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Grant W. Mallory, Grigoriy Arutyunyan, Meghan E. Murphy, Kathryn M. Van Abel, Elvis Francois, Nicholas M. Wetjen, Jeremy L. Fogelson, Erin K. O'Brien, Michelle J. Clarke, Laurence J. Eckel and Jamie J. Van Gompel

OBJECT

Endoscopic approaches to the anterior craniocervical junction are increasing in frequency. Choice of oral versus endoscopic endonasal approach to the odontoid often depends on the relationship of the C1–2 complex to the hard palate. However, it is not known how this relevant anatomy changes with age. We hypothesize that there is a dynamic relationship of C-2 and the hard palate, which changes with age, and potentially affects the choice of surgical approach. The aim of this study was to characterize the relationship of C-2 relative to the hard palate with respect to age and sex.

METHODS

Emergency department billing and trauma records from 2008 to 2014 were reviewed for patients of all ages who underwent cervical or maxillofacial CT as part of a trauma evaluation for closed head injury. Patients who had a CT scan that allowed adequate visualization of the hard palate, opisthion, and upper cervical spine (C-1 and C-2) were included. Patients who had cervical or displaced facial/skull base fractures, a history of rheumatoid arthritis, or craniofacial anomalies were excluded. The distance from McGregor's palatooccipital line to the midpoint of the inferior endplate of C-2 (McL–C2) was measured on midsagittal CT scans. Patients were grouped by decile of age and by sex. A 1-way ANOVA was performed with each respective grouping.

RESULTS

Ultimately, 483 patients (29% female) were included. The mean age was 46 ± 24 years. The majority of patients studied were in the 2nd through 8th decades of life (85%). Significant variation was found between McL–C2 and decile of age (p < 0.001) and sex (p < 0.001). The mean McL–C2 was 27 mm in the 1st decade of life compared with the population mean of 37 mm. The mean McL–C2 was also noted to be smaller in females (mean difference 4.8 mm, p < 0.0001). Both decile of age (p = 0.0009) and sex (p < 0.0001) were independently correlated with McL–C2 on multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

The relationship of C-2 and the hard palate significantly varies with respect to age and sex, descending relative to the hard palate a full centimeter on average in adulthood. These findings may have relevance in determining optimal surgical approaches for addressing pathology involving the anterior craniocervical junction.

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Benjamin T. Himes, Grant W. Mallory, Arnoley S. Abcejo, Jeffrey Pasternak, John L. D. Atkinson, Fredric B. Meyer, W. Richard Marsh, Michael J. Link, Michelle J. Clarke, William Perkins and Jamie J. Van Gompel

OBJECTIVE

Historically, performing neurosurgery with the patient in the sitting position offered advantages such as improved visualization and gravity-assisted retraction. However, this position fell out of favor at many centers due to the perceived risk of venous air embolism (VAE) and other position-related complications. Some neurosurgical centers continue to perform sitting-position cases in select patients, often using modern monitoring techniques that may improve procedural safety. Therefore, this paper reports the risks associated with neurosurgical procedures performed in the sitting position in a modern series.

METHODS

The authors reviewed the anesthesia records for instances of clinically significant VAE and other complications for all neurosurgical procedures performed in the sitting position between January 1, 2000, and October 8, 2013. In addition, a prospectively maintained morbidity and mortality log of these procedures was reviewed for instances of subdural or intracerebral hemorrhage, tension pneumocephalus, and quadriplegia. Both overall and specific complication rates were calculated in relation to the specific type of procedure.

RESULTS

In a series of 1792 procedures, the overall complication rate related to the sitting position was 1.45%, which included clinically significant VAE, tension pneumocephalus, and subdural hemorrhage. The rate of any detected VAE was 4.7%, but the rate of VAE requiring clinical intervention was 1.06%. The risk of clinically significant VAE was highest in patients undergoing suboccipital craniotomy/craniectomy with a rate of 2.7% and an odds ratio (OR) of 2.8 relative to deep brain stimulator cases (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2–70, p = 0.04). Sitting cervical spine cases had a comparatively lower complication rate of 0.7% and an OR of 0.28 as compared with all cranial procedures (95% CI 0.12–0.67, p < 0.01). Sitting cervical cases were further subdivided into extradural and intradural procedures. The rate of complications in intradural cases was significantly higher (OR 7.3, 95% CI 1.4–39, p = 0.02) than for extradural cases. The risk of VAE in intradural spine procedures did not differ significantly from sitting suboccipital craniotomy/craniectomy cases (OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.09–5.4, p = 0.7). Two cases (0.1%) had to be aborted intraoperatively due to complications. There were no instances of intraoperative deaths, although there was a single death within 30 days of surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

