Targeted Epidural Blood Patch Injection Through a Mini-Open Approach for Treatment of Spontaneous Intracranial Hypotension

Operative Neurosurgery 26:398–405, 2024

Spontaneous intracranial hypotension is recognized as a cause for refractory headache. Treatment can range from blind blood patch injection to microsurgical repair of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak. The objective of the study was to investigate the safety and efficacy of the targeted blood patch injection (TBPI) technique through a mini-open approach in treatment of refractory intracranial hypotension.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed cases of 20 patients who were treated for spontaneous intracranial hypotension at our institute between 2011 and 2022. Head and spine MRI and whole-spine myelography were performed in an attempt to localize the CSF leak. All patients underwent implantation of two epidural drains above and beneath the index level through a minimally invasive interlaminar microsurgical approach under general anesthesia. Then, blood patch was injected under clinical surveillance. Treatment success and surgical complications were evaluated postoperatively and at follow-up.

RESULTS: Patients presented with orthostatic headache, vertigo, sensory deficits, and hypacusis (95%, 15%, 15%, and 10%, respectively). Subdural effusions were present in 65% of the cases. A CSF leak was identified in all patients. The exact site of the CSF leak could be identified in 80% of cases. TBPI was performed with an average blood amount of 37.5 mL. A significant improvement of symptoms was reported in 90% of the cases. A total of 15% of the patients showed recurrent symptoms and underwent a second TBPI, resulting in symptom relief. No therapy-related complications were reported.

CONCLUSION: TBPI is a safe and efficient treatment for spontaneous intracranial hypotension. It is performed in a minimally invasive procedure and can be repeated, if necessary, with a very low-risk profile.

Lateral‑PLIF for spinal arthrodesis

Acta Neurochirurgica (2024) 166:123

Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) surgery represents an effective option to treat degenerative conditions in the lumbar spine. To reduce the drawbacks of the classical technique, we developed a variant, so-called Lateral-PLIF, which we then evaluated through a prospective consecutive series of patients.

Methods All adult patients treated at our institute with single or double level Lateral-PLIF for lumbar degenerative disease from January to December 2017 were prospectively collected. Exclusion criteria were patients < 18 years of age, traumatic patients, active infection, or malignancy, as well as unavailability of clinical and/or radiological follow-up data. The technique consists of insert the cages bilaterally through the transition zone between the central canal and the intervertebral foramen, just above the lateral recess. Pre- and postoperative (2 years) questionnaires and phone interviews (4 years) assessed pain and functional outcomes. Data related to the surgical procedure, postoperative complications, and radiological findings (1 year) were collected.

Results One hundred four patients were selected for the final analysis. The median age was 58 years and primary symptoms were mechanical back pain (100, 96.1%) and/or radicular pain (73, 70.2%). We found a high fusion rate (95%). A statistically significant improvement in functional outcome was also noted (ODI p < 0.001, Roland-Morris score p < 0.001). Walking distance increased from 812 m ± 543 m to 3443 m ± 712 m (p < 0.001). Complications included dural tear (6.7%), infection/ wound dehiscence (4.8%), and instrument failure (1.9%) but no neurological deterioration.

Conclusions Lateral-PLIF is a safe and effective technique for lumbar interbody fusion and may be considered for further comparative study validation with other techniques before extensive use to treat lumbar degenerative disease.

Circulating Brain Injury Biomarkers: A Novel Method for Quantification of the Impact on the Brain After Tumor Surgery

Neurosurgery 93:847–856, 2023

Clinical methods to quantify brain injury related to neurosurgery are scarce. Circulating brain injury biomarkers have recently gained increased interest as new ultrasensitive measurement techniques have enabled quantification of brain injury through blood sampling.

OBJECTIVE: To establish the time profile of the increase in the circulating brain injury biomarkers glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), tau, and neurofilament light (NfL) after glioma surgery and to explore possible relationships between these biomarkers and outcome regarding volume of ischemic injury identified with postoperative MRI and new neurological deficits.

