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Open access

Brian P. Curry, Vijay M. Ravindra, Jason H. Boulter, Chris J. Neal, and Daniel S. Ikeda

BACKGROUND

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) frequently features degeneration and instability of the cervical spine. Rarely, this degeneration manifests as symptoms of bow hunter syndrome (BHS), a dynamic cause of vertebrobasilar insufficiency.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors reviewed the literature for cases of RA associated with BHS and present a case of a man with erosive RA with intermittent syncopal episodes attributable to BHS as a result of severe extrinsic left atlantooccipital vertebral artery compression from RA-associated cranial settling. A 72-year-old man with RA-associated cervical spine disease who experienced gradual, progressive functional decline was referred to a neurosurgery clinic for evaluation. He also experienced intermittent syncopal events and vertiginous symptoms with position changes and head turning. Vascular imaging demonstrated severe left vertebral artery compression between the posterior arch of C1 and the occiput as a result of RA-associated cranial settling. He underwent left C1 hemilaminectomy and C1–4 posterior cervical fusion with subsequent resolution of his syncope and vertiginous symptoms.

LESSONS

This is an unusual case of BHS caused by cranial settling as a result of RA. RA-associated cervical spine disease may rarely present as symptoms of vascular insufficiency. Clinicians should consider the possibility, though rare, of cervical spine involvement in patients with RA experiencing symptoms consistent with vertebral basilar insufficiency.

Open access

Chase H. Foster, Anthony J. Vargas, Elizabeth Wells, Robert F. Foster, and Suresh N. Magge

BACKGROUND

The ability of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to cause neurological insults in afflicted adults is becoming increasingly understood by way of an ever-growing amount of international data. By contrast, the pandemic illness’s neurological effects in the pediatric population are both poorly understood and sparsely reported.

OBSERVATIONS

In this case, the authors reported their experience with a preschool-age child with hydrocephalus who suffered multiterritory strokes presumed secondary to immune-mediated cerebral vasculopathy as a result of asymptomatic COVID-19 infection.

LESSONS

Growing evidence indicates that COVID-19 can cause neurological sequelae such as encephalitis and strokes. In this case report, the authors discussed a case of cerebral vasculopathy and strokes in a pediatric patient who was positive for COVID-19.

Open access

Alice Noris, Paolo Roncon, Simone Peraio, Anna Zicca, Matteo Lenge, Andrea Di Rita, Lorenzo Genitori, and Flavio Giordano

BACKGROUND

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) represents a valid therapeutic option for patients with medically intractable seizures who are not candidates for epilepsy surgery. Even when complete section of the nerve occurs, stimulation applied cranially to the involved nerve segment does not preclude the efficacy of VNS. Complete vagus nerve section with neuroma causing definitive left vocal cord palsy has never been previously reported in the literature.

OBSERVATIONS

Eight years after VNS implant, the patient experienced worsening of seizures; the interrogation of the generator revealed high impedance requiring surgical revision. On surgical exploration, complete left vagus nerve section and a neuroma were found. Vocal cord atrophy was found at immediate postoperative laryngeal inspection as a confirmation of a longstanding lesion. Both of these events might have been caused by direct nerve injury during VNS surgery, and they presented in a delayed fashion.

LESSONS

VNS surgery may be complicated by direct damage to the left vagus nerve, resulting in permanent neurological deficits. A complete section of the nerve also enables an efficacious stimulation if applied cranially to the involved segment. Laryngeal examination should be routinely performed before each VNS surgery to rule out preexisting vocal cord dysfunction.

Open access

Timothy Kim, Brendan Judy, and Timothy Witham

BACKGROUND

Intradural spinal cord cysts are uncommon and generally benign. It can be difficult to determine whether the cyst is intramedullary or extramedullary on preoperative imaging, and the location of the cyst may be determined intraoperatively. This patient presented with intractable back pain associated with imbalance and was found to have a cystic lesion of the ventriculus terminalis (VT).

OBSERVATIONS

The patient was found to have a cystic lesion of the VT that was intramedullary rather than extramedullary, as initially expected based on preoperative imaging.

LESSONS

VT is a rare cystic expansion of the conus medullaris that can appear extramedullary on preoperative imaging. Intraoperatively, this lesion was found to be intramedullary and was successfully treated with fenestration.

Open access

Bryan Kunkler, Alan Tung, Parag G. Patil, Srinivas Chiravuri, and Vijay Tarnal

BACKGROUND

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration–approved therapy for medically refractory Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, and other neurological conditions. The procedure requires prolonged immobility and can result in significant patient discomfort, potentially limiting patient selection. In addition, surgical requirements necessitate avoidance of medications that may alter or suppress the patient’s arousal or baseline tremor during macrostimulation testing.

