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Atul Goel

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Juan Leonardo Serrato-Avila, Juan Alberto Paz Archila, Marcos Devanir Silva da Costa, Paulo Ricardo Rocha, Sergio Ricardo Marques, Luis Otavio Carvalho de Moraes, Sergio Cavalheiro, Kaan Yağmurlu, Michael T. Lawton, and Feres Chaddad-Neto

OBJECTIVE

The cerebellar interpeduncular region (CIPR) is a gate for dorsolateral pontine and cerebellar lesions accessed through the supracerebellar infratentorial approach (SCITa), the occipital transtentorial approach (OTa), or the subtemporal transtentorial approach (STa). The authors sought to compare the exposures of the CIPR region that each of these approaches provided.

METHODS

Three approaches were performed bilaterally in eight silicone-injected cadaveric heads. The working area, area of exposure, depth of the surgical corridor, length of the interpeduncular sulcus (IPS) exposed, and bridging veins were statistically studied and compared based on each approach.

RESULTS

The OTa provided the largest working area (1421 mm2; p < 0.0001) and the longest surgical corridor (6.75 cm; p = 0.0006). Compared with the SCITa, the STa provided a larger exposure area (249.3 mm2; p = 0.0148) and exposed more of the length of the IPS (1.15 cm; p = 0.0484). The most bridging veins were encountered with the SCITa; however, no significant differences were found between this approach and the other approaches (p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

To reach the CIPR, the STa provided a more extensive exposure area and more linear exposure than did the SCITa. The OTa offered a larger working area than the SCIT and the STa; however, the OTa had the most extensive surgical corridor. These data may help neurosurgeons select the most appropriate approach for lesions of the CIPR.

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Jubran H. Jubran, Lena Mary Houlihan, Ann J. Staudinger Knoll, Dara S. Farhadi, Richard Leblanc, and Mark C. Preul

Dorothy Russell’s contributions to neuropathology are pivotal in the evolution of modern neurosurgery. In an era preferential to men in medicine, she entered the second medical school class to include women at the London Hospital Medical College in 1919. In the laboratory of Hubert Turnbull, she met Hugh Cairns, who would become her professional neurosurgeon-neuropathologist partner. In 1929, arriving at McGill’s Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, where Wilder Penfield and William Cone had just begun a neurosurgical service, Russell elucidated the origin and activity of microglia. Returning to London, Russell continued to work closely with Cairns for many years. Along with J. O. W. Bland, she became the first to culture gliomas and meningiomas. Her work on the effects of and fatality rates associated with head injuries among soldiers during World War II led to the initiation of helmet requirements for motorcyclists. Her textbook, Pathology of the Tumours of the Nervous System, written with Lucien Rubinstein, is considered a landmark text in neurosurgery, neuropathology, and neurooncology. Honored by Penfield and Cone as their first neurosurgery research fellow, Russell was considered a favorite of the Montreal Neurological Institute. Dorothy Russell’s extraordinary career elucidating the mysteries of neurosurgical pathology has made an enduring mark on neurosurgery.

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*Christopher F. Dibble, Saad Javeed, Jawad M. Khalifeh, Rajiv Midha, Lynda J. S. Yang, Neringa Juknis, and Wilson Z. Ray

OBJECTIVE

Nerve transfers are increasingly being utilized in the treatment of chronic tetraplegia, with increasing literature describing significant improvements in sensorimotor function up to years after injury. However, despite technical advances, clinical outcomes remain heterogenous. Preoperative electrodiagnostic testing is the most direct measure of nerve health and may provide prognostic information that can optimize preoperative patient selection. The objective of this study in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) was to determine various zones of injury (ZOIs) via electrodiagnostic assessment (EDX) to predict motor outcomes after nerve transfers in tetraplegia.

METHODS

This retrospective review of prospectively collected data included all patients with tetraplegia from cervical SCI who underwent nerve transfer at the authors’ institution between 2013 and 2020. Preoperative demographic data, results of EDX, operative details, and postoperative motor outcomes were extracted. EDX was standardized into grades that describe donor and recipient nerves. Five zones of SCI were defined. Motor outcomes were then compared based on various zones of innervation.

