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Open access

Compressive myelopathy from diffuse spinal dural calcifications in a patient with end-stage renal disease: illustrative case

Alexis Malecki, Jacob Pawloski, Anthony Anzalone, Kelly Shaftel, Hassan Ali Fadel, and Ian Lee

BACKGROUND

Diffuse spinal dural calcification is a rare disorder associated with hyperparathyroidism, including the secondary forms associated with renal failure, osteodystrophy, and chronic hypocalcemia. Here, the authors report a rare case of diffuse dural calcification causing spinal cord compression with myelopathy, requiring decompressive surgery with duraplasty to achieve adequate decompression.

OBSERVATIONS

A 46-year-old male with a history of renal failure on dialysis presented with 2 months of progressive neuropathic pain, lower-extremity weakness, and nonsustained clonus. Spine imaging showed severe renal osteodystrophy with multilevel compression fractures and diffuse dural calcifications with areas of invagination causing severe spinal cord compression. Decompressive surgery was recommended. In surgery, a thickened and calcified dura was encountered with areas of buckling causing spinal cord compression. The invaginated area of the dura was resected and reconstructed with patch duraplasty. The patient’s neurological status remained unchanged postoperatively, and at the 6-month follow-up, the patient reported significant improvement in pain and muscle spasms.

LESSONS

Diffuse dural calcifications are a rare complication of prolonged dialysis and secondary hyperparathyroidism. When there is resultant spinal cord compression, this condition requires an intradural approach that addresses the thickened, calcified dura directly to obtain adequate spinal cord decompression.

Open access

Minimally invasive resection of a prominent transverse process in neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome: new application for a primarily spinal approach. Illustrative case

Marc Hohenhaus, Johann Lambeck, Nico Kremers, Jürgen Beck, Christoph Scholz, and Ulrich Hubbe

BACKGROUND

The optimal surgical approach to treat neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome (nTOS) depends on the individual patient’s anatomy as well as the surgeon’s experience. The authors present a minimally invasive posterior approach for the resection of a prominent transverse process to reduce local muscular trauma.

OBSERVATIONS

A 19-year-old female presented with painful sensations in the right arm and severe fine-motor skill dysfunction in the right hand, each of which had been present for several years. Further examination confirmed affected C8 and T1 areas, and imaging showed an elongated C7 transverse process displacing the lower trunk of the brachial plexus. Decompression of the plexus structures by resection of the C7 transverse process was indicated, owing to persistent neurological effects. Surgery was performed using a minimally invasive posterior approach in which the nuchal soft tissue was bluntly dissected by dilatators and resection of the transverse process was done microscopically through a tubular retractor. The postoperative course showed a sufficient reduction of pain and paresthesia.

LESSONS

The authors describe a minimally invasive posterior approach for the treatment of nTOS with the aim of providing indirect relief of strain on brachial plexus structures. The advantages of this technique include a small skin incision and minor soft tissue damage.

Open access

Angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma: primary intracranial lesion with thoracic spine metastasis and a malignant course. Illustrative case

Audrey Demand, Sean Barber, Suzanne Powell, and Gavin Britz

BACKGROUND

Angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma (AFH) is an exceptionally rare soft tissue neoplasm. This tumor primarily presents as a benign soft tissue lesion in children with an average age of 14 years. The standard treatment regimen is wide local excision with interval follow-up. However, newer reports have demonstrated malignant potential with the possibility of intracranial metastasis.

OBSERVATIONS

A 45-year-old male with no soft tissue primary tumor presented with a primary intracranial lesion and thoracic spine metastasis refractory to chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

LESSONS

This report illustrates the potential for a highly malignant nature of metastatic AFH. In addition, the authors demonstrate an incidence of AFH in a middle-aged male without a primary soft tissue or skin lesion. This report highlights the importance of prompt treatment and excision for AFH, as there is still little understanding of successful options for systemic therapy.

Open access

Spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain treatment following sacral chordoma resection: illustrative case

Khaled M Taghlabi, Taimur Hassan, Isuru A Somawardana, Sibi Rajendran, Ahmed Doomi, Lokeshwar S Bhenderu, Jesus G Cruz-Garza, and Amir H Faraji

BACKGROUND

Cancer-related or postoperative pain can occur following sacral chordoma resection. Despite a lack of current recommendations for cancer pain treatment, spinal cord stimulation (SCS) has demonstrated effectiveness in addressing cancer-related pain.

