Publications by authors named "Michael G Brandel"

59 Publications

Maturation of the anterior petrous apex: surgical relevance for performance of the middle fossa transpetrosal approach in pediatric patients.

J Neurosurg 2021 Sep 17:1-7. Epub 2021 Sep 17.

2Department of Neurosciences and Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego, San Diego.

Objective: The middle fossa transpetrosal approach to the petroclival and posterior cavernous sinus regions includes removal of the anterior petrous apex (APA), an area well studied in adults but not in children. To this end, the authors performed a morphometric analysis of the APA region during pediatric maturation.

Methods: Measurements of the distance from the clivus to the internal auditory canal (IAC; C-IAC), the distance of the petrous segment of the internal carotid artery (petrous carotid; PC) to the mesial petrous bone (MPB; PC-MPB), the distance of the PC to the mesial petrous apex (MPA; PC-MPA), and the IAC depth from the middle fossa floor (IAC-D) were made on thin-cut CT scans from 60 patients (distributed across ages 0-3, 4-7, 8-11, 12-15, 16-18, and > 18 years). The APA volume was calculated as a cylinder using C-IAC (length) and PC-MPB (diameter). APA pneumatization was noted. Data were analyzed by laterality, sex, and age.

Results: APA parameters did not differ by laterality or sex. APA pneumatization was seen on 20 of 60 scans (33.3%) in patients ≥ 4 years. The majority of the APA region growth occurred by ages 8-11 years, with PC-MPA and PC-MPB increasing 15.9% (from 9.4 to 10.9 mm, p = 0.08) and 23.5% (from 8.9 to 11.0 mm, p < 0.01) between ages 0-3 and 8-11 years, and C-IAC increasing 20.7% (from 13.0 to 15.7 mm, p < 0.01) between ages 0-3 and 4-7 years. APA volume increased 79.6% from ages 0-3 to 8-11 years (from 834.3 to 1499.2 mm3, p < 0.01). None of these parameters displayed further significant growth. Finally, IAC-D increased 51.1% (from 4.3 to 6.5 mm, p < 0.01) between ages 0-3 and adult, without significant differences between successive age groups.

Conclusions: APA development is largely complete by the ages of 8-11 years. Knowledge of APA growth patterns may aid approach selection and APA removal in pediatric patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2021.3.JNS202648DOI Listing
September 2021

Geographic landscape of foreign medical graduates in US neurosurgery training programs from 2007 to 2017.

Clin Neurol Neurosurg 2021 Oct 24;209:106891. Epub 2021 Aug 24.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94131, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: Although foreign medical graduates (FMGs) have been essential to the US physician workforce, the increasing competitiveness has made it progressively challenging for FMGs to match in US neurosurgery programs. We describe geographic origins and characteristics associated with successful match into US neurosurgery training programs.

Methods: Retrospective review of AANS membership data (2007-2017). Scopus was used to collect bibliometrics.

Results: From 2009 neurosurgical residents, 165 (8.2%) were FMGs. Most were male (n = 148; 89.6%) with a median age of 34.0 years. Top six feeder countries (TFC) included India (13.9%; n = 23), Lebanon and Pakistan (9.1%; n = 15), Caribbean Region (7.2%; n = 12), Mexico (6.67%; n = 11), and Greece (3.6%; n = 6). Compared to FMGs from non-top feeder countries (NTFC), TFC FMGs had higher H-indices (2 vs 4, p = 0.049), greater number of publications (2 vs 5, p = 0.04), were more likely to have an MBBS/MBBCh (n = 38 vs n = 17, p = 0.03), and had twice as many candidates from major feeder medical schools that successfully matched into a US neurosurgery program (n = 43 vs NTFC = 20, p < 0.001). NTFC FMGs were almost 3-times more likely to match at an affiliated neurosurgery program (8 vs TFC = 3, p = 0.03), while TFC FMGs were 1.5-times more likely to match at an NIH Top-40 program (33 vs NTFC = 21, p = 0.03).

Conclusions: TFC graduates have higher bibliometrics, frequently come from major feeder schools, and have greater match success at a broader selection of programs and NIH top-40 programs. Future studies characterizing FMG country and medical school origins may enable foreign students to geographically target institutions of interest and could allow US programs to better evaluate foreign training environments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clineuro.2021.106891DOI Listing
October 2021

Palliative endoscopic third ventriculostomy for pediatric primary brain tumors: a single-institution case series.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2021 Aug 6;28(4):387-394. Epub 2021 Aug 6.

Departments of1Neurological Surgery and.

Objective: Children with nonoperative brain tumors, such as diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs), often have life-threatening hydrocephalus. Palliative shunting is common in such cases but can be complicated by hardware infection and mechanical failure. Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is a minimally invasive alternative to treat hydrocephalus without implanted hardware. Herein, the authors report their institutional experience with palliative ETV for primary pediatric brain tumors.

Methods: The authors conducted a retrospective review of consecutive patients who had undergone palliative ETV for hydrocephalus secondary to nonresectable primary brain tumors over a 10-year period at Rady Children's Hospital. Collected variables included age, sex, tumor type, tumor location, presence of leptomeningeal spread, use of a robot for ETV, complications, ETV Success Score (ETVSS), functional status, length of survival, and follow-up time. A successful outcome was defined as an ETV performed without clinically significant perioperative complications or secondary requirement for a new shunt.

Results: Fifteen patients met the study inclusion criteria (11 males, 4 females; average age 7.9 years, range 0.8-21 years). Thirteen patients underwent manual ETV, and 2 patients underwent robotic ETV. Preoperative symptoms included gaze palsy, nausea/vomiting, headache, lethargy, hemiparesis, and seizures. Tumor types included DIPG (3), intraventricular/thalamic glioblastoma (2), and leptomeningeal spread of medulloblastoma (2), anaplastic oligo-/astrocytoma (2), rhabdoid tumor (2), primitive neuroectodermal tumor (1), ganglioglioma (1), pineoblastoma (1), and embryonal carcinoma (1). The mean preoperative ETVSS was 79 ± 8.8. There was 1 perioperative complication, a wound breakdown consistent with refractory hydrocephalus. The mean follow-up was 4.9 ± 5.5 months overall, and mean survival for the patients who died was 3.2 ± 3.6 months. Two patients remained alive at a mean follow-up of 15.7 months. Palliative ETV was successful in 7 patients (47%) and unsuccessful in 8 (53%). While patients with successful ETV were significantly older (11.9 ± 5.6 vs 4.4 ± 4.1 years, p = 0.010), there were no significant differences in preoperative ETVSS (p = 0.796) or postoperative survival (p = 0.476) between the successful and unsuccessful groups. Overall, functional outcomes were similar between the two groups; there was no significant difference in posttreatment Karnofsky Performance Status scores (68.6 ± 19.5 vs 61.3 ± 16.3, p = 0.454), suggesting that including ETV in the treatment algorithm did not worsen outcomes.

