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

J Neurosurg Spine 40:45–53, 2024

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

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

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

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

OLIF versus ALIF: Which is the better surgical approach for degenerative lumbar disease?

European Spine Journal (2023) 32:689–699

The aim of this study was to compare the clinical and radiographical outcomes between OLIF and ALIF in treating lumbar degenerative diseases.

Methods We searched PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library for relevant studies. Changes in disc height (DH), segmental lordosis angle (SLA), lumbar lordosis (LL), visual analogue scale (VAS) score, and Oswestry disability index (ODI) between baseline and final follow-up, along with other important surgical outcomes, were assessed and analysed. Data on the global fusion rate and main complications were collected and compared.

Results Approximately, 2041 patients from 36 studies were included, consisting of 1057 patients who underwent OLIF and 984 patients who underwent ALIF. The results reveal no significant difference in DH, SLA, VAS score, and ODI between the two groups (all P > 0.05). The operation time, estimated blood loss, and length of hospital stay were also comparable between the two groups. Over 90% of the fusion rate was achieved in both groups. The OLIF group showed a higher complication rate than the ALIF group (OLIF 18.83% vs ALIF 7.32%).

Conclusions OLIF leads to a higher complication rate, with the most notable complication being cage subsidence. Both OLIF and ALIF are effective treatments for degenerative lumbar diseases and have similar therapeutic effects. ALIF was expected to be more expensive for patients because of the necessity of involving vascular surgeons.

Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunting for Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension: A Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis, and Implications for a Modern Management Protocol

Neurosurgery 91:529–540, 2022

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunting is widely used in refractory idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). Although multiple reviews have assessed its efficacy compared with other surgical treatments, there is no detailed analysis that evaluates the clinical outcomes after CSF shunting.

OBJECTIVE: To conduct a meta-analysis of the clinical impact of CSF shunting for refractory IIH and use this in conjunction with existing information on other treatment modalities to develop a modern management protocol.

METHODS: PubMed and Embase were systematically searched for studies describing CSF shunting for medically refractory IIH. Relevant information including study characteristics, patient demographics, clinical outcomes, periprocedural complications, and long-term outcomes were subjected to meta-analysis.

RESULTS: Fifteen studies published between 1988 and 2019 met our inclusion and exclusion criteria, providing 372 patients for analysis. The mean age was 31.2 years (range 0.5-71) with 83.6% being female. The average follow-up was 33.9 months (range 0-278 months). The overall rate of improvement in headache, papilledema, and visual impairment was 91% (95% CI 84%-97%), 96% (95% CI 85%-100%), and 85% (95% CI 72%95%), respectively. Of 372 patients, 155 had 436 revisions; the overall revision rate was 42% (95% CI 26%-59%). There was no significant correlation between average follow-up duration and revision rates in studies (P = .627). Periprocedural low-pressure headaches were noted in 74 patients (20%; 95% CI 11%-32%).

CONCLUSION: CSF shunting for IIH is associated with significant improvement in clinical symptoms. Shunting rarely causes periprocedural complications except overdrainagerelated low-pressure headache. However, CSF shunting has a relatively high revision rate.

Insular epilepsy surgery: lessons learned from institutional review and patient-level meta-analysis

J Neurosurg 136:523–535, 2022

Insular lobe epilepsy is a challenging condition to diagnose and treat. Due to anatomical intricacy and proximity to eloquent brain regions, resection of epileptic foci in that region can be associated with significant postoperative morbidity. The aim of this study was to review available evidence on postoperative outcomes following insular epilepsy surgery.

METHODS A comprehensive literature search (PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, Cochrane) was conducted for studies investigating the postoperative outcomes for seizures originating in the insula. Seizure freedom at last follow-up (at least 12 months) comprised the primary endpoint. The authors also present their institutional experience with 8 patients (4 pediatric, 4 adult).

