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Damianos E. Sakas, Theofanis N. Flaskas, Ioannis G. Panourias, and Nikolaos Georgakoulias

Chronic electrical cortical stimulation (ECS) is an evolving therapy for alleviating treatment-refractory chronic pain syndromes. In this report, the authors describe a modified technique of ECS that involves resection of dural strips and interdural placement of the electrodes as a patch, and bifocal stimulation by implanting 2 electrode strips, that is, one over the motor and one over the sensory cortices.

The technique was used in 4 patients with treatment-refractory pain syndromes: a 76-year-old woman with poststroke central pain, 2 women, (71 and 73 years old) with trigeminal pain, and a 44-year-old man with phantom limb pain. All 4 patients experienced a sustained significant improvement in the intensity of pain and have gained a substantially improved functionality and quality of life. An important finding in these patients was the constancy of impedance within a narrow values range throughout the postoperative period. For the cases, the follow-up exceeds 24, 15, 12, and 9 months. The factors affecting the efficacy of ECS are discussed. In the authors' opinion, interdural implantation of the electrodes holds the promise to improve the efficacy and consistency of ECS compared with the standard epidural or subdural implantation without increasing the risk of the procedure. The technical considerations and the potential therapeutic advantages of the interdural bifocal approach are discussed.

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Damianos E. Sakas, Ioannis G. Panourias, George Stranjalis, Maria P. Stefanatou, Nikos Maratheftis, and Nikos Bontozoglou

✓The authors present the case of a 52-year-old female patient with a 6-year history of intractable paroxysmal otalgia. Preoperative magnetic resonance (MR) angiography demonstrated an anterior inferior cerebellar artery loop compressing the intermediate nerve in the seventh/eighth cranial nerve complex inside the internal auditory canal. The pain resolved completely after a microvascular decompression via a retromastoid craniotomy. To the best of the authors' knowledge, the combined neuroimaging and intraoperative findings of this case provide a unique demonstration that vascular compression of the intermediate nerve can be the exclusive cause of paroxysmal otalgia. Magnetic resonance imaging and MR angiography can establish the causative mechanism and distinguish this otalgia due to vascular compression of the intermediate nerve from other pain syndromes that are designated as geniculate neuralgia (GN). The present case indicates that intermediate nerve neuralgia is a distinct syndrome of neurovascular conflict and a variant of GN. The causative classification of GN should be reexamined with the use of advanced MR imaging.

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Damianos E. Sakas, Ioannis G. Panourias, Efstathios J. Boviatsis, Marios S. Themistocleous, Lambis C. Stavrinou, Pantelis Stathis, and Stylianos D. Gatzonis

Deep brain stimulation of the globus pallidus internus has been shown to be beneficial in a small number of patients suffering from axial dystonias. However, it has not yet been reported as an effective treatment for the alleviation of idiopathic head drop. The authors describe a 49-year-old woman with idiopathic cervical dystonia (camptocephalia) who was unable to raise her head > 30° when standing or sitting; her symptoms would abate when lying down. This disabling neurological condition was treated successfully with bilateral chronic electrical stimulation of the globus pallidus internus.

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Damianos E. Sakas, Ioannis G. Panourias, Lampis C. Stavrinou, Efstathios J. Boviatsis, Marios Themistocleous, Pantelis Stathis, George Tagaris, Elias Angelopoulos, and Stylianos Gatzonis

The authors report on 2 young patients who developed drug-resistant idiopathic dystonic camptocormia (bent spine) and were treated successfully by deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the globus pallidus internus (GPi). The first patient, a 26-year-old woman, suffered for 3 years from such severe camptocormia that she became unable to walk and was confined to bed or a wheelchair. The second patient, a 21-year-old man, suffered for 6 months from less severe camptocormia; he was able to walk but only for short distances with a very bent spine, the arms in a parallel position to the legs, and the hands almost approaching the floor to potentially support him in case of a forward fall. Within a few days following DBS, both patients experienced marked clinical improvement. At most recent follow-up (44 months in one case and 42 in the other), the patients' ability to walk upright remained normal. Similar findings have only been reported recently in a few cases of camptocormia secondary to Parkinson disease or tardive dyskinesia. On the basis of the experience of these 2 idiopathic cases and the previously reported cases of secondary camptocormia with a favorable response to GPi DBS, the authors postulate that specific patterns of oscillatory activity in the GPi are vital for the maintenance of erect posture and the adoption of bipedal walking by humans.