Publications by authors named "Douglas L Brockmeyer"

93 Publications

Evaluating the utility and quality of large administrative databases in pediatric spinal neurosurgery research.

Childs Nerv Syst 2021 Aug 17. Epub 2021 Aug 17.

Department of Neurosurgery, Clinical Neurosciences Center, University of Utah, 175 N. Medical Drive East, Salt Lake City, UT, 84132, USA.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the quality of articles utilizing large administrative databases to answer questions related to pediatric spinal neurosurgery by quantifying their adherence to standard reporting guidelines.

Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted with search terms including "pediatric" and "neurosurgery," associated neurosurgical diagnoses, and the names of known databases. Study abstracts were reviewed to identify clinical studies involving pediatric populations, spine-related pathology or procedures, and large administrative databases. Included studies were graded using the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) criteria.

Results: A total of 28 papers of the initial 1496 identified met inclusion criteria. These papers involved 10 databases and had a mean study period of 11.46 ± 12.27 years. The subjects of these research papers were undergoing treatment of scoliosis (n = 5), spinal cord injury (n = 5), spinal cord tumors (n = 9), and spine surgery in general (n = 9). The mean STROBE score was 19.41 ± 2.02 (out of 22).

Conclusion: Large administrative databases are commonly used within pediatric spine-related neurosurgical research to cover a broad spectrum of research questions and study topics. The heterogeneity of research to this point encourages the continued use of large databases to better understand treatment and diagnostic trends, perioperative and long-term outcomes, and rare pathologies within pediatric spinal neurosurgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00381-021-05331-4DOI Listing
August 2021

Extradural decompression versus duraplasty in Chiari malformation type I with syrinx: outcomes on scoliosis from the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2021 Jun 18:1-9. Epub 2021 Jun 18.

25Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA.

Objective: Scoliosis is common in patients with Chiari malformation type I (CM-I)-associated syringomyelia. While it is known that treatment with posterior fossa decompression (PFD) may reduce the progression of scoliosis, it is unknown if decompression with duraplasty is superior to extradural decompression.

Methods: A large multicenter retrospective and prospective registry of 1257 pediatric patients with CM-I (tonsils ≥ 5 mm below the foramen magnum) and syrinx (≥ 3 mm in axial width) was reviewed for patients with scoliosis who underwent PFD with or without duraplasty.

Results: In total, 422 patients who underwent PFD had a clinical diagnosis of scoliosis. Of these patients, 346 underwent duraplasty, 51 received extradural decompression alone, and 25 were excluded because no data were available on the type of PFD. The mean clinical follow-up was 2.6 years. Overall, there was no difference in subsequent occurrence of fusion or proportion of patients with curve progression between those with and those without a duraplasty. However, after controlling for age, sex, preoperative curve magnitude, syrinx length, syrinx width, and holocord syrinx, extradural decompression was associated with curve progression > 10°, but not increased occurrence of fusion. Older age at PFD and larger preoperative curve magnitude were independently associated with subsequent occurrence of fusion. Greater syrinx reduction after PFD of either type was associated with decreased occurrence of fusion.

Conclusions: In patients with CM-I, syrinx, and scoliosis undergoing PFD, there was no difference in subsequent occurrence of surgical correction of scoliosis between those receiving a duraplasty and those with an extradural decompression. However, after controlling for preoperative factors including age, syrinx characteristics, and curve magnitude, patients treated with duraplasty were less likely to have curve progression than patients treated with extradural decompression. Further study is needed to evaluate the role of duraplasty in curve stabilization after PFD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.12.PEDS20552DOI Listing
June 2021

Endoscopic transnasal/transoral odontoid resection in children: results of a combined neurosurgical and otolaryngological protocolized, institutional approach.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2021 Jun 4:1-8. Epub 2021 Jun 4.

1Department of Neurosurgery and.

Objective: Odontogenic ventral brainstem compression can be a source of significant morbidity in patients with craniocervical disease. The most common methods for odontoidectomy are the transoral and endoscopic endonasal routes. In this study, the authors investigated the use of an institutional protocol for endoscopic transnasal/transoral odontoidectomy in the pediatric population.

Methods: From 2007 to 2017, a multidisciplinary institutional protocol was developed and refined for the evaluation and treatment of pediatric patients requiring odontoidectomy. Preoperative assessment included airway evaluation, a sleep study (if indicated), discussion of possible tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy, and thorough imaging review by the neurosurgery and otolaryngology teams. Further preoperative anesthesia consultation was obtained for difficult airways. Intraoperatively, adenoidectomy was performed at the discretion of otolaryngology. The odontoidectomy was performed as a combined procedure. Primary posterior pharyngeal closure was performed by the otolaryngologist. The postoperative protocol called for immediate extubation, advancement to a soft diet at 24 hours, and no postoperative antibiotics. Outcome variables included time to extubation, operative time, estimated blood loss, hospital length of stay, and postoperative complications.

Results: A total of 13 patients underwent combined endoscopic transoral/transnasal odontoid resection with at least 3 years of follow-up. All patients had stable to improved neurological function in the postoperative setting. All patients were extubated immediately after the procedure. The average operative length was 201 ± 46 minutes, and the average estimated blood loss was 44.6 ± 40.0 ml. Nine of 13 patients underwent simultaneous tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. The average hospital length of stay was 6.6 ± 5 days. The first patient in the series required revision surgery for removal of a small residual odontoid. One patient experienced pharyngeal flap dehiscence requiring revision.

Conclusions: A protocolized, institutional approach for endoscopic transoral/transnasal odontoidectomy is described. The use of a combined, multidisciplinary approach leads to streamlined patient management and favorable outcomes in this complex patient population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.12.PEDS20729DOI Listing
June 2021

A multicenter validation of the condylar-C2 sagittal vertical alignment in Chiari malformation type I: a study using the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2021 Jun 4:1-7. Epub 2021 Jun 4.

1Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Primary Children's Hospital, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Objective: The condylar-C2 sagittal vertical alignment (C-C2SVA) describes the relationship between the occipitoatlantal joint and C2 in patients with Chiari malformation type I (CM-I). It has been suggested that a C-C2SVA ≥ 5 mm is predictive of the need for occipitocervical fusion (OCF) or ventral brainstem decompression (VBD). The authors' objective was to validate the predictive utility of the C-C2SVA by using a large, multicenter cohort of patients.