METHODS: In this prospective study, 34 adult patients scheduled for glioma surgery were included. Plasma concentrations of brain injury biomarkers were measured the day before surgery, immediately after surgery, and on postoperative days 1, 3, 5, and 10.

RESULTS: Circulating brain injury biomarkers displayed a postoperative increase in the levels of GFAP (P < .001), tau (P < .001), and NfL (P < .001) on Day 1 and a later, even higher, peak of NFL at Day 10 (P = .028). We found a correlation between the increased levels of GFAP, tau, and NfL on Day 1 after surgery and the volume of ischemic brain tissue on postoperative MRI. Patients with new neurological deficits after surgery had higher levels of GFAP and NfL on Day 1 compared with those without new neurological deficits.

CONCLUSION: Measuring circulating brain injury biomarkers could be a useful method for quantification of the impact on the brain after tumor surgery or neurosurgery in general.

Minimally invasive image‑guided endoscopic evacuation of intracerebral haemorrhage

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:1597–1602

Minimally invasive endoscopic hematoma evacuation (MEHE) is an emerging surgical technique for treating spontaneous supratentorial intracerebral haemorrhage (SSICH). Multiple studies, analysing whether the outcome after such a procedure is improved, are still ongoing.

Method We herein present the indications, advantages, and perioperative considerations for the surgical technique of MEHE applied at our institution.

Conclusion MEHE with a view through a transparent brain access device is a valid and safe approach for the surgical evacuation of SSICH.

Safety and technical efficacy of early minimally invasive endoscopy‑guided surgery for intracerebral haemorrhage: the Dutch Intracerebral haemorrhage Surgery Trial pilot study

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:1585–1596

Previous randomised controlled trials could not demonstrate that surgical evacuation of intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH) improves functional outcome. Increasing evidence suggests that minimally invasive surgery may be beneficial, in particular when performed early after symptom onset. The aim of this study was to investigate safety and technical efficacy of early minimally invasive endoscopy-guided surgery in patients with spontaneous supratentorial ICH.

Methods The Dutch Intracerebral Haemorrhage Surgery Trial pilot study was a prospective intervention study with blinded outcome assessment in three neurosurgical centres in the Netherlands. We included adult patients with spontaneous supratentorial ICH ≥10mL and National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score ≥2 for minimally invasive endoscopy-guided surgery within 8 h after symptom onset in addition to medical management. Primary safety outcome was death or increase in NIHSS ≥4 points at 24 h. Secondary safety outcomes were procedure-related serious adverse events (SAEs) within 7 days and death within 30 days. Primary technical efficacy outcome was ICH volume reduction (%) at 24 h.

Results We included 40 patients (median age 61 years; IQR 51–67; 28 men). Median baseline NIHSS was 19.5 (IQR 13.3–22.0) and median ICH volume 47.7mL (IQR 29.4–72.0). Six patients had a primary safety outcome, of whom two already deteriorated before surgery and one died within 24 h. Sixteen other SAEs were reported within 7 days in 11 patients (of whom two patients that already had a primary safety outcome), none device related. In total, four (10%) patients died within 30 days. Median ICH volume reduction at 24 h was 78% (IQR 50–89) and median postoperative ICH volume 10.5mL (IQR 5.1–23.8).

Conclusions Minimally invasive endoscopy-guided surgery within 8 h after symptom onset for supratentorial ICH appears to be safe and can effectively reduce ICH volume. Randomised controlled trials are needed to determine whether this intervention also improves functional outcome.

Trial registration Clinicaltrials. gov: NCT03608423, August 1st, 2018.

A Sensorised Surgical Glove to Analyze Forces During Neurosurgery

Neurosurgery 92:639–646, 2023

Measuring intraoperative forces in real time can provide feedback mechanisms to improve patient safety and surgical training. Previous force monitoring has been achieved through the development of specialized and adapted instruments or use designs that are incompatible with neurosurgical workflow.

