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Open access

Functional neurological disorders in patients undergoing spinal surgery: illustrative case

Ketan Yerneni, Harsh Wadhwa, Parastou Fatemi, and Corinna C. Zygourakis

BACKGROUND

“Conversion disorder” refers to bodily dysfunction characterized by either sensory or motor neurological symptoms that are unexplainable by a medical condition. Given their somatosensory context, such disorders often require extensive medical evaluation, and the diagnosis can only be made after structural disease is excluded or fails to account for the severity and/or spectrum of the patient’s deficits.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors briefly review functional psychiatric disorders and discuss the comprehensive workup of a patient with a functional postoperative neurological deficit, drawing from their recent experience with a patient who presented with conversion disorder immediately after undergoing anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.

LESSONS

Conversion disorder has been found to be associated with bodily stress, requiring surgeons to be aware of this condition in the postoperative setting. This is especially true in neurosurgery, given the overlap of true neurological pathology, postoperative complications, and manifestations of conversion disorder. Although accurately diagnosing and managing patients with conversion disorder remains challenging, an understanding of the multifactorial nature of its etiology can help clinicians develop a methodical approach to this condition.

Open access

Secondary Chiari malformation due to enlarged spinal arachnoid villi–like structure: illustrative case

Izumi Koyanagi, Yasuhiro Chiba, Hiroyuki Imamura, Masami Yoshino, and Toshimitsu Aida

BACKGROUND

Secondary Chiari malformation can be caused by various disorders associated with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage at the spinal level. In this report, the authors describe a rare case of secondary Chiari malformation caused by excessive CSF absorption through the enlarged spinal arachnoid villi–like structure.

OBSERVATIONS

A 20-year-old woman presented with progressive severe headache and posterior neck pain. Magnetic resonance imaging showed tonsillar herniation and decreased subarachnoid space around the spinal cord. A hypointense signal area was observed in the ventral spinal canal on a T2-weighted image. An axial image revealed multiple small, arachnoid cyst–like structures at the right T1 nerve root sleeve. Direct surgery revealed that the cyst-like structures were continuous with the arachnoid membrane and protruded into the abnormally large epidural venous sinus. The cyst-like structures were resected, and the dural sleeve was repaired using fascia. The patient showed good improvement of symptoms after surgery.

LESSONS

Excessive CSF absorption through the enlarged spinal arachnoid villi–like structure can cause secondary Chiari malformation. Neurosurgeons should be aware of this unusual mechanism of CSF leakage. Simple posterior fossa decompression will be ineffective or even harmful.

Open access

Surgical management of an extensive spinal epidural abscess: illustrative cases

Aleksey Eroshkin, Dmytro Romanukha, and Serhiy Voitsekhovskyi

BACKGROUND

Extensive spinal epidural abscesses (SEAs) occupying three or more spinal regions are rare. This study aimed to address the key dilemma of surgical treatment for holospinal epidural abscesses, i.e., to determine the required scope of surgery and minimize surgical trauma with adequate purulent drainage.

OBSERVATIONS

Two patients with extensive SEAs were treated at the Neurosurgery Department of the Central Hospital of Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine from 2018 to 2020. Both patients had a neurological deficit and general inflammatory response syndrome. Spinal magnetic resonance examinations were performed, showing that the first and second patients had extensive SEAs at T11/S1 and C2/L1, respectively. Both underwent minimally invasive abscess drainage via intra- and translaminar access at the most caudal point using an epidural silicone catheter in the cranial direction along the entire length of the abscess.

LESSONS

To achieve the key goal of extensive SEA treatment, i.e., to prevent the development of a persistent neurological deficit, immediate effective spinal canal decompression should be performed. Access method and scope should meet the requirements of spinal canal decompression and purulent content aspiration to the greatest possible extent while inducing minimal trauma.

Open access

Spinal intramedullary hemangioblastoma and schwannoma collision tumor: illustrative case

Matthew T. Neal, Alexandra E. Richards, Kara L. Curley, Kliment Donev, Mark K. Lyons, and Maziyar A. Kalani

BACKGROUND

Intramedullary spinal cord tumors represent a minority of intradural tumors. Among intramedullary spinal cord tumors, hemangioblastomas are uncommon, and schwannomas are extremely rare. Collision tumors are histologically distinct tumors that are intermingled and growing together.

