Does waiting for surgery matter? How time from diagnostic MRI to resection affects outcomes in newly diagnosed glioblastoma

J Neurosurg 140:80–93, 2024

Maximal safe resection is the standard of care for patients presenting with lesions concerning for glioblastoma (GBM) on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Currently, there is no consensus on surgical urgency for patients with an excellent performance status, which complicates patient counseling and may increase patient anxiety. This study aims to assess the impact of time to surgery (TTS) on clinical and survival outcomes in patients with GBM.

METHODS This is a retrospective study of 145 consecutive patients with newly diagnosed IDH–wild-type GBM who underwent initial resection at the University of California, San Francisco, between 2014 and 2016. Patients were grouped according to the time from diagnostic MRI to surgery (i.e., TTS): ≤ 7, > 7–21, and > 21 days. Contrast-enhancing tumor volumes (CETVs) were measured using software. Initial CETV (CETV1) and preoperative CETV (CETV2) were used to evaluate tumor growth represented as percent change (ΔCETV) and specific growth rate (SPGR; % growth/day). Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were measured from the date of resection and were analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method and Cox regression analyses.

RESULTS Of the 145 patients (median TTS 10 days), 56 (39%), 53 (37%), and 36 (25%) underwent surgery ≤ 7, > 7–21, and > 21 days from initial imaging, respectively. Median OS and PFS among the study cohort were 15.5 and 10.3 months, respectively, and did not differ among the TTS groups (p = 0.81 and 0.17, respectively). Median CETV1 was 35.9, 15.7, and 10.2 cm 3 across the TTS groups, respectively (p < 0.001). Preoperative biopsy and presenting to an outside hospital emergency department were associated with an average 12.79-day increase and 9.09-day decrease in TTS, respectively. Distance from the treating facility (median 57.19 miles) did not affect TTS. In the growth cohort, TTS was associated with an average 2.21% increase in ΔCETV per day; however, there was no effect of TTS on SPGR, Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS), postoperative deficits, survival, discharge location, or hospital length of stay. Subgroup analyses did not identify any high-risk groups for which a shorter TTS may be beneficial.

CONCLUSIONS An increased TTS for patients with imaging concerning for GBM did not impact clinical outcomes, and while there was a significant association with ΔCETV, SPGR remained unaffected. However, SPGR was associated with a worse preoperative KPS, which highlights the importance of tumor growth speed over TTS. Therefore, while it is ill advised to wait an unnecessarily long time after initial imaging studies, these patients do not require urgent/emergency surgery and can seek tertiary care opinions and/or arrange for additional preoperative support/resources. Future studies are needed to explore subgroups for whom TTS may impact clinical outcomes.

Optimizing surgical management of facet cysts of the lumbar spine: systematic review, meta-analysis, and local case series of 1251 patients

J Neurosurg Spine 39:793–806, 2023

Lumbar facet cysts (LFCs) can cause neurological dysfunction and intractable pain. Surgery is the current standard of care for patients in whom conservative therapy fails, those with neurological deficits, and those with evidence of spinal instability. No study to date has comprehensively examined surgical outcomes comparing the multiple surgical treatment options for LFCs. Therefore, the authors aimed to perform a combined analysis of cases both in the literature and of patients at a single institution to compare the outcomes of various surgical treatment options for LFC.

METHODS The authors performed a literature review in accordance with PRISMA guidelines and meta-analysis of the PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases and reviewed all studies from database inception published until February 3, 2023. Studies that did not contain 3 or more cases, clearly specify follow-up durations longer than 6 months, or present new cases were excluded. Bias was evaluated using Cochrane Collaboration’s Risk of Bias in Nonrandomised Studies–of Interventions (ROBINS-I). The authors also reviewed their own local institutional case series from 2015 to 2020. Primary outcomes were same-level cyst recurrence, same-level revision surgery, and perioperative complications. ANOVA, common and random-effects modeling, and Wald testing were used to compare treatment groups.

RESULTS A total of 1251 patients were identified from both the published literature (29 articles, n = 1143) and the authors’ institution (n = 108). Patients were sorted into 5 treatment groups: open cyst resection (OCR; n = 720), tubular cyst resection (TCR; n = 166), cyst resection with arthrodesis (CRA; n = 165), endoscopic cyst resection (ECR; n = 113), and percutaneous cyst rupture (PCR; n = 87), with OCR being the analysis reference group. The PCR group had significantly lower complication rates (p = 0.004), higher recurrence rates (p < 0.001), and higher revision surgery rates (p = 0.001) compared with the OCR group. Patients receiving TCR (3.01%, p = 0.021) and CRA (0.0%, p < 0.001) had significantly lower recurrence rates compared with those undergoing OCR (6.36%). The CRA group (6.67%) also had significantly lower rates of revision surgery compared with the OCR group (11.3%, p = 0.037).