Methods: This validation study used a cohort of patients derived from the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium; patients < 21 years old with CM-I and syringomyelia treated from June 2011 to May 2016 were identified. The primary outcome was the need for OCF and/or VBD. After patients who required OCF and/or VBD were identified, 10 age- and sex-matched controls served as comparisons for each OCF/VBD patient. The C-C2SVA (defined as the position of a plumb line from the midpoint of the O-C1 joint relative to the posterior aspect of the C2-3 disc space), pBC2 (a line perpendicular to a line from the basion to the posteroinferior aspect of the C2 body), and clival-axial angle (CXA) were measured on sagittal MRI. The secondary outcome was the need for ≥ 2 CM-related operations.

Results: Of the 206 patients identified, 20 underwent OCF/VBD and 14 underwent repeat posterior fossa decompression. A C-C2SVA ≥ 5 mm was 100% sensitive and 86% specific for requiring OCF/VBD, with a 12.6% misclassification rate, whereas CXA < 125° was 55% sensitive and 99% specific, and pBC2 ≥ 9 was 20% sensitive and 88% specific. Kaplan-Meier analysis demonstrated that there was a significantly shorter time to second decompression in children with C-C2SVA ≥ 5 mm (p = 0.0039). The mean C-C2SVA was greater (6.13 ± 1.28 vs 3.13 ± 1.95 mm, p < 0.0001), CXA was lower (126° ± 15.4° vs 145° ± 10.7°, p < 0.05), and pBC2 was similar (7.65 ± 1.79 vs 7.02 ± 1.26 mm, p = 0.31) among those who underwent OCF/VBD versus decompression only. The intraclass correlation coefficient for the continuous measurement of C-C2SVA was 0.52; the kappa value was 0.47 for the binary categorization of C-C2SVA ≥ 5 mm.

Conclusions: These results validated the C-C2SVA using a large, multicenter, external cohort with 100% sensitivity, 86% specificity, and a 12.6% misclassification rate. A C-C2SVA ≥ 5 mm is highly predictive of the need for OCF/VBD in patients with CM-I. The authors recommend that this measurement be considered among the tools to identify the "high-risk" CM-I phenotype.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.12.PEDS20809DOI Listing
June 2021

Editorial. Tethered to the past no more: the case for spinal column shortening.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2021 May 7:1-2. Epub 2021 May 7.

2Department of Neurosurgery, Primary Children's Hospital, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.12.PEDS20925DOI Listing
May 2021

Development of best practices in the utilization and implementation of pediatric cervical spine traction: a modified Delphi study.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2021 Apr 2:1-12. Epub 2021 Apr 2.

1Department of Neurological Surgery, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York.

Objective: Cervical traction in pediatric patients is an uncommon but invaluable technique in the management of cervical trauma and deformity. Despite its utility, little empirical evidence exists to guide its implementation, with most practitioners employing custom or modified adult protocols. Expert-based best practices may improve the care of children undergoing cervical traction. In this study, the authors aimed to build consensus and establish best practices for the use of pediatric cervical traction in order to enhance its utilization, safety, and efficacy.

Methods: A modified Delphi method was employed to try to identify areas of consensus regarding the utilization and implementation of pediatric cervical spine traction. A literature review of pediatric cervical traction was distributed electronically along with a survey of current practices to a group of 20 board-certified pediatric neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons with expertise in the pediatric cervical spine. Sixty statements were then formulated and distributed to the group. The results of the second survey were discussed during an in-person meeting leading to further consensus. Consensus was defined as ≥ 80% agreement on a 4-point Likert scale (strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree).

Results: After the initial round, consensus was achieved with 40 statements regarding the following topics: goals, indications, and contraindications of traction (12), pretraction imaging (6), practical application and initiation of various traction techniques (8), protocols in trauma and deformity patients (8), and management of traction-related complications (6). Following the second round, an additional 9 statements reached consensus related to goals/indications/contraindications of traction (4), related to initiation of traction (4), and related to complication management (1). All participants were willing to incorporate the consensus statements into their practice.

Conclusions: In an attempt to improve and standardize the use of cervical traction in pediatric patients, the authors have identified 49 best-practice recommendations, which were generated by reaching consensus among a multidisciplinary group of pediatric spine experts using a modified Delphi technique. Further study is required to determine if implementation of these practices can lead to reduced complications and improved outcomes for children.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.10.PEDS20778DOI Listing
April 2021

Dural augmentation approaches and complication rates after posterior fossa decompression for Chiari I malformation and syringomyelia: a Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium study.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2021 Feb 12:1-10. Epub 2021 Feb 12.

3Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL.

Objective: Posterior fossa decompression with duraplasty (PFDD) is commonly performed for Chiari I malformation (CM-I) with syringomyelia (SM). However, complication rates associated with various dural graft types are not well established. The objective of this study was to elucidate complication rates within 6 months of surgery among autograft and commonly used nonautologous grafts for pediatric patients who underwent PFDD for CM-I/SM.

Methods: The Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium database was queried for pediatric patients who had undergone PFDD for CM-I with SM. All patients had tonsillar ectopia ≥ 5 mm, syrinx diameter ≥ 3 mm, and ≥ 6 months of postoperative follow-up after PFDD. Complications (e.g., pseudomeningocele, CSF leak, meningitis, and hydrocephalus) and postoperative changes in syrinx size, headaches, and neck pain were compared for autograft versus nonautologous graft.

Results: A total of 781 PFDD cases were analyzed (359 autograft, 422 nonautologous graft). Nonautologous grafts included bovine pericardium (n = 63), bovine collagen (n = 225), synthetic (n = 99), and human cadaveric allograft (n = 35). Autograft (103/359, 28.7%) had a similar overall complication rate compared to nonautologous graft (143/422, 33.9%) (p = 0.12). However, nonautologous graft was associated with significantly higher rates of pseudomeningocele (p = 0.04) and meningitis (p < 0.001). The higher rate of meningitis was influenced particularly by the higher rate of chemical meningitis (p = 0.002) versus infectious meningitis (p = 0.132). Among 4 types of nonautologous grafts, there were differences in complication rates (p = 0.02), including chemical meningitis (p = 0.01) and postoperative nausea/vomiting (p = 0.03). Allograft demonstrated the lowest complication rates overall (14.3%) and yielded significantly fewer complications compared to bovine collagen (p = 0.02) and synthetic (p = 0.003) grafts. Synthetic graft yielded higher complication rates than autograft (p = 0.01). Autograft and nonautologous graft resulted in equal improvements in syrinx size (p < 0.0001). No differences were found for postoperative changes in headaches or neck pain.

