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Alfred T. Ogden and Michael G. Kaiser

Surgical intervention is indicated for pyogenic vertebral discitis and osteomyelitis in patients in whom medical therapy has failed, and in those with neurological compromise, mechanical instability, epidural abscess, or intractable pain. Surgical management has evolved to include single-stage operations for debridement and stabilization as well as more aggressive reconstruction strategies with respect to instrumentation. A review of the literature demonstrates excellent outcomes with single-stage operations and placement of hardware wherever it is required. Using this method, the authors have treated 16 patients without a single incidence of recurrent infection or hardware failure after almost 2 years of follow up.

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Intramedullary inclusion cysts of the cervicothoracic junction

Report of two cases in adults and review of the literature

Alfred T. Ogden, Alexander G. Khandji, Paul C. McCormick and Michael G. Kaiser

✓Intramedullary inclusion cysts are extremely rare within the rostral spinal cord. In this case report the authors outline the clinical features and surgical treatment of one dermoid cyst and one epidermoid cyst of the cervicothoracic junction. The authors also include a relevant literature discussion regarding the treatment and the embryological origin of these lesions.

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Ismail H. Tekkök

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Todd C. Hankinson, Alfred T. Ogden, Peter Canoll, James H. Garvin, Michael Kazim, Jeffrey N. Bruce, Neil A. Feldstein and Richard C. E. Anderson

✓ Soft-tissue glomus tumors (or glomangiomas) are unrelated to neuroendocrine paragangliomas (glomus tympanicum, jugulare, and vagale). The authors present the first reported case of an orbital soft-tissue glomus tumor in a child. An 8-year-old girl developed rapidly progressive right-eye blindness, proptosis, and a sixth cranial nerve palsy. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated a homogeneously enhancing lesion extending from the right orbit through the superior orbital fissure to the cavernous sinus and middle cranial fossa. A biopsy specimen demonstrated the lesion to be a soft-tissue glomus tumor. Following angiography and embolization, a gross-total resection of the tumor was achieved. The patient was treated with adjuvant proton-beam radiotherapy. At 24 months follow-up her proptosis and sixth cranial nerve palsy had resolved and there was no evidence of tumor recurrence.

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Justin S. Smith, Alfred T. Ogden and Richard G. Fessler

Thoracic spine fusion may be indicated in the surgical treatment of a wide range of pathologies, including trauma, deformity, tumor, and infection. Conventional open procedures for surgical treatment of thoracic spine disease can be associated with significant approach-related morbidity, which has motivated the development of minimally invasive approaches. Thoracoscopy and, later, video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery were developed to address diseases of the thoracic cavity and subsequently adapted for thoracic spine surgery. Although video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery has been used to treat a variety of thoracic spine diseases, its relatively steep learning curve and high rate of pulmonary complications have limited its widespread use. These limitations have motivated the development of minimally invasive posterior approaches to address thoracic spine pathology without the added risk of morbidity involved in surgically entering the chest. Many of these advances are ongoing and represent the forefront of minimally invasive spine surgery. As these techniques are developed and applied, it will be important to assess their equivalence or superiority in comparison with standard open techniques using prospective trials. In this paper the authors focus on minimally invasive posterior thoracic procedures that include fusion, and provide a review of the current literature, a discussion of future pathways for development, and case examples. The topic is divided by pathology into sections including trauma, deformity, spinal column tumors, and osteomyelitis.

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Alfred T. Ogden, Neil A. Feldstein and Paul C. McCormick

Although there has been considerable experience with anterior approaches to ventral intradural, extramedullary, and pial-based spinal lesions, there is no information in the literature regarding the safety and feasibility of the resection of an intramedullary tumor via an anterior approach. The authors report on the gross-total resection of an intramedullary cervical pilocytic astrocytoma via a C-7 corpectomy and anterior myelotomy. The surgery proceeded without complication, and postoperatively the patient maintained the preoperative deficit of mild unilateral hand weakness but had no sensory deficits. Follow-up MR imaging at 6 months showed gross-total macroscopic resection. Selected intramedullary tumors can be safely removed via an anterior approach. This approach avoids the typical sensory dysfunction associated with posterior midline myelotomy.

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Raqeeb M. Haque, Hani R. Malone, Martin W. Bauknight, Michael A. Kellner, Alfred T. Ogden, John H. Martin, Kurenai Tanji and Christopher J. Winfree

Object

Despite extensive study, no meaningful progress has been made in encouraging healing and recovery across the site of spinal cord injury (SCI) in humans. Spinal cord bypass surgery is an unconventional strategy in which intact peripheral nerves rostral to the level of injury are transferred into the spinal cord below the injury. This report details the feasibility of using spinal accessory nerves to bypass cervical SCI and intercostal nerves to bypass thoracolumbar SCI in human cadavers.

Methods

Twenty-three human cadavers underwent cervical and/or lumbar laminectomy and dural opening to expose the cervical cord and/or conus medullaris. Spinal accessory nerves were harvested from the Erb point to the origin of the nerve's first major branch into the trapezius. Intercostal nerves from the T6–12 levels were dissected from the lateral border of paraspinal muscles to the posterior axillary line. The distal ends of dissected nerves were then transferred medially and sequentially inserted 4 mm deep into the ipsilateral cervical cord (spinal accessory nerve) or conus medullaris (intercostals). The length of each transferred nerve was measured, and representative distal and proximal cross-sections were preserved for axonal counting.

Results

Spinal accessory nerves were consistently of sufficient length to be transferred to caudal cervical spinal cord levels (C4–8). Similarly, intercostal nerves (from T-7 to T-12) were of sufficient length to be transferred in a tension-free manner to the conus medullaris. Spinal accessory data revealed an average harvested nerve length of 15.85 cm with the average length needed to reach C4–8 of 4.7, 5.9, 6.5, 7.1, and 7.8 cm. The average length of available intercostal nerve from each thoracic level compared with the average length required to reach the conus medullaris in a tension-free manner was determined to be as follows (available, required in cm): T-7 (18.0, 14.5), T-8 (18.7, 11.7), T-9 (18.8, 9.0), T-10 (19.6, 7.0), T-11 (18.8, 4.6), and T-12 (15.8, 1.5). The number of myelinated axons present on cross-sectional analysis predictably decreased along both spinal accessory and intercostal nerves as they coursed distally.

Conclusions

Both spinal accessory and intercostal nerves, accessible from a posterior approach in the prone position, can be successfully harvested and transferred to their respective targets in the cervical spinal cord and conus medullaris. As expected, the number of axons available to grow into the spinal cord diminishes distally along each nerve. To maximize axon “bandwidth” in nerve bypass procedures, the most proximal section of the nerve that can be transferred in a tension-free manner to a spinal level caudal to the level of injury should be implanted. This study supports the feasibility of SAN and intercostal nerve transfer as a means of treating SCI and may assist in the preoperative selection of candidates for future human clinical trials of cervical and thoracolumbar SCI bypass surgery.