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Christopher S. Graffeo, Avital Perry, Lucas P. Carlstrom, Fredric B. Meyer, John L. D. Atkinson, Dana Erickson, Todd B. Nippoldt, William F. Young Jr., Bruce E. Pollock and Jamie J. Van Gompel

OBJECTIVE

Nelson-Salassa syndrome (NSS) is a rare consequence of bilateral adrenalectomy (ADX) for refractory hypercortisolism due to Cushing disease (CD). Although classically defined by rapid growth of a large, invasive, adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH)–secreting pituitary tumor after bilateral ADX that causes cutaneous hyperpigmentation, visual disturbance, and high levels of ACTH, clinical experience suggests more variability.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective chart review of all patients 18 years and older with a history of bilateral ADX for CD, adequate pituitary MRI, and at least 2 years of clinical follow-up. Statistical tests included Student's t-test, chi-square test, Fisher's exact test, multivariate analysis, and derived receiver operating characteristic curves.

RESULTS

Between 1956 and 2015, 302 patients underwent bilateral ADX for the treatment of hypercortisolism caused by CD; 88 had requisite imaging and follow-up (mean 16 years). Forty-seven patients (53%) had radiographic progression of pituitary disease and were diagnosed with NSS. Compared with patients who did not experience progression, those who developed NSS were significantly younger at the time of CD diagnosis (33 vs 44 years, p = 0.007) and at the time of bilateral ADX (35 vs 49 years, p = 0.007), had larger tumors at the time of CD diagnosis (6 mm vs 1 mm, p = 0.03), and were more likely to have undergone external-beam radiation therapy (EBRT, 43% vs 12%, p = 0.005). Among NSS patients, the mean tumor growth was 7 mm/yr (SE 6 mm/yr); the median tumor growth was 3 mm/yr. Prevalence of pathognomonic symptoms was low; the classic triad occurred in 9%, while hyperpigmentation without visual field deficit was observed in 23%, and 68% remained asymptomatic despite radiographic disease progression. NSS required treatment in 14 patients (30%).

CONCLUSIONS

NSS is a prevalent sequela of CD after bilateral ADX and affects more than 50% of patients. However, although radiological evidence of NSS is common, it is most often clinically indolent, with only a small minority of patients developing the more aggressive disease phenotype characterized by clinically meaningful symptoms and indications for treatment. Young age at the time of CD diagnosis or treatment with bilateral ADX, large tumor size at CD diagnosis, and EBRT are associated with progression to NSS and may be markers of aggressiveness.

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Benjamin T. Himes, Grant W. Mallory, Arnoley S. Abcejo, Jeffrey Pasternak, John L. D. Atkinson, Fredric B. Meyer, W. Richard Marsh, Michael J. Link, Michelle J. Clarke, William Perkins and Jamie J. Van Gompel

OBJECTIVE

Historically, performing neurosurgery with the patient in the sitting position offered advantages such as improved visualization and gravity-assisted retraction. However, this position fell out of favor at many centers due to the perceived risk of venous air embolism (VAE) and other position-related complications. Some neurosurgical centers continue to perform sitting-position cases in select patients, often using modern monitoring techniques that may improve procedural safety. Therefore, this paper reports the risks associated with neurosurgical procedures performed in the sitting position in a modern series.

METHODS

The authors reviewed the anesthesia records for instances of clinically significant VAE and other complications for all neurosurgical procedures performed in the sitting position between January 1, 2000, and October 8, 2013. In addition, a prospectively maintained morbidity and mortality log of these procedures was reviewed for instances of subdural or intracerebral hemorrhage, tension pneumocephalus, and quadriplegia. Both overall and specific complication rates were calculated in relation to the specific type of procedure.

RESULTS

In a series of 1792 procedures, the overall complication rate related to the sitting position was 1.45%, which included clinically significant VAE, tension pneumocephalus, and subdural hemorrhage. The rate of any detected VAE was 4.7%, but the rate of VAE requiring clinical intervention was 1.06%. The risk of clinically significant VAE was highest in patients undergoing suboccipital craniotomy/craniectomy with a rate of 2.7% and an odds ratio (OR) of 2.8 relative to deep brain stimulator cases (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2–70, p = 0.04). Sitting cervical spine cases had a comparatively lower complication rate of 0.7% and an OR of 0.28 as compared with all cranial procedures (95% CI 0.12–0.67, p < 0.01). Sitting cervical cases were further subdivided into extradural and intradural procedures. The rate of complications in intradural cases was significantly higher (OR 7.3, 95% CI 1.4–39, p = 0.02) than for extradural cases. The risk of VAE in intradural spine procedures did not differ significantly from sitting suboccipital craniotomy/craniectomy cases (OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.09–5.4, p = 0.7). Two cases (0.1%) had to be aborted intraoperatively due to complications. There were no instances of intraoperative deaths, although there was a single death within 30 days of surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

In this large, modern series of cases performed in the sitting position, the complication rate was low. Suboccipital craniotomy/craniectomy was associated with the highest risk of complications. When appropriately used with modern anesthesia techniques, the sitting position provides a safe means of surgical access.

