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Robert P. Naftel, Chevis N. Shannon, Gavin T. Reed, Richard Martin, Jeffrey P. Blount, R. Shane Tubbs and John C. Wellons III

Object

The use of intraventricular endoscopy to achieve diagnosis or to resect accessible intraventricular or paraventricular tumors has been described in the literature in both adults and children. Traditionally, these techniques have not been used in patients with small ventricles due to the perceived risk of greater morbidity. The authors review their experience with the effectiveness and safety of endoscopic brain tumor management in children with small ventricles.

Methods

Between July 2002 and December 2009, 24 children with endoscopically managed brain tumors were identified. Radiological images were reviewed by a radiologist blinded to study goals and clinical setting. Patients were categorized into small-ventricle and ventriculomegaly groups based on frontal and occipital horn ratio. Surgical success was defined a priori and analyzed between groups. Trends were identified in selected subgroups, including complications related to pathological diagnosis and surgeon experience.

Results

Six children had small ventricles and 18 had ventriculomegaly. The ability to accomplish surgical goals was statistically equivalent in children with small ventricles and those with ventriculomegaly (83% vs 89%, respectively, p = 1.00). There were no complications in the small-ventricle cohort, but in the ventriculomegaly cohort there were 2 cases of postoperative hemorrhages and 1 case of infection. All hemorrhagic complications occurred in patients with high-grade tumor histopathological type and were early in the surgeon's endoscopic career.

Conclusions

Based on our experience, endoscopy should not be withheld in children with intraventricular tumors and small ventricles. Complications appear to be more dependent on tumor histopathological type and surgeon experience than ventricular size.

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Robert P. Naftel, R. Shane Tubbs, Gavin T. Reed and John C. Wellons III

The authors describe a new technique that may be used in conjunction with neuronavigation or freehand techniques for obtaining small ventricular access. Using this modification, the introducer sheath and trocar can be guided down a ventriculostomy tract with endoscopic visual control. With increasing focus on endoscopic therapies in patients without hydrocephalus, this adjunct, based on the authors' experience, may provide an additional technique for safely treating patients.

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Neal Luther, William R. Stetler Jr., Ira J. Dunkel, Paul J. Christos, John C. Wellons III and Mark M. Souweidane

Object

Endoscopic biopsy with concomitant third ventriculostomy (ETV) is a well-established diagnostic and therapeutic maneuver in patients presenting with noncommunicating hydrocephalus resulting from a tumor of the pineal region or posterior third ventricle. Fenestration of the floor of the third ventricle theoretically provides a conduit for the subarachnoid dissemination of an intraventricular tumor. The aim of this study was to ascertain the rate of leptomeningeal dissemination following this surgical procedure.

Methods

The authors conducted a review of all patients for whom an ETV and simultaneous endoscopic biopsy procedure or tumor resection had been performed at their institutions between 1995 and 2008. Patients were divided into high or low risk groups by leptomeningeal metastatic potential based on pathology. All available postoperative clinical and radiographic data, including MR imaging of the brain and spinal cord, as well as CSF sampling were evaluated when available. A review of the literature was then conducted to establish rates of distant leptomeningeal dissemination for comparative purposes.

Results

Thirty-two patients satisfied the criteria for study inclusion. Pathology revealed that 22 had a high risk for leptomeningeal dissemination. New leptomeningeal disease (1 yolk sac tumor and 1 pineoblastoma) occurred in 2 patients. The median clinical and brain MR imaging follow-ups overall were 34 (range 2–103 months) and 38 months (range 1–94 months), respectively. Follow-up MR imaging of the spine was performed in 12 patients (median 7 months postoperation), and CSF was analyzed in 15 patients (median 1 month postoperation). A Kaplan-Meier survival analysis predicted a 2-year metastasis-free survival of 94.7% for high-risk patients. Baseline rates of dissemination when ETV was not performed were in general between 8 and 24% for various high-risk pathologies according to a literature review.

Conclusions

The rate of leptomeningeal metastasis of tumors in this biopsy and ETV study was not increased when compared with rates from large series in the literature.

