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Open access

Microvascular decompression of a vertebral artery loop causing cervical radiculopathy: illustrative case

Alexa Semonche, Lorenzo Rinaldo, Young Lee, Todd Dubnicoff, Harlan Matles, Dean Chou, Adib Abla, and Edward F Chang

BACKGROUND

Vertebral artery loops are a rare cause of cervical radiculopathy. Surgical options for nerve root decompression include an anterior or posterior approach, with or without additional microvascular decompression.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors describe a case of a 49-year-old man with a long-standing history of left-sided neck pain and migraines, who was found to have a vertebral artery loop in the left C3–4 neural foramen compressing the left C4 nerve root. The patient underwent a posterior cervical decompression with instrumented fusion and macrovascular decompression of the left C4 nerve root via Teflon felt insertion. In a literature review, we identified 20 similar cases that had also been managed surgically.

LESSONS

Although the anterior approach is more frequently described in the literature, a posterior approach for nerve compression by a vertebral artery loop is also a safe and effective treatment. The authors report the third case of this surgical approach with a good outcome.

Open access

Retrograde thrombectomy of acute common carotid artery occlusion with mobile thrombus: illustrative cases

Yukiya Okune, Hitoshi Fukuda, Toshiki Matsuoka, Yo Nishimoto, Keita Matsuoka, Naoki Fukui, 1 PhD, Satoru Hayashi, Tetsuya Ueba, and 1 PhD

BACKGROUND

Acute embolic occlusion of the common carotid artery (CCA) alone is rare. However, once it occurs, recanalization is challenging due to the large volume of the clot, larger diameter of the CCA, and risk of procedure-related distal embolism into the intracranial arteries.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors report two cases of acute embolic occlusion of CCA alone, caused by a cardiac embolus trapped at the proximal end of a preexisting atherosclerotic plaque at the cervical carotid bifurcation. In both cases, the CCA was successfully recanalized using retrograde thrombectomy in a hybrid operating room. In case 1, a 78-year-old male with acute right CCA occlusion underwent retrograde thrombectomy, where the cervical carotid bifurcation was exposed and incised, and the entire embolus was retrieved with forceps. Despite successful revascularization, massive bleeding from the CCA just after the retrieval remained a concern. In case 2, a 79-year-old female with acute right CCA occlusion underwent retrograde thrombectomy in the same manner. Because manual retrieval failed, a Fogarty balloon catheter inserted from the arteriotomy successfully retrieved the entire thrombus with minimal blood loss.

LESSONS

Retrograde thrombectomy through the arteriotomy of the cervical carotid bifurcation safely and effectively recanalizes acute embolic occlusion of the CCA alone.

Open access

Sternocleidomastoid muscle-splitting method for high cervical carotid endarterectomy: illustrative cases

Atsushi Sato, Tetsuo Sasaki, Toshihiro Ogiwara, Kazuhiro Hongo, and Tetsuyoshi Horiuchi

BACKGROUND

The number of cervical carotid endarterectomies (CEAs) has decreased as carotid artery stenting (CAS) has increased. However, CEA and CAS both have advantages and disadvantages; therefore, appropriate procedures must be selected for individual patients. High-positioned carotid artery stenosis presents technical challenges for CEA and is occasionally managed by performing CAS. However, CAS is associated with a high risk of thrombosis in patients with soft plaques, suggesting a clinical need for a better procedure. Consequently, appropriate surgical treatment for patients requiring high-level CEAs is essential.

OBSERVATIONS

In this study, a novel and straightforward method was devised. The primary concept underlying this technique is separation of the sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM) from other anatomical structures to ensure a wider surgical field. By anatomically separating the SCM into the sternal and clavicular head groups, the objective of the wider surgical field can be met. Herein, we report technical innovations in high-positioned carotid artery stenosis and evaluate their efficacy in two patients.

LESSONS

In conclusion, high CEA surgery using this new method is valuable and may eliminate barriers to more advanced approaches.

Open access

Intraoperative intraarterial indocyanine green video-angiography for disconnection of a perimedullary arteriovenous fistula: illustrative case

Youngkyung Jung, Antti Lindgren, Syed Uzair Ahmed, Ivan Radovanovic, Timo Krings, and Hugo Andrade-Barazarte

BACKGROUND

Intraarterial (IA) indocyanine green (ICG) angiography is an intraoperative imaging technique offering special and temporal characterization of vascular lesions with very fast dye clearance. The authors’ aim is to demonstrate the use of IA ICG angiography to aid in the surgical treatment of a perimedullary thoracic arteriovenous fistula (AVF) in a hybrid operating room (OR).