OBSERVATIONS

In this study, the authors describe the use of continuous spinal anesthesia with local anesthetic to manage a patient with severe back pain who was intolerant of semisupine position during stereotactic computed tomography and stage 1 of DBS placement.

LESSONS

Continuous spinal anesthesia is an effective strategy to manage patients with severe back pain undergoing DBS surgery for upper extremity motor symptoms.

Open access

Luis J. Saavedra, Carlos M. Vásquez, Hector H. García, Luis A. Antonio, Yelimer Caucha, Jesús Félix, Jorge E. Medina, and William W. Lines

BACKGROUND

Neurocysticercosis, caused by the larval stage of Taenia solium, affects the cerebral ventricles in 20–30% of cases and may lead to hydrocephalus and other neurological morbidity. Conventional treatment for cysts in the 4th ventricle includes open surgery (suboccipital approach) and neuroendoscopy, with the latter being the option of choice. Stereotactic surgery, minimally invasive, offers a good alternative for this type of deep lesion.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors report the cases of two women, 30 and 45 years old, who presented with headache, dizziness, and ataxia and were diagnosed with 4th ventricle cysticercosis. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed dilated 4th ventricles (approximately 2.5 cm in both cases, with cystic images inside the ventricular cavity). Both patients were treated with stereotactic surgery via a suboccipital transcerebellar approach. Cyst material was extracted, and the diagnosis was confirmed by pathological examination. The surgeries had no complications and resulted in clinical improvement. Control MRI scans showed reduction of the volume of the ventricle without residual cysts.

LESSONS

Minimally invasive stereotactic surgery provided a safe alternative for 4th ventricle neurocysticercosis cysts, with more benefits than risks in comparison with conventional techniques.

Restricted access

Kenichiro Asano, Seiko Hasegawa, Masashi Matsuzaka, and Hiroki Ohkuma

OBJECTIVE

It is necessary to accurately characterize the epidemiology and trends of brain tumor–related epilepsy (BTE) in patients with metastatic brain tumors. This study aimed to determine the incidence of BTE associated with metastatic brain tumors and retrospectively investigate the risk factors for BTE.

METHODS

This retrospective analysis included 601 of 631 consecutive patients with metastatic brain tumors who received treatment, including surgery, radiotherapy, and/or other treatments. BTE and the clinical course were examined retrospectively. Logistic regression multivariate analyses were performed to identify risk factors for BTE.

RESULTS

BTE was reported in 148 (24.6%) of 601 patients during the entire course. Of these 148 patients, 81 (54.7%) had first-onset epilepsy (13.5% of all patients). Of the 520 cases of nonepileptic onset, 53 were in the prophylactic antiepileptic drug (AED) group. However, 12 of these patients and 55 of the no–prophylactic AED group developed epilepsy during the course of the study. Including these 67 patients, 148 patients were examined as the group of all epilepsy cases during the entire course. In 3 patients, the seizure progressed to status epilepticus. In most patients, the BTE (n = 83, 56.1%) manifested as focal aware seizures. Logistic regression analysis identified young age (p = 0.037), male sex (p = 0.026), breast cancer (p = 0.001), eloquent area (p < 0.001), peritumoral edema (p < 0.001), dissemination (p = 0.013), and maximum tumor volume (p = 0.021) as significant risk factors for BTE. BTE was more common with tumor volumes greater than the cutoff value of 1.92 ml.

CONCLUSIONS

BTE appears to be more likely to occur in cases with young age, male sex, breast cancer, tumors involving eloquent areas, brain edema, dissemination, and giant tumors.

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Austin H. Carroll, Ehsan Dowlati, Esteban Molina, David Zhao, Marcelle Altshuler, Kyle B. Mueller, Faheem A. Sandhu, and Jean-Marc Voyadzis

OBJECTIVE

The effect of obesity on outcomes in minimally invasive surgery (MIS) approaches to posterior lumbar surgery is not well characterized. The authors aimed to determine if there was a difference in operative variables and complication rates in obese patients who underwent MIS versus open approaches in posterior spinal surgery, as well as between obese and nonobese patients undergoing MIS approaches.

METHODS

A retrospective review of all consecutive patients who underwent posterior lumbar surgery from 2013 to 2016 at a single institution was performed. The primary outcome measure was postoperative complications. Secondary outcome measures included estimated blood loss (EBL), operative time, the need for revision, and hospital length of stay (LOS); readmission and disposition were also reviewed. Obese patients who underwent MIS were compared with those who underwent an open approach. Additionally, obese patients who underwent an MIS approach were compared with nonobese patients. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were carried out between the groups.