CONCLUSIONS While PCR is less invasive, it may have high rates of same-level recurrence and revision surgery. Recurrence and revision rates for modalities such as ECR were not significantly different from those of OCR. While concomitant arthrodesis is more invasive, it might lead to lower recurrence rates and lower rates of subsequent revision surgery. Given the limitations of our case series and literature review, prospective, randomized studies are needed.

Effect of Lumbar Discectomy or Lumbar Decompression on Axial Back Pain: Results of a Meta-Analysis

World Neurosurg. (2023) 177:109-121

This meta-analysis evaluated the impact of lumbar disk herniation and lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) on axial back pain and the extent of improvement of axial and radicular pain following lumbar decompression and discectomy surgery in patients with low back pain (LBP).

METHODS: A systematic search for published literature between January 2012 and January 2023 was made on PubMed, Google Scholar, and Cochrane library database on 31 st January 2023.

Original articles that included patients with lumbar disc herniation or LSS who underwent lumbar discectomy or lumbar decompression respectively were included in the study.

RESULTS: A total of 71 studies including 16,770 patients with LBP undergoing lumbar discectomy or decompression surgery were included in the metaanalysis. The pooled standard mean difference between postoperative and preoperative: Visual Analog Scale scores for leg pain was L5.14 with 95% confidence interval (CI): L6.59 to L3.69 (P-value [ 0) and for back pain was L2.90 with 95% CI: L3.79 to L2.01 (P value [ 0), Numerical pain Rating Scale for leg pain was L1.64 with 95% CI: L1.97 to L1.30 (P-value<0.01) and for back pain was L1.58 with 95% CI: L1.84 to L1.32 (P-value <0.01), Oswerty Disability Index score was L4.76 with 95% CI: L6.22 to L3.29 (P-value [ 0) and the Japanese Orthopaedic Association score was 3.45 with 95% CI: 0.02 to 6.88 (P value 0) at follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: This meta-analysis provides evidence that lumbar discectomy and decompression are effective in improving axial LBP in patients with lumbar disk herniation and LSS.


Pediatric Vagus Nerve Stimulation: Case Series Outcomes and Future Directions

Neurosurgery 92:1043–1051, 2023

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a neuromodulatory procedure most extensively studied as an adjunct to medically refractory epilepsy. Despite widespread adoption and decades of clinical experience, clinical predictors of response to VNS remain unclear. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate a retrospective cohort of pediatric patients undergoing VNS at our institution to better understand who may benefit from VNS and identify factors which may predict response to VNS.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study examining pediatric patients undergoing VNS over nearly a 20-year span at a single institution. Presurgical evaluation, including demographics, clinical history, and diagnostic electroencephalogram, and imaging findings were examined. Primary outcomes included VNS response.

RESULTS: Two hundred ninety-seven subjects were studied. The mean age at surgery was 10.1 (SD = 4.9, range = 0.8-25.3) years; length of follow-up was a mean of 4.6 years (SD = 3.5, median = 3.9 years, range 1 day-16.1 years). There was no association between demographic factors, epilepsy etiology, or genetic basis and VNS outcomes. There was an association between reduction in main seizure type with positive MRI finding. Of all MRI findings analyzed, brain atrophy was significantly associated with worse VNS outcomes, whereas dysplastic hippocampus and chronic periventricular leukomalacia findings were found to be associated with improved outcomes. Increased seizure semiology variability and seizure type were also associated with improved seizure outcomes.

CONCLUSION: Predicting response to VNS remains difficult, leading to incompletely realized benefits and suboptimal resource utilization. Specific MRI findings and increased seizure semiology variability and type can help guide clinical decision making and patient counseling.

“July Effect” in Spinal Fusions: A Coarsened Exact-Matched Analysis

Neurosurgery 92:623–631, 2023

Few neurosurgical studies examine the July Effect within elective spinal procedures, and none uses an exact-matched protocol to rigorously account for confounders.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the July Effect in single-level spinal fusions, after coarsened exact matching of the patient cohort on key patient characteristics (including race and comorbid status) known to independently affect neurosurgical outcomes.

METHODS: Two thousand three hundred thirty-eight adult patients who underwent single-level, posterior-only lumbar fusion at a single, multicenter university hospital system were retrospectively enrolled. Primary outcomes included readmissions, emergency department visits, reoperation, surgical complications, and mortality within 30 days of surgery. Logistic regression was used to analyze month as an ordinal variable. Subsequently, outcomes were compared between patients with surgery at the beginning vs end of the academic year (ie, July vs April–June), before and after coarsened exact matching on key characteristics. After exact matching, 99 exactly matched pairs of patients (total n = 198) were included for analysis.

