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Atypical cervical radiculopathy presenting with brachioradial pruritus: illustrative cases

Kareem Khalifeh, Janneinne Le, Basel Musmar, Joseph Maroon, Adam S Kanter, and Burak Ozgur

BACKGROUND

Brachioradial pruritus (BRP) is a rare form of chronic dysesthesia characterized by persistent itching, burning, or tingling commonly involving the dorsolateral upper extremities. Although the exact pathophysiology remains unclear, the condition may be a manifestation of atypical cervical radiculopathy.

OBSERVATIONS

The authors describe two patients with BRP, a 44-year-old female and a 51-year-old male, both of whom benefited from surgical intervention for atypical cervical radiculopathy, while also highlighting their presentation, diagnostic testing, treatment, and outcomes.

LESSONS

The cases demonstrate the potential relationship between cervical spondylosis and BRP while examining the role of surgical intervention as a treatment option.

Open access

Brainstem anesthesia during awake craniotomy: illustrative case

Yun Chen, Mei Sun, Hongmin Bai, Ruixin Yang, and Huan He

BACKGROUND

Awake craniotomy (AC) is performed to remove the lesions near or in eloquent areas, during which the patients are alert and without any airway instrument. Apnea is a severe complication in AC. Here, the authors describe a case of sudden apnea induced by unexpected local anesthesia of the brainstem during AC.

OBSERVATIONS

A 42-year-old male underwent AC for a large, recurrent, bilateral frontal lobe mass and experienced transient apnea and loss of brainstem reflexes during the surgery. The patient recovered spontaneous breath rhythm just a few minutes after the removal of a lidocaine cotton pledget, which was found near the patient’s midbrain. Then the patient awoke and cooperated to finish the surgery.

LESSONS

The administration of a local anesthetic subdurally in AC is common but risky. The scouring action of cerebral spinal fluid can spread those agents and cause unexpected brainstem anesthesia. A lower concentration of the anesthetic and keeping away from the cistern can make it safer.

Open access

Minimally invasive resection of a prominent transverse process in neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome: new application for a primarily spinal approach. Illustrative case

Marc Hohenhaus, Johann Lambeck, Nico Kremers, Jürgen Beck, Christoph Scholz, and Ulrich Hubbe

BACKGROUND

The optimal surgical approach to treat neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome (nTOS) depends on the individual patient’s anatomy as well as the surgeon’s experience. The authors present a minimally invasive posterior approach for the resection of a prominent transverse process to reduce local muscular trauma.

OBSERVATIONS

A 19-year-old female presented with painful sensations in the right arm and severe fine-motor skill dysfunction in the right hand, each of which had been present for several years. Further examination confirmed affected C8 and T1 areas, and imaging showed an elongated C7 transverse process displacing the lower trunk of the brachial plexus. Decompression of the plexus structures by resection of the C7 transverse process was indicated, owing to persistent neurological effects. Surgery was performed using a minimally invasive posterior approach in which the nuchal soft tissue was bluntly dissected by dilatators and resection of the transverse process was done microscopically through a tubular retractor. The postoperative course showed a sufficient reduction of pain and paresthesia.

LESSONS

The authors describe a minimally invasive posterior approach for the treatment of nTOS with the aim of providing indirect relief of strain on brachial plexus structures. The advantages of this technique include a small skin incision and minor soft tissue damage.

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Are insufficient corrections a major factor in distal junctional kyphosis? A simulated analysis of cervical deformity correction using in-construct measurements

Fares Ani, Ethan Sissman, Dainn Woo, Alex Soroceanu, Gregory Mundis Jr., Robert K. Eastlack, Justin S. Smith, D. Kojo Hamilton, Han Jo Kim, Alan H. Daniels, Eric O. Klineberg, Brian Neuman, Daniel M. Sciubba, Munish C. Gupta, Khaled M. Kebaish, Peter G. Passias, Robert A. Hart, Shay Bess, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Frank J. Schwab, Virginie Lafage, Christopher P. Ames, and Themistocles S. Protopsaltis

OBJECTIVE

The present study utilized recently developed in-construct measurements in simulations of cervical deformity surgery in order to assess undercorrection and predict distal junctional kyphosis (DJK).