RESULTS

In total, 423 obese patients (57.0% decompression and 43.0% fusion) underwent posterior lumbar MIS. When compared with 229 obese patients (56.8% decompression and 43.2% fusion) who underwent an open approach, patients in both the obese and nonobese groups who underwent MIS experienced significantly decreased EBL, LOS, operative time, and surgical site infections (SSIs). Of the nonobese patients, 538 (58.4% decompression and 41.6% fusion) underwent MIS procedures. When compared with nonobese patients, obese patients who underwent MIS procedures had significantly increased LOS, EBL, operative time, revision rates, complications, and readmissions in the decompression group. In the fusion group, only LOS and disposition were significantly different.

CONCLUSIONS

Obese patients have poorer outcomes after posterior lumbar MIS when compared with nonobese patients. The use of an MIS technique can be of benefit, as it decreased EBL, operative time, LOS, and SSIs for posterior decompression with or without instrumented fusion in obese patients.

Restricted access

Gad Dotan, Natalie Hadar Cohen, Hanya M. Qureshi, Mika Shapira Rootman, Yoram Nevo, and Amir Kershenovich

OBJECTIVE

Pediatric idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is characterized by increased intracranial pressure despite normal cerebrospinal fluid and neuroimaging findings. Initial management is typically medical; however, nearly 10% of children will eventually require surgery for persistent headache and/or vision loss. External lumbar drainage, which is a considerably safer treatment option, has not been adequately analyzed in children with medically refractory IIH.

METHODS

The authors conducted a single-institution retrospective analysis of children with medically refractory IIH who had undergone external lumbar drain (ELD) placement because of worsening papilledema, reflected as increased retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness on optical coherence tomography (OCT) testing. The main outcome measures were effects of external lumbar drainage on papilledema resolution, symptoms, and vision.

RESULTS

The authors analyzed the medical records of 13 children with IIH (11 girls, mean age 15.0 ± 2.3 years) whose mean CSF opening pressure was 45.5 ± 6.8 cm H2O. In all children, the average global RNFL thickness in both eyes significantly increased at ELD placement (right eye 371.8 ± 150.2 μm, left eye 400.3 ± 96.9 μm) compared with presentation thickness (right eye 301.6 ± 110.40 μm, left eye 350.2 ± 107.7 μm) despite acetazolamide medical therapy (20–30 mg/kg/day), leading to ELD placement after 9.5 ± 6.9 days (range 3–29 days). After ELD insertion, there was headache resolution, gradual and continuous improvement in optic disc thickness, and preservation of good vision.

CONCLUSIONS

ELD placement in children with medically refractory IIH who demonstrated worsening papilledema with increased RNFL thickening on OCT testing typically results in symptom relief and disc edema resolution with good visual outcome, often preventing the need for additional definitive surgeries that carry greater failure and morbidity risks.

Restricted access

Alaina M. Body, Zachary J. Plummer, Bryan M. Krueger, Justin Virojanapa, Rani Nasser, Joseph S. Cheng, and Charles J. Prestigiacomo

OBJECTIVE

The present systematic review and pooled analysis aims to assess the incidence and risk factors for the development of retrograde ejaculation (RE) following first-time open anterior lumbar surgery.

METHODS

A systematic MEDLINE review via PubMed was performed, identifying 130 clinical papers relating to the topic. Eighteen publications were selected according to predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria and were used to determine the incidence of RE. Only the publications that provided data on surgical risk factors present specifically in the men in the study were included in the analysis of risk factors.

RESULTS

Of the 2503 men included, there were 57 reported events of RE (2.3%). Of the cases for which long-term data were provided, 45.8% had resolved by final follow-up. There was a statistically significant increased risk associated with a transperitoneal as opposed to a retroperitoneal approach (8.6% vs 3.2%), as well as with the use of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–2 (rhBMP-2) in anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) as opposed to ALIF with bone graft or arthroplasty in controls (5.0% vs 1.8%). However, when excluding from analysis the patients operated on prior to the FDA’s 2008 warning that commented on the drug’s neuroinflammatory properties, there was no significant difference in rates of RE in patients receiving rhBMP-2 versus the control group (2.4% vs 2.5%). There was no significant difference in risk based on single- versus multilevel procedure or on ALIF versus arthroplasty.

CONCLUSIONS

In a pooled analysis of currently published data on men undergoing first-time open anterior lumbar surgery, this study found an overall incidence of RE of 2.3%. Nearly half of these patients recovered, reporting resolution of symptoms anywhere between 3 months and 48 months. Analysis of risk factors was limited by a paucity of published literature segregating data by sex. However, there was an increased risk associated with rhBMP-2 only when including data collected prior to the FDA warning on its detrimental properties. The authors therefore posit that the risk of RE is probably overestimated in the literature, given that the vast majority of the data available were collected prior to this warning and given the subsequent implementation of precautions when handling rhBMP-2.