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Open access

Cartilage within lipomyelomeningocele and ulnar longitudinal deficiency syndrome as VACTERL association, alliance in SHH/GLI3, and Wnt pathway: illustrative case

Mikael Aseged Shimekit, Ermias Fikru Yesuf, Simon Mulugeta Teferi, and Mahlet Getachew Lemma

BACKGROUND

Lipomyelomeningocele associated with an ulnar club hand in the spectrum of VACTERL association ([costo-]vertebral abnormalities; anal atresia; cardiac defects; tracheal-esophageal abnomalities, including atresia, stenosis, and fistula; renal and radial abnormalities; limb abnormalities; single umbilical artery) is a very rare and infrequently reported phenomenon. Within the fat mass of the lipoma, it is not common to find a well-defined cartilaginous mass with no attachments to the surrounding tissue.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present the case of a 3-month-old male with low-back swelling that was off-center to the left, accompanied by a left short forearm displaying outward bowing. Echocardiography showed an atrial septal defect. This rare VACTERL association comprises lipomyelomeningocele, atrial septal defect, and ulnar longitudinal deficiency syndrome. During surgical intervention for the lipoma, a well-defined cartilaginous mass was discovered within the adipose tissue.

LESSONS

The manifestation of VACTERL association can be partially explained by the Shh/Gli and Wnt pathway defects. It is prudent to screen children with neural tube defects to be aware of any associated syndromes. This case is very rare, and the literature has contained no prior report on the VACTERL association of lipomyelomeningocele, atrial septal defect, and ulnar longitudinal deficiency.

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

Isolated unilateral alar ligamentous injury: illustrative cases

Benjamin C Reeves, Marcus Valcarce-Aspegren, Stephanie M Robert, Aladine A Elsamadicy, Alexander M Tucker, Phillip B Storm, Michael L DiLuna, and Adam J Kundishora

BACKGROUND

Isolated unilateral alar ligament injury (IUALI) is a rare and likely underreported occurrence after upper cervical trauma, with only 16 cases documented in the literature to date. Patients generally present with neck pain, and definitive diagnosis is typically made by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Unfortunately, likely due in part to its rarity, there are no formal guidelines for the treatment of an IUALI. Furthermore, there is a limited understanding of the long-term consequences associated with its inadequate treatment.

OBSERVATIONS

Here, the authors report on three pediatric patients, each found to have an IUALI after significant trauma. All patients presented with neck tenderness, and two of the three had associated pain-limited range of neck motion. Imaging revealed either a laterally deviated odontoid process on cervical radiographs and/or MRI evidence of ligamentous strain or discontinuity. Each patient was placed in a hard cervical collar for 1 to 2 months with excellent resolution of symptoms. A comprehensive review of the literature showed that all patients with IUALI who had undergone external immobilization with either rigid cervical collar or halo fixation had favorable outcomes at follow-up.

LESSONS

For patients with IUALI, a moderate course of nonsurgical management with rigid external immobilization appears to be an adequate first-line treatment.

Open access

Fusion mass to pelvis internal distraction technique using multiple-hook fixation for scoliosis correction: illustrative case

J. Manuel Sarmiento, Christina C Rymond, Abdulbaki Kozan, and Lawrence G Lenke

BACKGROUND

Internal distraction rods have been described as an alternative to halo gravity traction for the treatment of severe scoliosis. Distraction rods can be challenging to use in patients with existing fusion masses. The authors report an internal distraction, construct-to-construct rod technique using multiple-hook fixation in a patient with a sharply angulated cervicothoracic scoliosis fusion mass.

OBSERVATIONS

A 12-year-old female with previously diagnosed congenital scoliosis who had undergone cervical fusion in situ at age 2 presented to the clinic with shortness of breath exacerbated by increased levels of activity. Standing anteroposterior and lateral scoliosis radiographs revealed a left >150° cervicothoracic curve, right 140° thoracolumbar curve, and left 28° lumbosacral fractional curve with pelvic obliquity. The authors indicated this patient for a 3-stage all-posterior approach for spinal fusion and deformity correction. In the final fusion surgery, the authors set up a construct-to-construct internal distraction configuration connecting the left hemipelvis to the cervicothoracic fusion mass to aid in deformity correction.

LESSONS

A construct-to-construct internal distraction rod technique connecting a fusion mass to the pelvis can assist with curve correction in severe scoliosis.

Open access

Postnatal myelomeningocele closure in smallest reported neonate: illustrative case

Momin M Mohis, Kevin Cordeiro, Sarah Larson, Catharine Garland, and James A Stadler III

BACKGROUND

Myelomeningocele (MMC) is the most serious form of spina bifida, a congenital defect in neural tube development. Defect closure in a patient with an extremely low birth weight presents unique challenges and risks; lower birth weight is associated with multiple organ system concerns, homeostasis is difficult, and local tissue is underdeveloped. To the authors’ knowledge, the present case is the lowest reported weight (490 g) for a neonate with postnatal MMC repair.

