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Shinji Yamamoto, Hideaki Kanaya and Phyo Kim

OBJECT

Spinal digital subtraction angiography (DSA) is indispensable for the precise diagnosis of spinal vascular lesions and the assessment of blood supply to the spinal cord. However, comprehensive spinal DSA covering multiple segments requires repetition of selective catheterization into small segmental arteries, which is time consuming, sometimes difficult, and hazardous. The authors investigated the usefulness of CT angiography with intraarterial contrast injection (IA-CTA) as a preliminary study preceding spinal DSA. With the advent of multidetector CT, it is feasible to obtain images of the spinal cord vasculature instantaneously overa number of segments.

METHODS

A total of 56 patients with lesions involving the spinal vasculature underwent IA-CTA with 64- or 320-row detector CT in advance of comprehensive spinal DSA. Contrast material was injected via a pigtail catheter placed at the aorta in proximity to the segments of interest. Scanning was repeated twice to obtain arterial- and venous-phase images to differentiate between the arterial and venous components. The spinal arteries were identified by paging the various multiplanar reconstruction images and tracing the vessels from the aorta. Spinal DSA was subsequently performed by guiding selective catheterization to the feeding segments in reference to the IA-CTA findings. Visualization of the segmental arteries, normal spinal arteries, and abnormal vessels during IA-CTA was investigated and compared with that obtained during spinal DSA.

RESULTS

In all 56 patients, spinal IA-CTA successfully enabled visualization of the spinal vessels, including the radicular arteries and the anterior spinal artery. Below the aortic arch, all segmental arteries were identified clearly. The segmental arteries, radiculomedullary arteries, spinal arteries, and abnormal vessels were traced from the aorta, which would be the target of selective catheterization. In 3 (6.8%) patients, IA-CTA revealed severe aortic atherosclerosis and occlusion of some segmental arteries. The information obtained was useful for directing selective catheterization studies. The findings of IA-CTA corresponded well with those of spinal DSA.

CONCLUSIONS

IA-CTA is a useful adjunct to spinal DSA for surveying the vasculature surrounding the spinal cord and for orienting selective catheterization. IA-CTA can complement spinal DSA, curtail unnecessary segmental injections, and thus reduce procedural complications.

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Shinji Yamamoto, Ryu Kurokawa and Phyo Kim

Object

Regional blood flow is decreased in experimental models of chronic spinal cord compression, and the alteration presumably contributes to the development of myelopathy. Cilostazol (Otsuka Pharmaceuticals Co.), a selective Type III phosphodiesterase inhibitor, has been shown to be neuroprotective in cerebral hypoperfusion animal models and clinically effective in preventing the recurrence of cerebral infarction. To investigate the neuroprotective effect of cilostazol on cervical spondylotic myelopathy, the preventive effect against progressive motor dysfunction and the loss of anterior horn motor neurons were assessed using a chronic cord compression model in rats.

Methods

To produce chronic cervical cord compression in male Wistar rats, thin polyurethane sheets (3 × 5 × 0.7 mm) that gradually expand over 48–72 hours by absorbing water were implanted under the C5–6 laminae. In sham operations, the sheets were momentarily placed and then immediately removed. This model has been shown to reproduce characteristic features of clinical cervical myelopathy, with progressive motor disturbances after a latency period and insidious neuronal loss preceding the onset of symptoms. In the treatment group, cilostazol (30 mg/kg/day) was orally administered to the rats once a day, starting the day after surgery and continuing through the entire observation period of 25 weeks. In the control group, vehicle solution was administered under the same protocol. Changes in motor function were monitored by measuring bilateral forepaw grip strength and the duration of forced running on a treadmill. Twenty-five weeks after surgery, cervical spinal cords were examined histopathologically.

Results

Cilostazol preserved both forepaw grip strength and forced running capability. The drug also preserved anterior horn motor neurons in the C5–6 spinal cord segment, which diminished in number in the untreated chronic compression group. The drug decreased the number of TUNEL-positive apoptotic cells.

Conclusions

These results indicate that cilostazol is neuroprotective in the chronically compressed cervical cord and is potentially useful in the treatment of cervical spondylotic myelopathy.

