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1.  Morbidity and mortality following acoustic neuroma excision in the United States: analysis of racial disparities during a decade in the radiosurgery era 
Neuro-Oncology  2011;13(11):1252-1259.
Acoustic neuromas present a challenging problem, with the major treatment modalities involving operative excision, stereotactic radiosurgery, observation, and fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy. The morbidity/mortality following excision may differ by patient race. To address this concern, the morbidity of acoustic neuroma excision was assessed on a nationwide level. The Nationwide Inpatient Sample from 1994–2003 was used for analysis. Only patients admitted for acoustic neuroma excision were included (International Classification of Diseases, 9th edition, Clinical Modification = 225.1; primary procedure code = 04.01). Analysis was adjusted for several variables, including patient age, race, sex, primary payer for care, income in ZIP code of residence, surgeon caseload, and hospital caseload. Multivariate analyses revealed that postoperative mortality following acoustic neuroma excision was 0.5%, with adverse discharge disposition of 6.1%. The odds ratio for mortality in African Americans compared with Caucasians was 8.82 (95% confidence interval = 1.85–41.9, P = .006). Patients with high-caseload surgeons (more than 2 excisions/year), private insurance, and younger age had decreased mortality, better discharge disposition, and lower overall morbidity (P < .04). Neither hospital caseload nor median income were predictive factors. African Americans were 9 times more likely to die following surgery than Caucasians over a decade-long analysis. Given the relatively benign natural history of acoustic neuroma and the alarmingly increased mortality rate following surgical excision among older patients, African Americans, and patients receiving care from low-caseload surgeons, acoustic neuromas in these patient populations may be best managed by a more minimally invasive modality such as observation, fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy, or stereotactic radiosurgery.
PMCID: PMC3199160  PMID: 21856684
acoustic neuroma; health disparities; morbidity; mortality; neurosurgery
2.  Vestibular Schwannoma Management: Current Practice Amongst UK Otolaryngologists – Time for a National Prospective Audit 
It is generally agreed that the successful management of a vestibular schwannoma (VS) usually involves close collaboration between a neuro-otologist and neurosurgeon. In addition, it is accepted that the experience of the team managing such tumours is one of the key determinants of outcome after surgical intervention. The aim of this study was to identify current practice in the management of such tumours amongst otolaryngologists in the UK and to observe whether such collaborative working practices exist.
A cross sectional postal questionnaire survey of consultant members of the British Association of Otorhinolaryngologists – Head and Neck Surgeons (n = 542).
A total of 336 replies were received (62%). Of respondents, 299 consultants referred their patients to another surgeon for further management; 242 referred to another ENT surgeon (80.9%), 29 to a neurosurgeon (9.7%) and 28 to a combined team (9.4%). Twenty-eight of the responding otolaryngologists (8.6%) managed the tumours themselves, of whom 22 worked with a neurosurgeon. Of these 28 neuro-otologists, nearly two-thirds (64%) had been undertaking VS surgery for more than 10 years. The total number of patients with a VS referred to these 28 consultants during 2001 was 775, with a mean caseload of 29.8, median 23 and a range of 4 to 102 per surgeon. Seven of the 28 otolaryngologists chose their surgical approach entirely based on the size of the tumour. Eight consultants preferred the sub-occipital (SO) approach, 10 the trans-labyrinthine (TL) approach, three chose between SO and TL approaches. The majority of surgeons had a prospective, computer-based data collection and were willing to give further information about their outcomes and complications.
Amongst the otolaryngologists surveyed in the UK, we have identified 28 neuro-otologists who undertake VS surgery. The majority work with neurosurgical colleagues, confirming collaborative practice. The wide range in caseload raises the issue of training and maintaining standards and in the first instance we recommend a prospective national audit of VS management and outcomes with our neurosurgical colleagues. This would also be of value in manpower planning particularly if a minimum caseload could be identified below which results were seen to be less good.
PMCID: PMC1964657  PMID: 17002858
Vestibular schwannoma; Acoustic neuroma; Audit; Management; Collaboration
3.  Acoustic neuroma surgery as an interdisciplinary approach: a neurosurgical series of 508 patients 
OBJECTIVES—To evaluate an interdisciplinary concept (neurosurgery/ear, nose, and throat (ENT)) of treating acoustic neuromas with extrameatal extension via the retromastoidal approach. To analyse whether monitoring both facial nerve EMG and BAEP improved the functional outcome in acoustic neuroma surgery.
METHODS—In a series of 508 patients consecutively operated on over a period of 7 years, functional outcome of the facial nerve was evaluated according to the House/Brackmann scale and hearing preservation was classified using the Gardner/Robertson system.
RESULTS—Facial monitoring (396 of 508 operations) and continuous BAEP recording (229 of 399 cases with preserved hearing preoperatively) were performed routinely. With intraoperative monitoring, the rate of excellent/good facial nerve function (House/Brackmann I-II) was 88.7%. Good functional hearing (Gardner/Robertson 1-3) was preserved in 39.8%.
CONCLUSION—Acoustic neuroma surgery via a retrosigmoidal approach is a safe and effective treatment for tumours with extrameatal extension. Functional results can be substantially improved by intraoperative monitoring. The interdisciplinary concept of surgery performed by ENT and neurosurgeons was particularly convincing as each pathoanatomical phase of the operation is performed by a surgeon best acquainted with the regional specialties.

PMCID: PMC1737058  PMID: 10896686
4.  “En-Bloc” Removal of Small- to Medium-Sized Acoustic Neuromas With Retrosigmoid-Transmeatal Approach 
Skull base surgery  1997;7(1):31-38.