RESULTS: Among all patients, operative month was not associated with adverse postoperative events within 30 days of the index operation. Furthermore, patients with surgeries in July had no significant difference in adverse outcomes. Similarly, between exact-matched cohorts, patients in July were observed to have noninferior adverse postoperative events.

CONCLUSION: There was no evidence suggestive of a July Effect after single-level, posterior approach spinal fusions in our cohort. These findings align with the previous literature to imply that teaching hospitals provide adequate patient care throughout the academic year, regardless of how long individual resident physician assistants have been in their particular role.

Operative treatment outcomes for adult cervical deformity: a prospective multicenter assessment with mean 3-year follow-up

J Neurosurg Spine 37:855–864, 2022

Adult cervical deformity (ACD) has high complication rates due to surgical complexity and patient frailty. Very few studies have focused on longer-term outcomes of operative ACD treatment. The objective of this study was to assess minimum 2-year outcomes and complications of ACD surgery.

METHODS A multicenter, prospective observational study was performed at 13 centers across the United States to evaluate surgical outcomes for ACD. Demographics, complications, radiographic parameters, and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs; Neck Disability Index, modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association, EuroQol-5D [EQ-5D], and numeric rating scale [NRS] for neck and back pain) were evaluated, and analyses focused on patients with ≥ 2-year follow-up.

RESULTS Of 169 patients with ACD who were eligible for the study, 102 (60.4%) had a minimum 2-year follow-up (mean 3.4 years, range 2–8.1 years). The mean age at surgery was 62 years (SD 11 years). Surgical approaches included anterior-only (22.8%), posterior-only (39.6%), and combined (37.6%). PROMs significantly improved from baseline to last follow-up, including Neck Disability Index (from 47.3 to 33.0) and modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association score (from 12.0 to 12.8; for patients with baseline score ≤ 14), neck pain NRS (from 6.8 to 3.8), back pain NRS (from 5.5 to 4.8), EQ-5D score (from 0.74 to 0.78), and EQ-5D visual analog scale score (from 59.5 to 66.6) (all p ≤ 0.04). More than half of the patients (n = 58, 56.9%) had at least one complication, with the most common complications including dysphagia, distal junctional kyphosis, instrumentation failure, and cardiopulmonary events. The patients who did not achieve 2-year follow-up (n = 67) were similar to study patients based on baseline demographics, comorbidities, and PROMs. Over the course of follow-up, 23 of the total 169 enrolled patients were reported to have died. Notably, these represent all-cause mortalities during the course of follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS This multicenter, prospective analysis demonstrates that operative treatment for ACD provides significant improvement of health-related quality of life at a mean 3.4-year follow-up, despite high complication rates and a high rate of all-cause mortality that is reflective of the overall frailty of this patient population. To the authors’ knowledge, this study represents the largest and most comprehensive prospective effort to date designed to assess the intermediate-term outcomes and complications of operative treatment for ACD.

Microsurgical sealing for symptomatic sacral Tarlov cysts: a series of 265 cases

J Neurosurg Spine 37:905–913, 2022

Tarlov cysts (TCs) are a common cystic entity in the sacral canal, with a reported prevalence between 1.5% and 13.2%; 10%–20% of patients are symptomatic and need appropriate clinical intervention. However, the choice of treatment remains controversial. The goal of this study was to describe a new microsurgical sealing technique for symptomatic sacral TCs (SSTCs) as well as its long-term outcomes.

METHODS Microsurgical sealing was performed using a short incision, leakage coverage with a piece of autologous fat, and cyst sealing with fibrin glue. Postoperative data were collected at three stages: discharge, 1-year follow-up, and a follow-up of 3 years or more. According to the improvement in neurological deficits and degree of pain relief, outcomes were divided into four levels: excellent, good, unchanged, and deteriorated.

RESULTS A total of 265 patients with SSTCs were treated with microsurgical sealing from January 2003 to December 2020. The mean follow-up was 44.69 months. The percentages of patients who benefited from the operation (excellent and good) at the three stages were 87.55%, 84.89%, and 80.73%, respectively, while those who received no benefit (unchanged and deteriorated) were 12.45%, 15.11%, and 19.27%, respectively. Of the patients with postoperative MRI, the cysts were reduced in size or disappeared in 209 patients (94.14%). CSF leakage from the wound was observed in 15 patients, and 4 patients experienced an infection at the incision. There were no cases of new-onset nerve injury or aseptic meningitis after the operation.

