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  • Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics x
  • By Author: Luerssen, Thomas G. x
  • By Author: Gressot, Loyola V. x
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Loyola V. Gressot, Javier A. Mata, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea

Spondyloptosis refers to complete dislocation of a vertebral body onto another. The L5–S1 level is frequently affected. As this condition is rare, few published reports describing its clinical features and surgical outcomes exist, especially in the pediatric patient population.

The authors report the presentation, pathological findings, and radiographic studies of a 2-year-old girl who presented to Texas Children's Hospital with a history since birth of progressive spastic paraparesis. Preoperative CT and MRI showed severe spinal cord compression associated with T11–12 spondyloptosis. The patient underwent a single-stage posterior approach for complete resection of the dysplastic vertebral bodies at the apex of the spinal deformity with reconstruction and stabilization of the vertebral column using a titanium expandable cage and pedicle screws. At the 12-month follow-up, the patient remained neurologically stable without any radiographic evidence of instrumentation failure or loss of alignment.

To the best of the authors' knowledge, there have been only 2 other children with congenital thoracolumbar spondyloptosis treated with the above-described strategy. The authors describe their case and review the literature to discuss the aggregate clinical features, surgical strategies, and operative outcomes for congenital thoracolumbar spondyloptosis.

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Caroline Hadley, Loyola V. Gressot, Akash J. Patel, Lisa L. Wang, Ricardo J. Flores, William E. Whitehead, Thomas G. Luerssen, Andrew Jea and Robert J. Bollo

Cranial osteosarcoma is very rare in children, rendering the development of optimal treatment algorithms challenging. The authors present 3 cases of pediatric cranial osteosarcoma: a primary calvarial tumor, a cranial metastasis, and a primary osteosarcoma of the cranial base. A review of the literature demonstrates significant variation in the management of cranial osteosarcomas and the outcome for patients with these tumors. This series and literature review is presented to improve the understanding of pediatric cranial osteosarcoma and to reinforce the importance of maximal resection in optimizing outcome.

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Loyola V. Gressot, Carrie A. Mohila, Andrew Jea, Thomas G. Luerssen and Robert J. Bollo

Nonterminal myelocystocele is a rare type of spinal dysraphism characterized by a closed defect with an underlying CSF-filled cyst, either contiguous with the central spinal canal or attached to the spinal cord by a fibrovascular stalk. The authors report the unusual case of a neonate with a prenatal diagnosis of cervicothoracic nonterminal myelocystocele who underwent postnatal surgical untethering of the lesion. Pathological analysis of the excised lesion revealed neuroglial tissue with an ependymal lining associated with a mature teratoma. Three months after surgery, the patient has normal lower-extremity sensorimotor function and no evidence of bowel or bladder dysfunction. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of a patient with a nonterminal myelocystocele found to have an associated mature teratoma.

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Loyola V. Gressot, Sudhakar Vadivelu, Steven W. Hwang, Daniel H. Fulkerson, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea


Cervical spondylolysis is a rare condition that results from a pars interarticularis defect. The C-6 level is the most frequently involved site in the cervical spine. Its clinical presentations range from incidental radiographic findings to neck pain and, rarely, neurological deficits. Although 150 patients with subaxial cervical spondylolysis have been reported, a mere 24 adult and pediatric patients with C-2 spondylolysis have been described. The long-term outcomes of very young children with bilateral C-2 spondylolysis are of great interest, yet only a few longitudinal studies exist.


The authors retrospectively reviewed 5 cases of bilateral C-2 spondylolysis at Texas Children's Hospital and Riley Children's Hospital; these were combined with 5 other cases in the literature, yielding a total of 10 patients. Data regarding the patients' age, sex, C2–3 angulation and displacement, associated spine anomalies, neurological deficits, treatment, and most recent follow-up were recorded.


The patients' ages ranged from 3 to 36 months (mean 12.9 months). There were 6 boys and 4 girls. The C2–3 angulation, displacement, and width of pars defect were measured when available. The mean C2–3 angulation was 9.5° (range 1–34°), the mean C2–3 displacement was 4.78 mm (range 1.1–10.8 mm), and the mean width of the pars defect was 4.16 mm (range 0.9–7 mm). One patient developed myelopathy and spinal cord injury. All 10 of the patients were treated initially with conservative therapy: 3 with close observation alone, 1 with a rigid cervical collar, 4 with a Minerva jacket, 1 with a sternal-occipital-mandibular immobilizer, and 1 with a halo vest. Three patients ultimately underwent surgery for internal fixation due to progressive instability or development of neurological symptoms. All patients were neurologically intact at the last follow-up (mean 44.3 months, range 14–120 months).


Based on the literature and the authors' own experience, they conclude that most very young children with C-2 spondylolysis remain neurologically intact and maintain stability in long-term follow-up despite the bony defect. This defect is often an asymptomatic incidental finding and may be managed conservatively. More aggressive therapy including surgery is indicated for those patients with a neurological deficit from spinal cord compromise secondary to stenosis and local C-2 kyphosis, progressive deformity, or worsening C2–3 instability.