RESULTS

Nineteen tetraplegic patients were identified who underwent 52 nerve transfers targeting hand function, and 75% of these nerve transfers were performed more than 1 year postinjury, with a median interval to surgery following SCI of 24 (range 8–142) months. Normal recipient compound muscle action potential and isolated upper motor neuron injury on electromyography (EMG) were associated with greater motor recovery. When nerve transfers were stratified based on donor EMG, greater motor gains were associated with normal than with abnormal donor EMG motor unit recruitment patterns. When nerve transfers were separated based on donor and recipient nerves, normal flexor donors were more crucial than normal extensor donors in powering their respective flexor recipients.

CONCLUSIONS

This study elucidates the relationship of the preoperative innervation zones in SCI patients to final motor outcomes. EDX studies can be used to tailor surgical therapies for nerve transfers in patients with tetraplegia. The authors propose an algorithm for optimizing nerve transfer strategies in tetraplegia, whereby understanding the ZOI and grade of the donor/recipient nerve is critical to predicting motor outcomes.

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Tomoaki Shimizu, Masao Koda, Tetsuya Abe, Tomoyuki Asada, Kosuke Sato, Yosuke Shibao, Mamoru Kono, Fumihiko Eto, Kousei Miura, Kentaro Mataki, Hiroshi Noguchi, Hiroshi Takahashi, Toru Funayama, and Masashi Yamazaki

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to clarify the clinical utility of paravertebral foramen screws (PVFSs) and to determine intraoperative indicators for appropriate screw placement during posterior cervical fusion surgery to improve its safety.

METHODS

The authors included data from 46 patients (29 men and 17 women, mean age 61.7 years) who underwent posterior cervical spine surgery with 94 PVFSs. Of the 94 PVFSs, 77 were used in C6, 9 in C3, 5 in C4, and 3 in C5. According to the cervical lateral radiographic view, the authors divided the 94 PVFSs into 3 groups as follows: a longer group, in which the tip of PVFS was located anteriorly from the line of the posterior wall of the vertebral body (> +0 mm); an intermediate group, in which the screw tip was located up to 2 mm posteriorly to the posterior wall of the vertebral body (–2 to 0 mm); and a shorter group, in which the screw tip was located more than 2 mm posteriorly (< –2 mm). The accuracy of screw placement was assessed using CT imaging in the axial plane, and the proportion of screws penetrating a vertebral foramen or a transverse foramen was compared between the 3 groups. Screw loosening was defined as a lucent zone around the screw evaluated on cervical radiography at 1 year after surgery. Complications related to PVFS insertion and revision surgery related to PVFS were evaluated.

RESULTS

The authors classified 25 PVFSs into the longer group, 43 into the intermediate group, and 26 into the shorter group. The proportion of screws penetrating a vertebral foramen was largest in the shorter group, and the proportion penetrating a transverse foramen was largest in the longer group. Screw loosening was confirmed for 3 of 94 PVFSs. One PVFS inserted in C6 unilaterally within a long construct from C2 to C7 showed loosening, but it did not cause clinical symptoms. Revision surgery was required for 2 PVFSs inserted in C3 bilaterally as the lower instrumented vertebra in occiput–cervical fusion because they pulled out. There was no neurovascular complication related to PVFS insertion.

CONCLUSIONS

PVFSs are useful for posterior cervical fusion surgery as alternative anchor screws, and the line of the posterior wall of the cervical body on lateral fluoroscopic images is a potential intraoperative reference to indicate an appropriate trajectory for PVFSs.

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Yen-Mie Lai, Christa Boer, Roelant S. Eijgelaar, Charissa E. van den Brom, Philip de Witt Hamer, and Patrick Schober

OBJECTIVE

Awake craniotomies are often characterized by alternating asleep-awake-asleep periods. Preceding the awake phase, patients are weaned from anesthesia and mechanical ventilation. Although clinicians aim to minimize the time to awake for patient safety and operating room efficiency, in some patients, the time to awake exceeds 20 minutes. The goal of this study was to determine the average time to awake and the factors associated with prolonged time to awake (> 20 minutes) in patients undergoing awake craniotomy.

METHODS

Records of patients who underwent awake craniotomy between 2003 and 2020 were evaluated. Time to awake was defined as the time between discontinuation of propofol and remifentanil infusion and the time of extubation. Patient and perioperative characteristics were explored as predictors for time to awake using logistic regression analyses.