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Fumi Higuchi, Shunsuke Kawamoto, Yoshihiro Abe, Phyo Kim and Keisuke Ueki

Object

Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) has gained increasing relevance in the treatment of metastatic brain tumors, but many metastatic tumors contain a large cystic component and often exceed the size limit for GKS. For such lesions, the authors adopted a procedure in which stereotactic aspiration is first performed and followed immediately by GKS on the same day. In this paper, the authors describe this 1-day combined procedure and evaluate its efficacy.

Methods

Between 2005 and 2010, 25 cystic metastases in 25 patients were treated at Dokkyo Medical University. The patients first underwent MRI and stereotactic aspiration of the cyst while stationary in a Leksell stereotactic frame; immediately afterward, the patients underwent a second MR imaging session and Gamma Knife treatment. Tumor volume reduction, tumor control rate, and overall survival were examined.

Results

Tumor volume, including the cystic component, decreased from 8.0–64.2 cm3 (mean 20.3 cm3) to 3.0–36.2 cm3 (mean 10.3 cm3) following aspiration, and the volume of 24 of 25 lesions decreased to less than 16.6 cm3, which is equivalent to the volume of a 3.16-cm sphere. At least 20 Gy was delivered to the entire lesion in 24 of 25 cases. Good tumor control was obtained in 16 of 21 cases that could be evaluated during a median follow-up period of 11 months (range 1–27 months); however, reaccumulation of cyst contents was observed in 2 patients who required Ommaya reservoir placement.

Conclusions

The 1-day aspiration plus GKS procedure is an effective and time-efficient treatment for large cystic brain metastases.

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Phyo Kim, Hidetoshi Murata, Ryu Kurokawa, Yoshiyuki Takaishi, Keizo Asakuno and Toshiki Kawamoto

Object

Laminoplasty has been used to expand the cervical spinal canal, based on the belief that reconstruction of the laminae preserves musculoskeletal function. The true efficacy of laminoplasty for maintaining spinal alignment, stability, and flexibility, however, remains to be proven. The authors have developed a new method, myoarchitectonic spinolaminoplasty (MSLP), which preserves all of the nuchal muscles and reconstitutes all of the musculoskeletal couplings to the posterior elements of the vertebrae. The details of this technique are described, and the efficacy of the technique in conserving muscle volume, alignment, and motion, as well as in preventing postoperative musculoskeletal discomfort, is assessed.

Methods

The authors' previous midline-splitting laminoplasty procedure, which utilized a hydroxyapatite (HA) implant as a substitute for the spinous process, was improved. Detachment of the muscles is avoided with this new technique by cutting inside the spinous process. The bone–muscle flaps are affixed to the HA spinous process. Radiographs, computed tomography scans, and neurological evaluations obtained at the 1-year follow-up in the groups of consecutive patients assessed immediately prior to and after the modification of the previous technique (the control and the MSLP groups, respectively) were analyzed and compared.

Results

The HA bone constructs became integrated due to osteoconduction. The cross-sectional area of the semispinalis capitis, semispinalis cervicis, and multifidus muscles remained significantly larger in the MSLP group. Slight attenuation in lordosis was observed in the control group, but was prevented in the MSLP group. Range of motion was somewhat restricted in the MSLP group, but the incidence of neck pain and shoulder strain was significantly reduced.

Conclusions

The new MSLP method was effective in preserving the volume and functions of the nuchal musculature and helping to minimize postoperative musculoskeletal complaints.

