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1.  Minimally invasive surgical procedures for the treatment of lumbar disc herniation 
Introduction
In up to 30% of patients undergoing lumbar disc surgery for herniated or protruded discs outcomes are judged unfavourable. Over the last decades this problem has stimulated the development of a number of minimally-invasive operative procedures. The aim is to relieve pressure from compromised nerve roots by mechanically removing, dissolving or evaporating disc material while leaving bony structures and surrounding tissues as intact as possible. In Germany, there is hardly any utilisation data for these new procedures – data files from the statutory health insurances demonstrate that about 5% of all lumbar disc surgeries are performed using minimally-invasive techniques. Their real proportion is thought to be much higher because many procedures are offered by private hospitals and surgeries and are paid by private health insurers or patients themselves. So far no comprehensive assessment comparing efficacy, safety, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of minimally-invasive lumbar disc surgery to standard procedures (microdiscectomy, open discectomy) which could serve as a basis for coverage decisions, has been published in Germany.
Objective
Against this background the aim of the following assessment is:
Based on published scientific literature assess safety, efficacy and effectiveness of minimally-invasive lumbar disc surgery compared to standard procedures. To identify and critically appraise studies comparing costs and cost-effectiveness of minimally-invasive procedures to that of standard procedures. If necessary identify research and evaluation needs and point out regulative needs within the German health care system. The assessment focusses on procedures that are used in elective lumbar disc surgery as alternative treatment options to microdiscectomy or open discectomy. Chemonucleolysis, percutaneous manual discectomy, automated percutaneous lumbar discectomy, laserdiscectomy and endoscopic procedures accessing the disc by a posterolateral or posterior approach are included.
Methods
In order to assess safety, efficacy and effectiveness of minimally-invasive procedures as well as their economic implications systematic reviews of the literature are performed. A comprehensive search strategy is composed to search 23 electronic databases, among them MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Library. Methodological quality of systematic reviews, HTA reports and primary research is assessed using checklists of the German Scientific Working Group for Health Technology Assessment. Quality and transparency of cost analyses are documented using the quality and transparency catalogues of the working group. Study results are summarised in a qualitative manner. Due to the limited number and the low methodological quality of the studies it is not possible to conduct metaanalyses. In addition to the results of controlled trials results of recent case series are introduced and discussed.
Results
The evidence-base to assess safety, efficacy and effectiveness of minimally-invasive lumbar disc surgery procedures is rather limited:
Percutaneous manual discectomy: Six case series (four after 1998)Automated percutaneous lumbar discectomy: Two RCT (one discontinued), twelve case series (one after 1998)Chemonucleolysis: Five RCT, five non-randomised controlled trials, eleven case seriesPercutaneous laserdiscectomy: One non-randomised controlled trial, 13 case series (eight after 1998)Endoscopic procedures: Three RCT, 21 case series (17 after 1998)
There are two economic analyses each retrieved for chemonucleolysis and automated percutaneous discectomy as well as one cost-minimisation analysis comparing costs of an endoscopic procedure to costs for open discectomy.
Among all minimally-invasive procedures chemonucleolysis is the only of which efficacy may be judged on the basis of results from high quality randomised controlled trials (RCT). Study results suggest that the procedure maybe (cost)effectively used as an intermediate therapeutical option between conservative and operative management of small lumbar disc herniations or protrusions causing sciatica. Two RCT comparing transforaminal endoscopic procedures with microdiscectomy in patients with sciatica and small non-sequestered disc herniations show comparable short and medium term overall success rates. Concerning speed of recovery and return to work a trend towards more favourable results for the endoscopic procedures is noted. It is doubtful though, whether these results from the eleven and five years old studies are still valid for the more advanced procedures used today. The only RCT comparing the results of automated percutaneous lumbar discectomy to those of microdiscectomy showed clearly superior results of microdiscectomy. Furthermore, success rates of automated percutaneous lumbar discectomy reported in the RCT (29%) differ extremely from success rates reported in case series (between 56% and 92%).
The literature search retrieves no controlled trials to assess efficacy and/or effectiveness of laser-discectomy, percutaneous manual discectomy or endoscopic procedures using a posterior approach in comparison to the standard procedures. Results from recent case series permit no assessment of efficacy, especially not in comparison to standard procedures. Due to highly selected patients, modi-fications of operative procedures, highly specialised surgical units and poorly standardised outcome assessment results of case series are highly variable, their generalisability is low.
The results of the five economical analyses are, due to conceptual and methodological problems, of no value for decision-making in the context of the German health care system.
Discussion
Aside from low methodological study quality three conceptual problems complicate the interpretation of results.
Continuous further development of technologies leads to a diversity of procedures in use which prohibits generalisation of study results. However, diversity is noted not only for minimally-invasive procedures but also for the standard techniques against which the new developments are to be compared. The second problem refers to the heterogeneity of study populations. For most studies one common inclusion criterion was "persisting sciatica after a course of conservative treatment of variable duration". Differences among study populations are noted concerning results of imaging studies. Even within every group of minimally-invasive procedure, studies define their own in- and exclusion criteria which differ concerning degree of dislocation and sequestration of disc material. There is the non-standardised assessment of outcomes which are performed postoperatively after variable periods of time. Most studies report results in a dichotomous way as success or failure while the classification of a result is performed using a variety of different assessment instruments or procedures. Very often the global subjective judgement of results by patients or surgeons is reported. There are no scientific discussions whether these judgements are generalisable or comparable, especially among studies that are conducted under differing socio-cultural conditions. Taking into account the weak evidence-base for efficacy and effectiveness of minimally-invasive procedures it is not surprising that so far there are no dependable economic analyses.
Conclusions
Conclusions that can be drawn from the results of the present assessment refer in detail to the specified minimally-invasive procedures of lumbar disc surgery but they may also be considered exemplary for other fields where optimisation of results is attempted by technological development and widening of indications (e.g. total hip replacement).
Compared to standard technologies (open discectomy, microdiscectomy) and with the exception of chemonucleolysis, the developmental status of all other minimally-invasive procedures assessed must be termed experimental. To date there is no dependable evidence-base to recommend their use in routine clinical practice. To create such a dependable evidence-base further research in two directions is needed: a) The studies need to include adequate patient populations, use realistic controls (e.g. standard operative procedures or continued conservative care) and use standardised measurements of meaningful outcomes after adequate periods of time. b) Studies that are able to report effectiveness of the procedures under everyday practice conditions and furthermore have the potential to detect rare adverse effects are needed. In Sweden this type of data is yielded by national quality registries. On the one hand their data are used for quality improvement measures and on the other hand they allow comprehensive scientific evaluations. Since the year of 2000 a continuous rise in utilisation of minimally-invasive lumbar disc surgery is observed among statutory health insurers. Examples from other areas of innovative surgical technologies (e.g. robot assisted total hip replacement) indicate that the rise will probably continue - especially because there are no legal barriers to hinder introduction of innovative treatments into routine hospital care. Upon request by payers or providers the "Gemeinsamer Bundesausschuss" may assess a treatments benefit, its necessity and cost-effectiveness as a prerequisite for coverage by the statutory health insurance. In the case of minimally-invasive disc surgery it would be advisable to examine the legal framework for covering procedures only if they are provided under evaluation conditions. While in Germany coverage under evaluation conditions is established practice in ambulatory health care only (“Modellvorhaben") examples from other European countries (Great Britain, Switzerland) demonstrate that it is also feasible for hospital based interventions. In order to assure patient protection and at the same time not hinder the further development of new and promising technologies provision under evaluation conditions could also be realised in the private health care market - although in this sector coverage is not by law linked to benefit, necessity and cost-effectiveness of an intervention.
