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Combined common peroneal and tibial nerve injury after knee dislocation: one injury or two? An MRI-clinical correlation

Chandan G. Reddy, Kimberly K. Amrami, Benjamin M. Howe, and Robert J. Spinner

OBJECT

Knee dislocations are often accompanied by stretch injuries to the common peroneal nerve (CPN). A small subset of these injuries also affect the tibial nerve. The mechanism of this combined pattern could be a single longitudinal stretch injury of the CPN extending to the sciatic bifurcation (and tibial division) or separate injuries of both the CPN and tibial nerve, either at the level of the tibiofemoral joint or distally at the soleal sling and fibular neck. The authors reviewed cases involving patients with knee dislocations with CPN and tibial nerve injuries to determine the localization of the combined injury and correlation between degree of MRI appearance and clinical severity of nerve injury.

METHODS

Three groups of cases were reviewed. Group 1 consisted of knee dislocations with clinical evidence of nerve injury (n = 28, including 19 cases of complete CPN injury); Group 2 consisted of knee dislocations without clinical evidence of nerve injury (n = 19); and Group 3 consisted of cases of minor knee trauma but without knee dislocation (n = 14). All patients had an MRI study of the knee performed within 3 months of injury. MRI appearance of tibial and common peroneal nerve injury was scored by 2 independent radiologists in 3 zones (Zone I, sciatic bifurcation; Zone II, knee joint; and Zone III, soleal sling and fibular neck) on a severity scale of 1–4. Injury signal was scored as diffuse or focal for each nerve in each of the 3 zones. A clinical score was also calculated based on Medical Research Council scores for strength in the tibial and peroneal nerve distributions, combined with electrophysiological data, when available, and correlated with the MRI injury score.

RESULTS

Nearly all of the nerve segments visualized in Groups 1 and 2 demonstrated some degree of injury on MRI (95%), compared with 12% of nerve segments in Group 3. MRI nerve injury scores were significantly more severe in Group 1 relative to Group 2 (2.06 vs 1.24, p < 0.001) and Group 2 relative to Group 3 (1.24 vs 0.13, p < 0.001). In both groups of patients with knee dislocations (Groups 1 and 2), the MRI nerve injury score was significantly higher for CPN than tibial nerve (2.72 vs 1.40 for Group 1, p < 0.001; 1.39 vs 1.09 for Group 2, p < 0.05). The clinical injury score had a significantly strong correlation with the MRI injury score for the CPN (r = 0.75, p < 0.001), but not for the tibial nerve (r = 0.07, p = 0.83).

CONCLUSIONS

MRI is highly sensitive in detecting subclinical nerve injury. In knee dislocation, clinical tibial nerve injury is always associated with simultaneous CPN injury, but tibial nerve function is never worse than peroneal nerve function. The point of maximum injury can occur in any of 3 zones.

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Introduction: Imaging of peripheral nerves

Kimberly K. Amrami, Michel Kliot, Martijn J. A. Malessy, and Robert J. Spinner

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Magnetic resonance imaging evidence for perineural spread of endometriosis to the lumbosacral plexus: report of 2 cases

Ana C. Siquara de Sousa, Stepan Capek, Benjamin M. Howe, Mark E. Jentoft, Kimberly K. Amrami, and Robert J. Spinner

Sciatic nerve endometriosis (EM) is a rare presentation of retroperitoneal EM. The authors present 2 cases of catamenial sciatica diagnosed as sciatic nerve EM. They propose that both cases can be explained by perineural spread of EM from the uterus to the sacral plexus along the pelvic autonomie nerves and then further distally to the sciatic nerve or proximally to the spinal nerves. This explanation is supported by MRI evidence in both cases. As a proof of concept, the authors retrieved and analyzed the original MRI studies of a case reported in the literature and found a similar pattern of spread. They believe that the imaging evidence of their institutional cases together with the outside case is a very compelling indication for perineural spread as a mechanism of EM of the nerve.

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Perineural spread of pelvic malignancies to the lumbosacral plexus and beyond: clinical and imaging patterns

Stepan Capek, Benjamin M. Howe, Kimberly K. Amrami, and Robert J. Spinner

OBJECT

Perineural spread along pelvic autonomie nerves has emerged as a logical, anatomical explanation for selected cases of neoplastic lumbosacral plexopathy (LSP) in patients with prostate, bladder, rectal, and cervical cancer. The authors wondered whether common radiological and clinical patterns shared by various types of pelvic cancer exist.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed their institutional series of 17 cases concluded as perineural tumor spread. All available history, physical examination, electrodiagnostic studies, biopsy data and imaging studies, evidence of other metastatic disease, and follow-up were recorded in detail. The series was divided into 2 groups: cases with neoplastic lumbosacral plexopathy confirmed by biopsy (Group A) and cases included based on imaging characteristics despite the lack of biopsy or negative biopsy results (Group B).

