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Open access

Multiple three-column osteotomies successfully correcting cervicothoracic kyphosis in the setting of ankylosing spondylitis: illustrative case

Luke Mugge, Paul Gorka, Cristie Brewer, and Brian McHugh

BACKGROUND

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is an autoimmune spondylarthritis often associated with rigid kyphoscoliosis. The authors describe a surgical approach that employs multilevel three-column osteotomies for the restoration of normal global alignment.

OBSERVATIONS

A 48-year-old male with a past medical history of AS presented to the clinic with a stooped-over posture: his chin-brow vertical angle (CBVA) was 58.0°; T1 slope (T1S), 97.8°; thoracic kyphosis (TK; T1–12), 94.2°; proximal TK (T1–5), 50.8°; distal TK (T5–12), 43.5°; and sagittal vertical axis (SVA), 22.6 cm. A two-stage procedure was planned. During stage 1, instrumentation was placed from C5 to T10, followed by a T3 vertebral column resection. During stage 2, bilateral pedicle screws were placed from T11 to the pelvis. An L3 pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) was completed and was followed by a T7 PSO. Postoperatively, the patient had significant postural improvement: CBVA was 29.3°; T1S, 57.8°; TK, 77.3°; proximal TK, 33.5°; distal TK, 43.8°; and SVA, 15 cm. At 6 years postoperatively, the patient continued to do well and was without evidence of construct breakdown.

LESSONS

The authors propose that multilevel three-column osteotomies, if optimally located, successfully correct spinal malalignment associated with AS.

Open access

Intraspinal cervicothoracic junction chondrosarcoma: illustrative case

Matthew T Carr, Margaret Pain, Kevin Kay, and John K Houten

BACKGROUND

Chondrosarcoma is an uncommon spinal tumor that can present as an extraskeletal mass. Rarely, these tumors present as dumbbell tumors through the neural foramina, mimicking schwannomas or neurofibromas.

OBSERVATIONS

A 46-year-old female presented with 2 years of worsening right-arm radiculopathy. Magnetic resonance imaging of the thoracic spine revealed a peripherally enhancing extramedullary mass through the right T1 foramen and compressing the spinal cord. Computed tomography showed the mass to be partially calcified. She underwent C7–T2 laminectomy and C6–T3 posterior instrumented fusion with gross-total resection of an extradural mass. Pathology revealed a grade I chondrosarcoma. Her symptoms improved postoperatively, with some residual right-arm radicular pain.

LESSONS

Intraspinal extradural dumbbell conventional chondrosarcoma is rare, with only 9 cases, including ours, reported. Patient ages range from 16 to 72 years old, and male sex is more common in these cases. The most common location is the thoracic spine, and our case is the only reported one in the cervicothoracic junction. These tumors often mimic schwannomas on imaging, but chondrosarcoma should remain in the differential diagnosis, because management of these tumors differs. Chondrosarcoma may benefit from more aggressive resection, including en bloc resection, and may require adjuvant radiotherapy.

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

Surgical management of metastatic Hürthle cell carcinoma to the skull base, cortex, and spine: illustrative case

N. U. Farrukh Hameed, Meagan M Hoppe, Ahmed Habib, Jeffrey Head, Regan Shanahan, Bradley A Gross, Sandra Narayanan, Georgios Zenonos, and Pascal Zinn

BACKGROUND

Hürthle cell carcinoma (HCC) is an unusual and aggressive variant of the follicular type of differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC), accounting for less than 3% of DTCs but posing the highest risk of metastasis. Brain metastases are uncommonly reported in the literature but pose a poor prognosis. The low rate of brain metastases from HCC coupled with ambiguous treatment protocols for the extracranial disease complicate successful disease management and definitive treatment strategy. The authors present the case of a patient with HCC metastasis to the skull base, cortex, and spine with recent tibial metastasis.

OBSERVATIONS

Despite the presence of metastasis to the cortex, skull base, and spine, the patient responded very well to radiation therapy, sellar mass resection, and cervical spine decompression and fixation and has made a remarkable recovery.