Surgery of acoustic neuroma (AN) has significantly refined over the past years due to a series of advances in diagnostics and surgical technique. Electrophysiologic investigation performed during surgery has greatly contributed to this progress, increasing the surgeon's understanding of the mechanism of damage and suggesting various changes in his or her surgical strategy.
In this context, the advantages of the retrosigmoid “en-bloc” removal of small to medium size ANs have been examined in the present study. At the ENT Department of the University of Verona, 103 subjects with AN were operated on, from January 1990 to December 1995, with a retrosigmoid-transmeatal approach. Eighteen subjects (17.4%) presented pure a intracanalar (IC) tumor and 85 (82.6%) had both IC and extracanalar (EC) involvement. All the IC tumors (n = 18) and 70 of the IC-EC neuromas with an EC size less than 25 mm are reported in this paper for a total of 88 patients. The first 48 patients were operated on via the classic procedures described in the literature, characterized by removal of the tumor after “debulking” and limited exposure of the internal auditory canal (IAC). The following 40 subjects were operated on according to the technique of “en-bloc” removal of the tumor and wide exposure of the IAC.
In the “en-bloc” group the tumor was first detached from the cerebellar flocculus and the pons, when necessary. The tumor was not debulked to preserve the anatomic relationship with the nerves and to facilitate identification, cleavage and dissection of the tumor from the neural structures. Thereafter, the posterior wall of the IAC was drilled out and opened in a circumferential range from 180 to 270°. The IAC dura was subsequently opened, and the distal end of the AN along with the vestibular nerves were identified. The vestibular nerves were sectioned in the distal portion of the IAC and dissected with the tumor from the underlying facial and cochlear nerves. Dissection continued medially to the IAC porus. The AN was progressively dissected from the cochlear and facial nerves in the cerebellopontine angle (CPA) with multiple direction maneuvers, as required by the characteristics and degree of adherence to the neural structures.
The anatomic and functional results obtained with this new procedure (“en-bloc” removal) were compared with the classic “debulking” technique. The statistical analysis shows an improvement in postoperative outcome for both auditory and facial nerve function. The “en-bloc” removal procedure along with the wide exposure of the content of the IAC and electrophysiologic monitoring of the seventh and eighth cranial nerves are, in our experience, the recommended strategies for improving outcomes in small to medium size ANs.
PMCID: PMC1656615  PMID: 17171004
5.  Gamma knife stereotactic radiosurgery for unilateral acoustic neuromas 
Objective:To evaluate the clinical results achievable using current techniques of gamma knife stereotactic radiosurgery to treat sporadic unilateral acoustic neuromas.
Methods:A retrospective review of 234 consecutive patients treated for unilateral acoustic neuromas between 1996 and 1999, with a mean (SD) follow up of 35 (16) months. Tumour control was assessed with serial radiological imaging and by the need for surgical intervention. Hearing preservation was assessed using Gardner-Robertson grades. Details of complications including cranial neuropathies and non-specific vestibulo-cochlear symptoms are included.
Results:A tumour control rate in excess of 92% was achieved, with only 3% of patients undergoing surgery after radiosurgery. Results were less good for larger tumours, but control rates of 75% were achieved for 35–45 mm diameter lesions. Of patients with discernible hearing, Gardner-Robertson grades were unchanged in 75%. Facial nerve function was adversely affected in 4.5%, but fewer than 1% of patients had persistent weakness. Trigeminal symptoms improved in 3%, but developed in 5% of patients, being persistent in less than 1.5%. Transient non-specific vestibulo-cochlear symptoms were reported by 13% of patients.
Conclusions:Tumour control rates, while difficult to define, are comparable after radiosurgery with those experienced after surgery. The complications and morbidity after radiosurgery are far less frequent than those encountered after surgery. This, combined with its minimally invasive nature, may make radiosurgery increasingly the treatment of choice for small and medium sized acoustic neuromas.
PMCID: PMC1738239  PMID: 14617712
6.  Preliminary results of linac-based radiosurgery in arteriovenous malformations and cerebral tumours in the Oncology Centre in Bydgoszcz 
Contemporary Oncology  2013;17(1):29-33.
Aim of the study
Efficacy of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in the treatment in cerebral AVM's, mennigiomas, metastases, acoustic neuromas and recurrent anaplastic gliomas is well documented. The object of this work was the analysis of the results of the treatment of AVM and selected cerebral lesions with linear accelerator-based stereotactic radiosurgery.
Material and methods
The lesions included: 12 AVMs, 2 cavernomas, 27 meningiomas, 16 metastases, 5 acoustic neuromas, 16 gliomas in 78 patients. A mean radiation dose of 16Gy was delivered to the tumour or AVM margin and 12Gy to the tumours located in a ponto-cerebellar angle. Follow-up was 18 months.
Control of tumour growth or AVM was achieved in all cases after 6 months and radiological regression was observed in 20 cases after 12 months. The best results were noted in AVM's, meningiomas and neuromas.There were no new permanent deficits nor complications after radiosurgery requiring medicamentation.
Organization of SRS in Oncological Center in Bydgoszcz involving close co-operation of radiotherapist, neurosurgeon and physicist in the process of qualification and treatment planning is based on the best global standards. Preliminary results of treatment are consistent with the literature data. A longer follow-up is required to determine the long term efficacy and the toxicity of this treatment in our institution.
