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Assaf Berger, Laurence Mangel, Sharif Basal, Zvi Lidar, Gilad J Regev, Morsi Khashan, Dror Ofir, and Khalil Salame

OBJECTIVE

Surgery for foot drop secondary to lumbar degenerative disease is not always associated with postoperative functional improvement. It is still unclear whether early decompression results in better functional recovery and how soon surgery should be performed. This study aimed to evaluate predicting factors that affect short- and long-term recovery outcomes and to explore the relationship between timing of lumbar decompression and recovery from foot drop in an attempt to identify a cutoff time from symptom onset until decompression for optimal functional improvement.

METHODS

The authors collected demographic, clinical, and radiographic data on patients who underwent surgery for foot drop due to lumbar degenerative disease. Clinical data included tibialis anterior muscle (TAM) strength before and after surgery, duration of preoperative motor weakness, and duration of radicular pain until surgery. TAM strength was recorded at the immediate postoperative period and 1 month after surgery while long-term follow-up on functional outcomes were obtained at ≥ 2 years postsurgery by telephone interview. Data including degree and duration of preoperative motor weakness as well as the occurrence of pain and its duration were collected to analyze their impact on short- and long-term outcomes.

RESULTS

The majority of patients (70%) showed functional improvement within 1 month postsurgery and 40% recovered to normal or near-normal strength. Univariate analysis revealed a trend toward lower improvement rates in patients with preoperative weakness of more than 3 weeks (33%) compared with patients who were operated on earlier (76.5%, p = 0.034). In a multivariate analysis, the only significant predictor for maximal strength recovery was TAM strength before surgery (OR 6.80, 95% CI 1.38–33.42, p = 0.018). Maximal recovery by 1 month after surgery was significantly associated with sustained long-term functional improvement (p = 0.006).

CONCLUSIONS

Early surgery may improve the recovery rate in patients with foot drop caused by lumbar degenerative disease, yet the strongest predictor for the extent of recovery is the severity of preoperative TAM weakness. Maximal recovery in the short-term postoperative period is associated with sustained long-term functional improvement and independence.

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Domagoj Coric, Jack Zigler, Peter Derman, Ernest Braxton, Aaron Situ, and Leena Patel

OBJECTIVE

Long-term outcomes of single-level lumbar arthroplasty are understood to be very good, with the most recent Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) trial showing a < 5% reoperation rate at the close of the 7-year study. This post hoc analysis was conducted to determine whether specific patients from the activL IDE data set had better outcomes than the mean good outcome of the IDE trial, as well as to identify contributing factors that could be optimized in real-world use.

METHODS

Univariable and multivariable logistic regression models were developed using the randomized patient set (n = 283) from the activL trial and used to identify predictive factors and to derive risk equations. The models were internally validated using the randomized patient set and externally validated using the nonrandomized patient set (n = 52) from the activL trial. Predictive power was assessed using area under the receiver operating characteristic curve analysis.

RESULTS

Two factors were significantly associated with achievement of better than the mean outcomes at 7 years. Randomization to receive the activL device was positively associated with better than the mean visual analog scale (VAS)–back pain and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores, whereas preoperative narcotics use was negatively associated with better than the mean ODI score. Preoperative narcotics use was also negatively associated with return to unrestricted full-time work. Other preoperative factors associated with positive outcomes included unrestricted full-time work, working manual labor after index back injury, and decreasing disc height. Older age, greater VAS–leg pain score, greater ODI score, female sex, and working manual labor before back injury were identified as preoperative factors associated with negative outcomes. Preoperative BMI, VAS–back pain score, back pain duration ≥ 1 year, SF-36 physical component summary score, and recreational activity had no effect on outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

Lumbar total disc replacement for symptomatic single-level lumbar degenerative disc disease is a well-established option for improving long-term patient outcomes. Discontinuing narcotics use may further improve patient outcomes, as this analysis identified associations between no preoperative narcotics use and better ODI score relative to the mean score of the activL trial at 7 years and increased likelihood of return to work within 7 years. Other preoperative factors that may further improve outcomes included unrestricted full-time work, working manual labor despite back injury, sedentary work status before back injury, and randomization to receive the activL device. Tailoring patient care before total disc replacement may further improve patient outcomes.