Conclusions: Palliative ETV is a safe and potentially efficacious treatment option in selected pediatric patients with hydrocephalus from nonoperative brain tumors. Close follow-up, especially in younger children, is required to ensure that patients with refractory symptoms receive appropriate secondary CSF diversion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2021.3.PEDS20952DOI Listing
August 2021

Surgical Relevance of the Suprameatal Tubercle During Superior Petrosal Vein-Sparing Trigeminal Nerve Microvascular Decompression.

Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown) 2021 05;20(6):E410-E416

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Arkansas, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA.

Background: An enlarged suprameatal tubercle (SMT) can obscure visualization of the trigeminal nerve and require removal during microvascular decompression (MVD) surgery, especially when the superior petrosal vein (SPV) complex is preserved.

Objective: To define the incidence and important variables affecting the need for SMT removal with an SPV-sparing trigeminal nerve MVD.

Methods: Retrospective single-institution review identified patients who underwent a first-time, SPV-sparing MVD for trigeminal neuralgia (TGN) over a 26-mo period. SMT length (SMT-L), SMT width (SMT-W), and peri-trigeminal cerebellopontine cisternal thickness (CT) were measured from axial high-resolution magnetic resonance images. Need for SMT removal and use of endoscopic assistance was recorded. Data were analyzed using unpaired t-tests, and receiver operating characteristic (ROC)/area under the curve testing.

Results: A total of 43 MVD surgeries for TGN on 42 patients (mean age 52.7 ± 14.4 yr) were analyzed. Mean SMT-L, SMT-W, and CT were 9.8 ± 1.6, 2.0 ± 0.8, and 4.2 ± 1.5 mm, respectively. SMT removal via drilling was required in 4/43 cases (9.3%). Endoscopic assistance was used in 3 cases (2 SMT removed and 1 SMT preserved). SMT-W was the biggest predictor of the need for SMT removal on ROC analysis (area under the curve 0.97, 0.92-1.0 95% CI). The combined thresholds of SMT-W ≥ 3.2 mm and CT ≤ 3.5 mm demonstrated 100% sensitive and 100% specificity for the need to remove the SMT on optimal cutoff analysis.

Conclusion: SMT drilling is necessary in nearly 10% of SPV-sparing MVDs for TGN. The combination of SMT width and cerebellopontine cistern thickness is predictive of the need for SMT removal.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ons/opab046DOI Listing
May 2021

Analysis of Actual Versus Predicated Intracranial Volume Changes for Distraction Osteogenesis Using Virtual Surgical Planning in Patients With Craniosynostosis.

Ann Plast Surg 2021 05;86(5S Suppl 3):S374-S378

Rady Children's Hospital.

Introduction: The primary outcome metric in patients with craniosynostosis are changes in intracranial volumes (ICVs). In patients who undergo distraction osteogenesis (DO) to treat craniosynostosis, changes are also dependent on the length of distraction. Virtual surgical planning (VSP) has been used to predict anticipated changes in ICV during cranial vault reconstruction. The purpose of this study is to analyze the actual versus predicted ICV changes using VSP in patients who undergo DO for craniosynostosis management.

Methods: All patients with craniosynostosis treated with DO at a single institution, Rady Children's Hospital, between December 2013 and May 2019 were identified. Inclusion criteria are as follows: VSP planning with predicted postoperative ICV values and preoperative and postdistraction CT scans to quantify ICV. Postoperative ICV and VSP-estimated ICV were adjusted for age-related ICV growth. The primary outcome measure calculated was age-adjusted percent volume change per millimeter distraction (PVCPD), and results were analyzed using paired Wilcoxon signed rank tests.

Results: Twenty-seven patients underwent DO for cranial vault remodeling. Nineteen patients were nonsyndromic, and 8 patients were syndromic. The median postoperative PVCPD was 0.30%/mm, and the median VSP-estimated PVCPD was 0.36% per millimeter (P < 0.001). A subanalysis of nonsyndromic patients showed a median postoperative PVCPD of 0.29%/mm in nonsyndromic patients that differed significantly from the VSP estimate of 0.34%/mm (P = 0.003). There was also a significant difference in syndromic patients' observed PVCPD of 0.41%/mm versus VSP estimate of 0.79%/mm (P = 0.012).

Conclusions: Virtual surgical planning overestimates the change in ICV attributable to DO in both syndromic and nonsyndromic patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/SAP.0000000000002759DOI Listing
May 2021

Surgical revascularization for Moyamoya disease in the United States: A cost-effectiveness analysis.

J Cerebrovasc Endovasc Neurosurg 2021 Mar 5;23(1):6-15. Epub 2021 Feb 5.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Diego, CA, USA.

Objective: Moyamoya disease (MMD) is a vasculopathy of the internal carotid arteries with ischemic and hemorrhagic sequelae. Surgical revascularization confers upfront peri-procedural risk and costs in exchange for long-term protective benefit against hemorrhagic disease. The authors present a cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) of surgical versus non-surgical management of MMD.

Methods: A Markov Model was used to simulate a 41-year-old suffering a transient ischemic attack (TIA) secondary to MMD and now faced with operative versus nonoperative treatment options. Health utilities, costs, and outcome probabilities were obtained from the CEA registry and the published literature. The primary outcome was incremental cost-effectiveness ratio which compared the quality adjusted life years (QALYs) and costs of surgical and nonsurgical treatments. Base-case, one-way sensitivity, two-way sensitivity, and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed with a willingness to pay threshold of $50,000.

Results: The base case model yielded 3.81 QALYs with a cost of $99,500 for surgery, and 3.76 QALYs with a cost of $106,500 for nonsurgical management. One-way sensitivity analysis demonstrated the greatest sensitivity in assumptions to cost of surgery and cost of admission for hemorrhagic stroke, and probabilities of stroke with no surgery, stroke after surgery, poor surgical outcome, and death after surgery. Probabilistic sensitivity analyses demonstrated that surgical revascularization was the cost-effective strategy in over 87.4% of simulations.

Conclusions: Considering both direct and indirect costs and the postoperative QALY, surgery is considerably more cost-effective than non-surgical management for adults with MMD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7461/jcen.2021.E2020.07.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8041505PMC
March 2021

Arteriovenous malformation surgery in children: the Rady Children's Hospital experience (2002-2019).

Childs Nerv Syst 2021 04 6;37(4):1267-1277. Epub 2021 Jan 6.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of California-San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA.

Purpose: Compared to adult AVMs, there is a paucity of data on the microsurgical treatment of pediatric AVMs. We report our institutional experience with pediatric AVMs treated by microsurgical resection with or without endovascular embolization and radiation therapy.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed all patients ≤ 18 years of age with cerebral AVMs that underwent microsurgical resection at Rady Children's Hospital 2002-2019.