PMCID: PMC3685351  PMID: 23788958
stereoradiosurgery; AVM's; meningiomas; metastases; acoustic schwanomas
7.  Functional outcome in patients after excision of extracanalicular acoustic neuromas using the suboccipital approach. 
An audit of surgery for acoustic neuroma was carried out to determine the frequency and nature of postoperative symptoms and their impact upon the patient's quality of life and vocation. Fifty-six patients were interviewed between 6 months and 5 years (mean 26 months) after surgical excision of an acoustic neuroma. The objective surgical results in these patients are good, with normal or near normal functional preservation rates of 80% for the facial nerve (House-Brackmann grade I/II), and 27.3% for a previously functioning acoustic nerve. Despite this there was no significant overall reduction in the reported occurrence of balance problems, tinnitus, headache and other neurological sequelae of the tumour after surgical excision. In 20% of the patients persistent symptoms, including deafness and facial weakness, had prevented the resumption of former social activities. As a result of these symptoms 8.6% of the patients were certified medically unfit for work, but of those employed preoperatively over 70% had returned to their jobs. The success of neuro-otological surgical management of acoustic neuroma is offset by some degree of chronic morbidity. Our patients expressed the need to know whether their symptoms would resolve, but were often too afraid to ask. Patients can be reassured that the majority resume their former social and vocational activities, but should be advised that some symptoms can persist or occur de novo after surgery. Our data suggest that early intervention would reduce the incidence of these troublesome sequelae.
PMCID: PMC2502114  PMID: 7598420
8.  Influence of hospital and clinician workload on survival from colorectal cancer: cohort study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1999;318(7195):1381-1386.
To determine whether clinician or hospital caseload affects mortality from colorectal cancer.
Cohort study of cases ascertained between 1990 and 1994 by a region-wide colorectal cancer register.
Outcome measures
Mortality within a median follow up period of 54 months after diagnosis.
Of the 3217 new patients registered over the period, 1512 (48%) died before 31 December 1996. Strong predictors of survival both in a logistic regression (fixed follow up) and in a Cox's proportional hazards model (variable follow up) were Duke's stage, the degree of tumour differentiation, whether the liver was deemed clear of cancer by the surgeon at operation, and the type of intervention (elective or emergency and curative or palliative intent). In a multilevel model, surgeon’s caseload had no significant effect on mortality at 2 years. Hospital workload, however, had a significant impact on survival. The odds ratio for death within 2 years for cases managed in a hospital with a caseload of between 33 and 46 cases per year, 47 and 54 cases per year, and ⩾55 cases per year (compared to one with ≤23 cases per year) were respectively 1.48 (95% confidence interval 1.03 to 2.13), 1.52 (1.08 to 2.13), and 1.18 (0.83 to 1.68).
There was no detectable caseload effect for surgeons managing colorectal cancer, but survival of patients treated in hospitals with caseloads above 33 cases per year was slightly worse than for those treated in hospitals with fewer caseloads. Imprecise measurement of clinician specific “events rates” and the lack of routinely collected case mix data present major challenges for clinical audit and governance in the years ahead.
Key messagesVarious benefits have been described for multidisciplinary cancer care, but the precise relation between a surgeon's or hospital's caseload and the outcome for the patient is not knownAny investigation of a caseload effect at the hospital or practitioner level has to simultaneously account for each factor and adjust adequately for case mixSurgeon had no significant effect on caseload, but patients treated in hospitals with low caseloads (<33 cases per year) had a slightly better survival at 2 years than those treated in hospitals with a higher caseloadDefining surgical expertise in terms of volume of activity may be a misdirected and imprecise yardstick for the quality of cancer care; other aspects of the organisation of services may be far more important
PMCID: PMC27880  PMID: 10334746
9.  Principles of Surgical Treatment in the Midface Trauma - Theory and Practice 
Mædica  2014;9(4):361-366.
Facial trauma is a common injury in the urban setting. Many studies have been published on the epidemiology and treatment of facial fractures, but few of them conducted in emergencies hospital as ours. The purpose of this study was to present theory and practice in surgical treatment of midface trauma.
Materials and method:
We will present a retrospective study and a cases series report with our personal experience in diagnosis and treatment of middle floor facial trauma. Craniofacial trauma in context of polytrauma involves a screening condition assessment of the patient to prioritize lesions and frequently require a multidisciplinary approach: neurosurgeon, ENT surgeon, maxillo-facial surgeon, ophthalmologist, plastic surgeon and so on. Axial and coronal CT are mandatory and three-dimensional CT reconstruction can be extremely useful. Surgical indication in middle floor facial trauma is given by functional and aesthetic deficits.
We will present the surgical principles we use in treatment of fractured nose, in fractures of maxilla, in fractures of the zygomatic arch with or without zygoma body fractures and fractures of the floor of orbit.
The surgical technique was imposed by coexisting lesions of neuro and viscerocranium, by the complexity of the fracture, by functional or aesthetic deficits and by our surgical experience.
The main principles in middle face trauma are an accurate and complete lesions evaluation; mixed surgery team with maxillofacial surgeon and neurosurgeon.
PMCID: PMC4316881
lesions evaluation; mixed surgery team
10.  Procedures for restoring vestibular disorders 
This paper will discuss therapeutic possibilities for disorders of the vestibular organs and the neurons involved, which confront ENT clinicians in everyday practice. Treatment of such disorders can be tackled either symptomatically or causally. The possible strategies for restoring the body's vestibular sense, visual function and co-ordination include medication, as well as physical and surgical procedures. Prophylactic or preventive measures are possible in some disorders which involve vertigo (bilateral vestibulopathy, kinetosis, height vertigo, vestibular disorders when diving (Tables 1 (Tab. 1) and 2 (Tab. 2)). Glucocorticoid and training therapy encourage the compensation of unilateral vestibular loss. In the case of a bilateral vestibular loss, it is important to treat the underlying disease (e.g. Cogan's disease). Although balance training does improve the patient's sense of balance, it will not restore it completely.
