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Open access

Magnetic resonance imaging–derived relative cerebral blood volume characteristics in a case of pathologically confirmed neurocysticercosis: illustrative case

Nada E Botros, David Polinger-Hyman, Ryan T Beck, Christopher Kleefisch, E. Kelly S Mrachek, Jennifer Connelly, Kathleen M Schmainda, and Max O Krucoff

BACKGROUND

Neurocysticercosis (NCC) is a parasitic infection of the brain caused by ingesting water or food contaminated with tapeworm eggs. When it presents as a solitary mass, differentiation from a primary brain tumor on imaging can be difficult. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-derived relative cerebral blood volume (rCBV) is a newer imaging technique used to identify areas of neovascularization in tumors, which may advance the differential diagnosis.

OBSERVATIONS

A 25-year-old male presented after a seizure. Computed tomography (CT) and MRI demonstrated a partially enhancing lesion with microcalcifications and vasogenic edema. Follow-up rCBV assessment demonstrated mild hyperperfusion and/or small vessels at the lesional margins consistent with either an intermediate grade glioma or infection. Given the radiological equipoise, surgical accessibility, and differential diagnosis including primary neoplasm, metastatic disease, NCC, and abscess, resection was pursued. The calcified mass was excised en bloc and was confirmed as larval-stage NCC.

LESSONS

CT or MRI may not always provide sufficient information to distinguish NCC from brain tumors. Although reports have suggested that rCBV may aid in identifying NCC, here the authors describe a case of pathologically confirmed NCC in which preoperative, qualitative, standardized rCBV findings raised concern for a primary neoplasm. This case documents the first standardized rCBV values reported in a pathologically confirmed case of NCC in the United States.

Open access

Techniques for restoring optimal spinal biomechanics to alleviate symptoms in Bertolotti syndrome: illustrative case

Nolan J Brown, Zach Pennington, Hania Shahin, Oanh T Nguyen, and Martin H Pham

BACKGROUND

Lumbosacral transitional vertebrae (LSTVs) are congenital anomalies that occur in the spinal segments of L5–S1. These vertebrae result from sacralization of the lowermost lumbar segment or lumbarization of the uppermost sacral segment. When the lowest lumbar vertebra fuses or forms a false joint with the sacrum (pseudoarticulation), it can cause pain and manifest clinically as Bertolotti syndrome.

OBSERVATIONS

A 36-year-old female presented with severe right-sided low-back pain. Computed tomography was unremarkable except for a right-sided Castellvi type IIA LSTV. The pain proved refractory to physical therapy and lumbar epidural spinal injections, but targeted steroid and bupivacaine injection of the pseudoarticulation led to 2 weeks of complete pain relief. She subsequently underwent minimally invasive resection of the pseudoarticulation, with immediate improvement in her low-back pain. The patient continued to be pain free at the 3-year follow-up.

LESSONS

LSTVs alter the biomechanics of the lumbosacral spine, which can lead to medically refractory mechanical pain requiring surgical intervention. Select patients with Bertolotti syndrome can benefit from operative management, including resection, fusion, or decompression of the pathologic joint.

Open access

Disconnection of a jugular foramen dural arteriovenous fistula with cortical venous reflux via an intradural retrosigmoid approach: illustrative case

Richard Shaw, Johnny Wong, Hugo Andrade, and Ivan Radovanovic

BACKGROUND

Jugular foramen dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) are rare and challenging lesions. Described methods of treatment include embolization and microsurgical disconnection through a far lateral transcondylar approach. The authors present the case of a Borden type III jugular foramen DAVF, which was treated with a novel, less invasive retrosigmoid approach with intradural skeletonization and packing of the sigmoid sinus.

OBSERVATIONS

The patient presented with headache and visual field deficit. Neuroimaging demonstrated a right temporal intracerebral hematoma with mass effect. This was due to a Borden type III jugular foramen DAVF with cortical venous reflux into the vein of Labbe secondary to recanalization of a previously thrombosed sigmoid sinus. Microsurgical disconnection was performed via a retrosigmoid approach, in which the sigmoid sinus was identified intradurally at the jugular foramen. The sigmoid sinus was isolated by drilling at the pre- and retrosigmoid spaces to permit packing and clip ligation. Postoperative angiography revealed complete occlusion of the DAVF.

LESSONS

Jugular foramen DAVFs are rare entities, which have been traditionally treated through a far lateral transcondylar approach. An intradural retrosigmoid approach is a safe, less invasive alternative, which involves less soft tissue and bony dissection and does not have the associated morbidity of craniocervical instability and hypoglossal neuropathy.

