area of exposure was significantly larger in the MPTa than in the SOa (1250 ± 223 mm2 vs 939 ± 139 mm2, p = 0.002). The MPTa provided larger areas of exposure in the ipsilateral and midline compartments, whereas there was no significant difference in the area of exposure in the contralateral compartment. All targets in the anterior circulation had significantly larger areas of surgical freedom when treated via the MPTa versus the SOa.

CONCLUSIONS The MPTa provides greater surgical exposure and better maneuverability than that offered by the SOa. The SOa may be advantageous as a direct corridor for treating lesions located in the contralateral side or in the anterior cranial fossa, but the surgical exposure provided in the midline region is inferior to that exposed by the MPTa.