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Ali M. Elhadi, Samuel Kalb, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Abhishek Agrawal and Mark C. Preul

Within a few months of Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen's discovery of x-rays in 1895, Fedor Krause acquired an x-ray apparatus and began to use it in his daily interactions with patients and for diagnosis. He was the first neurosurgeon to use x-rays methodically and systematically. In 1908 Krause published the first volume of text on neurosurgery, Chirurgie des Gehirns und Rückenmarks (Surgery of the Brain and Spinal Cord), which was translated into English in 1909. The second volume followed in 1911. This was the first published multivolume text totally devoted to neurosurgery. Although Krause excelled in and promoted neurosurgery, he believed that surgeons should excel at general surgery. Importantly, Krause was inclined to adopt technology that he believed could be helpful in surgery. His 1908 text was the first neurosurgical text to contain a specific chapter on x-rays (“Radiographie”) that showed roentgenograms of neurosurgical procedures and pathology. After the revolutionary discovery of x-rays by Röntgen, many prominent neurosurgeons seemed pessimistic about the use of x-rays for anything more than trauma or fractures. Krause immediately seized on its use to guide and monitor ventricular drainage and especially for the diagnosis of tumors of the skull base. The x-ray images contained in Krause's “Radiographie” chapter provide a seminal view into the adoption of new technology and the development of neurosurgical technique and are part of neurosurgery's heritage.

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Ali M. Elhadi, Samuel Kalb, Luis Perez-Orribo, Andrew S. Little, Robert F. Spetzler and Mark C. Preul

The field of anatomy, one of the most ancient sciences, first evolved in Egypt. From the Early Dynastic Period (3100 bc) until the time of Galen at the end of the 2nd century ad, Egypt was the center of anatomical knowledge, including neuroanatomy. Knowledge of neuroanatomy first became important so that sacred rituals could be performed by ancient Egyptian embalmers during mummification procedures. Later, neuroanatomy became a science to be studied by wise men at the ancient temple of Memphis. As religious conflicts developed, the study of the human body became restricted. Myths started to replace scientific research, squelching further exploration of the human body until Alexander the Great founded the city of Alexandria. This period witnessed a revolution in the study of anatomy and functional anatomy. Herophilus of Chalcedon, Erasistratus of Chios, Rufus of Ephesus, and Galen of Pergamon were prominent physicians who studied at the medical school of Alexandria and contributed greatly to knowledge about the anatomy of the skull base. After the Royal Library of Alexandria was burned and laws were passed prohibiting human dissections based on religious and cultural factors, knowledge of human skull base anatomy plateaued for almost 1500 years. In this article the authors consider the beginning of this journey, from the earliest descriptions of skull base anatomy to the establishment of basic skull base anatomy in ancient Egypt.

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Wolfgang K. Pfisterer, Ronald A. Nieman, Adrienne C. Scheck, Stephen W. Coons, Robert F. Spetzler and Mark C. Preul

Object

The goal in this study was to determine if proton (1H) MR spectroscopy can differentiate meningioma grade and is associated with interpretations of biological behavior; the study was performed using ex vivo high-resolution spectra indicating metabolic characteristics.

Methods

Sixty-eight resected tissue samples of meningiomas were examined using ex vivo 1H MR spectroscopy. Of these meningiomas, 46 were WHO Grade I, 14 were WHO Grade II, and 8 were WHO Grade III. Fifty-nine were primary meningiomas and 9 were recurrences. Invasion of adjacent tissue (dura mater, bone, venous sinus, brain) was found in 32 cases. Thirty-nine meningiomas did not rapidly recur (as defined by expansion on MR imaging within a 5-year follow-up period), whereas rapid recurrence was confirmed in 24 meningiomas, and follow-up status was unknown in 5 cases.

Results

The absolute concentrations of total alanine and creatine were decreased in high-grade compared with low-grade meningiomas, as was the ratio of glycine to alanine (all p < 0.05). Additionally, alanine and the glycine/alanine ratio distinguished between primary and recurrent meningiomas (all p < 0.05). Finally, the absolute concentrations of alanine and creatine, and the glycine/alanine and choline/glutamate ratios were associated with rapid recurrence (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

. These data indicate that meningioma tissue can be characterized by metabolic parameters that are not typically identified by histopathological analysis alone. Creatine, glycine, and alanine may be used as markers of meningioma grade, recurrence, and the likelihood of rapid recurrence. These data validate a previous study of a separate group of Grade I meningiomas.