Open access

High-flow bypass for giant dolichoectatic vertebrobasilar aneurysms: illustrative cases

Richard Shaw, Alistair Kenneth Jukes, and Rodney Stewart Allan

BACKGROUND

Giant fusiform dolichoectatic vertebrobasilar artery aneurysms are challenging lesions with a poor natural history. When there is progressive brainstem compression from these lesions, endovascular treatment can be insufficient, and bypass surgery remains a possible salvage option. High-flow bypass surgery with proximal occlusion can potentially arrest aneurysm growth, promote aneurysm thrombosis, and reduce rupture risk. The authors describe their experience in two patients with giant fusiform dolichoectatic vertebrobasilar artery aneurysms treated with high-flow bypass.

OBSERVATIONS

Both patients presented with enlarging giant dolichoectatic vertebrobasilar aneurysms causing symptomatic brainstem compression. The authors performed staged treatment involving high-flow bypass from the external carotid artery to the posterior cerebral artery using a saphenous vein graft, Hunterian proximal vertebrobasilar occlusion, and finally posterior fossa decompression with or without direct aneurysm thrombectomy and debulking. Postoperative angiography revealed successful flow reversal, aneurysm exclusion, and no brainstem stroke. Clinically, one patient had improvement in their modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score from 3 preoperatively to 1 at 12-month follow-up. The second patient had a deterioration in their mRS score from 4 to 5 at 12-month follow-up.

LESSONS

High-flow bypass strategies remain high risk but can be a viable last resort in patients with neurological deficits and enlarging giant fusiform dolichoectatic vertebrobasilar artery aneurysms.

Open access

Rare median and musculocutaneous nerve fusion with intraoperative electrical confirmation: illustrative case

Audrey Huang, Sima Vazquez, Jose Dominguez, Avinash Mohan, Jin Li, and Jared M Pisapia

BACKGROUND

Nerve transfer is a surgical technique in which a redundant or expendable fascicle is transferred or coapted to an injured nerve distal to the site of injury for the purpose of reinnervation. Successful nerve transfer is dependent on correct intraoperative identification of donor and recipient nerves.

OBSERVATIONS

An 8-year-old male was recommended for ulnar nerve fascicle to biceps branch of musculocutaneous nerve transfer to restore elbow flexion weakness after a demyelinating spinal cord injury. The biceps branch was identified approximately midway along the upper arm. Proximal musculocutaneous nerve stimulation induced hand movement and electromyography activity in the median nerve muscles. Neurolysis of the thickened proximal structure revealed fusion of the musculocutaneous and median nerves. Because of the proximity of the median and musculocutaneous nerves, median rather than ulnar nerve fascicles were used as donors for transfer.

LESSONS

The authors provide the first reported intraoperative finding of an anatomical variant in which the musculocutaneous nerve and median nerve were fused in the upper arm, confirmed through intraoperative electrical stimulation. Surgeons should be aware of this rare anatomical variant to ensure correct nerve identification when performing nerve transfers in the proximal upper extremity.

Open access

Stereoelectroencephalography in the setting of a previously implanted responsive neural stimulation device: illustrative case

Dorian M Kusyk, Nicholas Blaney, Timothy Quezada, and Alexander C Whiting

BACKGROUND

Responsive neural stimulation (RNS) is a relatively novel procedure for drug-resistant epilepsy, which involves implantation of a device into the skull and brain. As more devices are implanted, there may be an increasing need to perform intracranial electrocorticography in implant patients with persistent seizures. Given the device location, imaging difficulties with implanted devices, and other technical hurdles, stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) could be especially challenging. The authors describe the first reported SEEG investigation in a patient with an RNS device, highlighting the technical challenges and clinical data ascertained.

OBSERVATIONS

A 41-year-old male with drug-resistant epilepsy presented several years after a local surgeon had placed an RNS device with two electrodes in the bilateral parieto-occipital lobes. Because of inadequate seizure control, the patient was offered a repeat SEEG investigation to characterize his epilepsy better. Although more technically challenging than a traditional SEEG implantation, the SEEG investigation was successfully performed, which led to a confirmation of bilateral hippocampal seizure onset. The patient underwent repositioning of his RNS leads with a significant decrease in his seizure frequency.

LESSONS

Concurrent implantation of SEEG electrodes in a functioning RNS device can be safely performed and can augment our understanding of a patient’s seizures.

Open access

Vacuum-assisted scalp repositioning: a novel temporizing approach to acute sinking skin flap syndrome. Illustrative cases

Evan Courville, Joshua Marquez, Michael Homma, Michael Conley, Georgios P Skandalakis, Peter Shin, James Botros, and Christian Ricks

BACKGROUND

This report describes the use of a novel approach to address acute sinking skin flap syndrome (SSFS), a postcraniectomy complication arising from brain dysfunction beneath the skull defect. The authors present a case series of two patients, emphasizing the prospective application of an external plaster cast in tandem with a vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) device (wound VAC) to promptly reposition the scalp and relieve brain compression.

OBSERVATIONS

Following intervention, one patient showed immediate neurological improvement, with complete resolution of symptoms within hours. Conversely, the second patient developed nonconvulsive status epilepticus. Computed tomography scans postintervention validated the successful scalp repositioning and mass effect resolution in both instances. This temporary approach proved successful in one patient with moderate symptoms, serving as a bridge to cranioplasty.

