Membership Organizations

  • Pacific Free Clinic

Service, Volunteer and Community Work

  • Pacific Free Clinic, Stanford University School of Medicine (9/1/2010)


    San Jose, CA

All Publications

  • Outpatient spine surgery: defining the outcomes, value, and barriers to implementation. Neurosurgical focus Pendharkar, A. V., Shahin, M. N., Ho, A. L., Sussman, E. S., Purger, D. A., Veeravagu, A., Ratliff, J. K., Desai, A. M. 2018; 44 (5): E11


    Spine surgery is a key target for cost reduction within the United States health care system. One possible strategy involves the transition of inpatient surgeries to the ambulatory setting. Lumbar laminectomy with or without discectomy, lumbar fusion, anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, and cervical disc arthroplasty all represent promising candidates for outpatient surgeries in select populations. In this focused review, the authors clarify the different definitions used in studies describing outpatient spine surgery. They also discuss the body of evidence supporting each of these procedures and summarize the proposed cost savings. Finally, they examine several patient- and surgeon-specific considerations to highlight the barriers in translating outpatient spine surgery into actual practice.

    View details for PubMedID 29712520

  • Propensity-matched comparison of outcomes and cost after macroscopic and microscopic lumbar discectomy using a national longitudinal database. Neurosurgical focus Pendharkar, A. V., Rezaii, P. G., Ho, A. L., Sussman, E. S., Purger, D. A., Veeravagu, A., Ratliff, J. K., Desai, A. M. 2018; 44 (5): E12


    OBJECTIVE There has been considerable debate about the utility of the operating microscope in lumbar discectomy and its effect on outcomes and cost. METHODS A commercially available longitudinal database was used to identify patients undergoing discectomy with or without use of a microscope between 2007 and 2015. Propensity matching was performed to normalize differences between demographics and comorbidities in the 2 cohorts. Outcomes, complications, and cost were subsequently analyzed using bivariate analysis. RESULTS A total of 42,025 patients were identified for the "macroscopic" group, while 11,172 patients were identified for the "microscopic" group. For the propensity-matched analysis, the 11,172 patients in the microscopic discectomy group were compared with a group of 22,340 matched patients who underwent macroscopic discectomy. There were no significant differences in postoperative complications between the groups other than a higher proportion of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the macroscopic discectomy cohort versus the microscopic discectomy group (0.4% vs 0.2%, matched OR 0.48 [95% CI 0.26-0.82], p = 0.0045). Length of stay was significantly longer in the macroscopic group compared to the microscopic group (mean 2.13 vs 1.83 days, p < 0.0001). Macroscopic discectomy patients had a higher rate of revision surgery when compared to microscopic discectomy patients (OR 0.92 [95% CI 0.84-1.00], p = 0.0366). Hospital charges were higher in the macroscopic discectomy group (mean $19,490 vs $14,921, p < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS The present study suggests that the use of the operating microscope in lumbar discectomy is associated with decreased length of stay, lower DVT rate, lower reoperation rate, and decreased overall hospital costs.

    View details for PubMedID 29712527

  • Outpatient vs Inpatient Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion: A Population-Level Analysis of Outcomes and Cost. Neurosurgery Purger, D. A., Pendharkar, A. V., Ho, A. L., Sussman, E. S., Yang, L., Desai, M., Veeravagu, A., Ratliff, J. K., Desai, A. 2017