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Keizoh Asakuno, Phyo Kim, Toshiki Kawamoto and Masahiro Ogino

✓ A case of a dural arteriovenous fistula (DAVF) that developed at the site of nerve root sleeve damage as a result of lumbar disc extrusion is reported. A 60-year-old man who had undergone lumbar discectomy 3 years previously for severe left-sided sciatica and L5—S1 disc herniation presented with progressive gait disturbance. After the initial surgery, the symptoms resolved. Fourteen months after the operation, however, he started to experience dysesthesias in both legs and progressive gait and urinary disturbances. Physical examination revealed a weakness of the anterior tibialis and the gastrocnemius muscles, as well as decreased contractility of the anal sphincter and marked sacral hypesthesia. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging revealed swelling and a T2 signal elongation in the conus medullaris; angiography demonstrated arteriovenous dural shunting between the left lateral sacral artery and the left S-1 radicular vein at the site of the previous operation. Surgery was conducted to excise the DAVF on the S-1 nerve root sleeve and an arterialized intradural vein on the root. The procedure resulted in resolution of the symptoms and disappearance of the abnormal angiographically and MR imaging—documented anomalies. This is the first report of a DAVF in which progressive conus myelopathy developed after a lumbar discectomy.

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Phyo Kim, Susumu Wakai, Seigo Matsuo, Takashi Moriyama and Takaaki Kirino

Hydroxyapatite (HA) is the main constituent of bone mineral, and synthetic HA serves as a biocompatible and bioactive material. It permits bone growth on its surface and forms a union with the adjacent bone.

Object. The authors have developed implants made of porous HA, which they have used in more than 90 cases in the past 6 years to achieve cervical interbody fusion. The implants were designed to provide maximum durability, biomechanical stability, and alignment preservation and to be technically easy to use. The authors summarize their experience and results with the use of these implants.

Methods. The results of postoperative follow-up observation of 12 months or longer (mean 37.1 ± 2.4 months) are available in 70 patients with underlying disease including: spondylosis, disc extrusion, ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (PLL), hypertrophy of the PLL, and trauma. The patients' ages at the time of surgery ranged from 22 to 83 years (mean 50.6 ± 1.3 years).

Flexion—extension radiographs and tomograms, obtained 6 and 12 months after surgery and every year thereafter, were used to demonstrate solid fusion in all cases. Dislocation of the implant occurred in three patients who were treated during the early portion of the series. At 6 to 12 months after surgery, encasement of the implant and formation of union were observed. Normal lordosis, if present prior to surgery, was maintained postsurgery. No neurological deterioration related to the site of fusion occurred during the period of observation.

Conclusions. The authors conclude that satisfactory interbody fusion can be achieved by using HA implants, provided their design is appropriate and adequate surgical techniques are used.

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Yuhei Yoshimoto, Phyo Kim, Tomio Sasaki, Takaaki Kirino and Kintomo Takakura

✓ The present study was undertaken to determine whether oxyhemoglobin (OxyHb) is responsible for the functional alterations in the cerebral arteries observed during chronic vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage. Vascular strips of canine basilar arteries were kept in organ culture for 3 days with or without repetitive exposure to OxyHb (OxyHb-treated and control strips). Contractions elicited by high levels of potassium (80 mM) and uridine 5′-triphosphate (3 × 10−4 M) were reduced in the OxyHb-treated group in a concentration-dependent manner. The relaxations evoked by nitric oxide and 8-bromo-cyclic guanosine monophosphate (8-bromo-cGMP) were not affected. Relaxations elicited by the calcium channel blocker, diltiazem, were attenuated in the OxyHb-treated rings. When the extracellular calcium concentration ([Ca++]e) was changed from a concentration in the external solution of 10−8 M to 10−3 M, myogenic tension developed. Myogenic tension, expressed as a percentage of the maximum contraction in each segment, was augmented in the OxyHb-treated group at [Ca++]e of 10−5 M and 10−4 M. There were no significant differences in passive compliance of the arterial wall between the two groups. These results demonstrated that prolonged exposure to OxyHb in vitro results in a decrease in contractile capacity and an increase in sensitivity to [Ca++]e, in agreement with previous findings in spastic arteries. By contrast, impairment of the 8-bromo-cGMP—mediated relaxation pathway and increased stiffness of the arterial wall, which have been reported to occur in spastic arteries, were not induced by prolonged exposure to OxyHb in vitro.