RESULTS A total of 19 studies with 204 cases (90 pediatric, 114 adult) were identified. The median age at surgery was 23 years, and 48% were males. The median epilepsy duration was 8 years, and 17% of patients had undergone prior epilepsy surgery. Epilepsy was lesional in 67%. The most common approach was transsylvian (60%). The most commonly resected area was the anterior insular region (n = 42, 21%), whereas radical insulectomy was performed in 13% of cases (n = 27). The most common pathology was cortical dysplasia (n = 68, 51%), followed by low-grade neoplasm (n = 16, 12%). In the literature, seizure freedom was noted in 60% of pediatric and 69% of adult patients at a median follow-up of 29 months (75% and 50%, respectively, in the current series). A neurological deficit occurred in 43% of cases (10% permanent), with extremity paresis comprising the most common deficit (n = 35, 21%), followed by facial paresis (n = 32, 19%). Language deficits were more common in left-sided approaches (24% vs 2%, p < 0.001). Univariate analysis for seizure freedom revealed a significantly higher proportion of patients with lesional epilepsy among those with at least 12 months of follow-up (77% vs 59%, p = 0.032).

CONCLUSIONS These findings may serve as a benchmark when tailoring decision-making for insular epilepsy, and may assist surgeons in their preoperative discussions with patients. Although seizure freedom rates are quite high with insular epilepsy treatment, the associated morbidity needs to be weighed against the potential for seizure freedom.


Removal of instrumentation for postoperative spine infection: systematic review

J Neurosurg Spine 35:376–388, 2021

Currently, no consensus exists as to whether patients who develop infection of the surgical site after undergoing instrumented fusion should have their implants removed at the time of wound debridement. Instrumentation removal may eliminate a potential infection nidus, but removal may also destabilize the patient’s spine. The authors sought to summarize the existing evidence by systematically reviewing published studies that compare outcomes between patients undergoing wound washout and instrumentation removal with outcomes of patients undergoing wound washout alone. The primary objectives were to determine 1) whether instrumentation removal from an infected wound facilitates infection clearance and lowers morbidity, and 2) whether the chronicity of the underlying infection affects the decision to remove instrumentation.

METHODS PRISMA guidelines were used to review the PubMed/MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Library, Scopus, Web of Science, and databases to identify studies that compared patients with implants removed and patients with implants retained. Outcomes of interest included mortality, rate of repeat wound washout, and loss of correction.

RESULTS Fifteen articles were included. Of 878 patients examined in these studies, 292 (33%) had instrumentation removed. Patient populations were highly heterogeneous, and outcome data were limited. Available data suggested that rates of reoperation, pseudarthrosis, and death were higher in patients who underwent instrumentation removal at the time of initial washout. Three studies recommended that instrumentation be uniformly removed at the time of wound washout. Five studies favored retaining the original instrumentation. Six studies favored retention in early infections but removal in late infections.

CONCLUSIONS The data on this topic remain heterogeneous and low in quality. Retention may be preferred in the setting of early infection, when the risk of underlying spine instability is still high and the risk of mature biofilm formation on the implants is low. However, late infections likely favor instrumentation removal. Higher-quality evidence from large, multicenter, prospective studies is needed to reach generalizable conclusions capable of guiding clinical practice.

External Lumbar Drainage following Traumatic Intracranial Hypertension

Neurosurgery 89:395–405, 2021

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) often results in elevations in intracranial pressure (ICP) that are refractory to standard therapies. Several studies have investigated the utility of external lumbar drainage (ELD) in this setting.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of ELD or lumbar puncture with regard to immediate effect on ICP, durability of the effect on ICP, complications, and neurological outcomes in adults with refractory traumatic intracranial hypertension.

METHODS: A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted beginning with a comprehensive search of PubMed/EMBASE. Two investigators reviewed studies for eligibility and extracted data. The strength of evidence was evaluated using GRADE methodology. Random-effects meta-analyses were performed to calculate pooled estimates.

RESULTS: Nine articles detailing 6 studies (N = 110) were included. There was moderate evidence that ELD has a significant immediate effect on ICP; the pooled effect size was –19.5 mmHg (95% CI –21.0 to –17.9 mmHg). There was low evidence to indicate a durable effect of ELD on ICP up to at least 24 h following ELD. There was low evidence to indicate that ELD was safe and associated with a low rate of clinical cerebral herniation or meningitis. There was very low evidence pertaining to neurological outcomes.

CONCLUSION: Given preliminary data indicating potential safety and feasibility in highly selected cases, the use of ELD in adults with severe TBI and refractory intracranial hypertension in the presence of open basal cisterns and absence of large focal hematoma merits further high-quality investigation; the ideal conditions for potential application remain to be determined.

