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Open access

“Winged” Eagle’s syndrome: neurophysiological findings in a rare cause of spinal accessory nerve palsy. Illustrative cases

Eric C Mitchell, Kitty Y Wu, Fawaz Siddiqi, John Yoo, Pavlo Ohorodnyk, Douglas Ross, and Thomas A Miller

BACKGROUND

Eagle’s syndrome (ES) classically describes dysphagia, globus sensation, and otalgia from an elongated and calcified styloid process or stylohyoid ligament. Compression of the spinal accessory nerve (SAN) has not been reported as an associated feature of ES or related variants.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors describe two cases of an atypical “winged” variant with SAN palsy resulting from compression by a posteriorly angulated or calcified styloid process. Both patients exhibited lateral scapular winging and atrophy of the trapezius and sternocleidomastoid muscles. Electrophysiological studies demonstrated motor unit preservation; therefore, surgical exploration, styloidectomy, and SAN decompression were performed through a transcervical approach. Postoperatively, both patients had improvements in pain and shoulder mobility, the return of muscle strength, and electrophysiological evidence of trapezius reinnervation.

LESSONS

Compression of the SAN, which can be identified both clinically and on electrodiagnostic testing, is an atypical finding that can result from a posteriorly angulated or calcified styloid process. This winged variant of ES should be included in the differential for SAN palsy, and a multidisciplinary approach is recommended for assessment and management.

Open access

Blood pressure cuff–induced radial nerve palsy following minimally invasive lateral microdiscectomy: illustrative case

Ziad Rifi, Jasmine A Thum, Margaret S Sten, Timothy J Florence, and Michael J Dorsi

BACKGROUND

The authors describe a rare case of transient postoperative wrist and finger drop following a prone position minimally invasive surgery (MIS) lateral microdiscectomy.

OBSERVATIONS

Hand and wrist drop is an unusual complication following spine surgery, especially in prone positioning. The authors’ multidisciplinary team assessed a patient with this complication following MIS lateral microdiscectomy. The broad differential diagnosis included radial nerve palsy, C7 radiculopathy, stroke, and spinal cord injury. Given the patient’s supinator weakness, intact pronation and wrist flexion, and transient recovery within 4 weeks, the most likely diagnosis was radial nerve neuropraxia secondary to ischemic compression. After careful consideration of the operative environment and anatomical constraints, the patient’s blood pressure cuff was found to be the most probable source of compression.

LESSONS

Blood pressure cuff–induced peripheral nerve injury may be a source of postoperative radial nerve neuropraxia in patients undergoing spine surgery. Careful considerations must be given to the blood pressure cuff location, which should not be placed at the distal end of the humerus due to higher susceptibility of peripheral nerve compression. Spine surgeons should be aware of and appropriately localize postoperative deficits along the neuroaxis, including central versus proximal or distal peripheral injuries, in order to guide appropriate postoperative management.

Open access

Etiology of spastic foot drop among 16 patients undergoing electrodiagnostic studies: patient series

Lisa B. E. Shields, Vasudeva G. Iyer, Yi Ping Zhang, and Christopher B. Shields

BACKGROUND

Differentiating foot drop due to upper motor neuron (UMN) lesions from that due to lower motor neuron lesions is crucial to avoid unnecessary surgery or surgery at the wrong location. Electrodiagnostic (EDX) studies are useful in evaluating patients with spastic foot drop (SFD).

OBSERVATIONS

Among 16 patients with SFD, the cause was cervical myelopathy in 5 patients (31%), cerebrovascular accident in 3 (18%), hereditary spastic paraplegia in 2 (12%), multiple sclerosis in 2 (12%), chronic cerebral small vessel disease in 2 (12%), intracranial meningioma in 1 (6%), and diffuse brain injury in 1 (6%). Twelve patients (75%) had weakness of a single leg, whereas 2 others (12%) had bilateral weakness. Eleven patients (69%) had difficulty walking. The deep tendon reflexes of the legs were hyperactive in 15 patients (94%), with an extensor plantar response in 9 patients (56%). Twelve patients (75%) had normal motor and sensory conduction, 11 of whom had no denervation changes of the legs.

LESSONS

This study is intended to raise awareness among surgeons about the clinical features of SFD. EDX studies are valuable in ruling out peripheral causes of foot drop, which encourages diagnostic investigation into a UMN source for the foot drop.

Open access

Radial nerve myofibroma: a rare benign tumor with perineural infiltration. Illustrative case

Kitty Y. Wu, David J. Cook, Kimberly K. Amrami, and Robert J. Spinner

BACKGROUND

Myofibromas are benign mesenchymal tumors, classically presenting in infants and young children in the head and neck region. Perineural involvement, especially in peripheral nerves within the upper extremity, is extremely rare in myofibromas.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present the case of a 16-year-old male with a 4-month history of an enlarging forearm mass and rapidly progressive dense motor weakness in wrist, finger, and thumb extension. Preoperative imaging and fine needle biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of a benign isolated myofibroma. Given the dense paralysis, operative management was indicated, and intraoperative exploration showed extensive involvement of tumor within the radial nerve. The infiltrated nerve segment was excised along with the tumor, and the resulting 5-cm nerve gap was reconstructed using autologous cabled grafts.

LESSONS

Perineural pseudoinvasion can be an extremely rare and atypical feature of nonmalignancies, resulting in dense motor weakness. Extensive nerve involvement may still necessitate nerve resection and reconstruction, despite the benign etiology of the lesion.

Open access

Anesthesia-induced Takotsubo cardiomyopathy in trigeminal neuralgia: illustrative case

Guido Mazzaglia, Giulio Bonomo, Emanuele Rubiu, Paolo Murabito, Alessia Amato, Paolo Ferroli, and Marco Gemma

BACKGROUND

Takotsubo syndrome (TS) represents a form of nonischemic cardiomyopathy characterized by sudden and temporary weakening of the myocardium. Many data suggest a primary role for sympathetic overstimulation in its pathogenesis. Nevertheless, these correlates are less easily identified during anesthesia.

OBSERVATIONS

A 50-year-old female patient with a 4-year history of drug-resistant left trigeminal neuralgia. She was scheduled for surgical microvascular decompression. In the operating room, after induction of general anesthesia and oral intubation, the electrocardiogram revealed a significant ST segment elevation along with a sudden decrease in systolic blood pressure and heart rate. Administration of atropine caused a conversion into ventricular tachycardia. The advanced cardiac life support protocols were applied with prompt defibrillation and rapid recovery at sinus rhythm. A transthoracic echocardiogram revealed apical akinesia with ballooning of the left ventricle with a reduction of systolic function. An emergency coronary arteriography was performed, showing normal epicardial coronary vessels. After 4 days, echocardiography revealed normalization of the left ventricular function with improvement of the ejection fraction.

LESSONS

In patients affected by trigeminal neuralgia, chronic pain can lead to a state of adrenergic hyperactivation, which can promote TS during the induction of general anesthesia, probably through the trigeminocardiac reflex.