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Open access

Extracranial arteriovenous malformation mimicking a peripheral nerve tumor: illustrative case

Rahul Rodrigues, M. Harrison Snyder, Wilson Chavez, Knarik Arkun, Ozden Bulut, and Julian Wu

BACKGROUND

Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are vascular malformations that are more commonly found intracranially, followed by the head, neck, limbs, and trunk. Extracranially, AVMs can mimic peripheral nerve tumors, leading to misdiagnosis.

OBSERVATIONS

A 19-year-old female, who presented with left lateral lower leg pain, was preoperatively thought to have a peripheral nerve tumor; at surgery, however, she was found to have an extracranial AVM. The distinct margins of the tumor on preoperative magnetic resonance imaging suggested that the patient might have a peripheral nerve tumor; however, the clinical symptoms of focal pain at rest and the absence of Tinel’s sign should have raised questions about this diagnosis.

LESSONS

This case highlights the difficulty in differentiating a peripheral nerve tumor from an extracranial AVM in certain clinical scenarios. It is important to use a multifaceted diagnostic approach to get a correct preoperative diagnosis and plan treatment appropriately.

Open access

Internal iliac artery aneurysm masquerading as a sciatic nerve schwannoma: illustrative case

Lokeshwar S. Bhenderu, Khaled M. Taghlabi, Taimur Hassan, Jaime R. Guerrero, Jesus G. Cruz-Garza, Rachel L. Goldstein, Shashank Sharma, Linda V. Le, Tue A. Dinh, and Amir H. Faraji

BACKGROUND

Schwannomas are common peripheral nerve sheath tumors. Imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) can help to distinguish schwannomas from other types of lesions. However, there have been several reported cases describing the misdiagnosis of aneurysms as schwannomas.

OBSERVATIONS

A 70-year-old male with ongoing pain despite spinal fusion surgery underwent MRI. A lesion was noted along the left sciatic nerve, which was believed to be a sciatic nerve schwannoma. During the surgery for planned neurolysis and tumor resection, the lesion was noted to be pulsatile. Electromyography mapping and intraoperative ultrasound confirmed vascular pulsations and turbulent flow within the aneurysm, so the surgery was aborted. A formal CT angiogram revealed the lesion to be an internal iliac artery (IIA) branch aneurysm. The patient underwent coil embolization with complete obliteration of the aneurysm.

LESSONS

The authors report the first case of an IIA aneurysm misdiagnosed as a sciatic nerve schwannoma. Surgeons should be aware of this potential misdiagnosis and potentially use other imaging modalities to confirm the lesion before proceeding with surgery.

Open access

Etiology of spastic foot drop among 16 patients undergoing electrodiagnostic studies: patient series

Lisa B. E. Shields, Vasudeva G. Iyer, Yi Ping Zhang, and Christopher B. Shields

BACKGROUND

Differentiating foot drop due to upper motor neuron (UMN) lesions from that due to lower motor neuron lesions is crucial to avoid unnecessary surgery or surgery at the wrong location. Electrodiagnostic (EDX) studies are useful in evaluating patients with spastic foot drop (SFD).

OBSERVATIONS

Among 16 patients with SFD, the cause was cervical myelopathy in 5 patients (31%), cerebrovascular accident in 3 (18%), hereditary spastic paraplegia in 2 (12%), multiple sclerosis in 2 (12%), chronic cerebral small vessel disease in 2 (12%), intracranial meningioma in 1 (6%), and diffuse brain injury in 1 (6%). Twelve patients (75%) had weakness of a single leg, whereas 2 others (12%) had bilateral weakness. Eleven patients (69%) had difficulty walking. The deep tendon reflexes of the legs were hyperactive in 15 patients (94%), with an extensor plantar response in 9 patients (56%). Twelve patients (75%) had normal motor and sensory conduction, 11 of whom had no denervation changes of the legs.

LESSONS

This study is intended to raise awareness among surgeons about the clinical features of SFD. EDX studies are valuable in ruling out peripheral causes of foot drop, which encourages diagnostic investigation into a UMN source for the foot drop.