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Michael M. McDowell, Christopher P. Kellner, Sunjay M. Barton, Charles B. Mikell, Eric S. Sussman, Simon G. Heuts and E. Sander Connolly

In this report, the authors sought to summarize existing literature to provide an overview of the currently available techniques and to critically assess the evidence for or against their application in intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) for management, prognostication, and research. Functional imaging in ICH represents a potential major step forward in the ability of physicians to assess patients suffering from this devastating illness due to the advantages over standing imaging modalities focused on general tissue structure alone, but its use is highly controversial due to the relative paucity of literature and the lack of consolidation of the predominantly small data sets that are currently in existence. Current data support that diffusion tensor imaging and tractography, diffusion-perfusion weighted MRI techniques, and functional MRI all possess major potential in the areas of highlighting motor deficits, motor recovery, and network reorganization. Novel clinical studies designed to objectively assess the value of each of these modalities on a wider scale in conjunction with other methods of investigation and management will allow for their rapid incorporation into standard practice.

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Zachary L. Hickman, Michael M. McDowell, Sunjay M. Barton, Eric S. Sussman, Eli Grunstein and Richard C. E. Anderson

The endoscopic transnasal approach to the rostral pediatric spine and craniovertebral junction is a relatively new technique that provides an alternative to the traditional transoral approach to the anterior pediatric spine. In this case series, the authors provide 2 additional examples of patients undergoing endoscopic transnasal odontoidectomies for ventral decompression of the spinal cord. Both patients would have required transection of the palate to undergo an effective transoral operation, which can be a cause of significant morbidity. In one case, transnasal decompression was initially incomplete, and decompression was successfully achieved via a second endoscopic transnasal operation. Both cases resulted in significant neurological recovery and stable long-term spinal alignment. The transnasal approach benefits from entering into the posterior pharynx at an angle that often reduces the length of postoperative intubation and may speed a patient's return to oral intake. Higher reoperation rates are a concern for many endoscopic approaches, but there are insufficient data to conclude if this is the case for this procedure. Further experience with this technique will provide a better understanding of the indications for which it is most effective. Transcervical and transoral endoscopic approaches have also been reported and provide additional options for pediatric anterior cervical spine surgery.

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Geoffrey Appelboom, Stephen D. Zoller, Matthew A. Piazza, Caroline Szpalski, Samuel S. Bruce, Michael M. McDowell, Kerry A. Vaughan, Brad E. Zacharia, Zachary Hickman, Anthony D'Ambrosio, Neil A. Feldstein and Richard C. E. Anderson

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the current leading cause of death in children over 1 year of age. Adequate management and care of pediatric patients is critical to ensure the best functional outcome in this population. In their controversial trial, Cooper et al. concluded that decompressive craniectomy following TBI did not improve clinical outcome of the analyzed adult population. While the study did not target pediatric populations, the results do raise important and timely clinical questions regarding the effectiveness of decompressive surgery in pediatric patients. There is still a paucity of evidence regarding the effectiveness of this therapy in a pediatric population, and there is an especially noticeable knowledge gap surrounding age-stratified interventions in pediatric trauma. The purposes of this review are to first explore the anatomical variations between pediatric and adult populations in the setting of TBI. Second, the authors assess how these differences between adult and pediatric populations could translate into differences in the impact of decompressive surgery following TBI.

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Nathan T. Zwagerman, Michael M. McDowell, Ronald L. Hamilton, Edward A. Monaco III, John C. Flickinger and Peter C. Gerszten

OBJECTIVE

Increased survival time after diagnosis of neoplastic disease has resulted in a gradual increase in spine tumor incidence. Radiosurgery is frequently a viable alternative to operative management in a population with severe medical comorbidities. The authors sought to assess the histopathological consequences of radiosurgery in the subset of patients progressing to operative intervention.

