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Open access

Superficial siderosis of the central nervous system with epilepsy originating from traumatic cervical injury: illustrative case

Liqing Xu, Changwei Yuan, Yingjin Wang, Shengli Shen, and Hongzhou Duan

BACKGROUND

Superficial siderosis of the central nervous system (SSCNS) is a rare condition that results from hemosiderin deposition in the brain, brainstem, cerebellum, and spinal cord as a result of chronic, repeated, and recurrent subarachnoid hemorrhage. SSCNS that originates in the spinal cord is rarely reported, and epilepsy as a manifestation of such a case has not been reported before.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors reported a rare case of SSCNS with epilepsy originating from traumatic cervical injury and presented a literature review of all reported SSCNS cases that originated in the spine. The patient was a 29-year-old man with a 16-year history of progressive headache accompanied by seizures, ataxia, and sensorineural hearing loss. He had experienced a traumatic cervical injury at age 7. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a characteristic hypointense rim around the pons and cervical spinal cord on susceptibility-weighted imaging scans. Cerebrospinal fluid examination during a headache episode confirmed subarachnoid hemorrhage and increased intracranial pressure. Surgical exploration revealed a C6 dural defect with bone spurs inserted into the dura mater. After the patient underwent dura mater repair and shunt implantation, his symptoms disappeared completely except for hearing loss.

LESSONS

This rare case indicated that symptomatic epilepsy followed by SSCNS can be eliminated by complete repair of the cervical dura mater.

Open access

Delayed-onset white cord syndrome after anterior and posterior cervical decompression surgery for symptomatic ossification of spinal ligaments: illustrative cases

Ranjit D. Singh, Mark P. Arts, and Godard C. W. de Ruiter

BACKGROUND

White cord syndrome is an extremely rare complication of cervical decompressive surgery, characterized by serious postoperative neurological deficits in the absence of apparent surgical complications. It is named after the characteristic ischemic-edematous intramedullary T2-hyperintense signal on postoperative magnetic resonance imaging and is believed to be caused by ischemic-reperfusion injury. Neurological deficits typically manifest immediately after surgery, and delayed occurrence has been reported only once.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors presented two cases of delayed white cord syndrome after anterior and posterior cervical decompression surgery for symptomatic ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament and ligamentum flavum, respectively. Neurological deficits manifested on postoperative day 2 (case 1) and day 8 (case 2). The patients’ conditions were managed with high-dose corticosteroids, mean arterial pressure augmentation, and early physical therapy, after which they showed partial neurological recovery at discharge, which improved further by the 3-month follow-up visit.

LESSONS

The authors’ aim was to raise awareness among spine surgeons about this rare but severe complication of cervical decompressive surgery and to emphasize the mainstays of treatment based on current best evidence: high-dose corticosteroids, mean arterial pressure augmentation, and early physical therapy.

Open access

Tentorial dural arteriovenous fistula with perimedullary venous drainage–associated cervical myelopathy: illustrative case

Sergi Cobos Codina, Luis Miguel Bernal García, José Antonio Rodríguez Sánchez, Tania Gavilán Iglesias, and Luis Fernández de Alarcón

BACKGROUND

Tentorial dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) with perimedullary venous drainage causing cervical myelopathy are very uncommon conditions with an extremely aggressive behavior. When the characteristic radiological clues are missing, the unspecific clinical picture may cause delay and make the diagnosis challenging.

OBSERVATIONS

Here the authors report a case of a 58-year-old man who developed progressive spastic tetraparesis and dyspnea with an extensive mild enhancing cervical cord lesion initially oriented as a neurosyphilis-associated transverse myelitis. Acute worsening after steroid administration redirected the diagnosis, and a tentorial Cognard type V DAVF was elicited. The microsurgical disconnection process is described, and previously documented cases in the literature are reviewed.

LESSONS

If a DAVF is highly suspected, it is important to consider the possibility of its intracranial origin, and spinal as well as cerebral arteriography must be performed.

Open access

Nerve transfers in a patient with asymmetrical neurological deficit following traumatic cervical spinal cord injury: simultaneous bilateral restoration of pinch grip and elbow extension. Illustrative case

Alexander A. Gatskiy, Ihor B. Tretyak, Vitaliy I. Tsymbaliuk, and Yaroslav V. Tsymbaliuk

BACKGROUND

Cervical spinal cord injury (CSCI) causes severe motor deficit in upper extremities. The mixed segmental CSCI pattern is reflected in the combination of time-sensitive (TS) and non-TS myotomes in the upper extremities. Nerve transfers (NTs) restore upper extremity function yet remain TS procedures. A combination of neurological, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and electromyography (EMG) studies allows the identification of TS and non-TS myotomes in the upper extremities.