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Yuhei Yoshimoto, Phyo Kim, Tomio Sasaki and Kintomo Takakura

✓ To investigate the pathogenetic significance of metabolic failure observed in spastic cerebral arteries after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), the temporal profile of alterations in the arterial content of high-energy phosphates was studied. A canine model of double hemorrhage was used. Constriction of the basilar artery was measured angiographically on Days 3, 5, 7, and 14 after SAH in separate groups of animals. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), adenosine diphosphate (ADP), adenosine monophosphate (AMP), guanosine triphosphate (GTP), guanosine diphosphate, creatine phosphate (CrP), and creatine (Cr) levels in the arteries were assayed using high-performance liquid chromatography. A time-dependent development of angiographic spasm was confirmed. A mild vasospasm was seen in the group studied 3 days after SAH, progressed in the Day 5 group, remained comparably severe in the Day 7 group, and resolved partially in the Day 14 group. The content of high-energy phosphates (ATP, GTP, and CrP) declined rapidly over the course of the study, and a significant reduction in ATP, GTP, and CrP was observed in the Day 3 group. Levels of ATP and CrP decreased further in the Day 5 and 7 groups. The decrement in GTP was completed in the early phase; a significant reduction took place in the Day 3 group, with no progression thereafter and no recovery though Day 14. Total adenylate (ATP + ADP + AMP) and total creatine (Cr + CrP) content diminished markedly over the course of the study. These results indicate that metabolic failure and trophic disturbance in the cerebral artery occurs with a rapid onset following SAH and progresses in close association with the development of vasospasm, suggesting a significant causal relationship with the pathogenesis.

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Phyo Kim, James D. Jones and Thoralf M. Sundt Jr.

✓ High-energy phosphate levels were measured in the canine cerebral artery during chronic vasospasm. Subarachnoid hemorrhage and vasospasm were induced by percutaneous injections of autologous venous blood into the cisterna magna. Narrowing of the artery was confirmed by angiography 7 days later. Levels of adenosine phosphates (adenosine triphosphate (ATP), adenosine diphosphate (ADP), and adenosine monophosphate (AMP)), guanosine phosphates (guanosine triphosphate (GTP) and guanosine diphosphate (GDP)), and creatine phosphate (CrP) in the basilar artery were quantified using high-performance liquid chromatography. The total creatine (Crtotal) content was measured by a spectrophotometric method after acid hydrolysis of CrP. Levels of ATP, GTP, and CrP were markedly reduced in the spastic arteries, and ratios of ATP:ADP, GTP:GDP, and CrP:Crtotal were significantly decreased. The results indicate a serious disturbance in the energy metabolism that takes place in the cerebral artery during chronic vasospasm.

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Surgery of spinal nerve schwannoma

Risk of neurological deficit after resection of involved root

Phyo Kim, Michael J. Ebersold, Burton M. Onofrio and Lynn M. Quast

✓ When surgically removing a spinal nerve schwannoma, preservation of the involved root is attempted and may be feasible. However, in large tumors, sacrifice of the nerve root is often required to achieve total removal of the tumor, and the resection does not always result in postoperative neurological deficit. The present study was designed to determine the incidence and extent of neurological deficit as correlated with resection of the root, performed between 1976 and 1987 in 86 cases at the time of total removal of spinal schwannoma. Thirty-one patients underwent sacrifice of a root critical for the function of the upper (C5–T1, 14 cases) or the lower extremities (L3–S1, 17 cases). This report is limited to these 31 cases. Only seven patients (23%) developed detachable motor or sensory deficits postoperatively. All deficits were no more than partial loss of strength or sensation. Fifteen of the 31 patients had large tumors with extradural components, which necessitated sacrifice of the entire motor and sensory radix; however, 11 (76%) of these 15 did not develop any deficits referrable to the involved myotome or dermatome. Six cases showed histological characteristics of “neurofibroma,” with axons intermingled in the tumor, and none developed a postoperative deficit. Preoperative electromyography was performed in 23 cases. Of 13 patients with findings of denervation, five developed deficits after surgery; the other 10 patients showed no evidence of denervation, and none had deficits after surgery.

These results indicate that the spinal roots giving origin to schwannoma are frequently nonfunctional at the time of surgery, and risks of causing disabling neurological deficit after sacrificing these roots are small.