Bow Hunter's syndrome/stroke is defined as symptomatic, vertebrobasilar insufficiency provoked by physiologic head rotation. It is a diagnostically challenging cause of posterior circulation stroke in children. While there have been prior reports of this rare disorder, we describe an exceptional case of pediatric Bow Hunter's stroke resulting from a near complete occlusion the right vertebral artery (VA) secondary to an anomalous spur emanating from the right occipital condyle. Surgical and endovascular options and approaches are also detailed herein.
A 16-year-old male presented with multiple posterior circulation ischemic strokes. A dynamic computerized tomography angiogram performed with the patient's head in a rotated position revealed a near complete occlusion of the V3 segment of the right VA from a bone spur arising from his occipital condyle. The spur caused a focal dissection of the distal right VA with associated thrombus. He was initially managed with a cervical collar, antiplatelet therapy with aspirin 81 mg and anticoagulation with coumadin (INR goal 2-3) for 3 months. Despite the management plan, he had a subsequent thromboembolic event and a right VA sacrifice with coil embolization was then performed. At the 3-month follow-up, the patient was doing well with no reports of any subsequent strokes.
We report the first reported pediatric case of Bow Hunter's stroke due to dynamic right VA occlusion from an occipital condylar bone spur. The vascular compression from this spur led to a right VA dissection and thrombus formation and ultimately caused multiple posterior circulation thromboembolic strokes. Endovascular treatment options including vessel sacrifice should be considered in cases that have failed maximal medical management.
Bow Hunter's syndrome; coil embolization; endovascular surgery; stroke; vertebral artery
Craniopharyngiomas (CPs) are slow growing tumors with an incidence of between 1.2% and 4.6%, having a bimodal age distribution typically peaking in childhood and in adults between 45 and 60 years. Recurrences occur even after documented gross total resections necessitating a combination of therapeutic strategies. Obtaining a cure of this tumor in adults without producing major side effects continues to remain elusive.
We describe our results in 11 patients with CP treated in a minimally invasive fashion using a combination of techniques like burr hole aspiration, Ommaya reservoir placement, ventriculo-peritoneal (VP) shunting and focal radiation (Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery/Intensity modulated radiotherapy [GKRS/IMRT]).
Visual function remained intact in all patients; endocrine status remained stable with two patients developing new postoperative diabetes insipidus. There was no periprocedural morbidity or mortality, with hospital stays for any in-patient procedure being 48 hours or less.
Minimally invasive techniques such as cyst aspiration, insertion of a catheter with Ommaya reservoir, when combined with stereotactic radiosurgery/IMRT is an effective and safe option for management and long-term control of adult CPs. We believe the Ommaya catheter by itself could act as a stent, creating a tract allowing gradual drainage of cyst fluid and stabilization without necessitating any further interventions in selected cases.
Craniopharyngioma; focal radiotherapy; minimally invasive; radiosurgery
The purpose of this article is to explain the anatomy of the pterygopalatine ganglion (PPG), its location in the pterygopalatine fossa (PPF) in the skull, and the relationship it has to the Vidian nerve terminal branches and the fifth cranial nerve. An overview of the neuro-anatomical/clinical correlations, a spectrum of pathologies affecting the seventh cranial nerve and some therapies both medical and surgical are noted. The focus is the pterygopalatine region with discussion of the proximal courses of the seventh and fifth cranial nerves and their pathological processes. The ganglion is used as an example of neuro-anatomical model for explaining cluster headaches (CH). Radiological correlation is included to clarify the location of the PPF and its clinical importance.
Cluster headaches; facial paresis; greater superficial petrosal nerve; pterygopalatine fossa; pterygopalatine ganglion; radiosurgery; treatment of cluster headaches; seventh cranial nerve
The glomus jugulare tumor is a slowly growing benign neoplasm originating from neural crest. There is a high morbidity associated with surgical resection of glomus jugulare. Radiosurgery play a relevant role as a therapeutic option in these tumors and its use has grown in popularity. The authors describe a retrospective series of 15 patients and reviewed the literature about the glomus jugulare tumors.