PMCID: PMC3011322  PMID: 21289928
2.  Single-incision laparoscopic colorectal surgery for cancer: State of art 
A number of clinical trials have demonstrated that the laparoscopic approach for colorectal cancer resection provides the same oncologic results as open surgery along with all clinical benefits of minimally invasive surgery. During the last years, a great effort has been made to research for minimizing parietal trauma, yet for cosmetic reasons and in order to further reduce surgery-related pain and morbidity. New techniques, such as natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) and single-incision laparoscopy (SIL) have been developed in order to reach the goal of “scarless” surgery. Although NOTES may seem not fully suitable or safe for advanced procedures, such as colectomies, SIL is currently regarded as the next major advance in the progress of minimally invasive surgical approaches to colorectal disease that is more feasible in generalized use. The small incision through the umbilicus allows surgeons to use familiar standard laparoscopic instruments and thus, perform even complex procedures which require extraction of large surgical specimens or intestinal anastomosis. The cosmetic result from SIL is also better because the only incision is made through the umbilicus which can hide the wound effectively after operation. However, SIL raises a number of specific new challenges compared with the laparoscopic conventional approach. A reduced capacity for triangulation, the repeated conflicts between the shafts of the instruments and the difficulties to achieve a correct exposure of the operative field are the most claimed issues. The use therefore of this new approach for complex colorectal procedures might understandingly be viewed as difficult to implement, especially for oncologic cases.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i20.6073
PMCID: PMC4033446  PMID: 24876729
Colorectal cancer; Laparoscopic surgery; Single-incision surgery; Single-access surgery; Scarless surgery; Technical challenges
3.  Minilaparotomically Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2004;19(2):263-268.
Endoscopic hysterectomy is increasingly selected as a current trend to minimize invasion, tissue trauma and early recovery. However it has disadvantages of the difficulty to learn and needs expensive equipments. So we developed a new minimally invasive method of vaginal hysterectomy-minilaparotomically assisted vaginal hysterectomy (MAVH) in order to complement the current laparoscopic surgery. The principle of MAVH is based on suprapubic minilaparotomical incision and uterine elevator that allows access and maximal exposure of the pelvic anatomy and an easy approach to the surrounding anatomy enabling division of round ligaments, Fallopian tubes, tuboovarian ligaments, and dissection of bladder peritoneum. After then, the vaginal phase of MAVH is done by the traditional vaginal hysterectomy. We enrolled 75 consecutive cases and in 73 cases thereof MAVH was accomplished successfully. The technique of MAVH is simple and easy to learn and it involves a small incision causing less pain and complications. This practice does not require expensive equipments. MAVH is considered as a safe and effective alternative method for abdominal hysterectomy in most cases.
doi:10.3346/jkms.2004.19.2.263
PMCID: PMC2822309  PMID: 15082901
Minilaparotomically Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy (MAVH); Laparoscopic Surgery; Laparo-scopy; Leiomyoma; Endometriosis
4.  Minimally invasive or open transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion as revision surgery for patients previously treated by open discectomy and decompression of the lumbar spine 
European Spine Journal  2010;20(4):623-628.
Minimally invasive lumbar fusion techniques have been developed in recent 20 years. The goals of these procedures are to reduce approach-related soft tissue injury, postoperative pain, and disability while allowing the surgery to be conducted in an effective manner. There have been no prospective clinical reports published on the comparison of minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion as revision surgery for patients previously treated by open discectomy and decompression or a traditional open approach. A prospective clinical study was performed by evaluating the clinical and radiographic results of minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion as an alternative new technique in the revision surgery for patients previously treated by open procedure. 52 patients (28 M, 24 F) with an average age of 55.7 (31–76) were prospectively evaluated. All patients who had previous discectomy (n = 13), hemilaminectomy (n = 16), laminectomy (n = 12) and facetectomy (n = 11) underwent monosegmental and bisegmental minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MiTLIF) (n = 25) or open transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (OTLIF) (n = 27) by two experienced surgeons at one hospital, from March 2006 to October 2008 (minimum 12-month follow-up). The following data were compared between the two groups: the clinical and radiographic results, operative time, blood loss, X-ray exposure time, postoperative back pain, and complications. Clinical outcome was assessed using the visual analogue scale and the Oswestry disability index (ODI). The operative time and clinical and radiographic results were basically identical in both groups. Comparing with the OTLIF group, the MiTLIF group had significantly less blood loss and less postoperative back pain at the second day postoperatively. The radiation time was significantly longer in the MiTLIF group. Complications included three cases of small dural tear in the MiTLIF group. There were five cases of dural tear and two cases of superficial wound infection in the OTLIF group. One case of nonunion was observed from each group. Minimally invasive TLIF is a safe and effective procedure for treatment of selected revision patients previously treated by open surgery with some potential advantages. However, this technique needs longer X-ray exposure time.
doi:10.1007/s00586-010-1578-4
PMCID: PMC3065602  PMID: 20927557
Comparison; Revision spine surgery; Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion; Failed lumbar surgery
5.  Thoracoscopic treatment of benign esophageal tumors 
Introduction
Gastrointestinal stromal tumors are among the most frequent mesenchymal tumors of the gastrointestinal tract; the incidence of these tumors in the esophagus is less than 5%. Prognosis depends on localization, size, mitotic activity and possible invasion of surrounding structures. Minimally invasive surgery may be maximally utilized for removal of these tumors from the esophageal wall. This operation is usually performed thoracoscopically or laparoscopically and using the “rendez-vous” method – with endoscopic navigation.
Aim
To evaluate a set of patients with benign tumor of the esophagus who were operated on at the First Department of Surgery from 2006 to 2011.
Material and methods
In the years 2006-2011 a total of 11 patients with benign tumors of the esophagus underwent operation.
Results
Of the 11 patients with esophageal tumor, 5 were diagnosed with gastrointestinal stromal tumor, 5 with leiomyoma and in one patient the lesion was described as heterotopy of the pancreas. We used the minimally invasive rendez-vous method with endoscopic navigation in 9 cases. All patients healed primarily and were released from hospital on the 4th-7th day. These patients are being followed up as outpatients and recurrence of the tumor has not been observed in any of them.
Conclusions
Minimally invasive treatment of benign tumors of the esophageal wall is considered to the method of choice. Due to possible complications and the need for subsequent therapy in some patients, these procedures should be centralized to departments with experience in esophageal, thoracic and minimally invasive surgery.
doi:10.5114/wiitm.2011.30817
PMCID: PMC3557729  PMID: 23362430
esophagus; esophageal tumor; thoracoscopy; benign tumor
6.  Comparative Effects of Snoring Sound between Two Minimally Invasive Surgeries in the Treatment of Snoring: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97186.
Background
Minimally invasive surgeries of the soft palate have emerged as a less-invasive treatment for habitual snoring. To date, there is only limited information available comparing the effects of snoring sound between different minimally invasive surgeries in the treatment of habitual snoring.
Objective
To compare the efficacy of palatal implant and radiofrequency surgery, in the reduction of snoring through subjective evaluation of snoring and objective snoring sound analysis.
Patients and Method
Thirty patients with habitual snoring due to palatal obstruction (apnea-hypopnea index ≤15, body max index ≤30) were prospectively enrolled and randomized to undergo a single session of palatal implant or temperature-controlled radiofrequency surgery of the soft palate under local anesthesia. Snoring was primarily evaluated by the patient with a 10 cm visual analogue scale (VAS) at baseline and at a 3-month follow-up visit and the change in VAS was the primary outcome. Moreover, life qualities, measured by snore outcomes survey, and full-night snoring sounds, analyzed by a sound analytic program (Snore Map), were also investigated at the same time.
