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Open access

Electric burn of the skull: treatment by applying trepanations and wound dressing. Illustrative case

Sergio M Georgeto, Marcio F Lehmann, Adriano T Antonucci, Marcel Schiavini, Shiro M. A Shimoakoishi, Anibal R Neto, Lutero C. M Santos, Dalmo G Correia, Murilo Scapin, and Eloah S Marcilio

BACKGROUND

Although electric injuries to human tissue are uncommon in contemporary times, their occurrence implies a high degree of morbidity and mortality. These are primarily attributed to the impact of electric current on cellular membranes, resulting in the disruption of ionic changes.

OBSERVATIONS

In this paper, the authors present the case of an electric burn on the skull in a 50-year-old male, treated by utilizing trepanation and daily sterile wound dressing. This approach differs from the conventional treatment involving tissue grafts.

LESSONS

Although the techniques utilized in this case are not commonly chosen as the initial treatment option, they have demonstrated effectiveness. Despite the absence of tissue flaps or grafts, satisfactory coverage of the skull cap was achieved.

Open access

Management of a recurrent spinal arachnoid cyst presenting as arachnoiditis in the setting of spontaneous spinal subarachnoid hemorrhage: illustrative case

Omar Hussain, Randall Treffy, Hope M Reecher, Andrew L DeGroot, Peter Palmer, Mohamad Bakhaidar, and Saman Shabani

BACKGROUND

Spontaneous spinal subarachnoid hemorrhage is a rare pathological entity with a variety of presentations depending on the underlying etiology, which often remains cryptogenic. The literature is sparse regarding the most efficacious treatment or management option, and there is no consensus on follow-up time or modalities. Additionally, there are very few reports that include operative videos, which is provided herein.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present a case of spontaneous spinal subarachnoid hemorrhage without an underlying etiology in a patient with progressive myelopathy, back pain, and lower-extremity paresthesias. She presented to our institution, and because of progressive worsening of her symptoms and the development of compressive arachnoid cysts, she underwent thoracic laminectomies for evacuation of subdural fluid, fenestration of the arachnoid cysts, and lysis of significant arachnoid adhesions. Her clinical course was further complicated by the recurrence of worsening myelopathy and the development of a large compressive arachnoid cyst with further arachnoiditis. The patient underwent repeat surgical intervention for cyst decompression with an improvement in symptoms.

LESSONS

This case highlights the importance of long-term follow-up for these complicated cases with an emphasis on repeat magnetic resonance imaging. Unfortunately, surgical intervention is associated with short-term relief of the symptoms and no significant nonoperative management is available for these patients.

Open access

Successful management of delayed traumatic cervical spondyloptosis with neurological deficit: illustrative case

Ibrahim Dao, Salifou Napon, Ousmane Ouattara, Abdoulaye Sanou, Elie Nassoum, Sylvain Delwendé Zabsonré, and Abel Kabré

BACKGROUND

Cervical spondyloptosis is a serious condition scarcely encountered by spine surgeons. Few cases have been reported in the literature. There are no general guidelines for their management, especially in delayed cases. The authors describe their surgical technique for the management of cervical spondyloptosis 45 days after the trauma.

OBSERVATIONS

A 28-year-old patient was admitted 45 days after head and cervical trauma leading to quadriplegia with muscular strength at the C5 level. Cervical computed tomography scanning and magnetic resonance imaging revealed C6–7 spondyloptosis with complete slippage of the C6 vertebral body in front of C7. Posterior and anterior cervical spine approaches during the same surgery allowed decompression and stabilization, leading to a dramatic improvement in the neurological deficit. The patient was able to walk 18 months later with near normal balance.

LESSONS

Traumatic cervical spondyloptosis requires early management to increase the possibility of decompression through anatomical realignment and stabilization. In delayed cases, a combined anterior and posterior cervical spine approach according to our technique allows decompression and stabilization with a good postoperative outcome possible.