METHODS

Eighteen patients who underwent radiosurgery for spine tumors between 2008 and 2014 subsequently progressed to surgical treatment. A histopathological examination of these cases was performed. Indications for surgery included symptomatic compression fractures, radiographic instability, and symptoms of cord or cauda equina compression. Biopsy samples were obtained from the tumor within the radiosurgical zone in all cases and were permanently fixated. Viable tumor samples were stained for Ki 67.

RESULTS

Fifteen patients had metastatic lesions and 3 patients had neurofibromas. The mean patient age was 57 years. The operative indication was symptomatic compression in 10 cases (67%). The most frequent metastatic lesions were breast cancer (4 cases), renal cell carcinoma (3), prostate cancer (2), and endometrial cancer (2). In 9 (60%) of the 15 metastatic cases, histological examination of the lesions showed minimal evidence of inflammation. Viable tumor at the margins of the radiosurgery was seen in 9 (60%) of the metastatic cases. Necrosis in the tumor bed was frequent, as was fibrotic bone marrow. Vascular ectasia was seen in 2 of 15 metastatic cases, but sclerosis with ectasia was frequent. No evidence of malignant conversion was seen in the periphery of the lesions in the 3 neurofibroma cases. In 1 case of neurofibroma, the lesion demonstrated some small areas of remnant tumor in the radiosurgical target zone.

CONCLUSIONS

This case series demonstrates important histopathological characteristics of spinal lesions treated by SRS. Regions with the highest exposure to radiation appear to be densely necrotic and show little evidence of tumor growth, whereas peripheral regions distant from the radiation dosage are more likely to demonstrate viable tumor in malignant and benign neoplasms. Physiological tissue appears to be similarly affected. With additional investigation, a more homogenized field of hypofractionated radiation exposure may allow for tumor obliteration with relative preservation of critical anatomical structures.

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Simon G. Heuts, Samuel S. Bruce, Brad E. Zacharia, Zachary L. Hickman, Christopher P. Kellner, Eric S. Sussman, Michael M. McDowell, Rachel A. Bruce and E. Sander Connolly Jr.

Object

Large intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), compounded by perihematomal edema, can produce severe elevations of intracranial pressure (ICP). Decompressive hemicraniectomy (DHC) with or without clot evacuation has been considered a part of the armamentarium of treatment options for these patients. The authors sought to assess the preliminary utility of DHC without evacuation for ICH in patients with supratentorial, dominant-sided lesions.

Methods

From September 2009 to May 2012, patients with ICH who were admitted to the neurological ICU at Columbia University Medical Center were prospectively enrolled in that institution's ICH Outcomes Project (ICHOP). Five patients with spontaneous supratentorial dominant-sided ICH underwent DHC without clot evacuation for recalcitrant elevated ICP. Data pertaining to the patients' characteristics and outcomes of treatment were prospectively collected.

Results

The patients' median age was 43 years (range 30–55 years) and the ICH etiology was hypertension in 4 of 5 patients, and systemic lupus erythematosus vasculitis in 1 patient. On admission, the median Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score was 7 (range 5–9). The median ICH volume was 53 cm3 (range 28–79 cm3), and the median midline shift was 7.6 mm (range 3.0–11.3 mm). One day after surgery, the median decrease in midline shift was 2.7 mm (range 1.5–4.6 mm), and the median change in GCS score was +1 (range −3 to +5). At discharge, all patients were still alive, and the median GCS score was 10 (range 9–11), the median modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score was 5 (range 5–5), and the median NIHSS (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale) score was 22 (range 17–27). Six months after hemorrhage, 1 patient had died, 2 were functionally dependent (mRS Score 4–5), and 2 were functionally independent (mRS Score 0–3). Outcomes for the patients treated with DHC were good compared with 1) outcomes for all patients with spontaneous supratentorial ICH admitted during the same period (n = 144) and 2) outcomes for matched patients (dominant ICH, GCS Score 5–9, ICH volume 28–79 cm3, age < 60 years) whose cases were managed nonoperatively (n = 5).