RESULTS

Data of 307 patients were analyzed. The median (IQR) time to awake was 13 (10–20) minutes and exceeded 20 minutes in 17% (95% CI 13%–21%) of the patients. In both univariate and multivariable analyses, increased age, nonsmoker status, and American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) class III versus II were associated with a time to awake exceeding 20 minutes. BMI, as well as the use of alcohol, drugs, dexamethasone, or antiepileptic agents, was not significantly associated with the time to awake.

CONCLUSIONS

While most patients undergoing awake craniotomy are awake within a reasonable time frame after discontinuation of propofol and remifentanil infusion, time to awake exceeded 20 minutes in 17% of the patients. Increasing age, nonsmoker status, and higher ASA classification were found to be associated with a prolonged time to awake.

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Kentaro Yamada, Hiromitsu Toyoda, Shinji Takahashi, Koji Tamai, Akinobu Suzuki, Masatoshi Hoshino, Hidetomi Terai, and Hiroaki Nakamura

OBJECTIVE

Both facet joint opening (FJO) on CT and facet joint effusion (FJE) on MRI are reportedly indicators of segmental instability in the lumbar facet joints of patients with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS). However, no study has investigated both parameters simultaneously. Therefore, the association between these findings and which parameter is better for predicting clinical outcomes after surgical treatment remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between FJO and FJE in patients who underwent less invasive decompression procedures for LSS and to investigate the impact of these findings on clinical outcomes.

METHODS

This study included 1465 lumbar levels (L1–2 to L5–S1) in 293 patients who underwent less invasive surgery for LSS and had ≥ 5 years of follow-up. FJO was defined as joint space widening ≥ 2 mm on preoperative axial CT images. FJE was defined as fluid effusion in the facet joint on preoperative axial T2-weighted MR images. The characteristics and distributions of FJO and FJE were investigated with other preoperative radiological findings. The association between need for further surgery and FJO/FJE was analyzed according to intervertebral level.

RESULTS

FJO was observed at 402 levels (27%), and FJE was found at 306 levels (21%). The correspondence rate between FJO and FJE was 70% (kappa 0.195, p < 0.01). One hundred thirty-seven levels (9%) had both FJO and FJE. Levels with both FJO and FJE more commonly had lateral olisthesis, lateral wedging, and axial intervertebral rotation than other levels (p < 0.001). Levels with both FJO and FJE were more likely than other levels to need further surgery (OR 2.42, p = 0.027).

CONCLUSIONS

The correspondence rate between FJO and FJE was not high. However, multivariate analysis showed that levels with both FJO and FJE had a higher risk of requiring further surgery than those with other radiological findings, such as lateral olisthesis, lateral wedging, and axial intervertebral rotation. Patients with levels with both FJO and FJE need careful long-term follow-up after undergoing a less invasive decompression procedure.

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Nizar Moayeri and Y. Raja Rampersaud

OBJECTIVE

Minimally invasive decompression (MID) is an effective procedure for lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS). Long-term follow-up data on reoperation rates are lacking. The objective of this retrospective cohort study was to evaluate reoperation rates in patients with LSS who underwent MID, stratified for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis (DLS), with a follow-up between 5 and 15 years.

METHODS

All consecutive patients with LSS who underwent MID between 2002 and 2011 were included. All patients had neurogenic claudication from central and/or lateral recess stenosis, without or with up to 25% of slippage (grade I spondylolisthesis), and no obvious dynamic instability on imaging (increase in spondylolisthesis by ≥ 5 mm demonstrated on supine-to-standing or flexion-extension imaging). Reoperation rates defined as any operation on the same or adjacent level were assessed. Revision decompression alone was considered if the aforementioned clinical and radiographic criteria were met; otherwise, patients underwent a minimally invasive posterior fusion.

RESULTS

A total of 246 patients (mean age 66 years) were included. Preoperative spondylolisthesis was present in 56.9%. The mean follow-up period was 8.2 years (range 5.0−14.9 years). The reoperation rates in patients with and without spondylolisthesis were 15.7% and 15.1%, respectively; fusion was required in 7.1% and 7.5%, with no significant difference (redecompression only, p = 0.954; fusion, p = 0.546). For decompression only, the mean times to reoperation were 3.9 years (95% CI 1.8−6.0 years) for patients with DLS and 2.8 years (95% CI 1.3−4.2 years) for patients without DLS; for fusion, the mean times to reoperation were 3.1 years (95% CI 1.0−5.3 years) and 3.1 years (95% CI 1.1−5.1 years), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

In highly selected patients with stable DLS and leg-dominant pain from central or lateral recess stenosis, the long-term reoperation rate is similar between DLS and non-DLS patients undergoing MIS decompression.

