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  • Author or Editor: L. Fernando Gonzalez x
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Jeffrey S. Henn, G. Michael Lemole Jr., Mauro A. T. Ferreira, L. Fernando Gonzalez, Mark Schornak, Mark C. Preul and Robert F. Spetzler

✓ The goal of this study was to develop a new method for neurosurgical education based on interactive stereoscopic virtual reality (ISVR). Interactive stereoscopic virtual reality can be used to recreate the three-dimensional (3D) experience of neurosurgical approaches much more realistically than standard educational methods. The demonstration of complex 3D relationships is unrivaled and easily combined with interactive learning and multimedia capabilities.

Interactive stereoscopic virtual reality permits the accurate recreation of neurosurgical approaches through integration of several forms of stereoscopic multimedia (video, interactive anatomy, and computer-rendered animations). The content explored using ISVR is obtained through a combination of approach-based cadaver dissections, live surgical images and videos, and computer-rendered animations. These media are combined through an interactive software interface to demonstrate key aspects of a neurosurgical approach (for example, patient positioning, draping, incision, individual surgical steps, alternative steps, relevant anatomy). The ISVR platform is designed for use on a desktop personal computer with newly developed, inexpensive, platform-independent shutter glasses.

Interactive stereoscopic virtual reality has been used to capture the anatomy and methods of several neurosurgical approaches. In this paper the authors report their experience with ISVR and describe its potential advantages. The success of a neurosurgical approach is contingent on the mastery of complex, 3D anatomy. A new technology for neurosurgical education, ISVR can improve understanding and speed the learning process. It is an effective tool for neurosurgical education, bridging the substantial gap between textbooks and intraoperative training.

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L. Fernando Gonzalez, Neil R. Crawford, Robert H. Chamberlain, Luis E. Perez Garza, Mark C. Preul, Volker K. H. Sonntag and Curtis A. Dickman

Object. The authors compared the biomechanical stability resulting from the use of a new technique for occipitoatlantal motion segment fixation with an established method and assessed the additional stability provided by combining the two techniques.

Methods. Specimens were loaded using nonconstraining pure moments while recording the three-dimensional angular movement at occiput (Oc)—C1 and C1–2. Specimens were tested intact and after destabilization and fixation as follows: 1) Oc—C1 transarticular screws plus C1–2 transarticular screws; 2) occipitocervical transarticular (OCTA) plate in which C1–2 transarticular screws attach to a loop from Oc to C-2; and (3) OCTA plate plus Oc—C1 transarticular screws.

Occipitoatlantal transarticular screws reduced motion to well within the normal range. The OCTA loop and transarticular screws allowed a very small neutral zone, elastic zone, and range of motion during lateral bending and axial rotation. The transarticular screws, however, were less effective than the OCTA loop in resisting flexion and extension.

Conclusions. Biomechanically, Oc—C1 transarticular screws performed well enough to be considered as an alternative for Oc—C1 fixation, especially when instability at C1–2 is minimal. Techniques for augmenting these screws posteriorly by using a wired bone graft buttress, as is currently undertaken with C1–2 transarticular screws, may be needed for optimal performance.

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Ulises García-González, Daniel D. Cavalcanti, Abhishek Agrawal, L. Fernando Gonzalez, Robert C. Wallace, Robert F. Spetzler and Mark C. Preul


There are few systematic investigations of the dissected surgical anatomy of the diploic venous system (DVS) in the neuroanatomical literature. The authors describe the DVS relative to different common neurosurgical approaches. Knowledge of this system can help avoid potential sources of unacceptable bleeding and may impact healing of the cranium.


Using a high-speed drill with a 2-mm bit, the authors removed the outer layer of the compact bone in the skull to expose the DVS in 12 formalin-fixed cadaver heads. Pterional, supraorbital, and modified orbitozygomatic craniotomies were performed to delineate the relationship of the DVS.


The draining point of the frontal diploic vein (FDV) was located near the supraorbital notch. The draining point of the anterior temporal diploic vein (ATDV) was located in all pterional areas; the draining point of the posterior temporal diploic vein (PTDV) was located in all asterional areas. The PTDV was the dominant diploic vessel in all sides. The FDV and ATDV could be damaged during supraorbital, modified orbitozygomatic, and pterional craniotomies. The anterior DVS connected with the sphenoparietal and superior sagittal sinus (SSS). The posterior DVS connected with the transverse and sigmoid sinuses and was the dominant diploic vessel in all 24 sides. Of all the major diploic vessels, the location and pattern of distribution of the FDV were the most constant. The parietal bone contained the most diploic vessels. No diploic veins were found in the area delimited by the temporal squama.


The pterional, orbitozygomatic, and supraorbital approaches place the FDV and ATDV at risk. The major anterior diploic system connects the SSS with the sphenoparietal sinus. The posterior diploic system connects the SSS with the transverse and sigmoid sinuses.