We reviewed retrospectively the data of 15 patients treated with stereotactic linear accelerator stereotactic radiosurgery (LINAC) radiosurgery between 2006 and 2011.
The average tumor volume was 18.5 cm3. The radiation dose to the tumor margin ranged between 12 and 20 Gy. The neurological status improved in three patients and remained unchanged in 12 patients. One patient developed a transient 7th nerve palsy that improved after clinical treatment. All tumors remained stable in size on follow-up with resonance magnetic images.
The radiosurgery is a safe and effective therapy for patients with glomus jugulare tumor. Despite the short follow-up period and the limited number of patients analyzed, we can infer that radiosurgery produce a tumor growth control with low morbidity, and may be used as a good option to surgical resection in selected cases.
Chemodectoma; glomus jugulare tumor; radiosurgery
This report focuses on the overall survival and complications associated with treatment of cerebral metastases with surgical resection followed by stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). Management and complications of corticosteroid therapy are underreported in the literature but represent an important source of morbidity for patients.
Fifty-nine consecutive patients underwent surgical resection of a cerebral metastasis followed by SRS to the cavity. Patient charts were reviewed retrospectively to ascertain overall survival, local control, surgical complications, SRS complications, and corticosteroid complications.
Our mean follow-up was 14.4 months (median 12.0 months, range 0.9-62.9 months). Median overall survival in this series was 15.25 months and local control was 98.3%. There was a statistically significant survival benefit conferred by Radiation Therapy Oncology Group recursive partitioning analysis Classes 1 and 2. The surgical complication rate was 6.8% while the SRS complication rate was 2.4%. Corticosteroid complications are reported and dependence at 1 month was 20.3%, at 3 months 6.8%, at 6 months 1.7%, and at 12 months no patients remained on corticosteroid therapy.
Overall survival and local control with this treatment paradigm compare well to the other published literature. Complications associated with this patient population are low. A corticosteroid tapering protocol is proposed and demonstrated lower rates of steroid-related complications and dependence than previously reported.
Cerebral metastases; corticosteroids; stereotactic radiosurgery
Putative changes of cognition after deep brain stimulation (DBS) in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) are a matter of debate. The aim of this study was to assess cognitive abilities before and following bilateral subthalamic nucleus (STN) DBS and to review the available literature.
Twenty patients underwent bilateral DBS of the STN. Cognitive skills were assessed in a standardized fashion before and at least at 12 months after the surgical intervention.
There was a significant decline of both semantic and phonematic verbal fluency and a mild trend for a deterioration of verbal memory after DBS. Mood, general cognitive screening, and visospatial abilities remained unchanged.
STN DBS in the treatment of PD has resulted in a significant reduction of motor symptoms and improved independence and quality of life in appropriately selected patients. However, it may have isolatable effects on verbal fluency and related function. Case series in the literature reported similar findings. Potential candidates for DBS should be counseled about the risk of mild cognitive declines.
Cognitive decline; deep brain stimulation; memory; Parkinson's disease; subthalamic nucleus; verbal fluency
A craniocerebral trauma caused by firearms is a complex injury with high morbidity and mortality. One of the most intriguing and controversial part in their management in salvageable patients is the decision to remove the bullet/pellet. A bullet is foreign to the brain and, in principle, should be removed. Surgical options for bullet extraction span from conventional craniotomy, through C-arm-guided surgery to minimally invasive frame or frameless stereotaxy. But what is the best surgical option?
We prospectively followed up a cohort of 28 patients with cranio-cerebral gunshot injury (CCHSI) managed from January to December 2012 in our department of neurosurgery. The missiles were extracted via stereotaxy (frame or frameless), C-arm-guided, or free-hand-based surgery. Cases managed conservatively were excluded. The Glasgow Outcome Score was used to assess the functional outcome on discharge.
