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Robert J. Spinner, Holly S. Gilmer and Gregory R. Trost

If a single picture is worth a thousand words, then a video, by logical extension, would be priceless. This edition showcases peripheral nerve surgery in all its grandeur and preserves it for posterity. Classic and novel surgical techniques are shown related to tumor biopsy or resection; nerve decompression for entrapment; and nerve reconstruction with direct repair or nerve transfer. Akin to a nautical chart filled with detailed maps for sailors, this Neurosurgical Focus Video Atlas provides navigational tools for neurosurgeons. The shared underlying message is that a sound knowledge of anatomy can lead to innovation (i.e., creative approaches or solutions) and excellence (i.e., improved patient outcomes).

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Jonathan J. Stone, Megan C. Kaszuba and Robert J. Spinner

Patients who present with a history of cancer and the new onset of lumbosacral or peripheral neuropathy should be evaluated for the potential of metastasis. Targeted fascicular biopsy can be useful to diagnose atypical lesions within peripheral nerves in patients with major or progressive neurological deficits. In this video, the authors demonstrate the technique of targeted fascicular biopsy of the sciatic nerve in a 63-year-old man with a history of prostate cancer.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/PTOX9XxNBDU.

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Andrés A. Maldonado, Benjamin M. Howe and Robert J. Spinner

Paralysis of the posterior interosseous nerve (PIN) secondary to compression is a rare clinical condition. Entrapment neuropathy may occur at fibrous bands at the proximal, middle, or distal edge of the supinator. Tumors are a relatively rare but well-known potential cause. The authors present 2 cases of PIN lesions in which compression by a benign lipoma at the level of the elbow resulted in near transection (discontinuity) of the nerve. They hypothesize a mechanism—a “sandwich effect”—by which compression was produced from below by the mass and from above by a fibrous band in the supinator muscle (i.e., the leading edge of the proximal supinator muscle [arcade of Fröhse] in one patient and the distal edge of the supinator muscle in the other). A Grade V Sunderland nerve lesion resulted from the advanced, chronic compression. The authors are unaware of a similar case with such an advanced pathoanatomical finding.

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Mark A. Mahan, Wilson Z. Ray, Lynda J. S. Yang and Robert J. Spinner

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Thomas J. Wilson, Marie-Noëlle Hébert-Blouin, Naveen S. Murthy, Joaquín J. García, Kimberly K. Amrami and Robert J. Spinner

OBJECTIVE

The authors have observed that a subset of patients referred for evaluation of peroneal neuropathy with “negative” findings on MRI of the knee have subtle evidence of a peroneal intraneural ganglion cyst on subsequent closer inspection. The objective of this study was to introduce the nearly invisible peroneal intraneural ganglion cyst and provide illustrative cases. The authors further wanted to identify clues to the presence of a nearly invisible cyst.

METHODS

Illustrative cases demonstrating nearly invisible peroneal intraneural ganglion cysts were retrospectively reviewed and are presented. Case history and physical examination, imaging, and intraoperative findings were reviewed for each case. The outcomes of interest were the size and configuration of peroneal intraneural ganglion cysts over time, relative to various interventions that were performed, and in relation to physical examination and electrodiagnostic findings.

RESULTS

The authors present a series of cases that highlight the dynamic nature of peroneal intraneural ganglion cysts and introduce the nearly invisible cyst as a new and emerging part of the spectrum. The cases demonstrate changes in size and morphology over time of both the intraneural and extraneural compartments of these cysts. Despite “negative” MR imaging findings, nearly invisible cysts can be identified in a subset of patients.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors demonstrate here that peroneal intraneural ganglion cysts ride a roller coaster of change in both size and morphology over time, and they describe the nearly invisible cyst as one end of the spectrum. They identified clues to the presence of a nearly invisible cyst, including deep peroneal predominant symptoms, fluctuating symptoms, denervation changes in the tibialis anterior muscle, and abnormalities of the superior tibiofibular joint, and they correlate the subtle imaging findings to the internal fascicular topography of the common peroneal nerve. The description of the nearly invisible cyst may allow for increased recognition of this pathological entity that occurs with a spectrum of findings.

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Nikhil K. Prasad, Mark A. Mahan, Benjamin M. Howe, Kimberly K. Amrami and Robert J. Spinner

Lipomatosis of nerve (LN) is a rare disorder of peripheral nerves that produces proliferation of interfascicular adipose tissue. It may be associated with soft-tissue and bony overgrowth within the affected nerve territory. LN has been almost exclusively reported in appendicular peripheral nerves; the median nerve at the wrist and palm is among the most common locations. The authors present a new pattern of LN that shows circumferential proliferation of fat around the epineurium of the nerve. They believe that this case and the two other documented examples in the literature (also affecting cervical and thoracic spinal nerves) share the same new pattern of LN. Defining the full spectrum of adipose lesions of the nerve and establishing a cause-effect relationship with nerve-territory overgrowth disorders may offer options for future management through targeted nerve lesioning.

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

OBJECTIVE

Nerve biopsy is useful in the management of neuromuscular disorders and is commonly performed in distal, noncritical cutaneous nerves. In general, these procedures are diagnostic in only 20%–50%. In selected cases in which preoperative evaluation points toward a more localized process, targeted biopsy would likely improve diagnostic yield. The authors report their experience with targeted fascicular biopsy of the brachial plexus and provide a description of the operative technique.

METHODS

All cases of targeted biopsy of the brachial plexus biopsy performed between 2003 and 2015 were reviewed. Targeted nerve biopsy was performed using a supraclavicular, infraclavicular, or proximal medial arm approach. Demographic data and clinical presentation as well as the details of the procedure, adverse events (temporary or permanent), and final pathological findings were recorded.

RESULTS

Brachial plexus biopsy was performed in 74 patients (47 women and 27 men). The patients' mean age was 57.7 years. All patients had abnormal findings on physical examination, electrodiagnostic studies, and MRI. The overall diagnostic yield of biopsy was 74.3% (n = 55). The most common diagnoses included inflammatory demyelination (19), breast carcinoma (17), neurolymphomatosis (8), and perineurioma (7). There was a 19% complication rate; most of the complications were minor or transient, but 4 patients (5.4%) had increased numbness and 3 (4.0%) had additional weakness following biopsy.

CONCLUSIONS

Targeted fascicular biopsy of the brachial plexus is an effective diagnostic procedure, and in highly selected cases should be considered as the initial procedure over nontargeted, distal cutaneous nerve biopsy. Using MRI to guide the location of a fascicular biopsy, the authors found this technique to produce a higher diagnostic yield than historical norms as well as providing justification for definitive treatment.

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Andrés A. Maldonado and Robert J. Spinner

Spinal accessory nerve (SAN) injury results in loss of motor function of the trapezius muscle and leads to severe shoulder problems. Primary end-to-end or graft repair is usually the standard treatment. The authors present 2 patients who presented late (8 and 10 months) after their SAN injuries, in whom a lateral pectoral nerve transfer to the SAN was performed successfully using a supraclavicular approach.

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Carlos E. Restrepo and Robert J. Spinner