In the case of Meniere's disease, there are a number of medications available to either treat bouts or to act as a prophylactic (e.g. dimenhydrinate or betahistine). In addition, there are non-ablative (sacculotomy) as well as ablative surgical procedures (e.g. labyrinthectomy, neurectomy of the vestibular nerve). In everyday practice, it has become common to proceed with low risk therapies initially. The physical treatment of mild postural vertigo can be carried out quickly and easily in outpatients (repositioning or liberatory maneuvers). In very rare cases it may be necessary to carry out a semicircular canal occlusion.
Isolated disturbances of the otolith function or an involvement of the otolith can be found in roughly 50% of labyrinth disturbances. A specific surgical procedure to selectively block the otolith organs is currently being studied. When an external perilymph fistula involving loss of perilymph is suspected, an exploratory tympanotomy involving also the round and oval window niches must be carried out. A traumatic rupture of the round window membrane can, for example, also be caused by an implosive inner ear barotrauma during the decompression phase of diving. Dehiscence of the anterior semicircular canal, a relatively rare disorder, can be treated conservatively (avoiding stimuli which cause dizziness), by non-ablative „resurfacing" or by „plugging" the semicircular canal. A perilymph fistula can cause a Tullio-phenomenon resulting from a traumatic dislocation or hypermobility of the stapes, which can be surgically corrected. Vestibular disorders can also result from otosurgical therapy. When balance disorders persist following stapedectomy it is necessary to carry out a revision operation in order to either exclude a perilymph fistula or shorten the piston. Surgically reducing the size of open mastoid cavities (using for example porous hydroxylapatite or cartilage) can result in a reduction of vertiginous symptoms while nursing or during exposure to ambient air. Vestibular disturbances can occur both before and after vestibular nerve surgery (acoustic neuroma). Initially, good vestibular compensation can be expected after surgically removing the acoustic neuroma. An aberrant regeneration of nerve fibers of the vestibulocochlear nerve has been suggested as a cause for secondary worsening. Episodes of vertigo can be caused by an irritation of the vestibular nerve (vascular loop). Neurovascular decompression is generally regarded as the best surgical therapy. In the elderly, vestibular disturbances can severely limit quality of life and are often aggravated by multiple comorbidities. Antivertiginous drugs (e.g. dimenhydrinate) in combination with movement training can significantly reduce symptoms. Administering antivertiginous drugs over varying periods of time (e.g. transdermal scopolamine application via patches) as well as kinetosis training can be used as both prophylactically and as a therapy for kinetosis. Exposure training should be used as a prophylactic for height vertigo.
PMCID: PMC3201005  PMID: 22073053
neurootology; vestibular disturbances; labyrinth, rehabilitation; therapy; oto-surgery; vestibular compensation
11.  Single level cervical disc herniation: A questionnaire based study on current surgical practices 
Indian Journal of Orthopaedics  2009;43(3):240-244.
Operative procedures like simple discectomy, with or without fusion and with or without instrumentation, for single level cervical disc herniation causing neck pain or neurological compromise have been described and are largely successful. However, there is a debate on definitive criteria to perform fusion (with or without instrumentation) for single level cervical disc herniation. Hence, we conducted a questionnaire based study to elicit the opinions of practicing neurosurgeons.
Materials and Methods:
About 148 neurosurgeons with atleast 12 years of operative experience on single level cervical disc herniation, utilizing the anterior approach, were enrolled in our study. All participating neurosurgeons were asked to complete a practice based questionnaire. The responses of 120 neurosurgeons were analysed.
The mean age of enrolled surgeons was 51 yrs (range 45-73) with mean surgical experience of 16.9 yrs (range 12-40 yrs) on single level cervical disc herniation. Out of 120 surgeons 10(8%) had 15-25 years experience and always preferred fusion with or without instrumentation and six (five per cent with 17-27 yrs experience had never used fusion techniques. However, 104 (87%) surgeons with 12-40 yrs experience had their own criteria based on their experiences for performing fusion with graft and instrumentation (FGI), while. 85 (75%) preferred auto graft with cage.
Most of surgeons performed FGI before the age of 40, but for others, patient criteria such as job (heavier job), physical examination (especially myelopathy) and imaging findings (mild degenerative changes on X-ray and signal change in the spinal cord on MRI) were considered significant for performing FGI.
PMCID: PMC2762169  PMID: 19838345
Anterior approach; cervical disc herniation; discectomy without fusion; disectomy with fusion
12.  Acoustic neuromas following childhood radiation treatment for benign conditions of the head and neck 
Neuro-Oncology  2008;10(1):73-78.
Childhood radiation exposure has been associated with an increased risk for developing several neoplasms, particularly benign and malignant thyroid tumors, but little is known about the risk of developing acoustic neuromas. The aim of this study was to confirm whether there is a risk for acoustic neuromas and, if so, to determine its magnitude and duration. We investigated the time trend and dose-response relationships for acoustic neuroma incidence in a cohort of 3,112 individuals who were irradiated as children between 1939 and 1962. Most of the patients were treated to reduce the size of their tonsils and adenoids and received substantial radiation exposure to the cerebellopontine angle, the site of acoustic neuromas. Forty-three patients developed benign acoustic neuromas, forty of them surgically resected, far in excess of what might be expected from data derived from brain tumor registries. The mean dose (±SD) to the cerebellopontine angle was 4.6 ± 1.9 Gy. The relative risk per Gy was 1.14 (95% confidence interval 1.0–1.3). The earliest case occurred 20.4 years after exposure and the latest 55 years after exposure (mean 38.3 ± 10.1 years). Our study provides support for an association between acoustic neuromas and childhood radiation exposure. Although acoustic neuromas are usually benign and often asymptomatic, many cause significant morbidity. Following childhood radiation exposure, they appear after a long latency and continue to occur many decades afterward. Any symptoms of an acoustic neuroma in a patient with a history of radiation to the head and neck area should be investigated carefully, and the threshold for employing imaging should be lowered.
