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Open access

Splenic rupture following prone lateral discectomy and arthrodesis: illustrative case

Alexandra Echevarria, Benjamin Hershfeld, Emily Arciero, and Rohit Verma

BACKGROUND

The prone lateral approach to lumbar spine surgery is known to have a multitude of potential complications, including damage to neurovascular structures, surrounding viscera, and intra-abdominal structures near the surgical site. However, iatrogenic injury to the spleen following prone lateral lumbar discectomy and arthrodesis as a potential complication has not yet been described in the literature.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present the case of a 71-year-old female with a history of L3–S1 laminectomy and L3–5 arthrodesis who underwent a prone lateral discectomy of L2–3 with arthrodesis of the endplates for chronic lower-back pain. On postoperative day 1, the patient developed hypotension unresponsive to pressor medications, significant abdominal pain, and anemia requiring 2 transfusions. Bedside ultrasound revealed free fluid in the abdomen. She then underwent an exploratory laparotomy for splenic injury.

LESSONS

Although rare, splenic rupture should be considered as part of the differential diagnosis for patients with hemodynamic instability after lateral surgical approaches to the lumbar spine. Any patient with evidence of hypotension, anemia, and/or abdominal pain following lumbar surgery should be evaluated for splenic injury with an abdominal computed tomography scan and considered for surgical intervention.

https://thejns.org/doi/10.3171/CASE23639

Open access

Immunocompetent isolated cerebral mucormycosis presenting with obstructive hydrocephalus: illustrative case

Khoa N Nguyen, Lindsey M Freeman, Timothy H Ung, Steven Ojemann, and Fabio Grassia

BACKGROUND

Isolated cerebral mucormycosis is rare in immunocompetent adults and is only sparsely reported to be associated with obstructive hydrocephalus.

OBSERVATIONS

Here, the authors report a case of obstructive hydrocephalus secondary to central nervous system mucormycosis without other systems or rhino-orbital involvement and its technical surgical management. A 23-year-old, incarcerated, immunocompetent patient with history of intravenous (IV) drug use presented with syncope. Although clinical and radiographic findings failed to elucidate an infectious pathology, endoscopy revealed an obstructive mass lesion at the level of the third ventricle, which, on microbiological testing, was confirmed to be Rhizopus fungal ventriculitis. Perioperative cerebrospinal fluid diversion, endoscopic third ventriculostomy, endoscopic biopsy technique, patient outcomes, and the literature are reviewed here. The patient received intrathecal and IV amphotericin B followed by a course of oral antifungal treatment and currently remains in remission.

LESSONS

The patient’s unique presentation and diagnosis of isolated cerebral mucormycosis reveal this pathogen as a cause of ventriculitis and obstructive hydrocephalus in immunocompetent adult patients, even in the absence of infectious sequelae on neuroimaging.

Open access

Brainstem anesthesia during awake craniotomy: illustrative case

Yun Chen, Mei Sun, Hongmin Bai, Ruixin Yang, and Huan He

BACKGROUND

Awake craniotomy (AC) is performed to remove the lesions near or in eloquent areas, during which the patients are alert and without any airway instrument. Apnea is a severe complication in AC. Here, the authors describe a case of sudden apnea induced by unexpected local anesthesia of the brainstem during AC.

OBSERVATIONS

A 42-year-old male underwent AC for a large, recurrent, bilateral frontal lobe mass and experienced transient apnea and loss of brainstem reflexes during the surgery. The patient recovered spontaneous breath rhythm just a few minutes after the removal of a lidocaine cotton pledget, which was found near the patient’s midbrain. Then the patient awoke and cooperated to finish the surgery.

LESSONS

The administration of a local anesthetic subdurally in AC is common but risky. The scouring action of cerebral spinal fluid can spread those agents and cause unexpected brainstem anesthesia. A lower concentration of the anesthetic and keeping away from the cistern can make it safer.

Open access

The infundibulochiasmatic angle and the favorability of an endoscopic endonasal approach in type IV craniopharyngioma: illustrative case

Guilherme Finger, Maria Jose C Ruiz, Eman H Salem, Matthew D Marquardt, Kyle C Wu, Lucas P Carlstrom, Ricardo L Carrau, Luciano M Prevedello, and Daniel M Prevedello

BACKGROUND

Lesions located in the floor of the third ventricle are among the most difficult to access in neurosurgery. The neurovascular structures can limit transcranial exposure, whereas tumor extension into the third ventricle can limit visualization and access. The midline transsphenoidal route is an alternative approach to tumor invading the third ventricle if the tumor is localized at its anterior half and a working space between the optic apparatus and the pituitary infundibulum exists. The authors introduce the “infundibulochiasmatic angle,” a valuable measurement supporting the feasibility of the translamina terminalis endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) for resection of type IV craniopharyngiomas.

