✓ A patient with trigeminal neuralgia and hemifacial spasm was evaluated using multiplanar magnetic resonance (MR) imaging with gadolinium enhancement. Preoperative images demonstrated massively ectatic vertebral and basilar arteries and their distortion of the brain stem and the trigeminal and facial nerves. Surgical manipulation included selective trigeminal rhizotomy, cushioning of the residual nerve at the point of maximal distortion by the underlying basilar artery, and microvascular decompression of the seventh nerve from the anterior inferior cerebellar artery which was being pushed dorsomedially by the vertebral artery. Postoperatively, the patient had neither trigeminal neuralgia nor facial spasm. Gadolinium-enhanced MR imaging not only excludes other etiologies such as tumor or arteriovenous malformation, but also demonstrates cranial nerve compression by ectatic vertebral and basilar arteries. The choice of preoperative imaging modality is discussed and the literature concerning the etiology of tic convulsif is reviewed.
Griffith R. Harsh, Charles B. Wilson, Grant B. Hieshima and William P. Dillon
Joshua B. Bederson, Griffith R. Harsh IV, John A. Walker and Charles B. Wilson
✓ The authors report a case in which bilateral cystic temporal lobe necrosis developed after treatment of nasopharyngeal lymphoepithelioma with 7000 cGy of external beam radiation. The patient presented with an isolated memory deficit that was documented by neuropsychological testing. After fenestration and internal shunting of both cysts, there was striking resolution of the lesions and of the memory deficit.
Griffith R. Harsh IV, George W. Sypert, Philip R. Weinstein, Donald A. Ross and Charles B. Wilson
✓ Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) is a well-documented cause of cervical spine stenosis and myelopathy among Japanese patients. Reports of OPLL in North Americans are rare. Choices of diagnostic method and treatment for this entity remain controversial. The authors report the results of management of 20 patients in the United States with symptomatic OPLL of the cervical spine. These represented 10% to 20% of patients operated on over the last 3 years for myelopathy secondary to structural spinal compression. Most of these OPLL patients were Caucasian (60%), male (male:female 4:1), and middle-aged (median age 47.5 years). Six had previously undergone laminectomy or discectomy. Cervical roentgenograms and standard myelography occasionally suggested the diagnosis. Axial computerized tomography (CT) metrizamide myelography with small interslice intervals proved invaluable for diagnosis and operative planning. Magnetic resonance imaging was not necessary for diagnosis. Retrovertebral calcification extended over one to five bodies (mean 2.75). The mass ranged in size from 5 to 16 mm in anteroposterior diameter and reduced the residual canal diameter to a mean (± standard deviation) caliber of 9.42 ± 2.41 mm (mean narrowing ratio 0.44 ± 0.12).
Anterior cervical decompression by medial corpectomy and discectomy with fusion uniformly reduced preoperative myelopathy. Complications were limited to transient neurological deterioration in two patients, recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy in one, and halo device pin site infections in two. At a mean postoperative interval of 15 months, improvement was seen in each category of deficit: extremity weakness, hypesthesia, hypertonia, and urinary dysfunction. All fusions produced solid unions.
It is concluded that OPLL of the cervical spine is an unexpectedly prevalent cause of myelopathy among patients treated in the United States. Thin-section axial CT metrizamide myelography with small interslice intervals is essential for the investigation of patients who may have OPLL. Anterior decompression and stabilization by medial corpectomy, discectomy, removal of the calcified mass, and fusion is a safe and effective method of treatment.
Griffith R. Harsh IV and Charles B. Wilson
✓ Local recurrence developed 6 years after the initial resection of an intraspinal meningeal tumor that originally was thought to be an angioblastic meningioma. Histological review of the pathology led to a change of that diagnosis to one of mesenchymal chondrosarcoma. The recurrent vascular tumor was embolized, then totally excised. Because this tumor had malignant features, the patient received irradiation and chemotherapy. No evidence of regrowth has been observed during a period of more than 4 years. Mesenchymal chondrosarcomas of the central nervous system and their treatment are reviewed.