Conclusions

Decompressive hemicraniectomy without clot evacuation appears feasible in patients with large ICH and deserves further investigation, preferably in a randomized controlled setting.

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Eric S. Sussman, Christopher P. Kellner, Michael M. McDowell, Samuel S. Bruce, Simon G. Heuts, Zong Zhuang, Rachel A. Bruce, Jan Claassen and E. Sander Connolly Jr.

Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is the most deadly and least treatable subtype of stroke, and at the present time there are no evidence-based therapeutic interventions for patients with this disease. Secondary injury mechanisms are known to cause substantial rates of morbidity and mortality following ICH, and the inflammatory cascade is a major contributor to this post-ICH secondary injury. The alpha-7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7-nAChR) agonists have a well-established antiinflammatory effect and have been shown to attenuate perihematomal edema volume and to improve functional outcome in experimental ICH. The authors evaluate the current evidence for the use of an α7-nAChR agonist as a novel therapeutic agent in patients with ICH.

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Amit Ayer, Alexander Campbell, Geoffrey Appelboom, Brian Y. Hwang, Michael McDowell, Matthew Piazza, Neil A. Feldstein and Richard C. E. Anderson

In this report, the evidence, mechanisms, and rationale for the practice of artificial cranial deformation (ACD) in ancient Peru and during Akhenaten's reign in the 18th dynasty in Egypt (1375–1358 BCE) are reviewed. The authors argue that insufficient attention has been given to the sociopolitical implications of the practice in both regions. While evidence from ancient Peru is widespread and complex, there are comparatively fewer examples of deformed crania from the period of Akhenaten's rule. Nevertheless, Akhenaten's own deformity, the skull of the so-called “Younger Lady” mummy, and Tutankhamen's skull all evince some degree of plagiocephaly, suggesting the need for further research using evidence from depictions of the royal family in reliefs and busts. Following the anthropological review, a neurosurgical focus is directed to instances of plagiocephaly in modern medicine, with special attention to the conditions' etiology, consequences, and treatment. Novel clinical studies on varying modes of treatment will also be studied, together forming a comprehensive review of ACD, both in the past and present.

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Benjamin C. Kennedy, Michael M. McDowell, Peter H. Yang, Caroline M. Wilson, Sida Li, Todd C. Hankinson, Neil A. Feldstein and Richard C. E. Anderson

Object

Pediatric patients with sickle cell anemia (SCA) carry a significant risk of developing moyamoya syndrome (MMS) and brain ischemia. The authors sought to review the safety and efficacy of pial synangiosis in the treatment of MMS in children with SCA by performing a comprehensive review of all previously reported cases in the literature.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the clinical and radiographic records in 17 pediatric patients with SCA treated at the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York (MSCHONY) who developed radiological evidence of MMS and underwent pial synangiosis between 1996 and 2012. The authors then added any additional reported cases of pial synangiosis for this population in the literature for a combined analysis of clinical and radiographic outcomes.

Results

The combined data consisted of 48 pial synangiosis procedures performed in 30 patients. Of these, 27 patients (90%) presented with seizure, stroke, or transient ischemic attack, whereas 3 (10%) were referred after transcranial Doppler screening. At the time of surgery, the median age was 12 years. Thirteen patients (43%) suffered an ischemic stroke while on chronic transfusion therapy. Long-term follow-up imaging (MR angiography or catheter angiography) at a mean of 25 months postoperatively was available in 39 (81%) treated hemispheres. In 34 (87%) of those hemispheres there were demonstrable collateral vessels on imaging. There were 4 neurological events in 1590 cumulative months of follow-up, or 1 event per 33 patient-years. In the patients in whom complete data were available (MSCHONY series, n = 17), the postoperative stroke rate was reduced more than 6-fold from the preoperative rate (p = 0.0003).

Conclusions

Pial synangiosis in patients with SCA, MMS, and brain ischemia appears to be a safe and effective treatment option. Transcranial Doppler and/or MRI screening in asymptomatic patients with SCA is recommended for the diagnosis of MMS.