In this large, modern series of cases performed in the sitting position, the complication rate was low. Suboccipital craniotomy/craniectomy was associated with the highest risk of complications. When appropriately used with modern anesthesia techniques, the sitting position provides a safe means of surgical access.

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Michelle J. Clarke, Daniel L. Price, Harry J. Cloft, Leal G. Segura, Cindy A. Hill, Meghen B. Browning, Jon M. Brandt, Sean M. Lew and Andrew B. Foy

Osteosarcoma is an aggressive primary bone tumor. It is currently treated with multimodality therapy including en bloc resection, which has been demonstrated to confer a survival benefit over intralesional resection. The authors present the case of an 8-year-old girl with a C-1 lateral mass osteosarcoma, which was treated with a 4-stage en bloc resection and spinal reconstruction. While technically complex, the feasibility of en bloc resection for spinal osteosarcoma should be explored in the pediatric population.

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Ravi Kumar, Ramesh Kumar, Grant W. Mallory, Jeffrey T. Jacob, David J. Daniels, Nicholas M. Wetjen, Andrew B. Foy, Brent R. O’Neill and Michelle J. Clarke

OBJECT

Nonpowder guns, defined as spring- or gas-powered BB or pellet guns, can be dangerous weapons that are often marketed to children. In recent decades, advances in compressed-gas technology have led to a significant increase in the power and muzzle velocity of these weapons. The risk of intracranial injury in children due to nonpowder weapons is poorly documented.

METHODS

A retrospective review was conducted at 3 institutions studying children 16 years or younger who had intracranial injuries secondary to nonpowder guns.

RESULTS

The authors reviewed 14 cases of intracranial injury in children from 3 institutions. Eleven (79%) of the 14 children were injured by BB guns, while 3 (21%) were injured by pellet guns. In 10 (71%) children, the injury was accidental. There was 1 recognized assault, but there were no suicide attempts; in the remaining 3 patients, the intention was indeterminate. There were no mortalities among the patients in this series. Ten (71%) of the children required operative intervention, and 6 (43%) were left with permanent neurological injuries, including epilepsy, cognitive deficits, hydrocephalus, diplopia, visual field cut, and blindness.

CONCLUSIONS

Nonpowder guns are weapons with the ability to penetrate a child’s skull and brain. Awareness should be raised among parents, children, and policy makers as to the risk posed by these weapons.

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Mohammed Abdulaziz, Grant W. Mallory, Mohamad Bydon, Rafael De la Garza Ramos, Jason A. Ellis, Nadia N. Laack, W. Richard Marsh, William E. Krauss, George Jallo, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Michelle J. Clarke

OBJECT

While extent of resection has been shown to correlate with outcomes after myxopapillary ependymoma (MPE) resection, the effect of capsular violation has not been well studied. The role of adjuvant radiation also remains controversial. In this paper the authors' goals were to evaluate outcomes following resection of MPE based on intraoperative capsular violation and to explore the role of adjuvant radiotherapy in cases of capsular violation.

METHODS

A retrospective review of patients undergoing resection of MPE at 2 academic institutions between 1990 and 2013 was performed. Cases with dissemination at presentation, less than 12 months of follow-up, or incomplete records were excluded. Extent of resection was defined as en bloc if all visible tumor was removed without capsular violation, gross-total resection (GTR) if all visible tumor was removed, but with capsular violation, and subtotal resection (STR) if a known residual was left at the time of surgery. Postoperative MR images were reviewed to confirm the extent of resection. Primary outcomes were progression-free survival (PFS) and overall recurrence rates. The effects of extent of resection, capsular violation, and adjuvant radiotherapy on recurrence rates and PFS were analyzed using Kaplan-Meier statistics. Associations between recurrence and preoperative variables were evaluated using Fisher exact methods and t-tests where appropriate.