CONCLUSIONS SSTC patients undergoing microsurgical sealing had persistently high rates of symptom relief and few postoperative complications. Microsurgical sealing is an effective, simple, and low-risk method for treating SSTCs.

Circumferential sulcus-guided resection technique for improved outcomes of low-grade gliomas

J Neurosurg 137:1015–1025, 2022

Many neurosurgeons resect nonenhancing low-grade gliomas (LGGs) by using an inside-out piecemeal resection (PMR) technique. At the authors’ institution they have increasingly used a circumferential, perilesional, sulcusguided resection (SGR) technique. This technique has not been well described and there are limited data on its effectiveness. The authors describe the SGR technique and assess the extent to which SGR correlates with extent of resection and neurological outcome.

METHODS The authors identified all patients with newly diagnosed LGGs who underwent resection at their institution over a 22-year period. Demographics, presenting symptoms, intraoperative data, method of resection (SGR or PMR), volumetric imaging data, and postoperative outcomes were obtained. Univariate analyses used ANOVA and Fisher’s exact test. Multivariate analyses were performed using multivariate logistic regression.

RESULTS Newly diagnosed LGGs were resected in 519 patients, 208 (40%) using an SGR technique and 311 (60%) using a PMR technique. The median extent of resection in the SGR group was 84%, compared with 77% in the PMR group (p = 0.019). In multivariate analysis, SGR was independently associated with a higher rate of complete (100%) resection (27% vs 18%) (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.1–2.6; p = 0.03). SGR was also associated with a statistical trend toward lower rates of postoperative neurological complications (11% vs 16%, p = 0.09). A subset analysis of tumors located specifically in eloquent brain demonstrated SGR to be as safe as PMR.

CONCLUSIONS The authors describe the SGR technique used to resect LGGs and show that SGR is independently associated with statistically significantly higher rates of complete resection, without an increase in neurological complications, than with PMR. SGR technique should be considered when resecting LGGs.

Predictors of postoperative seizure outcome in supratentorial meningioma

J Neurosurg 137:515–524, 2022

Meningiomas are the most common primary intracranial tumor. Seizures are common sequelae of meningioma development. Meningioma patients with seizures can be effectively treated with resection, with reports of seizure freedom of 60%–90%. Still, many patients manifest persistent epilepsy. Determining factors associated with worsened seizure outcomes remains critical in improving the quality of life for these patients. The authors sought to identify clinical, radiological, and histological factors associated with worse seizure outcomes in patients with supratentorial meningioma and preoperative seizures.

METHODS The authors retrospectively reviewed the charts of 384 patients who underwent meningioma resection from 2008 to 2020. The charts of patients with a documented history of preoperative seizures were further reviewed for clinical, radiological, operative, perioperative, histological, and postoperative factors associated with seizures. Engel class at last follow-up was retrospectively assigned by the authors and further grouped into favorable (class I) and worse (class II–IV) outcomes. Factors were subsequently compared by group using comparative statistics. Univariable and multivariable regression models were utilized to identify independent predictors of worse seizure outcome.

RESULTS Fifty-nine patients (15.4%) were found to have preoperative seizures, of whom 57 had sufficient postoperative data to determine Engel class outcome. Forty-two patients (74%) had Engel class I outcomes. The median follow-up was 17 months. Distinct margins on preoperative imaging (p = 0.012), Simpson grade I resection (p = 0.004), postresection ischemia (p = 0.019), WHO grade (p = 0.019), and recurrent disease (p = 0.015) were found to be the strongest predictors of Engel class outcome in univariable logistic regression. MIB-1 index (p = 0.001) and residual volume (p = 0.014) at last follow-up were found to be the strongest predictors of Engel class outcome in univariable generalized linear regression. Postresection ischemia (p = 0.012), WHO grade (p = 0.022), recurrent disease (p = 0.038), and MIB-1 index (p = 0.002) were found to be the strongest independent predictors of Engel class outcomes in multivariable analysis.

CONCLUSIONS Postresection ischemia, higher WHO grade, elevated MIB-1 index, and disease recurrence independently predict postresection seizure persistence in patients with supratentorial meningioma. Further understanding of the etiology of these markers may aid in elucidation of this complex disease process and guide management to prevent worse outcomes.

Artificial intelligence in predicting early‑onset adjacent segment degeneration following anterior cervical discectomy and fusion

European Spine Journal (2022) 31:2104–2114

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a common surgical treatment for degenerative disease in the cervical spine. However, resultant biomechanical alterations may predispose to early-onset adjacent segment degeneration (EO-ASD), which may become symptomatic and require reoperation. This study aimed to develop and validate a machine learning (ML) model to predict EO-ASD following ACDF.