OBJECTIVE: To design a universal sensorised surgical glove to detect intraoperative forces, applicable to any surgical procedure, and any surgical instrument in either hand.

METHODS: We created a sensorised surgical glove that was calibrated across 0 to 10 N. A laboratory experiment demonstrated that the sensorised glove was able to determine instrument-tissue forces. Six expert and 6 novice neurosurgeons completed a validated grape dissection task 20 times consecutively wearing the sensorised glove. The primary outcome was median and maximum force (N).

RESULTS: The sensorised glove was able to determine instrument-tissue forces reliably. The average force applied by experts (2.14 N) was significantly lower than the average force exerted by novices (7.15 N) (P = .002). The maximum force applied by experts (6.32 N) was also significantly lower than the maximum force exerted by novices (9.80 N) (P = .004). The sensorised surgical glove’s introduction to operative workflow was feasible and did not impede on task performance.

CONCLUSION: We demonstrate a novel and scalable technique to detect forces during neurosurgery. Force analysis can provide real-time data to optimize intraoperative tissue forces, reduce the risk of tissue injury, and provide objective metrics for training and assessment.

Novel Merging of CT and MRI to Allow for Safe Navigation into Kambin’s Triangle for Percutaneous Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Operative Neurosurgery 24:331–340, 2023

For percutaneous lumbar fusion (percLIF), magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography are critical to defining surgical corridors. Currently, these scans are performed separately, and surgeons then use fluoroscopy or neuromonitoring to guide instruments through Kambin’s triangle. However, anatomic variations and intraoperative positional changes are possible, meaning that safely accessing Kambin’s triangle remains a challenge because nerveroot visualization without endoscopes has not been thoroughly described.

OBJECTIVE: To overcome the known challenges of percLIF and reduce the likelihood of iatrogenic injuries by showing real-time locations of neural and bony anatomy.

METHODS: The authors demonstrate an intraoperative navigational platform that applies nerve root segmentation and image fusion to assist with percLIF. Five patients from a single institution were included.

RESULTS: Of the 5 patients, the mean age was 71 ± 8 years and 3 patients (60%) were female. One patient had general anesthesia while the remaining 4 patients underwent awake surgery with spinal anesthesia. The mean area for the L4-L5 Kambin’s triangle was 76.1 ± 14.5 mm2. A case example is shown where the side of approach was based on the fact that Kambin’s triangle was larger on one side compared with the other. The mean operative time was 170 ± 17 minutes, the mean blood loss was 32 ± 16 mL, and the mean hospital length of stay was 19.6 ± 8.3 hours. No patients developed postoperative complications.

CONCLUSION: This case series demonstrates the successful and safe application of nerve segmentation using magnetic resonance imaging/computed tomography fusion to perform percLIF and provide positive patient outcomes.

Dissociation of Broca’s area from Broca’s aphasia in patients undergoing neurosurgical resections

J Neurosurg 138:847–857, 2023

Broca’s aphasia is a syndrome of impaired fluency with retained comprehension. The authors used an unbiased algorithm to examine which neuroanatomical areas are most likely to result in Broca’s aphasia following surgical lesions.

METHODS Patients were prospectively evaluated with standardized language batteries before and after surgery. Broca’s area was defined anatomically as the pars opercularis and triangularis of the inferior frontal gyrus. Broca’s aphasia was defined by the Western Aphasia Battery language assessment. Resections were outlined from MRI scans to construct 3D volumes of interest. These were aligned using a nonlinear transformation to Montreal Neurological Institute brain space. A voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping (VLSM) algorithm was used to test for areas statistically associated with Broca’s aphasia when incorporated into a resection, as well as areas associated with deficits in fluency independent of Western Aphasia Battery classification. Postoperative MRI scans were reviewed in blinded fashion to estimate the percentage resection of Broca’s area compared to areas identified using the VLSM algorithm.