OBSERVATIONS

A 76-year-old female with a sacral chordoma underwent anterior osteotomies and partial en bloc sacrectomy. She subsequently presented with chronic pain affecting both buttocks and posterior thighs and legs, significantly impeding her daily activities. She underwent a staged epidural SCS paddle trial and permanent system placement using intraoperative neuromonitoring. The utilization of percutaneous leads was not viable because of her history of spinal fluid leakage, multiple lumbosacral surgeries, and previous complex plastic surgery closure. The patient reported a 62.5% improvement in her lower-extremity pain per the modified Quadruple Visual Analog Scale and a 50% improvement in the modified Pain and Sleep Questionnaire 3-item index during the SCS trial. Following permanent SCS system placement and removal of her externalized lead extenders, she had an uncomplicated postoperative course and reported notable improvements in her pain symptoms.

LESSONS

This case provides a compelling illustration of the successful treatment of chronic pain using SCS following radical sacral chordoma resection. Surgeons may consider this treatment approach in patients presenting with refractory pain following spinal tumor resection.

Open access

Long-term survival after cordectomy in a case of spinal cord diffuse midline glioma, H3K27-altered: illustrative case

Daisuke Sato, Hirokazu Takami, Shota Tanaka, Shunsaku Takayanagi, Masako Ikemura, and Nobuhito Saito

BACKGROUND

Spinal cord diffuse midline glioma, H3K27-altered, is an extremely rare entity with a poor prognosis. However, its optimal treatment remains poorly defined. Although cordectomy was introduced in the early 20th century, its efficacy has been questioned and shrouded behind the scenes.

OBSERVATIONS

A 76-year-old male with recent-onset paraparesis of the lower extremities and paresthesia presented to our outpatient clinic. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed an intra-axial spinal cord tumor extending from T12 to L2. The patient underwent laminectomy and partial tumor resection, and the surgical specimen was histologically diagnosed as a diffuse midline glioma, H3K27-altered. Although standard chemoradiotherapy was implemented, the patient experienced local tumor recurrence 2 years later and underwent cordectomy at T9. The patient was alive at the 4-year follow-up after cordectomy without tumor recurrence. According to the literature, patients with lesions in the lower thoracic cord below T8 achieved a longer survival than those with lesions in the upper thoracic cord above T5.

LESSONS

Cordectomy benefits selected cases of high-grade spinal cord gliomas. Maximal prevention of cerebrospinal fluid dissemination by tumor cells is indisputably important, and tumors located below the lower thoracic spine may be the key to success in establishing a long-term prognosis after cordectomy.

Open access

Combined endoscopic and microsurgical approach for the drainage of a multisegmental thoracolumbar epidural abscess: illustrative case

Vincent Hagel, Felix Dymel, Stephan Werle, Vera Barrera, and Mazda Farshad

BACKGROUND

Spinal epidural abscess is a rare but serious infectious disease that can rapidly develop into a life-threatening condition. Therefore, the appropriate treatment is indispensable. Although conservative treatment is justifiable in certain cases, surgical treatment needs to be considered as an alternative early on because of complications such as (progressive) neurological deficits or sepsis. However, traditional surgical techniques usually include destructive approaches up to (multilevel) laminectomies. Such excessive approaches do have biomechanical effects potentially affecting the long-term outcomes. Therefore, minimally invasive approaches have been described as alternative strategies, including endoscopic approaches.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors describe a surgical technique involving a combination of two minimally invasive approaches (endoscopic and microsurgical) to drain a multisegmental (thoracolumbar) abscess using the physical phenomenon of continuous pressure difference to minimize collateral tissue damage.

LESSONS

The combination of minimally invasive approaches, including the endoscopic technique, may be an alternative in draining selected epidural abscesses while achieving a similar amount of abscess removal and causing less collateral approach damage in comparison with more traditional techniques.

Open access

Surgical management of metastatic Hürthle cell carcinoma to the skull base, cortex, and spine: illustrative case

N. U. Farrukh Hameed, Meagan M Hoppe, Ahmed Habib, Jeffrey Head, Regan Shanahan, Bradley A Gross, Sandra Narayanan, Georgios Zenonos, and Pascal Zinn

BACKGROUND

Hürthle cell carcinoma (HCC) is an unusual and aggressive variant of the follicular type of differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC), accounting for less than 3% of DTCs but posing the highest risk of metastasis. Brain metastases are uncommonly reported in the literature but pose a poor prognosis. The low rate of brain metastases from HCC coupled with ambiguous treatment protocols for the extracranial disease complicate successful disease management and definitive treatment strategy. The authors present the case of a patient with HCC metastasis to the skull base, cortex, and spine with recent tibial metastasis.

