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Benedikt W. Burkhardt, Simon J. Müller, Anne-Catherine Wagner and Joachim M. Oertel

OBJECTIVE

Infection of the cervical spine is a rare disease but is associated with significant risk of neurological deterioration, morbidity, and a poor response to nonsurgical management. The ideal treatment for cervical spondylodiscitis (CSD) remains unclear.

METHODS

Hospital records of patients who underwent acute surgical management for CSD were reviewed. Information about preoperative neurological status, surgical treatment, peri- and postoperative processes, antibiotic treatment, repeated procedure, and neurological status at follow-up examination were analyzed.

RESULTS

A total of 30 consecutive patients (17 male and 13 female) were included in this retrospective study. The mean age at procedures was 68.1 years (range 50–82 years), with mean of 6 coexisting comorbidities. Preoperatively neck pain was noted in 21 patients (70.0%), arm pain in 12 (40.0%), a paresis in 12 (40.0%), sensory deficit in 8 (26.7%), tetraparesis in 6 (20%), a septicemia in 4 (13.3%). Preoperative MRI scan revealed a CSD in one-level fusion in 21 patients (70.0%), in two-level fusions in 7 patients (23.3%), and in three-level fusions in 2 patients (6.7%). In 16 patients an antibiotic treatment was initiated prior to surgical treatment. Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with cervical plating (ACDF+CP) was performed in 17 patients and anterior cervical corpectomy and fusion (ACCF) in 12 patients. Additional posterior decompression was performed in one case of ACDF+CP and additional posterior fixation in ten cases of ACCF procedures. Three patients died due to multiple organ failure (10%). Revision surgery was performed in 6 patients (20.7%) within the first 2 weeks postoperatively. All patients received antibiotic treatment for 6 weeks. At the first follow-up (mean 3 month) no recurrent infection was detected on blood workup and MRI scans. At final follow-up (mean 18 month), all patients reported improvement of neck pain, all but one patients were free of radicular pain and had no sensory deficits, and all patients showed improvement of motor strength. One patient with preoperative tetraparesis was able to ambulate.

CONCLUSIONS

CSD is a disease that is associated with severe neurological deterioration. Anterior cervical surgery with radical debridement and appropriate antibiotic treatment achieves complete healing. Anterior cervical plating with the use of polyetheretherketone cages has no negative effect of the healing process. Posterior fixation is recommended following ACCF procedures.

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Jacob Cherian, Thomas P. Madaelil, Frank Tong, Brian M. Howard, C. Michael Cawley and Jonathan A. Grossberg

The video highlights a challenging case of bilateral vertebral artery dissection presenting with subarachnoid hemorrhage. The patient was found to have a critical flow-limiting stenosis in his dominant right vertebral artery and a ruptured pseudoaneurysm in his left vertebral artery. A single-stage endovascular treatment with stent reconstruction of the right vertebral artery and coil embolization sacrifice of the left side was performed. The case highlights the rationale for treatment and potential alternative strategies.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/e0U_JE2jISw.

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Chih-Hsiang Liao, Wen-Hsien Chen, Nien-Chen Liao and Yuang-Seng Tsuei

This video presents a case of new-onset visual blurring, diplopia, and conjunctival injection after head injury. CTA of the brain revealed a direct carotid-cavernous fistula (dCCF) of the right side. Careful evaluation of CTA source images revealed that the fistula point was at the ventromedial aspect of the right cavernous internal carotid artery (ICA), about 3.6 × 3.6 mm2 in size, with 3 main outflow channels (2 intracranial and 1 extracranial) (CTA-guided concept). DSA of the brain also confirmed the diagnosis but was unable to locate the fistula point in a large-sized dCCF. Through a transfemoral artery approach, 3 microcatheters were navigated to each peripheral channel to initiate outflow-targeted embolization. Intracranial refluxes were blocked first to avoid cerebral hemorrhages, followed by the extracranial outflow. During embolization, accidental dislodge of one coil into the sphenoparietal vein occurred, but no attempt of coil retrieval was made. Complete obliteration of the dCCF was achieved, and the patient recovered well without new neurological deficits. 4D MRA at the 3-month follow-up showed no residual dCCF.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/LH2lNVRZSPk.