Conclusions: In the largest multicenter cohort to date, complication rates for dural autograft and nonautologous graft are similar after PFDD for CM-I/SM, although nonautologous graft results in higher rates of pseudomeningocele and meningitis. Rates of meningitis differ among nonautologous graft types. Autograft and nonautologous graft are equivalent for reducing syrinx size, headaches, and neck pain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.8.PEDS2087DOI Listing
February 2021

Occipital-Cervical Fusion and Ventral Decompression in the Surgical Management of Chiari-1 Malformation and Syringomyelia: Analysis of Data From the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium.

Neurosurgery 2021 01;88(2):332-341

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Background: Occipital-cervical fusion (OCF) and ventral decompression (VD) may be used in the treatment of pediatric Chiari-1 malformation (CM-1) with syringomyelia (SM) as adjuncts to posterior fossa decompression (PFD) for complex craniovertebral junction pathology.

Objective: To examine factors influencing the use of OCF and OCF/VD in a multicenter cohort of pediatric CM-1 and SM subjects treated with PFD.

Methods: The Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium registry was used to examine 637 subjects with cerebellar tonsillar ectopia ≥ 5 mm, syrinx diameter ≥ 3 mm, and at least 1 yr of follow-up after their index PFD. Comparisons were made between subjects who received PFD alone and those with PFD + OCF or PFD + OCF/VD.

Results: All 637 patients underwent PFD, 505 (79.2%) with and 132 (20.8%) without duraplasty. A total of 12 subjects went on to have OCF at some point in their management (PFD + OCF), whereas 4 had OCF and VD (PFD + OCF/VD). Of those with complete data, a history of platybasia (3/10, P = .011), Klippel-Feil (2/10, P = .015), and basilar invagination (3/12, P < .001) were increased within the OCF group, whereas only basilar invagination (1/4, P < .001) was increased in the OCF/VD group. Clivo-axial angle (CXA) was significantly lower for both OCF (128.8 ± 15.3°, P = .008) and OCF/VD (115.0 ± 11.6°, P = .025) groups when compared to PFD-only group (145.3 ± 12.7°). pB-C2 did not differ among groups.

Conclusion: Although PFD alone is adequate for treating the vast majority of CM-1/SM patients, OCF or OCF/VD may be occasionally utilized. Cranial base and spine pathologies and CXA may provide insight into the need for OCF and/or OCF/VD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyaa460DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7803430PMC
January 2021

Principles of Remediation for the Struggling Neurosurgery Resident.

World Neurosurg 2021 02 27;146:e1118-e1125. Epub 2020 Nov 27.

Department of Neurosurgery, Clinical Neurosciences Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

Background: When resident physicians fail to demonstrate appropriate milestone competencies early in their neurologic surgery residency, a plan of remediation is necessary.

Methods: Once any psychologic, physical, or behavioral causes of identified knowledge or psychomotor deficiencies have been identified and addressed, the next step is to develop a plan to close these gaps. Specific areas that are assessed for deficits include medical knowledge, clinical reasoning and judgment, clinical skills, time management and organization, interpersonal skills, communication, and professionalism. Specific learning goals and objectives, as well as teaching and learning methods, pertain to the unique areas of deficit, and all of these must be considered with the goal of developing a resident-specific remediation plan.

Results: A plan for assessment of the remediation process is described, including an evaluation of what constitutes individual resident remediation success.

Conclusions: Finally, a discussion of the prior resident remediation studies across many disciplines is made.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.11.108DOI Listing
February 2021

Pediatric trauma telemedicine in a rural state: Lessons learned from a 1-year experience.

J Pediatr Surg 2021 Feb 25;56(2):385-389. Epub 2020 Oct 25.

University of Utah, Department of Surgery, Salt Lake City, UT.

Background: Previous research from our center has shown that 27% of the pediatric trauma transfers from referring facilities are potentially preventable. Our hospital is the only level 1 pediatric trauma center (PTC) in our state, and we are developing a pediatric trauma telehealth network to help keep certain injured children closer to home. We instituted a pediatric trauma telehealth program with a partnering community-based hospital in our state and aim to report our experience over the first year.

Methods: All pediatric trauma patients that presented to our partnering hospital from January 2019 to February 2020 were reviewed. Disposition was: a) telehealth consultation, b) admission to the children's unit without a telehealth consultation per our head trauma protocol, or c) transfer without telehealth consultation. Data on demographics, hospital course, and disposition were collected via chart review.

Results: Eight patients underwent telehealth consults and another 8 patients were admitted to the partnering hospital's children's unit based on the head trauma protocol without a telehealth consult. Patient's ages ranged from 7 months to 15 years. Of the patients that underwent telehealth consult, 7 presented with a head injury and 1 presented with a rib fracture/small pneumothorax. The patient with a pneumothorax was observed for 6 h and discharged home after a repeat chest x-ray was stable. All 15 patients with head injuries were observed and discharged from either the emergency department or children's unit after passing concussion testing. No patients required transfer to our PTC after observation, and none were readmitted. Fifty-six patients were transferred without telehealth consultation, and 3 of these patients could potentially have avoided transfer with a telehealth consultation.

Conclusions: Telehealth in pediatric trauma can be a safe mechanism for preventing the transfer of patients that can be safely observed at a partnering hospital. From a facility that transfers an average of 30 trauma patients per year to our hospital, this program prevented 16 such transfers. Development of a head trauma protocol in collaboration with a pediatric neurosurgeon leads to an unexpected number of patients being admitted to the partnering hospital for observation without utilization of a telehealth consultation.

Type Of Study: Retrospective study.

Level Of Evidence: III.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2020.10.020DOI Listing
February 2021

Finite element modeling to compare craniocervical motion in two age-matched pediatric patients without or with Down syndrome: implications for the role of bony geometry in craniocervical junction instability.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2020 Nov 13:1-7. Epub 2020 Nov 13.

2Neurosurgery, Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Objective: Instability of the craniocervical junction (CCJ) is a well-known finding in patients with Down syndrome (DS); however, the relative contributions of bony morphology versus ligamentous laxity responsible for abnormal CCJ motion are unknown. Using finite element modeling, the authors of this study attempted to quantify those relative differences.