LESSONS

The integration of an external plaster cast and wound VAC offers a cost-effective and prompt solution for patients with acute SSFS pending cranioplasty. Appropriate patient selection and heightened caution for those with severe symptoms should be exercised.

Open access

Introducing next-generation transcranial surgery with the head-mounted 3D View Vision display in extracorporeal microsurgery: illustrative cases

Young Ju Kim, Hidehito Kimura, Hiroto Kajimoto, Tatsuya Mori, Masahiro Maeyama, Kazuhiro Tanaka, and Takashi Sasayama

BACKGROUND

Exoscopy in neurosurgery offers various advantages, including increased freedom of the viewing axis while the surgeon maintains a comfortable upright position. However, the optimal monitor positioning to avoid interference with surgical manipulation remains unresolved. Herein, the authors describe two cases in which a three-dimensional head-mounted display (3D-HMD) was introduced into a transcranial neurosurgical procedure using an exoscope.

OBSERVATIONS

Case 1 was a 50-year-old man who presented with recurrent epistaxis and was diagnosed with an olfactory neuroblastoma that extended from the nasal cavity to the anterior cranial base and infiltrated the right anterior cranial fossa. Case 2 was a 65-year-old man who presented with epistaxis and was diagnosed with a left-sided olfactory neuroblastoma. In both cases, en bloc tumor resection was successfully performed via a simultaneous exoscopic transcranial approach using a 3D-HMD and an endoscopic endonasal approach, eliminating the need to watch a large monitor beside the patient.

LESSONS

This is the first report of using a 3D-HMD in transcranial surgery. The 3D-HMD effectively addressed issues with the field of vision and concentration while preserving the effectiveness of traditional microscopic and exoscopic procedures when observed on a 3D monitor. Combining the 3D-HMD with an exoscope holds the potential to become a next-generation surgical approach.

Open access

Radiofrequency thermocoagulation for the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia associated with a focal pontine lesion: illustrative case

Vadym Biloshytsky, Anna Skorokhoda, Inna Buvailo, and Maryna Biloshytska

BACKGROUND

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) associated with a focal pontine lesion is a rare but challenging condition. The origin of the lesion, which does not fulfill the diagnostic criteria for multiple sclerosis, remains disputable. Pain in such conditions is often refractory to treatment, including microvascular decompression.

OBSERVATIONS

A 36-year-old female presented with a 3.5-year history of shooting pain in the right V2 distribution triggered by talking and chewing. She became less responsive to high-dose carbamazepine over time. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed no neurovascular compression but an elongated lesion hyperintense on T2-weighted imaging and T2- fluid-attenuated inversion recovery and hypointense and nonenhancing on T1-magnetization prepared rapid gradient-echo imaging without restricted diffusion, hemorrhage, or supposed malformation along the right pontine trigeminal pathway (PTP). Two other similar lesions were found in the corpus callosum and left thalamus. All lesions were stable compared to MRI data obtained 2 years before. Cerebrospinal fluid contained no oligoclonal bands. Pain attacks ceased with right-sided gasserian radiofrequency thermocoagulation (RFTC), and at the 6-month follow-up, there was no recurrence.

LESSONS

In patients with TN, preoperative neuroimaging should assess for brainstem lesions along the PTP. RFTC can be considered a treatment option in medication-refractory TN associated with a focal pontine lesion.

Open access

Surgically treated intracranial arteriovenous fistulas with hemorrhage, resulting in complete obliteration: illustrative cases

Ako Matsuhashi, Kei Yanai, Satoshi Koizumi, and Gakushi Yoshikawa

BACKGROUND

Intracranial arteriovenous fistula (AVF) is a rare disease, defined as anastomoses between cerebral or meningeal arteries and dural venous sinuses or cortical veins. With the development of new agents and devices, endovascular embolization has been considered safe and effective in a majority of cases. However, cases that require direct surgery do exist. Herein, the authors present 3 cases of intracranial AVFs that presented with hemorrhage and were treated with direct surgery, achieving complete obliteration and favorable outcomes.

OBSERVATIONS

Intracranial AVFs that present with hemorrhage require immediate and complete obliteration. When AVFs involve the dural sinus, transvenous embolization is usually the first choice of treatment. AVFs with single cortical venous drainage are best treated with interruption of the draining vein close to the fistula. Transarterial embolization can be a curative treatment if there are no branches supplying cranial nerves or an association with pial feeders. In cases in which endovascular treatment is technically challenging or has resulted in incomplete occlusion, surgical treatment is indicated.

LESSONS

Despite the recent rise in endovascular treatment, it is important to recognize situations in which such treatment is not suitable for intracranial AVFs. Direct surgery is effective in such cases to offer the best possible outcome.