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Yiping Li, Jason Kim, Dustin Simpson, Beverly Aagaard-Kienitz, David Niemann, Ignatius N. Esene and Azam Ahmed


The literature suggests that blood-brain barrier disruption (BBBD) plays a significant role in the development of neurological events in patients with diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) that is negative for lesions. In this prospective, single-center cohort study, the authors compared the imaging characteristics of patients suffering transient neurological events (TNEs) with those in patients suffering permanent neurological events (PNEs) after having undergone elective embolization of unruptured intracranial aneurysms.


This prospective cohort study was conducted between July 2016 and June 2019. Inclusion criteria were adults undergoing elective neuroendovascular procedures and the absence of contraindications to MRI. All subjects underwent brain MRI including postcontrast FLAIR (pcFLAIR) sequences for evaluation of BBBD within 24 hours postprocedure.


In total, 128 patients harboring 133 unruptured aneurysms were enrolled, 109 of whom (85.2%) showed some degree of BBBD on pcFLAIR MRI and 50 of whom (39.1%) suffered an ischemic insult per DWI. In total, 23 patients (18%) suffered neurological complications, 16 of which (12.5%) were TNEs and 7 of which (5.5%) were PNEs. The median extent of BBBD was focal in asymptomatic patients as compared to hemispheric and lobar in the TNE and PNE groups, respectively (p < 0.001). The American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status classification predicted the extent of BBBD (p = 0.046).

Lesions on DWI were noted in 34 asymptomatic patients (32.4%) compared to 9 patients (56.3%) with TNEs and all 7 patients (100%) with PNEs (p < 0.001). The median number of DWI lesions was 0 (range 0–18 lesions) in the asymptomatic group compared to 1.5 (range 0–8 lesions) and 8 (range 1–13 lesions) in the TNE and PNE groups, respectively (p < 0.001). Smoking (p = 0.008), older age (p = 0.002), and longer surgery (p = 0.006) were positively associated with the number of lesions on DWI.

On multivariate analysis, intraarterial verapamil (p = 0.02, OR 8.01, 95% CI 1.35–47.43) and extent of BBBD (p < 0.001, OR 58.58, 95% CI 9.48–361.84) were positively associated with the development of TNEs, while intravenous infusion of midazolam during surgery (p = 0.02, OR 6.03, 95% CI 1.29–28.20) was negatively associated. An increased number of lesions on DWI was the only significant predictor for the development of PNEs (p < 0.001, OR 49.85, 95% CI 5.56–447.10).


An increasing extent of BBBD was associated with the development of TNEs, whereas an increasing number of lesions on DWI was significantly associated with the development of PNEs. BBBD imaging using pcFLAIR may serve as a valuable biomarker for detecting subtle cerebral ischemia and stratifying the risk for ischemic events.

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Javier Quillo-Olvera, Rodrigo Navarro-Ramírez and Diego Quillo-Olvera

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Mauricio Mandel, Igor Araújo Ferreira da Silva, Wellingson Paiva, Yiping Li, Gary K. Steinberg and Manoel Jacobsen Teixeira


Craniocervical junction–related syringomyelia (CCJS) is the most common form of syringomyelia. Approximately 30% of patients treated with foramen magnum decompression (FMD) will show persistence, recurrence, or progression of the syrinx. The authors present a pilot study with a new minimally invasive surgery technique targeting the pathophysiology of CCJS in adult patients.


The authors retrospectively analyzed the clinical and radiological features of a consecutive series of patients treated for CCJS. An FMD and FM durectomy were performed through a 1.5- to 2-cm skin incision. Then arachnoid adhesions were cleared, creating a permanent communication from the fourth ventricle to the new paraspinal extradural cavity (obexostomy) and with the spinal subarachnoid space. The hypothesis was that the new CSF pouch acts like a pressure leak, interrupting the CCJS pathogenesis.