RESULTS A total of 289 patients had early language evaluations, of whom 19 had postoperative Broca’s aphasia. VLSM analysis revealed an area that was highly correlated (p < 0.001) with Broca’s aphasia, spanning ventral sensorimotor cortex and supramarginal gyri, as well as extending into subcortical white matter tracts. Reduced fluency scores were significantly associated with an overlapping region of interest. The fluency score was negatively correlated with fraction of resected precentral, postcentral, and supramarginal components of the VLSM area.

CONCLUSIONS Broca’s aphasia does not typically arise from neurosurgical resections in Broca’s area. When Broca’s aphasia does occur after surgery, it is typically in the early postoperative period, improves by 1 month, and is associated with resections of ventral sensorimotor cortex and supramarginal gyri.

 

Intraoperative confocal laser endomicroscopy: prospective in vivo feasibility study of a clinical-grade system for brain tumors

J Neurosurg 138:587–597, 2023

The authors evaluated the feasibility of using the first clinical-grade confocal laser endomicroscopy (CLE) system using fluorescein sodium for intraoperative in vivo imaging of brain tumors.

METHODS A CLE system cleared by the FDA was used in 30 prospectively enrolled patients with 31 brain tumors (13 gliomas, 5 meningiomas, 6 other primary tumors, 3 metastases, and 4 reactive brain tissue). A neuropathologist classified CLE images as interpretable or noninterpretable. Images were compared with corresponding frozen and permanent histology sections, with image correlation to biopsy location using neuronavigation. The specificities and sensitivities of CLE images and frozen sections were calculated using permanent histological sections as the standard for comparison. A recently developed surgical telepathology software platform was used in 11 cases to provide real-time intraoperative consultation with a neuropathologist.

RESULTS Overall, 10,713 CLE images from 335 regions of interest were acquired. The mean duration of the use of the CLE system was 7 minutes (range 3–18 minutes). Interpretable CLE images were obtained in all cases. The first interpretable image was acquired within a mean of 6 (SD 10) images and within the first 5 (SD 13) seconds of imaging; 4896 images (46%) were interpretable. Interpretable image acquisition was positively correlated with study progression, number of cases per surgeon, cumulative length of CLE time, and CLE time per case (p ≤ 0.01). The diagnostic accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of CLE compared with frozen sections were 94%, 94%, and 100%, respectively, and the diagnostic accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of CLE compared with permanent histological sections were 92%, 90%, and 94%, respectively. No difference was observed between lesion types for the time to first interpretable image (p = 0.35). Deeply located lesions were associated with a higher percentage of interpretable images than superficial lesions (p = 0.02). The study met the primary end points, confirming the safety and feasibility and acquisition of noninvasive digital biopsies in all cases. The study met the secondary end points for the duration of CLE use necessary to obtain interpretable images. A neuropathologist could interpret the CLE images in 29 (97%) of 30 cases.

CONCLUSIONS The clinical-grade CLE system allows in vivo, intraoperative, high-resolution cellular visualization of tissue microstructure and identification of lesional tissue patterns in real time, without the need for tissue preparation.

Radiological Differentiation Between Intracranial Meningioma and Solitary Fibrous Tumor/Hemangiopericytoma

World Neurosurg. (2023) 170:68-83

Intracranial solitary fibrous tumor (SFT) is characterized by aggressive local behavior and high post-resection recurrence rates. It is difficult to distinguish between SFT and meningiomas, which are typically benign. The goal of this study was to systematically review radiological features that differentiate meningioma and SFT.

METHODS: We performed a systematic review in accordance with PRISMA guidelines to identify studies that used imaging techniques to identify radiological differentiators of SFT and meningioma.

RESULTS: Eighteen studies with 1565 patients (SFT: 662; meningiomas: 903) were included. The most commonly used imaging modality was diffusion weighted imaging, which was reported in 11 studies. Eight studies used a combination of diffusion weighted imaging and T1- and T2-weighted sequences to distinguish between SFT and meningioma. Compared to all grades/subtypes of meningioma, SFT is associated with higher apparent diffusion coefficient, presence of narrow-based dural attachments, lack of dural tail, less peritumoral brain edema, extensive serpentine flow voids, and younger age at initial diagnosis. Tumor volume was a poor differentiator of SFT and meningioma, and overall, there were less consensus findings in studies exclusively comparing angiomatous meningiomas and SFT.

CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians can differentiate SFT from meningiomas on preoperative imaging by looking for higher apparent diffusion coefficient, lack of dural tail/narrow-based dural attachment, less peritumoral brain edema, and vascular flow voids on neuroimaging, in addition to younger age at diagnosis. Distinguishing between angiomatous meningioma and SFT is much more challenging, as both are highly vascular pathologies. Tumor volume has limited utility in differentiating between SFT and various grades/subtypes of meningioma.

 

Laser interstitial thermal therapy using the Leksell Stereotactic System and a diagnostic MRI suite

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:549–554

Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) is a stereotactic neurosurgical procedure used to treat neoplastic and epileptogenic lesions in the brain. A variety of advanced technological instruments such as frameless navigation systems, robotics, and intraoperative MRI are often described in this context, although the surgical procedure can also be performed using a standard stereotactic setup and a diagnostic MRI suite.

Methods We report on our experience and a surgical technique using a Leksell stereotactic frame and a diagnostic MRI suite to perform LITT.

Conclusion LITT can be safely performed using the Leksell frame and a diagnostic MRI suite, making the technique available even to neuro-oncology centers without advanced technological setup.

Survival Prediction After Neurosurgical Resection of Brain Metastases: A Machine Learning Approach

Neurosurgery 91:381–388, 2022

Current prognostic models for brain metastases (BMs) have been constructed and validated almost entirely with data from patients receiving up-front radiotherapy, leaving uncertainty about surgical patients.

OBJECTIVE: To build and validate a model predicting 6-month survival after BM resection using different machine learning algorithms.

METHODS: An institutional database of 1062 patients who underwent resection for BM was split into an 80:20 training and testing set. Seven different machine learning algorithms were trained and assessed for performance; an established prognostic model for patients with BM undergoing radiotherapy, the diagnosis-specific graded prognostic assessment, was also evaluated. Model performance was assessed using area under the curve (AUC) and calibration.

RESULTS: The logistic regression showed the best performance with an AUC of 0.71 in the hold-out test set, a calibration slope of 0.76, and a calibration intercept of 0.03. The diagnosis-specific graded prognostic assessment had an AUC of 0.66. Patients were stratified into regular-risk, high-risk and very high-risk groups for death at 6 months; these strata strongly predicted both 6-month and longitudinal overall survival (P < .0005). The model was implemented into a web application that can be accessed through http:// brainmets.morethanml.com.

CONCLUSION: We developed and internally validated a prediction model that accurately predicts 6-month survival after neurosurgical resection for BM and allows for meaningful risk stratification. Future efforts should focus on external validation of our model.

Current status of augmented reality in cerebrovascular surgery: a systematic review

Neurosurgical Review (2022) 45:1951–1964

Augmented reality (AR) is an adjuvant tool in neuronavigation to improve spatial and anatomic understanding. The present review aims to describe the current status of intraoperative AR for the treatment of cerebrovascular pathology.

A systematic review was conducted following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. The following databases were searched: PubMed, Science Direct, Web of Science, and EMBASE up to December, 2020. The search strategy consisted of “augmented reality,” “AR,” “cerebrovascular,” “navigation,” “neurovascular,” “neurosurgery,” and “endovascular” in both AND and OR combinations. Studies included were original research articles with intraoperative application. The manuscripts were thoroughly examined for study design, outcomes, and results.

Sixteen studies were identified describing the use of intraoperative AR in the treatment of cerebrovascular pathology. A total of 172 patients were treated for 190 cerebrovascular lesions using intraoperative AR. The most common treated pathology was intracranial aneurysms. Most studies were cases and there was only a case–control study. A head-up display system in the microscope was the most common AR display. AR was found to be useful for tailoring the craniotomy, dura opening, and proper identification of donor and recipient vessels in vascular bypass. Most AR systems were unable to account for tissue deformation.