Results: Eighty-nine patients met inclusion criteria. The mean age was 10.3 ± 5.0 years, and 56% of patients were male. In total, 72 (81%) patients presented with rupture. Patients with unruptured AVMs presented with headache (n = 5, 29.4%), seizure (n = 9, 52.9%), or incidental finding (n = 3, 17.7%). The mean presenting mRS was 2.8 ± 1.8. AVM location was lobar in 78%, cerebellar/brainstem in 15%, and deep supratentorial in 8%. Spetzler-Martin grade was I in 28%, II in 45%, III in 20%, IV in 6%, and V in 1%. Preoperative embolization was utilized in 38% of patients and more frequently in unruptured than ruptured AVMs (62% vs. 32%, p = 0.022). Radiographic obliteration was achieved in 76/89 (85.4%) patients. Complications occurred in 7 (8%) patients. Annualized rates of delayed rebleeding and recurrence were 1.2% and 0.9%, respectively. The mean follow-up was 2.8 ± 3.1 years. A good neurological outcome (mRS score ≤ 2) was obtained in 80.9% of patients at last follow-up and was improved relative to presentation for 75% of patients.

Conclusions: Our case series demonstrates high rates of radiographic obliteration and relatively low incidence of neurologic complications of treatment or AVM recurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00381-020-04994-9DOI Listing
April 2021

Impact of COVID-19 on a Neurosurgical Service: Lessons from the University of California San Diego.

World Neurosurg 2021 04 30;148:e172-e181. Epub 2020 Dec 30.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA.

Background: The institution-wide response of the University of California San Diego Health system to the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic was founded on rapid development of in-house testing capacity, optimization of personal protective equipment usage, expansion of intensive care unit capacity, development of analytic dashboards for monitoring of institutional status, and implementation of an operating room (OR) triage plan that postponed nonessential/elective procedures. We analyzed the impact of this triage plan on the only academic neurosurgery center in San Diego County, California, USA.

Methods: We conducted a de-identified retrospective review of all operative cases and procedures performed by the Department of Neurosurgery from November 24, 2019, through July 6, 2020, a 226-day period. Statistical analysis involved 2-sample z tests assessing daily case totals over the 113-day periods before and after implementation of the OR triage plan on March 16, 2020.

Results: The neurosurgical service performed 1429 surgical and interventional radiologic procedures over the study period. There was no statistically significant difference in mean number of daily total cases in the pre-versus post-OR triage plan periods (6.9 vs. 5.8 mean daily cases; 1-tail P = 0.050, 2-tail P = 0.101), a trend reflected by nearly every category of neurosurgical cases.

Conclusions: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of California San Diego Department of Neurosurgery maintained an operative volume that was only modestly diminished and continued to meet the essential neurosurgical needs of a large population. Lessons from our experience can guide other departments as they triage neurosurgical cases to meet community needs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.12.103DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7772085PMC
April 2021

Surgical Relevance of Pediatric Anterior Clinoid Process Maturation for Anterior Skull Base Approaches.

Oper Neurosurg (Hagerstown) 2021 02;20(3):E200-E207

Department of Neurosciences and Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California.

Background: Removal of the anterior clinoid process (ACP) can expand anterior skull base surgical corridors. ACP development and anatomical variations are poorly defined in children.

Objective: To perform a morphometric analysis of the ACP during pediatric maturation.

Methods: Measurements of ACP base thickness (ACP-BT), midpoint thickness (ACP-MT), length (ACP-L), length from optic strut to ACP tip (ACP-OS), pneumatization (ACP-pneumo), and the presence of an ossified carotico-clinoid ligament (OCCL) or interclinoid ligament (OIL) were made from high-resolution computed-tomography scans from 60 patients (ages 0-3, 4-7, 8-11 12-15, 16-18, and >18 yr). Data were analyzed by laterality, sex, and age groups using t-tests and linear regression.

Results: There were no significant differences in ACP parameters by laterality or sex, and no significant growth in ACP-BT or ACP-MT during development. From ages 0-3 yr to adult, mean ACP-L increased 49%, from 7.7 to 11.5 mm. The majority of ACP-L growth occurred in 2 phases between ages 0-3 to 8-11 and ages 16-18 to adult. Conversely, ACP-OS was stable from ages 0-3 to 8-11 but increased by 63% between ages 8-11 to adult. Variations in ACP morphology (OCCL/OIL/ACP-pneumo) were found in 15% (9/60) of scans. OCCL and OIL occurred in patients as young as 3 yrs, whereas ACP-pneumo was not seen in patients younger than 11 yrs.

Conclusion: The ACP demonstrates stable thickness and a complex triphasic elongation and remodeling pattern with development, the understanding of which may facilitate removal in patients <12. Clinically relevant ACP anatomic variations can occur at any age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ons/opaa374DOI Listing
February 2021

Comparative Analysis of Survival Outcomes and Prognostic Factors of Supratentorial versus Cerebellar Glioblastoma in the Elderly: Does Location Really Matter?

World Neurosurg 2021 02 7;146:e755-e767. Epub 2020 Nov 7.

Department of Neurosurgery, Memorial Hermann Hospital-TMC, Houston, Texas, USA; Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas, USA; Center for Precision Health, School of Biomedical Informatics, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Cerebellar glioblastomas (cGBMs) are rare tumors that are uncommon in the elderly. In this study, we compare survival outcomes and identify prognostic factors of cGBM compared with the supratentorial (stGBM) counterpart in the elderly.

Methods: Data from the SEER 18 registries were used to identify patients with a glioblastoma (GBM) diagnosis between 2000 and 2016. The log-rank method and a multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression model were used for analysis.

Results: Among 110 elderly patients with cGBM, the median age was 74 years (interquartile range [IQR], 69-79 years), 39% were female and 83% were white. Of these patients, 32% underwent gross total resection, 73% radiotherapy, and 39% chemotherapy. Multivariable analysis of the unmatched and matched cohort showed that tumor location was not associated with survival; in the unmatched cohort, insurance status (hazard ratio [HR], 0.11; IQR, 0.02-0.49; P = 0.004), gross total resection (HR, 0.53; IQR, 0.30-0.91; P = 0.022), and radiotherapy (HR, 0.33; IQR, 0.18-0.61; P < 0.0001) were associated with better survival. Patients with cGBM and stGBM undergoing radiotherapy (7 months vs. 2 months; P < 0.001) and chemotherapy (10 months vs. 3 months; P < 0.0001) had improved survival. Long-term mortality was lower for cGBM in the elderly at 24 months compared with the stGBM cohort (P = 0.007).

Conclusions: In our study, elderly patients with cGBM and stGBM have similar outcomes in overall survival, and those undergoing maximal resection with adjuvant therapies, independent of tumor location, have improved outcomes. Thus, aggressive treatment should be encouraged for cGBM in geriatric patients to confer the same survival benefits seen in stGBM. Single-institutional and multi-institutional studies to identify patient-level prognostic factors are warranted to triage the best surgical candidates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.11.003DOI Listing
February 2021

In Reply to the Letter to the Editor "Regarding the Path to U.S. Neurosurgical Residency for Foreign Medical Graduates: Trends from a Decade 2007-2017".

World Neurosurg 2020 11;143:625

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.08.107DOI Listing
November 2020

Comparative Assessment of Extracranial-to-Intracranial and Intracranial-to-Intracranial In Situ Bypass for Complex Intracranial Aneurysm Treatment Based on Rupture Status: A Case Series.

World Neurosurg 2021 02 17;146:e122-e138. Epub 2020 Oct 17.