Open access

Vacuum-assisted scalp repositioning: a novel temporizing approach to acute sinking skin flap syndrome. Illustrative cases

Evan Courville, Joshua Marquez, Michael Homma, Michael Conley, Georgios P Skandalakis, Peter Shin, James Botros, and Christian Ricks

BACKGROUND

This report describes the use of a novel approach to address acute sinking skin flap syndrome (SSFS), a postcraniectomy complication arising from brain dysfunction beneath the skull defect. The authors present a case series of two patients, emphasizing the prospective application of an external plaster cast in tandem with a vacuum-assisted closure (VAC) device (wound VAC) to promptly reposition the scalp and relieve brain compression.

OBSERVATIONS

Following intervention, one patient showed immediate neurological improvement, with complete resolution of symptoms within hours. Conversely, the second patient developed nonconvulsive status epilepticus. Computed tomography scans postintervention validated the successful scalp repositioning and mass effect resolution in both instances. This temporary approach proved successful in one patient with moderate symptoms, serving as a bridge to cranioplasty.

LESSONS

The integration of an external plaster cast and wound VAC offers a cost-effective and prompt solution for patients with acute SSFS pending cranioplasty. Appropriate patient selection and heightened caution for those with severe symptoms should be exercised.

Open access

Combined endoscopic and microsurgical approach for the drainage of a multisegmental thoracolumbar epidural abscess: illustrative case

Vincent Hagel, Felix Dymel, Stephan Werle, Vera Barrera, and Mazda Farshad

BACKGROUND

Spinal epidural abscess is a rare but serious infectious disease that can rapidly develop into a life-threatening condition. Therefore, the appropriate treatment is indispensable. Although conservative treatment is justifiable in certain cases, surgical treatment needs to be considered as an alternative early on because of complications such as (progressive) neurological deficits or sepsis. However, traditional surgical techniques usually include destructive approaches up to (multilevel) laminectomies. Such excessive approaches do have biomechanical effects potentially affecting the long-term outcomes. Therefore, minimally invasive approaches have been described as alternative strategies, including endoscopic approaches.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors describe a surgical technique involving a combination of two minimally invasive approaches (endoscopic and microsurgical) to drain a multisegmental (thoracolumbar) abscess using the physical phenomenon of continuous pressure difference to minimize collateral tissue damage.

LESSONS

The combination of minimally invasive approaches, including the endoscopic technique, may be an alternative in draining selected epidural abscesses while achieving a similar amount of abscess removal and causing less collateral approach damage in comparison with more traditional techniques.

Open access

Late-developing posttraumatic dural arteriovenous fistula of the vertebral artery: illustrative case

Hanna E Schenck, Thomas B Fodor, Bart A. J. M Wagemans, and Roel H. L Haeren

BACKGROUND

A dural arteriovenous fistula (dAVF) involving the vertebral artery (VA) is a rare vascular pathology that can result from damage to the VA, most frequently following cervical spine trauma. In most traumatic cases, the dAVF develops and manifests shortly after trauma.

OBSERVATIONS

A patient was admitted after a fall from the stairs causing neck pain. Computed tomography of the cervical spine revealed a Hangman’s fracture, and angiography showed a left VA dissection. The patient was treated with a cervical brace and clopidogrel. Three weeks after trauma, the patient was admitted because of bilateral leg ataxia, dizziness, and neck pain. Repeat imaging revealed increased displacement of the cervical fracture and a dAVF from the left VA with retrograde filling of the dAVF from the right VA. Embolization of the dAVF using coils proximally and distally to the dAVF was performed prior to placing a halo brace. At 6 months, all symptoms had disappeared and union of the cervical spine fracture had occurred.

LESSONS

This case report emphasizes the need for follow-up angiography after traumatic VA injury resulting from cervical spine fracture and underlines important treatment considerations for successful obliteration of a dAVF of the VA.

Open access

Novel use of an image-guided supraorbital craniotomy via an eyebrow approach for the repair of a delayed traumatic orbital encephalocele: illustrative cases

Joseph Ifrach, Nathaniel B Neavling, Iris B Charcos, Linda Zhang, and Corey M Mossop

BACKGROUND

Traumatic orbital encephaloceles are rare but severe complications of orbital fractures. These encephaloceles can present months to years after the initial injury.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present two cases of traumatic orbital encephalocele in young males struck by motor vehicles.

LESSONS

The exact traumatic mechanism of these encephaloceles is unknown, and diagnosis can be confounded by concomitant injuries. The use of a minimally invasive supraorbital keyhole craniotomy has the potential to change how this disease process is managed and has not been previously documented in this setting.

