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Chang Kyu Park, Choon Keun Park, Dong Chan Lee and Dong Geun Lee

OBJECT

In elderly patients with severe osteoporosis, instrumented lumbar interbody fusion may result in fixation failure or nonunion because of decreased pedicle screw pullout strength or increased interbody graft subsidence risk. Thus, given its many advantages, percutaneous pedicle screw fixation with cement augmentation can be an effective method to use in elderly patients. The authors report on an easy, safe, and economical technique for bone cement augmentation using a bone biopsy needle inserted into the disc space in 2 osteoporotic patients who were treated with posterior interbody fusion and percutaneous pedicle screw fixation.

METHODS

Two elderly patients who complained of back pain and intermittent neurological claudication underwent posterior interbody fusion with percutaneous pedicle screw fixation. After routinely assembling rods on the screws, a bone biopsy needle was inserted into the disc space via the operative field; the needle was then placed around the tips of the screws using fluoroscopic radiography for guidance. Bone cement was injected through the bone biopsy needle, also under fluoroscopic radiography guidance.

RESULTS

Both patients’ symptoms improved after the operation, and there was no evidence of cage subsidence or screw loosening at the 4-month follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

The indirect technique of bone cement augmentation via the disc space for percutaneous screw fixation could be an easy, safe, and economical method.

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Na Young Jung, Chang Kyu Park, Won Seok Chang, Hyun Ho Jung and Jin Woo Chang

OBJECTIVE

Although neurosurgical procedures are effective treatments for controlling involuntary tremor in patients with essential tremor (ET), they can cause cognitive decline, which can affect quality of life (QOL). The purpose of this study is to assess the changes in the neuropsychological profile and QOL of patients following MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) thalamotomy for ET.

METHODS

The authors prospectively analyzed 20 patients with ET who underwent unilateral MRgFUS thalamotomy at their institute in the period from March 2012 to September 2014. Patients were regularly evaluated with the Clinical Rating Scale for Tremor (CRST), neuroimaging, and cognition and QOL measures. The Seoul Neuropsychological Screening Battery was used to assess cognitive function, and the Quality of Life in Essential Tremor Questionnaire (QUEST) was used to evaluate the postoperative change in QOL.

RESULTS

The total CRST score improved by 67.3% (from 44.75 ± 9.57 to 14.65 ± 9.19, p < 0.001) at 1 year following MRgFUS thalamotomy. Mean tremor scores improved by 68% in the hand contralateral to the thalamotomy, but there was no significant improvement in the ipsilateral hand. Although minimal cognitive decline was observed without statistical significance, memory function was much improved (p = 0.031). The total QUEST score also showed the same trend of improving (64.16 ± 17.75 vs 27.38 ± 13.96, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors report that MRgFUS thalamotomy had beneficial effects in terms of not only tremor control but also safety for cognitive function and QOL. Acceptable postoperative changes in cognition and much-improved QOL positively support the clinical significance of MRgFUS thalamotomy as a new, favorable surgical treatment in patients with ET.

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Jeong-Yub Kim, Jongsun Lee, Jae-Soo Koh, Myung-Jin Park and Ung-Kyu Chang

OBJECTIVE

Chordoma is a rare bone tumor of the axial skeleton believed to originate from the remnants of the embryonic notochord. The available tumor cells are characteristically physaliferous and express brachyury, a transcription factor critical for mesoderm specification. Although chordomas are histologically not malignant, treatments remain challenging because they are resistant to radiation therapy and because wide resection is impossible in most cases. Therefore, a better understanding of the biology of chordomas using established cell lines may lead to the advancement of effective treatment strategies. The authors undertook a study to obtain this insight.

METHODS

Chordoma cells were isolated from the tissue of a patient with dedifferentiated-type chordoma (DTC) that had recurred. Cells were cultured with DMEM/F12 containing 10% fetal bovine serum and antibiotics (penicillin and streptomycin). Cell proliferation rate was measured by MTS assay. Cell-cycle distribution and cell surface expression of proteins were analyzed by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) analysis. Expression of proteins was analyzed by Western blot and immunocytochemistry. Radiation resistance was measured by clonogenic survival assay. Tumor formation was examined by injection of chordoma cells at hindlimb of nude mice.

RESULTS

The putative (DTC) cells were polygonal and did not have the conventional physaliferous characteristic seen in the U-CH1 cell line. The DTC cells exhibited similar growth rate and cell-cycle distribution, but they exhibited higher clonogenic activity in soft agar than U-CH1 cells. The DTC cells expressed high levels of platelet-derived growth factor receptor–β and a low level of brachyury and cytokeratins; they showed higher expression of stemness-related and epithelial to mesenchymal transition–related proteins than the U-CH1 cells. Intriguingly, FACS analysis revealed that DTC cells exhibited marginal surface expression of CD24 and CD44 and high surface expression of CXCR4 in comparison to U-CH1 cells. In addition, blockade of CXCR4 with its antagonist AMD3100 effectively suppressed the growth of both cell lines. The DTC cells were more resistant to paclitaxel, cisplatin, etoposide, and ionizing radiation than the U-CH1 cells. Injection of DTC cells into the hindlimb region of nude mice resulted in the efficient formation of tumors, and the histology of xenograft tumors was very similar to that of the original patient tumor.