Methods: Two CCJ finite element models were created for age-matched pediatric patients, a patient with DS and a control without DS. Soft tissues and ligamentous structures were added based on bony landmarks from the CT scans. Ligament stiffness values were assigned using published adult ligament stiffness properties. Range of motion (ROM) testing determined that model behavior most closely matched pediatric cadaveric data when ligament stiffness values were scaled down to 25% of those found in adults. These values, along with those assigned to the other soft-tissue materials, were identical for each model to ensure that the only variable between the two was the bone morphology. The finite element models were then subjected to three types of simulations to assess ROM, anterior-posterior (AP) translation displacement, and axial tension.

Results: The DS model exhibited more laxity than the normal model at all levels for all of the cardinal ROMs and AP translation. For the CCJ, the flexion-extension, lateral bending, axial rotation, and AP translation values predicted by the DS model were 40.7%, 52.1%, 26.1%, and 39.8% higher, respectively, than those for the normal model. When simulating axial tension, the soft-tissue structural stiffness values predicted by the DS and normal models were nearly identical.

Conclusions: The increased laxity exhibited by the DS model in the cardinal ROMs and AP translation, along with the nearly identical soft-tissue structural stiffness values exhibited in axial tension, calls into question the previously held notion that ligamentous laxity is the sole explanation for craniocervical instability in DS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.6.PEDS20453DOI Listing
November 2020

Febio finite element models of the human cervical spine.

J Biomech 2020 12 24;113:110077. Epub 2020 Oct 24.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute, University of Utah, 72 S. Central Campus Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, United States. Electronic address:

Finite element (FE) analysis has proven to be useful when studying the biomechanics of the cervical spine. Although many FE studies of the cervical spine have been published, they typically develop their models using commercial software, making the sharing of models between researchers difficult. They also often model only one part of the cervical spine. The goal of this study was to develop and evaluate three FE models of the adult cervical spine using open-source software and to freely provide these models to the scientific community. The models were created from computed tomography scans of 26-, 59-, and 64-year old female subjects. These models were evaluated against previously published experimental and FE data. Despite the fact that all three models were assigned identical material properties and boundary conditions, there was notable variation in their biomechanical behavior. It was therefore apparent that these differences were the result of morphological differences between the models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiomech.2020.110077DOI Listing
December 2020

Clinical Effectiveness of S2-Alar Iliac Screws in Spinopelvic Fixation in Pediatric Neuromuscular Scoliosis: Systematic Literature Review.

Global Spine J 2020 Dec 7;10(8):1066-1074. Epub 2020 Jan 7.

3989Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.

Study Design: Systematic literature review.

Objectives: To comprehensively review the S2-alar iliac (S2-AI) screw technique for pelvic fixation in pediatric neuromuscular scoliosis.

Methods: Articles identified from the PubMed and EMBASE databases were reviewed for relevance and applicability, and the studies were summarized.

Results: Eight articles met the inclusion criteria. A total of 277 pediatric patients underwent spinopelvic fixation using S2-AI fixation for neuromuscular scoliosis; the mean follow-up was 3 years (range = 0.75-6 years). Six articles had level III evidence (5 retrospective cohort studies, 1 observational study), and 2 articles had level IV evidence (case series). Wound complications occurred in 34 (12.2%) patients. Instrumentation complications occurred in 36 patients (13.0%), including lucency around the screw (6.5%), screw fracture (3.6%), disengaging of the set/screw or rod from the tulip head (2.8%), and screw displacement (0.7%). Three patients (1.1%) required reoperation for instrumentation failures. The overall reoperation rate-including 3 hardware replacements and 3 cases of L5-S1 pseudarthrosis-was 2.1%. The mean Cobb angle correction was 51.4°, and the mean pelvic obliquity correction was 14.8°; deformity correction was maintained at 3- and 5-year follow-ups. There were 10 (3.6%) cases of implant prominence/implant-related pain, 1 case of sacroiliac joint pain (resolved with longer screw placement), and no major neurological or vascular complications secondary to S2-AI screw placement.

Conclusions: This review suggests that the use of S2-AI screws in pediatric neuromuscular scoliosis is efficacious with a reasonable safety profile and provides a useful technique for pelvic fixation in children with scoliosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2192568219899658DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7645097PMC
December 2020

Defining the role of the condylar-C2 sagittal vertical alignment in Chiari malformation type I.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2020 Jul 17:1-6. Epub 2020 Jul 17.

1Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah; and.

Objective: The authors' objective was to better understand the anatomical load-bearing relationship between the atlantooccipital joint and the upper cervical spine and its influence on the clinical behavior of patients with Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) and craniocervical pathology.

Methods: In a single-center prospective study of patients younger than 18 years with CM-I from 2015 through 2017 (mean age 9.91 years), the authors measured the occipital condyle-C2 sagittal vertebral alignment (C-C2SVA; defined as the position of a plumb line from the midpoint of the occiput (C0)-C1 joint relative to the posterior aspect of the C2-3 disc space), the pB-C2 (a line perpendicular to a line from the basion to the posteroinferior aspect of the C2 body on sagittal MRI), and the CXA (clivoaxial angle). Control data from 30 patients without CM-I (mean age 8.97 years) were used for comparison. The primary outcome was the need for anterior odontoid resection and/or occipitocervical fusion with or without odontoid reduction. The secondary outcome was the need for two or more Chiari-related operations.

Results: Of the 60 consecutive patients with CM-I identified, 7 underwent anterior odontoid resection or occipitocervical fusion and 10 underwent ≥ 2 decompressive procedures. The mean C-C2SVA was greater in the overall CM-I group versus controls (3.68 vs 0.13 mm, p < 0.0001), as was the pB-C2 (7.7 vs 6.4 mm, p = 0.0092); the CXA was smaller (136° vs 148°, p < 0.0001). A C-C2SVA ≥ 5 mm was found in 35% of CM-I children and 3.3% of controls (p = 0.0006). The sensitivities and specificities for requiring ventral decompression/occipitocervical fusion were 100% and 74%, respectively, for C-C2SVA ≥ 5 mm; 71% and 94%, respectively, for CXA < 125°; and 71% and 75%, respectively, for pB-C2 ≥ 9 mm. The sensitivities and specificities for the need for ≥ 2 decompressive procedures were 60% and 70%, respectively, for C-C2SVA ≥ 5 mm; 50% and 94%, respectively, for CXA < 125°; and 60% and 76%, respectively, for pB-C2 ≥ 9 mm. The log-rank test demonstrated significant differences between C-C2SVA groups (p = 0.0007) for the primary outcome. A kappa value of 0.73 for C-C2SVA between raters indicated substantial agreement.