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Kunal Vakharia, Stephan A. Munich, Muhammad Waqas, Swetadri Vasan Setlur Nagesh and Elad I. Levy

Progressive deconstruction with flow diversion using a Pipeline embolization device (PED; Medtronic) can be utilized to promote thrombosis of broad-based fusiform aneurysms. Current flow diverters require a 0.027-inch microcatheter for deployment. The authors present a patient with a fusiform P2–3 junction posterior cerebral artery aneurysm in which they demonstrate the importance of haptics in microwire manipulation to recognize large-vessel anatomy versus perforator anatomy that may overlap, especially when access is needed in distal tortuous circulations. In addition, the authors demonstrate the need for appropriate visualization before PED deployment. Postembolization runs demonstrated optimal wall apposition with contrast stasis within the aneurysm dome.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/8kfsSvN3XqM.

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Vincent Dodson, Neil Majmundar, Vanessa Swantic and Rachid Assina

OBJECTIVE

The use of vancomycin powder in spine surgery for prophylaxis against surgical site infections (SSIs) is well debated in the literature, with the majority of studies demonstrating improvement and some studies demonstrating no significant reduction in infection rate. It is well known in certain populations that vancomycin powder reduces the general rate of infection, but its effects on reducing the rate of infection due to gram-negative pathogens are not well reviewed. The goal of this paper was to review studies that investigated the efficacy of vancomycin powder as a prophylactic agent against SSI and demonstrate whether the rate of infections by gram-negative pathogens is impacted.

METHODS

An electronic search of the published literature was performed using PubMed and Google Scholar in accordance with the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines. A variety of combinations of the search terms “vancomycin powder,” “infection,” “spine,” “gram-negative,” “prophylaxis,” and “surgical site” was used. Inclusion criteria were studies that 1) described an experimental group that received intraoperative intrawound vancomycin powder; 2) included adequately controlled groups that did not receive intraoperative intrawound vancomycin powder; 3) included the number of patients in both the experimental and control groups who developed infection after their spine surgery; and 4) identified the pathogen-causing infection. Studies not directly related to this review’s investigation were excluded from the initial screen. Among the studies that met the criteria of the initial screen, additional reasons for exclusion from the systematic review included lack of a control group, unspecified size of control groups, and inconsistent use of vancomycin powder in the experimental group.

RESULTS

This systematic review includes 21 studies with control groups. Vancomycin powder significantly reduced the relative risk of developing an SSI (RR 0.55, 95% CI 0.45–0.67, p < 0.0001). In addition, the use of vancomycin powder did not significantly increase the risk of infection by gram-negative pathogens (RR 1.11, 95% CI 0.66–1.86, p = 0.701).

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this systematic review suggest that intrawound vancomycin powder is protective against SSI. It is less clear if this treatment increases the risk of gram-negative infection. Further studies are required to investigate whether rates of infection due to gram-negative pathogens are affected by the use of vancomycin powder.

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Lorenzo Rinaldo, Harry J. Cloft, Giuseppe Lanzino and Leonardo Rangel-Castilla

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André Beer-Furlan, Hormuzdiyar H. Dasenbrock, Krishna C. Joshi and Michael Chen

Acute basilar artery occlusion is one of the most devastating subtypes of ischemic stroke with an extremely high morbidity and mortality rate. The most common causes include embolism, large-artery atherosclerosis, penetrating small-artery disease, and arterial dissection. The heart and vertebral arteries are the main source of emboli in embolic basilar occlusions. The authors present an uncommon acute basilar occlusion secondary to a fusiform aneurysm with intraluminal thrombus. The patient underwent a mechanical thrombectomy with successful recanalization, but persistent intraluminal thrombus. The authors discuss the management dilemma and describe their choice for placement of flow diverter stents.

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

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James T. Rutka

With this landmark issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery (JNS), we celebrate the 75th anniversary of continuous publication of articles in neurosurgery. It is likely not a coincidence that the diamond anniversary of the JNS coincides precisely with the 150th anniversary of the birth of Harvey Cushing. It is possible that some events in life are inextricably and cosmically tied together, such as the birth of the founding father of our specialty, the society named after him that ultimately became the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), and the journal of this organization—the JNS.