RESULTS

Group A comprised 10 patients (mean age 69 years); 9 patients were symptomatic and 1 was asymptomatic. The L5–S1 spinal nerves and sciatic nerve were most frequently involved. Three patients had intradural extension. Seven patients were alive at last follow-up. Group B consisted of 7 patients (mean age 64 years); 4 patients were symptomatic, 2 were asymptomatic, and 1 had only imaging available. The L5–S1 spinal nerves and the sciatic nerve were most frequently involved. No patients had intradural extension. Four patients were alive at last follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors provide a unifying theory to explain lumbosacral plexopathy in select cases of various pelvic neoplasms. The tumor cells can use splanchnic nerves as conduits and spread from the end organ to the lumbosacral plexus. Tumor can continue to spread along osseous and muscle nerve branches, resulting in muscle and bone “metastases.” Radiological studies show a reproducible, although nonspecific pattern, and the same applies to clinical presentation.

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The successful arthroscopic treatment of suprascapular intraneural ganglion cysts

Nikhil K. Prasad, Robert J. Spinner, Jay Smith, Benjamin M. Howe, Kimberly K. Amrami, Joseph P. Iannotti, and Diane L. Dahm

OBJECT

High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can distinguish between intraneural ganglion cysts and paralabral (extraneural) cysts at the glenohumeral joint. Suprascapular intraneural ganglion cysts share the same pathomechanism as their paralabral counterparts, emanating from a tear in the glenoid labrum. The authors present 2 cases to demonstrate that the identification and arthroscopic repair of labral tears form the cornerstone of treatment for intraneural ganglion cysts of the suprascapular nerve.

METHODS

Two patients with suprascapular intraneural ganglion cysts were identified: 1 was recognized and treated prospectively, and the other, previously reported as a paralabral cyst, was identified retrospectively through the reinter-pretation of high-resolution MR images.

RESULTS

Both patients achieved full functional recovery and had complete radiological involution of the intraneural ganglion cysts at the 3-month and 12-month follow-ups, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Previous reports of suprascapular intraneural ganglion cysts described treatment by an open approach to decompress the cysts and resect the articular nerve branch to the glenohumeral joint. The 2 cases in this report demonstrate that intraneural ganglion cysts, similar to paralabral cysts, can be treated with arthroscopic repair of the glenoid labrum without resection of the articular branch. This approach minimizes surgical morbidity and directly addresses the primary etiology of intraneural and extraneural ganglion cysts.

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Targeted fascicular biopsy of the sciatic nerve and its major branches: rationale and operative technique

Stepan Capek, Kimberly K. Amrami, P. James B. Dyck, and Robert J. Spinner

OBJECT

Nerve biopsy is typically performed in distal, noncritical sensory nerves without using imaging to target the more involved regions. The yield of these procedures rarely achieves more than 50%. In selected cases where preoperative evaluation points toward a more localized (usually a more proximal) process, targeted biopsy would likely capture the disease. Synthesis of data obtained from clinical examination, electrophysiological testing, and MRI allows biopsy of a portion of the major mixed nerves safely and efficiently. Herein, experiences with the sciatic nerve are reported and a description of the operative technique is provided.

METHODS

All cases of sciatic nerve biopsy performed between 2000 and 2014 were reviewed. Only cases of fascicular nerve biopsy approached from the buttock or the posterior aspect of the thigh were included. Demographic data, clinical presentation, and the presence of percussion tenderness for each patient were recorded. Reviewed studies included electrodiagnostic tests and imaging. Previous nerve and muscle biopsies were noted. All details of the procedure, final pathology, and its treatment implications were recorded. The complication rate was carefully assessed for temporary as well as permanent complications.

RESULTS

One hundred twelve cases (63 men and 49 women) of sciatic nerve biopsy were performed. Mean patient age was 46.4 years. Seventy-seven (68.8%) patients presented with single lower-extremity symptoms, 16 (14.3%) with bilateral lower-extremity symptoms, and 19 (17%) with generalized symptoms. No patient had normal findings on physical examination. All patients underwent electrodiagnostic studies, the findings of which were abnormal in 110 (98.2%) patients. MRI was available for all patients and was read as pathological in 111 (99.1%). The overall diagnostic yield of biopsy was 84.8% (n = 95). The pathological diagnoses included inflammatory demyelination, perineurioma, nonspecific inflammatory changes, neurolymphomatosis, amyloidosis, prostate cancer, injury neuroma, neuromuscular choristoma, sarcoidosis, vasculitis, hemangiomatosis, arteriovenous malformation, fibrolipomatous hamartoma (lipomatosis of nerve), and cervical adenocarcinoma. The series included 11 (9.9%) temporary and 5 (4.5%) permanent complications: 3 patients (2.7%) reported permanent numbness in the peroneal division distribution, and 2 patients (1.8%) were diagnosed with neuromuscular choristoma that developed desmoid tumor at the biopsy site 3 and 8 years later.