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Ido Ben Zvi, Oren Shaia Harel, Amos Douvdevani, Penina Weiss, Chen Cohen, Eynat Ben Ari, Gal Gross, Yehonatan Menndel, David Felzensztein, Noa Schwartz, Shani Berkowitz, Michael Drescher, and Sagi Harnof

OBJECTIVE

Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is a major cause of emergency room (ER) admission. Thirty percent of mTBI patients have postconcussion syndrome (PCS), and 15% have symptoms for over a year. This population is underdiagnosed and does not receive appropriate care. The authors proposed a fast and inexpensive fluorometric measurement of circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) as a biomarker for PCS. cfDNA is a proven, useful marker of a variety of acute pathological conditions such as trauma and acute illness.

METHODS

Thirty mTBI patients were recruited for this prospective single-center trial. At admission, patients completed questionnaires and blood was drawn to obtain cfDNA. At 3–4 months after injury, 18 patients returned for cognitive assessments with questionnaires and the Color Trails Test (CTT). The fast SYBR Gold assay was used to measure cfDNA.

RESULTS

Seventeen men and 13 women participated in this trial. The mean ± SD age was 50.9 ± 13.9 years. Of the 18 patients who returned for cognitive assessment, one-third reported working fewer hours, 4 (22.2%) changed their driving patterns, and 5 (27.7%) reduced or stopped performing physical activity. The median cfDNA level of the mTBI group was greater than that of the matched healthy control group (730.5 vs 521.5 ng/ml, p = 0.0395). Admission cfDNA concentration was negatively correlated with performance on the CTT1 and CTT2 standardized tests (r = −0.559 and −0.599), meaning that greater cfDNA level was correlated with decreased cognitive performance status. The performance of the patients with normal cfDNA level included in the mTBI group was similar to that of the healthy participants. In contrast, the increased cfDNA group (> 800 ng/ml) had lower scores on the CTT tests than the normal cfDNA group (p < 0.001). Furthermore, patients with moderate/severe cognitive impairment according to CTT1 results had a greater median cfDNA level than the patients with scores indicating mild impairment or normal function (1186 vs 473.5 ng/ml, p = 0.0441, area under the receiver operating characteristic curve = 0.8393).

CONCLUSIONS

The data from this pilot study show the potential to use cfDNA, as measured with a fast test, as a biomarker to screen for PCS in the ER. A large-scale study is required to establish the value of cfDNA as an early predictor of PCS.

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Yusuke Kinoshita, Ali R. Zomorodi, Allan H. Friedman, Hikari Sato, James H. Carter Jr., Udom Bawornvaraporn, Hirohiko Nakamura, and Takanori Fukushima

OBJECTIVE

The surgical management of large and complex tumors of the posterior fossa poses a formidable challenge in neurosurgery. The standard retrosigmoid craniotomy approach has been performed at most neurosurgical centers; however, the retrosigmoid approach may not provide enough working space without significant retraction of the cerebellum. The transsigmoid approach provides wider and shallower surgical fields; however, there have been few clinical and no cadaveric studies on its usefulness. In the present study, the authors describe the transsigmoid approach in clinical cases and cadaveric specimens.

METHODS

For the clinical study, the authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records and operative charts of patients who had been surgically treated for parabrainstem tumors using the transsigmoid approach between 1997 and 2019. They analyzed patient demographic and clinical data, as well as surgical and clinical outcomes. In the cadaveric study, they compared the surgical views obtained in different approaches (retrosigmoid, presigmoid, retrolabyrinthine, and transsigmoid) and measured the sigmoid sinus width at the level of the endolymphatic sac and the distance between the anterior edge of the sigmoid sinus and the endolymphatic sac on 35 sides in 19 cadaveric specimens.

RESULTS

A total of 21 patients (6 males and 15 females) with a mean age of 42.2 (range 15–67) years were included in the clinical study. Eleven patients had meningioma, 7 had vestibular schwannoma, 2 had hemangioblastoma, and 1 had epidermoid cyst. Gross-total, near-total, and subtotal removal were achieved in 7 (33.3%), 3 (14.3%), and 11 (52.4%) patients, respectively. In the cadaveric study, 19 cadaveric specimens were used. The sigmoid sinus was cut in the middle, and the incision was extended from the retrosigmoid to the presigmoid dura. The dura was then retracted upward and downward like opening a door. The results indicated that this technique can widen the operative field anteriorly by approximately 2 cm as compared to the retrosigmoid approach and provides a better view anterior to the brainstem.

CONCLUSIONS

The transsigmoid approach is useful for complex parabrainstem tumors in the posterior fossa because it provides a wider and shallower operative view with less retraction of the cerebellum. This enables safer tumor removal with less damage to important structures in the posterior fossa, resulting in better operative and clinical outcomes.