LESSONS

The authors’ multidisciplinary approach to the patient’s care, including a diverse team of specialists from oncology, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, radiology, endocrinology, and collaboration with clinical trial researchers, was fundamental to her successful outcome, demonstrating the utility of intersecting specialties in successful outcomes in neuro-oncological patient care.

Open access

Radiation-induced cavernous malformations in the spine: patient series

Stefan W. Koester, Lea Scherschinski, Visish M. Srinivasan, Katherine Karahalios, Kavelin Rumalla, Dimitri Benner, Joshua S. Catapano, Robert F. Spetzler, and Michael T. Lawton

BACKGROUND

Radiation-induced spinal cord cavernous malformations (RISCCMs) are a rare subset of central nervous system lesions and are more clinically aggressive than congenital cavernous malformations (CMs). The authors assessed the characteristics and outcomes of patients with RISCCM at a single institution and systematically reviewed the pertinent literature using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines.

OBSERVATIONS

Among the 146 spinal CMs at the authors’ institution, 3 RISCCMs were found. Symptom duration ranged from 0.1 to 8.5 months (mean [standard deviation], 3.2 [4.6] months), and latency ranged from 16 to 29 years (22.4 [9.6] years). All 3 RISCCMs were surgically treated with complete resection; 2 patients had stable outcomes, and 1 improved postoperatively. A review of 1240 articles revealed 20 patients with RISCCMs. Six of these patients were treated with resection, 13 were treated conservatively, and in 1 case, the treatment type was not stated. Five of the 6 patients treated surgically reported improvement postoperatively or at follow-up; 1 was stable, and none reported worsened outcomes.

LESSONS

RISCCMs are rare sequelae following radiation that inadvertently affect the spinal cord. Altogether, the frequency of stable and improved outcomes on follow-up suggests that resection could prevent further patient decline caused by symptoms of RISCCM. Therefore, surgical management should be considered primary therapy in patients presenting with RISCCMs.

Open access

Neurosurgical management of vertebral lesions in pediatric chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis: patient series

Nicholas F. Hug, David A. Purger, Daphne Li, Lawrence Rinsky, and David S. Hong

BACKGROUND

Chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO) is a rare pediatric autoinflammatory disorder involving 2 or more inflammatory bone lesions separated in time and space associated with pathological vertebral fractures. There are no current guidelines for the role of pediatric spine surgeons in the management of this condition. The authors demonstrate the importance of close and early involvement of neurosurgeons in caring for patients with CRMO with vertebral involvement.

OBSERVATIONS

Fifty-six pediatric patients with clinical and radiographic evidence of CRMO were identified and clinical, radiographic, laboratory, and histopathological data were reviewed. All were evaluated via Jansson and Bristol CRMO diagnostic criteria. Ten had radiographic evidence of vertebral involvement (17.9%). Nine of these had multifocal disease. Five patients had multiple vertebrae affected. Six patients were evaluated for possible surgical intervention and one required intervention due to vertebra plana leading to a progressive kyphotic deformity and significant spinal canal stenosis.

LESSONS

In conjunction with management by the primary pediatric rheumatology team using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, immunotherapies, and bisphosphonates, given the risk of pathological fractures and potential resulting long-term neurological deficits, the authors recommend close monitoring and management by pediatric spine surgeons for any patient with CRMO with vertebral lesions.

Open access

An interdural spinal cyst in the cervicothoracic spine: a review and proposal for a revised classification of spinal meningeal cysts. Illustrative case

Toshinari Kawasaki, Motohiro Takayama, Yoshinori Maki, Kota Nakajima, Yoshihiko Ioroi, and Tamaki Kobayashi

BACKGROUND

Spinal cysts in the interdural space are extremely rare and are not included in the standard classification of spinal meningeal cysts.

OBSERVATIONS

A 60-year-old female presented to our hospital with a spastic gait and numbness in both palms. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed a spinal cyst from C4 to T4 compressing the spinal cord. Computed tomography myelography revealed a fistula at C4–5 and C5–6 that connected the cyst along the right C5 and C6 root sleeves. The cyst was located within the dura mater, and communication with the arachnoid space was achieved using a shunt tube. There was partial spastic gait amelioration after the procedure, but the patient experienced a relapse 2 months postoperation. A repeat procedure was performed without a shunt tube to allow greater communication between the cyst and the subarachnoid space. After this, marked improvement in gait function was observed, and MRI showed a significant reduction in cyst volume.