Neurorestoration Center, Department of Neurological Surgery, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA; Department of Neurological Surgery, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Comparative outcomes of extracranial-to-intracranial (EC-IC) and intracranial-to-intracranial (IC-IC) bypass for complex aneurysm treatment based on rupture status are not well described in the literature. In this study, we compare outcomes of EC-IC and IC-IC bypass for complex intracranial aneurysm treatment based on rupture status.

Methods: A prospective neurosurgical patient database was retrospectively reviewed. Sixty-three consecutive patients with aneurysm managed with revascularization were identified between July 2014 and December 2018.

Results: During the study period, 41 patients with aneurysm underwent EC-IC bypass (65%; 24 [58.5%] ruptured, 17 [41.5%] unruptured) and 22 patients with aneurysm underwent IC-IC bypass (34.9%; 13 [59.1%] ruptured, 9 [40.9%] unruptured). Graft spasm occurred in 4 patients (9.8%) in the EC-IC group (all ruptured aneurysms) and all anastomoses were patent on immediate postoperative imaging. Perioperative mortality occurred in 5 patients who underwent EC-IC bypass (12.2%; 3 ruptured, 2 unruptured) EC-IC and 2 patients who underwent IC-IC bypass (9.1%; both ruptured); (P = 0.709). Bypass-related complications occurred only in patients with ruptured aneurysm (2 [8.3%] in the EC-IC group and 0 [0%] in the IC-IC group; P = 0.285). For unruptured aneurysms, the overall complication rate was lower in IC-IC compared with the EC-IC group (P = 0.006). Modified Rankin Scale scores on discharge were significantly lower in IC-IC compared with EC-IC bypass for unruptured aneurysms (P = 0.008). There was a trend for shorter temporary occlusion and hospitalization times and overall better outcomes with IC-IC compared with EC-IC bypass.

Conclusions: Although often considered riskier than EC-IC bypass, IC-IC in situ bypass showd a favorable technical and safety profile for the treatment of complex, unruptured aneurysms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.10.056DOI Listing
February 2021

Quality of care at safety-net hospitals and the impact on pay-for-performance reimbursement.

Cancer 2020 10 11;126(20):4584-4592. Epub 2020 Aug 11.

Department of Radiation Medicine and Applied Sciences, University of California San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla, California.

Background: Pay-for-performance reimbursement ties hospital payments to standardized quality-of-care metrics. To the authors' knowledge, the impact of pay-for-performance reimbursement models on hospitals caring primarily for uninsured or underinsured patients remains poorly defined. The objective of the current study was to evaluate how standardized quality-of-care metrics vary by a hospital's propensity to care for uninsured or underinsured patients and demonstrate the potential impact that pay-for-performance reimbursement could have on hospitals caring for the underserved.

Methods: The authors identified 1,703,865 patients with cancer who were diagnosed between 2004 and 2015 and treated at 1344 hospitals. Hospital safety-net burden was defined as the percentage of uninsured or Medicaid patients cared for by that hospital, categorizing hospitals into low-burden, medium-burden, and high-burden hospitals. The authors evaluated the impact of safety-net burden on concordance with 20 standardized quality-of-care measures, adjusting for differences in patient age, sex, stage of disease at diagnosis, and comorbidity.

Results: Patients who were treated at high-burden hospitals were more likely to be young, male, Black and/or Hispanic, and to reside in a low-income and low-educated region. High-burden hospitals had lower adherence to 13 of 20 quality measures compared with low-burden hospitals (all P < .05). Among the 350 high-burden hospitals, concordance with quality measures was found to be lowest for those caring for the highest percentage of uninsured or Medicaid patients, minority patients, and less educated patients (all P < .001).

Conclusions: Hospitals caring for uninsured or underinsured individuals have decreased quality-of-care measures. Under pay-for-performance reimbursement models, these lower quality-of-care scores could decrease hospital payments, potentially increasing health disparities for at-risk patients with cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33137DOI Listing
October 2020

A Paramedian Supracerebellar, Infratentorial Approach for Resection of Midbrain Tumor.

World Neurosurg 2020 11 9;143:83. Epub 2020 Jul 9.

Pediatric Division of Neurosurgery, University of California at San Diego, San Diego, California, USA. Electronic address:

Brainstem tumors represent formidable lesions for neurosurgical intervention. They should be approached with a thorough understanding of the anatomy and clear sense of surgical goals. A 14-year-old previously healthy girl presented with 2 weeks of nausea, headaches, diplopia, and gait instability. Workup revealed a 3.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm contrast-enhancing mass within the right midbrain. The patient consented to the surgical procedure. Preoperative imaging demonstrated superior displacement of the deep venous system because of the tumor, as well as inferior displacement of the fourth cranial nerve exit zone and posterior bowing of the entire tectal region. This allowed a safe corridor from a supracerebellar infratentorial approach. The three quarters lateral position was chosen to optimize surgeon ergonomics and allow for gravity to drain blood from the operative field. Near total resection was obtained without any new neurologic deficit. Final pathology was consistent with pilocytic astrocytoma, World Health Organization grade I. The video demonstrates the surgical approach in addition to techniques for brainstem tumor resection (Video 1).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.06.243DOI Listing
November 2020

Antiplatelet therapy within 24 hours of tPA: lessons learned from patients requiring combined thrombectomy and stenting for acute ischemic stroke.

J Cerebrovasc Endovasc Neurosurg 2020 Mar 31;22(1):1-7. Epub 2020 Mar 31.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA.

Objective: Although stroke guidelines recommend antiplatelets be started 24 hours after tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), select mechanical thrombectomy (MT) patients with luminal irregularities or underlying intracranial atherosclerotic disease may benefit from earlier antiplatelet administration.

Methods: We explore the safety of early (<24 hours) post-tPA antiplatelet use by retrospectively reviewing patients who underwent MT and stent placement for acute ischemic stroke from June 2015 to April 2018 at our institution.

Results: Six patients met inclusion criteria. Median presenting and pre-operative National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale scores were 14 (Interquartile Range [IQR] 5.5-17.3) and 16 (IQR 13.7-18.7), respectively. Five patients received standard intravenous (IV) tPA and one patient received intra-arterial tPA. Median time from symptom onset to IV tPA was 120 min (IQR 78-204 min). Median time between tPA and antiplatelet administration was 4.9 hours (IQR 3.0-6.7 hours). Clots were successfully removed from the internal carotid artery (ICA) or middle cerebral artery (MCA) in 5 patients, the anterior cerebral artery (ACA) in one patient, and the vertebrobasilar junction in one patient. All patients underwent MT before stenting and achieved thrombolysis in cerebral infarction 2B recanalization. Stents were placed in the ICA (n=4), common carotid artery (n=1), and basilar artery (n=1). The median time from stroke onset to endovascular access was 185 min (IQR 136-417 min). No patients experienced symptomatic post-procedure intracranial hemorrhage (ICH). Median modified Rankin Scale score on discharge was 3.5.

