Development and validation of the Skills Assessment in Microsurgery for Brain Aneurysms (SAMBA) instrument for predicting proficiency in aneurysm surgery

J Neurosurg 133:190–196, 2020

Surgical performance evaluation was first described with the OSATS (Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills) and modified for aneurysm microsurgery simulation with the OSAACS (Objective Structured Assessment of Aneurysm Clipping Skills). These methods rely on the subjective opinions of evaluators, however, and there is a lack of objective evaluation for proficiency in the microsurgical treatment of brain aneurysms.

The authors present a new instrument, the Skill Assessment in Microsurgery for Brain Aneurysms (SAMBA) scale, which can be used similarly in a simulation model and in the treatment of unruptured middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysms to predict surgical performance; the authors also report on its validation.

METHODS The SAMBA scale was created by consensus among 5 vascular neurosurgeons from 2 different neurosurgical departments. SAMBA results were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Cronbach’s alpha indexes, and multivariate ANOVA analyses (p < 0.05).

RESULTS Expert, intermediate-level, and novice surgeons scored, respectively, an average of 33.9, 27.1, and 16.4 points in the real surgery and 33.3, 27.3, and 19.4 points in the simulation. The SAMBA interrater reliability index was 0.995 for the real surgery and 0.996 for the simulated surgery; the intrarater reliability was 0.983 (Cronbach’s alpha). In both the simulation and the real surgery settings, the average scores achieved by members of each group (expert, intermediate level, and novice) were significantly different (p < 0.001). Scores among novice surgeons were more diverse (coefficient of variation = 12.4).

CONCLUSIONS Predictive validation of the placenta brain aneurysm model has been previously reported, but the SAMBA scale adds an objective scoring system to verify microsurgical ability in this complex operation, stratifying proficiency by points. The SAMBA scale can be used as an interface between learning and practicing, as it can be applied in a safe and controlled environment, such as is provided by a placenta model, with similar results obtained in real surgery, predicting real surgical performance.


Microsurgical dissection of Sylvian fissure—short technical videos of third generation cerebrovascular neurosurgeons

Acta Neurochirurgica (2019) 161:1743–1746

Multiple intracranial pathologies, including aneurysms of the middle cerebral artery, distal basilar artery, and suprasellar pathologies require the microsurgical opening of the Sylvian fissure. Delicate splitting of the arachnoid and safe microdissection of the veins, arteries, and brain parenchyma is the key to successful surgery through the Sylvian fissure corridor. We hypothesize that the geographical and historical environment in which neurosurgeons learn their operative skills is subject to a number of extrinsic influences, including cultural nuances of surgical techniques. Here we try to illustrate some cultural differences and technical aspects of the opening of the Sylvian fissure by four “third generation” cerebrovascular neurosurgeons from three different continents.

Methods In the video analysis, various microsurgical aspects, including the opening style of the Sylvian fissure, handedness, use of sharp or blunt microinstruments, use of retractors, use of high magnification, and handling of bridging veins are presented. Results The video illustrates the two distinct Sylvian fissure opening styles, namely sharp and blunt microdissection, as well as the extent of the opening namely a wide and focal splitting.

Conclusion The edited video underlines nuances and differences of a few major technical aspects that are perhaps typical to certain surgical environments and cultures. These microsurgical nuances and styles are useful pearls that can be mastered with training by any novice neurosurgeon.

The anterior temporal artery: an underutilized but robust donor for revascularization of the distal middle cerebral artery

J Neurosurg 127:740–747, 2017

The anterior temporal artery (ATA) supplies an area of the brain that, if sacrificed, does not cause a noticeable loss of function. Therefore, the ATA may be used as a donor in intracranial-intracranial (IC-IC) bypass procedures. The capacities of the ATA as a donor have not been studied previously. In this study, the authors assessed the feasibility of using the ATA as a donor for revascularization of different segments of the distal middle cerebral artery (MCA).

METHODS The ATA was studied in 15 cadaveric specimens (8 heads, excluding 1 side). First, the cisternal segment of the artery was untethered from arachnoid adhesions and small branches feeding the anterior temporal lobe and insular cortex, to evaluate its capacity for a side-to-side bypass to insular, opercular, and cortical segments of the MCA. Any branch entering the anterior perforated substance was preserved. Then, the ATA was cut at the opercular-cortical junction and the capacity for an end-to-side bypass was assessed.

RESULTS From a total of 17 ATAs, 4 (23.5%) arose as an early MCA branch. The anterior insular zone and the frontal parasylvian cortical arteries were the best targets (in terms of mobility and caliber match) for a side-to-side bypass. Most of the insula was accessible for end-to-side bypass, but anterior zones of the insula were more accessible than posterior zones. End-to-side bypass was feasible for most recipient cortical arteries along the opercula, except for posterior temporal and parietal regions. Early ATAs reached significantly farther on the insular MCA recipients than non-early ATAs for both side-to-side and end-to-side bypasses.

CONCLUSIONS The ATA is a robust arterial donor for IC-IC bypass procedures, including side-to-side and end-to-side techniques. The evidence provided in this work supports the use of the ATA as a donor for distal MCA revascularization in well-selected patients.


Management of perisylvian arteriovenous malformations

Management of perisylvian arteriovenous malformations

Neurosurg Focus 37 (3):E13, 2014

Sylvian arteriovenous malformations (sAVMs) are challenging lesions of the central nervous system. The natural history of these unique lesions as well as clinical outcomes following treatment of sAVMs has been limited to case series owing to the rarity of these lesions. The authors present their experience with sAVMs and review the literature.

Methods. In accordance with the Henry Ford Institutional Review Board, medical records of patients with sAVMs treated from 2000 to 2012 were reviewed. Clinical data were retrospectively collected to calculate pre- and posttreatment modified Rankin Scale scores for all patients.

Results. The authors identified 15 patients with sAVMs who received treatment. Of these, 12 were female and 3 were male, and the average age at presentation was 39.6 ± 12.94 years (± SD). Two patients (13.3%) had Spetzler- Martin Grade I lesions, 6 patients (40%) had Grade II lesions, 5 patients (33.3%) had Grade III lesions, and another 2 (13.3%) harbored Grade IV arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). According to the Sugita classification, 6 patients (40%) had medial lesions, 6 (40%) had lateral lesions, 2 (13.3%) had deep lesions, and 1 patient (6.67%) had a pure sAVM. Eight patients (53.3%) underwent stereotactic radiosurgery while 7 patients (46.7%) had microsurgical resection; 1 patient underwent surgical extirpation after incomplete response following radiosurgery. After treatment, 9 patients were unchanged from pretreatment (60%), 3 patients worsened, and 2 patients had improved functional outcome (20% and 13.3%, respectively). The authors’ literature search yielded 348 patients with sAVMs, most of them harboring Spetzler-Martin Grade II and III lesions. Approximately 98% of the patients underwent resection with excellent outcomes.

Conclusions. While the ideal choice of therapeutic modality for cerebral AVMs remains controversial in light of the recent publication of the ARUBA (A Randomized trial of Unruptured Brain AVMs) trial, a multidisciplinary treatment approach for the management of sAVMs can lead to acceptable neurological outcome.

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