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Open access

Thoracic spinal cord injury after surgical removal of a ruptured cerebellar arteriovenous malformation in a patient in the Concorde position: illustrative case

Kohei Ishikawa, Hideki Endo, Yasufumi Ohtake, Toshiichi Watanabe, and Hirohiko Nakamura

BACKGROUND

Thoracic spinal cord injury after posterior cranial fossa surgery in younger patients is a rare complication. There have been reports of this complication in tumor and spine fields but not in vascular surgery.

OBSERVATIONS

A 22-year-old-man experienced cerebellar arteriovenous malformation rupture, and the malformation was surgically removed with the man in the Concorde position. After surgery, the man had severe paraplegia, and a thoracic spinal cord injury was diagnosed.

LESSONS

In younger patients, cervical hyperflexion in the Concorde position can cause thoracic spinal cord injury even in surgery for cerebrovascular disease.

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

Cervical spinal cord compression from subdural hematoma caused by traumatic nerve root avulsion: illustrative case

Alexander T Yahanda, Michelle R Connor, Rupen Desai, David A Giles, Vivek P Gupta, Wilson Z Ray, and Magalie Cadieux

BACKGROUND

Posttraumatic intradural hematomas of the cervical spine are rare findings that may yield significant neurological deficits if they compress the spinal cord. These compressive hematomas require prompt surgical evacuation. In certain instances, intradural hematomas may form from avulsion of cervical nerve roots.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present the case of a 29-year-old male who presented with right upper-extremity weakness in the setting of polytrauma after a motor vehicle accident. He had no cervical fractures but subsequently developed right lower-extremity weakness. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrated a compressive hematoma of the cervical spine that was initially read as an epidural hematoma. However, intraoperatively, it was found to be a subdural hematoma, eccentric to the right, stemming from an avulsion of the right C6 nerve root.

LESSONS

Posttraumatic cervical subdural hematomas require rapid surgical evacuation if neurological deficits are present. The source of the hematoma may be an avulsed nerve root, and the associated deficits may be unilateral if the hematoma is eccentric to one side. Surgeons should be prepared for the possibility of an intradural hematoma even in instances in which MRI appears consistent with an epidural hematoma.

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

Upper cervical intramedullary schwannoma of the spinal cord presenting with myelopathy: illustrative case

Shyam Duvuru, Vivek Sanker, Naureen Syed, Shubham Mishra, Sayantika Ghosh, and Tirth Dave

BACKGROUND

Intramedullary schwannomas account for 1.1% of all spinal schwannomas. Preoperative diagnosis is best accomplished by thoroughly evaluating clinical and radiological characteristics, accompanied by a high index of suspicion. The authors report a case of C2–3 intramedullary schwannoma in a young male who presented with neck pain and vertigo. The current literature is also reviewed.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors reviewed the data of a young male with a 2-month history of neck pain and vertigo. Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and cervical spine showed an intramedullary mass at C2–3 with a syrinx extending into the cervicomedullary junction. Laminectomy, myelotomy, and microsurgical excision of the mass under intraoperative neurological monitoring (IONM) were done. Postoperative pathology reported the specimen as a schwannoma.

LESSONS

Gross-total resection of a schwannoma using IONM is the treatment of choice because of the lesion’s benign nature, a better prognosis, and defined cleavage plane. Schwannomas should be included in the differential diagnosis of intramedullary spinal tumors. Because of its progressive nature, early surgery is recommended in symptomatic patients.

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

Direct withdrawal of a retained foreign body bisecting the thoracic spinal canal in a neurologically intact pediatric patient: illustrative case

David R. Peters, Trent VanHorn, Brandon Karimian, Benjamin Pruden, Scott D. Wait, Roy T. Daniel, and Constantin Tuleasca

BACKGROUND

Nonmissile penetrating spinal cord injury (NMPSCI) with a retained foreign body (RFB) is rare and usually results in permanent neurological deficits. In extremely rare cases, patients can present without significant neurological deficits despite an RFB that traverses the spinal canal. Given the rarity of these cases, a consensus has not yet been reached on optimal management. In a patient with an RFB and a neurologically normal clinical examination, the risk of open surgical exploration may outweigh the benefit and direct withdrawal may be a better option.

OBSERVATIONS

A 10-year-old female suffered an NMPSCI to the thoracic spine with an RFB that bisected the spinal canal but remained neurologically intact. Direct withdrawal of the RFB was chosen instead of open surgical exploration, leading to an excellent clinical outcome. The literature was reviewed to find other examples of thoracic NMPSCI with RFB and neurologically normal examinations. Management strategies were compared.

LESSONS

For NMPSCI with RFB and without significant neurological deficits, direct withdrawal is a viable and possibly the best treatment option. The use of fast-acting anesthesia without intubation minimizes patient manipulation, speeds up recovery, and allows early assessment of neurological status after removal.

Open access

Spinal epidural tuberculoma with osseous involvement: illustrative case

Hershel W. Cannon, Michael Weaver, Anand Kaul, and Ahmed Lazim

BACKGROUND

A tuberculosis infection of the central nervous system can present as a localized, intraspinal tuberculoma. These lesions may cause spinal cord compression requiring early identification and surgical decompression to limit deleterious neurological sequelae.

OBSERVATIONS

A 28-year-old female with a history of opioid use disorder presented with low-back pain in the setting of trauma with progressive bilateral lower extremity radiculopathy and paraparesis. T1- and T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging sequences of the spine demonstrated a heterogeneously hyperintense extra-axial epidural mass at T11 with mass effect. Biopsy of the lesion revealed benign soft tissue with necrosis and caseating granulomatous inflammation consistent with tuberculoma. The patient underwent laminectomy and debulking of mass for decompression and was subsequently began antitubercular treatment with good neurological outcome.

LESSONS

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, there are only a handful of microbiologically and radiographically confirmed cases of spinal epidural tuberculoma in English literature. These lesions are rare and difficult to clinically and radiographically characterize in the absence of systemic pulmonary TB symptoms. Tuberculoma is an important differential for a spinal epidural mass, particularly because resection with systemic antitubercular treatment results in symptom resolution.

Open access

Management of perinatal cervical spine injury using custom-fabricated external orthoses: design considerations, narrative literature review, and experience from the Hospital for Sick Children. Illustrative cases

Vishwathsen Karthikeyan, Sara C. Breitbart, Armaan K. Malhotra, Andrea Fung, Erin Short, Ann Schmitz, David E. Lebel, and George M. Ibrahim

BACKGROUND

Cervical spine injuries in neonates are rare and no guidelines are available to inform management. The most common etiology of neonatal cervical injury is birth-related trauma. Management strategies that are routine in older children and adults are not feasible due to the unique anatomy of neonates.

OBSERVATIONS

Here, the authors present 3 cases of neonatal cervical spinal injury due to confirmed or suspected birth trauma, 2 of whom presented immediately after birth, while the other was diagnosed at 7 weeks of age. One child presented with neurological deficits due to spinal cord injury, while another had an underlying predisposition to bony injury, infantile malignant osteopetrosis. The children were treated with a custom-designed and manufactured full-body external orthoses with good clinical and radiographic outcomes. A narrative literature review further supplements this case series and highlights risk factors and the spectrum of birth-related spinal injuries reported to date.

LESSONS

The current report highlights the importance of recognizing the rare occurrence of cervical spinal injury in newborns and provides pragmatic recommendations for management of these injuries. Custom orthoses provide an alternate option for neonates who cannot be fitted in halo vests and who would outgrow traditional casts.