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Open access

Incidental durotomy resulting in a postoperative lumbosacral nerve root with eventration into the adjacent facet joint: illustrative cases

Michael J Kelly, Franziska C. S Altorfer, Marco D Burkhard, Russel C Huang, Frank P Cammisa Jr., and J. Levi Chazen

BACKGROUND

Radicular pain after lumbar decompression surgery can result from epidural hematoma/seroma, recurrent disc herniation, incomplete decompression, or other rare complications. A less recognized complication is postoperative nerve root herniation, resulting from an initially unrecognized intraoperative or, more commonly, a spontaneous postoperative durotomy. Rarely, this nerve root herniation can become entrapped within local structures, including the facet joint. The aim of this study was to illustrate our experience with three cases of lumbosacral nerve root eventration into an adjacent facet joint and to describe our diagnostic and surgical approach to this rare complication.

OBSERVATIONS

Three patients who had undergone lumbar decompression surgery with or without fusion experienced postoperative radiculopathy. Exploratory revision surgery revealed all three had a durotomy with nerve root eventration into the facet joint. Significant symptom improvement was achieved in all patients following liberation of the neural elements from the facet joints.

LESSONS

Entrapment of herniated nerve roots into the facet joint may be a previously underappreciated complication and remains quite challenging to diagnose even with the highest-quality advanced imaging. Thus, clinicians must have a high index of suspicion to diagnose this issue and a low threshold for surgical exploration.

Open access

A rare case of atypical intradural extramedullary glioblastoma diagnosed utilizing next-generation sequencing and methylation profiling: illustrative case

William J Shelton, Andrew P Mathews, Karrar Aljiboori, J. Stephen Nix, Murat Gokden, and Analiz Rodriguez

BACKGROUND

Primary spinal cord tumors, especially primary spinal cord glioblastoma multiforme (PSC-GBM), are exceptionally rare, accounting for less than 1.5% of all spinal tumors. Their infrequency and aggressive yet atypical presentation make diagnosis challenging. In uncertain cases, a surgical approach for tissue diagnosis is often optimal.

OBSERVATIONS

A 76-year-old male presented with a rapidly progressing clinical history marked by worsening extremity weakness, urinary retention, and periodic fecal incontinence alongside diffuse changes on neuraxis imaging. The patient, in whom subacute polyneuropathy was initially diagnosed, received multiple rounds of steroids and intravenous immunoglobulin without clinical improvement. Histopathological review of the biopsy tissue yielded an initial diagnosis of spindle cell neoplasm. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) is done routinely on all neuropathology specimens at the authors’ institution, and methylation profiling is pursued in difficult cases. Ultimately, NGS and methylation profiling results were essential to an integrated final diagnosis of GBM.

LESSONS

PSC-GBM is a rare but highly aggressive occurrence of this tumor. Prolonged back pain, rapid neurological decline, and imaging changes warrant the consideration of lesional biopsy for precise disease characterization. In inconclusive cases, NGS has proved invaluable for clinical clarification and diagnosis, underscoring its importance for integrated diagnoses in guiding appropriate treatment strategies.

Open access

Immunocompetent isolated cerebral mucormycosis presenting with obstructive hydrocephalus: illustrative case

Khoa N Nguyen, Lindsey M Freeman, Timothy H Ung, Steven Ojemann, and Fabio Grassia

BACKGROUND

Isolated cerebral mucormycosis is rare in immunocompetent adults and is only sparsely reported to be associated with obstructive hydrocephalus.

OBSERVATIONS

Here, the authors report a case of obstructive hydrocephalus secondary to central nervous system mucormycosis without other systems or rhino-orbital involvement and its technical surgical management. A 23-year-old, incarcerated, immunocompetent patient with history of intravenous (IV) drug use presented with syncope. Although clinical and radiographic findings failed to elucidate an infectious pathology, endoscopy revealed an obstructive mass lesion at the level of the third ventricle, which, on microbiological testing, was confirmed to be Rhizopus fungal ventriculitis. Perioperative cerebrospinal fluid diversion, endoscopic third ventriculostomy, endoscopic biopsy technique, patient outcomes, and the literature are reviewed here. The patient received intrathecal and IV amphotericin B followed by a course of oral antifungal treatment and currently remains in remission.

LESSONS

The patient’s unique presentation and diagnosis of isolated cerebral mucormycosis reveal this pathogen as a cause of ventriculitis and obstructive hydrocephalus in immunocompetent adult patients, even in the absence of infectious sequelae on neuroimaging.

Open access

Bilateral and asymmetrical localization of language function identified by the superselective infusion of propofol in an epilepsy patient with a mild malformation of cortical development: illustrative case

Mayuko Otomo, Shin-ichiro Osawa, Kyoko Suzuki, Kazuo Kakinuma, Kazushi Ukishiro, Hiroyoshi Suzuki, Kuniyasu Niizuma, Norio Narita, Nobukazu Nakasato, and Teiji Tominaga

BACKGROUND

Atypical localization of language function can result in unexpected postsurgical deficits after cortical resection, but it is difficult to predict the risk in the presurgical evaluation. The authors experienced a rare case of the bilateral and independent existence of different components of language function identified by segmented evaluation of anatomical anterior and posterior language areas using the superselective infusion of propofol.