PMCID: PMC2600840  PMID: 18079359
Acoustic neuromas; dose-response relationships; radiation-related neoplasms
13.  The Surgeon's Expertise-Outcome Relationship in Gastric Cancer Surgery 
The surgical caseload or duration of practice of a surgeon may influence the outcomes of gastric cancer surgery. This study aimed to clarify the surgical quality provided by specialized gastric cancer surgeons.
Materials and Methods
The postoperative courses of 1,877 patients who underwent surgery for gastric cancer were retrospectively reviewed. For classification of the surgeon's expertise, the number of yearly resections performed by, and consecutive years of practice of, the surgeons were used. The outcome measures used were the 30-day mortality and long-term survival.
Surgical mortalities of patients who underwent surgery by a specialized surgeon and those by a general surgeon revealed no statistically significant difference. A significant difference in the five-year survival rates was found with surgeons with at least two consecutive years of practice compared to those with less than two years, when 50 or more cases had been conducted per year (63.9% and 59.7%; p=0.0380). In cases of four-years of consecutive practice, the five-year survival rate was significantly improved, even if only 10 cases were performed annually (64.9% and 58.3%; p=0.0023), although the best survival rate was found with surgeons that had performed 50 or more surgeries per year.
Improved survival rates, with acceptable surgical mortality, can be achieved for gastric cancer when the surgery is performed by a specialized surgeon. A specialized gastric cancer surgeon can be defined as one who has operated on more than 50 new cases per year, with 2 or more consecutive years of surgical practice.
PMCID: PMC2785411  PMID: 19956495
Stomach neoplasms; Gastrectomy; Prognosis; Surgeon volume
14.  Children's surgery: a national survey of consultant clinical practice 
BMJ Open  2012;2(5):e001639.
To survey clinical practice and opinions of consultant surgeons and anaesthetists caring for children to inform the needs for training, commissioning and management of children's surgery in the UK.
The National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) hosted an online survey to gather data on current clinical practice of UK consultant surgeons and anaesthetists caring for children.
The questionnaire was circulated to all hospitals and to Anaesthetic and Surgical Royal Colleges, and relevant specialist societies covering the UK and the Channel Islands and was mainly completed by consultants in District General Hospitals.
555 surgeons and 1561 anaesthetists completed the questionnaire.
32.6% of surgeons and 43.5% of anaesthetists considered that there were deficiencies in their hospital's facilities that potentially compromised delivery of a safe children's surgical service. Almost 10% of all consultants considered that their postgraduate training was insufficient for current paediatric practice and 20% felt that recent Continued Professional Development failed to maintain paediatric expertise. 45.4% of surgeons and 39.2% of anaesthetists considered that the current specialty curriculum should have a larger paediatric component. Consultants in non-specialist paediatric centres were prepared to care for younger children admitted for surgery as emergencies than those admitted electively. Many of the surgeons and anaesthetists had <4 h/week in paediatric practice. Only 55.3% of surgeons and 42.8% of anaesthetists participated in any form of regular multidisciplinary review of children undergoing surgery.
There are significant obstacles to consultant surgeons and anaesthetists providing a competent surgical service for children. Postgraduate curricula must meet the needs of trainees who will be expected to include children in their caseload as consultants. Trusts must ensure appropriate support for consultants to maintain paediatric skills and provide the necessary facilities for a high-quality local surgical service.
PMCID: PMC3488724  PMID: 23075572
Paediatric Surgery
15.  The treatment of a large acoustic tumor with fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy 
Journal of Robotic Surgery  2007;1(3):227-230.
The treatment of acoustic neuromas (AN) usually involves surgical excision or stereotactic radiosurgery. However, for large AN (mean diameter > 3 cm), stereotactic radiosurgery is rarely used, leaving patients with limited noninvasive treatment options. Recently, the use of fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (FSRT) has been effective in treating small to medium-sized AN. We present a patient with a large AN treated with FSRT. The patient was a 43-year-old man presenting with imbalance, tinnitus, vertigo, and right-sided hearing decline associated with vomiting and hydrocephalus. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging revealed a large, 3.8-cm, right cerebellopontine-angle tumor compressing the fourth ventricle. Following right frontal ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement, the patient underwent FSRT for treatment of the tumor. Using the Radionics X-Knife 4.0 3D treatment planning system, a total of 54 Gy was delivered in 1.8-Gy daily fractions with the prescription isodose line of 90%. Treatments were delivered using a dedicated Varian 6/100 linear accelerator, and head immobilization was achieved with the Gill-Thomas-Cosman relocatable stereotactic frame. The patient was subsequently evaluated with serial contrast-enhanced MR imaging. Following FSRT, local control (defined as the absence of tumor progression) was achieved, and treatment was well tolerated. There was no hearing-related, trigeminal, or facial-nerve morbidity following FSRT at 63-month follow-up. Treating a patient with a large AN with FSRT resulted in local tumor control, with no trigeminal nerve, facial nerve, or hearing-related morbidity. These results support FSRT as a potential noninvasive treatment modality for AN some would consider too large for single-fraction stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS).
