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Sanjeet S. Grewal, Richard S. Zimmerman, Gregory Worrell, Benjamin H. Brinkmann, William O. Tatum, Amy Z. Crepeau, David A. Woodrum, Krzysztof R. Gorny, Joel P. Felmlee, Robert E. Watson, Joseph M. Hoxworth, Vivek Gupta, Prasanna Vibhute, Max R. Trenerry, Timothy J. Kaufmann, W. Richard Marsh, Robert E. Wharen Jr. and Jamie J. Van Gompel


Although it is still early in its application, laser interstitial thermal therapy (LiTT) has increasingly been employed as a surgical option for patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy. This study aimed to describe mesial temporal lobe ablation volumes and seizure outcomes following LiTT across the Mayo Clinic’s 3 epilepsy surgery centers.


This was a multi-site, single-institution, retrospective review of seizure outcomes and ablation volumes following LiTT for medically intractable mesial temporal lobe epilepsy between October 2011 and October 2015. Pre-ablation and post-ablation follow-up volumes of the hippocampus were measured using FreeSurfer, and the volume of ablated tissue was also measured on intraoperative MRI using a supervised spline-based edge detection algorithm. To determine seizure outcomes, results were compared between those patients who were seizure free and those who continued to experience seizures.


There were 23 patients who underwent mesial temporal LiTT within the study period. Fifteen patients (65%) had left-sided procedures. The median follow-up was 34 months (range 12–70 months). The mean ablation volume was 6888 mm3. Median hippocampal ablation was 65%, with a median amygdala ablation of 43%. At last follow-up, 11 (48%) of these patients were seizure free. There was no correlation between ablation volume and seizure freedom (p = 0.69). There was also no correlation between percent ablation of the amygdala (p = 0.28) or hippocampus (p = 0.82) and seizure outcomes. Twelve patients underwent formal testing with computational visual fields. Visual field changes were seen in 67% of patients who underwent testing. Comparing the 5 patients with clinically noticeable visual field deficits to the rest of the cohort showed no significant difference in ablation volume between those patients with visual field deficits and those without (p = 0.94). There were 11 patients with follow-up neuropsychological testing. Within this group, verbal learning retention was 76% in the patients with left-sided procedures and 89% in those with right-sided procedures.


In this study, there was no significant correlation between the ablation volume after LiTT and seizure outcomes. Visual field deficits were common in formally tested patients, much as in patients treated with open temporal lobectomy. Further studies are required to determine the role of amygdalohippocampal ablation.

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Qurat ul Ain Khan, Robert E. Wharen, Sanjeet S. Grewal, Colleen S. Thomas, H. Gordon Deen Jr., Ronald Reimer, Jay A. Van Gerpen, Julia E. Crook and Neill R. Graff-Radford


Management of idiopathic normal-pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) is hard because the diagnosis is difficult and shunt surgery has high complication rates. An important complication is overdrainage, which often can be treated with adjustable–shunt valve manipulations but also may result in the need for subdural hematoma evacuation. The authors evaluated shunt surgery overdrainage complications in iNPH and their relationship to lumbar puncture opening pressure (LPOP).


The authors reviewed the charts of 164 consecutive patients with iNPH who underwent shunt surgery at their institution from 2005 to 2011. They noted age, sex, presenting symptoms, symptom duration, hypertension, body mass index (BMI), imaging findings of atrophy, white matter changes, entrapped sulci, LPOP, valve opening pressure (VOP) setting, number of valve adjustments, serious overdrainage (subdural hematoma requiring surgery), radiological overdrainage (subdural hematomas or hygroma seen on postoperative imaging), clinical overdrainage (sustained or postural headache), other complications, and improvements in gait, urine control, and memory.


Eight patients (5%) developed subdural hematomas requiring surgery. All had an LPOP of greater than 160 mm H2O and an LPOP-VOP of greater than 40 mm H2O. Radiological overdrainage was more common in those with an LPOP of greater than 160 mm H2O than in those with an LPOP of less than 160 mm H2O (38% vs 21%, respectively; p = 0.024). The BMI was also significantly higher in those with an LPOP of greater than 160 mm H2O (median 30.2 vs 27.0, respectively; p = 0.005).


Serious overdrainage that caused subdural hematomas and also required surgery after shunting was related to LPOP and LPOP-VOP, which in turn were related to BMI. If this can be replicated, individuals with a high LPOP should have their VOP set close to the LPOP, or even higher. In doing this, perhaps overdrainage complications can be reduced.

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Eric W. Nottmeier, Robert E. Wharen and Naresh P. Patel

Iatrogenic spinal arachnoid cysts are rare, but have been described as a complication of spinal injection and lumbar puncture procedures. The authors describe 2 cases of iatrogenic spinal arachnoid cyst formation that occurred after incidental durotomy during lumbar spine surgery. In both cases, postoperative MR imaging revealed compression of the cauda equina by an intradural arachnoid cyst. Intradural exploration and fenestration of the arachnoid cyst was accomplished in each case. This entity should be considered in the differential diagnosis of a patient experiencing symptoms of neurological compression after a lumbar surgery complicated by incidental durotomy.

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Jerzy L. Slowinski, John D. Putzke, Ryan J. Uitti, John A. Lucas, Margaret F. Turk, Bruce A. Kall and Robert E. Wharen


The object of this study was to assess the results of unilateral deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) for management of advanced Parkinson disease (PD).


A clinical series of 24 patients (mean age 71 years, range 56–80 years) with medically intractable PD, who were undergoing unilateral magnetic resonance imaging–targeted, electrophysiologically guided STN DBS, completed a battery of qualitative and quantitative outcome measures preoperatively (baseline) and postoperatively, using a modified Core Assessment Program for Intracerebral Transplantations protocol.