OBSERVATIONS

A 32-year-old right-handed female presented with drug-resistant epilepsy. Comprehensive epilepsy evaluation suggested that the epileptic foci involved the whole left frontal lobe but provided less evidence of structural abnormality. To estimate the extent of functional deterioration likely to be caused by an extended left frontal lobectomy, the authors evaluated segmented cortical function in the ipsi- and contralateral hemispheres by the superselective infusion of propofol into the branches of the intracranial artery. The results revealed bilateral and asymmetrical localization of language function because the patient presented with different components of aphasia in each hemisphere. Based on the authors’ assessment of her functional tolerance, an extended left frontal lobectomy was performed and resulted in neurological deficits within the anticipated range.

LESSONS

An accurate understanding of the correlations between vascular and functional anatomy and the highly specific evaluation of language function provides more advanced presurgical assessment, allowing more tailored planning of cortical resection.

Open access

Middle meningeal artery pseudoaneurysm and pterygoid plexus fistula following percutaneous radiofrequency rhizotomy: illustrative case

Rahim Ismail, Derrek Schartz, Timothy Hoang, and Alexander Kessler

BACKGROUND

Percutaneous treatment for trigeminal neuralgia is a safe and effective therapeutic methodology and can be accomplished in the form of balloon compression, glycerol rhizotomy, and radiofrequency thermocoagulation. These procedures are generally well tolerated and demonstrate minimal associated morbidity. Moreover, vascular complications of these procedures are exceedingly rare.

OBSERVATIONS

We present the case of a 64-year-old female with prior microvascular decompression and balloon rhizotomy who presented after symptom recurrence and underwent a second balloon rhizotomy at our institution. Soon thereafter, she presented with pulsatile tinnitus and a right preauricular bruit on physical examination. Subsequent imaging revealed a middle meningeal artery (MMA) to pterygoid plexus fistula and an MMA pseudoaneurysm. Coil and Onxy embolization were used to manage the pseudoaneurysm and fistula.

LESSONS

This case illustrates the potential for MMA pseudoaneurysm formation as a complication of percutaneous trigeminal balloon rhizotomy, which has not been seen in the literature. Concurrent MMA-pterygoid plexus fistula is also a rarity demonstrated in this case.

Open access

Transvenous embolization for an intraosseous clival arteriovenous fistula via a proper access route guiding a three-dimensional fusion image: illustrative case

Yu Iida, Jun Suenaga, Nobuyuki Shimizu, Kaoru Shizawa, Ryosuke Suzuki, Shigeta Miyake, Taisuke Akimoto, Satoshi Hori, Kensuke Tateishi, Yasunobu Nakai, and Tetsuya Yamamoto

BACKGROUND

Intraosseous clival arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs), in which the shunt drains extracranially from the posterior and anterior condylar veins rather than from the cavernous sinus (CS), are rare. Targeting embolization of an intraosseous clival AVF is challenging because of its complex venous and skull base anatomy; therefore, a therapeutic strategy based on detailed preoperative radiological findings is required to achieve a favorable outcome. Here, the authors report the successful targeted embolization of an intraosseous clival AVF using an ingenious access route.

OBSERVATIONS

A 74-year-old woman presented with left-sided visual impairment, oculomotor nerve palsy, and right facial pain. A fusion image of three-dimensional rotational angiography and cone-beam computed tomography revealed a left CS dural AVF and a right intraosseous clival AVF. The shunt flow of the clival AVF drained extracranially from the posterior and anterior condylar veins via the intraosseous venous route. Transvenous embolization was performed by devising suboccipital, posterior condylar, and intraosseous access routes. The symptoms resolved after the bilateral AVFs were treated.

LESSONS

Accurate diagnosis and proper transvenous access based on detailed intraosseous and craniocervical venous information obtained from advanced imaging modalities are key to resolving intraosseous clival AVF.

Open access

Utilization of three-dimensional fusion images with high-resolution computed tomography angiography for preoperative evaluation of microvascular decompression: patient series

Takamitsu Iwata, Koichi Hosomi, Naoki Tani, Hui Ming Khoo, Satoru Oshino, and Haruhiko Kishima

BACKGROUND

High-resolution computed tomography (CT), outfitted with a 0.25-mm detector, has superior capability for identifying microscopic anatomical structures compared to conventional CT. This study describes the use of high-resolution computed tomography angiography (CTA) for preoperative microvascular decompression (MVD) assessment and explores the potential effectiveness of three-dimensional (3D) image fusion with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) by comparing it with traditional imaging methods.

