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Open access

Microvascular decompression of a vertebral artery loop causing cervical radiculopathy: illustrative case

Alexa Semonche, Lorenzo Rinaldo, Young Lee, Todd Dubnicoff, Harlan Matles, Dean Chou, Adib Abla, and Edward F Chang

BACKGROUND

Vertebral artery loops are a rare cause of cervical radiculopathy. Surgical options for nerve root decompression include an anterior or posterior approach, with or without additional microvascular decompression.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors describe a case of a 49-year-old man with a long-standing history of left-sided neck pain and migraines, who was found to have a vertebral artery loop in the left C3–4 neural foramen compressing the left C4 nerve root. The patient underwent a posterior cervical decompression with instrumented fusion and macrovascular decompression of the left C4 nerve root via Teflon felt insertion. In a literature review, we identified 20 similar cases that had also been managed surgically.

LESSONS

Although the anterior approach is more frequently described in the literature, a posterior approach for nerve compression by a vertebral artery loop is also a safe and effective treatment. The authors report the third case of this surgical approach with a good outcome.

Open access

Microvascular decompression for developmental venous anomaly causing hemifacial spasm: illustrative case

Margaret Tugend and Raymond F Sekula Jr.

BACKGROUND

Developmental venous anomaly (DVA) is a rare cause of hemifacial spasm (HFS). The treatment of HFS caused by a DVA varies in the literature and includes medication management, botulinum toxin injections, and microvascular decompression (MVD).

OBSERVATIONS

A 64-year-old woman presented with right-sided HFS. Preoperative magnetic resonance imaging showed a DVA in the right inferior pons, with an enlarged segment compressing the facial nerve at its root detachment point prior to drainage into the superior petrosal sinus. MVD was performed, and the facial nerve was decompressed without sacrifice of the vein. Immediately following the procedure, the patient had significantly reduced spasms. The patient became spasm-free 3 months after MVD and maintained spasm freedom for 3 months. Six months after MVD, the patient had a partial return of spasms. At 8 months, the patient continued to have reduced and intermittent spasms in the right orbicularis oculi muscle.

LESSONS

MVD for HFS caused by a DVA is a safe procedure and can be effective at reducing spasm frequency and severity.

Open access

Middle meningeal artery pseudoaneurysm and pterygoid plexus fistula following percutaneous radiofrequency rhizotomy: illustrative case

Rahim Ismail, Derrek Schartz, Timothy Hoang, and Alexander Kessler

BACKGROUND

Percutaneous treatment for trigeminal neuralgia is a safe and effective therapeutic methodology and can be accomplished in the form of balloon compression, glycerol rhizotomy, and radiofrequency thermocoagulation. These procedures are generally well tolerated and demonstrate minimal associated morbidity. Moreover, vascular complications of these procedures are exceedingly rare.

OBSERVATIONS

We present the case of a 64-year-old female with prior microvascular decompression and balloon rhizotomy who presented after symptom recurrence and underwent a second balloon rhizotomy at our institution. Soon thereafter, she presented with pulsatile tinnitus and a right preauricular bruit on physical examination. Subsequent imaging revealed a middle meningeal artery (MMA) to pterygoid plexus fistula and an MMA pseudoaneurysm. Coil and Onxy embolization were used to manage the pseudoaneurysm and fistula.

LESSONS

This case illustrates the potential for MMA pseudoaneurysm formation as a complication of percutaneous trigeminal balloon rhizotomy, which has not been seen in the literature. Concurrent MMA-pterygoid plexus fistula is also a rarity demonstrated in this case.

Open access

Spontaneous pseudoaneurysm of the superficial temporal artery in neurofibromatosis type 1: illustrative case

Fang Shen, Shi-ze Li, Yuan-yuan Shan, Xiao Ji, and Han-song Sheng

BACKGROUND

A pseudoaneurysm of the superficial temporal artery is an uncommon clinical entity that has largely been linked with direct traumatic causes. Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1)-related vasculopathy is a rare cause of idiopathic arterial bleeding in the craniofacial region.

OBSERVATIONS

A 46-year-old male with clinical features of NF1 presented to the hospital with an enlarging and tender right temporal mass without a history of trauma. Computed tomography angiography suggested the development of a pseudoaneurysm, and surgery was performed to resect the mass. Histopathological examinations showed focal interruption of the epithelium layer and elastic lamina, well-demarcated thickening of the smooth muscle layers of the arterial wall, supporting the diagnosis of pseudoaneurysm.

LESSONS

NF1-associated vasculopathy is likely the predisposing factor for the development of a superficial temporal artery pseudoaneurysm.