OBSERVATIONS

In this report, the authors describe a patient with a cervical intramedullary collision tumor involving a hemangioblastoma and schwannoma. To the authors’ knowledge, no prior spinal intramedullary collision tumor involving multiple neoplasms has been described. The patient’s presentation and management are described.

LESSONS

Clinicians should consider the possibility of collision tumors when evaluating intramedullary spinal cord tumors, especially when patient presentation and radiographic findings are atypical. When tumors with similar radiographic characteristics form collision tumors, distinction using preoperative imaging can be extremely challenging. In addition, surgical management of intramedullary collision tumors, like that for all intramedullary spinal cord tumors, should involve meticulous perioperative care and a methodical surgical technique. Maximal safe resection will depend upon histopathological diagnosis, anatomical location of the tumor, presence of distinct dissection planes, and stability of neuromonitoring. Finally, ongoing research on the genetics of intramedullary spinal cord tumors may identify underlying genetic links for intramedullary hemangioblastomas and schwannomas.

Open access

Cryptogenic cervical intramedullary abscess with rapidly progressive myelopathy: illustrative case

Nebras M. Warsi, Ann Wilson, Armaan K. Malhotra, Jerry C. Ku, Ahmed A. Najjar, Esther Bui, Michael Baker, Eric Bartlett, and Mojgan Hodaie

BACKGROUND

The purpose of the present case report is to highlight the presentation, workup, clinical decision making, and operative intervention for a 68-year-old woman who developed rapidly progressive myelopathy secondary to idiopathic cervical intramedullary abscess.

OBSERVATIONS

The patient underwent laminectomy and aspiration/biopsy of the lesion. Intraoperatively, division of the posterior median sulcus released a large volume of purulent material growing the oral pathogens Eikenella corrodens and Gemella morbillorum. Broad-spectrum antibiotics were initiated postoperatively. At the 6-month follow-up, the patient had almost completely recovered with some persistent hand dysesthesia. Complete infectious workup, including full dental assessment and an echocardiogram, failed to reveal the source of her infection.

LESSONS

The authors report the first case of cryptogenic spinal intramedullary abscess secondary to Eikenella spp. and Gemella spp. coinfection. Intramedullary abscesses are exceptionally rare and most commonly develop in children with dermal sinus malformations or in the context of immunosuppression. In adults without risk factors, they can readily be mistaken for more common pathologies in this age group, such as intramedullary neoplasms or demyelinating disease. Prompt diagnosis and management based on rapidly progressive myelopathy, assessment of infectious risk factors and/or symptoms, and targeted imaging are critical to avoid potentially devastating neurological sequelae.

Open access

An unusual case of a persistent, infected retroperitoneal fluid collection 5 years after anterior lumbar fusion surgery: illustrative case

Matthew T. Neal, Kara L. Curley, Alexandra E. Richards, Maziyar A. Kalani, Mark K. Lyons, and Victor J. Davila

BACKGROUND

Anterior lumbar fusion procedures have many benefits and continue to grow in popularity. The technique has many potential approach- and procedure-related complications. Symptomatic retroperitoneal fluid collections are uncommon but potentially serious complications after anterior lumbar procedures. Collection types include hematomas, urinomas, chyloperitoneum, cerebrospinal fluid collections, and deep infections.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present an unusual case of a patient with persistent symptoms related to a retroperitoneal collection over a 5-year period following anterior lumbar fusion surgery. To the authors’ knowledge, no similar case with such extensive symptom duration has been described. The patient had an infected encapsulated fluid collection. The collection was presumed to be a postoperative lymphocele that was secondarily infected after serial percutaneous drainage procedures.

LESSONS

When retroperitoneal collections occur after anterior retroperitoneal approaches, clinical clues, such as timing of symptoms, hypotension, acute anemia, urinary tract infection, hydronephrosis, elevated serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen, low-pressure headaches, anorexia, or systemic signs of infection, can help narrow the differential. Retroperitoneal collections may continue to be symptomatic many years after anterior lumbar surgery. The collections may become infected after serial percutaneous drainage or prolonged continuous drainage. Encapsulated, infected fluid collections typically require surgical debridement of the capsule and its contents.

Open access

Management of a cervical spine neurenteric cyst via an anterior surgical approach: illustrative case

Arsalaan Salehani, Sasha Howell, and Daniel Harmon

BACKGROUND

Central nervous system neurenteric cysts (NCs) represent a rare entity thought to arise from failure of the separation of endodermal and neuroectodermal elements during week 3 of embryogenesis. They account for 0.7–1.3% of all spinal cord lesions and are typically intradural extramedullary lesions located near the cervicothoracic junction. Most NCs are associated with multisystem malformation disorders, making a solitary extramedullary NC a rare entity.