Conclusions: Antiplatelets within 24 hours of tPA did not result in symptomatic ICH in this series. The safety and efficacy of early antiplatelet administration after tPA in select patients following mechanical thrombectomy warrants further study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7461/jcen.2020.22.1.1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7307608PMC
March 2020

Detailed analysis of the impact of surgeon and hospital volume in microsurgical breast reconstruction.

Microsurgery 2020 Sep 18;40(6):670-678. Epub 2020 Apr 18.

Division of Plastic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of California, San Diego, California, USA.

Background: Prior investigations of microsurgical breast reconstruction have not distinguished the effects of surgeon versus hospital volume and failed to address the effect of patient clustering. Our data-driven analysis aims to determine the impacts of surgeon and hospital volume on outcomes of microsurgical breast reconstruction.

Methods: Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) data from 2008 to 2011 was analyzed for patients who underwent microsurgical breast reconstruction. Volume-outcome relationships were analyzed with restricted cubic spline analysis. A multivariable mixed-effects logistic regression was used to account for patient clustering effect.

Results: A total of 5,404 NIS patients met inclusion criteria. High-volume (HV) surgeons had a 59% decrease in the risk of inpatient complications, which became non-significant after clustering correction. For HV hospitals, there was a 47% decrease in the risk of inpatient complications (odds ratio = 0.53; 95% confidence intervals 0.30, 0.91; p = 0.021) that was statistically significant with the clustering adjustment. Neither the volume-cost relationship for surgeons nor hospitals remained statistically significant after accounting for clustering.

Conclusions: Hospital volume plays a significant impact on outcomes in microsurgical breast reconstruction, while surgeon volume has comparatively not shown to be similarly impactful. The complexity of care related to microsurgical breast reconstruction warrants equally complex and engineered health systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/micr.30591DOI Listing
September 2020

Inguinal Extrusion of a Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt.

World Neurosurg 2020 06 14;138:242-245. Epub 2020 Mar 14.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of California, San Diego, California, USA; Department of Neurosurgery, Veterans Administration Healthcare System, San Diego, California, USA.

Background: Complications of ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunts include migration into various anatomic compartments and even extrusion through tissue layers.

Case Description: A 31-year-old female patient with a VP shunt presented with distal shunt tubing extruding through the skin at the level of the inguinal ligament. Shunt hardware was removed, and cultures grew Dermacoccus. The patient was treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics and underwent placement of a lumboperitoneal shunt.

Conclusions: Dermacoccus is a gram-positive skin organism with rare human pathogenicity and not previously known to cause shunt infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.03.041DOI Listing
June 2020

The Path to U.S. Neurosurgical Residency for Foreign Medical Graduates: Trends from a Decade 2007-2017.

World Neurosurg 2020 05 19;137:e584-e596. Epub 2020 Feb 19.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: The increasing competitiveness of the neurosurgical residency match has made it progressively difficult for foreign medical graduates (FMGs) to match in neurosurgery. We compared FMG to U.S. medical graduate (USMG) match rates in neurosurgery and identified factors associated with match outcomes for FMGs in neurosurgery.

Methods: Retrospective review of American Association of Neurological Surgeons membership data and Association of American Medical Colleges Charting the Outcomes match reports (2007-2017).

Results: Across 1857 neurosurgical residents (USMG: 91.1%, FMG: 8.9%), average FMG match rates were 24% (range, 15%-35%) versus 83% (range, 75%-94%; P < 0.001) for USMG. FMGs were more male (89.5% vs. 82.0%, P = 0.016), older (33.9 vs. 31.8 years, P = 0.008), and more likely to take research year(s) before matching (95.8% vs. 78.5%, P < 0.001). FMGs had greater publications (5 vs. 2, P < 0.001) and H-indices (3 vs. 1, P < 0.001). The number of matched USMGs increased by 3.3 annually, whereas that of matched FMGs remained unchanged (β = 0.07). Compared with USMGs, FMGs were less likely to match to National Institutes of Health (NIH) Top 40 (32.7% vs. 47.5%, P < 0.001) and Doximity Top 20 (20.0% vs. 29.0%, P = 0.014) programs. FMGs with prior U.S. neurosurgery program affiliation were more likely to match at NIH and Doximity Top 20 programs (P < 0.05). For NIH programs, FMGs were older (35.3 vs. 32.0, P = 0.011), had higher H-indices (5 vs. 2, P < 0.001), publications (7 vs. 2, P < 0.001), and were more likely to take research year(s) (94.4% vs. 76.0%, P = 0.002) than USMGs. FMGs had similar patterns for matching into Doximity Top 20 programs.

Conclusions: Although FMGs have lower match rates into U.S. neurosurgery residencies than USMGs, several demographic, professional, and academic factors could increase the chances of successful FMG neurosurgical match.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.02.069DOI Listing
May 2020

Transient Aphasia Following Resection of a Thalamic Cavernous Malformation.

World Neurosurg 2020 Apr 28;136:390-393.e3. Epub 2020 Jan 28.

Department of Neurosurgery, Veterans Administration Healthcare System, University of California San Diego, San Diego, California, USA.

Background: The thalamus has a demonstrated role in language, particularly through its connectivity to frontal language cortices.

Case Description: A 59-year-old man with transient mixed aphasia following resection of a left-sided thalamic cavernous malformation is reported. No operative complications were encountered, and there was no surgical contact with cortical language areas. The patient recovered full language function within a week postoperatively.

Conclusions: The role of thalamic nuclei in language processes and other reports of transient thalamic aphasia are reviewed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2020.01.156DOI Listing
April 2020

Risk Factors for Urinary Tract Infection or Pneumonia After Admission for Traumatic Subdural Hematoma at a Level I Trauma Center: Large Single-Institution Series.

World Neurosurg 2020 Feb 9;134:e754-e760. Epub 2019 Nov 9.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California - San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA. Electronic address:

Background: The development of infections such as urinary tract infections (UTIs) or pneumonia after a traumatic subdural hematoma (tSDH) can worsen patient outcomes and increase healthcare costs. We herein identify clinical parameters that influence the risk of infections after tSDH.

Methods: This single-institution retrospective cohort study examined the incidence and risk factors for UTI and pneumonia among tSDH patients from 1990 to 2015. Multivariate logistic regression assessed the impact of various demographic and clinical variables on these outcomes.

Results: 3024 patients with tSDHs were identified (73.1% male); Of those, 208 (6.9%) experienced a UTI and 434 (14.4%) experienced pneumonia. Of the 559 patients (18.5%) who underwent a craniotomy and/or craniectomy for evacuation of a tSDH, 62 (11.1%) experienced a UTI and 222 (39.7%) experienced pneumonia. Risk factors for both pneumonia and UTI included length of stay (LOS) ≥7 days (odds ratio [OR] = 6.0, P < 0.001; OR = 11.2, P < 0.001), intensive care unit LOS ≥7 days (OR = 8.1, P < 0.001; OR = 1.7, P = 0.012), and mechanical ventilation ≥14 days (OR = 3.4, P < 0.001; OR = 1.8, P = 0.007). Craniotomy/craniectomy increased the risk of pneumonia (OR = 1.4, P = 0.019) but not UTI. Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) ≥13 was associated with a decreased pneumonia risk (OR = 0.5, P = 0.003), and male gender (OR = 0.5, P < 0.001) and age <60 (OR = 0.6, P < 0.001) were associated with a decreased UTI risk.