OBSERVATIONS

A preterm male with a prenatally diagnosed lumbosacral MMC and associated Chiari malformation type II was born at 23 weeks 1 day to a 29-year-old mother, gravidity 6 parity 4. The patient was medically stabilized and underwent MMC closure on day of life 5. His weight was 490 g at the time of this repair, and he did not have any surgical complications. At age 16 months, he underwent endoscopic third ventriculostomy with choroid plexus cauterization; he has not required any further hydrocephalus treatments since the last follow-up at 30 months of age.

LESSONS

To the authors’ knowledge, this case is the lowest birth weight ex utero MMC closure reported in the literature. Challenges of prematurity and size required appropriate preoperative stabilization, careful hemostasis and temperature regulation, and meticulous surgical technique.

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

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

Surgical management of pediatric spinal aneurysmal bone cysts: patient series

Benjamin E Flyer, Erik B Vanstrum, Nicholas Chapman, Joseph H Ha, Jacob K Al-Husseini, Jason K Chu, J. Gordon McComb, Susan R Durham, Mark D Krieger, and Peter A Chiarelli

BACKGROUND

Aneurysmal bone cysts (ABCs) are rare, highly vascular osteolytic bone lesions that predominantly affect pediatric populations. This report evaluates the clinicopathological data of pediatric patients with spinal ABCs. The medical records for all patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles with biopsy-proven ABCs of the spine between 1998 and 2018 were evaluated.

OBSERVATIONS

Seventeen patients, 6 males and 11 females, were identified. The mean age at surgery was 10.4 years (range, 3.5–20 years). The most common presenting complaint was pain at the lesion site 16/17 (94%), followed by lower-extremity weakness 8/17 (47%). Resection and intralesional curettage were performed in all patients. Three (18%) of 17 patients underwent selective arterial embolization prior to resection. Spinal stability was compromised in 15 of 17 patients (88%), requiring instrumented fusion. Five (29%) of the 17 patients received additional therapy including radiation, calcitonin-methylprednisolone, or phenol. Four (23.5%) of 17 patients experienced a recurrence, and the mean time to recurrence was 15 months. The postoperative follow-up ranged from 6 to 108 months (median, 28 months). Reoperation occurred after an average of 35 months. At the recent follow-up, patients were free of disease.

LESSONS

Gross-total resection by intralesional curettage with case-dependent instrumented spinal fusion for instability remains an effective strategy for managing pediatric spinal ABCs. Long-term follow-up is necessary to detect tumor recurrence.

Open access

Cervical corpectomy in a pediatric patient with chondrodysplasia punctata and C5 dysplasia with spinal cord compression: illustrative case

Nirali P Patel, Mark W Youngblood, Melissa A LoPresti, and Tord D Alden

BACKGROUND

Chondrodysplasia punctata (CDP) describes skeletal dysplasia secondary to a variety of genetic underpinnings characterized by cartilaginous stippling from abnormal calcium deposition during endochondral bone formation. Approximately 20%–38% of patients with CDP have cervical spine abnormalities, resulting in stenosis and cord compression. However, approaches to management differ among patients.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present an 18-year-old male with a known history of CDP and cervical kyphosis with worsening paresthesias and increased spasticity. Imaging confirmed dysplastic C4 and C5 vertebra with focal kyphosis, bony retropulsion, spinal cord compression, and myelomalacia. To treat the stenosis and deformity, the patient underwent C4 and C5 vertebrectomies with C3 to C6 anterior fusion with resolution of symptoms.

LESSONS

Despite many CDP patients having cervical deformities with spinal cord compression and associated neurological symptoms, there is a paucity of data on surgical management and outcomes. There are only scattered reports, and most authors recommend initial conservative management because of the high risk of operative morbidity and mortality secondary to comorbidities. When surgery is performed, long-term follow-up is recommended because of the high rates of progression of deformity, requiring subsequent operations. The authors hope that their experience adds to the literature describing the surgical management of cervical deformities in these patients.

Open access

Symptomatic spinal arachnoid cyst with spastic diplegia secondary to cerebral palsy: illustrative case

Andrew Guillotte, Abdul-Rahman Alkiswani, Kathryn A Keeler, and Michael D Partington

BACKGROUND

Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) can improve the spastic gait of carefully selected patients with cerebral palsy. Spinal arachnoid cysts are a rare pathology that can also cause spastic gait secondary to spinal cord compression.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present an interesting case of a child with cerebral palsy and spastic diplegia. He was evaluated by a multidisciplinary team and determined to be a good candidate for SDR. Preoperative evaluation included magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the spine, which identified an arachnoid cyst causing spinal cord compression. The cyst was surgically fenestrated, which provided some gait improvement. After recovering from cyst fenestration surgery, the patient underwent SDR providing further gait improvement.

LESSONS

SDR can be beneficial for some patients with spastic diplegia. Most guidelines do not include spinal MRI in the preoperative evaluation for SDR. However, spinal MRI can be beneficial for surgical planning by localizing the level of the conus. It may also identify additional spinal pathology that is contributing to the patient’s spasticity. In rare cases, such as this one, patients may benefit from staged surgery to address structural causes of spastic gait prior to proceeding with SDR.