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Ako Matsuhashi, Kenichi Usami, Eitaro Ishisaka, and Hideki Ogiwara

OBJECTIVE

Although the association between Chiari malformation (CM) and craniosynostosis is well recognized, management remains controversial. There are differences in the clinical course of CM in syndromic craniosynostosis (SC) patients and nonsyndromic craniosynostosis (NSC) patients. Still unclear is whether cranial expansion surgery, foramen magnum decompression (FMD), or both should be conducted and when the appropriate timing of surgery should be. Here, the authors retrospectively reviewed the clinical data at their institution to investigate the optimal management of CM associated with SC and NSC.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively analyzed the clinical records of 163 children with craniosynostosis who underwent surgical treatment at the National Center for Child Health and Development between April 2002 and May 2018.

RESULTS

Twelve (10%) of 119 children with NSC and 14 (31.8%) of 44 children with SC were radiologically diagnosed with CM. The median age at which CM was radiologically diagnosed was 7 months. Of the 12 NSC patients with CM, 1 (8%) was symptomatic with gait disturbance. This patient underwent FMD following expansion surgery. Of the 14 SC patients with CM, 8 (57.1%) were symptomatic with central sleep apnea. For SC patients with symptomatic CM, cranial expansion surgery alone was conducted in 2 cases, FMD was conducted after cranial expansion in 4 cases, and FMD was conducted first and additional expansion surgery was then conducted in 2 cases. In all cases, symptoms of CM improved after completing this series of surgeries. Regarding patients with asymptomatic CM, cranial expansion surgery alone was performed, and none of the patients showed symptoms of CM thereafter in both SC and NSC cases.

CONCLUSIONS

Multiple surgeries tend to be necessary for symptomatic CM in both SC and NSC, while no patient with asymptomatic CM became symptomatic after cranial expansion surgery.

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Ako Matsuhashi, Keisuke Takai, and Makoto Taniguchi

OBJECTIVE

Spontaneous spinal CSF leaks are caused by abnormalities of the spinal dura mater. Although most cases are treated conservatively or with an epidural blood patch, some intractable cases require neurosurgical treatment. However, previous reports are limited to a small number of cases. Preoperative detection and localization of spinal dural defects are difficult, and surgical repair of these defects is technically challenging. The authors present the anatomical characteristics of dural defects and surgical techniques in treating spontaneous CSF leaks.

METHODS

Among the consecutive patients who were diagnosed with spontaneous CSF leaks at the authors’ institution between 2010 and 2020, those who required neurosurgical treatment were included in the study. All patients’ clinical information, radiological studies, surgical notes, and outcomes were reviewed retrospectively. Outcomes of two different procedures in repairing dural defects were compared.

RESULTS

Among 77 patients diagnosed with spontaneous CSF leaks, 21 patients (15 men; mean age 57 years) underwent neurosurgery. Dural defects were detected by FIESTA MRI in 7 patients, by CT myelography in 12, by digital subtraction myelography in 1, and by dynamic CT myelography in 1. The spinal levels of the defects were localized at the cervicothoracic junction in 16 patients (76%) and thoracolumbar junction in 4 (19%). Intraoperative findings revealed that the dural defects were small, circumscribed longitudinal slits located at the ventral aspect of the dura mater. The median dural defect size was 5 × 2 mm. The presence of dural defects at the thoracolumbar junction was associated with manifestation of an altered mental status, which was an unusual manifestation of CSF leaks (p = 0.003). Eight patients were treated via the posterior transdural approach with watertight primary sutures of the ventral defects, and 13 were treated with muscle or fat grafting. Regardless of the two different procedures, postoperative MRI showed either complete disappearance or significant reduction of the extradural CSF collection. No patient experienced postoperative neurological deficits. Clinical symptoms improved or stabilized in 20 patients with a median follow-up of 12 months.

CONCLUSIONS

Dural defects in spontaneous CSF leaks were small, circumscribed longitudinal slits located ventral to the spinal cord at either the cervicothoracic or thoracolumbar junction. Muscle/fat grafting may be an alternative treatment to watertight primary sutures of ventral dural defects with a good outcome.