Conclusions: Patients with prolonged hospitalizations and/or intensive care unit stays were more likely to experience UTIs and pneumonia. Male gender and younger age were protective against UTI, and higher GCS was protective against pneumonia. These data may aid the identification and treatment of at-risk populations after admission for a tSDH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2019.10.192DOI Listing
February 2020

A Comparison of Intracranial Volume Growth in Normal Children and Patients With Metopic Craniosynostosis.

J Craniofac Surg 2020 Jan/Feb;31(1):142-146

Division of Plastic Surgery.

Background: The impact of metopic craniosynostosis on intracranial volume (ICV) and ICV growth is unclear. In addition, the relationship between head circumference (HC) and ICV in these patients is not previously described.

Methods: A retrospective review of 72 patients with metopic craniosynostosis was performed. The ICVs were calculated from manually segmented preoperative computed tomography scans. Magnetic resonance imaging data for 270 healthy children were available. The ICVs were calculated in FreeSurfer.First, a growth curve for metopic patients was generated and a logarithmic best-fit curve was calculated. Second, the impact of metopic craniosynostosis on ICV relative to healthy controls was assessed using multivariate linear regression. Third, the growth curves for metopic patients and healthy children were compared.Pearson's correlation was used to measure the association between HC and ICV.

Results: Mean metopic ICV was significantly lower than normal ICV within the first 3 to 6 months (674.9 versus 813.2 cm; P = 0.002), 6 to 9 months (646.6 versus 903.9 cm; P = 0.005), and 9 to 12 months of life (848.0 versus 956.6 cm; P = 0.038). There was no difference in ICV after 12 months of age (P = 0.916).The ICV growth in patients with metopic craniosynostosis is defined by a significantly different growth curve than in normal children (P = 0.005).The ICV and HC were highly correlated across a broad range of ICVs and patient age (r = 0.98, P < 0.001).

Conclusion: Patients with metopic craniosynostosis have significantly reduced ICVs compared to healthy children, yet greater than normal ICV growth, which allows them to achieve normal volumes by 1 year of age. The HC is a reliable metric for ICV in these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/SCS.0000000000005946DOI Listing
April 2020

Site of Occlusion May Influence Decision to Perform Thrombectomy Under General Anesthesia or Conscious Sedation.

J Neurosurg Anesthesiol 2021 Apr;33(2):147-153

Departments of Neurosurgery.

Background: Although mechanical thrombectomy has become the standard of care for large-vessel occlusion, the role of conscious sedation versus general anesthesia (GA) with intubation during thrombectomy remains controversial. Aphasia may increase patient agitation or apparent uncooperativeness/confusion and thereby lead to higher use of GA. The purpose of this study was to identify risk factors for GA and determine if the side of vessel occlusion potentially impacts GA rates.

Materials And Methods: Patients who underwent mechanical thrombectomy of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) for acute ischemic stroke at our institution between April 2014 and July 2017 were retrospectively reviewed. Patient characteristics, procedural factors, and outcomes were assessed using multivariate regression analyses. Mediation analysis was utilized to investigate whether aphasia lies on the causal pathway between left-sided MCA stroke and GA.

Results: Overall, 112 patients were included: 62 with left-sided and 50 with right-sided MCA occlusion. Patients with left-sided MCA occlusion presented with aphasia significantly more often those with right-sided occlusion (90.3% vs. 32.0%; P<0.001). GA rates were significantly higher for patients with left-sided compared with right-sided MCA occlusion (45.2% vs. 20.0%; P=0.028). Aphasia mediated 91.3% of the effect of MCA stroke laterality on GA (P=0.02). GA was associated with increased door-to-groin-puncture time (106.4% increase; 95% confidence interval, 24.1%-243.4%; P=0.006) and adverse discharge outcome (odds ratio, 1.04; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.07; P=0.019).

Conclusions: Patients who had a stroke with left-sided MCA occlusion are more likely to undergo GA for mechanical thrombectomy than those with right-sided MCA occlusion. Aphasia may mediate this effect and understanding this relationship may decrease GA rates through modification of management protocols, potentially leading to improved clinical outcomes. Our study suggests that GA should preferentially be considered for the subset of patients with acute ischemic stroke undergoing mechanical thrombectomy for left-sided MCA occlusion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/ANA.0000000000000642DOI Listing
April 2021

Assessment of ischemic risk following intracranial-to-intracranial and extracranial-to-intracranial bypass for complex aneurysms using intraoperative Indocyanine Green-based flow analysis.

J Clin Neurosci 2019 Sep 29;67:191-197. Epub 2019 Jun 29.

Neurorestoration Center, Department of Neurological Surgery, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Electronic address:

Cerebral bypass is often needed for complex aneurysms requiring vessel sacrifice, yet intraoperative predictors of ischemic risk in bypass-dependent territories are limited. Indocyanine Green (ICG)-based flow analyses (ICG-BFAs; Flow 800, Carl Zeiss, Oberkochen, Germany) semi-quantitatively assess cortical perfusion, and in this work we determine the efficacy of ICG-BFA for assessing post-operative ischemic risk during cerebral bypass surgery for complex aneurysms. Retrospective clinical and pre/post-bypass intra-operative ICG-BFA data (delay and blood flow index [BFI]) on ten patients undergoing cerebral bypass for complex cerebral aneurysms requiring vessel sacrifice were collected from a single-institution prospective database and analyzed via non-parametric testing and logistic regression. Mean age was 55.9 ± 14.8 years. Pre/post-bypass delay (median 35.6 [5.1-51.3] vs. 26.0 [17.1-59.9]; p = 0.2) and BFI (median 56.1 [8.1-120.4] vs. 32.2 [3.0-147.4]; p = 0.2) did not significantly differ. Two patients (20%) developed post-operative ischemia in bypass dependent territories. Delay ratio did not differ between patients with and without post-operative ischemia (median 1.15 [0.67-1.64] vs. 0.83 [0.36-3.56]; p = 0.6), nor predict stroke risk (odds ratio = 1.1, p = 0.9). Conversely, BFI ratio was significantly lower for patients experiencing post-operative ischemia than those without ischemia (median 0.11 [0.06-0.17] vs. 0.99 [0.28-1.42]; p = 0.03). A BFI ratio <0.21 predicted the occurrence of post-operative ischemia (odds ratio = 0.02, p = 0.05). These data suggest that intraoperative ICG-BFA may help assess post-operative ischemic risk during cerebral bypass surgery for complex aneurysms requiring vessel sacrifice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jocn.2019.06.036DOI Listing
September 2019

Risk Factors for Venous Thromboembolism After Admission for Traumatic Subdural Hematoma at Level I Trauma Center: Large Single-Institution Series.

World Neurosurg 2019 02 26;122:e619-e626. Epub 2018 Oct 26.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Traumatic subdural hematomas (tSDHs) have high morbidity and mortality and often require neurosurgical intervention. The risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) after tSDH ranges from 1%-20%, yet a consensus chemoprophylaxis protocol does not exist. An increased understanding of VTE risk factors following tSDH may inform development of prophylaxis guidelines.