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Ravi Kumar, Jeffrey T. Jacob, Kirk M. Welker, Fred M. Cutrer, Michael J. Link, John L. D. Atkinson and Nicholas M. Wetjen

This report reviews a series of 3 patients who developed superficial siderosis following posterior fossa operations in which dural closure was incomplete. In all 3 patients, revision surgery and complete duraplasty was performed to halt the progression of superficial siderosis. Following surgery, 2 patients experienced resolution of their CSF xanthochromia while 1 patient had reduced CSF xanthochromia. In this paper the authors also review the etiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment of this condition. The authors suggest that posterior fossa dural patency and pseudomeningocele are risk factors for the latent development of superficial siderosis and recommend that revision duraplasty be performed in patients with posterior fossa pseudomeningoceles and superficial siderosis to prevent progression of the disease.

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Tarun D. Singh, Navid Valizadeh, Fredric B. Meyer, John L. D. Atkinson, Dana Erickson and Alejandro A. Rabinstein

OBJECT

This study was undertaken to analyze the predisposing factors, clinical presentation, therapeutic management, and clinical recovery in patients with pituitary apoplexy, with an emphasis on the long-term visual, endocrine, and functional outcomes.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of consecutive cases involving patients treated at Mayo Clinic between 1992 and 2013. Patients were included in the study only if they had 1) abrupt onset of severe headache or visual disturbance in the presence of a pituitary adenoma and 2) radiological or surgical confirmation of a pituitary mass. The primary endpoints of analysis were the visual (ocular motility, visual fields, and visual acuity), endocrine, and functional outcomes (using the modified Rankin Scale).

RESULTS

Eighty-seven patients were identified (57 males and 30 females, mean age 50.9 years, range 15–91 years). Twenty-two patients (25.3%) had a known pituitary adenoma. Hypertension was the most common associated factor (39%). Headache was the most frequent presenting symptom (89.7%), followed by visual abnormalities (47.1%). Cranial nerve palsies were present in 39% and visual field defects in 34.1%. MRI detected hemorrhage in 89% patients, as compared with 42% detected by CT scan. Sixty-one patients (70.1%) underwent surgery during acute hospitalization (median time from apoplexy 5 days, IQR 3–10 days), 8 (9.2%) had delayed surgery, and 18 (20.7%) were treated conservatively. Histopathological examination revealed adenoma with pure necrosis in 18 (30%), pure hemorrhage in 4 (6.7%), and both in 6 (10%) patients. Four patients died during hospitalization. The average duration of follow-up was 44.2 ± 43.8 months. All survivors were independent and had complete resolution or substantial improvement in eye movements and visual fields at the last follow-up. Many patients needed long-term hormonal replacement with levothyroxine (62.7%) and cortisol (60%). Daily desmopressin was needed in 23% of all surgical patients at 3 months (versus none of the medically treated) and this requirement decreased slightly over time. Regrowth of pituitary adenoma was seen in 7 patients (8.6%). There were no statistically significant differences in any of the outcome measures across the treatment groups.

CONCLUSIONS

The outcome of most patients with pituitary apoplexy is excellent. Selected patients can be managed conservatively, and patients with severe neuro-ophthalmological deficits treated with early surgery can achieve an excellent recovery.

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John L. D. Atkinson

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Letter to the Editor

Intraneural ganglion

Robert J. Spinner, John L. D. Atkinson and Timothy P. Maus

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Robert J. Spinner, Marie-Noëlle Hébert-Blouin, Timothy P. Maus, John L. D. Atkinson, Nicholas M. Desy and Kimberly K. Amrami

Object

Juxtafacet cysts (JFCs) in usual locations have recently been shown to have joint connections. The pathogenesis of JFCs in unusual locations has remained obscure. The authors hypothesize that all JFCs, including atypical ones, are joint derived.

Methods

In this study the authors sought to explain the occurrence and formation of clinical outliers of spinal JFCs. In Part I, they performed an extensive literature search to identify case reports of spinal intraneural cysts that have been unappreciated despite the fact that they should occur. In Part II, they studied far-lateral (extraforaminal) cysts treated at their institution and reported in the literature. The presence of a joint connection was specifically looked for since this finding has not been widely appreciated.

