✓Spinal glioblastomas multiforme (GBMs) are rare lesions of the central nervous system with a prognosis as poor as that of their intracranial counterpart. The authors present a case of a 50-year-old man with a GBM of the spinal cord treated with surgical removal of the mass and cordectomy after the onset of paraplegia. Six years later, the patient developed hepatitis C and received interferon therapy. Six months after the start of interferon therapy, magnetic resonance imaging revealed a right cerebellar mass pathologically consistent with a GBM. Despite aggressive treatment, the patient died 1 month later. Although intracranial dissemination of spinal GBMs has been reported, this case illustrates the longest reported interval between the occurrence of a spinal GBM and its intracranial dissemination. Thus, cordectomy should be considered as a reasonable alternative in patients with complete loss of neurological function at and below the level where they harbor a malignant spinal cord astrocytoma.
Edward M. Marchan, Raymond F. Sekula Jr., Peter J. Jannetta and Matthew R. Quigley
Raymond F. Sekula Jr., Edward M. Marchan, Lynn H. Fletcher, Kenneth F. Casey and Peter J. Jannetta
Although microvascular decompression (MVD) for patients with medically refractory trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is widely accepted as the treatment of choice, other “second-tier” treatments are frequently offered to elderly patients due to concerns regarding fitness for surgery. The authors sought to determine the safety and effectiveness of MVD for TN in patients older than 75 years of age.
The authors performed a retrospective review of medical records and conducted follow-up telephone interviews with the patients. The outcome data from 25 MVD operations for TN performed in 25 patients with a mean age of 79.4 years (range 75–88 years) were compared with those of a control group of 25 younger patients with a mean age of 42.3 years (range 17–50 years) who underwent MVDs during the same 30-month period from July 2000 to December 2003.
Initial pain relief was achieved in 96% of the patients in both groups (p = 1.0). There were no operative deaths in either group. After an average follow-up period of 44 and 52 months, 78 and 72% of patients in the elderly and control groups, respectively, remained pain free without medication (p = 0.74).
Microvascular decompression is an effective treatment for elderly patients with TN. The authors' experience suggests that the rate of complications and death after MVD for TN in elderly patients is no different from the rate in younger patients.
Raymond F. Sekula Jr., Edward M. Marchan, Parviz Baghai, Peter J. Jannetta and Matthew R. Quigley
✓ Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), also known as postinfectious encephalomyelitis, is an immunologically mediated demyelinating disorder affecting the central nervous system that typically occurs after infection or vaccination. The prognosis of ADEM is generally favorable. In a small subset of patients with ADEM, however, fulminant cerebral edema requiring neurosurgical intervention will develop. Few recommendations are available to help the neurosurgeon in dealing with such cases. In this report, the authors present the case of a patient with ADEM in whom central brain herniation developed secondary to medically intractable cerebral edema. The authors review the salient features of the disease and suggest a role for neurosurgeons in cases of fulminant ADEM.