OBSERVATIONS

Due to a favorable infundibulochiasmatic angle measurement on preoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), an endoscopic endonasal transsellar transtubercular approach was performed to resect a type IV craniopharyngioma. At 2-month follow-up, the patient’s neurological exam was unremarkable, with improvement in bitemporal hemianopsia. Postoperative MRI confirmed gross-total tumor resection.

LESSONS

The infundibulochiasmatic angle is a radiological tool for evaluating the feasibility of EEA when resecting tumors in the anterior half of the third ventricle. Advantages include reduced brain retraction and excellent rates of resection, with minimal postoperative risks of cerebrospinal fluid leakage and permanent pituitary dysfunction.

Open access

Rare median and musculocutaneous nerve fusion with intraoperative electrical confirmation: illustrative case

Audrey Huang, Sima Vazquez, Jose Dominguez, Avinash Mohan, Jin Li, and Jared M Pisapia

BACKGROUND

Nerve transfer is a surgical technique in which a redundant or expendable fascicle is transferred or coapted to an injured nerve distal to the site of injury for the purpose of reinnervation. Successful nerve transfer is dependent on correct intraoperative identification of donor and recipient nerves.

OBSERVATIONS

An 8-year-old male was recommended for ulnar nerve fascicle to biceps branch of musculocutaneous nerve transfer to restore elbow flexion weakness after a demyelinating spinal cord injury. The biceps branch was identified approximately midway along the upper arm. Proximal musculocutaneous nerve stimulation induced hand movement and electromyography activity in the median nerve muscles. Neurolysis of the thickened proximal structure revealed fusion of the musculocutaneous and median nerves. Because of the proximity of the median and musculocutaneous nerves, median rather than ulnar nerve fascicles were used as donors for transfer.

LESSONS

The authors provide the first reported intraoperative finding of an anatomical variant in which the musculocutaneous nerve and median nerve were fused in the upper arm, confirmed through intraoperative electrical stimulation. Surgeons should be aware of this rare anatomical variant to ensure correct nerve identification when performing nerve transfers in the proximal upper extremity.

Open access

Management of a challenging dura-embedded anterior inferior cerebellar artery loop during a retrosigmoid hearing-preserving vestibular schwannoma resection: microsurgical technique and operative video. Illustrative case

Jaime L. Martínez Santos, Robert C. Sterner, and Mustafa K. Başkaya

BACKGROUND

Anatomical variants of the anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA), such as an anomalous “AICA loop” embedded in the dura and bone of the subarcuate fossa, increase the complexity and risk of vestibular schwannoma resections. Classically, osseous penetrating AICA loops are the most challenging to mobilize, as the dura must be dissected and the surrounding petrous bone must be drilled to mobilize the AICA away from the surgical corridor and out of harm.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present a rare case of a dura-embedded, osseous-penetrating AICA loop encountered during a hearing-preserving retrosigmoid approach in which they demonstrate safe and efficient microdissection and mobilization of the AICA loop without having to drill the surrounding bone.

LESSONS

Although preoperative recognition of potentially dangerous AICA loops has been challenging, thin-sliced petrous bone computed tomography scanning and high-quality magnetic resonance imaging can be useful in preoperative diagnosis. Furthermore, this report suggests that a retrosigmoid approach is superior, as it allows early intradural recognition and proximal vascular control and facilitates more versatile mobilization of AICA loops.

Open access

Radiofrequency ablation during stereoelectroencephalography: from diagnostic tool to therapeutic intervention. Illustrative case

Demitre Serletis, Juan Bulacio, Justin Bingaman, Elham Abushanab, Stephen P. Harasimchuk, Richard Rammo, Silvia Neme-Mercante, and William Bingaman

BACKGROUND

Radiofrequency thermocoagulation (RFTC) during intracranial stereoelectroencephalography (sEEG) was first described as a safe technique for creating lesions of epileptic foci in 2004. Since that time, the method has been applied as a diagnostic and/or palliative intervention. Although widely practiced in European epilepsy surgical programs, the technique has not been popularized in the United States given the lack of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)–approved technologies permitting safe usage of in situ sEEG electrodes for this purpose.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors present a case report of a young female patient with refractory left neocortical temporal lobe epilepsy undergoing sEEG electrode implantation, who underwent sEEG-guided RFTC via a stereotactic temperature-sensing pallidotomy probe. Although used as a diagnostic step in her workup, the patient has remained seizure-free for nearly 18 months.