This systematic review suggests that intraoperative AR is becoming a promising and feasible adjunct in the treatment of cerebrovascular pathology. It has been found to be a useful tool in the preoperative planning and intraoperative guidance. However, its clinical benefits remain to be seen.

Proposal of a new grading system for meningioma resection: the Copenhagen Protocol

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:229–238

The extent of meningioma resection is the most fundamental risk factor for recurrence, and exact knowledge of extent of resection is necessary for prognostication and for planning of adjuvant treatment. Currently used classifications are the EANO-grading and the Simpson grading. The former comprises radiological imaging with contrast-enhanced MRI and differentiation between “gross total removal” and “subtotal removal,” while the latter comprises a five-tiered differentiation of the surgeon’s impression of the extent of resection. The extent of resection of tumors is usually defined via analyses of resection margins but has until now not been implemented for meningiomas. PET/MRI imaging with 68Ga-DOTATOC allows more sensitive and specific imaging than MRI following surgery of meningiomas.

Objective To develop an objective grading system based on microscopic analyses of resection margins and sensitive radiological analyses to improve management of follow-up, adjuvant therapy, and prognostication of meningiomas. Based on the rationale of resection-margin analyses as gold standard and superior imaging performance of 68Ga DOTATOC PET, we propose “Copenhagen Grading” for meningiomas.

Results Copenhagen Grading was described for six pilot patients with examples of positive and negative findings on histopathology and DOTATOC PET scanning. The grading could be traceably implemented and parameters of grading appeared complementary. Copenhagen Grading is prospectively implemented as a clinical standard at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen.

Conclusion Copenhagen Grading provided a comprehensive, logical, and reproducible definition of the extent of resection. It offers promise to be the most sensitive and specific imaging modality available for meningiomas. Clinical and cost-efficacy remain to be established during prospective implementation.

Comparison Between Flow-Regulated and Gravitational Shunt Valves in the Treatment of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus: Flow-Grav Study

Neurosurgery 89:413–419, 2021

Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) is frequently treated with ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS) surgery. However, VPS implantation can lead to overdrainage and complications such as headaches, hygroma, and subdural hematoma due to a siphon effect in an upright position. Gravitational valves prevent overdrainage through positiondependent adjustment of valve resistance. Flow-regulated valves that increase resistance in presence of high cerebrospinal fluid flow may provide similar protection against overdrainage and present an alternative to gravitational valves.

OBJECTIVE: To compare gravitational and flow-regulated shunt valves in patients with symptomatic NPH.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of 97 patients suffering from NPH who underwent VPS implantation with a gravitational or a flow-regulated valve. The primary endpoint was the occurrence of hygroma or subdural hematoma. Secondary endpoints were neurological outcome (Kiefer score, Stein and Langfitt score, and NPH recovery rate), frequency of valve adjustments, and reoperations.

RESULTS: No significant differences in the occurrence of hygroma and subdural hematoma (11.4% for flow-regulated valves vs 5.7% for gravitational valves, P = .462) or response to treatment (77.3% vs 81.1%, P = .802) were found. Patients with flow-regulated valves required fewer valve adjustments (1.12 vs 2.02, P < .001) to reach their optimal neurological outcome and underwent fewer surgical revisions (11.4% vs 28.3%, P = .047).

CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that shunt therapy in NPH patients with a flow-regulated instead of a gravitational valve is safe and effective with a comparable clinical outcome and risk of overdrainage complications. Moreover, patients with flow-regulated valves may need fewer valve adjustments and reoperations.

Telemedicine in the Evaluation and Management of Neurosurgical Spine Patients

Spine 2021;46:472–477

Study Design. Retrospective questionnaire study of all patients seen via telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic at a large academic institution.