Conclusions: A novel screening measurement for craniocervical bony relationships, the C-C2SVA, is described. A significant difference in C-C2SVA between CM-I patients and controls was found. A C-C2SVA ≥ 5 mm is highly predictive of the need for occipitocervical fusion/ventral decompression in patients with CM-I. Further validation of this screening measurement is needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.4.PEDS20113DOI Listing
July 2020

Currarino syndrome presenting as a cerebrospinal fluid leak from the dermal sinus tract: case report.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2020 Mar 6:1-5. Epub 2020 Mar 6.

Divisions of1Pediatric Neurosurgery and.

Currarino syndrome is an autosomal dominant condition with variable expressivity and penetrance that is associated with several classic features: sacral dysgenesis, presacral mass, and/or anorectal anomalies. The authors present a unique case in which the patient's initial presentation was a CSF leak from a sinus tract. The sinus tract was identified and disconnected from the thecal sac, obliterating the anterior sacral meningocele. This case represents a unique scenario in which Currarino syndrome manifested as a CSF leak from a dermal sinus tract.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.1.PEDS19692DOI Listing
March 2020

Factors associated with syrinx size in pediatric patients treated for Chiari malformation type I and syringomyelia: a study from the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2020 Mar 6:1-11. Epub 2020 Mar 6.

31Department of Neurosurgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Objective: Factors associated with syrinx size in pediatric patients undergoing posterior fossa decompression (PFD) or PFD with duraplasty (PFDD) for Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) with syringomyelia (SM; CM-I+SM) are not well established.

Methods: Using the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium registry, the authors analyzed variables associated with syrinx radiological outcomes in patients (< 20 years old at the time of surgery) with CM-I+SM undergoing PFD or PFDD. Syrinx resolution was defined as an anteroposterior (AP) diameter of ≤ 2 mm or ≤ 3 mm or a reduction in AP diameter of ≥ 50%. Syrinx regression or progression was defined using 1) change in syrinx AP diameter (≥ 1 mm), or 2) change in syrinx length (craniocaudal, ≥ 1 vertebral level). Syrinx stability was defined as a < 1-mm change in syrinx AP diameter and no change in syrinx length.

Results: The authors identified 380 patients with CM-I+SM who underwent PFD or PFDD. Cox proportional hazards modeling revealed younger age at surgery and PFDD as being independently associated with syrinx resolution, defined as a ≤ 2-mm or ≤ 3-mm AP diameter or ≥ 50% reduction in AP diameter. Radiological syrinx resolution was associated with improvement in headache (p < 0.005) and neck pain (p < 0.011) after PFD or PFDD. Next, PFDD (p = 0.005), scoliosis (p = 0.007), and syrinx location across multiple spinal segments (p = 0.001) were associated with syrinx diameter regression, whereas increased preoperative frontal-occipital horn ratio (FOHR; p = 0.007) and syrinx location spanning multiple spinal segments (p = 0.04) were associated with syrinx length regression. Scoliosis (HR 0.38 [95% CI 0.16-0.91], p = 0.03) and smaller syrinx diameter (5.82 ± 3.38 vs 7.86 ± 3.05 mm; HR 0.60 [95% CI 0.34-1.03], p = 0.002) were associated with syrinx diameter stability, whereas shorter preoperative syrinx length (5.75 ± 4.01 vs 9.65 ± 4.31 levels; HR 0.21 [95% CI 0.12-0.38], p = 0.0001) and smaller pB-C2 distance (6.86 ± 1.27 vs 7.18 ± 1.38 mm; HR 1.44 [95% CI 1.02-2.05], p = 0.04) were associated with syrinx length stability. Finally, younger age at surgery (8.19 ± 5.02 vs 10.29 ± 4.25 years; HR 1.89 [95% CI 1.31-3.04], p = 0.01) was associated with syrinx diameter progression, whereas increased postoperative syrinx diameter (6.73 ± 3.64 vs 3.97 ± 3.07 mm; HR 3.10 [95% CI 1.67-5.76], p = 0.003), was associated with syrinx length progression. PFD versus PFDD was not associated with syrinx progression or reoperation rate.

Conclusions: These data suggest that PFDD and age are independently associated with radiological syrinx improvement, although forthcoming results from the PFDD versus PFD randomized controlled trial (NCT02669836, clinicaltrials.gov) will best answer this question.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.1.PEDS19493DOI Listing
March 2020

Extreme Lateral Transodontoid Approach for Resection of Clival Chordoma: 2-Dimensional Operative Video.

Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown) 2020 Sep;19(3):E298

Department of Neurosurgery, Clinical Neurosciences Center, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

This 15-yr-old girl presented with nasal obstruction and dysphagia of duration 3 mo and 8 to 10 pounds of weight loss. On examination, she had a hoarse voice and left tongue deviation without weakness or myelopathy. Computed tomography (CT) demonstrated an erosive lesion arising from the clivus and left occipital condyle. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrated a T1-isointense, T2-hyperintense, enhancing mass centered at the occipital condyle and extending into the craniovertebral junction (CVJ), causing severe brainstem compression and extending inferiorly to C2 and anteriorly into the retropharyngeal space. The patient underwent transoral biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of chordoma and complete tumor resection via a left extreme lateral transodontoid (ELTO) approach. This approach was chosen because it provides bilateral exposure to the ventral CVJ and retropharyngeal space and allows for complete tumor removal using a single approach, although it requires an experienced surgeon. The ELTO incision should provide adequate exposure for occipitocervical fusion (OCF) after the destabilization of the CVJ. Transposition of the vertebral artery and odontoidectomy are key maneuvers that provide exposure to the ventral CVJ bilaterally. Dural closure is performed primarily and augmented with fat, fibrin glue, and temporary cerebrospinal fluid diversion. Postoperative MRI showed a gross-total resection and decompression of the brainstem at the CVJ. The patient remained in a cervical collar until OCF. Postoperatively, she had left vocal cord paralysis and moderate weakness with left arm abduction at the deltoid. At 2-mo follow-up, she had improved lower cranial neuropathies, tolerated oral intake, and was scheduled to begin proton beam therapy. The patient provided consent for publication.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ons/opz411DOI Listing
September 2020

Radiological and clinical predictors of scoliosis in patients with Chiari malformation type I and spinal cord syrinx from the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Research Consortium.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2019 Aug 16:1-8. Epub 2019 Aug 16.

