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Michael E. Ivan, Michael M. Safaee, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Ana Rodríguez-Hernández, Barbara Sullinger, Priyanka Kuruppu, Julian Habdank-Kolaczkowski and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Anterior communicating artery (ACoA) aneurysms are common intracranial aneurysms. Despite advances in endovascular therapy, microsurgical clipping remains an important treatment for aneurysms with broad necks, large size, intraluminal thrombus, complex branches, or previous coiling. Anatomical triangles identify safe corridors for aneurysm access. The authors introduce the A1-A2 junctional triangle and the A1-A1 precommunicating triangle and examine relationships between dome projection, triangular corridors of access, and surgical outcomes.

METHODS

Preoperative catheter and CT angiograms were evaluated to characterize aneurysm dome projection. Aneurysm projection was categorized into quadrants and octants. Preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative factors were correlated to aneurysm dome projection and patient outcomes using univariate and multivariate analyses.

RESULTS

A total of 513 patients with microsurgically treated ACoA aneurysms were identified over a 13-year period, and 400 had adequate imaging and follow-up data for inclusion. Surgical clipping was performed on 271 ruptured and 129 unruptured aneurysms. Good outcomes were observed in 91% of patients with unruptured aneurysms and 86% of those with ruptured aneurysms, with a mortality rate < 1% among patients with unruptured aneurysms. Increasing age (p < 0.01), larger aneurysm size (p = 0.03), and worse preoperative modified Rankin Scale score (p < 0.01) affected outcomes adversely. Aneurysms projecting superiorly and posteriorly required dissection in the junctional triangle, and multivariate analysis demonstrated worse clinical outcomes in these patients (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Anteriorly and inferiorly projecting aneurysms involve only the precommunicating triangle, are simpler to treat microsurgically, and have more favorable outcomes. Superior and posterior dome projections make ACoA aneurysms more difficult to visualize and require opening the junctional triangle. Added visualization through the junctional triangle is recommended for these aneurysms in order to facilitate dissection of efferent branch arteries, careful clip application, and perforator preservation. Dome projection can be determined preoperatively from images and can help anticipate dissection routes through the junctional triangle.

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Orel A. Zaninovich, Mauricio J. Avila, Matthew Kay, Jennifer L. Becker, R. John Hurlbert and Nikolay L. Martirosyan

OBJECTIVE

Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) is an MRI tool that provides an objective, noninvasive, in vivo assessment of spinal cord injury (SCI). DTI is significantly better at visualizing microstructures than standard MRI sequences. In this imaging modality, the direction and amplitude of the diffusion of water molecules inside tissues is measured, and this diffusion can be measured using a variety of parameters. As a result, the potential clinical application of DTI has been studied in several spinal cord pathologies, including SCI. The aim of this study was to describe the current state of the potential clinical utility of DTI in patients with SCI and the challenges to its use as a tool in clinical practice.

METHODS

A search in the PubMed database was conducted for articles relating to the use of DTI in SCI. The citations of relevant articles were also searched for additional articles.

RESULTS

Among the most common DTI metrics are fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity, axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity. Changes in these metrics reflect changes in tissue integrity. Several DTI metrics and combinations thereof have demonstrated significant correlations with clinical function both in model species and in humans. Its applications encompass the full spectrum of the clinical assessment of SCI including diagnosis, prognosis, recovery, and efficacy of treatments in both the spinal cord and potentially the brain.

CONCLUSIONS

DTI and its metrics have great potential to become a powerful clinical tool in SCI. However, the current limitations of DTI preclude its use beyond research and into clinical practice. Further studies are needed to significantly improve and resolve these limitations as well as to determine reliable time-specific changes in multiple DTI metrics for this tool to be used accurately and reliably in the clinical setting.

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Michael A. Bohl, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Zachary W. Killeen, Evgenii Belykh, Joseph M. Zabramski, Robert F. Spetzler and Mark C. Preul