RESULTS

Of the 107 patients reviewed, 58 patients (53% were male) met inclusion criteria. The mean age at surgery was 40.8 years (range 7–68 years). The median follow-up was 51.5 months (range 12–243 months). Extent of resection was defined as en bloc in 46.5% (n = 27), GTR in 34.5% (n = 20), and STR in 18.9% (n = 11). No recurrences were noted in the en bloc group, compared with 15% (n = 3) and 45% (n = 5) in the GTR and STR groups. En bloc resection was achieved most frequently in tumors involving the conus. Twelve patients (20%) underwent adjuvant radiotherapy following either STR or GTR. The overall recurrence rate was 13.8% (n = 8), and the 5-year PFS was 81%. Capsular violation was associated with a higher recurrence rate (p = 0.005). Adjuvant radiotherapy showed a nonsignificant trend of lower recurrence rates (16.7% vs 31.6%, p = 0.43) and longer PFS at 5 years (83.3% vs 49.9%, p = 0.16) in cases of capsular violation.

CONCLUSIONS

A strong correlation between capsular violation and recurrence was found following removal of MPE and should be assessed when defining extent of resection in future studies. Although the use of adjuvant radiotherapy in cases of capsular violation showed a trend toward improved PFS, further investigation is needed to establish its role as salvage therapy also appears to be effective at halting disease progression.

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C. Rory Goodwin, Eric W. Sankey, Ann Liu, Benjamin D. Elder, Thomas Kosztowski, Sheng-Fu L. Lo, Charles G. Fisher, Michelle J. Clarke, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Daniel M. Sciubba

OBJECT

Surgical procedures and/or adjuvant therapies are effective modalities for the treatment of symptomatic spinal metastases. However, clinical results specific to the skin cancer spinal metastasis cohort are generally lacking. The purpose of this study was to systematically review the literature for treatments, clinical outcomes, and survival following the diagnosis of a skin cancer spinal metastasis and evaluate prognostic factors in the context of spinal skin cancer metastases stratified by tumor subtype.

METHODS

The authors performed a literature review using PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, and Web of Science to identify articles since 1950 that reported survival, clinical outcomes, and/or prognostic factors for the skin cancer patient population with spinal metastases. The methodological quality of reviews was assessed using the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) tool.

RESULTS

Sixty-five studies met the preset criteria and were included in the analysis. Of these studies, a total of 25, 40, 25, and 12 studies included patients who underwent some form of surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or observation alone, respectively. Sixty-three of the 65 included studies were retrospective in nature (Class of Evidence [CoE] IV), and the 2 prospective studies were CoE II. Based on the studies analyzed, the median overall survival for a patient with a spinal metastasis from a primary skin malignancy is 4.0 months; survival by tumor subtype is 12.5 months for patients with basal cell carcinoma (BCC), 4.0 months for those with melanoma, 4.0 months for those with squamous cell carcinoma, 3.0 months for those with pilomatrix carcinoma, and 1.5 months for those with Merkel cell carcinoma (p < 0.0001). The overall percentage of known continued disease progression after spine metastasis diagnosis was 40.1% (n = 244/608, range 25.0%–88.9%), the rate of known recurrence of the primary skin cancer lesion was 3.5% (n = 21/608, range 0.2%–100.0%), and the rate of known spine metastasis recurrence despite treatment for all skin malignancies was 2.8% (n = 17/608, range 0.0%–33.3%). Age greater than 65 years, sacral spinal involvement, presence of a neurological deficit, and nonambulatory status were associated with decreased survival in patients diagnosed with a primary skin cancer spinal metastasis. All other clinical or prognostic parameters were of low or insufficient strength.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients diagnosed with a primary skin cancer metastasis to the spine have poor overall survival with the exception of those with BCC. The median duration of survival for patients who received surgical intervention alone, medical management (chemotherapy and/or radiation) alone, or the combination of therapies was similar across interventions. Age, spinal region, and neurological status may be associated with poor survival following surgery.