Postoperative Hearing Preservation in Patients Undergoing Retrosigmoid Craniotomy for Resection of Vestibular Schwannomas: A Systematic Review of 2034 Patients

Neurosurgery 2019 DOI:10.1093/neuros/nyz147

Vestibular schwannomas (VS) are benign tumors derived from Schwann cells ensheathing the vestibulocochlear nerve. The retrosigmoid (RS) surgical approach is useful to resect tumors of multiple sizes while affording the possibility of preserving postoperative hearing.

OBJECTIVE: To conduct a systematic review of published literature investigating hearing preservation rates in patients who underwent the RS approach for VS treatment.

METHODS: The PubMed, Scopus, and Embase databases were surveyed for studies that reported preoperative and postoperative hearing grades on VS patients who underwent RS treatment. Hearing preservation rates were calculated, and additional patient demographic data were extracted. Tumor size data were stratified to compare hearing preservation rates after surgery for intracanalicular, small (0-20 mm), and large (>20 mm) tumors.

RESULTS: Of 383 deduplicated articles, 26 studies (6.8%) met eligibility criteria for a total of 2034 patients with serviceable preoperative hearing, for whom postoperative hearing status was evaluated. Aggregate hearing preservation was 31% and 35% under a fixed and random effects model, respectively. A mixed effects model was used to determine hearing preservation rates depending on tumor size, which were determined to be 57%, 37%, and 12% for intracanalicular, small, and large tumors, respectively. Significant crossstudy heterogeneity was found (I2 = 93%, τ 2 = .964, P < .01; Q = 287.80, P = < .001), with rates of hearing preservation ranging from 0% to 100%.

CONCLUSION: Tumor size may have an effect on hearing preservation rates, but multiple factors should be considered. Discussion of a patient’s expectations for hearing preservation is critical when deciding on VS treatment plans.

Risk of First Hemorrhage of Brain Arteriovenous Malformations During Pregnancy

Neurosurgery 85:E806–E814, 2019

Recommendations on the management of brain arteriovenous malformations (bAVM) with respect to pregnancy are based upon conflicting literature.

OBJECTIVE: To systematically review the reported risk and annualized rate of first intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) from bAVM during pregnancy and puerperium.

METHODS: MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Scopus databases were searched for relevant articles in English published before April 2018. Studies providing a quantitative risk of ICH in bAVM during pregnancy were eligible.

RESULTS: From 7 initially eligible studies, 3 studies met the criteria for providing quanti- tative risk of first ICH bAVM during pregnancy. Data from 47 bAVM ICH during pregnancy across 4 cohorts were extracted for analysis. Due to differences in methodology and defini- tions of exposure period, it was not appropriate to combine the cases. The annualized risk of first ICH during pregnancy for these 4 cohorts was 3.0% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.7- 5.2%); 3.5% (95% CI: 2.4-4.5%); 8.6% (95% CI: 1.8-25%); and 30% (95% CI: 18-49%). Only the last result from the last cohort could be considered significantly increased in comparison with the nonpregnant period (relative rate 6.8, 95% CI: 3.6-13). The limited number of eligible studies and variability in results highlighted the need for enhanced rigor of future research.

CONCLUSION: There is no conclusive evidence of an increased risk of first hemorrhage during pregnancy from bAVM. Because advice to women with bAVM may influence the management of pregnancy or bAVM with significant consequences, we believe that a retrospective multicenter, case crossover study is urgently required.

Repeat Gamma Knife radiosurgery versus microvascular decompression following failure of GKRS in trigeminal neuralgia: a systematic review and meta-analysis

J Neurosurg 131:1197–1206, 2019

Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) has emerged as a promising treatment modality for patients with classical trigeminal neuralgia (TN); however, considering that almost half of the patients experience post-GKRS failure or lesion recurrence, a repeat treatment is typically necessary. The existing literature does not offer clear evidence to establish which treatment modality, repeat GKRS or microvascular decompression (MVD), is superior. The present study aimed to compare the overall outcome of patients who have undergone either repeat GKRS or MVD after failure of their primary GKRS; the authors do so by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of the literature and analysis of data from their own institution.

METHODS The authors conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the PubMed, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, and CINAHL databases to identify studies describing patients who underwent either repeat GKRS or MVD after initial failed GKRS for TN. The primary outcomes were complete pain relief (CPR) and adequate pain relief (APR) at 1 year. The secondary outcomes were rate of postoperative facial numbness and the retreatment rate. The pooled data were analyzed with R software. Bias and heterogeneity were assessed using funnel plots and I 2 tests, respectively. A retrospective analysis of a series of patients treated by the authors who underwent repeat GKRS or MVD after postGKRS failure or relapse is presented.