23Department of Neurosurgery, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas.

Objective: Scoliosis is frequently a presenting sign of Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) with syrinx. The authors' goal was to define scoliosis in this population and describe how radiological characteristics of CM-I and syrinx relate to the presence and severity of scoliosis.

Methods: A large multicenter retrospective and prospective registry of pediatric patients with CM-I (tonsils ≥ 5 mm below the foramen magnum) and syrinx (≥ 3 mm in axial width) was reviewed for clinical and radiological characteristics of CM-I, syrinx, and scoliosis (coronal curve ≥ 10°).

Results: Based on available imaging of patients with CM-I and syrinx, 260 of 825 patients (31%) had a clear diagnosis of scoliosis based on radiographs or coronal MRI. Forty-nine patients (5.9%) did not have scoliosis, and in 516 (63%) patients, a clear determination of the presence or absence of scoliosis could not be made. Comparison of patients with and those without a definite scoliosis diagnosis indicated that scoliosis was associated with wider syrinxes (8.7 vs 6.3 mm, OR 1.25, p < 0.001), longer syrinxes (10.3 vs 6.2 levels, OR 1.18, p < 0.001), syrinxes with their rostral extent located in the cervical spine (94% vs 80%, OR 3.91, p = 0.001), and holocord syrinxes (50% vs 16%, OR 5.61, p < 0.001). Multivariable regression analysis revealed syrinx length and the presence of holocord syrinx to be independent predictors of scoliosis in this patient cohort. Scoliosis was not associated with sex, age at CM-I diagnosis, tonsil position, pB-C2 distance (measured perpendicular distance from the ventral dura to a line drawn from the basion to the posterior-inferior aspect of C2), clivoaxial angle, or frontal-occipital horn ratio. Average curve magnitude was 29.9°, and 37.7% of patients had a left thoracic curve. Older age at CM-I or syrinx diagnosis (p < 0.0001) was associated with greater curve magnitude whereas there was no association between syrinx dimensions and curve magnitude.

Conclusions: Syrinx characteristics, but not tonsil position, were related to the presence of scoliosis in patients with CM-I, and there was an independent association of syrinx length and holocord syrinx with scoliosis. Further study is needed to evaluate the nature of the relationship between syrinx and scoliosis in patients with CM-I.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2019.5.PEDS18527DOI Listing
August 2019

Increased complications without neurological benefit are associated with prophylactic spinal cord untethering prior to scoliosis surgery in children with myelomeningocele.

Childs Nerv Syst 2019 11 2;35(11):2187-2194. Epub 2019 Jul 2.

Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Department of Neurological Surgery, Children's Hospital of New York, Columbia-Presbyterian, New York, NY, USA.

Purpose: Children with myelomeningocele (MMC) are at increased risk of developing neuromuscular scoliosis and spinal cord re-tethering (Childs Nerv Syst 12:748-754, 1996; Neurosurg Focus 16:2, 2004; Neurosurg Focus 29:1, 2010). Some centers perform prophylactic untethering on asymptomatic MMC patients prior to scoliosis surgery because of concern that additional traction on the cord may place the patient at greater risk of neurologic deterioration peri-operatively. However, prophylactic untethering may not be justified if it carries increased surgical risks. The purpose of this study was to determine if prophylactic untethering is necessary in asymptomatic children with MMC undergoing scoliosis surgery.

Methods: A multidisciplinary, retrospective cohort study from seven children's hospitals was performed including asymptomatic children with MMC < 21 years old, managed with or without prophylactic untethering prior to scoliosis surgery. Patients were divided into three groups for analysis: (1) untethering at the time of scoliosis surgery (concomitant untethering), (2) untethering within 3 months of scoliosis surgery (prior untethering), and (3) no prophylactic untethering. Baseline data, intra-operative reports, and 90-day post-operative outcomes were analyzed to assess for differences in neurologic outcomes, surgical complications, and overall length of stay.

Results: A total of 208 patients were included for analysis (mean age 9.4 years, 52% girls). No patient in any of the groups exhibited worsened motor or sensory function at 90 days post-operatively. However, comparing the prophylactic untethering groups with the group that was not untethered, there was an increased risk of surgical site infection (SSI) (31.3% concomitant, 28.6% prior untethering vs. 12.3% no untethering; p = 0.0104), return to the OR (43.8% concomitant, 23.8% prior untethering vs. 17.4% no untethering; p = 0.0047), need for blood transfusion (51.6% concomitant, 57.1% prior untethering vs. 33.8% no untethering; p = 0.04), and increased mean length of stay (LOS) (13.4 days concomitant, 10.6 days prior untethering vs. 6.8 days no untethering; p < 0.0001). In multivariable logistic regression analysis, prophylactic untethering was independently associated with increased adjusted relative risks of surgical site infection (aRR = 2.65, 95% CI 1.17-5.02), unplanned re-operation (aRR = 2.17, 95% CI 1.02-4.65), and any complication (aRR = 2.25, 95% CI 1.07-4.74).

Conclusion: In this study, asymptomatic children with myelomeningocele who underwent scoliosis surgery developed no neurologic injuries regardless of prophylactic untethering. However, those who underwent prophylactic untethering were more likely to experience SSIs, return to the OR, need a blood transfusion, and have increased LOS than children not undergoing untethering. Based on these data, prophylactic untethering in asymptomatic MMC patients prior to scoliosis surgery does not provide any neurological benefit and is associated with increased surgical risks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00381-019-04276-zDOI Listing
November 2019

Complex Chiari malformation: using craniovertebral junction metrics to guide treatment.

Childs Nerv Syst 2019 10 28;35(10):1847-1851. Epub 2019 May 28.

Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Utah School of Medicine Primary Children's Hospital, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.

The complex Chiari, characterized by abnormal craniocervical bony anatomy in addition to Chiari tonsillar herniation, is a relatively recent addition to the concepts surrounding the Chiari literature. The primary findings of complex Chiari include craniocervical kyphosis and retroflexed odontoid, both of which can be described with radiographic measurements. This manuscript will outline the background literature regarding Chiari craniocervical morphometrics and supply an algorithm for the general management of complex Chiari patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00381-019-04214-zDOI Listing
October 2019

Evaluation of pediatric glioma outcomes using intraoperative MRI: a multicenter cohort study.