The mean follow-up period was 9 months. Statistically significant improvement was observed in the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) Part II score (18%), the total UPDRS PART III score (31%), the contralateral UPDRS Part III score (63%), and scores for axial motor features (19%), contralateral tremor (88%), rigidity (60%), bradykinesia (54%), and dyskinesia (69%), as well as the Parkinson's Disease Quality of Life questionnaire score (15%) in the on-stimulation state compared with baseline. Ipsilateral symptoms improved by approximately 15% or less. Performance on the Purdue pegboard test improved in the contralateral hand in the on-stimulation state compared with the off-stimulation state (38%, p < 0.05). The daily levodopa-equivalent dose was reduced by 21% (p = 0.018). Neuropsychological tests revealed an improvement in mental flexibility and a trend toward reduced letter fluency. There were no permanent surgical complications. Of the 16 participants with symmetrical disease, five required implantation of the DBS unit on the second side.


Unilateral STN DBS is an effective and safe treatment for selected patients with advanced PD. Unilateral STN DBS provides improvement of contralateral motor symptoms of PD as well as quality of life, reduces requirements for medication, and possibly enhances mental flexibility. This method of surgical treatment may be associated with a reduced risk and may provide an alternative to bilateral STN DBS for PD, especially in older patients or patients with asymmetry of parkinsonism.

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Jerzy Slowinski, Ryan J. Uitti, John D. Putzke and Robert E. Wharen Jr.

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Alois A. Obwegeser, Ryan J. Uitti, John A. Lucas, Robert J. Witte, Margaret F. Turk and Robert E. Wharen Jr.

Object. The authors studied neuropsychological performance following microelectrode-guided posteroventral pallidotomy in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and evaluated correlations with presurgical and surgical factors.

Methods. Neuropsychological changes 3 months (43 patients) and 12 months (27 patients) after microelectrode-guided pallidotomy for PD are reported in a series of 44 consecutive patients with the disease, who improved neurologically, as measured by the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) in both the “off” (p < 0.001) and best “on” (p < 0.001) states.

Findings of the vocabulary subtest of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale—Revised (p < 0.01), Letter Fluency (p < 0.001), Verbal Fluency for semantic categories (p < 0.001), and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (p < 0.01) showed a significant decline in neuropsychological performance in patients 3 months after undergoing left-sided pallidotomy. Impairment in the language domain (semantic fluency) persisted at the 12-month follow-up examination (p < 0.01). Visual memory improved after right-sided pallidotomies (p < 0.01 after 3 months), with a nonsignificant trend toward persistent improvement 1 year postsurgery (p < 0.02 after 12 months). Preoperative semantic fluency was influenced by patient age (p < 0.001) and by the width of the third ventricle (p < 0.05), as measured by magnetic resonance imaging.

A regression model revealed that semantic fluency 3 months postoperatively was significantly affected by the baseline score (p < 0.001), side of surgery (p < 0.001), handedness (p < 0.01), and patient age (p < 0.05). However, postoperative lesion volume, lesion location, number of tracks, number of lesions, distance from anatomical landmarks, or UPDRS score did not significantly contribute to neuropsychological outcome.

Conclusions. Neuropsychological changes in a cohort of patients with PD who underwent pallidotomy and experienced excellent clinical benefits and minimum postoperative complications, emphasize the importance of neuropsychological examinations and further investigation of predictive factors.

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Mark K. Lyons, John L. D. Atkinson, Robert E. Wharen, H. Gordon Deen, Richard S. Zimmerman and Susan M. Lemens

Object. The authors report a retrospective analysis of 194 patients surgically treated at their institutions for symptomatic lumbar synovial cysts from January 1974 to January 1996.

Methods. Patient characteristics including age, sex, symptoms, signs, and preoperative neuroimaging studies were reviewed. Surgical procedures, complications, results, and pathological findings were correlated with preoperative assessment. One hundred ninety-four patients were surgically treated for symptomatic lumbar synovial cysts. Eighty percent were diagnosed and treated between 1987 and 1996. There were 100 men and 94 women with an average age of 66 years (range 28–94 years). The most common symptoms were painful radiculopathy (85%) and neurogenic single or multiroot claudication (44%). However, sensory loss (43%) and motor weakness (27%) were also presenting symptoms. Eleven percent of patients had undergone previous lumbar surgery prior to being referred to the Mayo Clinic. Preoperative neurological examination demonstrated motor weakness (40%), sensory loss (45%), reflex changes (57%), and variants of cauda equina syndrome (13%). In 19% of patients, normal neurological status was demonstrated. There was equal left/right-sided laterality, and eight patients presented with bilateral synovial cysts. The most commonly affected level was L4–5 (64%). All patients underwent laminectomy and resection of the cyst. Concomitant fusion was performed in 18 patients in whom clinical evidence of instability had been observed. However, subsequent fusion was required in only four patients who developed symptomatic spondylolisthesis. Surgery-related complications included cerebrospinal fluid leak (three patients), discitis (one patient), epidural hematoma (one patient), seroma (one patient), and deep vein thrombosis (one patient). One patient died 3 days after surgery of cardiac dysrhythmia. Follow-up data obtained for at least 6 months postoperatively were available in 147 patients. Of these, 134 (91%) reported good relief of their pain and 82% experienced improvement in their motor deficits.

Conclusions. Lumbar synovial cysts are a more common cause of lumbar radicular pain than previously thought. Surgical removal of the cyst is a safe and effective treatment for symptomatic relief in patients with lumbar synovial cysts. A concomitant fusion procedure may be performed in select cases. In this study, only a few patients developed symptomatic spinal instability requiring a second operation.