✓ The authors present the first known reported case of hemifacial microsomia associated with a Chiari I malformation and syrinx. A 14-year-old girl presented with progressive torticollis of 3 years' duration and headaches exacerbated by exercise. Computerized tomography scanning and magnetic resonance imaging revealed extensive craniofacial and vertebral abnormalities, including aplasia of the floor of the left middle fossa and posterior fossa cranium, articulation of the left mandibular condyle with the left temporal lobe, and progressive development of a Chiari I malformation with associated syringomyelia. The patient first underwent posterior fossa decompression, duraplasty, and occipitocervical fusion. This procedure was later followed by reconstruction of the floor of the left middle fossa and temporomandibular joint. The patient's outcome was excellent. In this case report the authors review the complex embryological development of craniofacial and craniovertebral structures, and emphasize the use of a staged approach to treat pathophysiological consequences of this congenital anomaly.
Ali H. Mesiwala, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Joseph S. Gruss and Richard G. Ellenbogen
Shaun T. O'Leary, Max K. Kole, Devon A. Hoover, Steven E. Hysell, Ajith Thomas and Christopher I. Shaffrey
Object. The goal of this study was to compare the freehand technique of catheter placement using external landmarks with the technique of using the Ghajar Guide for this procedure. The placement of a ventricular catheter can be a lifesaving procedure, and it is commonly performed by all neurosurgeons. Various methods have been described to cannulate the ventricular system, including the modified Friedman tunnel technique in which a soft polymeric tube is inserted through a burr hole. Paramore, et al., have noted that two thirds of noninfectious complications have been related to incorrect positioning of the catheter.
Methods. Forty-nine consecutive patients were randomized between either freehand or Ghajar Guide—assisted catheter placement. The target was the foramen of Monro, and the course was through the anterior horn of the lateral ventricle approximately 10 cm above the nasion, 3 cm from the midline, to a depth of 5.5 cm from the inner table of the skull. In all cases, the number of passes was recorded for successful cannulation, and pre- and postplacement computerized tomography scans were obtained. Calculations were performed to determine the bicaudate index and the distance from the catheter tip to the target point.
Conclusions. Successful cannulation was achieved using either technique; however, the catheters placed using the Ghajar Guide were closer to the target.
Anna Kristina E. Hart, John H. Greinwald JR., Christopher I. Shaffrey and Gregory N. Postma
✓ Chylous fistula resulting from intraoperative injury to the cervical thoracic duct is well described as a complication of neck dissection. However, injury to the thoracic duct during spinal surgery is rarely reported. The authors present the first case of thoracic duct injury occurring during cervical discectomy and fusion via an anterior approach. The anomalous location of the terminal arch of the thoracic duct in this patient contributed to the complication. The morbidity of chyle leakage is minimized by its early recognition, a thorough understanding of lymphatic system anatomy, and aggressive management of the thoracic duct injury.
Charles G. diPierro, Gregory A. Helm, Christopher I. Shaffrey, James B. Chadduck, Scott L. Henson, Jacek M. Malik, Thomas A. Szabo, Nathan E. Simmons and John A. Jane
✓ A new surgical technique for the treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis features extensive unilateral decompression with undercutting of the spinous process and, to preserve stability, uses contralateral autologous bone fusion of the spinous processes, laminae, and facets. The operation was performed in 29 patients over a 19-month period ending in December of 1991. All individuals had been unresponsive to conservative treatment and presented with low-back pain in addition to signs and symptoms consistent with neurogenic claudication or radiculopathy. Nine had undergone previous lumbar decompressive surgery. The minimum and mean postoperative follow-up times were 2 and 2 1/2 years, respectively. The mean patient age was 64 years; only two patients were younger than 50 years of age.
Of the patients with neurogenic claudication, 69% reported complete pain relief at follow-up review. Of those with radicular symptoms, 41% had complete relief and 23% had mild residual pain that was rated 3 or less on a pain—functionality scale of 0 to 10. For the entire sample, this surgery decreased pain from 9.2 to 3.3 (p < 0.0001) on the scale. Sixty-nine percent of patients were satisfied with surgery. Low-back pain was significantly relieved in 62% of all patients (p < 0.0001). Low-back pain relief correlated negatively with number of levels decompressed (p < 0.05). To assess fusion, follow-up flexion/extension radiographs were obtained, and no motion was detected at the surgically treated levels in any patient.
The results suggest that this decompression procedure safely and successfully treats not only the radicular symptoms caused by lateral stenosis but also the neurogenic claudication symptoms associated with central stenosis. In addition, the procedure, by using contralateral autologous bone fusion along the laminae and spinous processes, can preserve stability without instrumentation.
Olumide A. Danisa, Christopher I. Shaffrey, John A. Jane, Richard Whitehill, Gwo-Jaw Wang, Thomas A. Szabo, Carolyn A. Hansen, Mark E. Shaffrey and Donald P. K. Chan
✓ The authors retrospectively studied 49 nonparaplegic patients who sustained acute unstable thoracolumbar burst fractures. All patients underwent surgical treatment and were followed for an average of 27 months. All but one patient achieved solid radiographic fusion. Three treatment groups were studied: the first group of 16 patients underwent anterior decompression and fusion with instrumentation; the second group of 27 patients underwent posterior decompression and fusion; and the third group of six patients had combined anterior—posterior surgery. Prior to surgical intervention, these groups were compared and found to be similar in age, gender, level of injury, percentage of canal compromise, neurological function, and kyphosis. Patients treated with posterior surgery had a statistically significant diminution in operative time and blood loss and number of units transfused. There were no significant intergroup differences when considering postoperative kyphotic correction, neurological function, pain assessment, or the ability to return to work. Posterior surgery was found to be as effective as anterior or anterior—posterior surgery when treating unstable thoracolumbar burst fractures. Posterior surgery, however, takes the least time, causes the least blood loss, and is the least expensive of the three procedures.