J Neurooncol 2019 Jun 12;143(2):271-280. Epub 2019 Apr 12.

Department of Neurosurgery, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA.

Background: The use of intraoperative MRI (iMRI) during treatment of gliomas may increase extent of resection (EOR), decrease need for early reoperation, and increase progression-free and overall survival, but has not been fully validated, particularly in the pediatric population.

Objective: To assess the accuracy of iMRI to identify residual tumor in pediatric patients with glioma and determine the effect of iMRI on decisions for resection, complication rates, and other outcomes.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed a multicenter database of pediatric patients (age ≤ 18 years) who underwent resection of pathologically confirmed gliomas.

Results: We identified 314 patients (mean age 9.7 ± 4.6 years) with mean follow-up of 48.3 ± 33.6 months (range 0.03-182.07 months) who underwent surgery with iMRI. There were 201 (64.0%) WHO grade I tumors, 57 (18.2%) grade II, 24 (7.6%) grade III, 9 (2.9%) grade IV, and 23 (7.3%) not classified. Among 280 patients who underwent resection using iMRI, 131 (46.8%) had some residual tumor and underwent additional resection after the first iMRI. Of the 33 tissue specimens sent for pathological analysis after iMRI, 29 (87.9%) showed positive tumor pathology. Gross total resection was identified in 156 patients (55.7%), but this was limited by 69 (24.6%) patients with unknown EOR.

Conclusions: Analysis of the largest multicenter database of pediatric gliomas resected using iMRI demonstrated additional tumor resection in a substantial portion of cases. However, determining the impact of iMRI on EOR and outcomes remains challenging because iMRI use varies among providers nationally. Continued refinement of iMRI techniques for use in pediatric patients with glioma may improve outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11060-019-03154-7DOI Listing
June 2019

A study of pediatric cerebral arteriovenous malformations: clinical presentation, radiological features, and long-term functional and educational outcomes with predictors of sustained neurological deficits.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2019 04;24(1):1-8

3Department of Neurosurgery, Harvard Medical School, Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; and.

Objective: Large experiences with the treatment of pediatric arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) remain relatively rare, with limited data on presentation, treatment, and long-term functional outcomes. Because of the expected long lifespan of children, caregivers are especially interested in outcome measures that assess quality of life. The authors' intention was to describe the long-term functional outcomes of pediatric patients who undergo AVM surgery and to identify predictors of sustained neurological deficits.

Methods: The authors analyzed a 21-year retrospective cohort of pediatric patients with intracranial AVMs treated with microsurgery at two institutions. The primary outcome was a persistent neurological deficit at last follow-up. Secondary outcome measures included modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score and independent living.

Results: Overall, 97 patients (mean age 11.1 ± 4.5 years; 56% female) were treated surgically for intracranial AVMs (mean follow-up 77.5 months). Sixty-four patients (66%) presented with hemorrhage, and 45 patients (46%) had neurological deficits at presentation. Radiologically, 39% of lesions were Spetzler-Martin grade II. Thirty-seven patients (38%) with persistent neurological deficits at last follow-up were compared with those without deficits; there were no differences in patient age, presenting Glasgow Coma Scale score, AVM size, surgical blood loss, or duration of follow-up. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that a focal neurological deficit on presentation, AVM size > 3 cm, and lesions in eloquent cortex were independent predictors of persistent neurological deficits at long-term follow-up. Overall, 92% of the children had an mRS score ≤ 2 on long-term follow-up.

Conclusions: Pediatric patients with AVMs treated with microsurgical resection have good functional and radiological outcomes. There is a high rate (38%) of persistent neurological deficits, which were independently predicted by preoperative deficits, AVMs > 3 cm, and lesions located in eloquent cortex. This information can be useful in counseling families on the likelihood of long-term neurological deficits after cerebral AVM surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2019.2.PEDS18731DOI Listing
April 2019

The occipitoatlantal capsular ligaments are the primary stabilizers of the occipitoatlantal joint in the craniocervical junction: a finite element analysis.

J Neurosurg Spine 2019 Feb 15:1-9. Epub 2019 Feb 15.

2Department of Neurosurgery, Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, University of Utah, Primary Children's Hospital, Salt Lake City, Utah.

OBJECTIVEThere is contradictory evidence regarding the relative contribution of the key stabilizing ligaments of the occipitoatlantal (OA) joint. Cadaveric studies are limited by the nature and the number of injury scenarios that can be tested to identify OA stabilizing ligaments. Finite element (FE) analysis can overcome these limitations and provide valuable data in this area. The authors completed an FE analysis of 5 subject-specific craniocervical junction (CCJ) models to investigate the biomechanics of the OA joint and identify the ligamentous structures essential for stability.METHODSIsolated and combined injury scenarios were simulated under physiological loads for 5 validated CCJ FE models to assess the relative role of key ligamentous structures on OA joint stability. Each model was tested in flexion-extension, axial rotation, and lateral bending in various injury scenarios. Isolated ligamentous injury scenarios consisted of either decreasing the stiffness of the OA capsular ligaments (OACLs) or completely removing the transverse ligament (TL), tectorial membrane (TM), or alar ligaments (ALs). Combination scenarios were also evaluated.RESULTSAn isolated OACL injury resulted in the largest percentage increase in all ranges of motion (ROMs) at the OA joint compared with the other isolated injuries. Flexion, extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation significantly increased by 12.4% ± 7.4%, 11.1% ± 10.3%, 83.6% ± 14.4%, and 81.9% ± 9.4%, respectively (p ≤ 0.05 for all). Among combination injuries, OACL+TM+TL injury resulted in the most consistent significant increases in ROM for both the OA joint and the CCJ during all loading scenarios. OACL+AL injury caused the most significant percentage increase for OA joint axial rotation.CONCLUSIONSThese results demonstrate that the OACLs are the key stabilizing ligamentous structures of the OA joint. Injury of these primary stabilizing ligaments is necessary to cause OA instability. Isolated injuries of TL, TM, or AL are unlikely to result in appreciable instability at the OA joint.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2018.10.SPINE181102DOI Listing
February 2019

Development of best practices to minimize wound complications after complex tethered spinal cord surgery: a modified Delphi study.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2018 Dec;22(6):701-709

1Department of Neurological Surgery, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York.

