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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

Spinal dural arteriovenous fistula masquerading as a herniated disc: illustrative case

Moustafa A. Mansour, Dyana F. Khalil, Soliman El-Sokkary, Mostafa A. Mostafa, and Ahmad A. Ayad

BACKGROUND

Spinal dural arteriovenous fistula (SDAVF) is a rare disorder with an unknown etiology. Often, the clinical presentation and imaging findings are misleading, causing this condition to be mistaken for other entities, such as demyelinating or degenerative spinal lesions.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors report a challenging case of SDAVF in which the patient’s symptoms were initially thought to be attributable to a herniated disc based on his imaging studies at another institution. He sought the authors for a second opinion, which yielded a confirmed diagnosis of SDAVF. Due to his rapidly progressive neurological manifestations, he underwent a surgical division of the fistula using intraoperative video angiography via indocyanine green injections. His symptoms progressively improved over a 3-month period. He regained full sphincter control by 4 months, which gave him a better recovery than seen in other patients with SDAVFs, who do not generally fully regain sphincter control.

LESSONS

SDAVF is a critical spinal vascular pathology that should not be overlooked in the differential diagnosis of any patient presenting with signs of progressive myelopathy. Despite its associated vague initial clinical symptoms, SDAVF typically, but not always, demonstrates a characteristic imaging appearance on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging studies; therefore, MR angiography is still required for definitive diagnosis. Surgical treatment for SDAVF is almost always definitive and curative.

Open access

Traumatic rupture of thoracic epidural capillary hemangioma resulting in acute neurologic deficit: illustrative case

Reilly L. Kidwell, Lauren E. Stone, Vanessa Goodwill, and Joseph D. Ciacci

BACKGROUND

Thoracic epidural capillary hemangioma is exceedingly rare, with only a few reported cases. The typical presentation usually includes chronic, progressive symptoms of spinal cord compression in middle-aged adults. To the authors’ knowledge, this case is the first report in the literature of acute traumatic capillary hemangioma rupture.

OBSERVATIONS

A 22-year-old male presented with worsening lower extremity weakness and paresthesias after a fall onto his spine. Imaging showed no evidence of spinal fracture but revealed an expanding hematoma over 24 hours. Removal of the lesion demonstrated a ruptured capillary hemangioma.

LESSONS

This unique case highlights a rare occurrence of traumatic rupture of a previously unknown asymptomatic thoracic capillary hemangioma in a young adult.

Open access

Spontaneous closure of an incidental high-flow paravertebral arteriovenous fistula caused by vertebral giant cell tumor curettage: illustrative case

Yen-Heng Lin, Yu-Cheng Huang, and Fon-Yih Tsuang

BACKGROUND

Paravertebral arteriovenous fistula (AVF) after spinal surgery is rarely reported in the literature. Its natural course is largely unknown.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors report a 31-year-old woman with a high-flow AVF after T12 vertebral giant cell tumor curettage. Eight months after the initial surgery, revision en bloc surgery was planned. Preoperative computed tomography angiography was performed for vascularity assessment, which incidentally revealed a large paravertebral early-enhanced venous sac. High-flow AVF was confirmed through subsequent spinal angiography. Endovascular embolization was scheduled before the surgery to avoid massive blood loss. However, the AVF closed spontaneously 1 month after the spinal angiography. The plan was changed to preoperative embolization; subsequently, three-level en bloc spondylectomy was performed smoothly.

LESSONS

Iatrogenic AVF is possible, prompting investigation by vascular imaging when suspected. Embolization is a preferred treatment method when feasible. However, for iatrogenic etiology, the prothrombotic property of the contrast medium may induce the resolution. Multidisciplinary discussion can be very helpful before aggressive spinal surgery.