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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

Compressive myelopathy from diffuse spinal dural calcifications in a patient with end-stage renal disease: illustrative case

Alexis Malecki, Jacob Pawloski, Anthony Anzalone, Kelly Shaftel, Hassan Ali Fadel, and Ian Lee

BACKGROUND

Diffuse spinal dural calcification is a rare disorder associated with hyperparathyroidism, including the secondary forms associated with renal failure, osteodystrophy, and chronic hypocalcemia. Here, the authors report a rare case of diffuse dural calcification causing spinal cord compression with myelopathy, requiring decompressive surgery with duraplasty to achieve adequate decompression.

OBSERVATIONS

A 46-year-old male with a history of renal failure on dialysis presented with 2 months of progressive neuropathic pain, lower-extremity weakness, and nonsustained clonus. Spine imaging showed severe renal osteodystrophy with multilevel compression fractures and diffuse dural calcifications with areas of invagination causing severe spinal cord compression. Decompressive surgery was recommended. In surgery, a thickened and calcified dura was encountered with areas of buckling causing spinal cord compression. The invaginated area of the dura was resected and reconstructed with patch duraplasty. The patient’s neurological status remained unchanged postoperatively, and at the 6-month follow-up, the patient reported significant improvement in pain and muscle spasms.

LESSONS

Diffuse dural calcifications are a rare complication of prolonged dialysis and secondary hyperparathyroidism. When there is resultant spinal cord compression, this condition requires an intradural approach that addresses the thickened, calcified dura directly to obtain adequate spinal cord decompression.

Open access

Significance of upper cervical epidural venous engorgement on head computed tomography in the initial diagnosis of spontaneous intracranial hypotension: patient series

Toshihide Takahashi, Kiyoyuki Yanaka, Hitoshi Aiyama, Minami Saura, Michihide Kajita, Nobuyuki Takahashi, Kuniyuki Onuma, and Eiichi Ishikawa

BACKGROUND

Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) is a rare condition characterized by positional headache, for which contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the preferred diagnostic method. Although MRI reveals characteristic findings, head computed tomography (CT) is usually the first diagnostic step, but identifying features of SIH on CT is often difficult. This study was specifically designed to evaluate the utility of head CT in detecting upper cervical epidural venous engorgement as a sign of SIH.

OBSERVATIONS

Of 24 patients with SIH diagnosed between March 2011 and May 2023, 10 did not undergo upper cervical CT. In the remaining 14 patients, engorgement of the upper cervical epidural venous plexus was observed. CT detection rates were consistent with MRI for spinal fluid accumulation or dural thickening. After treatment, in 92.9% of patients, the thickness of the epidural venous plexus decreased statistically significantly from 4.8 ± 1.3 mm to 3.6 ± 1.2 mm.

LESSONS

This study suggests that upper cervical spine CT focused on epidural venous engorgement may be helpful in the initial diagnosis of SIH and may complement conventional MRI evaluation. Extending CT imaging to the upper cervical spine will improve the diagnostic accuracy of patients with positional headaches suspected to be SIH.

Open access

Minimally invasive resection of a prominent transverse process in neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome: new application for a primarily spinal approach. Illustrative case

Marc Hohenhaus, Johann Lambeck, Nico Kremers, Jürgen Beck, Christoph Scholz, and Ulrich Hubbe

BACKGROUND

The optimal surgical approach to treat neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome (nTOS) depends on the individual patient’s anatomy as well as the surgeon’s experience. The authors present a minimally invasive posterior approach for the resection of a prominent transverse process to reduce local muscular trauma.

OBSERVATIONS

A 19-year-old female presented with painful sensations in the right arm and severe fine-motor skill dysfunction in the right hand, each of which had been present for several years. Further examination confirmed affected C8 and T1 areas, and imaging showed an elongated C7 transverse process displacing the lower trunk of the brachial plexus. Decompression of the plexus structures by resection of the C7 transverse process was indicated, owing to persistent neurological effects. Surgery was performed using a minimally invasive posterior approach in which the nuchal soft tissue was bluntly dissected by dilatators and resection of the transverse process was done microscopically through a tubular retractor. The postoperative course showed a sufficient reduction of pain and paresthesia.

LESSONS

The authors describe a minimally invasive posterior approach for the treatment of nTOS with the aim of providing indirect relief of strain on brachial plexus structures. The advantages of this technique include a small skin incision and minor soft tissue damage.