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Ulises García-González, Daniel D. Cavalcanti, Abhishek Agrawal, L. Fernando Gonzalez, Robert C. Wallace, Robert F. Spetzler and Mark C. Preul

Object

There are few systematic investigations of the dissected surgical anatomy of the diploic venous system (DVS) in the neuroanatomical literature. The authors describe the DVS relative to different common neurosurgical approaches. Knowledge of this system can help avoid potential sources of unacceptable bleeding and may impact healing of the cranium.

Methods

Using a high-speed drill with a 2-mm bit, the authors removed the outer layer of the compact bone in the skull to expose the DVS in 12 formalin-fixed cadaver heads. Pterional, supraorbital, and modified orbitozygomatic craniotomies were performed to delineate the relationship of the DVS.

Results

The draining point of the frontal diploic vein (FDV) was located near the supraorbital notch. The draining point of the anterior temporal diploic vein (ATDV) was located in all pterional areas; the draining point of the posterior temporal diploic vein (PTDV) was located in all asterional areas. The PTDV was the dominant diploic vessel in all sides. The FDV and ATDV could be damaged during supraorbital, modified orbitozygomatic, and pterional craniotomies. The anterior DVS connected with the sphenoparietal and superior sagittal sinus (SSS). The posterior DVS connected with the transverse and sigmoid sinuses and was the dominant diploic vessel in all 24 sides. Of all the major diploic vessels, the location and pattern of distribution of the FDV were the most constant. The parietal bone contained the most diploic vessels. No diploic veins were found in the area delimited by the temporal squama.

Conclusions

The pterional, orbitozygomatic, and supraorbital approaches place the FDV and ATDV at risk. The major anterior diploic system connects the SSS with the sphenoparietal sinus. The posterior diploic system connects the SSS with the transverse and sigmoid sinuses.

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Daniel D. Cavalcanti, William Feindel, James T. Goodrich, T. Forcht Dagi, Charles J. Prestigiacomo and Mark C. Preul

In the 15th century, brain illustration began to change from a schematic system that involved scant objective rendering of the brain, to accurate depictions based on anatomical dissections that demanded significant artistic talent. Notable examples of this innovation are the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci (1498–1504), Andreas Vesalius' association with the bottega of Titian to produce the drawings of Vesalius' De humani corporis fabrica (1543), and Christopher Wren's illustrations for Thomas Willis' Cerebri Anatome (1664). These works appeared during the Renaissance and Age of Enlightenment, when advances in brain imaging, or really brain rendering, reflected not only the abilities and dedications of the artists, but also the influences of important cultural and scientific factors. Anatomy and human dissection became popular social phenomena as well as scholarly pursuits, linked with the world of the fine arts. The working philosophy of these artists involved active participation in both anatomical study and illustration, and the belief that their discoveries of the natural world could best be communicated by rendering them in objective form (that is, with realistic perspective). From their studies emerged the beginning of contemporary brain imaging. In this article, the authors examine how the brain began to be imaged in realism within a cultural and scientific milieu that witnessed the emergence of anatomical dissection, the geometry of linear perspective, and the closer confluence of art and science.

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Robert W. Ryan, Robert F. Spetzler and Mark C. Preul

In this historical review the authors examine the important developments that have led to the availability of laser energy to neurosurgeons as a unique and sometimes invaluable tool. They review the physical science behind the function of lasers, as well as how and when various lasers based on different lasing mediums were discovered. They also follow the close association between advances in laser technology and their application in biomedicine, from early laboratory experiments to the first clinical experiences. Because opinions on the appropriate role of lasers in neurosurgery vary widely, the historical basis for some of these views is explored. Initial enthusiasm for a technology that appears to have innate advantages for safe resections has often given way to the strict limitations and demands of the neurosurgical operating theater. However, numerous creative solutions to improve laser delivery, power, safety, and ergonomics demonstrate the important role that technological advances in related scientific fields continue to offer neurosurgery. Benefiting from the most recent developments in materials science, current CO2 laser delivery systems provide a useful addition to the neurosurgical armamentarium when applied in the correct circumstances and reflect the important historical advances that come about from the interplay between neurosurgery and technology.