Five of the eight “stereotactic cases” had an excellent outcome after missile extraction while the initially planned stereotaxy missed locating the missile in three cases and were thus subjected to free hand craniotomy. Excellent outcome was obtained in five of the nine “neuronavigation cases, five of the eight cases for free hand surgery based on the bony landmarks, and five of the six C-arm-based surgery.
Conventional craniotomy isn’t indicated in the extraction of isolated, retained, intracranial firearm missiles in civilian injury but could be useful when the missile is incorporated within a surgical lesion. Stereotactic surgery could be useful for bullet extraction, though with limited precision in identifying small pellets because of their small sizes, thus exposing patients to same risk of brain insult when retrieving a missile by conventional surgery. Because of its availability, C-arm-guided surgery continues to be of much benefit, especially in emergency situations. We recommend an extensive long-term study of these treatment modalities for CCGSI.
Bullet/pellet extraction; craniocerebral gunshot wound; craniocerebral injury; gunshot injury; neuronavigation; stereotactic surgery
Sclerosteosis is a rare bone disorder characterized by a progressive craniotubular hyperostosis. The diagnosis of sclerosteosis is based on characteristic clinical and radiographic features and a family history consistent with autosomal recessive inheritance. The skull overgrowth may lead to lethal elevation of intracranial pressure, distortion of the face, and entrapment of cranial nerves, resulting in recurrent facial palsy or secondary trigeminal neuralgia.
The authors reported cases of two siblings who were diagnosed with familial sclerosteosis and presented with secondary trigeminal neuralgia. The patients were 28 and 40-year-old and presented with pain in the right V2-V3 and V3 distributions, respectively. The facial pain was resistant to medications and was treated with percutaneous techniques. The foramen ovale puncture was complicated initially and the difficulty increased over the years due to stenosis of the foramen.
The treatment of the trigeminal neuralgia secondary to hyperostosis and resistant to medications presents a dilemma. The narrowing of the foramen oval and difficulty in the identifying and approaching of the foramen makes the percutaneous technique a challenge for the neurosurgeon in patients harboring sclerosteosis. Microvascular decompression should not be considered since the primary cause of the trigeminal neuralgia is the nerve entrapment by the narrowing of neurovascular foramina and not the neurovascular conflict related to essential trigeminal neuralgia. Stereotactic radiosurgery may be a good treatment option, but there is a lack of published data supporting the use of this method in cranial hyperostosis.
Percutaneous balloon compression; pain control; sclerostesosis; trigeminal neuralgia
Some cases of paradoxical mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) are shown to be bilateral MTLE (BMTLE) by intracranial electrodes. The treatment for BMTLE is difficult, which poses several questions. Can corticoamygdalohippocampectomy (CAH) be applied to treat BMTLE? What are the long-term therapeutic effects if CAH is performed in BMTLE patients?
Four patients were shown to have BMTLE through bilateral intracranial electrode implantation. CAH was performed on the side with relatively more seizure originations. These patients were followed-up at 6 months, 1 year, 2 years and longer, in some cases, after the CAH. The postoperative seizure frequency was recorded. Preoperative and postoperative clinical memory tests and a postoperative 4-hour video electroencephalography (EEG) were conducted in the hospital at different follow-up times. The average seizure frequencies and memory quotient scores were analyzed.
The average seizure frequency significantly decreased by 80.8%, 83.5%, and 84.3% at different postoperative times. Although no patient was seizure free, the intensity of the seizures was reduced in all cases. The postoperative average memory quotient score was moderately decreased by 15.8%, 11.7%, and 16.6% at different postoperative times. Both the average values of the postoperative seizure frequency (5.5, 4.75, and 4.5 per month) and the average values of the postoperative memory quotient (73.7, 77.3, and 73) at different postoperative times were approximately the same.
CAH reduced the seizure frequency and intensity in these BMTLE patients. Mild hypomnesis occurred in every case. We observed the long-term treatment effects at 6 months after the CAH and showed that the effects did not change at that time or over the next few years.
Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy; corticoamygdalohippocampectomy; long-term therapeutic effect; memory
Traditional stainless steel retractors can interfere with electromagnetic neuronavigation and intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (ioMRI). In such cases, titanium instruments are frequently used; however, they often shift during the procedure. The authors describe a simple technique, illustrated with intraoperative photographs, for securing titanium cerebellar retractors into place to keep both the retractors and tissues in their desired locations throughout a craniotomy.
Titanium retractors were used by our institute's neurosurgical service during operations utilizing electromagnetic neuronavigation or ioMRI. Once the retractor was in the desired position, a 2-0 silk suture was placed around a retractor tong and tied outside the skin. Two sutures were placed on either side of the titanium retractor in the same fashion.
Retractors were subsequently noted to remain in their desired position throughout the operative procedure.
The authors describe a technique for securing titanium cerebellar retractors into their desired position during a craniotomy to minimize their movement during the procedure. This simple technique can help to eliminate a potential frequent source of surgeon frustration, and has proven to be quick to perform, safe, and practicable.
Cerebellar; intraoperative; magnetic resonance imaging; retractor; titanium
Hemangioblastomas are associated with Von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHLD) in 10-40% of cases. Based upon a literature review we state the core features the neurosurgeon should be aware of.
We performed a selective literature (Cochrane and Medline) search for hemangioblastoma, both sporadic and VHL associated. We reviewed general characteristics (epidemiology, symptomatology, diagnosis, and management) and focused on follow-up as well as screening modalities for sporadic and VHL associated lesions.
Based upon our literature search, we established guidelines for screening and follow-up in both sporadic and VHL associated hemangioblastoma patients.
Screening for retinal angiomas, abdominal masses, and pheochromocytomas as well as genetic analysis is recommended for every patient with a newly diagnosed hemangioblastoma. Follow-up is by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the clinical neuronal region at 6 and at 12-24 months postoperatively. For VHL-associated hemangioblastomas yearly investigation for craniospinal hemangioblastoma by MRI and yearly screening and follow-up for retinal angiomas is recommended. Annual abdominal ultrasound with triennial computed tomography (CT) imaging for abdominal masses is postulated. Annual audiometry is to be performed for possible endolymphatic sac tumor, detailed radiographic imaging of the skull base should be performed upon abnormality in auditory testing. Investigations for cystadenomas of the epidydimis and broad ligament only are mandatory on indication. Annual investigation for pheochromocytoma is recommended.
Diagnosis; follow-up; hemangioblastoma; Von Hippel-Lindau disease; work-up
Cerebral mycotic aneurysms are rare sequelae of systemic infections that can cause profound morbidity and mortality with rupture. Direct bacterial extension and vessel integrity compromise from septic emboli have been implicated as mechanisms for formation of these lesions. We report the 5-day development of a ruptured mycotic aneurysm arising from a septic embolism that caused a focal M1 pseudoocclusion.
A 14-year-old girl developed acute left-sided hemiparesis while hospitalized for subacute bacterial endocarditis that was found after she presented with a 2-week history of fever, myalgia, shortness of breath, and lethargy. Mitral valve vegetations were confirmed in the setting of hemophilus bacteremia. Brain magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and angiography confirmed middle cerebral artery infarct with focal pseudoocclusion of the distal M1 segment. Given that further middle cerebral artery territory was at risk, a trial of heparin was attempted for revascularization but required discontinuation owing to hemorrhagic conversion. Decline of the patient's mental status necessitated craniectomy for decompression. Postoperatively, her mental status improved with residual left hemiparesis. On the third postoperative day (5 days after MR angiography), the patient's neurologic condition acutely declined, with development of right-sided mydriasis. Computed tomography (CT) angiography revealed a ruptured 19 × 16 mm pseudoaneurysm arising from the M1 site of the previous occlusion. Emergent coiling of aneurysm and parent vessel followed by hematoma evacuation ensued. At discharge, the patient had residual left hemiparesis but intact speech and cognition.