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Florian Ebel, Stefan Wanderer, C. Marvin Jesse, Ralph T. Schär, Irena Zubak, Christian T. Ulrich, and Andreas Raabe

OBJECTIVE

CSF leaks are common complications of spinal and cranial surgeries. Several dural grafts and suture techniques are available to achieve watertight dural closure, but the effectiveness of these techniques remains unclear. The authors developed a standardized in vitro model to test available grafts and suture techniques alone or in combination to find the technique with the most watertight dural closure.

METHODS

A fluid chamber with a dural fixation device, infusion pump, pressure gauge, and porcine pericardium as a dural equivalent was assembled to provide the reusable device for testing. The authors performed dural closure in 4 different fashions, as follows: A) using running versus simple interrupted suture technique and different suture materials to close a 3-cm incision; B) selecting commonly used sealants and dural patches in combination with a running suture; C) performing duraplasty (1.5 × 1.5–cm square defect) with different dural substitutes in a stand-alone fashion; and D) performing duraplasty with different dural substitutes in a double-layer fashion. Each technique was tested 6 times. The hydrostatic burst pressure (BP) was measured and compared using the Kruskal-Wallis test or the Mann-Whitney U-test. Values are reported as mean ± SD.

RESULTS

There was no significant difference between the running and simple interrupted suture technique (p = 0.79). Adding a patch or sealant to a suture resulted in a 1.7- to 14-fold higher BP compared to solitary suture closure (36.2 ± 24.27 cm H2O and 4.58 ± 1.41 cm H2O, respectively; p < 0.001). The highest BP was achieved by adding DuraSeal or TachoSil (82.33 ± 12.72 cm H2O and 74.17 ± 12.64 cm H2O, respectively). For closing a square defect, using a double-layer duraplasty significantly increased BP by a factor of 4–12 compared to a single-layer duraplasty (31.71 ± 12.62 cm H2O vs 4.19 ± 0.88 cm H2O, respectively; p < 0.001). The highest BP was achieved with the combination of Lyomesh and TachoSil (43.67 ± 11.45 cm H2O).

CONCLUSIONS

A standardized in vitro model helps to objectify the watertightness of dural closure. It allows testing of sutures and dural grafts alone or in combination. In the authors’ testing, a running 6-0 monofilament polypropylene suture combined with DuraSeal or TachoSil was the technique achieving the highest BP. For the duraplasty of square defects, the double-layer technique showed the highest efficacy.

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Claudia L. Craven, Paul Gissen, Rebecca Bower, Laura Lee, Kristian Aquilina, and Dominic N. P. Thompson

OBJECTIVE

Late infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis type 2 (CLN2) is a rare autosomal recessive disease caused by tripeptidyl peptidase 1 enzyme deficiency. At the authors’ center, the medication cerliponase alfa is administered every 2 weeks via the intracerebroventricular (ICV) route. This requires the placement of a ventricular access device (VAD) or reservoir and frequent percutaneous punctures of this device over the child’s lifetime. In this study, the authors audited the longevity and survival of these VADs and examined the causes of device failure.

METHODS

A single-center survival analysis of VAD insertions and revisions (January 2014 through June 2020) was conducted. All children received cerliponase alfa infusions through a VAD. Patient characteristics and complications were determined from a prospectively maintained surgical database and patient records. For the VAD survival analysis, the defined endpoint was when the device was removed or changed. Reservoir survival was assessed using Kaplan-Meier curves and the log-rank (Cox-Mantel) test.

RESULTS

A total of 17 patients had VADs inserted for drug delivery; median (range) age at first surgery was 4 years 4 months (1 year 8 months to 15 years). Twenty-six VAD operations (17 primary insertions and 9 revisions) were required among these 17 patients. Twelve VAD operations had an associated complication, including CSF infection (n = 6) with Propionibacterium and Staphylococcus species being the most prevalent organisms, significant surgical site swelling preventing infusion (n = 3), leakage/wound breakdown (n = 2), and catheter obstruction (n = 1). There were no complications or deaths associated with VAD insertion. The median (interquartile range) number of punctures was 59.5 (7.5–82.0) for unrevised VADs (n = 17) versus 2 (6–87.5) for revised VADs (n = 9) (p = 0.70). The median survival was 301 days for revisional reservoirs (n = 9) versus 2317 days for primary inserted reservoirs (n = 17) (p = 0.019).