RESULTS A total of 22 studies met the selection criteria and were included for final data retrieval and meta-analysis. The search did not identify any study that had directly compared outcomes between patients who had undergone repeat GKRS versus those who had undergone MVD. Therefore, the authors’ final analysis included two groups: studies describing outcome after repeat GKRS (n = 17) and studies describing outcome after MVD (n = 5). The authors’ institutional study was the only study with direct comparison of the two cohorts. The pooled estimates of primary outcomes were APR in 83% of patients who underwent repeat GKRS and 88% of those who underwent MVD (p = 0.49), and CPR in 46% of patients who underwent repeat GKRS and 72% of those who underwent MVD (p = 0.02). The pooled estimates of secondary outcomes were facial numbness in 32% of patients who underwent repeat GKRS and 22% of those who underwent MVD (p = 0.11); the retreatment rate was 19% in patients who underwent repeat GKRS and 13% in those who underwent MVD (p = 0.74). The authors’ institutional study included 42 patients (repeat GKRS in 15 and MVD in 27), and the outcomes 1 year after retreatment were APR in 80% of those who underwent repeat GKRS and 81% in those who underwent MVD (p = 1.0); CPR was achieved in 47% of those who underwent repeat GKRS and 44% in those who underwent MVD (p = 1.0). There was no difference in the rate of postoperative facial numbness or retreatment.

CONCLUSIONS The current meta-analysis failed to identify any superiority of one treatment over the other with comparable outcomes in terms of APR, postoperative facial numbness, and retreatment rates. However, MVD was shown to provide a better chance of CPR compared with repeat GKRS.

Papillary Tumor of the Pineal Region: Systematic Review and Analysis of Prognostic Factors

Neurosurgery, Volume 85, Issue 3, September 2019: E420–E429

Clinical outcomes and biological behavior of papillary tumors of the pineal region (PTPR) are still under investigation. The best therapeutic strategy has not been defined.

OBJECTIVE: To perform a comprehensive patient-level analysis of all PTPR cases and identify their clinical features, treatment options, and prognostic factors.

METHODS: A search of the medical databases for case series and reports on PTPRs from January 2003 to June 2017 was performed. Data addressing PTPR’s clinical presentation, imaging, treatment, and histological features were. Variables associated with the primary outcome of 36-mo survival were identified through Cox regression models.

RESULTS: The initial search yielded 1164 studies, of which 71 were included (60 case reports and 11 case series), containing 177 patients (mean age 33.0 ± 15.3 yr and 53.2% male). Intracranial hypertension and hydrocephalus prevailed as the clinical picture. Surgery was performed on 82.0% and gross total resection (GTR) was achieved on 71.4%. A total of 56.8% recurred after a median 29-mo (quartiles 10.5-45.5). The 36-mo survival rate was 83.5% (95% confidence interval [CI] 76.2-89.2%). Good functional outcomes (Glasgow Outcome Scale 4/5) were observed in 60.0%. The variables of interest were inconsistently reported and the multivariable analysis final sample was 133 patients. After adjustment for age, tumor size (each additional centimeter, hazard ratio [HR] 1.99, 95% CI 1.12-3.53, P = .019) and surgical treatment (HR 0.16, 95% CI 0.05-0.45, P = .001) were associated with 36-mo survival.

CONCLUSION: Tumor size and surgery are associated with improvement in 36-mo survival. We did not observe any significant benefits from GTR or adjuvant treatments.

Stereotactic radiosurgery for trigeminal neuralgia: a systematic review

J Neurosurg 130:733–757, 2019

The aims of this systematic review are to provide an objective summary of the published literature specific to the treatment of classical trigeminal neuralgia with stereotactic radiosurgery (RS) and to develop consensus guideline recommendations for the use of RS, as endorsed by the International Society of Stereotactic Radiosurgery (ISRS).


The authors performed a systematic review of the English-language literature from 1951 up to December 2015 using the Embase, PubMed, and MEDLINE databases. The following MeSH terms were used in a title and abstract screening: “radiosurgery” AND “trigeminal.” Of the 585 initial results obtained, the authors performed a full text screening of 185 studies and ultimately found 65 eligible studies. Guideline recommendations were based on level of evidence and level of consensus, the latter predefined as at least 85% agreement among the ISRS guideline committee members.