Focal occlusions due to septic emboli should be considered high-risk for mycotic aneurysm formation, prompting aggressive monitoring with neuroimaging and treatment when indicated.
Cerebral aneurysm; infective endocarditis; mycotic aneurysm; septic emboli
In 2011, Epstein and Hood documented that 17.2% of 274 patients with cervical/lumbar complaints seen in first or second opinion over one year were told they needed “unnecessary” spine surgery (e.g., defined as for pain alone, without neurological deficits, or significant radiographic abnormalities). Subsequently, in 2012 Gamache found that 69 (44.5%) of the 155 second opinion patients seen over a 14-month period were told by outside spine surgeons that they needed surgery; the second opinion surgeon (Gamache) found those operations to be unnecessary. Increasingly, patients, spine surgeons, hospitals, and insurance carriers should not only be questioning whether spinal operations are “unnecessary”, but also whether they are “wrong” (e.g., overly extensive, anterior vs. posterior operations), or “right” (appropriate).
Prospectively, 437 patients with cervical or lumbar complaints were seen in spinal consultation over a 20-month period. Of the 254 (58.1%) patients coming in for first opinions those with surgical vs. non-surgical lesions were identified. Of the 183 (41.9%) patients coming in for second opinions, who were previously told by outside surgeons that they needed spine operations, the second opinion surgeon documented the number of “unnecessary”, “wrong”, or “right” operations previously recommended.
Surgical pathology was identified in 138 (54.3%) patients presenting for first opinions. For patients seen in second opinion, 111 (60.7%) were told by outside surgeons that they required “unnecessary”, 61 (33.3%) the “wrong”, or 11 (6%) the “right” operations.
Of 183 second opinions seen over 20 months, the second opinion surgeon documented that previous spine surgeons recommended “unnecessary” (60.7%), the “wrong” (33.3%), or the “right” (6%) operations.
First opinions; right; spine surgery; second opinions; unnecessary; wrong
Spinal epidural hematomas are rare conditions. Although the exact cause remains unknown in up to 40% of cases, anticoagulation therapy, neoplasm, thrombolytic therapy, internal jugular vein thrombosis, and prolonged Valsalva maneuvers associated with pregnancy may be contributing factors. The source of bleeding appears to be the dorsal internal vertebral venous plexus (IVVP).
A 65-year-old female patient with hepatitis C-related cirrhosis underwent orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). The patient developed SSEH due to congestion of the IVVP in the peri-transplant period. Concurrent spinal cord infarction occurred, likely secondary to hypoperfusion during a cardiac arrest.
This case study should increase awareness of SSEH as a complication of OLT.
Complications of liver transplantation; coagulopathy; internal vertebral venous plexus; orthotopic liver transplantation; spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma; spinal cord infarction
Vertebral artery injuries during cervical spine surgery are rare, but potentially fatal. When performing cervical spine surgery, it is imperative that the surgeon has a systematic approach for avoiding, and if necessary, dealing with a vertebral artery injury.
This is a review paper.
Upper posterior cervical spine surgeries put the vertebral artery at the highest risk, as opposed to anterior subaxial cervical spine procedures, which put the artery at the least risk. A thorough understanding of the complex anatomy of the vertebral artery is mandatory prior to performing cervical spine surgery, and since the vertebral artery can have a variable course, especially in the upper cervical spine, the surgeon must minimize the possibility of an arterial injury by preoperatively assessing the artery with a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Intraoperatively, the surgeon must be aware of when the vertebral artery is most at risk, and take precautions to avoid an injury. In the event of an arterial injury, the surgeon must have a plan of action to (1) Achieve control of the hemorrhage. (2) Prevent acute central nervous system ischemia. (3) Prevent postoperative complications such as embolism and pseudoaneurysm
Prior to performing cervical spine surgery, one must understand the four A's of vertebral artery injuries: Anatomy, Assessment, Avoidance, and Action.