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Ali A. Baaj, Juan S. Uribe, Fernando L. Vale, Mark C. Preul and Neil R. Crawford

Enthusiasm for cervical disc arthroplasty is based on the premise that motion-preserving devices attenuate the progression of adjacent-segment disease (ASD) in the cervical spine. Arthrodesis, on the other hand, results in abnormal load transfer on adjacent segments, leading to the acceleration of ASD. It has taken several decades of pioneering work to produce clinically relevant devices that mimic the kinematics of the intervertebral disc. The goal of this work is to trace the origins of cervical arthroplasty technology and highlight the attributes of devices currently available in the market.

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Charles J. Prestigiacomo and Mark C. Preul

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Rachid Assina, Tejas Sankar, Nicholas Theodore, Sam P. Javedan, Alan R. Gibson, Kris M. Horn, Michael Berens, Volker K. H. Sonntag and Mark C. Preul

Object

Axonal regeneration may be hindered following spinal cord injury (SCI) by a limited immune response and insufficient macrophage recruitment. This limitation has been partially surmounted in small-mammal models of SCI by implanting activated autologous macrophages (AAMs). The authors sought to replicate these results in a canine model of partial SCI.

Methods

Six dogs underwent left T-13 spinal cord hemisection. The AAMs were implanted at both ends of the lesion in 4 dogs, and 2 other dogs received sham implantations of cell media. Cortical motor evoked potentials (MEPs) were used to assess electrophysiological recovery. Functional motor recovery was assessed with a modified Tarlov Scale. After 9 months, animals were injected with wheat germ agglutinin–horseradish peroxidase at L-2 and killed for histological assessment.

Results

Three of the 4 dogs that received AAM implants and 1 of the 2 negative control dogs showed clear recovery of MEP response. Behavioral assessment showed no difference in motor function between the AAM-treated and control groups. Histological investigation with an axonal retrograde tracer showed neither local fiber crossing nor significant uptake in the contralateral red nucleus in both implanted and negative control groups.

Conclusions

In a large-animal model of partial SCI treated with implanted AAMs, the authors saw no morphological or histological evidence of axonal regeneration. Although they observed partial electrophysiological and functional motor recovery in all dogs, this recovery was not enhanced in animals treated with implanted AAMs. Furthermore, there was no morphological or histological evidence of axonal regeneration in animals with implants that accounted for the observed recovery. The explanation for this finding is probably multifactorial, but the authors believe that the AAM implantation does not produce axonal regeneration, and therefore is a technology that requires further investigation before it can be clinically relied on to ameliorate SCI.

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Eric M. Horn, Nicholas Theodore, Rachid Assina, Robert F. Spetzler, Volker K. H. Sonntag and Mark C. Preul

Object

Venous stasis and intrathecal hypertension are believed to play a significant role in the hypoperfusion present in the spinal cord following injury. Lowering the intrathecal pressure via cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drainage has been effective in treating spinal cord ischemia during aorta surgery. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether CSF drainage increases spinal cord perfusion and improves outcome after spinal injury in an animal model.

Methods

Anesthetized adult rabbits were subjected to a severe contusion spinal cord injury (SCI). Cerebrospinal fluid was then drained via a catheter to lower the intrathecal pressure by 10 mm Hg. Tissue perfusion was assessed at the site of injury, and values obtained before and after CSF drainage were compared. Two other cohorts of animals were subjected to SCI: 1 group subsequently underwent CSF drainage and the other did not. Results of histological analysis, motor evoked potential and motor function testing were compared between the 2 cohorts at 4 weeks postinjury.

Results

Cerebrospinal fluid drainage led to no significant improvement in spinal cord tissue perfusion. Four weeks after injury, the animals that underwent CSF drainage demonstrated significantly smaller areas of tissue damage at the injury site. There were no differences in motor evoked potentials or motor score outcomes at 4 weeks postinjury.

Conclusions

Cerebrospinal fluid drainage effectively lowers intrathecal pressure and decreases the amount of tissue damage in an animal model of spinal cord injury. Further studies are needed to determine whether different draining regimens can improve motor or electrophysiological outcomes.