CONCLUSIONS

The use of the established DTC cells along with preestablished cell lines of chordoma may help bring about greater understanding of the mechanisms underlying the chordoma that will lead to therapeutic strategies targeting chordomas.

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Sung Ho Lee, Bong Jin Park, Hee Sup Shin, Chang Kyu Park, Bong Arm Rhee and Young Jin Lim

OBJECTIVE

Abnormal lateral spread response (LSR) is a typical finding in facial electromyography (EMG) in patients with hemifacial spasm (HFS). Although intraoperative monitoring of LSR has been widely used during microvascular decompression (MVD), the prognostic value of this monitoring is still debated. The purpose of this study was to determine whether such monitoring exhibits prognostic value for the alleviation of LSR after treatment of HFS.

METHODS

Between January 2009 and December 2013, a total of 582 patients underwent MVD for HFS with intraoperative EMG monitoring at Kyung Hee University Hospital. The patients were categorized into 1 of 2 groups according to the presence of LSR at the conclusion of surgery (Group A, LSR free; Group B, LSR persisting). Patients were assessed for the presence of HFS 1 day, 6 months, and 1 year after surgery. Various parameters, including age, sex, symptom duration, offending vertebral artery, and offending perforating artery, were evaluated for their influence on surgical and electrophysiological results.

RESULTS

Overall, HFS was alleviated in 455 (78.2%) patients 1 day after MVD, in 509 (87.5%) patients 6 months after MVD, and in 546 (93.8%) patients 1 year after MVD. Patients in Group B were significantly younger than those in Group A (p = 0.022). Patients with a symptom duration of less than 1 year were significantly more likely to be classified in Group A than were patients whose symptoms had persisted for longer than 10 years (p = 0.023); however, analysis of the entire range of symptom durations did not reveal a significant effect (p = 0.132). A comparison of Groups A and B according to follow-up period revealed that HFS recovery correlated with LSR alleviation over a shorter period, but the same was not true of longer periods; the proportions of spasm-free patients were 80.6% and 71.1% (p = 0.021), 89.4% and 81.9% (p = 0.022), and 93.5% and 94.6% (p = 0.699) 1 day, 6 months, and 1 year after surgery in Groups A and B, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

Although intraoperative EMG monitoring during MVD was beneficial for identifying the offending vessel and suggesting the most appropriate surgical end point, loss of LSR did not always correlate with long-term HFS treatment outcome. Because the HFS cure rate improved over time, revision might be considered for persistent LSR when follow-up has been performed for more than 1 year and the spasm remains despite adequate decompression.

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Young-Soo Kim, Ho-Yeol Zhang, Byung-Jin Moon, Kyung-Woo Park, Kyu-Yeul Ji, Won-Chang Lee, Kyu-Sung Oh, Gwon-Ui Ryu and Daniel H. Kim

Object

The purpose of this study was to analyze the usefulness of the BioFlex, a Nitinol spring rod dynamic stabilization system, and the Nitinol shape memory loop (KIMPF-DI Fixing System) as a posterior dynamic stabilization system in surgery for low-back pain.

Methods

The 103 patients who underwent treatment with the BioFlex system were divided into two groups: Group 1, dynamic stabilization with or without posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF); and Group 2, rigid fixation (PLIF + BioFlex system only). A total of 66 segments were treated with only the BioFlex system; in these the preoperative range of motion (ROM) was 10.0 ± 4.3°, which changed to 4.1 ± 1.9° after surgery. Adjacent-segment ROM changed from 8.4 ± 3.4° to 10.7 ± 3.2° in Group 1 and from 6.5 ± 3.2° to 10.5 ± 4.6° in Group 2 postoperatively. A total of 110 segments received both BioFlex and PLIF, with a fusion rate of 90.0%. The visual analog scale score for back pain improved from 7.3 ± 3.1 to 1.4 ± 1.8 in Group 1 and from 7.4 ± 2.4 to 2.1 ± 2.3 in Group 2. The Oswestry Disability Index improved from 35.2 ± 6.4 to 12.1 ± 4.5 in Group 1 and from 37.8 ± 5.7 to 13.6 ± 4.2 in Group 2. (The ROM and assessment scores expressed are the mean ± standard deviation.)