Results

In Part I, 3 isolated case reports of spinal intraneural JFCs without reported joint connections were identified: 2 involving L-5 and 1, C-8. In Part II, 6 cases involving patients with far-lateral JFCs treated at the authors' institution were reviewed and all 6 had joint connections. Two of these cases had been previously published, although their joint connections were not appreciated. In 2 of the newly reported cases, arthrography confirmed a communication between the facet and the cyst. Only 1 of 5 cases in the literature had a recognized joint connection.

Conclusions

The authors believe that all JFCs are joint derived. This explanation for intraneural and extraneural JFCs in typical locations would be consistent with the unified articular (synovial) theory and the pathogenesis for intraneural and extraneural ganglion cyst formation in the limbs. Facet joints appear no different from other synovial joints occurring elsewhere. Understanding the pathogenesis of these cysts will help target treatment to the joint, improve surgical outcomes, and decrease recurrences.

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Michelle J. Clarke, Dana Erickson, M. Regina Castro and John L. D. Atkinson

Object

Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)–secreting pituitary adenomas are rare, representing < 2% of all pituitary adenomas.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of patients with TSH-secreting or clinically silent TSH-immunostaining pituitary tumors among all pituitary adenomas followed at their institution between 1987 and 2003. Patient records, including clinical, imaging, and pathological and surgical characteristics were reviewed. Twenty-one patients (6 women and 15 men; mean age 46 years, range 26–73 years) were identified. Of these, 10 patients had a history of clinical hyperthyroidism, of whom 7 had undergone ablative thyroid procedures (thyroid surgery/131I ablation) prior to the diagnosis of pituitary adenoma. Ten patients had elevated TSH preoperatively. Seven patients presented with headache, and 8 presented with visual field defects. All patients underwent imaging, of which 19 were available for imaging review. Sixteen patients had macroadenomas.

Results

Of the 21 patients, 18 underwent transsphenoidal surgery at the authors' institution, 2 patients underwent transsphenoidal surgery at another facility, and 1 was treated medically. Patients with TSH-secreting tumors were defined as in remission after surgery if they had no residual adenoma on imaging and had biochemical evidence of hypo-or euthyroidism. Patients with TSH-immunostaining tumors were considered in remission if they had no residual tumor. Of these 18 patients, 9 (50%) were in remission following surgery. Seven patients had residual tumor; 2 of these patients underwent further transsphenoidal resection, 1 underwent a craniotomy, and 4 underwent postoperative radiation therapy (2 conventional radiation therapy, 1 Gamma Knife surgery, and 1 had both types of radiation treatment). Two patients had persistently elevated TSH levels despite the lack of evidence of residual tumor. On pathological analysis and immunostaining of the surgical specimen, 17 patients had samples that stained positively for TSH, 8 for α-subunit, 10 for growth hormone, 7 for prolactin, 2 for adrenocorticotrophic hormone, and 1 for follicle-stimulating hormone/luteinizing hormone. Eleven patients (61%) ultimately required thyroid hormone replacement therapy, and 5 (24%) required additional pituitary hormone replacement. Of these, 2 patients required treatment for new anterior pituitary dysfunction as a complication of surgery, and 2 patients with preoperative partial anterior pituitary dysfunction developed complete panhypopituitarism. One patient had transient diabetes insipidus. The remainder had no change in pituitary function from their preoperative state.

Conclusions

Thyroid-stimulating hormone–secreting pituitary lesions are often delayed in diagnosis, are frequently macroadenomas and plurihormonal in terms of their pathological characteristics, have a heterogeneous clinical picture, and are difficult to treat. An experienced team approach will optimize results in the management of these uncommon lesions.

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Robert J. Spinner, Stephen W. Carmichael and John L. D. Atkinson

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Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol, J. Michael Homan, Edward R. Laws, John L. D. Atkinson and Ross H. Miller

✓ Mayo Clinic founders, William J. Mayo and Charles H. Mayo, and Harvey W. Cushing were among the most significant pioneers of modern American surgery. A review of their personal correspondence reveals a special relationship among these three individuals, particularly between William Mayo and Cushing. Their interactions within the Society of Clinical Surgery initiated their close personal and professional association, which would endure for 39 years. William Mayo strongly supported Cushing's efforts to develop the specialty of neurological surgery, and Cushing sought Mayo's advice in making important career-related decisions. Their supportive friendship and professional alliance remains an example for future generations of neurological surgeons.