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Henry Ruiz-Garcia, Kelly Gassie, Lina Marenco-Hillembrand, Angela M. Donaldson and Kaisorn L. Chaichana

Basilar invagination is a challenging dilemma that neurosurgeons may face. Herein, we present a case of a 65-year-old female with a history of rheumatoid arthritis and status post a previous C4–7 ACDF who presented to our clinic with progressive weakness in her bilateral upper and lower extremities. Imaging revealed basilar invagination. She underwent an endoscopic endonasal odontoidectomy followed by an occiput–C6 fusion. We present the endonasal portion of the procedure and have highlighted the technical nuances of this approach. Our goal is to provide better insight into this surgical strategy when dealing with basilar invagination.

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Rui Sui and Haozhe Piao

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Joshua Materi, David Mampre, Jeff Ehresman, Jordina Rincon-Torroella and Kaisorn L. Chaichana


The extent of resection has been shown to improve outcomes in patients with meningiomas. However, resection can be complicated by constraining local anatomy, leading to subtotal resections. An understanding of the natural history of residual tumors is necessary to better guide postsurgical management and minimize recurrence. This study seeks to identify predictors of recurrence and high growth rate following subtotal resection of intracranial meningiomas.


Adult patients who underwent primary surgical resection of a WHO grade I meningioma at a tertiary care institution from 2007–2017 were retrospectively reviewed. Volumetric tumor measurements were made on patients with subtotal resections. Stepwise multivariate proportional hazards regression analyses were performed to identify factors associated with time to recurrence, as well as stepwise multivariate regression analyses to assess for factors associated with high postoperative growth rate.


Of the 141 patients (18%) who underwent radiographic subtotal resection of an intracranial meningioma during the reviewed period, 74 (52%) suffered a recurrence, in which the median (interquartile range, IQR) time to recurrence was 14 (IQR 6–34) months. Among those tumors subtotally resected, the median pre- and postoperative tumor volumes were 17.19 cm3 (IQR 7.47–38.43 cm3) and 2.31 cm3 (IQR 0.98–5.16 cm3), which corresponded to a percentage resection of 82% (IQR 68%–93%). Postoperatively, the median growth rate was 0.09 cm3/year (IQR 0–1.39 cm3/year). Factors associated with recurrence in multivariate analysis included preoperative tumor volume (hazard ratio [HR] 1.008,95% confidence interval [CI] 1.002–1.013, p = 0.008), falcine location (HR 2.215, 95% CI 1.179–4.161, p = 0.021), tentorial location (HR 2.410, 95% CI 1.203–4.829, p = 0.024), and African American race (HR 1.811, 95% CI 1.042–3.146, p = 0.044). Residual volume (RV) was associated with high absolute annual growth rate (odds ratio [OR] 1.175, 95% CI 1.078–1.280, p < 0.0001), with the maximum RV benefit at < 5 cm3 (OR 4.056, 95% CI 1.675–9.822, p = 0.002).


By identifying predictors of recurrence and growth rate, this study helps identify potential patients with a high chance of recurrence following subtotal resection, which are those with large preoperative tumor volume, falcine location, tentorial location, and African American race. Higher RVs were associated with tumors with higher postoperative growth rates. Recurrences typically occurred 14 months after surgery.

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Kevin M. Stanko, Young M. Lee, Jennifer Rios, Adela Wu, Giovanna W. Sobrinho, Jon D. Weingart, Eric M. Jackson, Edward S. Ahn, Kaisorn L. Chaichana and George I. Jallo


Chiari Type I malformation involves caudal displacement of the cerebellar tonsils below the foramen magnum, which obstructs normal cerebrospinal fluid flow and increases intracranial pressure. Certain aspects of its surgical treatment remain controversial. A retrospective study was conducted to assess the efficacy of tonsillar cautery on syrinx resolution among pediatric Chiari patients undergoing cervicomedullary decompression.


A retrospective cohort study was performed for patients 0–18 years of age who underwent surgical correction for Chiari Type I malformation with syrinx between 1995 and 2013. Basic demographic information was collected as well as data for preoperative symptoms, prior surgical history, perioperative characteristics, and postsurgical outcomes. Descriptive statistics were performed in addition to bivariate analyses. Candidate predictor variables were identified based on an association with tonsillar cautery with p < 0.10. Forward stepwise likelihood ratio was used to select candidate predictors in a binary logistic regression model (Pin = 0.05, Pout = 0.10) most strongly associated with the outcome.


A total of 171 patients with Chiari Type I malformation with syrinx were identified, and 43 underwent tonsillar cautery. Patients who underwent tonsillar cautery had 6.11 times greater odds of improvement in their syrinx (95% CI 2.57–14.49, p < 0.001). There was no effect of tonsillar cautery on increased perioperative complications as well as the need for repeat decompressions.


Tonsillar cautery is safe and effective in the treatment of Chiari Type I malformation with syrinx and may decrease time to syrinx resolution after cervicomedullary decompression. Tonsillar cautery does not increase postoperative complications in pediatric Chiari Type I malformation patients.

Free access

Kaisorn L. Chaichana, Mohamad Bydon, David R. Santiago-Dieppa, Lee Hwang, Gregory McLoughlin, Daniel M. Sciubba, Jean-Paul Wolinsky, Ali Bydon, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Timothy Witham


Posterior lumbar spinal fusion for degenerative spine disease is a common procedure, and its use is increasing annually. The rate of infection, as well as the factors associated with an increased risk of infection, remains unclear for this patient population. A better understanding of these features may help guide treatment strategies aimed at minimizing infection for this relatively common procedure. The authors' goals were therefore to ascertain the incidence of postoperative spinal infections and identify factors associated with postoperative spinal infections.


Data obtained in adult patients who underwent instrumented posterior lumbar fusion for degenerative spine disease between 1993 and 2010 were retrospectively reviewed. Stepwise multivariate proportional hazards regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with infection. Variables with p < 0.05 were considered statistically significant.


During the study period, 817 consecutive patients underwent lumbar fusion for degenerative spine disease, and 37 patients (4.5%) developed postoperative spine infection at a median of 0.6 months (IQR 0.3–0.9). The factors independently associated with an increased risk of infection were increasing age (RR 1.004 [95% CI 1.001–1.009], p = 0.049), diabetes (RR 5.583 [95% CI 1.322–19.737], p = 0.02), obesity (RR 6.216 [95% CI 1.832–9.338], p = 0.005), previous spine surgery (RR 2.994 [95% CI 1.263–9.346], p = 0.009), and increasing duration of hospital stay (RR 1.155 [95% CI 1.076–1.230], p = 0.003). Of the 37 patients in whom infection developed, 21 (57%) required operative intervention but only 3 (8%) required instrumentation removal as part of their infection management.


This study identifies that several factors—older age, diabetes, obesity, prior spine surgery, and length of hospital stay—were each independently associated with an increased risk of developing infection among patients undergoing instrumented lumbar fusion for degenerative spine disease. The overwhelming majority of these patients were treated effectively without hardware removal.