Results
Twenty-eight patients completed the study; 14 received palatal implant surgery and 14 underwent radiofrequency surgery. The VAS and snore outcomes survey scores were significantly improved in both groups. However, the good response (postoperative VAS ≤3 or postoperative VAS ≤5 plus snore outcomes survey score ≥60) rate of the palatal implant group was significantly higher than that of the radiofrequency group (79% vs. 29%, P = 0.021). The maximal loudness of low-frequency (40–300 Hz) snores was reduced significantly in the palatal implant group. In addition, the snoring index was significantly reduced in the radiofrequency group.
Conclusions
Both palatal implants and a single-stage radiofrequency surgery improve subjective snoring outcomes, but palatal implants have a greater effect on most measures of subjective and objective snoring. Multi-stage radiofrequency surgery was not tested.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01955083
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097186
PMCID: PMC4016275  PMID: 24816691
7.  Minimally invasive approach for redo mitral valve surgery 
Journal of Thoracic Disease  2013;5(Suppl 6):S686-S693.
Redo cardiac surgery represents a clinical challenge due to a higher rate of peri-operative morbidity and mortality. Mitral valve re-operations can be particularly demanding in patients with patent coronary artery bypass grafts, previous aortic valve replacement, calcified aorta or complications following a previous operation (abscesses, perivalvular leaks, or thrombosis). Risk of graft injuries, hemorrhage, the presence of dense adhesions and complex valve exposure can make redo valve operations challenging through a median sternotomy. In this review article we provide an overview of minimally invasive approaches for redo mitral valve surgery discussing indications, techniques, outcomes, concerns and controversies. Scientific literature about minimally invasive approach for redo mitral surgery was reviewed with a MEDLINE search strategy combining “mitral valve” with the following terms: ‘minimally invasive’, ‘reoperation’, and ‘alternative approach’. The search was limited to the last ten years. A total of 168 papers were found using the reported search. From these, ten papers were identified to provide the best evidence on the subject. Mitral valve reoperations can be safely and effectively performed through a smaller right thoracotomy in the fourth intercostal space termed “mini” thoracotomy or “port access”. The greatest potential benefit of a right mini-thoracotomy is the avoidance of sternal re-entry and limited dissection of adhesions, avoiding the risk of injury to cardiac structures or patent grafts. Good percentages of valve repair can be achieved. Mortality is low as well as major complications. Minimally invasive procedures with an unclamped aorta have the potential to combine the benefits of minimally invasive access and continuous myocardial perfusion. Less invasive trans-catheter techniques could be considered as the natural future evolution for management of structural heart disease and mitral reoperations. The safety and efficacy of these procedures has never been compared to open reoperations in a randomized trial, although published case series and comparisons to historical cohorts suggest that they are an effective and feasible alternative. Ongoing follow-up on current series will further define these procedures and provide valuable clinical outcome data.
doi:10.3978/j.issn.2072-1439.2013.10.12
PMCID: PMC3831839  PMID: 24251029
Mitral valve; reoperation; minimally invasive approach
8.  Minimally Invasive Subvastus Approach: Improving the Results of Total Knee Arthroplasty: A Prospective, Randomized Trial 
Background
Minimally invasive knee arthroplasty seeks to diminish the problems of traditional extensile exposures aiming for more rapid rehabilitation of patients after surgery.
Questions/purposes
To determine if the subvastus approach results in less perioperative pain and blood loss, shorter hospital stay, and improved function at both early and long-term followup.
Methods
One hundred patients were enrolled in a prospective, randomized trial. Fifty were operated on using a minimally invasive subvastus approach and the other 50 by a conventional, peripatellar approach. Minimum followup was 3 years. A repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to compare the Knee Society score and range of motion during followup.
Results
The minimally invasive approach resulted in greater perioperative bleeding but no increase in transfusions. No differences were found in postoperative pain between groups nor did hospital stay show any differences. The range of motion on the third day after surgery was greater in the minimally invasive group. No differences were found in surgical time, femoral or tibial component orientation or outliers, or complication rates. Both Knee Society score and range of motion were superior using the minimally invasive subvastus approach during followup out to 36 months.
Conclusions
The minimally invasive subvastus approach can result in improved long-term Knee Society scores and range of motion of total knee arthroplasty without increased risk of component malalignment, surgical time, or complication rate.
Level of Evidence
Level I, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
doi:10.1007/s11999-009-1160-8
PMCID: PMC2853674  PMID: 19911245
9.  The current status and future perspectives of laparoscopic surgery for gastric cancer 
Gastric cancer is most common cancer in Korea. Surgery is still the main axis of treatment. Due to early detection of gastric cancer, the innovation of surgical instruments and technological advances, gastric cancer treatment is now shifting to a new era. One of the most astonishing changes is that minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is becoming more dominant treatment for early gastric cancer. These MIS are represented by endoscopic resection, laparoscopic surgery, robotic surgery, single-port surgery and natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery. Among them, laparoscopic gastrectomy is most actively performed in the field of surgery. Laparoscopy-assisted distal gastrectomy (LADG) for early gastric cancer (EGC) has already gained popularity in terms of the short-term outcomes including patient's quality of life. We only have to wait for the long-term oncologic results of Korean Laparoscopic Gastrointestinal Surgery Study Group. Upcoming top issues following oncologic safety of LADG are function-preserving surgery for EGC, application of laparoscopy to advanced gastric cancer and sentinel lymph node navigation surgery. In the aspect of technique, laparoscopic surgery at present could reproduce almost the whole open procedures. However, the other fields mentioned above need more evidences and experiences. All these new ideas and attempts provide technical advances, which will minimize surgical insults and maximize the surgical outcomes and the quality of life of patients.
doi:10.4174/jkss.2011.81.3.151
PMCID: PMC3204545  PMID: 22066116
Gastric cancer; Future perspective; Laparoscopy; Sentinel lymph node navigation surgery; Minimally invasive surgery
10.  Hospital level under-utilization of minimally invasive surgery in the United States: retrospective review 
Objective To determine casemix adjusted hospital level utilization of minimally invasive surgery for four common surgical procedures (appendectomy, colectomy, total abdominal hysterectomy, and lung lobectomy) in the United States.
Design Retrospective review.
Setting United States.
Participants Nationwide inpatient sample database, United States 2010.
Methods For each procedure, a propensity score model was used to calculate the predicted proportion of minimally invasive operations for each hospital based on patient characteristics. For each procedure, hospitals were categorized into thirds (low, medium, and high) based on their actual to predicted proportion of utilization of minimally invasive surgery.
Main outcome measures The primary outcome measures were the actual and predicted proportion of procedures performed with minimally invasive surgery. Secondary outcome measures included surgical complications and hospital characteristics.
Results Mean hospital utilization of minimally invasive surgery was 71.0% (423/596) for appendectomy (range 40.9-93.1% (244-555)), 28.4% (154/541) for colectomy (6.7-49.8% (36/541-269/541)), 13.0% (65/499) for hysterectomy (0.0-33.6% (0/499-168/499)), and 32.0% (67/208) for lung lobectomy (3.6-65.7% (7.5/208-137/208)). Utilization of minimally invasive surgery was highly variable for each procedure type. There was noticeable discordance between actual and predicted utilization of the surgery (range of actual to predicted ratio for appendectomy 0-1.49; colectomy 0-3.88; hysterectomy 0-6.68; lung lobectomy 0-2.51). Surgical complications were less common with minimally invasive surgery compared with open surgery, respectively: overall rate for appendectomy 3.94% (1439/36 513) v 7.90% (958/12 123), P<0.001; for colectomy: 13.8% (1689/12 242) v 35.8% (8837/24 687), P<0.001; for hysterectomy: 4.69% (270/5757) v 6.64% (1988/29 940), P<0.001; and for lung lobectomy: 17.1% (367/2145) v 25.4% (971/3824), P<0.05. High utilization of minimally invasive surgery was associated with urban location (appendectomy: odds ratio 4.66, 95% confidence interval 1.17 to 18.5; colectomy: 4.59, 1.04 to 20.3; hysterectomy: 15.0, 2.98 to 75.0), large hospital size (hysterectomy: 8.70, 1.62 to 46.8), teaching hospital (hysterectomy: 5.41, 1.27 to 23.1), Midwest region (appendectomy: 7.85, 1.26 to 49.1), south region (appendectomy: 21.0, 3.79 to 117; colectomy: 10.0, 1.83 to 54.7), and west region (appendectomy: 9.33, 1.48 to 58.8).