Open access

Spinal dural arteriovenous fistula masquerading as a herniated disc: illustrative case

Moustafa A. Mansour, Dyana F. Khalil, Soliman El-Sokkary, Mostafa A. Mostafa, and Ahmad A. Ayad

BACKGROUND

Spinal dural arteriovenous fistula (SDAVF) is a rare disorder with an unknown etiology. Often, the clinical presentation and imaging findings are misleading, causing this condition to be mistaken for other entities, such as demyelinating or degenerative spinal lesions.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors report a challenging case of SDAVF in which the patient’s symptoms were initially thought to be attributable to a herniated disc based on his imaging studies at another institution. He sought the authors for a second opinion, which yielded a confirmed diagnosis of SDAVF. Due to his rapidly progressive neurological manifestations, he underwent a surgical division of the fistula using intraoperative video angiography via indocyanine green injections. His symptoms progressively improved over a 3-month period. He regained full sphincter control by 4 months, which gave him a better recovery than seen in other patients with SDAVFs, who do not generally fully regain sphincter control.

LESSONS

SDAVF is a critical spinal vascular pathology that should not be overlooked in the differential diagnosis of any patient presenting with signs of progressive myelopathy. Despite its associated vague initial clinical symptoms, SDAVF typically, but not always, demonstrates a characteristic imaging appearance on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging studies; therefore, MR angiography is still required for definitive diagnosis. Surgical treatment for SDAVF is almost always definitive and curative.

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.

Open access

Simultaneous microvascular decompression for trigeminal neuralgia and hemifacial spasm involving a dolichoectatic vertebral artery in an elderly patient: illustrative case

Neelan J. Marianayagam, Hanya M. Qureshi, Sagar Vasandani, Shaurey Vetsa, Muhammad Jalal, Kun Wu, and Jennifer Moliterno

BACKGROUND

Hyperactive cranial neuropathies refractory to medical management can often be debilitating to patients. While microvascular decompression (MVD) surgery can provide relief to such patients when an aberrant vessel is compressing the root entry zone (REZ) of the nerve, the arteries of elderly patients over 65 years of age can be less amenable to manipulation because of calcifications and other morphological changes. A dolichoectatic vertebral artery (DVA), in fact, can lead to multiple cranial neuropathies; therefore, a strategy for MVDs in elderly patients is useful.

OBSERVATIONS

A 76-year-old man presented with medically refractory trigeminal neuralgia (TN) and hemifacial spasm (HFS). A DVA was the conflicting vessel at the left REZs of the trigeminal and facial nerves. The authors performed a retrosigmoid craniotomy for MVD of the DVA with Teflon padding at both REZs in approximately 1 hour of operative time. The patient was free of facial pain and spasm immediately after surgery and at follow-up.

LESSONS

The authors described the case of an elderly patient with both TN and HFS caused by compression of a DVA. Simultaneous MVD with Teflon padding at both REZs provided symptomatic relief with limited surgical time. This can be a particularly useful and straightforward surgical strategy in the elderly population.

Open access

Trigeminal neuralgia induced by brainstem infarction treated with pontine descending tractotomy: illustrative case

Rachyl M. Shanker, Miri Kim, Chloe Verducci, Elhaum G. Rezaii, Kerry Steed, Atul K. Mallik, and Douglas E. Anderson

BACKGROUND

While cases of trigeminal neuralgia induced by a brainstem infarct have been reported, the neurosurgical literature lacks clear treatment recommendations in this subpopulation.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present the first case report of infarct-related trigeminal neuralgia treated with pontine descending tractotomy that resulted in durable pain relief after multiple failed surgical interventions, including previous microvascular decompressions and stereotactic radiosurgery. A neuronavigated pontine descending tractotomy of the spinal trigeminal tract was performed and resulted in successful pain relief for a 50-month follow-up period.

LESSONS

While many cases of ischemic brainstem lesions are caused by acute stroke, the authors assert that cerebral small vessel disease also plays a role in certain cases and that the relationship between these chronic ischemic brainstem lesions and trigeminal neuralgia is more likely to be overlooked. Furthermore, neurovascular compression may obscure the causative mechanism of infarct-related trigeminal neuralgia, leading to unsuccessful decompressive surgeries in cases in which neurovascular compression may be noncontributory to pain symptomatology. Pontine descending tractotomy may be beneficial in select patients and can be performed either alone or concurrently with microvascular decompression in cases in which the interplay between ischemic lesion and neurovascular compression in the pathophysiology of disease is not clear.