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Jason P. Sheehan, Gregory A. Helm, Jonas M. Sheehan, and John A. Jane Sr.

Lumbar spinal stenosis can be effectively treated by performing an extensive ipsilateral spinal decompression, including a partial pediculotomy, and contralateral posterior bone fusion. Infrequently, complications can arise following radical decompression to alleviate symptoms of stenosis, and one such complication is a pedicle fracture. Three reports of pedicle fractures following extensive spinal decompression and contralateral posterior fusion are detailed. This complication is emphasized, and interventions are discussed.

Three patients presented with symptoms attributable to lumbar stenosis; they were initially treated with an ipsilateral decompression, achieved in part, through a partial pediculotomy followed by contralateral autologous bone fusion. Initially, all three patients improved postoperatively; however, they later developed neurological symptoms ipsilateral to the side of spinal decompression. Computerized tomography scanning demonstrated pedicle fractures on the decompressed side. This complication has not yet been reported in association with decompression and fusion for lumbar stenosis.

Two of the patients developed leg pain necessitating reoperation whereas the third experienced only mild transient symptoms. The fractured pedicle was removed in one patient; laminar and spinous process fusion was performed again. Another patient underwent a total laminectomy, removal of the fractured pedicle, and bilateral transverse process fusion. Reoperation yielded satisfactory outcomes. The third patient's symptoms resolved without intervention.

Pedicle fractures are a potential complication of extensive lumbar decompression and contralateral posterior fusion. Loading forces from the facets or transverse processes are possibly the cause of such fractures. Removal of the fractured pedicle, additional decompression, and enhanced bone fusion are recommended when the symptoms warrant surgical intervention.

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Jason P. Sheehan, Jonas M. Sheehan, M. Beatriz Lopes, and John A. Jane Sr.

✓ Diastematomyelia is a rare entity in which some portion of the spinal cord is split into two by a midline septum. Most cases occur in childhood, but some develop in adulthood. A variety of concurrent spinal anomalies may be found in patients with diastematomyelia.

The authors describe a 38-year-old right-handed woman who presented with a 7-month history of lower-extremity pain and weakness on the right side. She denied recent trauma or illness. Sensorimotor deficits, hyperreflexia, and a positive Babinski reflex in the right lower extremity were demonstrated on examination.

Neuroimaging revealed diastematomyelia extending from T-1 to T-3, an expanded right hemicord from T-2 to T-4, and a C6–7 syrinx. The patient underwent T1–3 total laminectomies, resection of the septum, untethering of the cord, and excision of the hemicord lesion. The hemicord mass was determined to be an intramedullary epidermoid cyst; on microscopic evaluation the diastematomyelia cleft was shown to contain fibroadipose connective tissue with nerve twigs and ganglion cells. Postoperatively, the right lower-extremity pain, weakness, and sensory deficits improved.

Diastematomyelia can present after a long, relatively asymptomatic period and should be kept in the differential diagnosis for radiculopathy, myelopathy, tethered cord syndrome, or cauda equina syndrome. Numerous spinal lesions can be found in conjunction with diastematomyelia. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first case in which a thoracic epidermoid cyst and cervical syrinx occurred concurrently with an upper thoracic diastematomyelia. Thorough neuraxis radiographic evaluation and surgical treatment are usually indicated.

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Jonas M. Sheehan, Mary L. Vance, Jason P. Sheehan, Dilantha B. Ellegala, and Edward R. Laws Jr.

Object. Although transsphenoidal surgery has become the standard of care for Cushing's disease, it is often unsuccessful in normalizing cortisol production. In this study the authors investigate the safety and efficacy of gamma knife radiosurgery (GKRS) for Cushing's disease after failed transsphenoidal surgery.

Methods. The records of all patients who underwent GKRS at the authors' institution after unsuccessful transsphenoidal surgery for Cushing's disease were retrospectively reviewed. Successful treatment was considered a normal or below-normal 24-hour urinary free cortisol (UFC) level. Records were also evaluated for relapse, new-onset endocrine deficiencies, interval change in tumor size, and visual complications.

Forty-three patients underwent 44 gamma knife procedures with follow up ranging from 18 to 113 months (mean 39.1, median 44 months). Normal 24-hour UFC levels were achieved in 27 patients (63%) at an average time from treatment of 12.1 months (range 3–48 months). Three patients had a recurrence of Cushing's disease at 19, 37, and 38 months, respectively, after radiosurgery. New endocrine deficiencies were noted in seven patients (16%). Follow-up magnetic resonance images obtained in 33 patients revealed a decrease in tumor size in 24, no change in nine, and an increase in size in none of the patients. One patient developed a quadrantanopsia 14 months after radiosurgery despite having received a dose of only 0.7 Gy to the optic tract.