Open access

Delayed headache 11 years after a pub fight: an unusual spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage succeeding a temporal glass shard injury. Illustrative case

Attill Saemann, Victor Schulze-Zachau, Raphael Guzman, and Gregor Hutter

BACKGROUND

Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) in young patients is rare and often associated with vascular malformations, drug abuse, or genetic conditions. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical because of the potential risk of rebleeding and long-term consequences. This case report presents an unusual correlation between a prior traumatic incident and the manifestation of an atypical ICH 11 years later.

OBSERVATIONS

A 37-year-old male presented with retroorbital headaches, confusion, and seizures. Imaging revealed an atypical ICH in the left middle temporal gyrus, accompanied by retained glass shards in the adjacent temporal muscle and bone. Angiography ruled out vascular malformations but suggested an eroded middle cerebral artery branch underneath an osseous defect potentially caused by a bone-transgressing glass shard. Surgical exploration confirmed the vessel as the source of the ICH and was followed by an uneventful hematoma removal and postoperative course.

LESSONS

This case underscores the significance of recognizing delayed complications resulting from retained foreign bodies (FBs). Complete removal of extracranial FBs is imperative to prevent further harm. Clinicians should maintain an awareness of the potential long-term consequences and complications associated with FBs, utilizing comprehensive diagnostics to detect and localize FBs. Timely intervention such as resection or planned follow-up is essential for effective management and mitigation of adverse outcomes.

Open access

Pedicle subtraction metallectomy with complex posterior reconstruction for fixed cervicothoracic kyphosis: illustrative case

Harman Chopra, José Manuel Orenday-Barraza, Alexander E. Braley, Alfredo Guiroy, Olivia E. Gilbert, and Michael A. Galgano

BACKGROUND

Iatrogenic cervical deformity is a devastating complication that can result from a well-intended operation but a poor understanding of the individual biomechanics of a patient’s spine. Patient factors, such as bone fragility, high T1 slope, and undiagnosed myopathies often play a role in perpetuating a deformity despite an otherwise successful surgery. This imbalance can lead to significant morbidity and a decreased quality of life.

OBSERVATIONS

A 55-year-old male presented to the authors’ clinic with a chin-to-chest deformity and cervical myelopathy. He previously had an anterior C2–T2 fixation and a posterior C1–T6 instrumented fusion. He subsequently developed screw pullout at multiple levels, so the original surgeon removed all of the posterior hardware. The T1 cage (original corpectomy) severely subsided into the body of T2, generating an angular kyphosis that eventually developed a rigid osseous circumferential union at the cervicothoracic junction with severe cord compression. An anterior approach was not feasible; therefore, a 3-column osteotomy/fusion in the upper thoracic spine was planned whereby 1 of the T2 screws would need to be removed from a posterior approach for the reduction to take place.

LESSONS

This case highlights the devastating effect of a hardware complication leading to a fixed cervical spine deformity and the complex decision making involved to safely correct the challenging deformity and restore function.

Open access

Severe hyperglycorrhachia and status epilepticus after endoscopic aqueductoplasty: illustrative case

Anand A. Dharia, Ahmad Masri, Jay F. Rilinger, and Christian B. Kaufman

BACKGROUND

While hypoglycorrhachia is observed and managed frequently, there are few reports in the literature of clinically significant hyperglycorrhachia after neurosurgery. Understanding the effects and management of severe hyperglycorrhachia is important to the neurosurgeon and neurocritical care teams who care for patients in these rare scenarios.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present the case of a 3-month-old male with congenital hydrocephalus who faced profound hyperglycorrhachia and status epilepticus after an endoscopic aqueductoplasty using an irrigant composed of lactated Ringer’s solution with dextrose 5% in water. A multidisciplinary approach was developed to monitor and treat the patient’s seizures and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) osmolytes.

LESSONS

This case provides several learning opportunities for understanding CSF physiology, pathogenesis of common brain injuries related to osmotic shifts and inflammatory states, as well as clinical management of hyperglycorrhachia. It also reiterates the significance of meticulous intraoperative assessment to avoid preventable medical errors.