Despite an overwhelming history demonstrating the potential of hypothermia to rescue and preserve the brain and spinal cord after injury or disease, clinical trials from the last 50 years have failed to show a convincing benefit. This comprehensive review provides the historical context needed to consider the current status of clinical hypothermia research and a view toward the future direction for this field. For millennia, accounts of hypothermic patients surviving typically fatal circumstances have piqued the interest of physicians and prompted many of the early investigations into hypothermic physiology. In 1650, for example, a 22-year-old woman in Oxford suffered a 30-minute execution by hanging on a notably cold and wet day but was found breathing hours later when her casket was opened in a medical school dissection laboratory. News of her complete recovery inspired pioneers such as John Hunter to perform the first complete and methodical experiments on life in a hypothermic state. Hunter’s work helped spark a scientific revolution in Europe that saw the overthrow of the centuries-old dogma that volitional movement was created by hydraulic nerves filling muscle bladders with cerebrospinal fluid and replaced this theory with animal electricity. Central to this paradigm shift was Giovanni Aldini, whose public attempts to reanimate the hypothermic bodies of executed criminals not only inspired tremendous scientific debate but also inspired a young Mary Shelley to write her novel Frankenstein. Dr. Temple Fay introduced hypothermia to modern medicine with his human trials on systemic and focal cooling. His work was derailed after Nazi physicians in Dachau used his results to justify their infamous experiments on prisoners of war. The latter half of the 20th century saw the introduction of hypothermic cerebrovascular arrest in neurosurgical operating rooms. The ebb and flow of neurosurgical interest in hypothermia that has since persisted reflect our continuing struggle to achieve the neuroprotective benefits of cooling while minimizing the systemic side effects.

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Michael A. Bohl, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Zachary W. Killeen, Evgenii Belykh, Joseph M. Zabramski, Robert F. Spetzler and Mark C. Preul

Despite an overwhelming history demonstrating the potential of hypothermia to rescue and preserve the brain and spinal cord after injury or disease, clinical trials from the last 50 years have failed to show a convincing benefit. This comprehensive review provides the historical context needed to consider the current status of clinical hypothermia research and a view toward the future direction for this field. For millennia, accounts of hypothermic patients surviving typically fatal circumstances have piqued the interest of physicians and prompted many of the early investigations into hypothermic physiology. In 1650, for example, a 22-year-old woman in Oxford suffered a 30-minute execution by hanging on a notably cold and wet day but was found breathing hours later when her casket was opened in a medical school dissection laboratory. News of her complete recovery inspired pioneers such as John Hunter to perform the first complete and methodical experiments on life in a hypothermic state. Hunter’s work helped spark a scientific revolution in Europe that saw the overthrow of the centuries-old dogma that volitional movement was created by hydraulic nerves filling muscle bladders with cerebrospinal fluid and replaced this theory with animal electricity. Central to this paradigm shift was Giovanni Aldini, whose public attempts to reanimate the hypothermic bodies of executed criminals not only inspired tremendous scientific debate but also inspired a young Mary Shelley to write her novel Frankenstein. Dr. Temple Fay introduced hypothermia to modern medicine with his human trials on systemic and focal cooling. His work was derailed after Nazi physicians in Dachau used his results to justify their infamous experiments on prisoners of war. The latter half of the 20th century saw the introduction of hypothermic cerebrovascular arrest in neurosurgical operating rooms. The ebb and flow of neurosurgical interest in hypothermia that has since persisted reflect our continuing struggle to achieve the neuroprotective benefits of cooling while minimizing the systemic side effects.

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Evgenii Belykh, Kaan Yağmurlu, Ting Lei, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Mark E. Oppenlander, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Vadim A. Byvaltsev, Robert F. Spetzler, Peter Nakaji and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

The best approach to deep-seated lateral and third ventricle lesions is a function of lesion characteristics, location, and relationship to the ventricles. The authors sought to examine and compare angles of attack and surgical freedom of anterior ipsilateral and contralateral interhemispheric transcallosal approaches to the frontal horn of the lateral ventricle using human cadaveric head dissections. Illustrative clinical experiences with a contralateral interhemispheric transcallosal approach and an anterior interhemispheric transcallosal transchoroidal approach are also related.

METHODS

Five formalin-fixed human cadaveric heads (10 sides) were examined microsurgically. CT and MRI scans obtained before dissection were uploaded and fused into the navigation system. The authors performed contralateral and ipsilateral transcallosal approaches to the lateral ventricle. Using the navigation system, they measured areas of exposure, surgical freedom, angles of attack, and angle of view to the surgical surface. Two clinical cases are described.

RESULTS

The exposed areas of the ipsilateral (mean [± SD] 313.8 ± 85.0 mm2) and contralateral (344 ± 87.73 mm2) interhemispheric approaches were not significantly different (p = 0.12). Surgical freedom and vertical angles of attack were significantly larger for the contralateral approach to the most midsuperior reachable point (p = 0.02 and p = 0.01, respectively) and to the posterosuperior (p = 0.02 and p = 0.04) and central (p = 0.04 and p = 0.02) regions of the lateral wall of the lateral ventricle. Surgical freedom and vertical angles of attack to central and anterior points on the floor of the lateral ventricle did not differ significantly with approach. The angle to the surface of the caudate head region was less steep for the contralateral (135.6° ± 15.6°) than for the ipsilateral (152.0° ± 13.6°) approach (p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

The anterior contralateral interhemispheric transcallosal approach provided a more expansive exposure to the lower two-thirds of the lateral ventricle and striothalamocapsular region. In normal-sized ventricles, the foramen of Monro and the choroidal fissure were better visualized through the lateral ventricle ipsilateral to the craniotomy than through the contralateral approach.

