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  • Author or Editor: Alexander T. Yahanda x
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Amar S. Shah, Alexander T. Yahanda, Umeshkumar Athiraman, Rene Tempelhoff and Michael R. Chicoine

Paraplegia after posterior fossa surgery is a rare and devastating complication. The authors reviewed a case of paraplegia following Chiari decompression and surveyed the literature to identify strategies to reduce the occurrence of such events.

An obese 44-year-old woman had progressive left arm pain, weakness, and numbness and tussive headaches. MRI studies revealed a Chiari I malformation and a cervicothoracic syrinx. Immediately postoperatively after Chiari decompression the patient was paraplegic, with a T6 sensory level bilaterally. MRI studies revealed equivocal findings of epidural hematoma at the site of the Chiari decompression and in the upper thoracic region. Surgical exploration of the Chiari decompression site and upper thoracic laminectomies identified possible venous engorgement, but no hematoma. Subsequent imaging suggested a thoracic spinal cord infarction. Possible explanations for the spinal cord deficit included spinal cord ischemia related to venous engorgement from prolonged prone positioning in an obese patient in the chin-tucked position. At 6.5 years after surgery the patient had unchanged fixed motor and sensory deficits.

Spinal cord infarction is rare after Chiari decompression, but the risk for this complication may be increased for obese patients positioned prone for extended periods of time. Standard precautions may be insufficient and intraoperative electrophysiological monitoring may need to be considered in these patients.

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Amar S. Shah, Peter T. Sylvester, Alexander T. Yahanda, Ananth K. Vellimana, Gavin P. Dunn, John Evans, Keith M. Rich, Joshua L. Dowling, Eric C. Leuthardt, Ralph G. Dacey, Albert H. Kim, Robert L. Grubb, Gregory J. Zipfel, Mark Oswood, Randy L. Jensen, Garnette R. Sutherland, Daniel P. Cahill, Steven R. Abram, John Honeycutt, Mitesh Shah, Yu Tao and Michael R. Chicoine


Intraoperative MRI (iMRI) is used in the surgical treatment of glioblastoma, with uncertain effects on outcomes. The authors evaluated the impact of iMRI on extent of resection (EOR) and overall survival (OS) while controlling for other known and suspected predictors.


A multicenter retrospective cohort of 640 adult patients with newly diagnosed supratentorial glioblastoma who underwent resection was evaluated. iMRI was performed in 332/640 cases (51.9%). Reviews of MRI features and tumor volumetric analysis were performed on a subsample of cases (n = 286; 110 non-iMRI, 176 iMRI) from a single institution.


The median age was 60.0 years (mean 58.5 years, range 20.5–86.3 years). The median OS was 17.0 months (95% CI 15.6–18.4 months). Gross-total resection (GTR) was achieved in 403/640 cases (63.0%). Kaplan-Meier analysis of 286 cases with volumetric analysis for EOR (grouped into 100%, 95%–99%, 80%–94%, and 50%–79%) showed longer OS for 100% EOR compared to all other groups (p < 0.01). Additional resection after iMRI was performed in 104/122 cases (85.2%) with initial subtotal resection (STR), leading to a 6.3% mean increase in EOR and a 2.2-cm3 mean decrease in tumor volume. For iMRI cases with volumetric analysis, the GTR rate increased from 54/176 (30.7%) on iMRI to 126/176 (71.5%) postoperatively. The EOR was significantly higher in the iMRI group for intended GTR and STR groups (p = 0.02 and p < 0.01, respectively). Predictors of GTR on multivariate logistic regression included iMRI use and intended GTR. Predictors of shorter OS on multivariate Cox regression included older age, STR, isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) wild type, no O 6-methylguanine DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) methylation, and no Stupp therapy. iMRI was a significant predictor of OS on univariate (HR 0.82, 95% CI 0.69–0.98; p = 0.03) but not multivariate analyses. Use of iMRI was not associated with an increased rate of new permanent neurological deficits.


GTR increased OS for patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma after adjusting for other prognostic factors. iMRI increased EOR and GTR rate and was a significant predictor of GTR on multivariate analysis; however, iMRI was not an independent predictor of OS. Additional supporting evidence is needed to determine the clinical benefit of iMRI in the management of glioblastoma.