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R. Shane Tubbs, Marios Loukas, Mohammadali M. Shoja, John C. Wellons and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Object

Cadavers are often used in the teaching of various neurosurgical procedures. One aspect of this resource that has not been previously explored is the postmortem dilation of the ventricular system, which is often collapsed, for the purpose of training neurosurgeons in the use of intraventricular endoscopy.

Methods

Nine adult cadavers without a history of hydrocephalus or other known intracranial pathology were used for this study. Four specimens were obtained post embalming, and 5 specimens were fresh (time from death until the procedure < 5 hours). In all cadavers catheters were placed into the lateral ventricles; saline and then air were injected into the ventricles through the catheters. Ventriculostomy sites were filled with rubber stoppers, and in fresh specimens, formal embalming was performed with cadavers in the Trendelenburg position. Lastly, serial horizontal sectioning of the cranium was performed in all cadavers to verify ventricular dilation.

Results

None of the 4 embalmed specimens were found to have ventriculomegaly following injection. However, this condition was found in 4 of the 5 fresh specimens. In the single fresh cadaver without ventriculomegaly, the cause of death had been massive intracranial subarachnoid hemorrhage, which distorted the ventricular system. This may have prevented cannulation of the ventricle and ventricular expansion in this specimen.

Conclusions

The ventricular system of fresh human cadavers can be dilated postmortem. The method described herein may be useful to neurosurgical trainees or those trained neurosurgeons wishing to practice intraventricular endoscopy.

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John C. Wellons III, Chevis N. Shannon, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Tamara D. Simon, Jay Riva-Cambrin, William E. Whitehead, W. Jerry Oakes, James M. Drake, Thomas G. Luerssen, Marion L. Walker, John R. W. Kestle and for the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network

Object

The purpose of this study was to define the incidence of permanent shunt placement and infection in patients who have undergone the 2 most commonly performed temporizing procedures for posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus (PHH) of prematurity: ventriculosubgaleal (VSG) shunt placement and ventricular reservoir placement for intermittent tapping.

Methods

The 4 centers of the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network participated in a retrospective chart review of infants with PHH who underwent treatment at each institution between 2001 and 2006. Patients were included if they had received a diagnosis of Grade 3 or 4 intraventricular hemorrhage, weighed < 1500 g at birth, and had received surgical intervention. The authors determined the incidence of conversion from a temporizing device to a permanent shunt, the incidence of CSF infection during temporization, and the 6-month CSF infection rate after permanent shunt placement.

Results

Thirty-one (86%) of 36 patients who received VSG shunts and 61 (69%) of 88 patients who received ventricular reservoirs received permanent CSF diversion with a shunt (p = 0.05). Five patients (14%) in the VSG shunt group had CSF infections during temporization, compared with 11 patients (13%) in the ventricular reservoir group (p = 0.83). The 6-month incidence of permanent shunt infection in the VSG shunt group was 16% (5 of 31), compared with 12% (7 of 61) in the reservoir placement group (p = 0.65). For the first 6 months after permanent shunt placement, infants with no preceding temporizing procedure had an infection rate of 5% (1 of 20 infants) and those who had undergone a temporizing procedure had an infection rate of 13% (12 of 92; p = 0.45).

Conclusions

The use of intermittent tapping of ventricular reservoirs in this population appears to lead to a lower incidence of permanent shunt placement than the use of VSG shunts. The incidence of infection during temporization and for the initial 6 months after conversion appears comparable for both groups. The apparent difference identified in this pilot study requires confirmation in a more rigorous study.

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John C. Wellons III, R. Shane Tubbs, Jeffrey A. Pugh, Nadine J. Bradley, Charles R. Law and Paul A. Grabb

Object

Medial pectoral nerve (MPN) to musculocutaneous nerve (MCN) neurotization for recovery of elbow flexion by biceps reinnervation is a valid option following traumatic injury to the upper brachial plexus. A major criticism of the application of this technique in infants is the smaller size of the MPN and mismatch of viable axons. We describe our institutional experience utilizing this procedure and critically examine functional outcomes.