CONCLUSIONS

In the context of the current interest in intrathecal drug delivery for rare metabolic disorders, the need for VADs is likely to increase. Auditing the medium- to long-term outcomes associated with these devices will hopefully result in their wider application and may have potential implications on the development of new VAD technologies. These results could also be used to counsel parents prior to commencement of therapy and VAD implantation.

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Stephanie Lenck, Aurelien Nouet, Eimad Shotar, Samiya Abi Jaoudé, Patrick Nicholson, Kevin Premat, Celine Corcy, Anne-Laure Boch, Nader Antoine Sourour, Frederic Tankere, Alexandre Carpentier, and Frederic Clarençon

OBJECTIVE

Based on their clinical and radiological patterns, idiopathic CSF rhinorrhea and idiopathic intracranial hypertension can represent different clinical expressions of the same underlying pathological process. Transverse sinus stenoses are associated with both diseases, resulting in eventual restriction of the venous CSF outflow pathway. While venous sinus stenting has emerged as a promising treatment for idiopathic intracranial hypertension, its efficiency on idiopathic CSF leaks has not been very well addressed in the literature so far. The purpose of this study was to report the results of transverse sinus stenting in patients with spontaneous CSF rhinorrhea associated with transverse sinus stenoses.

METHODS

From a prospectively collected database, the authors retrospectively collected the clinical and radiological features of the patients with spontaneous CSF leakage who were treated with venous sinus stenting.

RESULTS

Five female patients were included in this study. Transverse sinus stenoses were present in all patients, and other radiological signs of idiopathic intracranial hypertension were present in 4 patients. The median transstenotic pressure gradient was 6.5 mm Hg (range 3–9 mm Hg). Venous stenting resulted in the disappearance of the leak in 4 patients with no recurrence and no subsequent meningitis during the follow-up (median 12 months, range 6–63 months).

CONCLUSIONS

According to the authors’ results, venous sinus stenting may result in the disappearance of the leak in many cases of idiopathic CSF rhinorrhea. Larger comparative studies are needed to assess the efficiency and safety of venous stenting as a first-line approach in patients with spontaneous CSF rhinorrhea associated with transverse sinus stenoses.

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Jayme A. Bertelli, Mayur Sureshlal Goklani, Neehar Patel, and Elisa Cristiana Winkelmann Duarte

OBJECTIVE

The authors sought to describe the anatomy of the radial nerve and its branches when exposed through an axillary anterior arm approach.

METHODS

Bilateral upper limbs of 10 fresh cadavers were dissected after dyed latex was injected into the axillary artery.

RESULTS

Via the anterior arm approach, all triceps muscle heads could be dissected and individualized. The radial nerve overlaid the latissimus dorsi tendon, bounded by the axillar artery on its superior surface, then passed around the humerus, together with the lower lateral arm and posterior antebrachial cutaneous nerve, between the lateral and medial heads of the triceps. No triceps motor branch accompanied the radial nerve’s trajectory. Over the latissimus dorsi tendon, an antero-inferior bundle, containing all radial nerve branches to the triceps, was consistently observed. In the majority of the dissections, a single branch to the long head and dual innervations for the lateral and medial heads were observed. The triceps long and proximal lateral head branches entered the triceps muscle close to the latissimus dorsi tendon. The second branch to the lateral head stemmed from the triceps lower head motor branch. The triceps medial head was innervated by the upper medial head motor branch, which followed the ulnar nerve to enter the medial head on its anterior surface. The distal branch to the triceps medial head also originated near the distal border of the latissimus dorsi tendon. After a short trajectory, a branch went out that penetrated the medial head on its posterior surface. The triceps lower medial head motor branch ended in the anconeus muscle, after traveling inside the triceps medial head. The lower lateral arm and posterior antebrachial cutaneous nerve followed the radial nerve within the torsion canal. The lower lateral brachial cutaneous nerve innervated the skin over the biceps, while the posterior antebrachial cutaneous nerve innervated the skin over the lateral epicondyle and posterior surface of the forearm. The average numbers of myelinated fibers were 926 in the long and 439 in the upper lateral head and 658 in the upper and 1137 in the lower medial head motor branches.

CONCLUSIONS

The new understanding of radial nerve anatomy delineated in this study should aid surgeons during reconstructive surgery to treat upper-limb paralysis.