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Michelle J. Clarke, Patricia L. Zadnik, Mari L. Groves, Hormuzdiyar H. Dasenbrock, Daniel M. Sciubba, Wesley Hsu, Timothy F. Witham, Ali Bydon, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Jean-Paul Wolinsky

Object

Traditionally, hemisacrectomy and internal hemipelvectomy procedures have required both an anterior and a posterior approach. A posterior-only approach has the potential to complete an en bloc tumor resection and spinopelvic reconstruction while reducing surgical morbidity.

Methods

The authors describe 3 cases in which en bloc resection of the hemisacrum and ilium and subsequent lumbopelvic and pelvic ring reconstruction were performed from a posterior-only approach. Two more traditional anterior and posterior staged procedures are also included for comparison.

Results

In all 3 cases, an oncologically appropriate surgery and spinopelvic reconstruction were performed through a posterior-only approach.

Conclusions

The advantage of a midline posterior approach is the ability to perform a lumbosacral reconstruction, necessary in cases in which the S-1 body is iatrogenically disrupted during tumor resection.

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Kathryn M. Van Abel, Grant W. Mallory, Jan L. Kasperbauer, M.D., Eric J. Moore, Daniel L. Price, Erin K. O’Brien, Kerry D. Olsen, William E. Krauss, Michelle J. Clarke, Mark E. Jentoft and Jamie J. Van Gompel

Object

Swallowing dysfunction is common following transoral (TO) odontoidectomy. Preliminary experience with newer endoscopic transnasal (TN) approaches suggests that dysphagia may be reduced with this alternative. However, the reasons for this are unclear. The authors hypothesized that the TN approach results in less disruption of the pharyngeal plexus and anatomical structures associated with swallowing. The authors investigate the histological and gross surgical anatomical relationship between pharyngeal plexus innervation of the upper aerodigestive tract and the surgical approaches used (TN and TO). They also review the TN literature to evaluate swallowing outcomes following this approach.

Methods

Seven cadaveric specimens were used for histological (n = 3) and gross anatomical (n = 4) examination of the pharyngeal plexus with the TO and TN surgical approaches. Particular attention was given to identifying the location of cranial nerves (CNs) IX and X and the sympathetic chain and their contributions to the pharyngeal plexus. S100 staining was performed to assess for the presence of neural tissue in proximity to the midline, and fiber density counts were performed within 1 cm of midline. The relationship between the pharyngeal plexus, clivus, and upper cervical spine (C1-3) was defined.

Results

Histological analysis revealed the presence of pharyngeal plexus fibers in the midline and a significant reduction in paramedian fiber density from C-2 to the lower clivus (p < 0.001). None of these paramedian fibers, however, could be visualized with gross inspection or layer-by-layer dissection. Laterally based primary pharyngeal plexus nerves were identified by tracing their origins from CNs IX and X and the sympathetic chain at the skull base and following them to the pharyngeal musculature. In addition, the authors found 15 studies presenting 52 patients undergoing TN odontoidectomy. Of these patients, only 48 had been swallowing preoperatively. When looking only at this population, 83% (40 of 48) were swallowing by Day 3 and 92% (44 of 48) were swallowing by Day 7.

Conclusions

Despite the midline approach, both TO and TN approaches may injure a portion of the pharyngeal plexus. By limiting the TN incision to above the palatal plane, the surgeon avoids the high-density neural plexus found in the oropharyngeal wall and limits injury to oropharyngeal musculature involved in swallowing. This may explain the decreased incidence of postoperative dysphagia seen in TN approaches. However, further clinical investigation is warranted.

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Ganesh M. Shankar, Michelle J. Clarke, Tamir Ailon, Laurence D. Rhines, Shreyaskumar R. Patel, Arjun Sahgal, Ilya Laufer, Dean Chou, Mark H. Bilsky, Daniel M. Sciubba, Michael G. Fehlings, Charles G. Fisher, Ziya L. Gokaslan and John H. Shin

OBJECTIVE

Primary osteosarcoma of the spine is a rare osseous neoplasm. While previously reported retrospective studies have demonstrated that overall patient survival is impacted mostly by en bloc resection and chemotherapy, the continued management of residual disease remains to be elucidated. This systematic review was designed to address the role of revision surgery and multimodal adjuvant therapy in cases in which en bloc excision is not initially achieved.

