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Open access

Surgical treatment of torticollis secondary to the presence of a congenital paracondylar process: illustrative case

Grace Hey, Otavio De Toledo, Salvador Gutierrez-Aguirre, Steven Andreoli, Pushpak Patel, Alyssa Tamasi, Asmaa Hatem, and Philipp Aldana

BACKGROUND

A paracondylar process is an abnormal bony exostosis arising from the skull base lateral to the occipital condyle and extending inferiorly toward the transverse process of the atlas. Paracondylar processes are typically identified incidentally and vary in size from a small protuberance to an elongated process.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present the first pediatric case of torticollis secondary to a congenital paracondylar process successfully treated with resection of the paracondylar process and sternocleidomastoid release.

LESSONS

Cadaveric dissection, three-dimensional models, intraoperative imaging guidance, and multidisciplinary collaboration were paramount to a successful surgical outcome.

https://thejns.org/doi/10.3171/CASE2447

Open access

Cartilage within lipomyelomeningocele and ulnar longitudinal deficiency syndrome as VACTERL association, alliance in SHH/GLI3, and Wnt pathway: illustrative case

Mikael Aseged Shimekit, Ermias Fikru Yesuf, Simon Mulugeta Teferi, and Mahlet Getachew Lemma

BACKGROUND

Lipomyelomeningocele associated with an ulnar club hand in the spectrum of VACTERL association ([costo-]vertebral abnormalities; anal atresia; cardiac defects; tracheal-esophageal abnomalities, including atresia, stenosis, and fistula; renal and radial abnormalities; limb abnormalities; single umbilical artery) is a very rare and infrequently reported phenomenon. Within the fat mass of the lipoma, it is not common to find a well-defined cartilaginous mass with no attachments to the surrounding tissue.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present the case of a 3-month-old male with low-back swelling that was off-center to the left, accompanied by a left short forearm displaying outward bowing. Echocardiography showed an atrial septal defect. This rare VACTERL association comprises lipomyelomeningocele, atrial septal defect, and ulnar longitudinal deficiency syndrome. During surgical intervention for the lipoma, a well-defined cartilaginous mass was discovered within the adipose tissue.

LESSONS

The manifestation of VACTERL association can be partially explained by the Shh/Gli and Wnt pathway defects. It is prudent to screen children with neural tube defects to be aware of any associated syndromes. This case is very rare, and the literature has contained no prior report on the VACTERL association of lipomyelomeningocele, atrial septal defect, and ulnar longitudinal deficiency.

Open access

Epidural lipomatosis with foci of hemorrhage and acute compression of the spinal cord in a child with CLOVES syndrome: illustrative case

Dmytro Ishchenko, Iryna Benzar, and Andrii Holoborodko

BACKGROUND

Congenital lipomatous overgrowth, vascular malformations, epidermal nevi, spinal/skeletal anomalies, and/or scoliosis (CLOVES) syndrome is the most recently described combined vascular anomaly characterized by congenital excessive growth of adipose tissue, vascular malformations, epidermal nevi, and skeletal deformities. This condition exhibits a significant variability in clinical manifestations and a tendency for rapid progression and affects extensive anatomical regions. Information regarding the association of epidural lipomatosis with low-flow venous lymphatic malformations is rare, with few reports in the literature.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present a case of a 6-year-old girl who was admitted to the emergency department complaining of rapidly progressing weakness in her lower extremities and partial loss of sensation in the inguinal area. Radiologically, an extradural mass was identified at the T2–6 level, causing acute spinal cord compression. Urgent decompression and partial resection of the mass were performed. Despite satisfactory intraoperative hemo- and lymphostasis, postoperative lymphorrhea/seroma leakage was encountered as a delayed complication and was managed conservatively.

LESSONS

CLOVES syndrome is characterized by the combination of various clinical symptoms, not all of which are included in the abbreviation, as well as a progressively deteriorating course, the emergence of new symptoms, and complications throughout the patient’s life. This necessitates ongoing monitoring of such patients.

Open access

Postnatal myelomeningocele closure in smallest reported neonate: illustrative case

Momin M Mohis, Kevin Cordeiro, Sarah Larson, Catharine Garland, and James A Stadler III

BACKGROUND

Myelomeningocele (MMC) is the most serious form of spina bifida, a congenital defect in neural tube development. Defect closure in a patient with an extremely low birth weight presents unique challenges and risks; lower birth weight is associated with multiple organ system concerns, homeostasis is difficult, and local tissue is underdeveloped. To the authors’ knowledge, the present case is the lowest reported weight (490 g) for a neonate with postnatal MMC repair.

