Upper cervical fractures can heal with conservative treatments such as halo-vest immobilization (HVI) and Minerva jackets without surgery. The most rigid of these, HVI, remains the most frequently used treatment in many centers despite its relatively high frequency of orthosis-related complications. We conducted this study to investigate the clinical outcome, effectiveness, patient satisfaction, and associated complications of HVI.
Materials and Methods
From April 1997 to December 2008, we treated 23 patients for upper cervical spinal injuries with HVI. For analysis, we divided high cervical fractures into four groups, including C1 fracture, C2 dens fracture, C2 hangman's fracture, and C1-2 associated fracture. We evaluated the clinical outcome, complications, and patient satisfaction through chart reviews and a telephone questionnaire.
The healing rate for upper cervical fracture using HVI was 60.9%. In most cases, bony healing occurred within 16 weeks. Older patients required longer fusion time. We observed a 39.1% failure rate, and 60.9% of patients experienced complications. The most common complications were frequent pin loosening (34.8%; 8/23) and pin site infection (17.4%; 4/23). The HVI treatment failed in 66.7% of patients with pin site problems. The patient approval rate was 31.6%.
The HVI produced frequent complications and low patient satisfaction. Bony fusion succeeded in 60.9% of patients. Pin site complications showed a tendency to influence the outcome of HVI, and would be promptly addressed to prevent treatment failure if they develop. The decision to use HVI requires an explanation to the patient of potential complications and constant vigilance to prevent such complications and unsatisfactory outcomes.
Halo-vest; cervical trauma; bony healing; complication
Posttraumatic syringomyelia may result from a variety of inherent conditions and traumatic events, or from some combination of these. Many hypotheses have arisen to explain this complex disorder, but no consensus has emerged. A 28-year-old man presented with progressive lower extremity weakness, spasticity, and decreased sensation below the T4 dermatome five years after an initial trauma. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed a large, multi-septate syrinx cavity extending from C5 to L1, with a retropulsed bony fragment of L2. We performed an L2 corpectomy, L1-L3 interbody fusion using a mesh cage and screw fixation, and a wide decompression and release of the ventral portion of the spinal cord with an operating microscope. The patient showed complete resolution of his neurological symptoms, including the bilateral leg weakness and dysesthesia. Postoperative MRI confirmed the collapse of the syrinx and restoration of subarachnoid cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow. These findings indicate a good correlation between syrinx collapse and symptomatic improvement. This case showed that syringomyelia may develop through obstruction of the subarachnoid CSF space by a bony fracture and kyphotic deformity. Ventral decompression of the obstructed subarachnoid space, with restoration of spinal alignment, effectively treated the spinal canal encroachment and post-traumatic syringomyelia.
Syringomyelia; Magnetic resonance imaging; Trauma; Subarachnoid space; Obstruction
We prospectively investigated whether high intramedullary SI and contrast [gadolinium-diethylene-triamine-pentaacetic acid (Gd-DTPA)] enhancement in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are associated with postoperative prognosis in cervical compressive myelopathy (CCM) patients.
Seventy-four patients with ventral cord compression at one or two levels underwent anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) for CCM between March 2006 and June 2009. The mean follow-up period was 39.7 months (range, 12.7–55.7 months). The cervical cord compression ratio and clinical outcomes were measured using Japanese Orthopedic Association (JOA) scores for cervical myelopathy. Patients were classified into three groups based on the SI change in T2WI, T1-weighted images (T1WI), and contrast (Gd-DTPA) enhancement.
The mean preoperative and postoperative JOA scores were 10.5 ± 2.9 and 15.0 ± 2.1 (P < 0.05), respectively. The mean recovery ratio of the JOA score was 70.9 ± 20.2%. There were statistically significant differences in postoperative JOA and recovery ratio among three groups. However, post-surgical neurological outcomes were not associated with age, symptom duration, preoperative JOA, and cord compression.
We found that intramedullary SI change is a poor prognostic factor and the intramedullary contrast (Gd-DTPA) enhancement on preoperative MRI should be viewed as the worst predictor of surgical outcomes in cervical myelopathy. Contrast (Gd-DTPA) enhancement and postoperative MRI are useful for identifying the prognosis of patients with poor neurological recovery.