Conclusions. Gamma knife radiosurgery appears to be safe and effective for the treatment of Cushing's disease refractory to pituitary surgery. Delayed recurrences and new hormone deficiencies may occur, indicating the necessity for regular long-term follow up.

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Jason P. Sheehan, Jonas M. Sheehan, Howard Seeherman, Mark Quigg, and Gregory A. Helm

Object. The goal of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein 2 (rhBMP-2) in cranial applications.

Methods. Critical-sized calvarial defects were created bilaterally in four rhesus monkeys, and bilateral rectangular bone flaps were created in six others. Control and rhBMP-2—treated sides were randomly chosen for each animal, and an absorbable collagen sponge was used to deliver the growth factor. Over a 6-month period postoperatively, the animals were serially evaluated for bone healing and adverse BMP-related consequences by using the following methods: computerized tomography (CT) scanning, magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, electroencephalography, histological investigations, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis.

The critical-sized defects for the rhBMP-2—treated and control sides attained 71 ± 12% and 28 ± 11% closure, respectively (four animals; p = 0.04). The CT scans demonstrated that the bone flaps treated with rhBMP-2 had complete osteointegration in five of six animals, whereas scans of the untreated bone flaps demonstrated uniformly poor osteointegration with the intact skull. Histological analysis confirmed well-formed bridges of bone on the rhBMP-2—treated sides. No epileptogenic activity was detected in any of the animals, and MR imaging revealed no evidence of adverse effects on the brain parenchyma. Meningitic irritation was not found on postoperative CSF sample analysis.

Conclusions. Treatment of bone flaps and critical-sized cranial defects with rhBMP-2 leads to improved bone formation and osteointegration in nonhuman primates. Initial evaluation of rhBMP-2 appears to indicate a good safety profile for use in cranial procedures in primates.

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Jason P. Sheehan, Ajay Niranjan, Jonas M. Sheehan, John A. Jane Jr., Edward R. Laws, Douglas Kondziolka, John Flickinger, Alex M. Landolt, Jay S. Loeffler, and L. Dade Lunsford

Object. Pituitary adenomas are very common neoplasms, constituting between 10 and 20% of all primary brain tumors. Historically, the treatment armamentarium for pituitary adenomas has included medical management, microsurgery, and fractionated radiotherapy. More recently, radiosurgery has emerged as a viable treatment option. The goal of this research was to define more fully the efficacy, safety, and role of radiosurgery in the treatment of pituitary adenomas.

Methods. Medical literature databases were searched for articles pertaining to pituitary adenomas and stereotactic radiosurgery. Each study was examined to determine the number of patients, radiosurgical parameters (for example, maximal dose and tumor margin dose), duration of follow-up review, tumor growth control rate, complications, and rate of hormone normalization in the case of functioning adenomas.

A total of 35 peer-reviewed studies involving 1621 patients were examined. Radiosurgery resulted in the control of tumor size in approximately 90% of treated patients. The reported rates of hormone normalization for functioning adenomas varied substantially. This was due in part to widespread differences in endocrinological criteria used for the postradiosurgical assessment. The risks of hypopituitarism, radiation-induced neoplasia, and cerebral vasculopathy associated with radiosurgery appeared lower than those for fractionated radiation therapy. Nevertheless, further observation will be required to understand the true probabilities. The incidence of other serious complications following radiosurgery was quite low.

Conclusions. Although microsurgery remains the primary treatment modality in most cases, stereotactic radiosurgery offers both safe and effective treatment for recurrent or residual pituitary adenomas. In rare instances, radiosurgery may be the best initial treatment for patients with pituitary adenomas. Further refinements in the radiosurgical technique will likely lead to improved outcomes.

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Gregory A. Helm, Jonas M. Sheehan, Jason P. Sheehan, John A. Jane Jr., Charles G. diPierro, Nathan E. Simmons, George T. Gillies, David F. Kallmes, and Thomas M. Sweeney

✓ Autologous bone grafts are currently considered “gold standard” material for achieving long-term spinal arthrodesis. The present study was performed to determine whether demineralized bone matrix (DBM), type I collagen gels, or bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) can improve autologous bone spinal fusions. Using a unilateral decompression—contralateral fusion technique in dogs, each of these materials was added to an autologous bone graft. Volumetric analysis, histological analysis, and biomechanical testing were performed to assess the effectiveness of each material. The DBM had an inhibitory effect on solid bone fusion of the spine, whereas the type I collagen gels improved the bony interface between the graft and the host spine. The BMP-2 strongly enhanced the amount of bone deposition at the fusion site and increased the number of intervertebral levels that were solidly fused. This study strongly supports the use of BMP-2 as an additive to autologous bone grafts in spine stabilization.