OBSERVATIONS

Nineteen months after NTs, flexor pollicis longus (FPL) and deep flexor of the index finger (FDP2) recovered to M4 (right UE), FPL recovered to M3 and FDP2 to M2 (left EU). The long head of the triceps brachii muscle recovered to M4 bilaterally. The Capabilities of Upper Extremity Questionnaire (CUE-Q) score for unilateral arm functionality increased by 44% (right) and 112.5% (left) and for bilateral arm functionality by 400%; the CUE-Q score for unilateral hand and finger function increased by 283% (right) and 166% (left).

LESSONS

The combination of neurological, MRI, and EMG studies before surgery and data obtained during surgery provides reliable information on the CSCI pattern, specifically the availability of motor donor nerves. Simultaneous bilateral restoration is required in the event of CSCI and significantly improves the unilateral and bilateral function of the UEs.

Open access

Systemic sclerosis-associated compressive cervical calcinosis: intersection of degenerative spine instability, lesional spinal cord compression, and traumatic spinal cord injury. Illustrative case

Thu Lan Pham, Jingya Miao, Harminder Singh, Marco B. Lee, and Tene A. Cage

BACKGROUND

Tumoral calcinosis, mass-like calcium deposition into the soft tissues, is an uncommon manifestation of the systemic sclerosis subtype of scleroderma. When this process affects the spinal epidural space, it can cause canal narrowing and place the spinal cord at significant risk of injury.

OBSERVATIONS

Here a 62-year-old female with systemic sclerosis and no previous evidence of spinal cord compromise who developed acute spinal cord injury and quadriparesis after a mechanical fall is described. She was found to have a large dorsal epidural calcified mass compressing her cervical spinal cord. She underwent medical management for acute spinal cord compression as well as surgical management for acute spinal cord injury and degenerative spine disease. Her case illustrates a rare etiology of simultaneous degenerative spine instability and lesional spinal cord compression with acute spinal cord injury.

LESSONS

Tumor calcinosis leading to acute spinal cord injury in the setting of systemic sclerosis is an uncommon but critical entity to recognize in patients with scleroderma and may require the physician to use a combination of medical and surgical management strategies from each of these categories of spine pathology.

Open access

Tight adhesions after spinal cord stimulation observed during dorsal root entry zone lesioning for pain after spinal root avulsion: illustrative cases

Yuki Kimoto, Koichi Hosomi, Yuichiro Ohnishi, Takuto Emura, Nobuhiko Mori, Asaya Nishi, Takufumi Yanagisawa, Naoki Tani, Satoru Oshino, Youichi Saitoh, and Haruhiko Kishima

BACKGROUND

Patients often experience strong shooting pains after spinal root avulsion. The efficacy of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) for this type of pain is inconsistent; however, dorsal root entry zone (DREZ) lesioning (DREZ-lesion) has often proven to be an effective treatment modality. The authors report two cases in which DREZ-lesion was performed to treat pain after spinal root avulsion after implantation of SCS, but the operations were challenging due to strong adhesions.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present two cases of patients with pain after spinal root avulsion in whom SCS implantation was only temporarily effective. Patients complained of persistent and paroxysmal shooting pains in the upper extremities. SCS removal and DREZ-lesion were performed, but adhesions in the epidural and subdural space contacting the leads were strong, making it difficult to expose the DREZ.

LESSONS

Although adhesions around the spinal cord can be caused by trauma, the authors believe that in these cases, the adhesions could have been caused by the SCS leads. There are few previous reports confirming the efficacy of SCS in treating pain after spinal root avulsion; therefore, caution is required when considering SCS implantation.

Open access

Paraparesis caused by intradural thoracic spinal granuloma secondary to organizing hematoma: illustrative case

John K. Yue, Young M. Lee, Daniel Quintana, Alexander A. Aabedi, Nishanth Krishnan, Thomas A. Wozny, John P. Andrews, and Michael C. Huang

BACKGROUND

Spinal granulomas form from infectious or noninfectious inflammatory processes and are rarely present intradurally. Intradural granulomas secondary to hematoma are unreported in the literature and present diagnostic and management challenges.