Cervical compressive myelopathy; Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); Increased signal intensity; Intramedullary Gd-DTPA enhancement
To evaluate the surgical efficacy of and factors associated with decompressive craniectomy in patients with an internal carotid artery (ICA) territory infarction.
Seventeen patients (8 men and 9 women, average age 61.53 years, range 53-77 years) were treated by decompressive craniectomy for an ICA territory infarction at our institute. We retrospectively reviewed medical records, radiological findings, and National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) at presentation and before surgery. Clinical outcomes were assessed using the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS).
Of the 17 patients, 15 (88.24%) achieved a poor outcome (Group A, GOS 1-3) and 2 (11.76%) a good outcome (Group B, GOS 4-5). The mortality rate at one month after surgery was 52.9%. Average preoperative NIHSS was 27.6±10.88% in group A and 10±4.24% in group B. Mean cerebral infarction fraction at the septum pellucidum level before surgery in group A and B were 33.67% and 23.72%, respectively. Mean preoperative NIHSS (p=0.019) and cerebral infarction fraction at the septum pellucidum level (p=0.017) were found to be significantly associated with a better outcome. However, no preexisting prognostic factor was found to be of statistical significance.
The rate of mortality after ICA territory infarction treatment is relatively high, despite positive evidence for surgical decompression, and most survivors experience severe disabilities. Our findings caution that careful consideration of prognostic factors is required when considering surgical treatment.
Cerebral infarction; Decompressive craniectomy; Surgical efficacy
Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease caused by the Mycobacterium leprae that leads to leprotic neuropathy involving the peripheral nerve and several characteristic skin lesions. Skeletal involvement can occur in peripheral joints, such as the wrist and the ankle. However, there is no report of an axial leprotic lesion involving the spine or paraspinal soft tissue. The authors report the first case of a leprotic cervical lesion involving the axial skeletal system. A 48-year-old male presented with neck pain and severe pain in the right suprascapular area and left arm. Preoperative MRI of the cervical spine revealed signal changes in the prevertebral soft tissue at the level of the C3, 4, 5 vertebral bodies. There were a lower signal intensity on T1-weighted image and high signal intensity on T2WI of the bone marrow at the level of the C5 and C6 vertebral bodies, and a C5/6 segmental ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament. There were herniated cervical disc on the left C5/6 with C6 root and the right side of C6/7 with a C7 root compression. He was previously diagnosed with leprosy when he was 14 years old and received treatment intermittently over the course of 7 years. But patient did not disclose his past history. Surgical intervention was conducted using an anterior cervical approach. An incision was made in the anterior longitudinal ligament at C5/6, and a pinkish gray friable gelatinous material was observed on the C5/6 disc and on the anterior lower one-third surface of the C5 vertebral body. Specimens were obtained and subjected to pathological evaluation and microbiological culture. After C5/6 and C6/7 discectomies, nerve root decompression and autologous iliac bone grafting were performed at the C5/6 and C6/7 levels. The C5–6–7 vertebrae were fixed with an Atlantis® cervical locking plate and a screw system. The pathological report indicated chronic inflammation with heavy plasma cell infiltration on the specimen. We sent the specimens to the Institute of Hansen’s Disease, and polymerase chain reaction for leprosy tested positive. After surgery, his pain disappeared and he was given a prescription for antileprotic drugs. The authors describe the first case of leprotic cervical spondylodiscitis that was operatively treated in a 48-year-old patient with known leprosy history since his 14 years old.
Leprosy; Cervical spine; Spondylodiscitis; Cervical disc herniation
In the present study, authors retrospectively reviewed the clinical outcomes of halo-vest immobilization (HVI) versus surgical fixation in patients with odontoid fracture after either non-surgical treatment (HVI) or with surgical fixation.
From April 1997 to December 2008, we treated a total of 60 patients with upper cervical spine injuries. This study included 31 (51.7%) patients (22 men, 9 women; mean age, 39.3 years) with types II and III odontoid process fractures. The average follow-up was 25.1 months. We reviewed digital radiographs and analyzed images according to type of injury and treatment outcomes, following conservative treatment with HVI and surgical management with screw fixation.