CONCLUSIONS

Targeted fascicular biopsy of the sciatic nerve is a safe and efficient diagnostic procedure, and in highly selected cases can be offered as the initial procedure over distal cutaneous nerve biopsy. Diagnoses were very diverse and included entities considered very rare. Even for the more prevalent diagnoses, the biopsy technique allowed a more targeted approach with a higher diagnostic yield and justification for more aggressive treatment. In this series, new radiological patterns of some entities were identified, which could be biopsied less frequently.

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Abstracts of the 2014 Annual Meeting of the AANS/CNS Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves Orlando, Florida • March 5–8, 2014

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Adherence of intraneural ganglia of the upper extremity to the principles of the unifying articular (synovial) theory

Huan Wang, Robert Q. Terrill, Shota Tanaka, Kimberly K. Amrami, and Robert J. Spinner

Object

Intraneural ganglia are nonneoplastic mucinous cysts contained within the epineurium of peripheral nerves. Their pathogenesis has been controversial. Historically, the majority of authors have favored de novo formation (degenerative theory). Because of their rarity, intraneural ganglia affecting the upper limb have been misunderstood. This study was designed to critically analyze the literature and to test the hypothesis that intraneural ganglia of the upper limb act analogously to those in the lower limb, being derived from an articular source (synovial theory).

Methods

Two patients with digital intraneural cysts were included in the study. An extensive literature review of intraneural ganglia of the upper limb was undertaken to provide the historical basis for the study.

Results

In both cases, the digital intraneural ganglia were demonstrated to have joint connections; the one patient in whom an articular branch was not appreciated initially had evidence on postoperative MR images of persistence of intraneural cyst after simple decompression was performed. Eighty-six cases of intraneural lesions were identified in varied locations of the upper limb: the most common sites were the ulnar nerve at the elbow and wrist, occurring 38 and 22 times, respectively. Joint connections were present in only 20% of the cases published by other groups.

Conclusions

The authors believe that the fundamental principles of the unifying articular (synovial) theory (that is, articular branch connections, cyst fluid following a path of least resistance, and the role of pressure fluxes) previously described to explain intraneural ganglia in the lower limb apply to those cases in the upper limb. In their opinion, the joint connection is often not identified because of the cysts' rarity, radiologists' and surgeons' inexperience, and the difficulty visualizing and demonstrating it because of the small size of the cysts. Furthermore, they believe that recurrence (subclinical or clinical) is not only underreported but also predictable after simple decompression that fails to address the articular branch. In contrast, intraneural recurrence can be eliminated with disconnection of the articular branch.

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Designing ideal conduits for peripheral nerve repair

Godard C. W. de Ruiter, Martijn J. A. Malessy, Michael J. Yaszemski, Anthony J. Windebank, and Robert J. Spinner

Nerve tubes, guides, or conduits are a promising alternative for autologous nerve graft repair. The first biodegradable empty single lumen or hollow nerve tubes are currently available for clinical use and are being used mostly in the repair of small-diameter nerves with nerve defects of < 3 cm. These nerve tubes are made of different biomaterials using various fabrication techniques. As a result these tubes also differ in physical properties. In addition, several modifications to the common hollow nerve tube (for example, the addition of Schwann cells, growth factors, and internal frameworks) are being investigated that may increase the gap that can be bridged. This combination of chemical, physical, and biological factors has made the design of a nerve conduit into a complex process that demands close collaboration of bioengineers, neuroscientists, and peripheral nerve surgeons. In this article the authors discuss the different steps that are involved in the process of the design of an ideal nerve conduit for peripheral nerve repair.

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Intraneural ganglia: a clinical problem deserving a mechanistic explanation and model

Shreehari Elangovan, Gregory M. Odegard, Duane A. Morrow, Huan Wang, Marie-Noëlle Hébert-Blouin, and Robert J. Spinner

Intraneural ganglion cysts have been considered a curiosity for 2 centuries. Based on a unifying articular (synovial) theory, recent evidence has provided a logical explanation for their formation and propagation. The fundamental principle is that of a joint origin and a capsular defect through which synovial fluid escapes following the articular branch, typically into the parent nerve. A stereotypical, reproducible appearance has been characterized that suggests a shared pathogenesis. In the present report the authors will provide a mechanistic explanation that can then be mathematically tested using a preliminary model created by finite element analysis.