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Jennifer Muller, Mahdi Alizadeh, Caio M. Matias, Sara Thalheimer, Victor Romo, Justin Martello, Tsao-Wei Liang, Feroze B. Mohamed, and Chengyuan Wu

OBJECTIVE

Accurate electrode placement is key to effective deep brain stimulation (DBS). The ventral intermediate nucleus (VIM) of the thalamus is an established surgical target for the treatment of essential tremor (ET). Retrospective tractography-based analysis of electrode placement has associated successful outcomes with modulation of motor input to VIM, but no study has yet evaluated the feasibility and efficacy of prospective presurgical tractography-based targeting alone. Therefore, the authors sought to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of probabilistic tractography–based VIM targeting in ET patients and to perform a systematic comparison of probabilistic and deterministic tractography.

METHODS

Fourteen patients with ET underwent preoperative diffusion imaging. Probabilistic tractography was applied for preoperative targeting, and deterministic tractography was performed as a comparison between methods. Tractography was performed using the motor and sensory areas as initiation seeds, the ipsilateral thalamus as an inclusion mask, and the contralateral dentate nucleus as a termination mask. Tract-density maps consisted of voxels with 10% or less of the maximum intensity and were superimposed onto anatomical images for presurgical planning. Target planning was based on probabilistic tract-density images and indirect target coordinates. Patients underwent robotic image-guided, image-verified implantation of directional DBS systems. Postoperative tremor scores with and without DBS were recorded. The center of gravity and Dice similarity coefficients were calculated and compared between tracking methods.

RESULTS

Prospective probabilistic targeting of VIM was successful in all 14 patients. All patients experienced significant tremor reduction. Formal postoperative tremor scores were available for 9 patients, who demonstrated a mean 68.0% tremor reduction. Large differences between tracking methods were observed across patients. Probabilistic tractography–identified VIM fibers were more anterior, lateral, and superior than deterministic tractography–identified fibers, whereas probabilistic tractography–identified ventralis caudalis fibers were more posterior, lateral, and superior than deterministic tractography–identified fibers. Deterministic methods were unable to clearly distinguish between motor and sensory fibers in the majority of patients, but probabilistic methods produced distinct separation.

CONCLUSIONS

Probabilistic tractography–based VIM targeting is safe and effective for the treatment of ET. Probabilistic tractography is more precise than deterministic tractography for the delineation of VIM and the ventralis caudalis nucleus of the thalamus. Deterministic algorithms tended to underestimate separation between motor and sensory fibers, which may have been due to its limitations with crossing fibers. Larger studies across multiple centers are necessary to further validate this method.

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Jin-Sung Park, Chong-Suh Lee, Youn-Taek Choi, and Se-Jun Park

OBJECTIVE

Three-column osteotomies (3COs) for surgical correction of lumbar kyphosis show a strong correction capacity, but this procedure carries high morbidity rates. The anterior column release (ACR) technique was developed as a less invasive procedure. In this study the authors aimed to evaluate sagittal alignment restoration using ACR and to determine factors that affect the degree of correction.

METHODS

This study included 36 patients (68 cases) who underwent ACR of more than one level for adult spinal deformity. Parameters for regional sagittal alignment included segmental lordosis (SL). The parameters for global sagittal alignment included pelvic incidence, lumbar lordosis, sacral slope, pelvic tilt, and sagittal vertical axis (SVA). In addition, the interdiscal height (IDH) and difference of interdiscal angle (DIDA) were measured to evaluate the stiffness of the vertebra segment. The changes in SL were evaluated after ACR and the change of global sagittal alignment was also determined. Factors such as the location of the ACR level, IDH, DIDA, cage height, and additional posterior column osteotomy (PCO) were analyzed for correlation with the degree of SL correction.

RESULTS

Thirty-six patients were included in this study. A total of 68 levels were operated with the ACR (8 levels at L2–3, 27 levels at L3–4, and 33 levels at L4–5). ACR was performed for 1 level in 10 patients, 2 levels in 20, and 3 levels in 6 patients (mean 1.9 ± 0.7 levels per patient). Mean follow-up duration was 27.1 ± 4.2 months. The mean SL of the total segment was 0.4° ± 7.2° preoperatively and increased by 15.3° ± 5.5° at the last follow-up (p < 0.001); thus, the mean increase of SL was 14.9° ± 8.1° per one ACR. Global sagittal alignment was also improved following SL restoration with SVA from 101.9 mm to 31.4 mm. The degree of SL correction was correlated with the location of ACR level (p = 0.041) and was not correlated with IDH, DIDA, cage height and additional PCO.

CONCLUSIONS

This study demonstrated that the mean correction angle of SL was 14.9 per one ACR. The degree of disc space collapse and stiffness of segment did not affect the degree of correction by ACR.