Cervical spine surgery; planning; treatment; vertebral artery injury
Currently, there are no uniform guidelines regarding the appropriate amount of blood products ordered prior to spine surgery. Here, we audited our own institution's practices along with preoperative variables that contributed to perioperative transfusion requirements for elective spinal arthrodesis.
This study utilized a single institution retrospective chart review of patients undergoing elective spinal fusion over a 2 year period. The cross matched to transfused (C/T) ratio was utilized to compare different patient groups. Sub-group multivariate analysis enabled us to identify possible predictors of transfusion for this patient population.
Eighty-five patients were included in the study. Of the 292 units of packed red blood cells ordered preoperatively, only 66 were transfused (C/T ratio 4.4:1). Those undergoing arthrodesis for degenerative disease (6.9:1) or cervical spine arthrodesis (23:1) had the highest C/T ratios. Univariate analysis revealed several factors contributing to a relatively high probability of perioperative transfusions, while multivariate analysis showed that the indication for surgery was the only factor independently associated with the requirement for transfusion.
We found an unacceptably high C/T ratio at our institution. Based on the results of our univariate analysis, we recommend that two units packed cells to be arranged for patients with preoperative hemoglobin levels <9 g/dl, trauma, and Adult Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) cases, or where more than two levels were being decompressed and/or arthrodesed. For the remainder of the cases, a group and hold policy should be sufficient.
Arthrodesis; cross matched/transfusion ratio; elective spine arthrodesis; elective surgery; prediction of transfusion requirements
In two recent publications, the authors’ hypothesis was that Modic type 1 changes seen in patients with chronic low back pain and herniated lumbar discs may be attributed to bacterial infection/inflammation. The first study showed that many herniated discs were infected with Proprionibacterium acnes, a common anaerobic skin organism, also found in sarcoidosis, and possibly, arthritic joints. In the second double-blind randomized study, 162 patients with disc herniation and Modic type 1 changes were treated with 100 days of oral Bioclavid (Amoxicillin/Clavulanic acid) vs. placebo; those treated with antibiotics improved in all dimensions (e.g., reduced chronic low back/leg pain, reduced disability). Together, the implications of these studies for spine surgeons and pain practitioners are momentous. If a few weeks of oral antibiotic treatment resolves chronic low back pain, then much currently performed spine surgery (e.g. including internal fixation/fusion), as well as chronic pain management/rehabilitation and psychological strategies may be rendered unnecessary.
Disc disease; infection; Modic type I changes; nonsurgical; spine
Patient safety is a top priority of healthcare organizations. The Joint Commission (TJC) is now requiring that healthcare organizations promulgate polices to investigate and resolve disruptive behavior among employees.
Our aims in this investigation utilizing the Provider Conflict Questionnaire (PCQ: Appendix A) included; determining what conflicts exist among a large sample of healthcare providers, how to assess the extent and frequency of disruptive behaviors, and what types of consequences result from these conflicts. The PCQ was distributed utilizing electronic postings, and predetermined e-mail lists to nurses and physicians across the US.
The convenience sample included 617 respondents to the questionnaire. All incomplete responses (failure to answer all 17 items on the questionnaire) were excluded from data analysis. Our major finding was that disruptive behavior was the greatest problem observed in 82% of organizations; 74% personally witnessed these behaviors, while 5% personally experienced these behaviors. Friedman analysis of variance (ANOVA) analyses demonstrated that the difference between these three estimates were significant (χ2 = 207.8 df = 2, P < 0.0001).
Healthcare organizations in the US are bound by TJC regulations to develop leadership standards that address disruptive behavior. These organizations can no longer stand by and ignore behaviors that threaten not only the bottom line of the institution, but also most critically, patient safety. As more attention is being paid to recommendations and mandates from the TJC and the Institute of Medicine (IOM), we will need more data, like those provided from this study, to better document how to address, resolve, and prevent future “misbehaviors”.