OBSERVATIONS

A 45-year-old man presented with progressive right lower-extremity weakness and an inability to walk. Cervical spine magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated an approximately 1.6 × 1.1 × 2.7–cm, T2 hyperintense, nonenhancing, intradural, extramedullary cystic lesion at the level of C6–7 eccentric to the right with atrophy of the spinal cord. An anterior surgical approach was used for resection of the cyst in totality with C6–7 corpectomies and anterior plating and fixation from C5 to T1. Postoperatively at 1 month, the patient denied any significant neck or arm pain and demonstrated improving right lower-extremity strength, allowing some funcitonal independence.

LESSONS

A solitary, extramedullary cervical NC is a rare entity, with a posterior surgical approach for resection primarily described in the literature. The authors present anterior corpectomy and plating with fixation as a viable surgical approach for this rare pathology.

Open access

Full-endoscopic decompression for thoracic myelopathy caused by ossification of the ligamentum flavum: patient series

Vit Kotheeranurak, Phattareeya Pholprajug, Guang-Xun Lin, Pritsanai Pruttikul, Wicharn Yingsakmongkol, Tawechai Tejapongvorachai, and Jin-Sung Kim

BACKGROUND

This study aimed to describe the least invasive surgical technique of endoscopic decompression for thoracic myelopathy caused by ossification of the ligamentum flavum (OLF) and to review the literature available on the diagnosis and treatment of OLF.

OBSERVATIONS

The mean age of the patients was 51.2 (range, 40–62) years, and the mean preoperative, 2-week postoperative, and last follow-up modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores were 6.6 (range, 4–10), 9.6 (range, 7–11), and 13 (range, 10–14), respectively. All patients were discharged within 48 hours after the surgery. The mean follow-up period was 13.2 (range, 7–18) months. No complication was found perioperatively, and none of the patients had postoperative instability during the follow-up period.

LESSONS

Based on this clinical case series and literature review, the authors conclude that endoscopic decompression surgery is feasible and effective for managing thoracic myelopathy caused by OLF while minimizing surrounding tissue damage. Additionally, it enables shorter periods of hospital stay.

Open access

Intradural plasmacytoma originating from the filum terminale in the setting of multiple myeloma: illustrative case

Jamieson Glasser and Ryan Glasser

BACKGROUND

Multiple myeloma (MM) has the propensity to spread to vertebral bodies; however, extramedullary plasmacytomas involving the central nervous system are extremely rare.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors report the first intradural extramedullary plasmacytoma in the lumbar region of the spine in a patient with preexisting MM. They present a 50-year-old female with severe back and radicular pain and progressive neurological deficit.

LESSONS

MM is typically treated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. However, in this unique case, resection proved to be a key part of treatment.

Open access

A modern multidisciplinary approach to a large cervicothoracic chordoma using staged en bloc resection with intraoperative image-guided navigation and 3D-printed modeling: illustrative case

Nathan J. Pertsch, Owen P. Leary, Joaquin Q. Camara-Quintana, David D. Liu, Tianyi Niu, Albert S. Woo, Thomas T. Ng, Adetokunbo A. Oyelese, Jared S. Fridley, and Ziya L. Gokaslan

BACKGROUND

Cervicothoracic junction chordomas are uncommon primary spinal tumors optimally treated with en bloc resection. Although en bloc resection is the gold standard for treatment of mobile spinal chordoma, tumor location, size, and extent of involvement frequently complicate the achievement of negative margins. In particular, chordoma involving the thoracic region can require a challenging anterior access, and en bloc resection can lead to a highly destabilized spine.

OBSERVATIONS

Modern technological advances make en bloc resection more technically feasible than ever before. In this case, the successful en bloc resection of a particularly complex cervicothoracic junction chordoma was facilitated by a multidisciplinary surgical approach that maximized the use of intraoperative computed tomography–guided spinal navigation and patient-specific three-dimensional–printed modeling.

LESSONS

The authors review the surgical planning and specific techniques that facilitated the successful en bloc resection of this right-sided chordoma via image-guided parasagittal osteotomy across 2 stages. The integration of emerging visualization technologies into complex spinal column tumor management may help to provide optimal oncological care for patients with challenging primary tumors of the mobile spine.