METHODS

A retrospective review of a database of operative cervical deformity patients was analyzed for severe DJK and mild DJK. C2–lower instrumented vertebra (LIV) sagittal angle (SA) was measured postoperatively, and the correction was simulated in the preoperative radiograph in order to match the C2-LIV by using the planning software. Linear regression analysis that used C2 pelvic angle (CPA) and pelvic tilt (PT) determined the simulated PT that matched the virtual CPA. Linear regression analysis was used to determine the C2–T1 SA, C2–T4 SA, and C2–T10 SA that corresponded to DJK of 20° and cervical sagittal vertical axis (cSVA) of 40 mm.

RESULTS

Sixty-nine cervical deformity patients were included. Severe and mild DJK occurred in 11 (16%) and 22 (32%) patients, respectively; 3 (4%) required DJK revision. Simulated corrections demonstrated that severe and mild DJK patients had worse alignment compared to non-DJK patients in terms of cSVA (42.5 mm vs 33.0 mm vs 23.4 mm, p < 0.001) and C2-LIV SVA (68.9 mm vs 57.3 mm vs 36.8 mm, p < 0.001). Linear regression revealed the relationships between in-construct measures (C2–T1 SA, C2–T4 SA, and C2–T10 SA), cSVA, and change in DJK (all R > 0.57, p < 0.001). A cSVA of 40 mm corresponded to C2–T4 SA of 10.4° and C2–T10 SA of 28.0°. A DJK angle change of 10° corresponded to C2–T4 SA of 5.8° and C2–T10 SA of 20.1°.

CONCLUSIONS

Simulated cervical deformity corrections demonstrated that severe DJK patients have insufficient corrections compared to patients without DJK. In-construct measures assess sagittal alignment within the fusion separate from DJK and subjacent compensation. They can be useful as intraoperative tools to gauge the adequacy of cervical deformity correction.

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Association of socioeconomic status with the management outcome of unruptured intracranial arteriovenous malformation

Wuyang Yang, Jiaqi Liu, Yuxi Chen, Alice L. Hung, Shahab Aldin Sattari, James Feghali, and Judy Huang

OBJECTIVE

The longitudinal management of unruptured brain arteriovenous malformation (bAVM) is crucial. To date, no study in the United States has evaluated the impact of socioeconomic status (SES) on bAVM outcome. Herein, the authors aimed to clarify the impact of SES, as indicated by the area deprivation index (ADI), on bAVM outcome.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of an institutional bAVM database was conducted. Non–hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia patients with a single unruptured bAVM in the period from 1990 to 2021 were included in the analysis. The ADI was categorized as low (ADI ≤ 15th percentile), mid (15th percentile < ADI < 85th percentile), and high (ADI ≥ 85th percentile), with a low ADI indicating the most advantaged group. Patient baseline and follow-up data were analyzed. The primary outcome of interest was nonindependence (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score > 2) at the last follow-up. A multivariable logistic regression model was performed.

RESULTS

A total of 589 patients with unruptured bAVMs were included in the study. The mean patient age at diagnosis was 37.2 years, and 283 patients (48.0%) were male. Of the bAVMs, 238 (40.4%) had a low Spetzler-Martin grade (SMG < III), 194 (32.9%) had a moderate grade (SMG III), and 157 (26.7%) had a high grade (SMG > III). Sixty-nine patients (11.7%) were in the low-ADI group, 476 (80.8%) in the mid-ADI group, and 44 (7.5%) in high-ADI group. Increasing age (OR 1.02, 95% CI 1.01–1.04, p < 0.001), poor baseline mRS score (OR 3.27, 95% CI 1.32–7.88, p = 0.008), treatment with surgery plus radiosurgery with or without embolization (OR 3.21, 95% CI 1.03–9.81, p = 0.041), mid SMG (OR 1.94, 95% CI 1.11–3.44, p = 0.021), high SMG (OR 2.08, 95% CI 1.13–3.88, p = 0.020), longer follow-up (OR 1.05, 95% CI 1.03–1.08, p < 0.001), and mid ADI (OR 3.08, 95% CI 1.34–8.39, p = 0.015) were significantly associated with a poor outcome. A high ADI tended toward a poor outcome (OR 2.93, 95% CI 0.92–9.88, p = 0.071). Eventual obliteration of a bAVM was the only protective predictor of poor outcome (OR 0.55, 95% CI 0.30–0.98, p = 0.046).