Twenty-four patients (13 female, 21–61 years old) were treated between 2014 and 2018. The etiology of CCJS was Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) in 20 patients (83.3%), Chiari malformation type 0 (CM-0) in 2 patients (8.3%), and CCJ arachnoiditis in 2 patients (8.3%). Two patients underwent reoperations after failed FMD for CM-I at other institutions. No major surgical complication occurred. One patient had postoperative meningitis with no CSF fistula. On postoperative MRI, shrinkage of the syrinx was seen in all patients. No patients experienced recurrence of the CCJS. No patient required a subsequent operation. The mean duration of surgery was 72 ± 11 minutes (mean ± SD), and blood loss was 35–80 ml (mean 51 ml). Follow-up ranged from 12 to 58 months. The average overall improvement in modified Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores was 10% (p < 0.001). The Odom scale showed that 19 patients (79.1%) were satisfied, 4 (16.7%) remained the same, and 1 (4.2%) reported a poor outcome. All patients experienced postoperative improvement in perception of quality of life (p < 0.001).


Minimally invasive FM durectomy and obexostomy is a safe and effective treatment for CCJS and for patients who have not responded to other treatment.

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Abdulfettah Tumturk, Yiping Li, Yahya Turan, Ulas Cikla, Bermans J. Iskandar and Mustafa K. Baskaya

Brainstem cavernous malformations (CMs) pose significant challenges to neurosurgeons because of their deep locations and high surgical risks. Most patients with brainstem CMs present with sudden-onset cranial nerve deficits or ataxia, but uncommonly patients can present in extremis from an acute hemorrhage, requiring surgical intervention. However, the timing of surgery for brainstem CMs has been a controversial topic. Although many authors propose delaying surgery into the subacute phase, some patients may not tolerate waiting until surgery. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, emergency surgery after a brainstem CM hemorrhage has not been described. In cases of rapidly progressive neurological deterioration, emergency resection may often be the only option. In this retrospectively reviewed small series of patients, the authors report favorable outcomes after emergency surgery for resection of brainstem CMs.

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Brandon G. Rocque, Mick P. Kelly, Joseph H. Miller, Yiping Li and Paul A. Anderson


Use of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–2 has risen steadily since its approval by the FDA for use in anterior lumbar interbody fusion in 2002. The FDA has not approved the use of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) in children. Age less than 18 years or lack of evidence of epiphyseal closure are considered by the manufacturer to be contraindications to BMP use. In light of this, the authors performed a query of the database of one of the nation's largest health insurance companies to determine the rate of BMP use and complications in pediatric patients undergoing spinal fusion.


The authors used the PearlDiver Technologies private payer database containing all records from United Health-Care from 2005 to 2011 to query all cases of pediatric spinal fusion with or without BMP use. A review of the literature was also performed to examine the complications associated with BMP use in pediatric spinal fusion.


A total of 4658 patients underwent spinal fusion. The majority was female (65.4%), and the vast majority was age 10–19 years (94.98%) and underwent thoracolumbar fusion (93.13%). Bone morphogenetic protein was used in 1752 spinal fusions (37.61%). There was no difference in the rate of BMP use when comparing male and female patients or age 10 years or older versus less than 10 years. Anterior cervical fusions were significantly less likely to use BMP (7.3%). Complications occurred in 9.82% of patients treated with versus 9.88% of patients treated without BMP. The complication rate was nearly identical in male versus female patients and in patients older versus younger than 10 years. Comparison of systemic, wound-related, CNS, and other complications showed no difference between groups treated with and without BMP. The reoperation rate was also nearly identical.


Bone morphogenetic protein is used in a higher than expected percentage of pediatric spinal fusions. The rate of acute complications in these operations does not appear to be different in patients treated with versus those treated without BMP. Caution must be exercised in interpreting these data due to the many limitations of the administrative database as a data source, including the short length of follow-up.

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Mohamad Bydon, Vance Fredrickson, Rafael De la Garza-Ramos, Yiping Li, Ronald A. Lehman Jr., Gregory R. Trost and Ziya L. Gokaslan

Sacral fractures are uncommon lesions and most often the result of high-energy trauma. Depending on the fracture location, neurological injury may be present in over 50% of cases. In this article, the authors conducted a comprehensive literature review on the epidemiology of sacral fractures, relevant anatomy of the sacral and pelvic region, common sacral injuries and fractures, classification systems of sacral fractures, and current management strategies. Due to the complex nature of these injuries, surgical management remains a challenge for the attending surgeon. Few large-scale studies have addressed postoperative complications or long-term results, but current evidence suggests that although fusion rates are high, long-term morbidity, such as residual pain and neurological deficits, persists for many patients.