Conclusion Hospital utilization of minimally invasive surgery for appendectomy, colectomy, total abdominal hysterectomy, and lung lobectomy varies widely in the United States, representing a disparity in the surgical care delivered nationwide.
doi:10.1136/bmj.g4198
PMCID: PMC4087169  PMID: 25005264
11.  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.
Methods:
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.
Results:
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.
Conclusion:
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.
doi:10.4293/108680813X13654754534503
PMCID: PMC3771781  PMID: 23925009
Laparoscopy; Training; Surgical courses; Colon; Hernia
12.  The value of haptic feedback in conventional and robot-assisted minimal invasive surgery and virtual reality training: a current review 
Surgical Endoscopy  2009;23(6):1180-1190.
Background
Virtual reality (VR) as surgical training tool has become a state-of-the-art technique in training and teaching skills for minimally invasive surgery (MIS). Although intuitively appealing, the true benefits of haptic (VR training) platforms are unknown. Many questions about haptic feedback in the different areas of surgical skills (training) need to be answered before adding costly haptic feedback in VR simulation for MIS training. This study was designed to review the current status and value of haptic feedback in conventional and robot-assisted MIS and training by using virtual reality simulation.
Methods
A systematic review of the literature was undertaken using PubMed and MEDLINE. The following search terms were used: Haptic feedback OR Haptics OR Force feedback AND/OR Minimal Invasive SurgeryAND/OR Minimal Access Surgery AND/OR Robotics AND/OR Robotic Surgery AND/OR Endoscopic Surgery AND/OR Virtual Reality AND/OR Simulation OR Surgical Training/Education.
Results
The results were assessed according to level of evidence as reflected by the Oxford Centre of Evidence-based Medicine Levels of Evidence.
Conclusions
In the current literature, no firm consensus exists on the importance of haptic feedback in performing minimally invasive surgery. Although the majority of the results show positive assessment of the benefits of force feedback, results are ambivalent and not unanimous on the subject. Benefits are least disputed when related to surgery using robotics, because there is no haptic feedback in currently used robotics. The addition of haptics is believed to reduce surgical errors resulting from a lack of it, especially in knot tying. Little research has been performed in the area of robot-assisted endoscopic surgical training, but results seem promising. Concerning VR training, results indicate that haptic feedback is important during the early phase of psychomotor skill acquisition.
doi:10.1007/s00464-008-0298-x
PMCID: PMC2686803  PMID: 19118414
Haptic feedback; Minimal invasive surgery; Robotic surgery; Surgical training; Virtual reality
13.  Robotic-Assisted Minimally Invasive Surgery for Gynecologic and Urologic Oncology 
Executive Summary
Objective
An application was received to review the evidence on the ‘The Da Vinci Surgical System’ for the treatment of gynecologic malignancies (e.g. endometrial and cervical cancers). Limitations to the current standard of care include the lack of trained physicians on minimally invasive surgery and limited access to minimally invasive surgery for patients. The potential benefits of ‘The Da Vinci Surgical System’ include improved technical manipulation and physician uptake leading to increased surgeries, and treatment and management of these cancers.
The demand for robotic surgery for the treatment and management of prostate cancer has been increasing due to its alleged benefits of recovery of erectile function and urinary continence, two important factors of men’s health. The potential technical benefits of robotic surgery leading to improved patient functional outcomes are surgical precision and vision.
Clinical Need
Uterine and cervical cancers represent 5.4% (4,400 of 81,700) and 1.6% (1,300 of 81,700), respectively, of incident cases of cancer among female cancers in Canada. Uterine cancer, otherwise referred to as endometrial cancer is cancer of the lining of the uterus. The most common treatment option for endometrial cancer is removing the cancer through surgery. A surgical option is the removal of the uterus and cervix through a small incision in the abdomen using a laparoscope which is referred to as total laparoscopic hysterectomy. Risk factors that increase the risk of endometrial cancer include taking estrogen replacement therapy after menopause, being obese, early age at menarche, late age at menopause, being nulliparous, having had high-dose radiation to the pelvis, and use of tamoxifen.
Cervical cancer occurs at the lower narrow end of the uterus. There are more treatment options for cervical cancer compared to endometrial cancer, however total laparoscopic hysterectomy is also a treatment option. Risk factors that increase the risk for cervical cancer are multiple sexual partners, early sexual activity, infection with the human papillomavirus, and cigarette smoking, whereas barrier-type of contraception as a risk factor decreases the risk of cervical cancer.
Prostate cancer is ranked first in men in Canada in terms of the number of new cases among all male cancers (25,500 of 89,300 or 28.6%). The impact on men who develop prostate cancer is substantial given the potential for erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence. Prostate cancer arises within the prostate gland, which resides in the male reproductive system and near the bladder. Radical retropubic prostatectomy is the gold standard treatment for localized prostate cancer. Prostate cancer affects men above 60 years of age. Other risk factors include a family history of prostate cancer, being of African descent, being obese, consuming a diet high in fat, physical inactivity, and working with cadium.
The Da Vinci Surgical System
The Da Vinci Surgical System is a robotic device. There are four main components to the system: 1) the surgeon’s console, where the surgeon sits and views a magnified three-dimensional image of the surgical field; 2) patient side-cart, which sits beside the patient and consists of three instrument arms and one endoscope arm; 3) detachable instruments (endowrist instruments and intuitive masters), which simulate fine motor human movements. The hand movements of the surgeon’s hands at the surgeon’s console are translated into smaller ones by the robotic device and are acted out by the attached instruments; 4) three-dimensional vision system: the camera unit or endoscope arm. The main advantages of use of the robotic device are: 1) the precision of the instrument and improved dexterity due to the use of “wristed” instruments; 2) three-dimensional imaging, with improved ability to locate blood vessels, nerves and tissues; 3) the surgeon’s console, which reduces fatigue accompanied with conventional laparoscopy surgery and allows for tremor-free manipulation. The main disadvantages of use of the robotic device are the costs including instrument costs ($2.6 million in US dollars), cost per use ($200 per use), the costs associated with training surgeons and operating room personnel, and the lack of tactile feedback, with the trade-off being increased visual feedback.
Research Questions
For endometrial and cervical cancers,
1. What is the effectiveness of the Da Vinci Surgical System vs. laparoscopy and laparotomy for women undergoing any hysterectomy for the surgical treatment and management of their endometrial and cervical cancers?
2. What are the incremental costs of the Da Vinci Surgical System vs. laparoscopy and laparotomy for women undergoing any hysterectomy for the surgical treatment and management of their endometrial and cervical cancers?
For prostate cancer,
3. What is the effectiveness of robotically-assisted radical prostatectomy using the Da Vinci Surgical System vs. laparoscopic radical prostatectomy and retropubic radical prostatectomy for the surgical treatment and management of prostate cancer?
