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  • Author or Editor: Mark Bernstein x
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Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Abhijit Guha, Andres Lozano and Mark Bernstein

Object. Many neurosurgeons routinely obtain computerized tomography (CT) scans to rule out hemorrhage in patients after stereotactic procedures. In the present prospective study, the authors investigated the rate of silent hemorrhage and delayed deterioration after stereotactic biopsy sampling and the role of postbiopsy CT scanning.

Methods. A subset of patients (the last 102 of approximately 800 patients) who underwent stereotactic brain biopsies at the Toronto Hospital prospectively underwent routine postoperative CT scanning within hours of the biopsy procedure. Their medical charts and CT scans were then reviewed.

A postoperative CT scan was obtained in 102 patients (aged 17–87 years) who underwent stereotactic biopsy between June 1994 and September 1996. Sixty-one patients (59.8%) exhibited hemorrhages, mostly intracerebral (54.9%), on the immediate postoperative scan. Only six of these patients were clinically suspected to have suffered a hemorrhage based on immediate postoperative neurological deficit; in the remaining 55 (53.9%) of 102 patients, the hemorrhage was clinically silent and unsuspected. Among the clinically silent intracerebral hemorrhages, 22 measured less than 5 mm, 20 between 5 and 10 mm, five between 10 and 30 mm, and four between 30 and 40 mm. Of the 55 patients with clinically silent hemorrhages, only three demonstrated a delayed neurological deficit (one case of seizure and two cases of progressive loss of consciousness) and these all occurred within the first 2 postoperative days. Of the neurologically well patients in whom no hemorrhage was demonstrated on initial postoperative CT scan, none experienced delayed deterioration.

Conclusions. Clinically silent hemorrhage after stereotactic biopsy is very common. However, the authors did not find that knowledge of its existence ultimately affected individual patient management or outcome. The authors, therefore, suggest that the most important role of postoperative CT scanning is to screen for those neurologically well patients with no hemorrhage. These patients could safely be discharged on the same day they underwent biopsy.

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R. Loch Macdonald, Michael G. Fehlings, Charles H. Tator, Andres Lozano, J. Ross Fleming, Fred Gentili, Mark Bernstein, M. Chris Wallace and Ronald R. Tasker

✓ This study was conducted to determine the safety and efficacy of multilevel anterior cervical corpectomy and stabilization using fibular allograft in patients with cervical myelopathy. Thirty-six patients underwent this procedure for cervical myelopathy caused by spondylosis (20 patients), ossified posterior longitudinal ligament (four patients), trauma (one patient), or a combination of lesions (11 patients). The mean age (± standard deviation) of the patients was 58 ± 10 years and 30 of the patients were men. The mean duration of symptoms before surgery was 30 ± 6 months and 11 patients had undergone previous surgery. Prior to surgery, the mean Nurick grade of the myelopathy was 3.1 ± 1.4. Seventeen patients also had cervicobrachial pain. Four vertebrae were removed in six patients, three in 19, and two in 11 patients. Instrumentation was used in 15 cases. The operative mortality rate was 3% (one patient) and two patients died 2 months postoperatively. Postoperative complications included early graft displacement requiring reoperation (three patients), transient dysphagia (two patients), cerebrospinal fluid leak treated by lumbar drainage (three patients), myocardial infarction (two patients), and late graft fracture (one patient). One patient developed transient worsening of myelopathy and three developed new, temporary radiculopathies. All patients achieved stable bone union and the mean Nurick grade at an average of 31 6 20 months (range 0–79 months) postoperatively was 2.4 ± 1.6 (p < 0.05, t-test). Cervicobrachial pain improved in 10 (59%) of the 17 patients who had preoperative pain and myelopathy improved at least one grade in 17 patients (47%; p < 0.05). Twenty-six surviving patients (72%) were followed for more than 24 months and stable, osseous union occurred in 97%. These results show that extensive, multilevel anterior decompression and stabilization using fibular allograft can be achieved with a perioperative mortality and major morbidity rate of 22% and with significant improvement in pain and myelopathy.