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Julio D. Montejo, Joaquin Q. Camara-Quintana, Daniel Duran, Jeannine M. Rockefeller, Sierra B. Conine, Alyssa M. Blaise, Kristopher T. Kahle and Michael L. DiLuna


Lumbar disc herniation (LDH) in the pediatric population is rare and exhibits unique characteristics compared with adult LDH. There are limited data regarding the safety and efficacy of minimally invasive surgery (MIS) using tubular retractors in pediatric patients with LDH. Here, the outcomes of MIS tubular microdiscectomy for the treatment of pediatric LDH are evaluated.


Twelve consecutive pediatric patients with LDH were treated with MIS tubular microdiscectomy at the authors’ institution between July 2011 and October 2015. Data were gathered from retrospective chart review and from mail or electronic questionnaires. The Macnab criteria and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) were used for outcome measurements.


The mean age at surgery was 17 ± 1.6 years (range 13–19 years). Seven patients were female (58%). Prior to surgical intervention, 100% of patients underwent conservative treatment, and 50% had epidural steroid injections. Preoperative low-back and leg pain, positive straight leg raise, and myotomal leg weakness were noted in 100%, 83%, and 67% of patients, respectively. The median duration of symptoms prior to surgery was 9 months (range 1–36 months). The LDH level was L5–S1 in 75% of patients and L4–5 in 25%. The mean ± SD operative time was 90 ± 21 minutes, the estimated blood loss was ≤ 25 ml in 92% of patients (maximum 50 ml), and no intraoperative or postoperative complications were noted at 30 days. The median hospital length of stay was 1 day (range 0–3 days). The median follow-up duration was 2.2 years (range 0–5.8 years). One patient experienced reherniation at 18 months after the initial operation and required a second same-level MIS tubular microdiscectomy to achieve resolution of symptoms. Of the 11 patients seen for follow-up, 10 patients (91%) reported excellent or good satisfaction according to the Macnab criteria at the last follow-up. Only 1 patient reported a fair level of satisfaction by using the same criteria. Seven patients completed an ODI evaluation at the last follow-up. For these 7 patients, the mean ODI low-back pain score was 19.7% (SEM 2.8%).


To the authors’ knowledge, this is the longest outcomes study and the largest series of pediatric patients with LDH who were treated with MIS microdiscectomy using tubular retractors. These data suggest that MIS tubular microdiscectomy is safe and efficacious for pediatric LDH. Larger prospective cohort studies with longer follow-up are needed to better evaluate the long-term efficacy of MIS tubular microdiscectomy versus other open and MIS techniques for the treatment of pediatric LDH.

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Jason K. Karimy, Daniel Duran, Jamie K. Hu, Charuta Gavankar, Jonathan R. Gaillard, Yasar Bayri, Hunter Rice, Michael L. DiLuna, Volodymyr Gerzanich, J. Marc Simard and Kristopher T. Kahle

Hydrocephalus, despite its heterogeneous causes, is ultimately a disease of disordered CSF homeostasis that results in pathological expansion of the cerebral ventricles. Our current understanding of the pathophysiology of hydrocephalus is inadequate but evolving. Over this past century, the majority of hydrocephalus cases has been explained by functional or anatomical obstructions to bulk CSF flow. More recently, hydrodynamic models of hydrocephalus have emphasized the role of abnormal intracranial pulsations in disease pathogenesis. Here, the authors review the molecular mechanisms of CSF secretion by the choroid plexus epithelium, the most efficient and actively secreting epithelium in the human body, and provide experimental and clinical evidence for the role of increased CSF production in hydrocephalus. Although the choroid plexus epithelium might have only an indirect influence on the pathogenesis of many types of pediatric hydrocephalus, the ability to modify CSF secretion with drugs newer than acetazolamide or furosemide would be an invaluable component of future therapies to alleviate permanent shunt dependence. Investigation into the human genetics of developmental hydrocephalus and choroid plexus hyperplasia, and the molecular physiology of the ion channels and transporters responsible for CSF secretion, might yield novel targets that could be exploited for pharmacotherapeutic intervention.

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Ritchell van Dams, Henry S. Park, Ahmed K. Alomari, Adele S. Ricciardi, Harini Rao, Joseph McNamara, Michael L. DiLuna and Ranjit S. Bindra

This case report demonstrates that hypofractionated partial-brain radiation therapy with limited margins is a reasonable approach following gross tumor resection of Ewing sarcoma metastases to the brain. The patient presented with 2 intracranial metastases treated with gross-total resection followed by radiation therapy to 30 Gy in 5 fractions. The patient experienced symptomatic treatment-related inflammatory changes with resolution after receiving dexamethasone. He remains alive at 21 months of follow-up with no evidence of disease.

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Jennifer L. Quon, Ryan A. Grant and Michael L. DiLuna


Extradural decompression is a minimally invasive technique for treating Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) that avoids the complications of dural opening. While there is no agreement on which surgical method is optimal, mounting evidence demonstrates that extradural decompression effectively treats clinical symptoms, with a minimal reoperation rate. Neurological symptoms such as headache may be related to obstructed flow of CSF, and one aspect of successful extradural decompression is improved CSF dynamics. In this series, the authors report on their use of phase-contrast cine flow MRI to assess CSF flow as well as satisfactory decompression.


The authors describe their first surgical series of 18 patients with CM-I undergoing extradural decompression and correlate clinical improvement with radiological changes. Patients were categorized as having complete, partial, or no resolution of their symptoms. Posterior fossa area, cisterna magna area, and tonsillar herniation were assessed on T2-weighted MRI, whereas improvement of CSF flow was evaluated with phase-contrast cine flow MRI. All patients received standard pre- and postoperative MRI studies; 8 (44.4%) patients had pre- and postoperative phase-contrast cine, while the rest underwent cine studies only postoperatively.


All 18 patients presented with symptomatic CM-I, with imaging studies demonstrating tonsillar herniation ≥ 5 mm, and 2 patients had associated syringomelia. All patients underwent suboccipital decompression and C-1 laminectomy with splitting of the dura. Patients with complete resolution of their symptoms had a greater relative increase in cisterna magna area compared with those with only partial improvement (p = 0.022). In addition, in those with complete improvement the preoperative cisterna magna area was smaller than in those who had either partial (0.020) or no (0.025) improvement. Ten (91%) of the 11 patients with improved flow also had improvement in their symptoms. There was 1 postoperative complication of dysphagia and dysphonia. None of the patients have required a second operation.


Extradural decompression has the potential to be the first-line treatment for CM-I but has been lacking an objective measure by which to assess surgical success as well as the need for reoperation. An increase in the CSF spaces and improved CSF dynamics may be associated with resolution of clinical symptoms. Including cine imaging as part of routine pre- and postoperative evaluation can help identify which patients are most likely to benefit from surgery.