PMCID: PMC4247447  PMID: 25484968
Fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy; Acoustic neuroma; Tumor size; Morbidity
16.  Access osteotomy for infratemporal tumors: Two case reports 
Tumors occurring in the infratemporal region present a surgical challenge and access osteotomies of the facial skeleton is the answer to access these deeply situated, inaccessible tumors of the head and neck. Various approaches have been devised for their better exposure and it is our expertise as maxillofacial surgeons to provide surgical access by transmaxillary, transzygomatic and transmandibular approaches. We followed this concept in our institute and report here two case reports. The first is a 45-year-old female who presented with right facial pain and temporal swelling due to schwannoma in the right infratemporal region extending into middle cranial fossa. This was jointly treated by a team of neurosurgeons, maxillofacial surgeons and ENT surgeons by right temporal craniotomy, right transmandibular and transzygomatic approach. The second is a rare tumor occurring in a 26-year-old male with the chief complaint of right frontal headache and diplopia. The tumor was excised via access through the zygomatic arch and lateral orbital wall; diagnosed later as Rosai Dorfmans disease. No recurrence was seen at follow-up period of 2 years. These approaches help to reduce the surgical morbidity. Thus, oral and maxillofacial surgeons form a vital role in the multidisciplinary approach to provide access to difficult anatomic locations.
PMCID: PMC3591072  PMID: 23483817
Access osteotomy; infratemporal; Rosai Dorfmans disease; schwannoma
17.  Malpractice Liability and Defensive Medicine: A National Survey of Neurosurgeons 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39237.
Concern over rising healthcare expenditures has led to increased scrutiny of medical practices. As medical liability and malpractice risk rise to crisis levels, the medical-legal environment has contributed to the practice of defensive medicine as practitioners attempt to mitigate liability risk. High-risk specialties, such as neurosurgery, are particularly affected and neurosurgeons have altered their practices to lessen medical-legal risk. We present the first national survey of American neurosurgeons’ perceptions of malpractice liability and defensive medicine practices.
A validated, 51-question online-survey was sent to 3344 practicing U.S. neurosurgeon members of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, which represents 76% of neurosurgeons in academic and private practices.
A total of 1028 surveys were completed (31% response rate) by neurosurgeons representing diverse sub-specialty practices. Respondents engaged in defensive medicine practices by ordering additional imaging studies (72%), laboratory tests (67%), referring patients to consultants (66%), or prescribing medications (40%). Malpractice premiums were considered a “major or extreme” burden by 64% of respondents which resulted in 45% of respondents eliminating high-risk procedures from their practice due to liability concerns.
Concerns and perceptions about medical liability lead practitioners to practice defensive medicine. As a result, diagnostic testing, consultations and imaging studies are ordered to satisfy a perceived legal risk, resulting in higher healthcare expenditures. To minimize malpractice risk, some neurosurgeons have eliminated high-risk procedures. Left unchecked, concerns over medical liability will further defensive medicine practices, limit patient access to care, and increase the cost of healthcare delivery in the United States.
PMCID: PMC3382203  PMID: 22761745
18.  Variations in Practice Patterns among Neurosurgeons and Orthopaedic Surgeons in the Management of Spinal Disorders 
Asian Spine Journal  2011;5(4):208-212.
Study Design
This is a case series.
We wanted to identify variations in the practice patterns among neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons for the management of spinal disorders.
Overview of Literature
Spinal disorders are common in the clinical practice of both neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons. It has been observed that despite the availability of various guidelines, there is lack of consensus among surgeons about the management of various disorders.
A questionnaire was distributed, either directly or via e-mail, to the both the neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons who worked at 5 tertiary care centers within a single region of Korea. The surgeons were working either in private practice or in academic institutions. The details of the questionnaire included demographic details and the specialty (orthopedic/neurosurgeon). The surgeons were classified according to the level of experience as up to 5 years, 6-10 years and > 10 years. Questions were asked about the approach to lumbar discectomy (fragmentectomy or aggressive disc removal), using steroids for treating discitis, the fusion preference for spondylolisthesis, the role of an orthosis after fusion, the preferred surgical approach for spinal stenosis, the operative approach for spinal trauma (early within 72 hours or late > 72 hours) and the role of surgery in complete spinal cord injury. The data was analyzed using SPSS ver 16. p-values < 0.05 were considered to be significant.
Of the 30 surgeons who completed the questionnaire, 20 were neurosurgeons and 10 were orthopedic surgeons. Statistically significant differences were observed for the management of spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, using an orthosis after fusion, the type of lumbar discectomy and the value of surgical intervention after complete spinal cord injury.
Our results suggest that there continues to exist a statistically significant lack of consensus among neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons when considering using an orthosis after fusion, the type of discectomy and the value of intervention after complete spinal injury.
PMCID: PMC3230647  PMID: 22164314
Orthopedic surgeons; Neurosurgeons; Spinal trauma; Spinal stenosis; Complete cord injury
19.  Impact of Advanced Laparoscopy Courses on Present Surgical Practice 
Advanced laparoscopic workshops provide an efficacious instrument for educating surgeons in minimally invasive techniques.
Background and Objectives:
The introduction of new surgical techniques has made training in laparoscopic procedures a necessity for the practicing surgeon, but acquisition of new surgical skills is a formidable task. This study was conducted to assess the impact of advanced laparoscopic workshops on caseload patterns of practicing surgeons.
After we obtained institutional review board approval, a survey of practicing surgeons who participated in advanced laparoscopic courses was distributed; the results were analyzed for statistical significance. The courses were held at the University of Nebraska Medical Center between January 2002 and December 2010. Questionnaires were mailed, faxed, and e-mailed to surgeons.