4. What are the incremental costs of robotically-assisted radical prostatectomy using the Da Vinci Surgical System vs. laparoscopic radical prostatectomy and retropubic radical prostatectomy for the surgical treatment and management of prostate cancer?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on May 12, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, OVID EMBASE, Wiley Cochrane, CINAHL, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination/International Agency for Health Technology Assessment for studies published from January 1, 2000 until May 12, 2010. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Articles with unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist, then a group of epidemiologists until consensus was established. The quality of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Inclusion Criteria
English language articles (January 1, 2000-May 12, 2010)
Journal articles that report on the effectiveness or cost-effectiveness for the comparisons of interest using a primary data source (e.g. obtained in a clinical setting)
Journal articles that report on the effectiveness or cost-effectiveness for the comparisons of interest using a secondary data source (e.g. hospital- or population-based registries)
Study design and methods must be clearly described
Health technology assessments, systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, non-randomized controlled trials and/or cohort studies, case-case studies, regardless of sample size, cost-effectiveness studies
Exclusion Criteria
Duplicate publications (with the more recent publication on the same study population included)
Non-English papers
Animal or in-vitro studies
Case reports or case series without a referent or comparison group
Studies on long-term survival which may be affected by treatment
Studies that do not examine the cancers (e.g. advanced disease) or outcomes of interest
Outcomes of Interest
For endometrial and cervical cancers,
Primary outcomes:
Morbidity factors
- Length of hospitalization
- Number of complications*
Peri-operative factors
- Operation time
- Amount of blood loss*
- Number of conversions to laparotomy*
Number of lymph nodes recovered
For prostate cancer,
Primary outcomes:
Morbidity factors
- Length of hospitalization
- Amount of morphine use/pain*
Peri-operative factors
- Operation time
- Amount of blood loss*
- Number of transfusions*
- Duration of catheterization
- Number of complications*
- Number of anastomotic strictures*
Number of lymph nodes recovered
Oncologic factors
- Proportion of positive surgical margins
Long-term outcomes
- Urinary continence
- Erectile function
Summary of Findings
Robotic use for gynecologic oncology compared to:
Laparotomy: benefits of robotic surgery in terms of shorter length of hospitalization and less blood loss. These results indicate clinical effectiveness in terms of reduced morbidity and safety, respectively, in the context of study design limitations.
The beneficial effect of robotic surgery was shown in pooled analysis for complications, owing to increased sample size.
More work is needed to clarify the role of complications in terms of safety, including improved study designs, analysis and measurement.
Laparoscopy: benefits of robotic surgery in terms of shorter length of hospitalization, less blood loss and fewer conversions to laparotomy likely owing to the technical difficulty of conventional laparoscopy, in the context of study design limitations.
Clinical significance of significant findings for length of hospitalizations and blood loss is low.
Fewer conversions to laparotomy indicate clinical effectiveness in terms of reduced morbidity.
Robotic use for urologic oncology, specifically prostate cancer, compared to:
Retropubic surgery: benefits of robotic surgery in terms of shorter length of hospitalization and less blood loss/fewer individuals requiring transfusions. These results indicate clinical effectiveness in terms of reduced morbidity and safety, respectively, in the context of study design limitations. There was a beneficial effect in terms of decreased positive surgical margins and erectile dysfunction. These results indicate clinical effectiveness in terms of improved cancer control and functional outcomes, respectively, in the context of study design limitations.
Surgeon skill had an impact on cancer control and functional outcomes.
The results for complications were inconsistent when measured as either total number of complications, pain management or anastomosis. There is some suggestion that robotic surgery is safe with respect to less post-operative pain management required compared to retropubic surgery, however improved study design and measurement of complications need to be further addressed.
Clinical significance of significant findings for length of hospitalizations is low.
Laparoscopy: benefits of robotic surgery in terms of less blood loss and fewer individuals requiring transfusions likely owing to the technical difficulty of conventional laparoscopy, in the context of study design limitations.
Clinical significance of significant findings for blood loss is low.
The potential link between less blood loss, improved visualization and improved functional outcomes is an important consideration for use of robotics.
All studies included were observational in nature and therefore the results must be interpreted cautiously.
Economic Analysis
The objective of this project was to assess the economic impact of robotic-assisted laparoscopy (RAL) for endometrial, cervical, and prostate cancers in the province of Ontario.
A budget impact analysis was undertaken to report direct costs associated with open surgery (OS), endoscopic laparoscopy (EL) and robotic-assisted laparoscopy (RAL) based on clinical literature review outcomes, to report a budget impact in the province based on volumes and costs from administrative data sets, and to project a future impact of RAL in Ontario. A cost-effectiveness analysis was not conducted because of the low quality evidence from the clinical literature review.
Hospital costs were obtained from the Ontario Case Costing Initiative (OCCI) for the appropriate Canadian Classification of Health Intervention (CCI) codes restricted to selective ICD-10 diagnostic codes after consultation with experts in the field. Physician fees were obtained from the Ontario Schedule of Benefits (OSB) after consultation with experts in the field. Fees were costed based on operation times reported in the clinical literature for the procedures being investigated. Volumes of procedures were obtained from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) administrative databases.
Direct costs associated with RAL, EL and OS included professional fees, hospital costs (including disposable instruments), radiotherapy costs associated with positive surgical margins in prostate cancer and conversion to OS in gynecological cancer. The total cost per case was higher for RAL than EL and OS for both gynecological and prostate cancers. There is also an acquisition cost associated with RAL. After conversation with the only supplier in Canada, hospitals are looking to spend an initial 3.6M to acquire the robotic surgical system
Previous volumes of OS and EL procedures were used to project volumes into Years 1-3 using a linear mathematical expression. Burden of OS and EL hysterectomies and prostatectomies was calculated by multiplying the number of cases for that year by the cost/case of the procedure.
The number of procedures is expected to increase in the next three years based on historical data. RAL is expected to capture this market by 65% after consultation with experts. If it’s assumed that RAL will capture the current market in Ontario by 65%, the net impact is expected to be by Year 3, 3.1M for hysterectomy and 6.7M for prostatectomy procedures respectively in the province.
RAL has diffused in the province with four surgical systems in place in Ontario, two in Toronto and two in London. RAL is a more expensive technology on a per case basis due to more expensive robot specific instrumentation and physician labour reflected by increased OR time reported in the clinical literature. There is also an upfront cost to acquire the machine and maintenance contract. RAL is expected to capture the market at 65% with project net impacts by Year 3 of 3.1M and 6.7M for hysterectomy and prostatectomy respectively.
PMCID: PMC3382308  PMID: 23074405
14.  Is minimally invasive parathyroid surgery an option for patients with gestational primary hyperparathyroidism? 
Background
Gestational primary hyperparathyroidism is associated with serious maternal and neonatal complications, which require prompt surgical treatment. Minimally invasive parathyroidectomy reduces pain, improves cosmesis and may achieve cure rates comparable to traditional open bilateral neck exploration. We report the clinical course of a woman with newly diagnosed gestational primary hyperparathyroidism and discuss the decision making behind the choice of video-assisted minimally invasive parathyroidectomy, amongst the other minimally invasive parathyroidectomy techniques available.
Case presentation
A 38-years-old pregnant woman at 9 weeks of gestation, with severe hyperemesis and hypercalcaemia secondary to gestational primary hyperparathyroidism (ionised calcium 1.28 mmol/l) was referred for surgery. Ultrasound examination of her neck identified 2 suspicious parathyroid enlargements. In view of pregnancy, a radioisotope Sestamibi parathyroid scan was not performed. Bilateral four-gland exploration was therefore deemed necessary to guarantee cure. This was performed with video-assisted minimally invasive parathyroidectomy, which relies on a single 15 mm central incision with external retraction and endoscopic magnification, allowing bilateral neck exploration.
Surgery was performed at 23 weeks of gestation. Four glands were identified in orthotopic positions of which three had normal appearance. The fourth was a right superior parathyroid adenoma of 756 mg. Ionized calcium (1.12 mmol/l) and PTH (0.9 pmol/l) normalised postoperatively. Patient was discharged on the second postoperative day, needing no pain relief. Cosmetic result was excellent. Her pregnancy progressed normally and she delivered a healthy baby.