Methods Retrospective review of prospectively collected data of patients undergoing ACDF at a quaternary referral medical center was performed. Patients > 18 years of age with > 6 months of follow-up and complete pre- and postoperative X-ray and MRI imaging were included. An ML-based algorithm was developed to predict EO-ASD based on preoperative demographic, clinical, and radiographic parameters, and model performance was evaluated according to discrimination and overall performance.

Results In total, 366 ACDF patients were included (50.8% male, mean age 51.4 ± 11.1 years). Over 18.7 ± 20.9 months of follow-up, 97 (26.5%) patients developed EO-ASD. The model demonstrated good discrimination and overall performance according to precision (EO-ASD: 0.70, non-ASD: 0.88), recall (EO-ASD: 0.73, non-ASD: 0.87), accuracy (0.82), F1-score (0.79), Brier score (0.203), and AUC (0.794), with C4/C5 posterior disc bulge, C4/C5 anterior disc bulge, C6 posterior superior osteophyte, presence of osteophytes, and C6/C7 anterior disc bulge identified as the most important predictive features.

Conclusions Through an ML approach, the model identified risk factors and predicted development of EO-ASD following ACDF with good discrimination and overall performance. By addressing the shortcomings of traditional statistics, ML techniques can support discovery, clinical decision-making, and precision-based spine care.

The Richmond Acute Subdural Hematoma Score: A Validated Grading Scale to Predict Postoperative Mortality

Neurosurgery 90:278–286, 2022

Traumatic acute subdural hematomas (aSDHs) are common, life-threatening injuries often requiring emergency surgery.

OBJECTIVE: To develop and validate the Richmond acute subdural hematoma (RASH) score to stratify patients by risk of mortality after aSDH evacuation.

METHODS: The 2016 National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB) was queried to identify adult patients with traumatic aSDHs who underwent craniectomy or craniotomy within 4 h of arrival to an emergency department. Multivariate logistic regression modeling identified risk factors independently associated with mortality. The RASH score was developed based on a factor’s strength and level of association with mortality. The model was validated using the 2017 NTDB and the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC).

RESULTS: A total of 2516 cases met study criteria. The patients were 69.3% male with a mean age of 55.7 yr and overall mortality rate of 36.4%. Factors associated with mortality included age between 61 and 79 yr (odds ratio [OR]=2.3, P<.001),age ≥80 yr (OR =6.3, P < .001), loss of consciousness (OR = 2.3, P < .001), Glasgow Coma Scale score of ≤8 (OR = 2.6, P < .001), unilateral (OR = 2.8, P < .001) or bilateral (OR = 3.9, P < .001) unresponsive pupils, and midline shift >5 mm (OR = 1.7, P < .001). Using these risk factors, the RASH score predicted progressively increasing mortality ranging from 0% to 94% for scores of 0 to 8, respectively (AUC = 0.72). Application of the RASH score to 3091 cases from 2017 resulted in similar accuracy (AUC = 0.74).

CONCLUSION: The RASH score is a simple and validated grading scale that uses easily accessible preoperative factors to predict estimated mortality rates in patients with traumatic aSDHs who undergo surgical evacuation.

Early Outcomes of Elective Anterior Cervical Diskectomy and Fusion for Degenerative Spine Disease Correlate With the Specialty of the Surgeon Performing the Procedure

Neurosurgery 90:99–105, 2022

Comparative effectiveness research has a vital role in recent health reform and policies. Specialty training is one of these provider-side variables, and surgeons who were trained in different specialties may have different outcomes on performing the same procedure.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the impact of spine surgeon specialty (neurosurgery vs orthopedic surgery) on early perioperative outcome measures of elective anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion (ACDF) for degenerative spine diseases.

METHODS: This was a retrospective, 1:1 propensity score-matched cohort study. In total, 21 211 patients were reviewed from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database. Propensity score matching and subgroup analysis were performed.

RESULTS: In both groups (single-level/multilevel ACDF), patients operated on by neurosurgeons had longer operation time (133 vs 104 min/164 vs 138 min), shorter total hospital stay (24 vs 41 h/25 vs 46 h), and lower rates of return to operating room (0.7% vs 2.1%/0.6% vs 2.4%), nonhome discharge (1.2% vs 4.6%/1.0% vs 4.9%), discharge after postoperative day 1 (6.7% vs 11.9%/10.1% vs 18.9%), perioperative blood transfusion (0.4% vs 2.1%/0.6% vs 3.1%), and sepsis (0.2% vs 0.7%/0.1% vs 0.7%; P < .05). In the singlelevel ACDF group, patients operated on by neurosurgeons had lower readmission (1.9% vs 4.1%) and unplanned intubation rates (0.1% vs 1.1%; P < .05). Other outcome measures and mortality rates were similar among the 2 cohorts in both groups.