Objective. This aim of this study was to compare patient satisfaction of telemedicine clinic to in-person visits; to evaluate the preference for telemedicine to in-person visits; to assess patients’ willingness to proceed with major surgery and/or a minor procedure based on a telemedicine visit alone.

Summary of Background Data. One study showed promising utility of mobile health applications for spine patients. No studies have investigated telemedicine in the evaluation and management of spine patients.

Methods. An 11-part questionnaire was developed to assess the attitudes toward telemedicine for all patients seen within a 7- week period during the COVID-19 crisis. Patients were called by phone to participate in the survey. x2 and the Wilcoxon Rank-Sum Test were performed to determine significance.

Results. Ninety-five percent were ‘‘satisfied’’ or ‘‘very satisfied’’ with their telemedicine visit, with 62% stating it was ‘‘the same’’ or ‘‘better’’ than previous in-person appointments. Patients saved a median of 105 minutes by using telemedicine compared to inperson visits. Fifty-two percent of patients have to take off work for in-person visits, compared to 7% for telemedicine. Thirtyseven percent preferred telemedicine to in-person visits. Patients who preferred telemedicine had significantly longer patient reported in-person visit times (score mean of 171) compared to patients who preferred in-person visits (score mean of 137, P=0.0007). Thirty-seven percent of patients would proceed with surgery and 73% would proceed with a minor procedure based on a telemedicine visit alone.

Conclusion. Telemedicine can increase access to specialty care for patients with prolonged travel time to in-person visits and decrease the socioeconomic burden for both patients and hospital systems. The high satisfaction with telemedicine and willingness to proceed with surgery suggest that remote visits may be useful for both routine management and initial surgical evaluation for spine surgery candidates.

Level of Evidence: 3

How I do it: retrosigmoid intradural inframeatal petrosectomy

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:649–653

Lesions infiltrating the petrous temporal bone are some of the most complex to treat surgically. Many approaches have been developed in order to address these lesions, including endoscopic endonasal, anterior petrosectomy, posterior petrosectomy, and retrosigmoid.

Method We describe in a stepwise fashion the surgical steps of the retrosigmoid intradural inframeatal petrosectomy.

Conclusion The retrosigmoid intradural inframeatal petrosectomy may afford satisfactory exposure with limited drilling and minimal disruption of perilesional anatomical structures. It can provide excellent surgical results, especially for soft tumors, while minimizing surgical morbidity.

Early surgery for superficial supratentorial spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage: a Finnish Intensive Care Consortium study

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:3153–3160

The benefits of early surgery in cases of superficial supratentorial spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) are unclear. This study aimed to assess the association between early ICH surgery and outcome, as well as the cost-effectiveness of early ICH surgery.

Methods We conducted a retrospective, register-based multicenter study that included all patients who had been treated for supratentorial spontaneous ICH in four tertiary intensive care units in Finland between 2003 and 2013. To be included, patients needed to have experienced supratentorial ICHs that were 10–100 cm3 and located within 10 mm of the cortex. We used a multivariable analysis, adjusting for the severity of the illness and the probability of surgical treatment, to assess the independent association between early ICH surgery (≤ 1 day), 12-month mortality rates, and the probability of survival without permanent disability. In addition, we assessed the cost-effectiveness of ICH surgery by examining the effective cost per 1-year survivor (ECPS) and per independent survivor (ECPIS).

Results Of 254 patients, 27%were in the early surgery group. Overall 12-monthmortality was 39%, while 29%survived without a permanent disability. According to our multivariable analysis, early ICH surgery was associated with lower 12-month mortality rates (odds ratio [OR] 0.22, 95% confidence intervals [CI] 0.10–0.51), but not with a higher probability of survival without permanent disability (OR 1.23, 95% CI 0.59–2.56). For the early surgical group, the ECPS and ECPIS were €111,409 and €334,227, respectively. For the non-surgical cohort, the ECPS and ECPIS were €76,074 and €141,471, respectively.

