Considerations for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons in COVID-19 Era: Can We Sustain the Solutions to Keep Our Patients and Healthcare Personnel Safe?

Several uncertainties exist regarding how we will conduct our clinical, didactic, business, and social activities as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic abates and social distancing guidelines are relaxed. We anticipate changes in how we interact with our patients and other providers, how patient workflow is designed, the methods used to conduct our teaching sessions, and how we perform procedures in different clinical settings. The objective of the present report was to review some of the changes to consider in the clinical and academic oral and maxillofacial surgery workflow to allow for a smoother and more efficient transition, with less risk to our patients and healthcare personnel. New infection control policies should be strictly enforced and monitored in all clinical and nonclinical settings, with an overall goal of decreasing the risk of exposure and transmission. Screening for COVID-19 symptoms, testing when indicated, and establishing the epidemiologic linkage will be crucial to containing and preventing new COVID-19 cases until a vaccine or an alternate solution is available. Additionally, the shortage of essential supplies such as drugs and personal protective equipment, the design and ventilation of workspaces and waiting areas, the increase in overhead costs, and the possible absence of staff, if quarantine is necessary, must be considered. This shift in our workflow and patient care paths will likely continue in the short term at least through 2021 or the next 12 to 24 months. Thus, we must prioritize surgery, balancing patient preferences and healthcare personnel risks. We have an opportunity now to make changes and embrace telemedicine and other collaborative virtual platforms for teaching and clinical care. It is crucial that we maintain COVID-19 awareness, proper surveillance in our microenvironments, good clinical judgment, and ethical values to continue to deliver high-quality, economical, and accessible patient care.

Academic Advancement in Global Surgery Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure Recommendations From the American Surgical Association Working Group on Global Surgery

There is growing interest in global surgery among US academic surgical departments. As academic global surgery is a relatively new field, departments may have minimal experience in evaluation of faculty contributions and how they integrate into the existing academic paradigm for promotion and tenure. The American Surgical Association Working Group on Global Surgery has developed recommendations for promotion and tenure in global surgery, highlighting criteria that: (1) would be similar to usual promotion and tenure criteria (eg, publications); (2) would likely be undervalued in current criteria (eg, training, administrative roles, or other activities that are conducted at low- and middle-income partner institutions and promote the partnerships upon which other global surgery activities depend); and (3) should not be considered (eg, mission trips or other clinical work, if not otherwise linked to funding, training, research, or building partnerships).

A Review of State Guidelines for Elective Orthopaedic Procedures During the COVID-19 Outbreak

The SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in widespread cancellation of elective orthopaedic procedures. The guidance coming from multiple sources frequently has been difficult to assimilate as well as dynamic, with constantly changing standards. We seek to communicate the current guidelines published by each state, to discuss the impact of these guidelines on orthopaedic surgery, and to provide the general framework used to determine which procedures have been postponed at our institution.

An internet search was used to identify published state guidelines regarding the cancellation of elective procedures, with a publication cutoff of March 24, 2020, 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Data collected included the number of states providing guidance to cancel elective procedures and which states provided specific guidance in determining which procedures should continue being performed as well as to orthopaedic-specific guidance.

Thirty states published guidance regarding the discontinuation of elective procedures, and 16 states provided a definition of “elective” procedures or specific guidance for determining which procedures should continue to be performed. Only 5 states provided guidelines specifically mentioning orthopaedic surgery; of those, 4 states explicitly allowed for trauma-related procedures and 4 states provided guidance against performing arthroplasty. Ten states provided guidelines allowing for the continuation of oncological procedures.

Few states have published guidelines specific to orthopaedic surgery during the COVID-19 outbreak, leaving hospital systems and surgeons with the responsibility of balancing the benefits of surgery with the risks to public health.

Changes in Electrical Activity of the Masseter Muscle and Masticatory Force After the Use of the Masseter Nerve as Donor in Facial Reanimation Surgery

The masseter nerve has been used as a donor nerve for facial reanimation procedures due to the multiple advantages it offers; it has been generally considered that sacrifice of the masseter nerve does not alter the masticatory apparatus; however, there are no objective studies to support this claim.
To evaluate the impact that the use of the masseter nerve in dynamic facial reconstruction has on the electrical activity of the masseter muscle and on bite force.
Materials and Methods
An observational and prospective longitudinal study was performed measuring bite force and electrical activity of the masseter muscles before and 3 months after dynamic facial reconstructive surgery using the masseter nerve. An occlusal analyzer and surface electromyography were employed for measurements.
The study included 15 patients with unilateral facial paralysis, with a mean age of 24.06 ± 23.43. Seven patients were subjected to a masseter-buccal branch nerve transfer, whereas in eight patients, the masseter nerve was used as a donor nerve for gracilis free functional muscle transfer. Electrical activity of the masseter muscle was significantly reduced after surgery in both occlusal positions: from 140.86 ± 65.94 to 109.68 ± 68.04 ( p = 0.01) in maximum intercuspation and from 123.68 ± 75.64 to 82.64 ± 66.56 ( p = 0.01) in the rest position. However, bite force did not show any reduction, changing from 22.07 ± 15.66 to 15.56 ± 7.91 ( p = 0.1) after the procedure
Masseter nerve transfer causes a reduction in electromyographic signals of the masseter muscle; however, bite force is preserved and comparable to preoperative status.