CONCLUSION: Our analysis found significant differences in early perioperative outcomes of patients undergoing ACDF by neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons. These differences might have significant clinical and cost implications for patients, physicians, program directors, payers, and health systems.

Is there a variance in complication types associated with ALIF approaches?

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:2991–3004

Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is a well-established alternative to posterior-based interbody fusion techniques, with approach variations, such as retroperitoneal, transperitoneal, open, and laparoscopic well described. Variable rates of complications for each approach have been enumerated in the literature. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the comparative rates of complications across approach type.

Methods A systematic review of search databases PubMed, Google Scholar, and OVID Medline was made to identify studies related to complication-associated ALIF. PRISMA guidelines were utilised for this review. Meta-analysis was used to compare intraoperative and postoperative complications with ALIF for each approach.

Results A total of 4575 studies were identified, with 5728 patients across 31 studies included for review following application of inclusion and exclusion criteria. Meta-analysis demonstrated the transperitoneal approach resulted in higher rates of retrograde ejaculation (RE) (p < 0.001; CI = 0.05–0.21) and overall rates of complications (p = 0.05; CI = 0.00–0.23). Rates of RE were higher at the L5/S1 intervertebral level. Rates of vessel injury were not significantly higher in either approach method (p = 0.89; CI = − 0.04–0.07). Rates of visceral injury did not appear to be related to approach method. Laparoscopic approaches resulted in shorter inpatient stays (p = 0.01).

Conclusion Despite the transperitoneal approach being comparatively underpowered, its use appears to result in a significantly higher rate of intraoperative and postoperative complications, although confounders including use of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) and spinal level should be considered. Laparoscopic approaches resulted in shorter hospital stays; however, its steep learning curve and longer operative time have deterred surgeons from its widespread adaptation.

Endoscopic endonasal versus transcranial surgery for primary resection of craniopharyngiomas based on a new QST classification system

J Neurosurg 135:1298–1309, 2021

An assessment of the transcranial approach (TCA) and the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) for craniopharyngiomas (CPs) according to tumor types has not been reported. The aim of this study was to evaluate both surgical approaches for different types of CPs.

METHODS A retrospective review of primary resected CPs was performed. A QST classification system based on tumor origin was used to classify tumors into 3 types as follows: infrasellar/subdiaphragmatic CPs (Q-CPs), subarachnoidal CPs (S-CPs), and pars tuberalis CPs (T-CPs). Within each tumor type, patients were further arranged into two groups: those treated via the TCA and those treated via the EEA. Patient and tumor characteristics, surgical outcomes, and postoperative complications were obtained. All variables were statistically analyzed between surgical groups for each tumor type.

RESULTS A total of 315 patients were included in this series, of whom 87 were identified with Q-CPs (49 treated via TCA and 38 via EEA); 56 with S-CPs (36 treated via TCA and 20 via EEA); and 172 with T-CPs (105 treated via TCA and 67 via EEA). Patient and tumor characteristics were equivalent between both surgical groups in each tumor type. The overall gross-total resection rate (90.5% TCA vs 91.2% EEA, p = 0.85) and recurrence rate (8.9% TCA vs 6.4% EEA, p = 0.35) were similar between surgical groups. The EEA group had a greater chance of visual improvement (61.6% vs 35.8%, p = 0.01) and a decreased risk of visual deterioration (1.6% vs 11.0%, p < 0.001). Of the patients with T-CPs, postoperative hypothalamic status was better in the TCA group than in the EEA group (p = 0.016). Postoperative CSF leaks and nasal complication rates occurred more frequently in the EEA group (12.0% vs 0.5%, and 9.6% vs 0.5%; both p < 0.001). For Q-CPs, EEA was associated with an increased gross-total resection rate (97.4% vs 85.7%, p = 0.017), decreased recurrence rate (2.6% vs 12.2%, p = 0.001), and lower new hypopituitarism rate (28.9% vs 57.1%, p = 0.008). The recurrence-free survival in patients with Q-CPs was also significantly different between surgical groups (log-rank test, p = 0.037). The EEA required longer surgical time for T-CPs (p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS CPs could be effectively treated by radical surgery with favorable results. Both TCA and EEA have their advantages and limitations when used to manage different types of tumors. Individualized surgical strategies based on tumor growth patterns are mandatory to achieve optimal outcomes.

