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Open access

A child with unilateral abducens nerve palsy and neurovascular compression in Chiari malformation type 1 resolved with posterior fossa decompression: illustrative case

Olivia A Kozel, Belinda Shao, Cody A Doberstein, Natalie Amaral-Nieves, Matthew N Anderson, Gita V Harappanahally, Michael A Langue, and Konstantina A Svokos

BACKGROUND

Unilateral cranial nerve (CN) VI, or abducens nerve, palsy is rare in children and has not been reported in association with Chiari malformation type 1 (CM1) in the absence of other classic CM1 symptoms.

OBSERVATIONS

A 3-year-old male presented with acute incomitant esotropia consistent with a unilateral, left CN VI palsy and no additional neurological symptoms. Imaging demonstrated CM1 without hydrocephalus or papilledema, as well as an anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA) vessel loop in the immediate vicinity of the left abducens nerve. Given the high risk of a skull base approach for direct microvascular decompression of the abducens nerve and the absence of other classic Chiari symptoms, the patient was initially observed. However, as his palsy progressed, he underwent posterior fossa decompression with duraplasty (PFDD), with the aim of restoring global cerebrospinal fluid dynamics and decreasing possible AICA compression of the left abducens nerve. Postoperatively, his symptoms completely resolved.

LESSONS

In this first reported case of CM1 presenting as a unilateral abducens palsy in a young child, possibly caused by neurovascular compression, the patient’s symptoms resolved after indirect surgical decompression via PFDD.

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

Cervicothoracic ventral-dorsal rhizotomy for bilateral upper-extremity hypertonia in cerebral palsy: illustrative case

Ryan Kelly, Hanna R Kemeny, Sunny Abdelmageed, Robin Trierweiler, Tim Krater, Melissa A LoPresti, and Jeffrey S Raskin

BACKGROUND

Management of medically refractory limb-specific hypertonia is challenging. Neurosurgical options include deep brain stimulation, intrathecal baclofen, thalamotomy, pallidotomy, or rhizotomy. Cervical dorsal rhizotomy has been successful in the treatment of upper-extremity spasticity. Cervical ventral and cervical ventral-dorsal rhizotomy (VDR) has been used in the treatment or torticollis and traumatic hypertonia; however, the use of cervicothoracic VDR for the treatment of upper-extremity mixed hypertonia is not well described.

OBSERVATIONS

A 9-year-old girl with severe quadriplegic mixed hypertonia secondary to cerebral palsy (CP) underwent cervicothoracic VDR. Modified Ashworth Scale scores, provision of caregiving, and examination improved. Treatment was well tolerated.

LESSONS

Cervicothoracic VDR can afford symptomatic and quality of life improvement in patients with medically refractory limb hypertonia. Intraoperative positioning and nuances in surgical techniques are particularly important based on spinal cord position as modified by scoliosis. Here, the first successful use of cervicothoracic VDR for the treatment of medically refractory upper-limb hypertonia in a pediatric patient with CP is described.

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

Laser interstitial thermal therapy as a radiation-sparing approach for central nervous system tumors in children with cancer predisposition syndromes: report of a child with Li-Fraumeni syndrome. Illustrative case

Sergio W Guadix, Abhinav Pandey, Carson Gundlach, Michael Walsh, Nelson S Moss, and Mark M Souweidane

BACKGROUND

Ionizing radiation and alkylating chemotherapies increase secondary malignancy risk in patients with cancer predisposition syndromes (CPSs), such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome. Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) is a minimally invasive ablation technique that has not been associated with mutagenic risks. We describe the case of a child with LFS and a history of treated choroid plexus carcinoma (CPC) who developed a second primary glial tumor that was safely treated with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)–guided LITT.

OBSERVATIONS

A 4-year-old male with left parietal World Health Organization grade III CPC associated with a TP53 germline mutation was evaluated. The patient underwent neoadjuvant platinum-based chemotherapy before near-total resection, followed by 131I-8H9 immunotherapy and 30 fractions of 54-Gy proton radiotherapy. He remained without evidence of disease for 2 years before developing a slow-growing mass adjacent to the left frontal ventricular horn. Stereotactic biopsy revealed a glial neoplasm. Given the nonsuperficial location and focality of the lesion, MRI-guided LITT was performed for ablative therapy. There were no complications, and 2 years of surveillance revealed continued retraction of the ablated tumor focus and no subsequent disease.