METHODS

A systematic literature search spanning the years 1966 to 2015 was performed on PubMed, Medline, EMBASE, and Web of Science to identify reports describing outcomes of patients who underwent biopsy alone, neurological decompression, or intralesional resection for osteosarcoma of the spine. Studies were reviewed qualitatively, and the clinical course of individual patients was aggregated for quantitative meta-analysis.

RESULTS

A total of 16 studies were identified for inclusion in the systematic review, of which 8 case reports were summarized qualitatively. These studies strongly support the role of chemotherapy for overall survival and moderately support adjuvant radiation therapy for local control. The meta-analysis revealed a statistically significant benefit in overall survival for performing revision tumor debulking (p = 0.01) and also for chemotherapy at relapse (p < 0.01). Adjuvant radiation therapy was associated with longer survival, although this did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.06).

CONCLUSIONS

While the initial therapeutic goal in the management of osteosarcoma of the spine is neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by en bloc marginal resection, this objective is not always achievable given anatomical constraints and other limitations at the time of initial clinical presentation. This systematic review supports the continued aggressive use of revision surgery and multimodal adjuvant therapy when possible to improve outcomes in patients who initially undergo subtotal debulking of osteosarcoma. A limitation of this systematic review is that lesions amenable to subsequent resection or tumors inherently more sensitive to adjuvants would exaggerate a therapeutic effect of these interventions when studied in a retrospective fashion.

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Mark B. Dekutoski, Michelle J. Clarke, Peter Rose, Alessandro Luzzati, Laurence D. Rhines, Peter P. Varga, Charles G. Fisher, Dean Chou, Michael G. Fehlings, Jeremy J. Reynolds, Richard Williams, Nasir A. Quraishi, Niccole M. Germscheid, Daniel M. Sciubba, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Stefano Boriani and The AOSpine Knowledge Forum Tumor

OBJECTIVE

Primary spinal osteosarcomas are rare and aggressive neoplasms. Poor outcomes can occur, as obtaining marginal margins is technically demanding; further Enneking-appropriate en bloc resection can have significant morbidity. The goal of this study is to identify prognostic variables for local recurrence and mortality in surgically treated patients diagnosed with a primary osteosarcoma of the spine.

METHODS

A multicenter ambispective database of surgically treated patients with primary spine osteosarcomas was developed by AOSpine Knowledge Forum Tumor. Patient demographic, diagnosis, treatment, perioperative morbidity, local recurrence, and cross-sectional survival data were collected. Tumors were classified in 2 cohorts: Enneking appropriate (EA) and Enneking inappropriate (EI), as defined by pathology margin matching Enneking-recommended surgical margins. Prognostic variables were analyzed in reference to local recurrence and survival.

RESULTS

Between 1987 and 2012, 58 patients (32 female patients) underwent surgical treatment for primary spinal osteosarcoma. Patients were followed for a mean period of 3.5 ± 3.5 years (range 0.5 days to 14.3 years). The median survival for the entire cohort was 6.7 years postoperative. Twenty-four (41%) patients died, and 17 (30%) patients suffered a local recurrence, 10 (59%) of whom died. Twenty-nine (53%) patients underwent EA resection while 26 (47%) patients underwent EI resection with a postoperative median survival of 6.8 and 3.7 years, respectively (p = 0.048). EI patients had a higher rate of local recurrence than EA patients (p = 0.001). Patient age, previous surgery, biopsy type, tumor size, spine level, and chemotherapy timing did not significantly influence recurrence and survival.

CONCLUSIONS

Osteosarcoma of the spine presents a significant challenge, and most patients die in spite of aggressive surgery. There is a significant decrease in recurrence and an increase in survival with en bloc resection (EA) when compared with intralesional resection (EI). The effect of adjuvant and neoadjuvant chemotherapeutics, as well as method of biopsy, requires further exploration.