OBJECTIVEComplications after complex tethered spinal cord (cTSC) surgery include infections and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks. With little empirical evidence to guide management, there is variability in the interventions undertaken to limit complications. Expert-based best practices may improve the care of patients undergoing cTSC surgery. Here, authors conducted a study to identify consensus-driven best practices.METHODSThe Delphi method was employed to identify consensual best practices. A literature review regarding cTSC surgery together with a survey of current practices was distributed to 17 board-certified pediatric neurosurgeons. Thirty statements were then formulated and distributed to the group. Results of the second survey were discussed during an in-person meeting leading to further consensus, which was defined as ≥ 80% agreement on a 4-point Likert scale (strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree).RESULTSSeventeen consensus-driven best practices were identified, with all participants willing to incorporate them into their practice. There were four preoperative interventions: (1, 2) asymptomatic AND symptomatic patients should be referred to urology preoperatively, (3, 4) routine preoperative urine cultures are not necessary for asymptomatic AND symptomatic patients. There were nine intraoperative interventions: (5) patients should receive perioperative cefazolin or an equivalent alternative in the event of allergy, (6) chlorhexidine-based skin preparation is the preferred regimen, (7) saline irrigation should be used intermittently throughout the case, (8) antibiotic-containing irrigation should be used following dural closure, (9) a nonlocking running suture technique should be used for dural closure, (10) dural graft overlay should be used when unable to obtain primary dural closure, (11) an expansile dural graft should be incorporated in cases of lipomyelomeningocele in which primary dural closure does not permit free flow of CSF, (12) paraxial muscles should be closed as a layer separate from the fascia, (13) routine placement of postoperative drains is not necessary. There were three postoperative interventions: (14) postoperative antibiotics are an option and, if given, should be discontinued within 24 hours; (15) patients should remain flat for at least 24 hours postoperatively; (16) routine use of abdominal binders or other compressive devices postoperatively is not necessary. One intervention was prioritized for additional study: (17) further study of additional gram-negative perioperative coverage is needed.CONCLUSIONSA modified Delphi technique was used to develop consensus-driven best practices for decreasing wound complications after cTSC surgery. Further study is required to determine if implementation of these practices will lead to reduced complications. Discussion through the course of this study resulted in the initiation of a multicenter study of gram-negative surgical site infections in cTSC surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2018.6.PEDS18243DOI Listing
December 2018

Extreme lateral transodontoid approach to the ventral craniocervical junction: cadaveric dissection and case illustrations.

J Neurosurg 2018 09;131(3):920-930

Objective: Surgical treatment of pathological processes involving the ventral craniocervical junction (CCJ) traditionally involves anterior and posterolateral skull base approaches. In cases of bilateral extension, when lesions extend beyond the midline to the contralateral side, a unilateral corridor may result in suboptimal resection. In these cases, the lateral extent of the tumor will prevent extirpation of the lesion via anterior surgical approaches. The authors describe a unilateral operative corridor developed along an extreme lateral trajectory to the anterior aspect of the clival and upper cervical dura, allowing exposure and resection of tumor on the contralateral side. This approach is used when the disease involves the bone structures inherent to stability at the anterior CCJ.

Methods: To achieve exposure of the ventral CCJ, an extreme lateral transcondylar transodontoid (ELTO) approach was performed with transposition of the ipsilateral vertebral artery, followed by drilling of the C1 anterior arch. Resection of the odontoid process allowed access to the contralateral component of lesions across the midline to the region of the extracranial contralateral vertebral artery, maximizing resection.

Results: Exposure and details of the surgical procedure were derived from anatomical cadavers. At the completion of cadaveric dissection, morphometric measurements of the relevant anatomical landmarks were obtained. Illustrative case examples for approaching ventral CCJ chordomas via the ELTO approach are presented.

Conclusions: The ELTO approach provides a safe and direct surgical corridor to treat complex lesions at the ventral CCJ with bilateral extension through a single operative corridor. This approach can be combined with other lateral approaches or posterior infratemporal approaches to remove more extensive lesions involving the rostral clivus, jugular foramen, and temporal bone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2018.4.JNS172935DOI Listing
September 2018

Editorial. Identifying risk factors for replacement cranioplasty after decompressive craniectomy.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2018 09 8;22(3):223-224. Epub 2018 Jun 8.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2018.4.PEDS18184DOI Listing
September 2018

Growth and alignment of the pediatric subaxial cervical spine following rigid instrumentation and fusion: a multicenter study of the Pediatric Craniocervical Society.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2018 07 20;22(1):81-88. Epub 2018 Apr 20.

1Department of Pediatric Neurosurgery, Children's Hospital of New York, Columbia-Presbyterian, New York, New York.

OBJECTIVE The long-term effects of surgical fusion on the growing subaxial cervical spine are largely unknown. Recent cross-sectional studies have demonstrated that there is continued growth of the cervical spine through the teenage years. The purpose of this multicenter study was to determine the effects of rigid instrumentation and fusion on the growing subaxial cervical spine by investigating vertical growth, cervical alignment, cervical curvature, and adjacent-segment instability over time. METHODS A total of 15 centers participated in this multi-institutional retrospective study. Cases involving children less than 16 years of age who underwent rigid instrumentation and fusion of the subaxial cervical spine (C-2 and T-1 inclusive) with at least 1 year of clinical and radiographic follow-up were investigated. Charts were reviewed for clinical data. Postoperative and most recent radiographs, CT, and MR images were used to measure vertical growth and assess alignment and stability. RESULTS Eighty-one patients were included in the study, with a mean follow-up of 33 months. Ninety-five percent of patients had complete clinical resolution or significant improvement in symptoms. Postoperative cervical kyphosis was seen in only 4 patients (5%), and none developed a swan-neck deformity, unintended adjacent-level fusion, or instability. Of patients with at least 2 years of follow-up, 62% demonstrated growth across the fusion construct. On average, vertical growth was 79% (4-level constructs), 83% (3-level constructs), or 100% (2-level constructs) of expected growth. When comparing the group with continued vertical growth to the one without growth, there were no statistically significant differences in terms of age, sex, underlying etiology, surgical approach, or number of levels fused. CONCLUSIONS Continued vertical growth of the subaxial spine occurs in nearly two-thirds of children after rigid instrumentation and fusion of the subaxial spine. Failure of continued vertical growth is not associated with the patient's age, sex, underlying etiology, number of levels fused, or surgical approach. Further studies are needed to understand this dichotomy and determine the long-term biomechanical effects of surgery on the growing pediatric cervical spine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2018.1.PEDS17551DOI Listing
July 2018
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