CONCLUSIONS

This study revealed that relatively disadvantaged patients with unruptured bAVMs are more likely to experience nonindependent outcomes at the last follow-up, after adjusting for confounding variables. An emphasis on social support may be beneficial for patients with a lower SES.

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Cervical spondylotic myelopathy and driving abilities: defining the prevalence and long-term postoperative outcomes using the Quality Outcomes Database

Nitin Agarwal, Sarah E. Johnson, Mohamad Bydon, Erica F. Bisson, Andrew K. Chan, Saman Shabani, Vijay Letchuman, Giorgos D. Michalopoulos, Daniel C. Lu, Michael Y. Wang, Raj Swaroop Lavadi, Regis W. Haid, John J. Knightly, Brandon A. Sherrod, Oren N. Gottfried, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Jacob L. Goldberg, Michael S. Virk, Ibrahim Hussain, Steven D. Glassman, Mark E. Shaffrey, Paul Park, Kevin T. Foley, Brenton Pennicooke, Domagoj Coric, Jonathan R. Slotkin, Cheerag Upadhyaya, Eric A. Potts, Luis M. Tumialán, Dean Chou, Kai-Ming G. Fu, Anthony L. Asher, and Praveen V. Mummaneni

OBJECTIVE

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) can cause significant difficulty with driving and a subsequent reduction in an individual’s quality of life due to neurological deterioration. The positive impact of surgery on postoperative patient-reported driving capabilities has been seldom explored.

METHODS

The CSM module of the Quality Outcomes Database was utilized. Patient-reported driving ability was assessed via the driving section of the Neck Disability Index (NDI) questionnaire. This is an ordinal scale in which 0 represents the absence of symptoms while driving and 5 represents a complete inability to drive due to symptoms. Patients were considered to have an impairment in their driving ability if they reported an NDI driving score of 3 or higher (signifying impairment in driving duration due to symptoms). Multivariable logistic regression models were fitted to evaluate mediators of baseline impairment and improvement at 24 months after surgery, which was defined as an NDI driving score < 3.

RESULTS

A total of 1128 patients who underwent surgical intervention for CSM were included, of whom 354 (31.4%) had baseline driving impairment due to CSM. Moderate (OR 2.3) and severe (OR 6.3) neck pain, severe arm pain (OR 1.6), mild-moderate (OR 2.1) and severe (OR 2.5) impairment in hand/arm dexterity, severe impairment in leg use/walking (OR 1.9), and severe impairment of urinary function (OR 1.8) were associated with impaired driving ability at baseline. Of the 291 patients with baseline impairment and available 24-month follow-up data, 209 (71.8%) reported postoperative improvement in their driving ability. This improvement seemed to be mediated particularly through the achievement of the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) in neck pain and improvement in leg function/walking. Patients with improved driving at 24 months noted higher postoperative satisfaction (88.5% vs 62.2%, p < 0.01) and were more likely to achieve a clinically significant improvement in their quality of life (50.7% vs 37.8%, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Nearly one-third of patients with CSM report impaired driving ability at presentation. Seventy-two percent of these patients reported improvements in their driving ability within 24 months of surgery. Surgical management of CSM can significantly improve patients’ driving abilities at 24 months and hence patients’ quality of life.

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Differences in clinical outcomes and resource utilization in pediatric traumatic brain injury between countries of different sociodemographic indices

Keith Wei Han Liang, Jan Hau Lee, Syeda K. Qadri, Janani Nadarajan, Paula Caporal, Juan D. Roa G, Sebastián González-Dambrauskas, Qalab Abbas, Yasser Kazzaz, and Shu-Ling Chong

OBJECTIVE

The burden of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is disproportionately high in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This study aimed to compare clinical outcomes and healthcare utilization for children with moderate to severe TBIs between LMICs and non-LMICs in Asia and Latin America.

METHODS

The authors performed an observational multicenter study from January 2014 to February 2023 among children with moderate to severe TBIs admitted to participating pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) in the Pediatric Acute and Critical Care Medicine Asian Network (PACCMAN) and Red Colaborativa Pediátrica de Latinoamérica (LARed Network). They classified sites according to their 2019 sociodemographic index (SDI). Low, low-middle, and middle SDI sites were considered LMICs, while high-middle and high SDI sites were considered non-LMICs. The authors documented patient demographics and TBI management. Accounting for death, they recorded 14-day PICU-free and 28-day hospital-free days, with fewer free days indicating poorer outcome. The authors compared children who died and those who had poor functional outcomes (defined as Pediatric Cerebral Performance Category [PCPC] level of moderate disability, severe disability, or vegetative state or coma) between LMICs and non-LMICs and performed a multivariable logistic regression analysis for predicting poor functional outcomes.