Methods: Retrospective analysis of a prospective, single-institution Level I trauma center database identified the incidence and risk factors for deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) in consecutive tSDH patients from 1990-2015. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used.

Results: Of 3024 tSDH patients, 682 (22.6%) required neurosurgical intervention in the form of an intracranial pressure monitor, external ventricular drain (EVD), or craniotomy/craniectomy. Overall, 129 (4.3%) and 20 (0.7%) patients were diagnosed with a DVT or PE. Risk factors for DVT included age =60 (odds ratio [OR]=1.5, P=0.039), preexisting endocrine disorder (OR=4.1, P=0.001), hospital length of stay =7 days (OR=4.7, P < 0.001), intensive care unit length of stay =7 days (OR=3.6, P < 0.001), and lower extremity fracture (OR=2.1, P=0.004); GCS >3 was associated with a reduced DVT risk (OR=0.6, P=0.020). Risk factors for PE included intensive care unit length of stay =7 days (OR=9.7, P < 0.001) and lower extremity fracture (OR=4.7, P=0.002). Neurosurgical intervention did not independently increase VTE risk but was associated with increased hospital length of stay (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: While overall VTE risk is low following tSDH, elderly patients and those with severe injuries requiring prolonged hospitalizations have increased thrombotic risk. Development of tiered VTE prophylaxis regimens based on early postinjury thrombotic risk profiles warrants future study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2018.10.114DOI Listing
February 2019

Surgical relevance of pediatric skull base maturation for the far-lateral and extreme-lateral infrajugular transcondylar-transtubercular exposure approaches.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2019 04;24(1):85-91

2Department of Neurosciences and Pediatrics, University of California San Diego, San Diego, California; and.

Objective: Lesions of the foramen magnum, inferolateral-to-midclival areas, and ventral pons and medulla are often treated using a far-lateral or extreme-lateral infrajugular transcondylar-transtubercular exposure (ELITE) approach. The development and surgical relevance of critical posterior skull base bony structures encountered during these approaches, including the occipital condyle (OC), hypoglossal canal (HGC), and jugular tubercle (JT), are nonetheless poorly defined in the pediatric population.

Methods: Measurements from high-resolution CT scans were made of the relevant posterior skull base anatomy (HGC depth from posterior edge of the OC, OC and JT dimensions) from 60 patients (evenly distributed among ages 0-3, 4-7, 8-11, 12-15, 16-18, and > 18 years), and compared between laterality, sex, and age groups by using t-tests and linear regression.

Results: There were no significant differences in posterior skull base parameters by laterality, and HGC depth and JT size did not differ by sex. The OC area was significantly larger in males versus females (174.3 vs 152.2 mm2; p = 0.01). From ages 0-3 years to adult, the mean HGC depth increased 27% (from 9.0 to 11.4 mm) and the OC area increased 52% (from 121.4 to 184.0 mm2). The majority of growth for these parameters occurred between the 0-3 year and 4-7 year age groups. Conversely, JT volume increased nearly 3-fold (281%) from 97.4 to 370.9 mm3 from ages 0-3 years to adult, with two periods of substantial growth seen between the 0-3 to 4-7 year and the 12-15 to 16-18 year age groups. Overall, JT growth during pediatric development was significantly greater than increases in HGC depth and OC area (p < 0.05). JT volume remained < 65% of adult size up to age 16.

Conclusions: When considering a far-lateral or ELITE approach in pediatric patients, standard OC drilling is likely to be needed due to the relative stability of OC and HGC anatomy during development. The JT significantly increases in size with development, yet is only likely to need to be drilled in older children (> 16 years) and adults.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2019.2.PEDS18621DOI Listing
April 2019

A Study to Evaluate Change in Ventricular Volume Obtained by Cranial Distraction for Craniosynostosis.

Ann Plast Surg 2019 05;82(5S Suppl 4):S301-S305

From the Plastic Surgery Division, Department of Surgery, and.

Background: The aims of the current analysis were to study the change in ventricular volume (VV) obtained with cranial distraction in patients with craniosynostosis and compare it with the change in total intracranial volume (ICV) and brain volume.

Methods: After institutional review board approval, a retrospective review was performed on patients undergoing cranial distraction over a 5-year period. GE Healthcare AdW 4.3 volume assessment software was utilized to calculate preoperative and postdistraction ICV, VV, and whole-brain volume. Data were also collected on patient demographics, age at the time of distraction, time spent in distraction and consolidation, and length of stay. t Tests were used for comparison.

Results: Twenty-three patients met our inclusion criteria. Forty-eight percent of patients (n = 11) had right-sided cranial distraction, 30% (n = 7) had bilateral distraction, and 22% of patients (n = 5) had left-sided distraction. At the preoperative stage, mean head circumference was 42.5 ± 4.7 cm, mean ICV was 810.1 ± 27 cm, mean non-VV (NVV) was 796.2 ± 268 cm, and mean VV was 13.9 ± 9 cm. After a mean of 27.4 mm of distraction, occurring over a mean of 26 days and consolidation period of 149 days, a second computed tomography scan was obtained. Mean postdistraction head circumference was 49.1 ± 3.9 cm, mean ICV was 1074.1 ± 203 cm, mean NVV was 1053.5 ± 197 cm, and VV was 20.6 ± 14 cm. Mean % increase in ICV at this stage was 47.4%; mean % NVV increase was 48.5% as opposed to 60.3% increase in VV.

Conclusions: Cranial distraction is known to effectively increase ICV. Our study suggests that the effect of this volumetric increase is much more pronounced on the VV compared with the brain volume. Further studies are underway to investigate whether this short-term marked increase in VV is sustained over a long-term period.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/SAP.0000000000001802DOI Listing
May 2019

Can Head Circumference Be Used as a Proxy for Intracranial Volume in Patients With Craniosynostosis?

Ann Plast Surg 2019 05;82(5S Suppl 4):S295-S300

Department of Neurosurgery, University of California San Diego, Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego, CA.

Background: Calculation of intracranial volume from neuroimaging can be complex and time consuming. In the adult population, there is evidence suggesting that owing to its strong correlation, head circumference (HC) may be used as a surrogate for intracranial volume (ICV). We were interested in studying the correlation between HC and ICV in patients with craniosynostosis.

Methods: After institutional review board approval, a retrospective review was performed on patients with craniosynostosis. GE Healthcare AdW 4.3 volume assessment software was used to calculate ICV and HC based on preoperative computed tomographic scans. Pearson correlation was used to estimate correlation coefficients between ICV and HC for this patient population, with 0 to 0.3 considered a weak correlation, 0.4 to 0.6 considered a moderate correlation, 0.7 to 1 considered a strong correlation, and P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: A total of 196 craniosynostosis patients were included in this study. There were 121 male and 75 female patients. Seventy-nine patients had metopic, 45 had coronal, 64 had sagittal, and 8 had lambdoid synostosis. Mean age was 8.2 months. Mean HC and ICV were 42.9 cm and 829 cm, respectively. Overall, there was a strong correlation between HC and ICV (r = 0.81). Patients were further categorized by craniosynostosis type. Very strong correlation was obtained for patients with coronal (0.89), metopic (0.98), and lambdoid craniosynostosis (0.97). Strong correlation was obtained for patients with sagittal synostosis (0.73). When categorized by sex, a stronger correlation was obtained for female patients (0.84) compared with male patients (0.80). Statistical significance was reached for all reported correlations.

