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Magnetic resonance imaging localization with cod liver oil capsules for the minimally invasive approach to small intradural extramedullary tumors of the thoracolumbar spine

Clinical article

Mazda K. Turel and Vedantam Rajshekhar

Object

Accurate intraoperative localization of small intradural extramedullary thoracolumbar (T-1 to L-3 level) spinal cord tumors is vital when minimally invasive techniques, such as hemilaminectomy, are used to excise these lesions. In this study, the authors describe a simple and effective method of preoperative MRI localization of small intradural extramedullary tumors using cod liver oil capsules.

Methods

Thirty-five patients with intradural tumors underwent preoperative MRI localization the evening prior to surgery. Patients were positioned prone in the MRI gantry, mimicking the intraoperative position. Nine capsules were placed in 3 rows to cover the lesion. This localization was used to guide the level for a minimally invasive approach using a hemilaminectomy to excise these tumors.

Results

The mean patient age was 51.5 ± 14.3 years, and the mean body mass index was 24.1 ± 3.5 kg/m2. Twenty-two tumors involved the thoracic spine, and 13 involved the upper lumbar spine from L-1 to L-3. The mean tumor size was 2.2 ± 1.0 cm. Localization was accurate in 34 patients (97.1%).

Conclusions

Accurate localization with the described method is quick, safe, cost-effective, and noninvasive with no exposure to radiation. It also reduces operating time by eliminating the need for intraoperative fluoroscopy.

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Primary telangiectatic osteosarcoma of the cervical spine

Case report

Mazda K. Turel, Vivek Joseph, Vandita Singh, Vinu Moses, and Vedantam Rajshekhar

Telangiectatic osteosarcoma (TOS) is one of the 8 subtypes of osteosarcoma that infrequently affects the spine. The radiopathological features of TOS overlap with those of more benign entities, most commonly the aneurysmal bone cyst), and therefore is a significant diagnostic challenge. It is a rare but well-described entity in the thoracolumbar and sacral spine, and to the authors' knowledge has not been previously reported in the cervical spine.

The authors report the case of a 15-year-old boy who presented with a 6-month history of neck pain and torticollis. He underwent preoperative glue embolization followed by a staged subtotal C-5 spondylectomy and posterior fusion for a C-5 vertebral body lytic expansile lesion. Histopathological examination showed the lesion to be TOS. The surgery was followed by adjuvant radiation and chemotherapy with a favorable outcome at the 1-year follow-up. This report reiterates that TOS is an important differential diagnosis for aneurysmal bone cyst and giant-cell tumor of the spine, as its biological behavior and clinical outcome differ from those of these more benign lesions, which it mimics.

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Ossified ligamentum flavum of the thoracic spine presenting as spontaneous intracranial hypotension: case report

Mazda K. Turel, Mena G. Kerolus, and John E. O’Toole

Ossification of the ligament flavum in the thoracic spine is an uncommon radiological finding in the Western population but can present with back pain, varying degrees of myelopathy, and even paraplegia on occasion. The authors here present the case of a 50-year-old woman with a history of progressive back pain and symptoms of spontaneous intracranial hypotension who was found to have an ossified ligamentum flavum of the thoracic spine resulting in a dural erosion cerebrospinal fluid leak. Surgery involved removal of the ossified ligament flavum at T10–11, facetectomy, ligation of the nerve root, and primary closure of the dura, which resulted in complete resolution of the patient’s symptoms. Radiological, clinical, and intraoperative findings are discussed to assist surgeons with an accurate diagnosis and treatment in the setting of this unusual presentation.

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The evolution of T2-weighted intramedullary signal changes following ventral decompressive surgery for cervical spondylotic myelopathy

Clinical article

Sauradeep Sarkar, Mazda K. Turel, Kuruthukulangara S. Jacob, and Ari G. Chacko

Object

T2-weighted intramedullary increased signal intensity (ISI) on MRI in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) appears to represent a wide spectrum of pathological changes that determine reversibility of cord damage. Although sharp T2-weighted ISI on preoperative imaging may correlate with poorer surgical outcomes, there are limited data on how these changes progress following surgery. In this study, the authors characterized pre-and postoperative ISI changes in patients undergoing surgery for CSM and studied their postoperative evolution in an attempt to quantify their clinical significance.

Methods

The preoperative and postoperative MR images obtained in 56 patients who underwent oblique cervical corpectomy for CSM were reviewed, and the ISI was classified into 4 subtypes based on margins and intensity: Type 0 (none), Type 1 (“fuzzy”), Type 2 (“sharp”), and Type 3 (“mixed”). The locations of the ISI were further classified as focal if they represented single discrete lesions, multifocal if there were multiple lesions with intervening normal cord, and multisegmental if the lesions were continuous over more than 1 segment. The maximum craniocaudal length of the ISI was measured on each midsagittal MR image. The Nurick grade and Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score were used to assess clinical status. The mean duration of follow-up was 28 months.

Results

T2-weighted ISI changes were noted preoperatively in 54 patients (96%). Most preoperative ISI changes were Type 1 (41%) or Type 3 (34%), with a significant trend toward Type 2 (71%) changes at follow-up. Multi-segmental and Type 3 lesions tended to regress significantly after surgery (p = 0.000), reducing to Type 2 changes at follow-up. Clinical outcomes did not correlate with ISI subtype; however, there was a statistically significant trend toward improvement in postoperative Nurick Grade in patients with a > 50% regression in ISI size. In addition, patients with more than 18 months of follow-up showed significant regression in ISI size compared with patients imaged earlier. On logistic regression analysis, preoperative Nurick grade and duration of follow-up were the only significant predictors of postoperative improvement in functional status (OR 4.136, p = 0.003, 95% CI 1.623–10.539 and OR 6.402, p = 0.033, 95% CI 1.165–35.176, respectively).

Conclusions

There is a distinct group of patients with multisegmental Type 3 intramedullary changes who show remarkable radiological regression after surgery but demonstrate a residual sharp focal ISI at follow-up. A regression of the ISI by > 50% predicts better functional outcomes. Patients with a good preoperative functional status remain the most likely to show improvement, and the improvement continues to occur even at remote follow-up. The clinical relevance of the quality of the T2-weighted ISI changes in patients with CSM remains uncertain; however, postoperative regression of the ISI change is possibly a more important correlate of patient outcome than the quality of the ISI change alone.