OBSERVATIONS

A 31-year-old woman with a known history of spinal AVF presented with 6 weeks of lower-extremity weakness, gait imbalance, and bowel/bladder dysfunction. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed an extensive series of flow voids across the thoracic spine, most notably at T11–12. After partial embolization, she was taken for surgical disconnection in a hybrid OR. Intraoperative spinal digital subtraction angiography was performed to identify feeding vessels. When the target arteries were catheterized, 0.05 mg of ICG in 2 mL of saline was injected, and the ICG flow in each artery was recorded using the microscope. With an improved surgical understanding of the contributing feeding arteries, the authors achieved complete in situ disconnection of the AVF.

LESSONS

IA ICG angiography can be used in hybrid OR settings to illustrate the vascular anatomy of multifeeder perimedullary AVFs and confirm its postoperative disconnection with a fast dye clearance.

Open access

Microsurgical intraluminal obliteration of type IV perimedullary arteriovenous fistula with an in situ hemostatic agent: illustrative case

Jacques Lara-Reyna, Jonathan R Garst, Nolan Winslow, and Jeffrey D Klopfenstein

BACKGROUND

Spinal arteriovenous fistulas (SAVFs) are underdiagnosed entities that can lead to severe morbidity from spinal cord dysfunction or hemorrhage. Treatment options include endovascular embolization or direct surgical obliteration at the level of the arteriovenous shunt. The authors present a case of intraluminal microsurgical access for occlusion with a hemostatic agent of a type IV SAVF near the conus medullaris as an alternative to clip occlusion to avoid nerve root compromise.

OBSERVATIONS

Temporary microsurgical clipping of the SAVF led to nerve root compromise detected via intraoperative monitoring. Instead, the authors advanced elongated pieces of a hemostatic agent directly into the arterial lumen via arteriotomy to create direct obliteration of the fistula without intraoperative monitoring changes.

LESSONS

In patients unable to tolerate clipping of the SAVF because of nerve root involvement and neurophysiological signal decline, open access of the vessels and direct intraluminal obliteration using a hemostatic agent should be considered as an alternative method of fistula occlusion.

Open access

Spinal arteriovenous malformation with a calcified nodule: illustrative case

Ping-Chuan Liu, Chung-Chia Huang, and Ching-Lin Chen

BACKGROUND

This article describes a rare case of cervical spinal arteriovenous malformation (AVM) mimicking a neurogenic spinal tumor.

OBSERVATIONS

A 22-year-old female presenting with a C6–7 AVM with a calcification nodule experienced new-onset acute right upper radiculopathy associated with extradural compression of the spinal cord. Note that spinal AVMs with a calcified nodule are rare. Endovascular embolization is generally used to relieve the symptoms of AVM; however, this procedure cannot relieve cord compression, particularly in cases complicated by calcified nodules. This article discusses treatment options.

LESSONS

Decompression surgery is preferable to endovascular embolization because it alleviates symptoms while preventing cord compression and minimizing the risk of recurrence.

Open access

Open surgical ligation of a thoracic spinal epidural arteriovenous fistula causing thoracic myelopathy: illustrative case

Brandon R. W. Laing, Benjamin Best, John D. Nerva, and Aditya Vedantam

BACKGROUND

Spinal epidural arteriovenous fistulas (eAVFs) are rare spinal vascular malformations characterized by an abnormal connection from the paraspinal and paravertebral system to the epidural venous plexus. This contrasts with the more frequently seen spinal dural AVF, where the fistula is entirely intradural. Although endovascular repair is commonly performed for spinal eAVF, few cases require open surgical ligation.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present a case of a 74-year-old male with progressive thoracic myelopathy secondary to a spinal eAVF. Thoracic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed intramedullary T2 signal hyperintensity from T8 to T12. Spinal angiography revealed a primary arterial supply from the right T11 segmental artery and minor supply from the left T11 branches with drainage into the ventral epidural space. The patient underwent T11–12 laminectomy and complete right T11–12 facetectomy for ligation of the fistula with T11–L1 fusion. A postoperative spinal angiogram showed resolution of the fistula. Postoperatively, the patient’s myelopathy improved, and MRI showed a decrease in T2 cord intensity.

LESSONS

Spinal eAVFs are rare lesions that differ from the more commonly seen intradural dural AVF in that the abnormal connection is in the epidural space, and they are often associated with a dilated epidural venous pouch. Treatment involves endovascular, open surgical, or combined approaches.