Of the 109 surgeons who participated in the advanced laparoscopy courses, 79 received surveys and 30 were excluded from the survey because of their affiliation with the University of Nebraska Medical Center. A total of 47 responses (59%) were received from 41 male and 6 female surgeons. The median response time from completion of the course to completion of the survey was 13.2 months (range, 6.8–19.1 months). The mean age of participating surgeons was 39.2 years (range, 29–51 years). The mean time since residency was 8.4 years (range, 0.8–21 years). Eleven surgeons had completed a minimal number of laparoscopic cases in residency (<50), 17 surgeons had completed a moderate number of laparoscopic procedures in residency (50–200), and 21 surgeons had completed a significant number of cases during residency (>200). Of the surgeons who responded, 94% were in private practice. Fifty-seven percent of the participating surgeons who responded reported a change in laparoscopic practice patterns after the courses. Of these surgeons, 24% had a limited residency laparoscopy exposure of <50 cases. Surgeons who were exposed to ≥50 laparoscopic cases during their residency showed a statistically significant increase in the number of laparoscopic procedures performed after their class compared with surgeons who did not receive ≥50 laparoscopic cases in residency (P = .03). In addition, regardless of the procedures learned in a specific class, surgeons with ≥50 laparoscopic cases in residency had a statistically significant increase in their laparoscopic colectomy and laparoscopic hernia procedure caseload (P < .01). However, there was no statistically significant difference in laparoscopic caseload between surgeons who had completed 50 to 200 laparoscopic residency cases and those who had completed greater than 200 laparoscopic residency cases (P = .31). Furthermore, the participant's age (P = .23), practice type (P = .61), and years in practice (P = .22) had no statistical significance with regard to the adoption of laparoscopic procedures after courses taken. This finding is congruent with the findings of other researchers. Future interest in advanced laparoscopy courses was noted in 70% of surgeons and was more pronounced in surgeons with ≥50 cases in residency.
Advanced laparoscopic workshops provide an efficacious instrument in educating surgeons on minimally invasive surgical techniques. Participating surgeons significantly increased the number of course-specific procedures that they performed but also increased the number of other laparoscopic surgeries, suggesting that a certain proficiency in laparoscopic skills is translated to multiple surgical procedures. Laparoscopy experience of ≥50 cases during residency is a strong predictor of an increase in the number of advanced laparoscopic cases after attending courses.
PMCID: PMC3771781  PMID: 23925009
Laparoscopy; Training; Surgical courses; Colon; Hernia
20.  Cranial Nerve Preservation in Surgery for Large Acoustic Neuromas 
Skull Base  2004;14(2):85-90.
Facial nerve outcomes and surgical complication rates for other cranial nerves were evaluated retrospectively after the resection of large acoustic neuromas. The charts of all patients who underwent surgical removal of an acoustic neuroma between 1992 and 2001 at New York University Medical Center were reviewed. Fifty-four patients with tumors measuring 3 cm or larger were included in the study. Four patients had neurofibromatosis type 2, two of whom underwent bilateral removal of acoustic neuromas. Translabyrinthine microsurgical removal of tumor was performed in 47 of 56 cases (84%). In all cases, EMG monitoring, improved sharp microdissection, and ultrasonic aspiration were employed. Facial nerve function was assessed using the House-Brackmann facial nerve grading system immediately after surgery and at follow-up visits. A House-Brackmann grade III or better was achieved in 90% of patients, and a grade II or better was achieved in 84% of patients. Ultimate facial nerve outcome was excellent after the surgical resection of large acoustic neuromas. Preoperative cranial nerve palsies also improved after surgery. The translabyrinthine approach for tumor removal is our treatment of choice for acoustic neuromas 3 cm or larger.
PMCID: PMC1151676  PMID: 16145589
Acoustic neuroma; translabyrinthine approach; facial nerve
21.  Optimal surgical technique, use of intra-operative cholangiography (IOC), and management of acute gallbladder disease: the results of a nation-wide survey in the UK and Ireland 
There is debate on optimal techniques that reduce bile duct injury during laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC). A national survey of Association of Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (AUGIS) members was carried out to determine current surgical practice for gallstones, including the use of intra-operative cholangiography (IOC) or critical view of safety to reduce the risk of bile duct injury.
An anonymous postal survey was sent to all 417 AUGIS members. Data on grade of surgeon, place of work (district general hospital, teaching), subspecialty, number LC per year, use of IOC, critical view of safety, and management of stones detected during surgery were collated.
There was a 36% (152/417) response – 134 (88%) from consultant surgeons (36, HPB; 106,OG; 64, DGH; 88, teaching hospital). Of these, 38% performed > 100 LC per year, 36% 50–100 LC per year, and 22% 25–50 LC per year. IOC was routine for 24%; and selective for 72%. Critical view of Calot's triangle was advocated by 82%. Overall, 55% first clip and divide the cystic artery, whereas 41% first clip and divide the cystic duct. Some 39% recommend IOC and 23% pre-oper-ative MRCP if dilated common bile duct (CBD) is noted on pre-operative ultrasound. When bile duct stones are identified on IOC, 61% perform laparoscopic CBD exploration (LCBDE), 25% advise postoperative ERCP, and 13% perform either LCBDE or ERCP. Overall, 88% (n = 134) recommend index cholecystectomy for acute pathology, and this is more likely in a teaching hospital setting (P= 0.003). Laparoscopic CBD exploration was more likely to be performed in university hospitals (P< 0.05).
A wide dissection of Calot's triangle to provide a critical view of safety is the technique most commonly recommended by AUGIS surgeons (83%) to minimise risk of bile duct injury, in contrast to 24% that recommend routine IOC. The majority (88%) of AUGIS surgeons advise index admission cholecystectomy for acute gallbladder disease.
