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Cormac O. Maher, John L. D. Atkinson, and John I. Lane

✓ The authors report on an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) within the trigeminal nerve in an otherwise healthy 76-year-old man who presented with the sudden onset of headache and ataxia. The AVM was totally resected via a lateral sub-occipital approach to the cerebellopontine angle. Dural arteriovenous fistulas and AVMs of the dorsal root entry zone and adjacent brainstem that compress the trigeminal nerve have been previously described. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first reported case of an angiographically, surgically, and pathologically proven AVM arising from within the trigeminal nerve itself.

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Cormac O. Maher

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Cormac O. Maher, Robert E. Anderson, Robyn L. McClelland, and Michael J. Link

Object. The authors evaluated a new non—cross-linked, propylene oxide—treated, acellular collagen matrix for use as a dural substitute in rabbits. They then compared this material to a commonly used dural substitute as well as to native dura mater used during primary closure.

Methods. Forty-six rabbits were randomly assigned to eight groups of five or six rabbits each. These groups differed according to the type of closure material that was used during surgery (native dura, control dural substitute, or experimental dural substitute) and the duration of convalescence. At the end of the experiment, the tightness of the duraplasty was assessed in each live rabbit by continuous infusion of fluid into the cisterna magna until leakage was detected. The animals were killed and each specimen was sectioned and studied histologically. The authors found that the experimental dural substitute was safe in animals for this application, that it held sutures well, and that a watertight closure was usually achieved. There were fewer adhesions between the experimental material and neural tissue was less likely to adhere to the cranium than the control graft. Histological examination showed that the experimental material had slightly more spindle cells and vascularity than the control graft.

Conclusions. The experimental graft material has several features that make it an attractive candidate for use as a dural substitute.

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Cormac O. Maher, Nicholas M. Wetjen, Jonathan A. Friedman, and Fredric B. Meyer

Object. Many surgeons inject a local anesthetic agent into the carotid sinus before carotid endarterectomy in an attempt to ameliorate perioperative hemodynamic instability. The purpose of this study is to analyze the effect of carotid sinus injection with lidocaine on perioperative hemodynamics and complications.

Methods. The authors prospectively studied 92 patients in whom 100 consecutive carotid endarterectomies were performed by a single surgeon (eight procedures were bilateral). Patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups, in which either 0.5 ml of 1% lidocaine was injected into the carotid sinus nerve or no injection of lidocaine was administered before the arteriotomy. All patients were treated postoperatively according to a standard endarterectomy protocol. There were no significant differences between the two groups in the incidence of hypertension, hypotension, or the use of vasoactive medications in the operating room following restoration of carotid artery (CA) blood flow, in the recovery room, or in the intensive care unit.

Conclusions. Injection of lidocaine into the carotid sinus at the time of endarterectomy is not associated with a significant improvement in any hemodynamic factor, from the time of restoration of CA blood flow to postoperative Day 1.

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Very low pressure hydrocephalus

Report of two cases

Michelle J. Clarke, Cormac O. Maher, Georgia Nothdurft, and Fredric Meyer

✓ Low-pressure hydrocephalus is an extremely rare condition. Authors of the few previous reports on this subject have suggested that symptoms are gradual in onset and successfully treated. In this report the authors presented two unique cases of very low pressure hydrocephalus in which the patients experienced rapid deterioration requiring negative-pressure cerebrospinal fluid drainage to achieve the best possible neurological function; outcomes in both patients ultimately were poor. The constellation of findings suggests that this may be a distinct clinical entity.

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Jennifer Strahle, Andrew J. Odden, Cormac O. Maher, and Hugh J. L. Garton

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Cormac O. Maher, Steven R. Buchman, Edward O'Hara, and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Surgery for cranial deformity was associated with significant surgical morbidity during the early part of the 20th century. For this reason, Harvey Cushing was initially not in favor of surgical treatment of craniosynostosis. Later in his career, Cushing began to operate on these children, although it never became a major focus of his practice. Several examples of his patients with cranial deformity are presented, and his limited role in the development of this field is discussed.

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D. Andrew Wilkinson, Kyle Johnson, Hugh J. L. Garton, Karin M. Muraszko, and Cormac O. Maher


The goal of this analysis was to define temporal and geographic trends in the surgical treatment of Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) in a large, privately insured health care network.


The authors examined de-identified insurance claims data from a large, privately insured health care network of over 58 million beneficiaries throughout the United States for the period between 2001 and 2014 for all patients undergoing surgical treatment of CM-I. Using a combination of International Classification of Diseases (ICD) diagnosis codes and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes, the authors identified CM-I and associated diagnoses and procedures over a 14-year period, highlighting temporal and geographic trends in the performance of CM-I decompression (CMD) surgery as well as commonly associated procedures.


There were 2434 surgical procedures performed for CMD among the beneficiaries during the 14-year interval; 34% were performed in patients younger than 20 years of age. The rate of CMD increased 51% from the first half to the second half of the study period among younger patients (p < 0.001) and increased 28% among adult patients between 20 and 65 years of age (p < 0.001). A large sex difference was noted among adult patients; 78% of adult patients undergoing CMD were female compared with only 53% of the children. Pediatric patients undergoing CMD were more likely to be white with a higher household net worth. Regional variability was identified among rates of CMD as well. The average annual rate of surgery ranged from 0.8 surgeries per 100,000 insured person-years in the Pacific census division to 2.0 surgeries per 100,000 insured person-years in the East South Central census division.


Analysis of a large nationwide health care network showed recently increasing rates of CMD in children and adults over the past 14 years.

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Wajd N. Al-Holou, Cormac O. Maher, Karin M. Muraszko, and Hugh J. L. Garton


The authors reviewed their experience with pediatric pineal cysts to define the natural history and clinical relevance of this common intracranial finding.


The authors identified all patients with pineal cysts who had been clinically evaluated at their institution over an 11.5-year interval and were < 25 years of age at the time of diagnosis. All inclusion criteria were met in 106 patients, and included repeated MR imaging as well as repeated clinical evaluation over at least a 6-month interval.


The mean age at diagnosis was 11.7 ± 7.2 years. Forty-two patients were male and 64 were female. On follow-up MR imaging evaluation at a mean interval of 3.0 years from the initial study, 98 pineal cysts had no increase in size and no change in imaging appearance. Six pineal cysts increased in size and 2 others had a change in imaging characteristics without associated growth. Younger age was associated with cyst change or growth on follow-up imaging (p = 0.02). The mean age of patients with cysts that changed or grew was 5.5 years, and the mean age of patients with stable pineal cysts was 12.2 years. Initial cyst size and appearance on MR imaging were not significant predictors of growth or change in imaging appearance at follow-up. Similarly, the patient's sex was not a significant predictor of growth or change in imaging characteristics.


Follow-up imaging and neurosurgical evaluation may be considered optional in older children with pineal cysts.