Petrous bone lesions: surgical implementation and outcomes of extradural subtemporal approach

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:2881–2894

Petrous bone lesions (PBLs) are rare with few reports in the neurosurgical literature. In this study, the authors describe our current technique of extradural subtemporal approach (ESTA). The objective of this study was to evaluate the role and efficacy of ESTA for treatment of the PBLs. To our knowledge, this is the largest reported clinical series of using an ESTA-treated PBLs in which the clinical outcomes were evaluated.

Methods Between 1994 and 2019, 67 patients with PBLs treated by ESTA were retrospectively reviewed. Extent of resection, neurological outcomes, recurrence rate, and surgical complications were evaluated and compared with previous studies. The indications, advantages, limitations, and outcomes of ESTA were analyzed according to pathology.

Results This series included 7 facial nerve schwannomas (10.4%), 16 cholesterol granulomas (23.9%), 16 chordomas (23.9%), 6 chondrosarcomas (9%), 5 trigeminal schwannomas (7.5%), 9 epidermoids/dermoids (13.4%), and 8 other pathologies (11.9%). The most common location of PBLs operated with ESTA was at the petrous apex and rhomboid areas (68.7%). Gross total resection was achieved in 35 (55.6%). Symptomatic improvement occurred in 56 patients (83.6%). Complications occurred in 7 (10.4%) of cases including one mortality. Nine patients (17%) had recurrence within the mean follow-up 71 months. Compared to previous literature, our results demonstrated comparable outcomes but with higher rates of hearing and facial nerve preservation as well as minimal morbidity. From our results, ESTA is an effective therapeutic option for lesions located at the rhomboid and petrous apex, particularly when patients presented with intact facial and hearing function.

Conclusion Our series demonstrated that ESTA provided satisfactory outcomes with excellent benefits of hearing and facial function preservation for patients with petrous bone lesions. ESTA should be considered as a safe and effective therapeutic option for selected patients with PBLs.

Does Myelopathy Increase the Morbidity and Mortality of Elective Single-Level Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion?

Neurosurgery 89:109–115, 2021

Myelopathy is thought to be associated with higher morbidity and mortality after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF); however, the literature investigating this association has limitations.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the influence of myelopathy on early perioperative complications of elective single-level ACDF.

METHODS: Patients who underwent ACDF between 2016 and 2018 were reviewed from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACSNSQIP) database. Propensity score matching analysis was used.

RESULTS: Twenty percent of the cohort wasmyelopathic. These patientswere significantly older, had more comorbidities, more likely to be functionally dependent, and to undergo emergency surgery when compared to the nonmyelopathic cohort. When 1969 myelopathic patients were 1:1 propensity matched with nonmyelopathic patients, there was no difference between themyelopathic and nonmyelopathic patients in incidence of postoperative intensive care unit admission or death. Patients in the myelopathic group were significantly more likely to have a nonhome discharge and less likely to be discharged on the first postoperative day. Myelopathic patients had a higher rate of return to operating room within the same admission (2.2%) as well as a higher unplanned readmission rate (4.2%). The total operation time (143 min) and average length of hospital stay (52 h) were significantly higher in the myelopathic group when compared to the nonmyelopathic group (117 min) and (33 h), respectively.

CONCLUSION: Patients with myelopathy who undergo elective single-level ACDF have higher risks of several perioperative events including longer operative time, longer hospital stay, higher return to operating room, and unplanned readmission rates, when compared to nonmyelopathic patients. On the other hand, myelopathic patients did not exhibit higher mortality rate.

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.

Operative findings and surgical outcomes in patients undergoing Chiari 1 malformation decompression: relationship to the extent of tonsillar ectopia

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:1539–1547

The diagnosis of Chiari 1 malformation is based on the extent of tonsillar ectopia.

Objective To examine the relationship between the extent of tonsillar ectopia and the intra-operative findings and clinical outcome following Chiari decompression surgery.

Methods Patients were divided into four groups depending on the position of the cerebellar tonsil (T): group 1: 0 < T < 3; group 2: 3 ≤ T ≤ 5; group 3: 5 < T ≤ 10; and group 4: T > 10. Intra-operative observations were recorded with regard to compression of the brain stem by posterior inferior cerebellar artery (pica), neuroma formation along the first cervical (C1), and accessory spinal nerves (XI), and pallor of the cerebellar tonsils. Brain stem auditory evoked potentials, (BAEP), were monitored in each case. One hundred sixty-eight patients accrued between 2009 and 2013 agreed to participate in an outcome study to determine the effectiveness of foramen magnum decompression. Findings across the four groups were compared using one-way ANOVA. Observed differences were further subjected to paired analysis. Intra-group comparisons were made using the paired t test. A P value less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results There were 98 patients in group 1, 147 patients in group 2, 180 patients in group 3, and 63 patients in group 4. The mean extent of tonsillar ectopia was 0.4, 4.0, 7.1, and 14.3 mm in the four groups respectively. The prevalence of tonsillar pallor was greatest in group 4. Otherwise, there was no difference observed in the operative findings. A reduction of > 0.1 msec in the wave III–wave V latency of the BAEP was noted in all four groups with equal frequency. One hundred ten patients complied with at least 6 months follow-up. There was no difference in the prevalence of symptoms between the four groups at the time of initial evaluation and at 6 weeks and 6 months following surgery. There was a statistically significant reduction in the intensity of individual symptoms 6 months following surgery regardless of the extent of tonsil ectopia.