LESSONS

Interdural spinal meningeal cysts are rare. When the interdural cyst cannot be removed entirely, surgery may be appropriate for providing a shunt tube or establishing communication between the cyst and arachnoid space to maintain the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid collected in the cyst cavity.

Open access

Adult-onset presentation of cervicothoracic split cord malformation: illustrative case

Huei Ti Soh

BACKGROUND

A 60-year-old female presented with a 6-month history of progressive lower limb pain, weakness, and declining mobility. She was initially diagnosed as having possible hip osteoarthritis or ligamental knee injury. She was eventually seen by a neurologist, who admitted her to a tertiary hospital with new-onset upper motor neuron signs and urinary incontinence. Magnetic resonance imaging of the whole spine revealed evidence of C7–T2 type 1 split cord malformation (SCM) necessitating urgent spinal surgery. She had an excellent outcome with intensive rehabilitation and returned to her premorbid level of function and mobility.

OBSERVATIONS

The patient presented with nonspecific symptoms, which led to multiple referrals and a significant delay in her diagnosis.

LESSONS

Clinicians should be aware of the importance of a detailed history with thorough neurological and spinal examinations.

Open access

Delayed-onset white cord syndrome after anterior and posterior cervical decompression surgery for symptomatic ossification of spinal ligaments: illustrative cases

Ranjit D. Singh, Mark P. Arts, and Godard C. W. de Ruiter

BACKGROUND

White cord syndrome is an extremely rare complication of cervical decompressive surgery, characterized by serious postoperative neurological deficits in the absence of apparent surgical complications. It is named after the characteristic ischemic-edematous intramedullary T2-hyperintense signal on postoperative magnetic resonance imaging and is believed to be caused by ischemic-reperfusion injury. Neurological deficits typically manifest immediately after surgery, and delayed occurrence has been reported only once.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors presented two cases of delayed white cord syndrome after anterior and posterior cervical decompression surgery for symptomatic ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament and ligamentum flavum, respectively. Neurological deficits manifested on postoperative day 2 (case 1) and day 8 (case 2). The patients’ conditions were managed with high-dose corticosteroids, mean arterial pressure augmentation, and early physical therapy, after which they showed partial neurological recovery at discharge, which improved further by the 3-month follow-up visit.

LESSONS

The authors’ aim was to raise awareness among spine surgeons about this rare but severe complication of cervical decompressive surgery and to emphasize the mainstays of treatment based on current best evidence: high-dose corticosteroids, mean arterial pressure augmentation, and early physical therapy.

Open access

A modern multidisciplinary approach to a large cervicothoracic chordoma using staged en bloc resection with intraoperative image-guided navigation and 3D-printed modeling: illustrative case

Nathan J. Pertsch, Owen P. Leary, Joaquin Q. Camara-Quintana, David D. Liu, Tianyi Niu, Albert S. Woo, Thomas T. Ng, Adetokunbo A. Oyelese, Jared S. Fridley, and Ziya L. Gokaslan

BACKGROUND

Cervicothoracic junction chordomas are uncommon primary spinal tumors optimally treated with en bloc resection. Although en bloc resection is the gold standard for treatment of mobile spinal chordoma, tumor location, size, and extent of involvement frequently complicate the achievement of negative margins. In particular, chordoma involving the thoracic region can require a challenging anterior access, and en bloc resection can lead to a highly destabilized spine.

OBSERVATIONS

Modern technological advances make en bloc resection more technically feasible than ever before. In this case, the successful en bloc resection of a particularly complex cervicothoracic junction chordoma was facilitated by a multidisciplinary surgical approach that maximized the use of intraoperative computed tomography–guided spinal navigation and patient-specific three-dimensional–printed modeling.

LESSONS

The authors review the surgical planning and specific techniques that facilitated the successful en bloc resection of this right-sided chordoma via image-guided parasagittal osteotomy across 2 stages. The integration of emerging visualization technologies into complex spinal column tumor management may help to provide optimal oncological care for patients with challenging primary tumors of the mobile spine.