    Outpatient anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a promising candidate for US healthcare cost reduction as several studies have demonstrated that overall complications are relatively low and early discharge can preserve high patient satisfaction, low morbidity, and minimal readmission.To compare clinical outcomes and associated costs between inpatient and ambulatory setting ACDF.Demographics, comorbidities, emergency department (ED) visits, readmissions, reoperation rates, and 90-d charges were retrospectively analyzed for patients undergoing elective ACDF in California, Florida, and New York from 2009 to 2011 in State Inpatient and Ambulatory Databases.A total of 3135 ambulatory and 46 996 inpatient ACDFs were performed. Mean Charlson comorbidity index, length of stay, and mortality were 0.2, 0.4 d, and 0% in the ambulatory cohort and 0.4, 1.8 d, and 0.04% for inpatients ( P < .0001). Ambulatory patients were younger (48.0 vs 53.1) and more likely to be Caucasian. One hundred sixty-eight ambulatory patients (5.4%) presented to the ED within 30 d (mean 11.3 d), 51 (1.6%) were readmitted, and 5 (0.2%) underwent reoperation. Among inpatient surgeries, 2607 patients (5.5%) presented to the ED within 30 d (mean 9.7 d), 1778 (3.8%) were readmitted (mean 6.3 d), and 200 (0.4%) underwent reoperation. Higher Charlson comorbidity index increased rate of ED visits (ambulatory operating room [OR] 1.285, P < .05; inpatient OR 1.289, P < .0001) and readmission (ambulatory OR 1.746, P < .0001; inpatient OR 1.685, P < .0001). Overall charges were significantly lower for ambulatory ACDFs ($33 362.51 vs $74 667.04; P < .0001).ACDF can be performed in an ambulatory setting with comparable morbidity and readmission rates, and lower costs, to those performed in an inpatient setting.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/neuros/nyx215

    View details for PubMedID 28498922

  • Myelin plasticity in the central nervous system. Neuropharmacology Purger, D., Gibson, E. M., Monje, M. 2016; 110: 563-573


    Myelin sheaths, specialized segments of oligodendrocyte (OL) plasma membranes in the central nervous system (CNS), facilitate fast, saltatory conduction of action potentials down axons. Changes to the fine structure of myelin in a neural circuit, including sheath thickness and internode length (length of myelin segments between nodes of Ranvier), are expected to affect conduction velocity of action potentials. Myelination of the mammalian CNS occurs in a stereotyped, progressive pattern and continues well into adulthood in humans. Recent evidence from zebrafish, rodents, non-human primates, and humans suggests that myelination may be sensitive to experiences during development and adulthood, and that varying levels of neuronal activity may underlie these experience-dependent changes in myelin and myelin-forming cells. Several cellular, molecular, and epigenetic mechanisms have been investigated as contributors to myelin plasticity. A deeper understanding of myelin plasticity and its underlying mechanisms may provide insights into diseases involving myelin damage or dysregulation. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled 'Oligodendrocytes in Health and Disease'.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2015.08.001

    View details for PubMedID 26282119

  • Detection of acute femoral artery ischemia during neuroembolization by somatosensory and motor evoked potential monitoring INTERVENTIONAL NEURORADIOLOGY Purger, D., Feroze, A. H., Choudhri, O., Lee, L., Lopez, J., Dodd, R. L. 2015; 21 (3): 397-400


    Neuromonitoring can be used to map out particular neuroanatomical tracts, define physiologic deficits secondary to specific pathology or intervention, or predict postoperative outcome and proves essential in the detection of central and peripheral ischemic events during neurosurgical intervention. Herein, we describe an instance of elective balloon-assisted coiling of a recurrent basilar tip aneurysm in a 61-year-old woman, where intraoperative somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) and transcranial motor evoked potentials (TcMEPs) were lost in the right lower extremity intraoperatively. We aim to highlight that targeted use of monitoring proves advantageous in both the open surgical and endovascular setting, even in the avoidance of potential iatrogenic peripheral nerve damage and limb ischemia as documented herein. Consideration of the increased risk for peripheral ischemia in the neurointerventional setting is especially imperative in particular populations where blood vessels might be of diminished size, such as in infants, young children, and severely deconditioned adults.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/1591019915583219

    View details for Web of Science ID 000356305000019

    View details for PubMedID 26015519

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4757266

  • Neuronal activity promotes oligodendrogenesis and adaptive myelination in the mammalian brain. Science Gibson, E. M., Purger, D., Mount, C. W., Goldstein, A. K., Lin, G. L., Wood, L. S., Inema, I., Miller, S. E., Bieri, G., Zuchero, J. B., Barres, B. A., Woo, P. J., Vogel, H., Monje, M. 2014; 344 (6183): 1252304-?