OBSERVATIONS

A preterm male with a prenatally diagnosed lumbosacral MMC and associated Chiari malformation type II was born at 23 weeks 1 day to a 29-year-old mother, gravidity 6 parity 4. The patient was medically stabilized and underwent MMC closure on day of life 5. His weight was 490 g at the time of this repair, and he did not have any surgical complications. At age 16 months, he underwent endoscopic third ventriculostomy with choroid plexus cauterization; he has not required any further hydrocephalus treatments since the last follow-up at 30 months of age.

LESSONS

To the authors’ knowledge, this case is the lowest birth weight ex utero MMC closure reported in the literature. Challenges of prematurity and size required appropriate preoperative stabilization, careful hemostasis and temperature regulation, and meticulous surgical technique.

Open access

Treatment of an anterior cervicothoracic myelomeningocele together with spine deformity correction in a child: illustrative case

Hudin N Jackson, Nealen Laxpati, and David F Bauer

BACKGROUND

Anterior cervicothoracic myelomeningoceles are a rare pathology. In reported cases, treatment has included shunting, isolated resection and repair without deformity correction, or isolated deformity correction without meningocele repair. The authors describe a pediatric patient with an anterior cervicothoracic myelomeningocele presenting with progressive neurological decline, who underwent simultaneous treatment of the myelomeningocele to detether the spinal cord and achieve major correction of the scoliotic deformity.

OBSERVATIONS

A 15-year-old girl was born with C7-T1-T2 hemivertebrae and anterior cervical myelomeningocele at C7–T1. She developed progressive cervical thoracic scoliosis, left hemiparesis initially, and additional right hemiparesis eventually. She underwent surgical repair via C7, T1, and T2 corpectomies with intradural detethering of the spinal cord. The scoliosis was treated with C7–T2 Ponte osteotomies and C2–T5 posterior fixation, followed by anterior reconstruction with a titanium cage and anterior plate from C6 to T3. The myelomeningocele was adequately treated with good correction of the patient’s deformity. The patient had postoperative improvement in her strength and solid arthrodesis on postoperative imaging.

LESSONS

The authors describe the successful treatment of an anterior cervicothoracic myelomeningocele and associated scoliosis in a child. This is a unique report of a combined strategy to achieve both deformity correction and detethering of the spinal cord.

Open access

The complex treatment paradigms for concomitant tethered cord and scoliosis: illustrative case

Rose Fluss, Riana Lo Bu, Andrew J Kobets, and Jaime A Gomez

BACKGROUND

Scoliosis associated with tethered cord syndrome is one of the most challenging spinal deformities to manage. Multiple surgical approaches have been developed, including traditional staged and concomitant procedures, spine-shortening osteotomies, and individual vertebral column resections.

OBSERVATIONS

A 10-year-old female presented with congenital kyphoscoliosis with worsening curve progression, tethered spinal cord, and a history of enuresis. The scoliosis had progressed to a 26° coronal curve and 55° thoracolumbar kyphosis. Preoperative magnetic resonance imaging of the spine revealed a tethered cord between the levels of L3–4 and a large kyphotic deformity at L1. The patient underwent laminectomy, during which intraoperative motor signals were lost. A planned hemivertebrectomy at L1 was performed prior to an L4 laminectomy, untethering of the filum terminale, and posterior spinal fusion from T11 to L2. After surgery, the patient experienced transient lower-extremity weakness, with her neurological function improving from baseline over the next 2 months. Ultimately, the goal of this surgery was to halt the progressive decline in motor function, which was successfully achieved.

LESSONS

Much remains to be learned about the treatment of this complicated disease, especially in the setting of concomitant scoliosis. This case serves to exemplify the complex treatment paradigms that exist when attempting to manage this clinical syndrome and that more remains to be learned.

Open access

Symptomatic spinal arachnoid cyst with spastic diplegia secondary to cerebral palsy: illustrative case

Andrew Guillotte, Abdul-Rahman Alkiswani, Kathryn A Keeler, and Michael D Partington

BACKGROUND

Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) can improve the spastic gait of carefully selected patients with cerebral palsy. Spinal arachnoid cysts are a rare pathology that can also cause spastic gait secondary to spinal cord compression.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present an interesting case of a child with cerebral palsy and spastic diplegia. He was evaluated by a multidisciplinary team and determined to be a good candidate for SDR. Preoperative evaluation included magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the spine, which identified an arachnoid cyst causing spinal cord compression. The cyst was surgically fenestrated, which provided some gait improvement. After recovering from cyst fenestration surgery, the patient underwent SDR providing further gait improvement.

LESSONS

SDR can be beneficial for some patients with spastic diplegia. Most guidelines do not include spinal MRI in the preoperative evaluation for SDR. However, spinal MRI can be beneficial for surgical planning by localizing the level of the conus. It may also identify additional spinal pathology that is contributing to the patient’s spasticity. In rare cases, such as this one, patients may benefit from staged surgery to address structural causes of spastic gait prior to proceeding with SDR.