The fluctuating incidence, improved survival of patients with breast cancer, and disparities by age, race, and socioeconomic status by decade, 1981-2010.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women worldwide. However, the data on breast cancer incidence and survival over a long period, especially the dynamic changes in the role of race and socioeconomic status (SES), are scant.

To evaluate treatment outcomes of patients with breast cancer over the past 3 decades, the data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registries were used to assess the survival of patients with breast cancer. Period analysis was used to analyze the incidence and survival trend; survival was evaluated by the relative survival rates (RSRs) and Kaplan-Meier analyses. The HRs for age, race, stage, and SES were assessed by Cox regression.

A total of 433,366 patients diagnosed with breast cancer between 1981 and 2010 were identified from the original nine SEER registries. The incidences of breast cancer in each decade were 107.1 per 100,000, 117.5 per 100,000, and 109.8 per 100,000. The 10-year RSRs improved each decade, from 70.8% to 81.5% to 85.6% (P<0.0001). The lower survival in black race and high-poverty group is confirmed by Kaplan-Meier analyses and RSRs. Furthermore, Cox regression analyses demonstrated that age, race, SES, and stage are independent risk factors for patients with breast cancer in each decade.

The current data demonstrated a fluctuating incidence trend with improving survival rates of patients with breast cancer over the past 3 decades. In addition, the survival disparity exists among different races, ages, SESs, and stages.

Factors contributing to disparities in mortality among patients with non-small-cell lung cancer.

Historically, non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients who are non-white, have low incomes, low educational attainment, and non-private insurance have worse survival. We assessed whether differences in survival were attributable to sociodemographic factors, clinical characteristics at diagnosis, or treatments received. We surveyed a multiregional cohort of patients diagnosed with NSCLC from 2003 to 2005 and followed through 2012. We used Cox proportional hazard analyses to estimate the risk of death associated with race/ethnicity, annual income, educational attainment, and insurance status, unadjusted and sequentially adjusting for sociodemographic factors, clinical characteristics, and receipt of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Of 3250 patients, 64% were white, 16% black, 7% Hispanic, and 7% Asian; 36% of patients had incomes <$20 000/y; 23% had not completed high school; and 74% had non-private insurance. In unadjusted analyses, black race, Hispanic ethnicity, income <$60 000/y, not attending college, and not having private insurance were all associated with an increased risk of mortality. Black-white differences were not statistically significant after adjustment for sociodemographic factors, although patients with patients without a high school diploma and patients with incomes <$40 000/y continued to have an increased risk of mortality. Differences by educational attainment were not statistically significant after adjustment for clinical characteristics. Differences by income were not statistically significant after adjustment for clinical characteristics and treatments. Clinical characteristics and treatments received primarily contributed to mortality disparities by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status in patients with NSCLC. Additional efforts are needed to assure timely diagnosis and use of effective treatment to lessen these disparities.

Fellowship exit examination in orthopaedic surgery in the commonwealth countries of Australia, UK, South Africa and Canada. Are they comparable and equivalent? A perspective on the requirements for medical migration

nternational migration of healthcare professionals has increased substantially in recent decades. In order to practice medicine in the recipient country, International Medical Graduates (IMG) are required to fulfil the requirements of their new countries medical registration authorities. The purpose of this project was to compare the final fellowship exit examination in Orthopaedic Surgery for the UK, Australia, Canada and South Africa. The curriculum of the Australian Orthopaedic Association (SET) was selected as a baseline reference. The competencies and technical modules specified in the training syllabus, as well as the specifics of the final fellowship examination as outlined in SET, were then compared between countries. Of the nine competencies outlined in SET, the curricula of the UK, South Africa and Canada were all compatible with the Australian syllabus, and covered 97.7%, 86% and 93%, respectively, of all competencies and sub-items. The final fellowship examinations of Australia, South Africa and the UK were all highly similar in format and content. The examination in Canada was substantially different, and had two written sessions but combined the oral and clinical component into a structured OSCE using standardized patients and the component included unmanned stations. There were no significant differences for completion certificate of training and/or board certification observed between these countries. The results of this study strongly suggest that core and technical competencies outlined in the training and education curriculum and the final fellowship examination in Orthopaedic Surgery in Australia, South Africa and the UK are compatible. Between country reciprocal recognition of these fellowship examinations should not only be considered by the relevant Colleges, but should also be regulated by the individual countries health practitioner registration boards and governing bodies.

The Coming Hip and Femur Fracture Bundle: A New Inpatient Risk Stratification Tool for Care Providers.