OBSERVATIONS

Four patients who had undergone preoperative high-resolution CTA and MRI for MVD at Osaka University Hospital between December 2020 and March 2022 were included in this study. The 3D-reconstructed images and intraoperative findings were compared. One patient underwent conventional CTA, thus allowing for a comparison between high-resolution and conventional CTA in terms of radiation exposure and vascular delineation. Preoperative simulations reflected the intraoperative findings for all cases; small vessel compression of the nerve was identified preoperatively in two cases.

LESSONS

Compared with conventional CTA, high-resolution CTA showed superior vascular delineation with no significant change in radiation exposure. The use of high-resolution CTA with reconstructed 3D fusion images can help to simulate prior MVD. Knowing the location of the nerves and blood vessels can perioperatively guide neurosurgeons.

Open access

Intravascular ultrasound to aid in the diagnosis and revision of an intra-aortic pedicle screw: illustrative case

Landon D. Ehlers, Patrick J. Opperman, Jack E. Mordeson, Jonathan R. Thompson, and Daniel L. Surdell

BACKGROUND

Pedicle screw impingement on vessel walls has the potential for complications due to pulsatile effects and wall erosion. Artifacts from spinal instrumentation create difficulty in accurately evaluating this interface. The authors present the first case of intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) used to characterize a pedicle screw breach into the aortic lumen.

OBSERVATIONS

A 21-year-old female with surgically corrected scoliosis underwent computed tomography angiography (CTA) 3 years postoperatively, which revealed a pedicle screw within the thoracic aorta lumen. Metal artifact distorted the CTA images, which prompted the decision to use intraoperative IVUS. The IVUS confirmed the noninvasive imaging findings and guided final decisions regarding aortic endograft size and location during spine hardware revision.

LESSONS

For asymptomatic patients presenting with pedicle screws malpositioned in or near the aorta, treatment decisions revolve around the extent of vessel wall penetration. Intraluminal depth can be obscured by artifact on computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging or inadequately evaluated by a transesophageal echocardiogram. In our intraoperative experience, IVUS confirmed the depth of vessel lumen violation by a single pedicle screw and no wall penetration by two additional screws of concern. This was useful in deciding on thoracic endovascular aortic repair graft size and landing zone and facilitated safe spinal instrumentation removal and revision.

Open access

Radiofrequency ablation during stereoelectroencephalography: from diagnostic tool to therapeutic intervention. Illustrative case

Demitre Serletis, Juan Bulacio, Justin Bingaman, Elham Abushanab, Stephen P. Harasimchuk, Richard Rammo, Silvia Neme-Mercante, and William Bingaman

BACKGROUND

Radiofrequency thermocoagulation (RFTC) during intracranial stereoelectroencephalography (sEEG) was first described as a safe technique for creating lesions of epileptic foci in 2004. Since that time, the method has been applied as a diagnostic and/or palliative intervention. Although widely practiced in European epilepsy surgical programs, the technique has not been popularized in the United States given the lack of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)–approved technologies permitting safe usage of in situ sEEG electrodes for this purpose.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present a case report of a young female patient with refractory left neocortical temporal lobe epilepsy undergoing sEEG electrode implantation, who underwent sEEG-guided RFTC via a stereotactic temperature-sensing pallidotomy probe. Although used as a diagnostic step in her workup, the patient has remained seizure-free for nearly 18 months.

LESSONS

The use of in situ sEEG electrodes for RFTC remains limited in the United States. In this context, this case highlights a safe alternative and temporizing approach to performing diagnostic sEEG-guided RFTC, using a temperature-sensing pallidotomy probe to create small, precise stereotactic lesions. The authors caution careful consideration of this technique as a temporary work-around solution while also highlighting the rising need for new FDA-approved technologies for safe RFTC through in situ temperature-sensing sEEG electrodes.

Open access

Rescue stenting after artery occlusion as a complication of an intrasaccular device–assisted coiling embolization: illustrative case

Félix Gallo-Pineda, Miriam Fernández-Gómez, and Carlos Hidalgo-Barranco

BACKGROUND

Endovascular embolization of wide-necked aneurysms can be challenging. The development of intrasaccular devices like the Contour has enabled us to approach these aneurysms effectively by reducing recanalization rates and eliminating the need for dual antiplatelet therapy, which is particularly beneficial in the case of ruptured aneurysms. Although complications from using these devices are rare, it is crucial to address them properly. In this case, the authors highlight how to manage artery thrombosis caused by device protrusion during aneurysm embolization.

OBSERVATIONS

This report describes a complication in a male patient with a ruptured anterior communicating artery wide-necked aneurysm. Following Contour-assisted coiling of the aneurysm, a realignment of the detachable apex of the device occluded the A2 segment of the right anterior cerebral artery. After the failure of intra-arterial and intravenous tirofiban infusion as well as mechanical thrombectomy, a self-expanding open-cell stent was deployed in the involved vessel, achieving successful reperfusion.

LESSONS

The Contour device has a detachable zone that can cause occlusion of the parent vessel after deployment. The use of a stent as a rescue maneuver may be useful if reperfusion of the vessel cannot be achieved through other methods such as aspiration or full-dose antiplatelet therapy.