Conclusion
Video-assisted minimally invasive parathyroidectomy allows bilateral four-gland exploration, and is an optimal technique to treat gestational primary hyperparathyroidism. This procedure removes the need for radiation exposure, reduces pain, improves cosmesis and may achieve cure rates comparable to traditional open bilateral neck exploration.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-130
PMCID: PMC3691590  PMID: 23758620
Minimally invasive; Parathyroidectomy; Gestational primary hyperparathyroidism; Video assisted; Hypercalcemia without Sestamibi
15.  Surgeon Perceptions of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery 
SAS journal  2008;2(3):145.
Background
Interest in minimally invasive surgery (MIS) of the spine has driven the development of new and innovative techniques to treat an ever wider range of spinal disorders. Despite these new advances, spine surgeons have been slow in adopting MIS into their clinical practice. This study aims to provide a better understanding of the factors that have led to limited incorporation of these procedures into their practices.
Methods
Eighty-seven spine surgeons completed a questionnaire related to their perceptions of MIS. Respondents were asked to comment on their perceptions regarding the limitations and advantages of minimally invasive spine surgery. Survey results were then analyzed for both overall opinions and opinions based on the amount of MIS utilization in the respondents’ current practices.
Results
The top 3 identified limitations of MIS of the spine were technical difficulty, lack of convenient training opportunities, and radiation exposure. Of these respondents, spine surgeons experienced in MIS were concerned more with radiation exposure than the lack of training opportunities. In contrast, spine surgeons with little MIS experience cited the lack of training opportunities as the most significant limitation. There was little concern related to the limited proven clinical efficacy of MIS of the spine.
Discussion
Technical factors, training opportunities, and radiation exposure appear to be the major obstacles to MIS of the spine. Most spine surgeons believe that MIS leads to faster return to daily activities, better long-term function, and decreased hospitalization. This may explain why most surgeons did not cite a lack of proven efficacy as a major limitation to MIS.
These findings indicate that the widespread adoption of MIS of the spine will likely be driven through relatively simple means, such as improved training programs that strive to decrease the technical difficulty and limit radiation exposure of these procedures. It is unlikely that extensive clinical data alone, without such improved training programs, will be sufficient to drive widespread use of minimally invasive spine surgery.
doi:10.1016/S1935-9810(08)70032-X
PMCID: PMC2817980  PMID: 20148184
Surgeon perceptions; minimally invasive spine surgery; survey; limitations
16.  Time Management in the Operating Room: An Analysis of the Dedicated Minimally Invasive Surgery Suite 
Background:
Dedicated minimally invasive surgery suites are available that contain specialized equipment to facilitate endoscopic surgery. Laparoscopy performed in a general operating room is hampered by the multitude of additional equipment that must be transported into the room. The objective of this study was to compare the preparation times between procedures performed in traditional operating rooms versus dedicated minimally invasive surgery suites to see whether operating room efficiency is improved in the specialized room.
Methods:
The records of 50 patients who underwent laparoscopic procedures between September 2000 and April 2002 were retrospectively reviewed. Twenty-three patients underwent surgery in a general operating room and 18 patients in an minimally invasive surgery suite. Nine patients were excluded because of cystoscopic procedures undergone prior to laparoscopy. Various time points were recorded from which various time intervals were derived, such as preanesthesia time, anesthesia induction time, and total preparation time. A 2-tailed, unpaired Student t test was used for statistical analysis.
Results:
The mean preanesthesia time was significantly faster in the minimally invasive surgery suite (12.2 minutes) compared with that in the traditional operating room (17.8 minutes) (P=0.013). Mean anesthesia induction time in the minimally invasive surgery suite (47.5 minutes) was similar to time in the traditional operating room (45.7 minutes) (P=0.734). The average total preparation time for the minimally invasive surgery suite (59.6 minutes) was not significantly faster than that in the general operating room (63.5 minutes) (P=0.481).
Conclusion:
The amount of time that elapses between the patient entering the room and anesthesia induction is statically shorter in a dedicated minimally invasive surgery suite. Laparoscopic surgery is performed more efficiently in a dedicated minimally invasive surgery suite versus a traditional operating room.
PMCID: PMC3016833  PMID: 15554269
Laparoscopy; Operating room; Ergonomics; Efficiency; Minimally invasive surgery suite
17.  Overview of single-port laparoscopic surgery for colorectal cancers: Past, present, and the future 
Single-port laparoscopic surgery (SPLS) is implemented through a tailored minimal single incision through which a number of laparoscopic instruments access. Introduction of operation-customized port system, utilization of a camera without a separate external light, and instruments with different lengths has brought the favorable environment for SPLS. However, performing SPLS still creates several hardships compared to multiport laparoscopic surgery; a single-port system inevitably leads to clashing of surgical instruments due to crowding. To overcome such difficulties, investigators has developed novel concepts and maneuvers, including the concept of inverse triangulation and the maneuvers of pivoting, spreading out dissection, hanging suture, and transluminal traction. The final destination of SPLS is expected to be a completely seamless operation, maximizing the minimal invasiveness. Specimen extraction through the umbilicus can undermine cosmesis by inducing a larger incision. Therefore, hybrid laparoscopic technique, which combined laparoscopic surgical technique with natural orifice specimen extraction (NOSE) - i.e., transvaginal or transanal route-, has been developed. SPLS and NOSE seemed to be the best combination in pursuit of minimal invasiveness. In the near future, robotic SPLS with natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery’s way of specimen extraction seems to be pursued. It is expected to provide a completely or nearly complete seamless operation regardless of location of the lesion in the abdomen.
doi:10.3748/wjg.v20.i4.997
PMCID: PMC3921551  PMID: 24574772
Colorectal neoplasms; Colectomy; Laparoscopy; Natural orifice endoscopic surgery; Single-port laparoscopic surgery
18.  Vibrating Interventional Device Detection Using Real-Time 3-D Color Doppler 
Ultrasound image guidance of interventional devices during minimally invasive surgery provides the clinician with improved soft tissue contrast while reducing ionizing radiation exposure. One problem with ultrasound image guidance is poor visualization of the device tip during the clinical procedure. We have described previously guidance of several interventional devices using a real-time 3-D (RT3-D) ultrasound system with 3-D color Doppler combined with the ColorMark technology. We then developed an analytical model for a vibrating needle to maximize the tip vibrations and improve the reliability and sensitivity of our technique. In this paper, we use the analytical model and improved radiofrequency (RF) and color Doppler filters to detect two different vibrating devices in water tank experiments as well as in an in vivo canine experiment. We performed water tank experiments with four different 3-D transducers: a 5 MHz transesophageal (TEE) probe, a 5 MHz transthoracic (TTE) probe, a 5 MHz intracardiac catheter (ICE) transducer, and a 2.5 MHz commercial TTE probe. Each transducer was used to scan an aortic graft suspended in the water tank. An atrial septal puncture needle and an endomyocardial biopsy forceps, each vibrating at 1.3 kHz, were inserted into the vascular graft and were tracked using 3-D color Doppler. Improved RF and wall filters increased the detected color Doppler sensitivity by 14 dB. In three simultaneous planes from the in vivo 3-D scan, we identified both the septal puncture needle and the biopsy forceps within the right atrium using the 2.5 MHz probe. A new display filter was used to suppress the unwanted flash artifact associated with physiological motion.
doi:10.1109/TUFFC.2008.798
PMCID: PMC2639786  PMID: 18599423
19.  Comparison of the Cable Pin System With Conventional Open Surgery for Transverse Patella Fractures 
Background
The cable pin system is an effective device for fixation of transverse patella fractures. However, whether this device provides superior results using a minimally invasive technique instead of conventional open surgery using the K wire tension band method is unclear.
Questions/purposes
We asked whether a minimally invasive technique would be associated with (1) increased operative time; (2) reduced postoperative pain; (3) faster recovery of ROM; (4) higher knee scores; and (5) reduced complications.