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Rômulo A. S. Marques, Helioenai S. Alencar, Matheus A. Bannach, and Osvaldo Vilela-Filho

OBJECTIVE

One of the few resources for treating medically intractable pain is ablative surgery, but its indications have fallen dramatically over the last decades. One such procedure is mesencephalotomy. This study aims to determine current risks and benefits of MR-guided semidirect targeting–based stereotactic mesencephalotomy.

METHODS

This was a retrospective study based on a review of the medical records of 22 patients with nociceptive (n = 5), neuropathic (n = 10), or mixed (n = 7) refractory pain treated with unilateral mesencephalotomy alone (17 patients) or associated with bilateral anterior cingulotomy (5 patients) between 2014 and 2021 in the authors’ institutions. The confidence interval adopted in this study was 95%.

RESULTS

The sample included 12 women and 10 men with ages ranging from 23 to 80 years (mean 55.1 ± 17.1 years). Using MR-guided semidirect targeting, the following structures were targeted: spinoreticulothalamic (neuropathic/mixed pain, n = 17), trigeminothalamic (nociceptive/mixed pain in the face, n = 5), and neospinothalamic (nociceptive/mixed pain in the body, n = 7) pathways. The most common response to macrostimulation was central heat/moderate discomfort. Radiofrequency thermocoagulation was made with 70°C–75°C/60 sec.

A total of 86.3% (3 months) and 76.9% (12 months) of the patients achieved excellent or good results (improvement of pain > 50%), presenting with a significant mean pain relief of 80.1% at 3 months and 71.4% at 12 months postoperatively. The addition of bilateral anterior cingulotomy did not improve the results. Patients with upper limb, cervicobrachial, and face pain did significantly better than those with trunk pain. The worst results were seen in patients with neuropathic and/or trunk pain. The surgical failure (pain relief ≤ 25%) and recurrence rates were 9.1% each, apparently related to the use of lower lesioning parameters (70°C/60 sec) and to the presence of neuropathic and/or trunk pain. The morbidity rate was 8%, with both complications (vertical diplopia and confusion/agitation) happening in patients lesioned with 75°C/60 sec. There were no deaths in this series.

CONCLUSIONS

These results show that contemporary stereotactic mesencephalotomy is an effective, relatively low-risk, and probably underused procedure for treating medically intractable pain. Careful semidirect determination of the target coordinates associated with close attention to electrical macrostimulation responses certainly plays an important role in avoiding complications in most of the procedures. A higher lesioning temperature (75°C) apparently prevents recurrence, but at the cost of an increased risk of complications.

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Juan Antonio Simal-Julian, Laila Pérez de San Román-Mena, María Rosa Sanchis-Martín, Arnold Quiroz-Tejada, Pablo Miranda-Lloret, and Carlos Botella-Asunción

Endoscopic endonasal reconstruction techniques have improved CSF leak rates that were initially reported after surgery for cranial base and intradural lesions. However, wide surgical defects still pose a problem, especially if located in the clival region. The authors propose and describe a novel reconstruction technique they call a septal rhinopharyngeal flap (SRF) specifically designed to address this issue. The SRF is formed by three components of mucosa: 1) septal, 2) rhinopharyngeal roof, and 3) rhinopharyngeal posterior wall components, which allows for the coverage of the tuberculum/sellar region, midclivus, and lower clivus, respectively. A step-by-step procedure is described and its results analyzed in cases in which it has been used. The SRF was performed in 8 patients, which included diagnoses of 4 chordomas, 2 petroclival meningiomas, 1 invasive pituitary adenoma, and 1 chondrosarcoma. The size of the flap was considered optimal in all patients (100%). Postoperative MRI revealed contrast enhancement covering the entire surface of the flap. No CSF leaks were encountered after at least 1 postoperative year. The SRF is a novel vascularized reconstruction technique specifically indicated for wide endosanasal clivectomies focused on the middle clivus with caudal extension into the lower clivus and craniocervical junction, as well as rostral extensions into the tubercular or planum sphenoidale. This new reconstruction technique could be added to the skull base reconstruction armamentarium as a safe and optimal option.