RESULTS

In total, 771 children with TBIs were analyzed. Mortality was comparable between LMICs and non-LMICs (9.6% vs 12.9%, p = 0.146). Children with TBIs from LMICs were more likely to have a poor PCPC outcome (31.0% vs 21.3%, p = 0.004) and had fewer ICU-free days (median [IQR] 6 [0–10] days vs 8 [0–11] days, p = 0.004) and hospital-free days (median [IQR] 9 [0–18] days vs 13 [0–20] days, p = 0.007). Poor functional outcomes were associated with LMIC status (adjusted OR [aOR] 1.53, 95% CI 1.04–2.26), a lower Glasgow Coma Scale score (aOR 0.83, 95% CI 0.78–0.88), and the presence of multiple trauma (aOR 1.49, 95% CI 1.01–2.19). Children with TBIs in LMICs required greater resource utilization in the form of early intubation and mechanical ventilation (81.6% vs 73.2%, p = 0.006), use of hyperosmolar therapy (77.7% vs 63.6%, p < 0.001), and use of antiepileptic drugs (73.9% vs 53.1%, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Within Asia and Latin America, children with TBIs in LMICs were more likely to have poor functional outcomes and required greater resource utilization. Further research should focus on investigating causal factors and developing targeted interventions to mitigate these disparities.

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Further investigation of the lateral approach for the resection of Knosp grade 4 pituitary adenomas in endoscopic endonasal surgery

Han Ding, Xiao Wu, Bo Wen Wu, Li Min Xiao, Lai Sheng Pan, Shen Hao Xie, Jie Zhan, Bin Tang, and Tao Hong

OBJECTIVE

The authors performed a further in-depth study of the lateral compartment of the cavernous sinus (LCCS) by the endoscopic endonasal approach to improve the safety and efficacy of the lateral approach for the removal of Knosp grade 4 pituitary adenomas (KG4PAs).

METHODS

Twenty-three cadaveric specimens were used for endoscopic endonasal dissection, and the LCCS was exposed to observe the neurovascular and fibrous structures within. A subclassification of the lateral approach based on further knowledge of the LCCS was proposed and used to resect 86 KG4PAs, and the surgical outcomes of these cases were reviewed. Type A KG4PAs represent tumor that was mainly distributed in the posterosuperior and superolateral compartments, type B KG4PAs represent tumor that was mainly distributed in the anteroinferior compartments, and type AB KG4PAs represent tumor that extended into each compartment with characteristics of types 4A and 4B.

RESULTS

The authors identified multiple fibers that anchored the horizontal segment of the internal carotid artery (ICA) to the abducens nerve. The fibers, the sympathetic nerve, and the inferior lateral trunk form a partition-like structure in the LCCS named the abducens nerve–ICA complex (AIC), and the LCCS can be divided into the superolateral and inferolateral compartments by the AIC. Accordingly, the lateral approach was subclassified into the lateral superior (LS) approach and the anterior inferior (AI) approach. The LS approach was mainly used to resect type A KG4PAs, whereas the AI approach was used to resect type B KG4PAs, and a combination of the two was used to resect type AB KG4PAs. The gross-total, subtotal, and partial resection rates were 81.4%, 12.8%, and 5.8%, respectively. The numbers of cases of postoperative transient cranial nerve palsy, postoperative permanent cranial nerve palsy, ICA injury, and CSF leakage were 6 (6.9%), 2 (2.3%), 1 (1.2%), and 1 (1.2%), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

This study revealed that the LCCS is divided by the AIC into the superolateral and inferolateral compartments, avoiding the misconception that the LCCS has vertical communication. Therefore, the lateral approach was subclassified into the LS approach and the AI approach for the resection of KG4PAs, which allowed a high gross-total resection rate with acceptable safety in the surgical treatment of KG4PAs.

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Letter to the Editor. 5-ALA fluorescence–guided surgery as standard of care in the resection of GBM

Joel Qi Xuan Foo and Yilong Zheng

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Letter to the Editor. Anterior clinoid meningioma and radiosurgery

Yavuz Samanci and Selcuk Peker