The 194 patients in whom Nitinol memory loops were implanted were analyzed based on the preoperative and 1-year postoperative ROM of each lumbar segment. The change of ROM in looped segments treated with PLIF was significantly reduced, but the change of ROM in looped segments without PLIF was not significant. The change of ROM at the segment adjacent to the loop was not significant, and the change of kyphosis reflected a slight recovery.

Conclusions

The Nitinol BioFlex dynamic stabilization system can achieve stabilization and simultaneously allow physiological movement, which can in turn decrease the degeneration of adjacent segments. When used with PLIF, the fusion rate can be expected to increase. The flexible Nitinol shape memory loop, a posterior dynamic stabilization device, is an adequate tension band that displays strength similar to the posterior ligamentous structures. In combination with PLIF at the main lesion, the BioFlex system or the Nitinol memory loop can provide posterior dynamic stabilization to the transitional upper or lower segments, enhance the fusion rate, reduce the adjacent-segment degeneration, and provide dynamic stabilization of the spine.

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Ju Hyung Moon, Won Seok Chang, Hyun Ho Jung, Kyu Sung Lee, Yong Gou Park and Jong Hee Chang

Object

The aim of this study was to evaluate the tumor control rate and functional outcomes after Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) among patients with a facial nerve schwannoma.

Methods

The authors reviewed the radiological data and clinical records for 14 patients who had consecutively undergone GKS for a facial nerve schwannoma. Before GKS, 12 patients had facial palsy, 7 patients had hearing disturbance, and 5 patients had undergone partial or subtotal tumor resection. The mean and median tumor volumes were 3707 mm3 and 3000 mm3, respectively (range 117–10,100 mm3). The mean tumor margin dose was 13.2 Gy (range 12–15 Gy), and the mean maximum tumor dose was 26.4 Gy (range 24–30 Gy). The mean follow-up period was 80.7 months (range 2–170 months).

Results

Control of tumor growth was achieved in all 12 (100%) patients who were followed up for longer than 2 years. After GKS, facial nerve function improved in 2 patients, remained unchanged in 9 patients, and worsened in 3 patients. All patients who had had serviceable hearing at the preliminary examination maintained their hearing at a useful level after GKS. Other than mild tinnitus reported by 3 patients, no other major complications developed.

Conclusions

GKS for facial nerve schwannomas resulted in excellent tumor control rates and functional outcomes. GKS might be a good primary treatment option for patients with a small- to medium-sized facial nerve schwannoma when facial nerve function and hearing are relatively preserved.

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Hyun-Seung Kang, Youn-Joo Moon, Young-Yim Kim, Woong-Yang Park, Ae Kyung Park, Kyu-Chang Wang, Jeong Eun Kim, Ji Hoon Phi, Ji Yeoun Lee and Seung-Ki Kim

Object

Moyamoya disease (MMD) is a cerebrovascular occlusive disease affecting bilateral internal carotid termini. Smooth-muscle cells are one of the major cell types involved in this disease process. The characteristics of circulating smooth-muscle progenitor cells (SPCs) in MMD are poorly understood. The authors purified SPCs from the peripheral blood of patients with MMD and sought to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in SPCs from these patients.

Methods

The authors cultured and isolated SPCs from the peripheral blood of patients with MMD (n = 25) and healthy control volunteers (n = 22). After confirmation of the cellular phenotype, RNA was extracted from the cells and DEGs were identified using a commercially available gene chip. Real-time quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction was performed to confirm the putative pathogenetic DEGs.

Results

The SPC-type outgrowth cells in patients with MMD invariably showed a hill-and-valley appearance under microscopic examination, and demonstrated high α–smooth muscle actin, myosin heavy chain, and calponin expression (96.5% ± 2.1%, 42.8% ± 18.6%, and 87.1% ± 8.2%, respectively), and minimal CD31 expression (less than 1%) on fluorescence-activated cell sorter analysis. The SPCs in the MMD group tended to make more irregularly arranged and thickened tubules on the tube formation assay. In the SPCs from patients with MMD, 286 genes (124 upregulated and 162 downregulated) were differentially expressed; they were related to cell adhesion, cell migration, immune response, and vascular development.

Conclusions

With adequate culture conditions, SPCs could be established from the peripheral blood of patients with MMD. These cells showed specific DEGs compared with healthy control volunteers. This study provides a novel experimental cell model for further research of MMD.

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Byung Chan Lim, Jong Hee Chae, Seung-Ki Kim, Sung-Hye Park, Kyu-Chang Wang, Ji Yeoun Lee and Ji Hoon Phi

Brainstem glioma is a highly devastating disease, and any mass-like lesion in the brainstem can raise suspicion of this diagnosis. However, other inflammatory, demyelinating, or degenerative diseases can mimic brainstem glioma in clinical presentation and imaging features. Therefore, diagnosis based solely on imaging is often insufficient for brainstem lesions and may lead to incorrect diagnosis and treatment.