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Corey T. Walker, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Mark E. Oppenlander, Jakub Godzik, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Robert J. Standerfer and Nicholas Theodore

OBJECTIVE

The authors report a novel paradigm for resection of the disc or dural complex to treat giant calcified transdural herniated thoracic discs, and they describe a technique for the repair of dural defects. These herniated thoracic discs are uncommon, complicated lesions that often require a multidisciplinary team for effective treatment. The intradural component must be removed to effectively decompress the spinal cord. The opening of the friable dura mater, which frequently adheres to the extradural component of the disc, can result in large defects and difficult-to-manage CSF leaks.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective study of the technique and outcomes in patients with a transdural herniated disc treated at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center within a 4-year period between 2012 and 2015.

RESULTS

During the study period, 7 patients (mean age 56.1 years) presented to the department of neurosurgery with clinical symptoms consistent with myeloradiculopathy. In all cases, 2-level corpectomies of the involved levels were combined with circumferential resection of the dura and complete decompression of the spinal cord. The dural defect was repaired with an onlay dural patch, and a large piece of AlloDerm (LifeCell Corp) graft was sewn to close the pleural defect. Every patient had a perioperative lumbar drain placed for CSF diversion. No patient suffered neurological decline related to the surgery, and 3 patients experienced clinically significant improvement in function. Two patients developed an early postoperative CSF leak that required operative revision to oversew the defects.

CONCLUSIONS

This novel technique for decompression of the spinal cord by dural resection for the removal of giant calcified transdural herniated thoracic discs is safe and results in excellent decompression of the spinal cord. The technique becomes necessary when primary repair of the dura is not possible, and it can be used in cases in which the resection of pathology includes the dura.

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M. Yashar S. Kalani, John E. Wanebo, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Peter Nakaji, Joseph M. Zabramski and Robert F. Spetzler

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M. Yashar S. Kalani, Kaan Yagmurlu, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Daniel D. Cavalcanti and Robert F. Spetzler

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Sergiy V. Kushchayev, Morgan B. Giers, Doris Hom Eng, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Jennifer M. Eschbacher, Martin M. Mortazavi, Nicholas Theodore, Alyssa Panitch and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

Spinal cord injury occurs in 2 phases. The initial trauma is followed by inflammation that leads to fibrous scar tissue, glial scarring, and cavity formation. Scarring causes further axon death around and above the injury. A reduction in secondary injury could lead to functional improvement. In this study, hyaluronic acid (HA) hydrogels were implanted into the gap formed in the hemisected spinal cord of Sprague-Dawley rats in an attempt to attenuate damage and regenerate tissue.

METHODS

A T-10 hemisection spinal cord injury was created in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats; the rats were assigned to a sham, control (phosphate-buffered saline), or HA hydrogel–treated group. One cohort of 23 animals was followed for 12 weeks and underwent weekly behavioral assessments. At 12 weeks, retrograde tracing was performed by injecting Fluoro-Gold in the left L-2 gray matter. At 14 weeks, the animals were killed. The volume of the lesion and the number of cells labeled from retrograde tracing were calculated. Animals in a separate cohort were killed at 8 or 16 weeks and perfused for immunohistochemical analysis and transmission electron microscopy. Samples were stained using H & E, neurofilament stain (neurons and axons), silver stain (disrupted axons), glial fibrillary acidic protein stain (astrocytes), and Iba1 stain (mononuclear cells).

RESULTS

The lesions were significantly smaller in size and there were more retrograde-labeled cells in the red nuclei of the HA hydrogel–treated rats than in those of the controls; however, the behavioral assessments revealed no differences between the groups. The immunohistochemical analyses revealed decreased fibrous scarring and increased retention of organized intact axonal tissue in the HA hydrogel–treated group. There was a decreased presence of inflammatory cells in the HA hydrogel–treated group. No axonal or neuronal regeneration was observed.

CONCLUSIONS

The results of these experiments show that HA hydrogel had a neuroprotective effect on the spinal cord by decreasing the magnitude of secondary injury after a lacerating spinal cord injury. Although regeneration and behavioral improvement were not observed, the reduction in disorganized scar tissue and the retention of neurons near and above the lesion are important for future regenerative efforts. In addition, this gel would be useful as the base substrate in the development of a more complex scaffold.

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Alberto Maud, Gustavo J. Rodriguez, Paisith Piriyawat and Salvador Cruz-Flores