There were a total of 31 cases of types II and III odontoid process fractures (21 odontoid type II fractures, 10 type III fractures). Fifteen patients underwent HVI (10 type II fractures, 5 type III fractures). Nine (60%) out of 15 patients who underwent HVI experienced successful healing of odontoid fractures. The mean period for bone healing was 20.2 weeks. Sixteen patients underwent surgery including anterior screw fixation (6 cases), posterior C1-2 screw fixation (8), and transarticular screw fixation (2) for healing the odontoid fractures (11 type II fractures, 5 type III fractures). Fifteen (93.8%) out of 16 patients who underwent surgery achieved healing of cervical fractures. The average bone healing time was 17.6 weeks.
The overall healing rate was 60% after HVI and 93.8% with surgical management. Patients treated with surgery showed a higher fusion rate and shorter bony healing time than patients who received HVI. However, prospective studies are needed in the future to define better optimal treatment and cost-effective perspective for the treatment of odontoid fractures.
Cervical fracture; Odontoid fracture; Operation; Halovest; Bony healing
Intracranial aneurysms are sometimes presented with visual symptoms by their rupture or direct compression of the optic nerve. It is because their prevalent sites are anatomically located close to the optic pathway. Anterior communicating artery is especially located in close proximity to optic nerve. Aneurysm arising in this area can produce visual symptoms according to their direction while the size is small. Clinical importance of visual symptoms presented by aneurysmal optic nerve compression is stressed in this study.
Retrospective analysis of ruptured anterior communicating artery aneurysms compressing optic apparatus were carried out. Total 33 cases were enrolled in this study. Optic nerve compression of the aneurysms was confirmed by the surgical fields.
In 33 cases among 351 cases of ruptured anterior communicating artery aneurysms treated surgically, from 1991 to 2000, the dome of aneurysm was compressed in optic pathway. In some cases, aneurysm impacted into the optic nerve that deep hollowness was found when the aneurysm sac was removed during operation. Among 33 cases, 10 cases presented with preoperative visual symptoms, such as visual dimness (5), unilateral visual field defect (2) or unilateral visual loss (3), 20 cases had no visual symptoms. Visual symptoms could not be checked in 3 cases due to the poor mental state. In 6 cases among 20 cases having no visual symptoms, optic nerve was deeply compressed by the dome of aneurysm which was seen in the surgical field. Of 10 patients who had visual symptoms, 8 showed improvement in visual symptoms within 6 months after clipping of aneurysms. In 2 cases, the visual symptoms did not recover.
Anterior communicating artery aneurysm can cause visual symptoms by compressing the optic nerve or direct rupture to the optic nerve with focal hematoma formation. We emphasize that cerebral vascular study is highly recommended to detect intracranial aneurysm before its rupture in the case of normal CT findings with visual symptoms and frequent headache.
Anterior communicating artery; Intracranial aneurysm; Optic pathway; Visual Symptoms
There are a few reports on the complications of surgery for epilepsy. We surveyed our data to present complications of epilepsy surgeries from the neurosurgeon's point of view and compare our results with other previous reports.
A total of 179 surgical procedures for intractable epilepsy (41 diagnostic, 138 therapeutic) were performed in 92 consecutive patients (10 adults, 82 children) during the last 9.2 years (February. 1997-April. 2006). Their medical records and radiological findings were reviewed to identify and analyze the surgical complications.
The diagnostic procedures encompassed various combinations of subdural grid, subdural strips, and depth electrodes. Four minor transient complications developed in 41 diagnostic procedures (4/41=9.8%). A total of 138 therapeutic procedures included 28 anterior temporal lobectomies, 21 other lobectomies, 6 lesionectomies, 21 topectomies, 13 callosotomies, 20 vagus nerve stimulations, 13 multiple subpial transections, and 16 hemispherectomies. Twenty-six complications developed in therapeutic procedures (26/138=18.8%). Out of the 26 complications, 21 complications were transient and reversible (minor; 21/138=15.2%), and 5 were serious complications (major; 5/138=3.6%). Five major complications were one visual field defect, two mortality cases and two vegetative states. There were 2 additional mortality cases which were not related to the surgery itself.