LESSONS

The use of in situ sEEG electrodes for RFTC remains limited in the United States. In this context, this case highlights a safe alternative and temporizing approach to performing diagnostic sEEG-guided RFTC, using a temperature-sensing pallidotomy probe to create small, precise stereotactic lesions. The authors caution careful consideration of this technique as a temporary work-around solution while also highlighting the rising need for new FDA-approved technologies for safe RFTC through in situ temperature-sensing sEEG electrodes.

Open access

Pedicle subtraction metallectomy with complex posterior reconstruction for fixed cervicothoracic kyphosis: illustrative case

Harman Chopra, José Manuel Orenday-Barraza, Alexander E. Braley, Alfredo Guiroy, Olivia E. Gilbert, and Michael A. Galgano

BACKGROUND

Iatrogenic cervical deformity is a devastating complication that can result from a well-intended operation but a poor understanding of the individual biomechanics of a patient’s spine. Patient factors, such as bone fragility, high T1 slope, and undiagnosed myopathies often play a role in perpetuating a deformity despite an otherwise successful surgery. This imbalance can lead to significant morbidity and a decreased quality of life.

OBSERVATIONS

A 55-year-old male presented to the authors’ clinic with a chin-to-chest deformity and cervical myelopathy. He previously had an anterior C2–T2 fixation and a posterior C1–T6 instrumented fusion. He subsequently developed screw pullout at multiple levels, so the original surgeon removed all of the posterior hardware. The T1 cage (original corpectomy) severely subsided into the body of T2, generating an angular kyphosis that eventually developed a rigid osseous circumferential union at the cervicothoracic junction with severe cord compression. An anterior approach was not feasible; therefore, a 3-column osteotomy/fusion in the upper thoracic spine was planned whereby 1 of the T2 screws would need to be removed from a posterior approach for the reduction to take place.

LESSONS

This case highlights the devastating effect of a hardware complication leading to a fixed cervical spine deformity and the complex decision making involved to safely correct the challenging deformity and restore function.

Open access

Rescue stenting after artery occlusion as a complication of an intrasaccular device–assisted coiling embolization: illustrative case

Félix Gallo-Pineda, Miriam Fernández-Gómez, and Carlos Hidalgo-Barranco

BACKGROUND

Endovascular embolization of wide-necked aneurysms can be challenging. The development of intrasaccular devices like the Contour has enabled us to approach these aneurysms effectively by reducing recanalization rates and eliminating the need for dual antiplatelet therapy, which is particularly beneficial in the case of ruptured aneurysms. Although complications from using these devices are rare, it is crucial to address them properly. In this case, the authors highlight how to manage artery thrombosis caused by device protrusion during aneurysm embolization.

OBSERVATIONS

This report describes a complication in a male patient with a ruptured anterior communicating artery wide-necked aneurysm. Following Contour-assisted coiling of the aneurysm, a realignment of the detachable apex of the device occluded the A2 segment of the right anterior cerebral artery. After the failure of intra-arterial and intravenous tirofiban infusion as well as mechanical thrombectomy, a self-expanding open-cell stent was deployed in the involved vessel, achieving successful reperfusion.

LESSONS

The Contour device has a detachable zone that can cause occlusion of the parent vessel after deployment. The use of a stent as a rescue maneuver may be useful if reperfusion of the vessel cannot be achieved through other methods such as aspiration or full-dose antiplatelet therapy.

Open access

Ondine’s curse: clinical presentation with diaphragmatic pacing and spontaneous respiratory recovery. Illustrative case

Alexander J. Schupper, Alex Devarajan, Dong-Seok Lee, Enrique Perez, and Raj K. Shrivastava

BACKGROUND

The complexity of posterior fossa surgery can often lead to rare complications due to the anatomy involved. Vestibular schwannoma resection is a common pathology in the posterior fossa, often requiring surgical intervention. Given the proximity of this space to the brainstem, cranial nerve VII/VIII complex, and posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA), neurovascular complications are not infrequent. A rare vascular complication from this surgical approach is a lateral medullary infarction from injury to the lateral medullary segment of the proximal PICA, leading to central hypoventilation syndrome (CHS).

OBSERVATIONS

This report presents a unique case of a 51-year-old man who underwent a retrosigmoid craniectomy for resection of a vestibular schwannoma. Following surgery, the patient was unable to be weaned off the ventilator and was noted to become apneic while he slept, a clinical picture consistent with Ondine’s curse.

LESSONS

This report discusses the anatomical considerations of this surgical corridor leading to this complication and the management of a patient with acquired Ondine’s curse and reviews the scarce literature on this uncommon cause of acquired CHS.