Methods
Forty patients with displaced transverse fractures of the patella participated in this prospective, randomized, controlled trial. Twenty of these patients underwent a minimally invasive technique and the others had conventional open surgery using K wires. Some data for six of the 20 patients who underwent the minimally invasive technique were published in an earlier prospective, observational trial. At postoperative intervals of 1, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months, pain was measured by VAS scores, active flexion and extension of the knee were measured in degrees by goniometry, and knee function was evaluated using the Böstman clinical grading scale.
Results
Operative time was longer in the minimally invasive surgery group (54.3 ± 9.8 minutes versus 48.5 ± 6.1 minutes). Pain scores were better (lower) in the minimally invasive surgery group at 1 and 3 months but not at 6 months. Early flexion, ultimate flexion, and knee scores from 3 to 24 months, likewise, were better in the minimally invasive surgery group. Complications mostly related to symptomatic hardware were less common in the minimally invasive surgery group.
Conclusions
The minimally invasive technique is superior to conventional open surgery using K wires in terms of less early postoperative pain, better mobility angles of the injured knee, higher functional score of the injured knee, and decreased incidence of complications.
Level of Evidence
Level I, therapeutic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11999-013-2932-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s11999-013-2932-8
PMCID: PMC3676588  PMID: 23529632
20.  Association of Secondhand Smoke Exposure with Pediatric Invasive Bacterial Disease and Bacterial Carriage: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(12):e1000374.
Majid Ezzati and colleagues report the findings of a systematic review and meta-analysis that probes the association between environmental exposure to secondhand smoke and the epidemiology of pediatric invasive bacterial disease.
Background
A number of epidemiologic studies have observed an association between secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure and pediatric invasive bacterial disease (IBD) but the evidence has not been systematically reviewed. We carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of SHS exposure and two outcomes, IBD and pharyngeal carriage of bacteria, for Neisseria meningitidis (N. meningitidis), Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib), and Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pneumoniae).
Methods and Findings
Two independent reviewers searched Medline, EMBASE, and selected other databases, and screened articles for inclusion and exclusion criteria. We identified 30 case-control studies on SHS and IBD, and 12 cross-sectional studies on SHS and bacterial carriage. Weighted summary odd ratios (ORs) were calculated for each outcome and for studies with specific design and quality characteristics. Tests for heterogeneity and publication bias were performed. Compared with those unexposed to SHS, summary OR for SHS exposure was 2.02 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.52–2.69) for invasive meningococcal disease, 1.21 (95% CI 0.69–2.14) for invasive pneumococcal disease, and 1.22 (95% CI 0.93–1.62) for invasive Hib disease. For pharyngeal carriage, summary OR was 1.68 (95% CI, 1.19–2.36) for N. meningitidis, 1.66 (95% CI 1.33–2.07) for S. pneumoniae, and 0.96 (95% CI 0.48–1.95) for Hib. The association between SHS exposure and invasive meningococcal and Hib diseases was consistent regardless of outcome definitions, age groups, study designs, and publication year. The effect estimates were larger in studies among children younger than 6 years of age for all three IBDs, and in studies with the more rigorous laboratory-confirmed diagnosis for invasive meningococcal disease (summary OR 3.24; 95% CI 1.72–6.13).
Conclusions
When considered together with evidence from direct smoking and biological mechanisms, our systematic review and meta-analysis indicates that SHS exposure may be associated with invasive meningococcal disease. The epidemiologic evidence is currently insufficient to show an association between SHS and invasive Hib disease or pneumococcal disease. Because the burden of IBD is highest in developing countries where SHS is increasing, there is a need for high-quality studies to confirm these results, and for interventions to reduce exposure of children to SHS.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
The deleterious health effects of smoking on smokers are well established, but smoking also seriously damages the health of nonsmokers. Secondhand smoke (SHS), which is released by burning cigarettes and exhaled by smokers, contains hundreds of toxic chemicals that increase the risk of adults developing lung cancer and heart disease. Children, however, are particularly vulnerable to the effects of SHS exposure (also known as passive smoking) because they are still developing physically. In addition, children have little control over their indoor environment and thus can be heavily exposed to SHS. Exposure to SHS increases the risk of ear infections, asthma, respiratory symptoms (coughing, sneezing, and breathlessness), and lung infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis in young children and the risk of sudden infant death syndrome during the first year of life.
Why Was This Study Done?
Several studies have also shown an association between SHS exposure (which damages the lining of the mouth, throat, and lungs and decreases immune defenses) and potentially fatal invasive bacterial disease (IBD) in children. In IBD, bacteria invade the body and grow in normally sterile sites such as the blood (bacteremia) and the covering of the brain (meningitis). Three organisms are mainly responsible for IBD in children—Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib), and Neisseria meningitidis. In 2000, S. pneumonia (pneumococcal disease) alone killed nearly one million children. Here, the researchers undertake a systematic review and meta-analysis of the association between SHS exposure in children and two outcomes—IBD and the presence of IBD-causing organisms in the nose and throat (bacterial carriage). A systematic review uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic; meta-analysis is a statistical method that combines the results of several studies. By combining data, it is possible to get a clearer view of the causes of a disease than is possible from individual studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 30 case-control studies that compared the occurrence of IBD over time in children exposed to SHS with its occurrence in children not exposed to SHS. They also identified 12 cross-sectional studies that measured bacterial carriage at a single time point in children exposed and not exposed to SHS. The researchers used the data from these studies to calculate a “summary odds ratio” (OR) for each outcome—a measure of how SHS exposure affected the likelihood of each outcome. Compared with children unexposed to SHS, exposure to SHS doubled the likelihood of invasive meningococcal disease (a summary OR for SHS exposure of 2.02). Summary ORs for invasive pneumococcal disease and Hib diseases were 1.21 and 1.22, respectively. However, these small increases in the risk of developing these IBDs were not statistically significant unlike the increase in the risk of developing meningococcal disease. That is, they might have occurred by chance. For bacterial carriage, summary ORs for SHS exposure were 1.68 for N. meningitidis, 1.66 for S. pneumonia (both these ORs were statistically significant), and 0.96 for Hib (a nonsignificant decrease in risk).
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that SHS exposure is significantly associated with invasive meningococcal disease among children. However, the evidence that SHS exposure is associated with invasive pneumococcal and Hib disease is only suggestive. These findings also indicate that exposure to SHS is associated with an increased carriage of N. meningitidis and S. pneumoniae. The accuracy and generalizability of these findings is limited by the small number of studies identified, by the lack of studies from developing countries where SHS exposure is increasing and the burden of IBD is high, and by large variations between the studies in how SHS exposure was measured and IBD diagnosed. Nevertheless, they suggest that, by reducing children's exposure to SHS (by, for example, persuading parents not to smoke at home), the illness and death caused by IBDs among children could be greatly reduced. Such a reduction would be particularly welcome in developing countries where vaccination against IBDs is low.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000374.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on secondhand smoke, on children and secondhand smoke exposure, on meningitis, and on Hib infection
The US Environmental Protection Agency also provides information on the health effects of exposure to secondhand smoke (in English and Spanish) and a leaflet (also in English and Spanish) entitled Secondhand Tobacco Smoke and the Health of Your Family
The US Office of the Surgeon General provides information on the health consequences of involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke
The World Health Organization provides a range of information on the global tobacco epidemic
The World Health Organization has information on meningococcal disease (in English only) and on Hib (in several languages)
The US National Foundation for Infectious Diseases provides a fact sheet on pneumococcal disease
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000374
PMCID: PMC2998445  PMID: 21151890
21.  Is (1→3)-β-D-glucan the missing link from bedside assessment to pre-emptive therapy of invasive candidiasis? 
Critical Care  2011;15(6):1017.