The results for 65 studies (6461 patients) are reported: 45 Gamma Knife RS (GKS) studies (5687 patients [88%]), 11 linear accelerator (LINAC) RS studies (511 patients [8%]), and 9 CyberKnife RS (CKR) studies (263 patients [4%]). With the exception of one prospective study, all studies were retrospective.

The mean maximal doses were 71.1–90.1 Gy (prescribed at the 100% isodose line) for GKS, 83.3 Gy for LINAC, and 64.3–80.5 Gy for CKR (the latter two prescribed at the 80% or 90% isodose lines, respectively). The ranges of maximal doses were as follows: 60–97 Gy for GKS, 50–90 Gy for LINAC, and 66–90 Gy for CKR.

Actuarial initial freedom from pain (FFP) without medication ranged from 28.6% to 100% (mean 53.1%, median 52.1%) for GKS, from 17.3% to 76% (mean 49.3%, median 43.2%) for LINAC, and from 40% to 72% (mean 56.3%, median 58%) for CKR. Specific to hypesthesia, the crude rates (all Barrow Neurological Institute Pain Intensity Scale scores included) ranged from 0% to 68.8% (mean 21.7%, median 19%) for GKS, from 11.4% to 49.7% (mean 27.6%, median 28.5%) for LINAC, and from 11.8% to 51.2% (mean 29.1%, median 18.7%) for CKR. Other complications included dysesthesias, paresthesias, dry eye, deafferentation pain, and keratitis. Hypesthesia and paresthesia occurred as complications only when the anterior retrogasserian portion of the trigeminal nerve was targeted, whereas the other listed complications occurred when the root entry zone was targeted. Recurrence rates ranged from 0% to 52.2% (mean 24.6%, median 23%) for GKS, from 19% to 63% (mean 32.2%, median 29%) for LINAC, and from 15.8% to 33% (mean 25.8%, median 27.2%) for CKR. Two GKS series reported 30% and 45.3% of patients who were pain free without medication at 10 years.


The literature is limited in its level of evidence, with only one comparative randomized trial (1 vs 2 isocenters) reported to date. At present, one can conclude that RS is a safe and effective therapy for drug-resistant trigeminal neuralgia. A number of consensus statements have been made and endorsed by the ISRS.

The Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System in spine surgery: a systematic review

J Neurosurg Spine 30:405–413, 2019

The Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) was developed to provide a standardized measure of clinical outcomes that is valid and reliable across a variety of patient populations. PROMIS has exhibited strong correlations with many legacy patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures. However, it is unclear to what extent PROMIS has been used within the spine literature. In this context, the purpose of this systematic review was to provide a comprehensive overview of the PROMIS literature for spine-specific populations that can be used to inform clinicians and guide future work. Specifically, the authors aimed to 1) evaluate publication trends of PROMIS in the spine literature, 2) assess how studies have used PROMIS, and 3) determine the correlations of PROMIS domains with legacy PROs as reported for spine populations.

METHODS Studies reporting PROMIS scores among spine populations were identified from PubMed/MEDLINE and a review of reference lists from obtained studies. Articles were excluded if they did not report original results, or if the study population was not evaluated or treated for spine-related complaints. Characteristics of each study and journal in which it was published were recorded. Correlation of PROMIS to legacy PROs was reported with 0.1 ≤ |r| < 0.3, 0.3 ≤ |r| < 0.5, and |r| ≥ 0.5 indicating weak, moderate, and strong correlations, respectively.

RESULTS Twenty-one articles were included in this analysis. Twelve studies assessed the validity of PROMIS whereas 9 used PROMIS as an outcome measure. The first study discussing PROMIS in patients with spine disorders was published in 2012, whereas the majority were published in 2017. The most common PROMIS domain used was Pain Interference. Assessments of PROMIS validity were most frequently performed with the Neck Disability Index. PROMIS domains demonstrated moderate to strong correlations with the legacy PROs that were evaluated. Studies assessing the validity of PROMIS exhibited substantial variability in PROMIS domains and legacy PROs used for comparisons.