PMCID: PMC3025204  PMID: 20501016
Gallbladder disease; Intra-operative cholangiography; Calot's triangle; UK audit
22.  Who cares for the patient with head injury now? 
Emergency Medicine Journal : EMJ  2001;18(5):352-357.
Objective—A recent report on head injury management from the Royal College of Surgeons of England suggests that surgeons are unsuited to the inpatient care of head injuries (ICHI) and should hand over responsibility entirely to neurosurgeons and accident and emergency (A&E) specialists. This prompted a survey of A&E consultants to establish their opinions on the current and future practice of head injury care.
Methods—Questionnaires were sent to consultant members of the British Association for Accident and Emergency medicine. Of a possible 256 A&E departments from Great Britain and Ireland with over 20 000 annual new attenders 206 (80%) replied.
Results—General surgeons contribute to ICHI for adults in 107 of 206 hospitals (52%) compared with orthopaedic surgeons in 73 of 206 (35%) and A&E consultants in 71 of 206 (34%). There was frequent criticism that surgeons are uninterested in head injury care. Fifty nine units (30%) commented on the lack of neurosurgery beds and difficulties experienced in getting patients accepted. Few hospitals seem to have well integrated rehabilitation or follow up services targeted at head injury. One in six patients with head injury admitted to a general hospital or observation ward remain after 48 hours and one in 20 stay beyond one week. Of the 132 A&E units without responsibility for ICHI 54 (41%) either wish to take on this responsibility or are willing to do so if the necessary resources are first put in place. The perceived net revenue cost required to allow 67 A&E units to take on ICHI is about 12.5 million pounds per year. This does not include the cost of further care after 48 hours, follow up or rehabilitation.
Conclusion—Only one third of A&E units at present have even part of the ICHI role recommended in the RCS report; another third are prepared to accept a new role if training and resources are provided and support is forthcoming from other specialists to take over the care after 48 hours; the remaining third are unwilling to accept responsibility for ICHI.
PMCID: PMC1725681  PMID: 11559605
23.  Trends In Acoustic Neuroma Management: A 20-Year Review of the Oxford Skull Base Clinic 
Objective To describe the change in the management of acoustic neuromas at one United Kingdom center over a 20-year period and to compare this with what is known regarding trends in practice on a national and international scale.
Design, Setting, and Participants Data was collected prospectively on all patients attending the Oxford Skull Base Clinic between 1990 and 2009.
Main Outcome Measures The proportion of patients managed initially by observation versus radiotherapy versus surgery was recorded for each year.
Results Significantly more patients received radiation treatment (instead of surgery) between 2000 and 2009 when compared with 1990 to 1999. Compared with national audit data, the Oxford Skull Base Clinic treats a higher proportion of patients with radiotherapy and significantly lower proportion with surgery, though the trend nationally is toward more observation and radiotherapy and less surgery.
Conclusion Surgery will remain crucial in the management of some patients with acoustic neuromas (usually those with the larger tumors where radiosurgery is recognized to be less appropriate), but using current trends to predict future practice would suggest that alternative nonmicrosurgical treatment may play an increasingly important role in the future.
PMCID: PMC3715608  PMID: 24436912
acoustic neuroma; management; trend; radiosurgery; vestibular schwannoma
24.  Olfication - a clinical approach 
Olfactory dysfunction usually occurs secondary to ENT causes, and most patients with olfactory problems prefer to consult an otolaryngologist. 1a some cases the ENT surgeon is required to inculcate a systematic approach while dealing with such patients in order to screen the possibility of other causes (apart from ENT). He may in turn either collaborate with another specialist (neurologist, ophthalmologist, neurosurgeon) for proper diagnostic work- up or otherwise counsel the patient in case of a benign prognosis. Thus a basic knowledge about the applied pathophysiology of olfaction for its proper clinical approach is a must for every practicing ENT surgeon. We present the gist of the experience with olfaction at the Smell and Taste Center of the University of Pennsylvania USA that is relevant to the practicing otolaryngotogist. We present the information in two complementary parts: a clinical approach and its quantification and management which will be published in a subsequent issue of this journal.
PMCID: PMC3450535  PMID: 23119884
Olfaction; Anosmia; Psychophysics
25.  Continuous Retrograde Monitoring of the Facial Nerve 
Skull base surgery  1996;6(2):77-81.
Continuous electromyographical (EMG) monitoring of the facial nerve is widely used during acoustic tumor surgery. Mechanical stimulation of the facial nerve is capable of eliciting synchronous and asynchronous EMG responses alerting the surgeon to damaging maneuvers performed on the nerve. Mechanical stimulation, however, elicits EMG responses only when the nerve has been injured by the underlying pathology or previous surgical maneuvers, and the technique is sensitive to administration of muscular blockers. In addition, EMG is unable to furnish quantitative information about the damage. The present paper illustrates an alternative technique for intraoperative facial nerve monitoring, that is, the recording of facial nerve antidromic potentials (FNAPs).
Eleven subjects operated on by acoustic neuroma surgery via a retrosigmoid approach (tumor sizes ranging from 12 to 28 mm) participated in the investigation. Bipolar electrical stimulation of the marginalis mandibulae was performed to elicit FNAPs. Stimulus intensity ranged from 2 to 6 mA with a delivery rate of 7/second. A silver-wire electrode positioned on the proximal portion of the acoustic-facial bundle was used to record action potentials. Changes in latency and amplitude of FNAPs were analyzed as a function of the main surgical steps. FNAP monitoring provided quantitative real-time information about damaging maneuvers performed on the nerve and allowed prediction of postoperative facial function.
PMCID: PMC1656583  PMID: 17170981

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