    Myelination of the central nervous system requires the generation of functionally mature oligodendrocytes from oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs). Electrically active neurons may influence OPC function and selectively instruct myelination of an active neural circuit. In this work, we use optogenetic stimulation of the premotor cortex in awake, behaving mice to demonstrate that neuronal activity elicits a mitogenic response of neural progenitor cells and OPCs, promotes oligodendrogenesis, and increases myelination within the deep layers of the premotor cortex and subcortical white matter. We further show that this neuronal activity-regulated oligodendrogenesis and myelination is associated with improved motor function of the corresponding limb. Oligodendrogenesis and myelination appear necessary for the observed functional improvement, as epigenetic blockade of oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelin changes prevents the activity-regulated behavioral improvement.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/science.1252304

    View details for PubMedID 24727982

  • A histology-based atlas of the C57BL/6J mouse brain deformably registered to in vivo MRI for localized radiation and surgical targeting PHYSICS IN MEDICINE AND BIOLOGY Purger, D., McNutt, T., Achanta, P., Quinones-Hinojosa, A., Wong, J., Ford, E. 2009; 54 (24): 7315-7327


    The C57BL/6J laboratory mouse is commonly used in neurobiological research. Digital atlases of the C57BL/6J brain have been used for visualization, genetic phenotyping and morphometry, but currently lack the ability to accurately calculate deviations between individual mice. We developed a fully three-dimensional digital atlas of the C57BL/6J brain based on the histology atlas of Paxinos and Franklin (2001 The Mouse Brain in Stereotaxic Coordinates 2nd edn (San Diego, CA: Academic)). The atlas uses triangular meshes to represent the various structures. The atlas structures can be overlaid and deformed to individual mouse MR images. For this study, we selected 18 structures from the histological atlas. Average atlases can be created for any group of mice of interest by calculating the mean three-dimensional positions of corresponding individual mesh vertices. As a validation of the atlas' accuracy, we performed deformable registration of the lateral ventricles to 13 MR brain scans of mice in three age groups: 5, 8 and 9 weeks old. Lateral ventricle structures from individual mice were compared to the corresponding average structures and the original histology structures. We found that the average structures created using our method more accurately represent individual anatomy than histology-based atlases alone, with mean vertex deviations of 0.044 mm versus 0.082 mm for the left lateral ventricle and 0.045 mm versus 0.068 mm for the right lateral ventricle. Our atlas representation gives direct spatial deviations for structures of interest. Our results indicate that MR-deformable histology-based atlases represent an accurate method to obtain accurate morphometric measurements of a population of mice, and that this method may be applied to phenotyping experiments in the future as well as precision targeting of surgical procedures or radiation treatment.

    View details for DOI 10.1088/0031-9155/54/24/005

    View details for Web of Science ID 000272364000005

    View details for PubMedID 19926915

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3365531

  • A VIRTUAL FRAME SYSTEM FOR STEREOTACTIC RADIOSURGERY PLANNING INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF RADIATION ONCOLOGY BIOLOGY PHYSICS Ford, E., Purger, D., Tryggestad, E., McNutt, T., Christodouleas, J., Rigamonti, D., Shokek, O., Won, S., Zhou, J., Lim, M., Wong, J., Kleinberg, L. 2008; 72 (4): 1244-1249


    We describe a computerized (or virtual) model of a stereotactic head frame to enable planning prior to the day of radiosurgery. The location of the virtual frame acts as a guide to frame placement on the day of the procedure.The software consists of a triangular mesh representation of the essential frame hardware that can be overlaid with any MR scan of the patient and manipulated in three dimensions. The software calculates regions of the head that will actually be accessible for treatment, subject to the geometric constraints of the Leksell Gamma Knife hardware. DICOM-compliant MR images with virtual fiducial markers overlaid onto the image can then be generated for recognition by the treatment planning system.Retrospective evaluation of the software on 24 previously treated patients shows a mean deviation of the position of the virtual frame from the actual frame position of 1.6 +/- 1.3 mm. Initial clinical use on five patients indicates an average discrepancy of the virtual frame location and the actual frame location of <1 mm. MR images with virtual fiducial markers can be imported into radiosurgical treatment planning software and used to generate an initial treatment plan.The virtual frame provides a tool for prospective determination of lesion accessibility, optimization of the frame placement, and treatment planning before the day of the procedure. This promises to shorten overall treatment times, improve patient comfort, and reduce the need for repeat treatments due to suboptimally placed frames.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2008.06.1934

    View details for Web of Science ID 000260592600039

    View details for PubMedID 18954719