Invasive candidiasis is a frequent life-threatening complication in critically ill patients. Early diagnosis followed by prompt treatment aimed at improving outcome by minimizing unnecessary antifungal use remains a major challenge in the ICU setting. Timely patient selection thus plays a key role for clinically efficient and cost-effective management. Approaches combining clinical risk factors and Candida colonization data have improved our ability to identify such patients early. While the negative predictive value of scores and predicting rules is up to 95 to 99%, the positive predictive value is much lower, ranging between 10 and 60%. Accordingly, if a positive score or rule is used to guide the start of antifungal therapy, many patients may be treated unnecessarily. Candida biomarkers display higher positive predictive values; however, they lack sensitivity and are thus not able to identify all cases of invasive candidiasis. The (1→3)-β-D-glucan (BG) assay, a panfungal antigen test, is recommended as a complementary tool for the diagnosis of invasive mycoses in high-risk hemato-oncological patients. Its role in the more heterogeneous ICU population remains to be defined. More efficient clinical selection strategies combined with performant laboratory tools are needed in order to treat the right patients at the right time by keeping costs of screening and therapy as low as possible. The new approach proposed by Posteraro and colleagues in the previous issue of Critical Care meets these requirements. A single positive BG value in medical patients admitted to the ICU with sepsis and expected to stay for more than 5 days preceded the documentation of candidemia by 1 to 3 days with an unprecedented diagnostic accuracy. Applying this one-point fungal screening on a selected subset of ICU patients with an estimated 15 to 20% risk of developing candidemia is an appealing and potentially cost-effective approach. If confirmed by multicenter investigations, and extended to surgical patients at high risk of invasive candidiasis after abdominal surgery, this Bayesian-based risk stratification approach aimed at maximizing clinical efficiency by minimizing health care resource utilization may substantially simplify the management of critically ill patients at risk of invasive candidiasis.
doi:10.1186/cc10544
PMCID: PMC3388704  PMID: 22171793
22.  A novel technique for pediatric femoral locked submuscular plate removal: the ‘push-pull’ technique 
Submuscular and minimally invasive plate insertion is gaining popularity reducing the need for large open approaches and resulting in a smaller operative ‘footprint.’ With pediatric fractures and titanium implants, fibrous and osseous ingrowth to the implant and osseous implant integration may interfere with implant removal. Therefore, the small minimally invasive implant insertion procedure may require a large maximally invasive exposure for implant removal after fracture healing. To reduce soft tissue damage, bleeding, scarring, and pain associated with implant removal, a minimally invasive procedure utilizing the pre-existing incisions while controlling the implant is efficient and beneficial. The surgical technique is described, and a case series of 21 treated pediatric femoral fractures illustrates the successful performance of the procedure and its limitations.
doi:10.1186/1749-799X-8-21
PMCID: PMC3711786  PMID: 23844650
23.  Carboxy-methyl-cellulose hydrogel-filled breast implants – an ideal alternative? A report of five years’ experience with this device 
The controversy over the potential health risks from exposure to silicone gel from breast implants has led to extensive research to improve the safety of silicone gel-filled implants. In addition, there has been simultaneous research directed toward the development of alternative filling materials, with the goal of a breast implant that would minimize health risks and maximize cosmetic attributes. In the present study, experience with a filler material that has textural characteristics similar to that of silicone gel, but which is biodegradable and can therefore be eliminated by the body in case of implant failure, is reported.
Since February 2000, the authors have been monitoring carboxy-methyl-cellulose (CMC) hydrogel breast implants as participants in a prospective clinical trial. CMC hydrogel is a biodegradable, nontoxic, nonmutagenic and viscoelastic gel, which has been in clinical use since 1984 and has been available as the Monobloc breast implant since 1994. For the present study, 122 patients who underwent surgery between February 2000 and February 2005 were evaluated. It was determined that CMC hydrogel implants have a higher radiotranslucency than silicone gel, and the integrity of this device was easy to prove by clinical examination. In case of rupture, the implant can be replaced immediately; it is easily inserted and can be placed through a small incision because of its highly elastic shell. The complication rate was very low, and the patients were highly satisfied. In terms of safety, the implant is comparable with saline, and its consistency is comparable with that of silicone gel.
PMCID: PMC2539038  PMID: 19554106
Biodegradable; CMC hydrogel; Nontoxic; In consistency comparable to with silicone gel
24.  The golden age of minimally invasive cardiothoracic surgery: current and future perspectives 
Future cardiology  2011;7(3):333-346.
Over the past decade, minimally invasive cardiothoracic surgery (MICS) has grown in popularity. This growth has been driven, in part, by a desire to translate many of the observed benefits of minimal access surgery, such as decreased pain and reduced surgical trauma, to the cardiac surgical arena. Initial enthusiasm for MICS was tempered by concerns over reduced surgical exposure in highly complex operations and the potential for prolonged operative times and patient safety. With innovations in perfusion techniques, refinement of transthoracic echocardiography and the development of specialized surgical instruments and robotic technology, cardiac surgery was provided with the necessary tools to progress to less invasive approaches. However, much of the early literature on MICS focused on technical reports or small case series. The safety and feasibility of MICS have been demonstrated, yet questions remain regarding the relative efficacy of MICS over traditional sternotomy approaches. Recently, there has been a growth in the body of published literature on MICS long-term outcomes, with most reports suggesting that major cardiac operations that have traditionally been performed through a median sternotomy can be performed through a variety of minimally invasive approaches with equivalent safety and durability. In this article, we examine the technological advancements that have made MICS possible and provide an update on the major areas of cardiac surgery where MICS has demonstrated the most growth, with consideration of current and future directions.
doi:10.2217/fca.11.23
PMCID: PMC3134935  PMID: 21627475
minimally invasive cardiothoracic surgery; outcomes
25.  Comparison of one-level minimally invasive and open transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion in degenerative and isthmic spondylolisthesis grades 1 and 2 
European Spine Journal  2010;19(10):1780-1784.
Minimally invasive lumbar fusion techniques have only recently been developed. The goals of these procedures are to reduce approach-related soft tissue injury, postoperative pain and disability while allowing the surgery to be conducted in an effective manner. There have been no prospective clinical reports published on the comparison of one-level transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion in low-grade spondylolisthesis performed with an independent blade retractor system or a traditional open approach. A prospective clinical study of 85 consecutive cases of degenerative and isthmic lower grade spondylolisthesis treated by minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MiTLIF) or open transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (OTLIF) was done. A total of 85 patients suffering from degenerative spondylolisthesis (n = 46) and isthmic spondylolisthesis (n = 39) underwent one-level MiTLIF (n = 42) and OTLIF (n = 43) by two experienced surgeons at one hospital, from June 2006 to March 2008 (minimum 13-month follow-up). The following data were compared between the two groups: the clinical and radiographic results, operative time, blood loss, transfusion needs, X-ray exposure time, postoperative back pain, length of hospital stay, and complications. Clinical outcome was assessed using the visual analog scale (VAS) and the Oswestry disability index. The operative time, clinical and radiographic results were basically identical in both groups. Comparing with the OTLIF group, the MiTLIF group had significantly lesser blood loss, lesser need for transfusion, lesser postoperative back pain, and shorter length of hospital stay. The radiation time was significantly longer in MiTLIF group. One case of nonunion was observed from each group. Minimally invasive TLIF has similar surgical efficacy with the traditional open TLIF in treating one-level lower grade degenerative or isthmic spondylolisthesis. The minimally invasive technique offers several potential advantages including smaller incisions, less tissue trauma and quicker recovery. However, this technique needs longer X-ray exposure time.
doi:10.1007/s00586-010-1404-z
PMCID: PMC2989221  PMID: 20411281
Comparison; Minimally invasive surgery; Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion; Isthmic and degenerative spondylolisthesis

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