Disruptive behavior; healthcare organization; recommendations: Leadership standards: Patient safety
Instrumentation has become an integral component in the management of various spinal pathologies. The rate of infection varies from 2% to 20% of all instrumented spinal procedures. Every occurrence produces patient morbidity, which may adversely affect long-term outcome and increases health care costs.
A comprehensive review of the literature from 1990 to 2012 was performed utilizing PubMed and several key words: Infection, spine, instrumentation, implant, management, and biofilms. Articles that provided a current review of the pathogenesis, diagnosis, prevention, and management of instrumented spinal infections over the years were reviewed.
There are multiple risk factors for postoperative spinal infections. Infections in the setting of instrumentation are more difficult to diagnose and treat due to biofilm. Infections may be early or delayed. C Reactive Protein (CRP) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) are important diagnostic tools. Optimal results are obtained with surgical debridement followed by parenteral antibiotics. Removal or replacement of hardware should be considered in delayed infections.
An improved understanding of the role of biofilm and the development of newer spinal implants has provided insight in the pathogenesis and management of infected spinal implants. This literature review highlights the mechanism, pathogenesis, prevention, and management of infection after spinal instrumentation. It is important to accurately identify and treat postoperative spinal infections. The treatment is often multimodal and prolonged.
Biofilm; infection; instrumentation; spinal surgery
Transforaminal epidural injection of local anesthetics and corticosteroids is a common practice in patients with radicular pain. However, serious morbidity has also been reported, which can be attributed to an arterial or venous injection of the medication especially particulate glucocorticoid preparations. Using a blunt needle in contrast to sharp needle has been suggested to reduce this risk in a study on animals.
We present a 59-year-old female with L5 lumbar radicular symptoms and left L5-S1 foraminal narrowing who underwent transforaminal epidural injection with fluoroscopic guidance using a 22-gauge blunt curved needle (Epimed®, Johnstown, NY). Intravascular needle placement was detected during real-time contrast injection under live fluoroscopy after a negative aspiration and local anesthetic test dose. The needle was slightly withdrawn and correct distribution of the contrast was confirmed along the target nerve root and into the epidural space.
This case report discusses vascular penetration utilizing an Epimed® blunt needle to perform transforaminal injections in a clinical setting. This topic was previously discussed in earlier animal studies. We also reemphasize that neither negative aspiration or local anesthetic test doses are reliable techniques to ensure the safety of transforaminal epidural injections.
Blunt needle; fluoroscopy; intravascular penetration; radicular pain; transforaminal epidural injection
Intraoperative neural monitoring (IONM), utilizing somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP) and electromyography (EMG), was introduced to cervical spine surgery in the late 1980's. However, as SEP only provided physiological data regarding the posterior cord, new motor deficits were observed utilizing SEP alone. This prompted the development of motor evoked potential monitoring (MEP) which facilitated real-time assessment of the anterior/anterolateral spinal cord. Although all three modalities, SEP, EMG, and MEP, are routinely available for IONM of cervical spine procedures, MEP are not yet routinely employed. The purpose of this review is to emphasize that MEP should now routinely accompany SEP and EMG when performing IONM of cervical spine surgery. Interestingly, one of the most common reasons for malpractice suits involving the cervical spine, is quadriparesis/quadriplegia following a single level anterior cervical diskectomy and fusion (ACDF). Previously, typical allegations in these suits included; negligent surgery, lack of informed consent, failure to diagnose/treat, and failure to brace. Added to this list, perhaps, as the 5th most reason for a suit will be failure to monitor with MEP. This review documents the value of MEP monitoring in addition to SEP and EMG monitoring in cervical spine surgery. The addition of MEP0 should minimize major motor injuries, and more accurately and reliably detect impending anterior cord deterioration that may be missed with SEP monitoring alone.
Cervical surgery; electromyography; intraoperative monitoring; motor evoked potentials; neurological; somatosensory evoked potentials; spine surgery
Developing world; neurosurgery; missionary neurosurgery; volunterism in medicine
Modern ventriculoperitoneal shunts (VPS) are programmable, which enables clinicians to adjust valve-pressure according to their patients’ individual needs. The aim of this retrospective analysis is to evaluate indications for valve-pressure adjustments in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH).