CONCLUSIONS There has been a recent increase in the use of PROMIS within the spine literature. However, only a minority of studies have incorporated PROMIS for its intended use as an outcomes measure. Overall, PROMIS has exhibited moderate to strong correlations with a majority of legacy PROs used in the spine literature. These results suggest that PROMIS can be effective in the assessment and tracking of PROs among spine populations.


Indocyanine Green Videoangiography in Aneurysm Surgery: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Neurosurgery, 83 (2): 166–180

Although digital subtraction angiography (DSA) may be considered the gold standard for intraoperative vascular imaging, many neurosurgical centers rely only on indocyanine green videoangiography (ICG-VA) for the evaluation of clipping accuracy. Many studies have compared the results of ICG-VA with those of intraoperative DSA; however, a systematic review summarizing these results is still lacking.
To analyze the literature in order to evaluate ICG-VA accuracy in the identification of aneurysm remnants and vessel stenosis after aneurysm clipping.
We performed a systematic literature review of ICG-VA accuracy during aneurysm clipping as compared to microscopic visual observation (primary endpoint 1) and DSA (primary endpoint 2). Quality of studies was assessed with the QUADAS-2 tool. Meta-analysis was performed using a random effects model.
The initial PubMed search resulted in 2871 records from January 2003 to April 2016; of these, 20 articles were eligible for primary endpoint 1 and 11 for primary endpoint 2. The rate of mis-clippings that eluded microscopic visual observation and were identified at ICG-VA was 6.1% (95% CI: 4.2-8.2), and the rate of mis-clippings that eluded ICG-VA and were identified at DSA was 4.5% (95% CI: 1.8-8.3).

Because a proportion of mis-clippings cannot be identified with ICG-VA, this technique should still be considered complementary rather than a replacement to DSA during aneurysm surgery. Incorporating other intraoperative tools, such as flowmetry or electrophysiological monitoring, can obviate the need for intraoperative DSA for the identification of vessel stenosis. Nevertheless, DSA likely remains the best tool for the detection of aneurysm remnants.

Effects of Cranioplasty on Cerebral Blood Flow Following Decompressive Craniectomy

Neurosurgery 81:204–216, 2017

Cranioplasty after decompressive craniectomy (DC) is routinely performed for reconstructive purposes and has been recently linked to improved cerebral blood flow (CBF) and neurological function.

OBJECTIVE: To systematically review all available literature to evaluate the effect of cranioplasty on CBF and neurocognitive recovery.

METHODS: A PubMed, Google Scholar, and MEDLINE search adhering to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines included studies reporting patients who underwent DC and subsequent cranioplasty in whom cerebral hemodynamics were measured before and after cranioplasty.

RESULTS: The search yielded 21 articles with a total of 205 patients (range 3–76 years) who underwent DC and subsequent cranioplasty. Two studies enrolled 29 control subjects for a total of 234 subjects. Studies used different imaging modalities, including CT perfusion (n = 10), Xenon-CT (n = 3), single-photon emission CT (n = 2), transcranial Doppler (n = 6), MR perfusion (n = 1), and positron emission tomography (n = 2). Precranioplasty CBF evaluation ranged from 2 days to 6 months; postcranioplasty CBF evaluation ranged from 7 days to 6 months. All studies demonstrated an increase in CBF ipsilateral to the side of the cranioplasty. Nine of 21 studies also reported an increase in CBF on the contralateral side.Neurological function improved in an overwhelming majority of patients after cranioplasty.

CONCLUSION: This systematic review suggests that cranioplasty improves CBF following DC with a concurrent improvement in neurological function. The causative impact of CBF on neurological function, however, requires further study.

Guidelines for the Management of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury, Fourth Edition

Neurosurgery 80:6–15, 2017

The scope and purpose of this work is 2-fold: to synthesize the available evidence and to translate it into recommendations. This document provides recommendations only when there is evidence to support them. As such, they do not constitute a complete protocol for clinical use.

Our intention is that these recommendations be used by others to develop treatment protocols, which necessarily need to incorporate consensus and clinical judgment in areas where current evidence is lacking or insu cient.

We think it is important to have evidence-based recommendations to clarify what aspects of practice currently can and cannot be supported by evidence, to encourage use of evidence-based treatments that exist, and to encourage creativity in treatment and research in areas where evidence does not exist.