Our results indicate that complication rate was higher than previous other reports in minor complications and was comparable in major complications. However, our results show relatively high frequency of mortality cases and severe morbidity case compared to other previous reports. The authors would like to emphasize the importance of acute postoperative care in young pediatric patients as well as meticulous surgical techniques to reduce morbidity and mortality in epilepsy surgery.
Epilepsy; Surgery; Intraoperative complication; Morbidity; Mortality
The aim of this study was to analyze the treatment results and prognostic factors in patients with massive cerebral infarction who underwent decompressive craniectomy.
From January 2000 to December 2005, we performed decompressive craniectomy in 24 patients with massive cerebral infarction. We retrospectively reviewed the medical records, radiological findings, initial clinical assessment using the Glasgow Coma Scale, serial computerized tomography (CT) with measurement of midline and septum pellucidum shift, and cerebral infarction territories. Patients were evaluated based on the following factors : the pre- and post-operative midline shifting on CT scan, infarction area or its dominancy, consciousness level, pupillary light reflex and Glasgow Outcome Scale.
All 24 patients (11 men, 13 women; mean age, 63 years; right middle cerebral artery (MCA) territory, 17 patients; left MCA territory, 7 patients) were treated with large decompressive craniectomy and duroplasty. The average time interval between the onset of symptoms and surgical decompression was 2.5 days. The mean Glasgow Coma Scale was 12.4 on admission and 8.3 preoperatively. Of the 24 surgically treated patients, the good outcome group (Group 2 : GOS 4-5) comprised 9 cases and the poor outcome group (Group1 : GOS 1-3) comprised 15 cases.
We consider decompressive craniectomy for large hemispheric infarction as a life-saving procedure. Good preoperative GCS, late clinical deterioration, small size of the infarction area, absence of anisocoria, and preoperative midline shift less than 11mm were considered to be positive predictors of good outcome. Careful patient selection based on the above-mentioned factors and early operation may improve the functional outcome of surgical management for large hemispheric infarction.
Acute cerebral infarction; Brain edema; Brain herniation; Decompressive craniectomy; Intracranial pressure
The azygos anterior cerebral artery, a rare anomaly in the circle of Willis in which only a single vessel supplies the medial aspects of both anterior cerebral hemispheres, is closely associated with saccular aneurysms. We present three cases of azygos anterior cerebral artery aneurysms among the 781 cerebral aneurysms surgically treated at our institution in an 11-year period. These three cases all involved elderly women who presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage. Conventional cerebral angiography and CT angiography revealed small saccular aneurysms at the distal ends of the azygos anterior cerebral arteries. These aneurysms were clipped successfully using a bifrontal interhemispheric approach. Hence, the pathogenesis of these particular aneurysms relating to hemodynamic change, associated anomalies, and surgical pitfalls is discussed with review of literature.
Azygos anterior cerebral artery; Saccular aneurysm; Anomaly
Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma (SSEH) is a rare disease entity; its causative factors and the factors determining the outcome are still controversial. We reviewed our clinical experiences and analyzed the various factors related to the outcome for SSEH. We investigated 14 patients (11 men and 3 women) who underwent hematoma removal for SSEH from April 1998 to August 2004. We reviewed age, gender, hypertension, anticoagulant use and the preoperative neurological status using the Japanese Orthopaedics Association score by examining medical records, operative records, pathology reports, and radiographies, retrospectively. We were checking for factors such as the degree of cord compression owing to hematoma and the extent and location of the hematoma. Most patients included in the study were in their twenties or fifties. Four hematoma were located in the cervical region (29%), three were cervicothoracic (21%), four were thoracic (29%) and three were in the lumbar (21%) region and also 12 were located at the dorsal aspect of the spinal cord. In all cases, the neurological outcome improved after the surgical operation. There was a statistically significant difference between the incomplete and complete neurological injury for the preoperative status (P<0.05). The neurological outcome was good in those cases that had their hematoma removed within 24 h (P<0.05). The patients with incomplete neurological injury who had a surgical operation performed within 12 h had an excellent surgical outcome (P<0.01). Spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma was favorably treated by the means of a surgical operation. The favorable factors for SSEH operations were incomplete neurological injury at the time of the preoperative status and the short operative time interval.
Epidural hematoma; Cord injury; Operative time interval; Spine surgery