Patients operated between 2004 and 2011 diagnosed with iNPH were included. Kiefer-Scale was used to classify each patient. Follow-up exams were conducted 3, 6, and 12 months after shunt implantation and yearly thereafter. Initial valve-pressure was 100 or 70 mmH2O. Planned reductions of the valve-pressure to 70 and 50 mmH2O, respectively, were carried out and reactive adjustment of the valve-pressure to avoid over- and under-drainage were indicated.
A total of 52 patients were provided with a Medos-Hakim valveCodman® with a Miethke shunt-assistantAesculap® and 111 patients with a Miethke-proGAVAesculap®. 180 reductions of the valve-pressure took place (65% reactive, 35% planned). Most patients (89%) needed one or two adjustments of their valve-pressures for optimal results. In 41%, an improvement of the symptoms was observed. Gait disorder was improved most often after valve-pressure adjustments (32%). 18 times an elevation of valve-pressure was necessary because of headaches, vertigo, or the development of subdural hygroma. Optimal valve-pressure for most patients was around 50 mmH2O (36%).
The goal of shunt therapy in iNPH should usually be valve-pressure settings between 30 and 70 mmH2O. Reactive adjustments of the valve-pressure are useful for therapy of over- and underdrainage symptoms. Planned reductions of the valve opening pressure are effective even if postoperative results are already satisfactory.
Adjustments; gravitational valve; indications; iNPH; idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus; valve-pressure
Posterior fossa arachnoid cysts, including quadrigeminal cistern arachnoid cysts, can occasionally cause compression of the quadrigeminal plate, leading to Sylvian aqueduct stenosis and induction of cerebellar tonsillar descent into the foramen magnum. This, in turn, can result in obstructive hydrocephalus. In such cases, the characteristic of hydrocephalus is generally considered to be hypertensive.
We present the case of a 28-year-old female complaining of chronic and progressively worsening headaches following the delivery of her first child. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed marked tri-ventriculomegaly, the arachnoid cyst located in the quadrigeminal cistern, and cerebellar tonsillar descent. Ophthalmoscopy revealed bilateral papilledema indicating a long-standing elevation of intracranial pressure. Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) was performed successfully and resulted in complete recovery from her headaches and papilledema. Postoperative MRI revealed resolution of ventriculomegaly and cerebellar tonsillar descent, suggesting that the fourth ventricle outlet obstruction was associated with the development of the hydrocephalus in this patient.
Our case is the first report that a quadrigeminal arachnoid cyst associated with both cerebellar tonsillar descent and hydrocephalus was well treated with ETV. It was indicated that the patient's hydrocephalus and cerebellar tonsillar descent were secondary and synergistic events, caused by the arachnoid cyst located in the quadrigeminal cistern.
Arachnoid cyst; endoscopic third ventriculostomy; hydrocephalus; tonsillar descent
Blastomyces dermatitidis is a dimorphic fungus found endemically in the Mississippi and Ohio River basins and in the Midwestern and Canadian provinces that border the Great Lakes. Unlike other fungal infections, it most commonly affects immunocompetent hosts. Blastomycosis typically manifests as pulmonary infection, but may affect nearly any organ, including the skin, bone, and genitourinary system. Central nervous system (CNS) blastomycosis is rare, but potentially fatal manifestation of this disease. When it does occur, it most commonly presents as acute or chronic meningitis.
We present a case of a patient who suffered intractable nausea and vomiting for several months before discovery of a large cerebellar blastomycoma causing mass effect and obstructive hydrocephalus. The enhancing lesion with unusual peripheral cystic structures is a unique radiographic appearance of CNS blastomycosis.
We review this patient's purely intraparenchymal manifestation of CNS blastomycosis and describe the unique imaging characteristics encountered.
Blastomycosis; cerebellum; CNS blastomycosis; fungal infection