Open access

Presacral mature cystic teratoma associated with Currarino syndrome in an adolescent with androgen insensitivity: illustrative case

Grant Koskay, Patrick Opperman, Frank M. Mezzacappa, Joseph Menousek, Megan K. Fuller, Linden Fornoff, and Daniel Surdell

BACKGROUND

Currarino syndrome is a rare disorder that classically presents with the triad of presacral mass, anorectal malformation, and spinal dysraphism. The presacral mass is typically benign, although malignant transformation is possible. Surgical treatment of the mass and exploration and repair of associated dysraphism are indicated for diagnosis and symptom relief. There are no previous reports of Currarino syndrome in an androgen-insensitive patient.

OBSERVATIONS

A 17-year-old female patient presented with lack of menarche. Physical examination and laboratory investigation identified complete androgen insensitivity. Imaging analysis revealed a presacral mass lesion, and the patient was taken to surgery for resection of the mass and spinal cord untethering. Intraoperative ultrasound revealed a fibrous stalk connecting the thecal sac to the presacral mass, which was disconnected without the need for intrathecal exploration. The presacral mass was then resected, and pathological analysis revealed a mature cystic teratoma. Postoperatively, the patient recovered without neurological or gastrointestinal sequelae.

LESSONS

Diagnosis of incomplete Currarino syndrome may be difficult but can be identified via work-up of other disorders, such as androgen insensitivity. Intraoperative ultrasound is useful for surgical decision making and may obviate the need for intrathecal exploration during repair of dysraphism in the setting of Currarino syndrome.

Open access

Multiple-site neural tube defects complicated by multiple-site split cord malformations and thickened filum terminale: experience at a pediatric neurosurgical teaching hospital in Ethiopia. Illustrative case

Mestet Yibeltal Shiferaw, Yemisirach Bizuneh Akililu, Bethelehem Yesehak Worku, Tsegazeab Laeke T/Mariam, and Abenezer Tirsit Aklilu

BACKGROUND

Multiple-site open neural tube defects (MNTDs) and multiple-site split cord malformations (MSCMs) are extremely rare congenital anomalies that are defined by the simultaneous noncontiguous occurrence of more than one neural tube defect (NTD) and split cord malformation (SCM), respectively, in a single case with normal neural tissue in between. This work shows the cooccurrence of MNTDs and MSCMs, which has never been reported in the literature.

OBSERVATIONS

A single-stage repair for a 13-day-old female neonate with a preoperative diagnosis of MNTDs (thoracic meningocele and thoracolumbar myelomeningocele) plus an additional intraoperative diagnosis of MSCMs (type 3c) of thoracic and thoracolumbar spine, and thickened filum terminale was done with a favorable smooth postoperative course.

LESSONS

The use of intraoperative meticulous surgical technique along with preoperative skin stigmata helped for anticipation, detection, and treatment of associated complex spinal MNTDs, especially in resource-limited settings, where preoperative magnetic resonance imaging is not routinely used. Whether to repair the MNTDs as a single- versus multiple-stage procedure is mainly a function of the patient’s tolerance to the duration of anesthesia and the anticipated blood loss for the patient’s age. The overall developmental biology and long-term clinical outcome of MNTDs compared to single NTD/SCM is poorly understood and needs further study.

Open access

Successful neurosurgical separation of conjoined spinal cords in pygopagus twins: illustrative cases

Chisato Yokota, Naoki Kagawa, Yohei Bamba, Yuko Tazuke, Yasuji Kitabatake, Tomoyoshi Nakagawa, Ryuichi Hirayama, Hiroomi Okuyama, and Haruhiko Kishima

BACKGROUND

Conjoined twins represent a rare congenital malformation. Pygopagus twins are fused at the sacrum and perineum, with union of the spine. The authors report a successful separation of a unique case of pygopagus twins sharing a U-shaped spinal cord, which the authors identified through aberrant nerves by intraoperative physiological spinal root examination.

OBSERVATIONS

The 6-month-old male pygopagus conjoined twins, who were diagnosed in the prenatal period, underwent separation. They had a single dural sac containing a U-shaped continuous spinal cord; their filum terminale appeared completely fused and the anatomical border of the spinal cord was not distinguishable. A triggered electromyogram (tEMG) was used on each nerve root to determine which belonged to one twin versus the other, to detect nerve cross, and to identify functional midline cleavage. Finally, the twins were separated after spinal division. Both twins recovered uneventfully with no lower limb neurological deficits or walking impairment for 16 months.

LESSONS

Pygopagus twins with a conjoined spinal cord are very rare, but a good long-term functional prognosis can be expected with successful separation. Intraoperative tEMG is useful in spinal separation surgery for twins with a conjoined spinal cord.