Conclusions Early surgery for superficial ICH is associated with a lower 12-month mortality risk but not with a higher probability of survival without a permanent disability. Further, costs were higher and cost-effectiveness was, thus, worse for the early surgical cohort.

The LACE+ Index as a Predictor of 90-Day Supratentorial Tumor Surgery Outcomes

Neurosurgery 2020 DOI:10.1093/neuros/nyaa225

The LACE+ (Length of stay, Acuity of admission, Charlson Comorbidity Index [CCI] score, and Emergency department [ED] visits in the past 6 mo) index risk prediction tool has never been successfully tested in a neurosurgery population.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the ability of LACE+ to predict adverse outcomes after supratentorial brain tumor surgery.

METHODS: LACE+ scores were retrospectively calculated for all patients (n = 624) who underwent surgery for supratentorial tumors at the University of Pennsylvania Health System(2017-2019). Confounding variables were controlled with coarsened exact matching. The frequency of unplanned hospital readmission, ED visits, and death was compared for patients with different LACE+ score quartiles (Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4).

RESULTS: A total of 134 patients were matched between Q1 and Q4; 152 patients were matched between Q2 andQ4; and 192 patients were matched between Q3 and Q4. Patients with higher LACE+scores were significantly more likely to be readmitted within 90 d (90D) of discharge for Q1 vs Q4 (21.88% vs 46.88%, P = .005) and Q2 vs Q4 (27.03% vs 55.41%, P = .001). Patients with larger LACE+ scores also had significantly increased risk of 90D ED visits for Q1 vs Q4 (13.33% vs 30.00%, P = .027) and Q2 vs Q4 (22.54% vs 39.44%, P = .039). LACE+score also correlated with death within 90D of surgery forQ2 vsQ4 (2.63% vs 15.79%, P=.003) and with death at any point after surgery/during follow-up for Q1 vs Q4 (7.46% vs 28.36%, P = .002), Q2 vs Q4 (15.79% vs 31.58%, P = .011), and Q3 vs Q4 (18.75% vs 31.25%, P = .047).

CONCLUSION: LACE+ may be suitable for characterizing risk of certain perioperative events in a patient population undergoing supratentorial brain tumor resection.

Comparison of 5-aminolevulinic acid and sodium fluorescein for intraoperative tumor visualization in patients with high-grade gliomas

J Neurosurg 133:1324–1331, 2020

Maximal safe resection is an important surgical goal in the treatment for high-grade gliomas. Fluorescent dyes help the surgeon to distinguish malignant tissue from healthy. The aims of this study were 1) to compare the 2 fluorescent dyes 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA) and sodium fluorescein (fluorescein) regarding extent of resection, progression- free survival, and overall survival; and 2) to assess the influence of other risk factors on clinical outcome and screen for potential disadvantages of the dyes.

METHODS A total of 209 patients with high-grade gliomas were included in this retrospective study. Resections were performed in the period from 2012 to 2017 using 5-ALA or fluorescein. Extent of resection was assessed as the difference in tumor volume between early postoperative and preoperative MRI studies. Tumor progression–free survival and overall survival were analyzed using an adjusted Cox proportional hazards model.

RESULTS One hundred fifty-eight patients were operated on with 5-ALA and 51 with fluorescein. The median duration of follow-up was 46.7 and 21.2 months, respectively. Covariables were evenly distributed. There was no statistically significant difference in volumetrically assessed median extent of resection (96.9% for 5-ALA vs 97.4% for fluorescein, p = 0.46) or the percentage of patients with residual tumor volume less than 0.175 cm3 (29.5% for 5-ALA vs 36.2% for fluorescein, p = 0.39). The median overall survival was 14.8 months for the 5-ALA group and 19.7 months for the fluorescein group (p = 0.06). The median adjusted progression-free survival was 8.7 months for the 5-ALA group and 9.2 months for the fluorescein group (p = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS Fluorescein can be used as a viable alternative to 5-ALA for intraoperative fluorescent guidance in brain tumor surgery. Comparative, prospective, and randomized studies are much needed.