OBSERVATIONS

A 70-year-old man receiving aspirin presented with encephalopathy, subacute malaise, and right lower extremity weakness and was diagnosed with polysubstance withdrawal and refractory hypertension requiring extended treatment. Seven days after admission, he reported increased bilateral lower extremity (BLE) weakness. Magnetic resonance imaging showed T2–3 and T7–8 masses abutting the pia, with spinal cord compression at T2–3. He was transferred to the authors’ institution, and work-up showed no vascular shunting or malignancy. He underwent T2–3 laminectomies for biopsy/resection. A firm, xanthochromic mass was resected en bloc. Pathology showed organizing hematoma without infection, vascular malformation, or malignancy. Subsequent coagulopathy work-up was unremarkable. His BLE strength significantly improved, and he declined resection of the inferior mass. He completed physical therapy and was cleared for placement in a skilled nursing facility.

LESSONS

Spinal granulomas can mimic vascular lesions and malignancy. The authors present the first report of paraparesis caused by intradural granuloma secondary to organizing hematoma, preceded by severe refractory hypertension. Tissue diagnosis is critical, and resection is curative. These findings can inform the vigilant clinician for expeditious treatment.

Open access

Rib fixation for flail chest physiology and the facilitation of safe prone spinal surgery: illustrative case

Jeffrey E. Wessell, Matheus P. Pereira, Evert A. Eriksson, and Stephen P. Kalhorn

BACKGROUND

Spine fractures are frequently associated with additional injuries in the trauma setting, with chest wall trauma being particularly common. Limited literature exists on the management of flail chest physiology with concurrent unstable spinal injury. The authors present a case in which flail chest physiology precluded safe prone surgery and after rib fixation the patient tolerated spinal fixation without further issue.

OBSERVATIONS

Flail chest physiology can cause cardiovascular decompensation in the prone position. Stabilization of the chest wall addresses this instability allowing for safe prone spinal surgery.

LESSONS

Chest wall fixation should be considered in select cases of flail chest physiology prior to stabilization of the spinal column in the prone position. Further research is necessary to identify patients that are at highest risk to not tolerate prone surgery.

Open access

Traumatic cervical spine subarachnoid hemorrhage with hematoma and cord compression presenting as Brown-Séqüard syndrome: illustrative case

Bernardo de Andrada Pereira, Benjamen M. Meyer, Angelica Alvarez Reyes, Jose Manuel Orenday-Barraza, Leonardo B. Brasiliense, and R. John Hurlbert

BACKGROUND

Spinal hematomas are a rare entity with broad etiologies, which stem from idiopathic, tumor-related, and vascular malformation etiologies. Less common causes include traumatic blunt nonpenetrating spinal hematomas with very few cases being reported. In the present manuscript presents a case report and review of the literature of a rare traumatic entity of a cervical subarachnoid hematoma in association with Brown-Séquard syndrome in a patient on anticoagulants. Searches were performed on PubMed and Embase for specific terms related.

OBSERVATIONS

A well-documented case of an 83-year-old female taking anticoagulants with traumatic cervical subarachnoid hematoma presenting as Brown-Séquard syndrome was reported. Six similar cases were identified, scrutinized, and analyzed in the literature review.

LESSONS

Traumatic blunt nonpenetrating cervical spine subarachnoid hematomas are a rare entity that can happen more specifically in anticoagulant users and in patients with arthritic changes and stenosis of the spinal canal. Rapid neurological deterioration and severe disability warrant early aggressive surgical treatment. This report has the intention to record this case in the medical literature for registry purposes.

Open access

Transverse myelitis after Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine: illustrative case

Ezek Mathew, Julie Williamson, Lois Mamo, and Rob Dickerman

BACKGROUND

Transverse myelitis is a rare neurological occurrence with varied presentation. Imaging is necessary to properly diagnose this condition; however, identifying the cause of this condition may often be difficult.

OBSERVATIONS

An otherwise healthy patient presented to the clinic with peculiar neurological symptoms without an obvious underlying cause. Imaging evidenced no significant structural defects but did lead to discovery of cord enhancement compatible with a diagnosis of transverse myelitis. Corticosteroid treatment was initiated rapidly to address this pathology, and the patient recovered without deficits. To identify the underlying cause, patient medical history was reviewed thoroughly and compared with existing literature. Previous tuberculosis infection could be a less likely cause of the neurological symptoms. However, recent vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine could be a more likely cause of the transverse myelitis, which has been rarely reported.

LESSONS

Transverse myelitis after COVID-19 infection has been an escalating phenomenon. However, transverse myelitis after COVID-19 vaccination is a rare occurrence that is also on the rise. Given the increased rates of vaccination, transverse myelitis should not be overlooked as a potential pathology, due to the severity of neurological impairment if this condition is not treated rapidly.