This case report is the first description of central nervous system aquaporin-4 (AQP4) autoimmunity confined mainly to the brainstem. It demonstrates the wide spectrum of neuroinflammatory diseases in children and highlights the utility of surgical biopsy for suspicious brainstem lesions with atypical imaging features for glioma.

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Ji Yeoun Lee, Sangjoon Chong, Young Hun Choi, Ji Hoon Phi, Jung-Eun Cheon, Seung-Ki Kim, Sung Hye Park, In-One Kim and Kyu-Chang Wang

OBJECTIVE

Since the entity limited dorsal myeloschisis (LDM) was proposed, numerous confusing clinical cases have been renamed according to the embryopathogenesis. However, clinical application of this label appears to require some clarification with regard to pathology. There have been cases in which all criteria for the diagnosis of LDM were met except for the presence of a neural component in the stalk, an entity the authors call “probable” LDM. The present study was performed to meticulously review these cases and suggest that a modified surgical strategy using limited laminectomy is sufficient to achieve the surgical goal of untethering.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the imaging findings, operative notes, and pathology reports of spinal dysraphism patients with subcutaneous stalk lesions who had presented to their institution between 2010 and 2014.

RESULTS

Among 33 patients with LDM, 13 had the typical nonsaccular lesions with simple subcutaneous stalks connecting the skin opening to the spinal cord. Four cases had “true” LDM meeting all criteria for diagnosis, including pathological confirmation of CNS tissue by immunohistochemical staining with glial fibrillary acidic protein. There were also 9 cases in which all clinical, imaging, and surgical findings were compatible with LDM, but the “neural” component in the resected stalk was not confirmed. For all the cases, limited exposure of the stalk was done and satisfactory untethering was achieved.

CONCLUSIONS

One can speculate based on the initial error of embryogenesis that if the entire stalk were traced to the point of insertion on the cord, the neural component would be proven. However, this would require an extended level of laminectomy/laminotomy, which may be unnecessary, at least with regard to the completeness of untethering. Therefore, the authors propose that for some selected cases of LDM, a minimal extent of laminectomy may suffice for untethering, although it may be insufficient for diagnosing a true LDM.

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Hun Ho Park, Min Chul Oh, Eui Hyun Kim, Chan Yun Kim, Sun Ho Kim, Kyu-Sung Lee and Jong Hee Chang

OBJECT

The authors investigated the value of retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) thickness in predicting visual outcome after surgery for parachiasmal meningioma.

METHODS

Forty-nine eyes of 25 patients who underwent craniotomy and resection of a parachiasmal meningioma were analyzed retrospectively. Visual parameters including visual field (VF) (recorded as the mean deviation [MD]), visual acuity (VA), and RNFL thickness (via optical coherence tomography) were measured before and 1 week, 6 months, and 1 year after surgery. Postoperative visual outcome was compared among the patients with a thin or normal RNFL. A separate analysis of data pertaining to 22 eyes of 13 patients with severe VF defects (MD ≤ −10 dB) was performed to compare visual outcome for those with a thin or normal RNFL.

RESULTS

Of the 23 eyes that showed VF improvement, 22 (95.7%) had normal RNFL thickness. The positive predictive value of normal RNFL thickness for VF improvement was 78.6%. The VF of patients with normal RNFL thickness improved in 6 months and continued improving 1 year after surgery (MD −5.9 dB before surgery, −5.5 dB 1 week after surgery, −2.8 dB 6 months after surgery [p < 0.01], and −1.1 dB 1 year after surgery [p < 0.01]). In contrast, those with a thin preoperative RNFL showed deterioration at first and then slower, worse visual recovery after surgery (MD −18.1 dB before surgery, −22.4 dB 1 week after surgery, −21.2 dB 6 months after surgery, and −19.1 dB 1 year after surgery). VA also showed significant progress 6 months after surgery in patients with normal RNFL thickness (0.6 before surgery, 0.7 one week after surgery, 0.9 six months after surgery [p = 0.025], and 0.9 one year after surgery [p = 0.050]) compared to those with a thin RNFL (0.3 before surgery, 0.2 one week after surgery, 0.3 six months after surgery, and 0.4 one year after surgery). Preoperative differences in VF MD and VA were noted between the 2 groups (p < 0.01). Even patients with severe VF defects and normal RNFL thickness improved by 11.1 dB by 1 year after surgery compared with patients with a thin RNFL (−0.01 dB) (p < 0.01). Patients with normal RNFL thickness also did better in VA improvement (from 0.7 to 1.1) than those with a thin RNFL (from 0.2 to 0.3), but these results were not statistically significant.

CONCLUSIONS

RNFL thickness measured by optical coherence tomography has significant value as a prognostic factor of postoperative visual recovery for parachiasmal meningioma. Patients with normal RNFL thickness before surgery are more likely to have visual improvement after surgery than patients with a thin RNFL.