The communities of neurosurgery and neuro-intensive care have been early pioneers and supporters of evidence-based medicine and plan to continue in this endeavor. The complete guideline document, which summarizes and evaluates the literature for each topic, and supplemental appendices (A-I) are available online at

Syndrome of the Trephined: A Systematic Review


Neurosurgery 79:525–534, 2016

Syndrome of the trephined (SoT) is a rare, important complication of a craniectomy characterized by neurological dysfunction that improves with cranioplasty. Its varied symptoms include motor, cognitive, and language deficits. Its exact characterization appears suboptimal, with differing approaches of evaluation. Accordingly, this topic is in great need of further investigation.

OBJECTIVE: To accurately describe SoT and explore methods of an objective diagnosis/ evaluation.

METHODS: Electronic searches of PubMed, MEDLINE, Web of Knowledge, and PsycINFO databases used the key words “syndrome of the trephined” and “sinking skin flap.” Non–English-language and duplicate articles were eliminated. Title and abstract reviews were selected for relevance. Full-text reviews were selected for articles providing individual characteristics of SoT patients.

RESULTS: This review identified that SoT most often occurs in male patients (60%) at 5.1 6 10.8 months after craniectomy for neurotrauma (38%). The average reported craniectomy is 88.3 6 34.4 cm2 and usually exists with a “sunken skin flap” (93%). Symptoms most commonly include motor, cognitive, and language deficits (57%, 41%, 28%, respectively), with improvement after cranioplasty within 3.8 6 3.9 days. Functional independence with activities of daily living is achieved by 54.9% of patients after 2.9 6 3.4 months of rehabilitation. However, evaluation of SoT is inconsistent, with only 53% of reports documenting objective studies.

DISCUSSION: SoT is a variable phenomenon associated with a prolonged time to cranioplasty. Due to current weaknesses in objectivity, we hypothesize that SoT is often underdiagnosed and recommend a multifaceted approach for consistent evaluation.

CONCLUSION: SoT is a serious complication that lacks exact characterization and deserves future investigation. Improved understanding and recognition have important implications for early intervention and patient outcomes.

Outcome of conservative and surgical treatment of pyogenic spondylodiscitis

pyogenic spondylodiscitis

Eur Spine J (2016) 25:983–999

Spondylodiscitis is a spinal infection affecting primarily the intervertebral disk and the adjacent vertebral bodies. Currently many aspects of the treatment of pyogenic spondylodiscitis are still a matter of debate.

Purpose The aim of this study was to review the currently available literature systematically to determine the outcome of patients with pyogenic spondylodiscitis for conservative and surgical treatment strategies.

Methods A systematic electronic search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Collaboration, and Web of Science regarding the treatment of pyogenic spondylodiscitis was performed. Included articles were assessed on risk of bias according the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, and the quality of evidence and strength of recommendation was evaluated according the GRADE approach.

Results: 25 studies were included. Five studies had a high or moderate quality of evidence. One RCT suggest that 6 weeks of antibiotic treatment of pyogenic spondylodiscitis results in a similar outcome when compared to longer treatment duration. However, microorganism-specific studies suggest that at least 8 weeks of treatment is required for S. aureus and 8 weeks of Daptomycin for MRSA. The articles that described the outcome of surgical treatment strategies show that a large variety of surgical techniques can successfully treat spondylodiscitis. No additional long-term beneficial effect of surgical treatment could be shown in the studies comparing surgical versus antibiotic only treatment.

Conclusion There is a strong level of recommendation for 6 weeks of antibiotic treatment in pyogenic spondylodiscitis although this has only been shown by one recent RCT. If surgical treatment is indicated, it has been suggested by two prospective studies with strong level of recommendation that an isolated anterior approach could result in a better clinical outcome.

Glioma surgery in eloquent areas: can we preserve cognition?

Surgery for low-grade glioma infiltrating the central cerebral region

Acta Neurochir (2016) 158:35–50

Cognitive preservation is crucial in glioma surgery, as it is an important aspect of daily life functioning. Several studies claimed that surgery in eloquent areas is possible without causing severe cognitive damage. However, this conclusion was relatively ungrounded due to the lack of extensive neuropsychological testing in homogenous patient groups. In this study, we aimed to elucidate the short-term and long-term effects of glioma surgery on cognition by identifying all studies who conducted neuropsychological tests preoperatively and postoperatively in glioma patients.