Conclusion Other than the finding of tonsillar pallor, there was no relationship between the extent of tonsillar ectopia and the intraoperative anatomical and physiological observations, nor was there any relationship to the likelihood of symptomatic improvement following surgery. These observations call into question the focus on the extent of tonsillar of ectopia in assessing the patient who presents with symptoms of the Chiari malformation.

Clinical outcomes of normal pressure hydrocephalus in 116 patients: objective versus subjective assessment

J Neurosurg 132:1757–1763, 2020

Objective assessment tests are commonly used to predict the response to ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunting in patients with normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH). Whether subjective reports of improvement after a lumbar drain (LD) trial can predict response to VP shunting remains controversial. The goal in this study was to compare clinical characteristics, complication rates, and shunt outcomes of objective and subjective LD responders who underwent VP shunt placement.

METHODS This was a retrospective review of patients with NPH who underwent VP shunt placement after clinical improvement with the LD trial. Patients who responded after the LD trial were subclassified into objective LD responders and subjective LD responders. Clinical characteristics, complication rates, and shunt outcomes between the 2 groups were compared with chi-square test of independence and t-test.

RESULTS A total of 116 patients received a VP shunt; 75 were objective LD responders and 41 were subjective LD responders. There was no statistically significant difference in patient characteristics between the 2 groups, except for a shorter length of stay after LD trial seen with subjective responders. The complication rates after LD trial and VP shunting were not significantly different between the 2 groups. Similarly, there was no significant difference in shunt response between objective and subjective LD responders. The mean duration of follow-up was 1.73 years.

CONCLUSIONS Reports of subjective improvement after LD trial in patients with NPH can be a reliable predictor of shunt response. The currently used objective assessment scales may not be sensitive enough to detect subtle changes in symptomatology after LD trial.

A novel proposed grading system for cerebellar arteriovenous malformations

J Neurosurg 132:1105–1115, 2020

The objective of this study was to evaluate the existing Spetzler-Martin (SM), Spetzler-Ponce (SP), and Lawton-Young (LY) grading systems for cerebellar arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and to propose a new grading system to estimate the risks associated with these lesions.

METHODS Data for patients with cerebellar AVMs treated microsurgically in two tertiary medical centers were retrospectively reviewed. Data from patients at institution 1 were collected from September 1999 to February 2013, and at institution 2 from October 2008 to October 2015. Patient outcomes were classified as favorable (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score 0–2) or poor (mRS score 3–6) at the time of discharge. Using chi-square and logistic regression analysis, variables associated with poor outcomes were assigned risk points to design the proposed grading system. The proposed system included neurological status prior to treatment (poor, +2 points), emergency surgery (+1 point), age > 60 years (+1 point), and deep venous drainage (deep, +1 point). Risk point totals of 0–1 comprised grade 1, 2–3 grade 2, and 4–5 grade 3.

RESULTS A total of 125 cerebellar AVMs of 1328 brain AVMs were reviewed in 125 patients, 120 of which were treated microsurgically and included in the study. With our proposed grading system, we found poor outcomes differed significantly between each grade (p < 0.001), while with the SM, SP, and LY grading systems they did not (p = 0.22, p = 0.25, and p = 1, respectively). Logistic regression revealed grade 2 had 3.3 times the risk of experiencing a poor outcome (p = 0.008), while grade 3 had 9.9 times the risk (p < 0.001). The proposed grading system demonstrated a superior level of predictive accuracy (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve [AUROC] of 0.72) compared with the SM, SP, and LY grading systems (AUROC of 0.61, 0.57, and 0.51, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS The authors propose a novel grading system for cerebellar AVMs based on emergency surgery, venous drainage, preoperative neurological status, and age that provides a superior prognostication power than the formerly proposed SM, SP, and LY grading systems. This grading system is clinically predictive of patient outcomes and can be used to better guide vascular neurosurgeons in clinical decision-making.