Open access

Transpedicular Onyx embolization of a thoracic hemangioma with robotic assistance: illustrative case

Andrew M. Hersh, Yike Jin, Risheng Xu, A. Daniel Davidar, Carly Weber-Levine, L. Fernando Gonzalez, and Nicholas Theodore

BACKGROUND

Hemangiomas are common benign vascular lesions that rarely present with pain and neurological deficits. Symptomatic lesions are often treated with endovascular embolization. However, transarterial embolization can be technically challenging depending on the size and caliber of the vessels. Moreover, embolization can result in osteonecrosis and vertebral collapse.

OBSERVATIONS

Here the authors report the first case of a T10 vertebral hemangioma treated with transpedicular Onyx embolization aided by a robotic platform that guided pedicle cannulation and Craig needle placement. An intravenous catheter was attached to the needle and dimethylsulfoxide was infused, followed by Onyx under real-time fluoroscopy. Repeat angiography demonstrated significantly reduced contrast opacification of the vertebral body without compromise of the segmental artery. A T9–11 pedicle screw fixation was performed to optimize long-term stability. The patient’s symptoms improved and was stable at the 6-month follow-up.

LESSONS

Transpedicular embolization of vertebral hemangiomas can be performed successfully under robotic navigation guidance, avoiding complications seen with the intra-arterial approach and allowing for simultaneous pedicle screw fixation to prevent collapse and delayed kyphotic deformity. During the same procedure, a biopsy specimen can be collected for pathology. This technique can help to alleviate patient symptoms while avoiding complications associated with transarterial embolization or open resection.

Open access

Radiation-induced cavernous malformations in the spine: patient series

Stefan W. Koester, Lea Scherschinski, Visish M. Srinivasan, Katherine Karahalios, Kavelin Rumalla, Dimitri Benner, Joshua S. Catapano, Robert F. Spetzler, and Michael T. Lawton

BACKGROUND

Radiation-induced spinal cord cavernous malformations (RISCCMs) are a rare subset of central nervous system lesions and are more clinically aggressive than congenital cavernous malformations (CMs). The authors assessed the characteristics and outcomes of patients with RISCCM at a single institution and systematically reviewed the pertinent literature using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines.

OBSERVATIONS

Among the 146 spinal CMs at the authors’ institution, 3 RISCCMs were found. Symptom duration ranged from 0.1 to 8.5 months (mean [standard deviation], 3.2 [4.6] months), and latency ranged from 16 to 29 years (22.4 [9.6] years). All 3 RISCCMs were surgically treated with complete resection; 2 patients had stable outcomes, and 1 improved postoperatively. A review of 1240 articles revealed 20 patients with RISCCMs. Six of these patients were treated with resection, 13 were treated conservatively, and in 1 case, the treatment type was not stated. Five of the 6 patients treated surgically reported improvement postoperatively or at follow-up; 1 was stable, and none reported worsened outcomes.

LESSONS

RISCCMs are rare sequelae following radiation that inadvertently affect the spinal cord. Altogether, the frequency of stable and improved outcomes on follow-up suggests that resection could prevent further patient decline caused by symptoms of RISCCM. Therefore, surgical management should be considered primary therapy in patients presenting with RISCCMs.

Open access

Vessel wall imaging and carotid artery stenting for recurrent cervical internal carotid artery vasospasm syndrome: illustrative case

Shinya Tokunaga, Yukihiro Yamao, Takakuni Maki, Akira Ishii, Tomoaki Miyake, Ken Yasuda, Yu Abekura, Masakazu Okawa, Takayuki Kikuchi, Yasutaka Fushimi, Kazumichi Yoshida, and Susumu Miyamoto

BACKGROUND

Recurrent cervical internal carotid artery vasospasm syndrome (RCICVS) causes cerebral infarction, ocular symptoms, and occasionally chest pain accompanied by coronary artery vasospasm. The etiology and optimal treatment remain unclear.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors report a patient with drug-resistant RCICVS who underwent carotid artery stenting (CAS). Magnetic resonance angiography revealed recurrent vasospasm in the cervical segment of the internal carotid artery (ICA). Vessel wall imaging during an ischemic attack revealed vascular wall thickening of the ICA, similar to that in reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome. The superior cervical ganglion was identified at the anteromedial side of the stenosis site. Coronary artery stenosis was also detected. After CAS, the symptoms of cerebral ischemia were prevented for 2 years, but bilateral ocular and chest symptoms did occur.

LESSONS

Vessel wall imaging findings suggest that RCICVS is a sympathetic nervous system-related disease. CAS could be an effective treatment for drug-resistant RCICVS to prevent cerebral ischemic events.