OBSERVATIONS

Despite the presence of metastasis to the cortex, skull base, and spine, the patient responded very well to radiation therapy, sellar mass resection, and cervical spine decompression and fixation and has made a remarkable recovery.

LESSONS

The authors’ multidisciplinary approach to the patient’s care, including a diverse team of specialists from oncology, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, radiology, endocrinology, and collaboration with clinical trial researchers, was fundamental to her successful outcome, demonstrating the utility of intersecting specialties in successful outcomes in neuro-oncological patient care.

Open access

Multidisciplinary management of thoracic esophageal fistula secondary to traumatic upper thoracic fracture (T3–4) with associated discitis/osteomyelitis and spinal epidural abscess: illustrative case

Peter Schaible, Paul Gordon, Ramasamy Kalimuthu, Ellen Omi, and Keith Schaible

BACKGROUND

An esophageal fistula secondary to a traumatic upper thoracic (T3–4) fracture with resultant thoracic discitis/osteomyelitis and an epidural abscess with neurological compromise is a rare clinical entity. Early diagnosis is critical for an optimal clinical outcome avoiding grave and progressive spinal dissemination with structural instability and neurological deterioration.

OBSERVATIONS

The following case, not clearly described previously in the literature, highlights the clinical course and multidisciplinary approach to management including a single-stage posterior cervicothoracic (C3–T6) decompression with vertebral reconstruction with an expandable interbody cage (T2–4) and posterior cervicothoracic fusion and instrumentation (C3–T6), followed by direct esophageal fistula closure with AlloDerm and a vascularized latissimus dorsi muscle flap.

LESSONS

Early diagnosis and the potential treatment of a posttraumatic esophageal fistula requires a multidisciplinary approach.

Open access

Single-level ossified ligamentum flavum causing a holocord syrinx: illustrative case

Prashant Punia, Ashish Chugh, Sarang Gotecha, and Apurva Lachake

BACKGROUND

Syringomyelia is a neurological disorder that is caused by abnormal cerebrospinal fluid flow or circulation. It is an incidental finding in most cases, predominantly presenting with sensory symptoms of insensitivity to pain and temperature. Spinal ossified ligamentum flavum (OLF) leading to syringomyelia is one of the rare causes. The authors report an unusual case of syringomyelia due to a thoracic OLF.

OBSERVATIONS

A 54-year-old female presented with backache, difficulty walking, spasticity in the bilateral lower limbs, tingling sensation in the bilateral lower limbs, and paraparesis for 5 years. Her radiological investigations were suggestive of an OLF causing a syrinx. She underwent laminectomy, and her syrinx resolved on subsequent follow-up.

LESSONS

A syrinx due to a single-level OLF is rare, and this uncommon cause should be kept in mind while formulating treatment plans.

Open access

Thoracic pediculectomy for acute spinal cord decompression in high-risk spinal deformity correction: illustrative case

J. Manuel Sarmiento, Christina Rymond, Alondra Concepcion-Gonzalez, Chris Mikhail, Fthimnir M Hassan, and Lawrence G Lenke

BACKGROUND

Neurological complications are higher in patients with severe spinal deformities (Cobb angle >100°). The authors highlight a known technique for thoracic concave apical pedicle resection that is useful for spinal cord decompression in patients with high-risk spinal deformities in the setting of intraoperative neuromonitoring (IONM) changes.

OBSERVATIONS

A 14-year-old female with progressive idiopathic scoliosis presented for evaluation of her clinical deformity. Scoliosis radiographs showed a double major curve pattern comprising a 107° right main thoracic curve and a compensatory 88° left thoracolumbar curve. She underwent 2 weeks of halo-gravity traction that reduced her major thoracic curve to 72°. During thoracic posterior column osteotomies, the authors were alerted to decreases in IONM signals that were not responsive to increases in mean arterial pressure, traction weight reduction, and convex compression maneuvers. The dural surface was tightly draped over the two thoracic apical pedicles of T7 and T8, so emergent pediculectomies were performed at both levels for spinal cord decompression. IONM signals gradually improved and eventually became even better than baseline. The patient woke up without any neurological deficits.

LESSONS

Pediculectomy of the concave apical pedicle(s) should be considered for spinal cord decompression if there are IONM changes during high-risk spinal deformity surgery.