Conclusion: Our preliminary data suggest that a very strong correlation exists between HC and ICV for male and female patients with all types of craniosynostosis, making HC a useful surrogate for ICV in this patient population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/SAP.0000000000001803DOI Listing
May 2019

Cost-effectiveness of Intraoperative MRI for Treatment of High-Grade Gliomas.

Radiology 2019 06 26;291(3):689-697. Epub 2019 Mar 26.

From the School of Medicine (P.A., R.S., M.G.B., C.L.R., J.P.), Department of Neurosurgery (A.R.W., R.C.R., J.A.S., D.R.S.D., V.C., J.S.P., A.A.K.), and Department of Radiation Oncology (J.D.M.), University of California-San Diego, 9300 Campus Point Dr, Mail Code 7893, La Jolla, CA 92037.

Background Intraoperative MRI has been shown to improve gross-total resection of high-grade glioma. However, to the knowledge of the authors, the cost-effectiveness of intraoperative MRI has not been established. Purpose To construct a clinical decision analysis model for assessing intraoperative MRI in the treatment of high-grade glioma. Materials and Methods An integrated five-state microsimulation model was constructed to follow patients with high-grade glioma. One-hundred-thousand patients treated with intraoperative MRI were compared with 100 000 patients who were treated without intraoperative MRI from initial resection and debulking until death (median age at initial resection, 55 years). After the operation and treatment of complications, patients existed in one of three health states: progression-free survival (PFS), progressive disease, or dead. Patients with recurrence were offered up to two repeated resections. PFS, valuation of health states (utility values), probabilities, and costs were obtained from randomized controlled trials whenever possible. Otherwise, national databases, registries, and nonrandomized trials were used. Uncertainty in model inputs was assessed by using deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses. A health care perspective was used for this analysis. A willingness-to-pay threshold of $100 000 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained was used to determine cost efficacy. Results Intraoperative MRI yielded an incremental benefit of 0.18 QALYs (1.34 QALYs with intraoperative MRI vs 1.16 QALYs without) at an incremental cost of $13 447 ($176 460 with intraoperative MRI vs $163 013 without) in microsimulation modeling, resulting in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $76 442 per QALY. Because of parameter distributions, probabilistic sensitivity analysis demonstrated that intraoperative MRI had a 99.5% chance of cost-effectiveness at a willingness-to-pay threshold of $100 000 per QALY. Conclusion Intraoperative MRI is likely to be a cost-effective modality in the treatment of high-grade glioma. © RSNA, 2019 See also the editorial by Bettmann in this issue.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1148/radiol.2019182095DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6543900PMC
June 2019

The Cost to Attending Surgeons of Resident Involvement in Academic Hand Surgery.

Ann Plast Surg 2019 05;82(5S Suppl 4):S285-S288

Division of Plastic Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC.

Purpose: For many types of surgical cases, there is an increase in length with the participation of a resident physician. The lost operative time productivity is not necessarily mitigated in any fashion other than to benefit the experience of the trainee. Moreover, increasing pressures to maximize productivity, coupled with diminishing reimbursements serve to disincentive resident involvement. The aim of this study was to examine the opportunity cost in the academic setting for intraoperative resident participation during specific hand surgery cases.

Methods: Retrospective analysis was performed on the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Project (NSQIP) database from 2006 to 2015. Cases were identified by Current Procedural Terminology code to isolate distal radius fracture repairs, carpal tunnel releases, scaphoid fractures repairs, and metacarpal fracture repairs. Variables collected included operation time, presence or absence of resident physician, and postgraduate year level. Statistical analysis was performed using the statistical computing software R 3.4.2 (R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria). Cost analysis was performed to quantify the effect of operative times in terms of relative value units (RVUs) lost.

Results: A total of 3727 cases were identified. Of those, 1264 cases were performed with a resident present. Residents participated in cases with higher total RVU (14.91 vs 13.16, P < 0.001). There was a statistically significant increase of 24.3 minutes (P < 0.001) in the mean operation time with a resident present as compared with those without. Moreover, RVU per hour in resident cases was significantly lower by 2.97 RVU per hour or 21% (P < 0.001). Using the late 2018 Medicare physician conversion factor of US $33.9996, the opportunity cost to attending physicians is US $159.20 per case.

Conclusions: Resident participation in surgical cases is paramount to the education of future trainees, particularly in the era of trainee duty hour reform. Because residents are participating in higher total RVU cases, this selection bias may be playing a role in explaining our result. Nonetheless, resident involvement for certain procedures comes at an opportunity cost to faculty surgeons. How to balance the cost to train residents in the emerging value-based health systems will prove to be challenging but requires consideration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/SAP.0000000000001873DOI Listing
May 2019

The Potential Impact of "Take the Volume Pledge" on Outcomes After Carotid Artery Stenting.

Neurosurgery 2020 02;86(2):241-249

Department of Neurosurgery, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California.

Background: The "Volume Pledge" aims to centralize carotid artery stenting (CAS) to hospitals and surgeons performing ≥10 and ≥5 procedures annually, respectively.

Objective: To compare outcomes after CAS between hospitals and surgeons meeting or not meeting the Volume Pledge thresholds.

Methods: We queried the Nationwide Inpatient Sample for CAS admissions. Hospitals and surgeons were categorized as low volume and high volume (HV) based on the Volume Pledge. Multivariable hierarchical regression models were used to examine the impact of hospital volume (2005-2011) and surgeon volume (2005-2009) on perioperative outcomes.

Results: Between 2005 and 2011, 22 215 patients were identified. Most patients underwent CAS by HV hospitals (86.4%). No differences in poor outcome (composite endpoint of in-hospital mortality, postoperative neurological or cardiac complications) were observed by hospital volume but HV hospitals did decrease the likelihood of other complications, nonroutine discharge, and prolonged hospitalization. From 2005 to 2009, 9454 CAS admissions were associated with physician identifiers. Most patients received CAS by HV surgeons (79.2%). On multivariable analysis, hospital volume was not associated with improved outcomes but HV surgeons decreased odds of poor outcome (odds ratio [OR] 0.76, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.59-0.97; P = .028), complications (OR 0.56, 95% CI 0.46-0.71, P < .001), nonroutine discharge (OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.57-0.87; P = .001), and prolonged hospitalization (OR 0.52, 95% 0.44-0.61, P < .001).

Conclusion: Most patients receive CAS by hospitals and providers meeting the Volume Pledge threshold for CAS. Surgeons but not hospitals who met the policy's volume standards were associated with superior outcomes across all measured outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyz053DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7308658PMC
February 2020
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