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

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

A new surgical method to treat intracanal lumbar disc herniation using the unilateral biportal endoscopic transforaminal approach: patient series

Tomohide Segawa, Hiroki Iwai, Hirohiko Inanami, Yuichi Takano, Yohei Yuzawa, Takeshi Kaneko, Kenta Taniguchi, Kazuyoshi Yanagisawa, Junichi Yokosuka, Ryoji Tominaga, Hideki Nakamoto, Katsuyuki Sasaki, and Hisashi Koga

BACKGROUND

Unilateral biportal endoscopic lumbar discectomy (UBELD) is a new minimally invasive spine surgery. The purpose of this study is to describe a new surgical method to treat intracanal lumbar disc herniation (LDH) using the unilateral biportal endoscopic transforaminal approach (UBE-TFA). The first 15 patients who had undergone UBELD for single-level LDH were included in this study. Operative time, intraoperative blood loss, postoperative stay, and intraoperative complications were recorded. The Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), numeric rating scale (NRS) score for leg pain, and modified MacNab criteria were assessed at 3 months postoperatively.

OBSERVATIONS

The mean operative time was 52.0 ± 13.8 minutes. The mean intraoperative blood loss was 10.5 ± 10.2 mL. The mean postoperative stay was 1.1 ± 0.3 days. There were no complications. The postoperative mean ODI was significantly improved from 44.9 ± 14.4 to 7.7 ± 11.2 at the final follow-up (p < 0.001). There was a significant decrease in the postoperative mean NRS score for leg pain, from 6.1 ± 1.9 to 0.8 ± 1.3 at the final follow-up (p < 0.001). Based on the modified MacNab criteria, good to excellent results were obtained in 86.7% of the patients.

LESSONS

We considered UBELD-TFA as not only one of the promising surgical methods for UBELD, but also a new surgical implementation of the TFA.

Open access

Sternocleidomastoid muscle-splitting method for high cervical carotid endarterectomy: illustrative cases

Atsushi Sato, Tetsuo Sasaki, Toshihiro Ogiwara, Kazuhiro Hongo, and Tetsuyoshi Horiuchi

BACKGROUND

The number of cervical carotid endarterectomies (CEAs) has decreased as carotid artery stenting (CAS) has increased. However, CEA and CAS both have advantages and disadvantages; therefore, appropriate procedures must be selected for individual patients. High-positioned carotid artery stenosis presents technical challenges for CEA and is occasionally managed by performing CAS. However, CAS is associated with a high risk of thrombosis in patients with soft plaques, suggesting a clinical need for a better procedure. Consequently, appropriate surgical treatment for patients requiring high-level CEAs is essential.

OBSERVATIONS

In this study, a novel and straightforward method was devised. The primary concept underlying this technique is separation of the sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM) from other anatomical structures to ensure a wider surgical field. By anatomically separating the SCM into the sternal and clavicular head groups, the objective of the wider surgical field can be met. Herein, we report technical innovations in high-positioned carotid artery stenosis and evaluate their efficacy in two patients.

LESSONS

In conclusion, high CEA surgery using this new method is valuable and may eliminate barriers to more advanced approaches.

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

Long-term survival after cordectomy in a case of spinal cord diffuse midline glioma, H3K27-altered: illustrative case

Daisuke Sato, Hirokazu Takami, Shota Tanaka, Shunsaku Takayanagi, Masako Ikemura, and Nobuhito Saito

BACKGROUND

Spinal cord diffuse midline glioma, H3K27-altered, is an extremely rare entity with a poor prognosis. However, its optimal treatment remains poorly defined. Although cordectomy was introduced in the early 20th century, its efficacy has been questioned and shrouded behind the scenes.

OBSERVATIONS

A 76-year-old male with recent-onset paraparesis of the lower extremities and paresthesia presented to our outpatient clinic. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed an intra-axial spinal cord tumor extending from T12 to L2. The patient underwent laminectomy and partial tumor resection, and the surgical specimen was histologically diagnosed as a diffuse midline glioma, H3K27-altered. Although standard chemoradiotherapy was implemented, the patient experienced local tumor recurrence 2 years later and underwent cordectomy at T9. The patient was alive at the 4-year follow-up after cordectomy without tumor recurrence. According to the literature, patients with lesions in the lower thoracic cord below T8 achieved a longer survival than those with lesions in the upper thoracic cord above T5.

LESSONS

Cordectomy benefits selected cases of high-grade spinal cord gliomas. Maximal prevention of cerebrospinal fluid dissemination by tumor cells is indisputably important, and tumors located below the lower thoracic spine may be the key to success in establishing a long-term prognosis after cordectomy.