Methods

Office charts and hospital records of children from over an 11-year period beginning January 1997 were reviewed. Of the 53 children of various ages undergoing brachial plexus exploration for traumatic injury of any nature, 20 underwent MPN to MCN neurotization as a part of an overall procedure in the first year of life to treat birth-related brachial plexus palsy and had at least 9 months' follow-up. Medial pectoral nerve to MCN neurotization was chosen if the results of clinical examination and intraoperative electrophysiological evidence were consistent with medial cord function. Functional recovery was defined as the ability of the child to bring their hand to their mouth.

Results

Sixteen patients (80%) gained functional recovery. The median age at surgery was 7 months. Median time to first clinic visit documenting recovery was 11.5 months and median overall follow up was 21.5 months. Preoperative hand function was a useful predictor of recovery of elbow flexion.

Conclusions

Medial pectoral nerve to MCN neurotization is a valid surgical option for the reinnervation of the biceps muscle for birth-related brachial plexus palsy when the hand is functional preoperatively. Useful elbow flexion can be expected in the majority of these children.

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Tae Sung Park

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R. Shane Tubbs, Marios Loukas, Mohammadali M. Shoja, Ghaffar Shokouhi, John C. Wellons III, W. Jerry Oakes and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Object

Various donor nerves, including the ipsilateral long thoracic nerve (LTN), have been used for brachial plexus neurotization procedures. Neurotization to proximal branches of the brachial plexus using the contralateral long thoracic nerve (LTN) has, to the authors' knowledge, not been previously explored.

Methods

In an attempt to identify an additional nerve donor candidate for proximal brachial plexus neurotization, the authors dissected the LTN in 8 adult human cadavers. The nerve was transected at its distal termination and then passed deep to the clavicle and axillary neurovascular bundle. This passed segment of nerve was then tunneled subcutaneously and contralaterally across the neck to a supra- and infraclavicular exposure of the suprascapular and musculocutaneous nerves. Measurements were made of the length and diameter of the LTN.

Results

All specimens were found to have a LTN that could be brought to the aforementioned contralateral nerves. Neural connections remained tension free with left and right neck rotation of ~ 45°. The mean length of the LTN was 22 cm with a range of 18–27 cm. The overall mean diameter of this nerve was 3.0 mm. No gross evidence of injury to surrounding neurovascular structures was identified in any specimen.

Conclusions

Based on the results of this cadaveric study, the use of the contralateral LTN may be considered for neurotization of the proximal musculocutaneous and suprascapular nerves.

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R. Shane Tubbs, W. Jerry Oakes, John C. Wellons III and Paul A. Grabb

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R. Shane Tubbs, Marios Loukas, Mohammadali M. Shoja, Robert J. Spinner, Erik H. Middlebrooks, William R. Stetler Jr., Leslie Acakpo-Satchivi, John C. Wellons III, Jeffrey P. Blount and W. Jerry Oakes

Object

The suprascapular nerve may become entrapped as it travels deep to the suprascapular ligament, necessitating decompression. The present study was performed to verify the feasibility of a minimally invasive, endoscopically assisted technique for decompressing the suprascapular nerve in the supraspinous fossa.

Methods

The authors performed dissection and decompression of the suprascapular ligament using an endoscopically assisted technique via a 3-cm skin incision in 10 adult cadavers (20 sides). Measurements were also made of the depth from the skin to the suprascapular ligament.

Results

A mean depth of 4 cm was necessary to reach the suprascapular ligament from the skin surface. With the authors' approach, no obvious injury occurred to the suprascapular or other vicinal neurovascular structures (such as the spinal accessory nerve and suprascapular vessels).

Conclusions

The results of this cadaveric study demonstrate that access to the suprascapular nerve can be obtained endoscopically via a small suprascapular incision. This approach obviates a large incision, entry into the glenohumeral joint, and reduces the risk of spinal accessory nerve injury in the posterior cervical triangle, or atrophy of the trapezius or supraspinatus muscles from a standard larger dissection. To the authors' knowledge an endoscopically assisted approach to decompressing the suprascapular nerve as it courses deep to the suprascapular ligament has not been reported previously.