In response to increasing health-care costs, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has initiated several programs to transition from a fee-for-service model to a value-based care model. One such voluntary program is Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced (BPCI Advanced) which includes all hip and femur fractures that undergo operative fixation. The purpose of this study was to analyze the current cost and resource utilization of operatively fixed (nonarthroplasty) hip and femur fracture procedure bundle patients at a single level 1 trauma center within the framework of a risk stratification tool (Score for Trauma Triage in the Geriatric and Middle-Aged [STTGMA]) to identify areas of high utilization before our hospitals transition to bundle period.

A cohort of Medicare-eligible patients discharged with the Diagnosis-Related Group (DRG) codes 480 to 482 (hip and femur fractures requiring surgical fixation) from a level 1 trauma center between October 2014 and September 2016 was evaluated and assigned a trauma triage risk score (STTGMA score). Patients were stratified into groups based on these scores to create a minimal-, low-, moderate-, and high-risk cohort. Length of stay (LOS), discharge location, need for Intensive Care Unit (ICU)/Step Down Unit (SDU) care, inpatient complications, readmission within 90 days, and inpatient admission costs were recorded.

One hundred seventy-three patients with a mean age of 81.5 (10.1) years met inclusion criteria. The mean LOS was 8.0 (4.2) days, with high-risk patients having 4 days greater LOS than lower risk patients. The mean number of total complications was 0.9 (0.8) with a significant difference between risk groups (P = .029). The mean total cost of admission for the entire cohort of patients was US$25,446 (US$9725), with a nearly US$9000 greater cost for high-risk patients compared to the low-risk patients. High-cost areas of care included room/board, procedure, and radiology.

High-risk patients were more likely to have longer and more costly admissions with average index admission costs nearly US$9000 more than the lower risk patient cohorts. These high-risk patients were also more likely to develop inpatient complications and require higher levels of care.

This analysis of a 2-year cohort of patients who would qualify for the BPCI Advanced hip and femur procedure bundle demonstrates that the STTGMA tool can be used to identify high-risk patients who fall outside the bundle.

Astrocytic Tumors in Mexico: An Overview of Characteristics and Prognosis in an Open Reference Center for Low-Income Population.

The authors aimed to analyze the current epidemiology of high- and low-grade gliomas, follow-up strategies, and prognosis in a national reference center of a developing country.

Materials and Methods:
Medical records of patients diagnosed with intracranial gliomas from January 2012 to January 2016 were reviewed. Data were classified by age, symptoms, Karnofsky functional scale (KFS), tumor location, extent of resection (EOR), histopathology, hospital stay, Glasgow outcome scale (GOS), adjuvant treatments, overall survival (OS), and mortality.

Astrocytomas accounted for 28.2% of the intracranial tumors and 53.5% were male. Headache was the most common symptom, while sensory disturbance was the least frequent. The right cerebral hemisphere was involved in 56.5% of cases and frontal lobe in 31.3%. Gross total resection (GTR) was achieved in 18.1% cases, 35.3% subtotal resection, and 46.4% biopsy. Regarding the astrocytomas, 43.3% were low grade and 56.4% high grade. Low-grade tumors had the highest frequency in the fourth decade of life, while Grade III and IV in the fifth and seventh decades of life, respectively. In high-grade lesions, there was a slight male predominance (~1.4:1). The initial KFS was regularly 80 for low-grade gliomas and 60 for high-grade. By 1-month postdischarge, the score decreased by 10 points. About half of the patients (47.5%) received adjuvant therapy after surgery. From the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS), the majority had a form of disability and 30-month OS was above 88% for Grade I-II and 0% for Grade III and IV.

Astrocytic tumors were the most frequently noted intra-axial tumors. Age, histological grade, and EOR are important prognostic factors. These results are similar to other reports; however, increased variability was noted when treatment-related factors were considered. Additional studies are necessary to identify the factors related to these treatment results.

Effects of Socioeconomic Status on Clinical Outcomes with Ventricular Assist Devices.

Lower socioeconomic status (SES) is a known risk factor for worse outcomes after major cardiovascular interventions. Furthermore, individuals with lower SES face barriers to evaluation for advanced heart failure therapies, including ventricular assist device (VAD) implantation.Examination of the effects of individual determinants of SES on VAD outcomes will show similar survival benefit in patients with lower compared with higher SES.All VAD implants at the University of Florida from January 2008 through December 2015 were reviewed. Patient-level determinants of SES included place of residence, education level, marital status, insurance status, and financial resources stratified by percent federal poverty level. Survival or transplantation at 1 year, 30-day readmission, implant length of stay (LOS), and an aggregate of VAD-related complications were assessed in univariate fashion and multivariable regression modelling.A total of 111 patients were included (mean age at time of implant 57.6 years, 82.8% men). More than half received destination therapy. At 1 year, 78.3% were alive on device support or had undergone successful transplantation. There were no differences in survival, 30-day readmission, or aggregate VAD complications by SES category. Although patients with lower levels of education had longer LOS in univariate analysis, on multivariable ordinal regression modelling, this relationship was no longer seen.Patients with lower SES receive the same survival benefit from VAD implantation and are not more likely to have 30-day readmissions, complications of device support, or prolonged implant LOS. Therefore, VAD implantation should not be withheld based on these parameters alone.