Journal of Neurosurgery: Case Lessons
Volume 3 (2022): Issue 26 (Jun 2022)
Open access

BACKGROUND

Percutaneous endoscopic lumbar decompression is gaining attention as a minimally invasive surgery. Here, the authors report a rare complication of pneumocephalus caused by vacuum drain after biportal endoscopic spinal surgery (BESS) for lumbar stenosis.

OBSERVATIONS

A 79-year-old woman with spinal stenosis over the L4–5 level received BESS. No visible dural tear was encountered during surgery, and a vacuum drain was placed after surgery. Approximately 150 mL of cerebrospinal fluid was drained on postoperative day 1. Simultaneously, symptoms of intracranial hypotension were noted. Brain computed tomography (CT) revealed pneumocephalus. The patient was advised to have bed rest and hydration, and her symptoms improved subsequently. Follow-up brain CT indicated the resolution of pneumocephalus.

LESSONS

Pneumocephalus after endoscopic lumbar surgery is rare. Dural tear, high rate of normal saline irrigation, and vacuum drain placement are the associated risk factors.

Open access

BACKGROUND

Anterior sacral meningocele (ASM) is a defect in the closure of the neural tube. Patients can be asymptomatic or present with genitourinary, neurological, reproductive, or colorectal dysfunction. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the gold standard test because it can assess communication between the spinal subarachnoid space and the lesion and identify other abnormalities. Surgical correction is the definitive treatment because untreated cases have a mortality rate of more than 30%.

OBSERVATIONS

A 24-year-old woman with Marfan syndrome presented with polyuria, recurrent urinary tract infections, and renal injury for 3 months along with a globose abdomen, with a palpable mass in the middle and lower third of the abdomen that was massive on percussion. MRI showed an ASM consisting of two cystic lesions measuring 15.4 × 14.3 × 15.8 and 6.7 × 6.1 × 5.9 cm, respectively, compressing the distal third of the right ureter and causing a hydroureteronephrosis. Drainage and ligature of the cystic lesion were performed. The urinary outcome was excellent, with full recovery after surgery.

LESSONS

ASM should be suspected in all abdominal masses with progressive symptoms in the setting of Marfan syndrome. Computed tomography and MRI are important to investigate genitourinary anomalies or other types of dysraphism to guide the best surgical approach.

Open access

BACKGROUND

Multimodal monitoring to guide medical intervention in high-grade aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) is well described. Multimodal monitoring to guide surgical intervention in high-grade aSAH has been less studied.

OBSERVATIONS

Intracranial pressure (ICP), brain lactate to pyruvate ratio (L/P ratio), and brain parenchymal oxygen tension (pO2) were used as surrogates for clinical status in a comatose man after high-grade aSAH. Acute changes in ICP, L/P ratio, and pO2 were used to identify brain injury from both malignant cerebral edema and delayed cerebral ischemia, respectively, and decompressive hemicraniectomy with clot evacuation and intraarterial nimodipine were used to treat these conditions. The patient showed marked improvement in multimodal parameters following each intervention and eventually recovered to a modified Rankin score of 2.

LESSONS

In patients with a limited neurological examination due to severe acute brain injury in the setting of aSAH, multimodal monitoring can be used to guide surgical treatment. With prompt, aggressive, maximal medical and surgical interventions, otherwise healthy individuals may retain the capacity for close to full recovery from seemingly catastrophic aSAH.

Open access

BACKGROUND

Primary spinal infections (PSIs) are a group of uncommon but serious infectious diseases considered more prevalent and aggressive among patients with chronic immunocompromised states. Association of PSI and solid organ transplant has not been systematically analyzed. The authors performed a systematic review analyzing clinical presentation and mortality of patients with PSI in the setting of solid organ transplant.

OBSERVATIONS

PSIs in patients with immunosuppressive therapy, such as those with solid organ transplant, may behave differently in terms of epidemiology, clinical presentation, and outcomes compared with nonimmunosuppressed patients. Overall PSI in solid organ transplant patients is associated with a high rate of neurological compromise, postoperative complications, and mortality.

LESSONS

Accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment of PSI require a multidisciplinary effort. Localized pain is the most frequently reported symptom associated with PSI. As opposed to PSI in patients without transplant, inflammatory and infectious markers such as white blood cells and C-reactive protein are often not elevated. Furthermore, the causative microorganism profile varies significantly when compared to pyogenic spinal infection in patients without transplant. Aspergillus species was responsible for spondylodiscitis in transplant patients in more than 50% of cases, and the incidence of Aspergillus infection is projected to rise in the coming years.

Open access

BACKGROUND

Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (VST) is a complication of head injury and can be secondary to sinus compression by depressed skull fractures. Fracture elevation is a treatment option for VST secondary to extrinsic compression, but conservative management may also be effective. Venous sinuses can also be lacerated from skull fractures, resulting in epidural or subdural hematomas. The authors presented a case of sagittal sinus injury and thrombosis from a depressed skull fracture that caused a subgaleal hematoma. The injury was successfully managed conservatively.

OBSERVATIONS

A 14-year-old boy presented after a head injury with a diastatic, depressed parietal bone fracture. Computed tomography venogram showed disruption and occlusion of the superior sagittal sinus with a subgaleal hematoma in continuity with the injured sagittal sinus. Because of concern for hemorrhage if tamponade on the sinus was removed, the patient was treated nonsurgically. At follow-up, the sinus had recanalized and the fracture had healed.

LESSONS

Skull fractures with underlying sinus thrombosis can be managed conservatively with good outcome. Careful assessment for venous sinus injury should be made before undertaking fracture elevation to relieve sinus compression.