Methods We systematically searched the electronical databases Embase, Medline OvidSP, Web of Science, PsychINFO OvidSP, PubMed, Cochrane, Google Scholar, Scirius and Proquest aimed at cognitive performance in glioma patients preoperatively and postoperatively.

Results We included 17 studies with tests assessing the cognitive domains: language, memory, attention, executive functions and/or visuospatial abilities. Language was the domain most frequently examined. Immediately postoperatively, all studies except one, found deterioration in one or more cognitive domains. In the longer term (3–6/6–12 months postoperatively), the following tests showed both recovery and deterioration compared with the preoperative level: naming and verbal fluency (language), verbal word learning (memory) and Trailmaking B (executive functions).

Conclusions Cognitive recovery to the preoperative level after surgery is possible to a certain extent; however, the results are too arbitrary to draw definite conclusions and not all studies investigated all cognitive domains. More studies with longer postoperative follow-up with tests for cognitive change are necessary for a better understanding of the conclusive effects of glioma surgery on cognition.

Optimal Timing of Surgical Decompression for Acute Traumatic Central Cord Syndrome

central cord syndrome

Neurosurgery 77:S15–S32, 2015

Traumatic central cord syndrome (TCCS) is an incomplete spinal cord injury defined by greater weakness in upper versus lower extremities, variable sensory loss, and variable bladder, bowel, and sexual dysfunction. The optimal timing of surgery for TCCS remains controversial.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether timing of surgery for TCCS predicts neurological outcomes, length of stay, and complications.

METHODS: Five databases were searched through March 2015. Articles were appraised independently by 2 reviewers, and the evidence synthesized according to Grading of Recommendation Assessment, Development and Evaluation principles.

RESULTS: Nine studies (3 prognostic, 5 therapeutic, 1 both) satisfied inclusion criteria. Low level evidence suggests that patients operated on ,24 hours after injury exhibit significantly greater improvements in postoperative American Spinal Injury Association motor scores and the functional independence measure at 1 year than those operated on .24 hours after injury. Moderate evidence suggests that patients operated on >2 weeks after injury have a higher postoperative Japanese Orthopaedic Association score and recovery rate than those operated on >2 weeks after injury. There is insufficient evidence that lengths of hospital or intensive care unit stay differ between patients who undergo early versus delayed surgery. Furthermore, there is insufficient evidence that timing between injury and surgery predicts mortality rates or serious or minor adverse events.

CONCLUSION: Surgery for TCCS <24 hours after injury appears safe and effective. Although there is insufficient evidence to provide a clear recommendation for early surgery (<24 hours), it is preferable to operate during the first hospital admission and <2 weeks after injury.

Factors that may affect outcome in cervical artificial disc replacement: a systematic review

Analysis of in vivo kinematics of 3 different cervical devices- Bryan disc, ProDisc-C, and Prestige LP dis

Eur Spine J (24)9:2023-2032

To identify the factors that may affect outcome in C-ADR and provide the pooled results of postoperative success rate of implanted segment range of motion (ROM), incidence of heterotopic ossification (HO), incidence of radiographic adjacent segment degeneration (r-ASD)/adjacent segment disease (ASD), and surgery rate for ASD.


We systematically searched in PubMed, Embase, Cochrane library and Web of knowledge from 2001 to May 2015. Two independent reviewers screened the primary records. Eleven questions regarding the effect of patient selection issues and radiographic parameters issues on outcome were posed previously. Studies addressing the framed questions were included for analysis.


Twenty-two studies were included for the final analysis. Results showed that number of surgical level (single versus double-level) had no effect on primary clinical outcome and radiographic outcome, surgical level had no effect on clinical and radiographic outcome, and smoking habits had negative effect on clinical outcome. No evidence for the effect of patient’s age and pathology category (radiculopathy or myelopathy) on outcome was found. The overall success rate of ROM was 79.4 %. ROM of the implanted segment and cervical sagittal alignment had no effects on clinical outcome. The pooled incidences of grade 1–4 HO and grade 3–4 HO were 27.7 and 7.8 %, respectively. The pooled incidence of r-ASD and surgery rate for ASD were 42.4 and 3.8 %, respectively.


The available evidence showed that most of the pre-selected factors had no effect on outcome after C-ADR, and the ROM success rate, incidence of HO and r-ASD/ASD, and surgery rate for ASD are acceptable. There is a lack of evidence from RCTs for some factors.