LESSONS

Alternatives to mutagenic therapies for brain tumors should be explored for patients with CPS. LITT paired with imaging surveillance is a logical strategy to ensure durable outcomes and mitigate treatment-related secondary neoplasms.

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

Nontraumatic symptomatic de novo arachnoid cyst in an adolescent patient treated with cystoperitoneal shunting: illustrative case

Angelica M Fuentes, Jonathan J Yun, and John A Jane Jr.

BACKGROUND

Arachnoid cysts are often congenital, asymptomatic lesions detected in the pediatric population. When seen in adults, they usually occur following trauma. De novo formation of arachnoid cysts is uncommon, with only a few instances cited in the literature and most of which occurred in the pediatric population. Treatment options for these lesions include observation, craniotomy for cyst resection, microsurgical/endoscopic fenestration, or shunting.

OBSERVATIONS

In this report, the authors describe a female patient with a de novo, symptomatic, enlarging middle cranial fossa arachnoid cyst detected at age 16 years. She was treated with the placement of a cystoperitoneal shunt. After surgery, she experienced clinical and radiological improvement.

LESSONS

We illustrate successful shunting of a de novo arachnoid cyst in a symptomatic teen patient. Although arachnoid cysts in certain intracranial locations are more likely to produce symptoms, those in the middle cranial fossa tend to be asymptomatic. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of a symptomatic de novo arachnoid cyst located in the middle cranial fossa in a postpubertal patient. Although the current presentation is rare, the authors demonstrate an effective surgical treatment of a symptomatic, large, de novo arachnoid cyst in a postpubertal pediatric patient.

Open access

Overcoming the challenge of a thin skull in a 2-year-old patient undergoing laser interstitial thermal therapy using an individualized stereotactic platform: illustrative case

Spencer Lau, Joseph Menousek, Tyler Pistone, Arnett Klugh III, and Afshin Salehi

BACKGROUND

Ependymoma is the third most common pediatric brain tumor that can present with headaches, cranial nerve deficits, nausea, vomiting, and ataxia. Current treatment is maximal safe resection followed by radiation therapy. More recently, laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) has become an alternative to traditional resection. In this report, the authors describe the utilization of a single-use, patient-specific stereotactic platform for the treatment of supratentorial ependymoma with LITT.

OBSERVATIONS

A 2-year-old female had a complex history of supratentorial ependymoma after multiple craniotomies for repeated tumor progression and ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement. Imaging demonstrated an enlarging, complex, enhancing mass in the right occipital region. LITT was decided on for treatment. Given the thinness of the patient’s skull, which precluded traditional means of stereotaxy, the authors elected to use a personalized stereotactic platform. Immediate postoperative imaging captured complete laser ablation of the tumor, with long-term imaging demonstrating a decreased tumor size.

LESSONS

Individualized stereotactic platforms are increasingly used in adult populations, but pediatric use continues to be infrequent. In this report, the authors present the youngest reported case using a personalized stereotactic platform and show the effectiveness of this system for performing LITT in the youngest of populations with very thin skulls.

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

Approaches to ventriculoperitoneal shunt scalp erosion: countersinking into the calvarium. Illustrative case

Denise Brunozzi, Melissa A LoPresti, Jennifer L McGrath, and Tord D Alden

BACKGROUND

Ventriculoperitoneal shunting (VPS) is a standard procedure for the treatment of hydrocephalus, and the management of its complications is common in the practice of pediatric neurosurgery. Shunt exposure, though a rare complication, can occur because of thin, fragile skin, a young patient age, protuberant hardware, poor scalp perfusion, and a multitude of other patient factors.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors report a complex case of VPS erosion through the scalp in a young female with Pfeiffer syndrome treated with external ventricular drainage, empirical antibiotics, and reinternalization with countersinking of replaced shunt hardware into the calvarium to prevent internal skin pressure points, reduce wound tension, and allow wound healing.

LESSONS

Recessing the shunt hardware, or countersinking the implant, into the calvarium is a simple technique often used in functional neurosurgical implantation surgeries, providing a safe surgical strategy to optimize wound healing in select cases in which the skin flap is unfavorable.