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Andrew Jea, Keyne K. Johnson, William E. Whitehead and Thomas G. Luerssen

The use of spinal instrumentation to stabilize the occipitocervical junction in pediatric patients has increased and evolved in recent years. Wiring techniques have now given way to screw-rod or screw-plate techniques with or without postoperative external immobilization. Although C-2 translaminar screws have been used in these constructs, subaxial translaminar screws have not, to date, been described in either the pediatric or adult patient populations.

The authors describe the feasibility of translaminar screw placement in the C-3 lamina. Rigid fixation with translaminar screws offers an alternative to subaxial fixation with lateral mass screws, allowing for formation of biomechanically sound spinal constructs and minimizing potential neurovascular morbidity. Their use requires careful analysis of preoperative imaging studies, intact posterior elements, and avoidance of violation of the inner laminar wall.

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Andrew K. Johnson, Daniel M. Heiferman and Demetrius K. Lopes

Object

The introduction of intracranial stents to aneurysm treatment allows endovascular repair of nearly all aneurysms, but the safety and durability of stent-assisted embolization of middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysms is unclear.

Methods

Ninety-one patients with 100 complex MCA aneurysms not amenable to simple coiling were treated with stent-assisted embolization as a first option. Technical and clinical results, initial follow-up imaging, and long-term annual MR angiography (MRA) were reviewed.

Results

Intracranial stents were successfully deployed in all 100 aneurysms. There was 1 case of significant neurological morbidity (1%) and 1 case of death (1%) related to treatment. Initial posttreatment angiography revealed complete occlusion of 48 aneurysms (48%), a residual neck in 21 (21%), and residual aneurysm filling in 31 (31%). Follow-up imaging performed in 85 (90.4%) of a possible 94 aneurysms showed complete occlusion of 77 aneurysms (90.6%), residual neck in 3 (3.5%), and residual filling in 5 (5.9%). Four aneurysms (4.7%) required retreatment. Long-term MRA follow-up revealed stability or progressive thrombosis in 47 (97.9%) of 48 aneurysms. In 11 patients Y-configuration stenting caused only 1 minor complication and provided durable occlusion in all cases.

Conclusions

Stent-assisted techniques increase the number of aneurysms that may be treated endovascularly and represent an acceptable alternative to craniotomy. Stents provided adequate vessel reconstruction, low complication rates, and good long-term occlusion.

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Michael T. Lawton

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Lee A. Tan, Andrew K. Johnson, Kiffon M. Keigher, Roham Moftakhar and Demetrius K. Lopes

Y-stent–assisted coiling is a technique used by neuroendovascular surgeons to treat complex, wide-necked, bifurcation aneurysms in locations such as basilar tip and middle cerebral artery bifurcation. Several recent studies have demonstrated low complication rate and favorable clinical and angiographic outcomes. The Y-stent technique is illustrated here in detail and the intraoperative nuances are also discussed to minimize potential complications associated with technique.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/77pEmqx_fyQ.

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Thomas L. Slamovits, Kenneth V. Cahill, Patrick A. Sibony, Andrew Dekker and Bruce L. Johnson

✓ The authors report their experience with five patients presenting with cavernous sinus syndrome who, on computerized tomography (CT) studies, were shown to have a lesion simultaneously involving the cavernous sinus and a portion of the orbit. All patients underwent an orbital fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB). A specific cytological diagnosis was made in three of the five patients. To obtain pathological diagnosis in the case of cavernous sinus tumors, invasive diagnostic procedures are sometimes necessary. Extension of lesions from the cavernous sinus into adjacent areas should be carefully looked for on CT scans. In the specific subset of patients with cavernous sinus tumors and simultaneous orbital involvement, orbital FNAB may provide a simple alternative to more invasive procedures. The limitations of the procedure are discussed.

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Lee A. Tan, Andrew K. Johnson, Kiffon M. Keigher, Roham Moftakhar and Demetrius K. Lopes

Cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) have an estimated 2–4% annual risk of hemorrhage. Treatment options for AVMs include microsurgical resection, stereotactic radiosurgery, and endovascular embolization. As endovascular technology and techniques continue to advance and mature, endovascular embolization is becoming an increasingly vital component of AVM treatment not only as a presurgical treatment to reduce microsurgical risks, but also as a stand-alone curative method in some cases. This case illustrates the successful and curative transarterial embolization of a right frontal AVM in a 17-year-old boy with ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer (Onyx).

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/L4hE1MvCZCY.

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D. Andrew Wilkinson, Kyle Johnson, Hugh J. L. Garton, Karin M. Muraszko and Cormac O. Maher

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this analysis was to define temporal and geographic trends in the surgical treatment of Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) in a large, privately insured health care network.

METHODS

The authors examined de-identified insurance claims data from a large, privately insured health care network of over 58 million beneficiaries throughout the United States for the period between 2001 and 2014 for all patients undergoing surgical treatment of CM-I. Using a combination of International Classification of Diseases (ICD) diagnosis codes and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes, the authors identified CM-I and associated diagnoses and procedures over a 14-year period, highlighting temporal and geographic trends in the performance of CM-I decompression (CMD) surgery as well as commonly associated procedures.

RESULTS

There were 2434 surgical procedures performed for CMD among the beneficiaries during the 14-year interval; 34% were performed in patients younger than 20 years of age. The rate of CMD increased 51% from the first half to the second half of the study period among younger patients (p < 0.001) and increased 28% among adult patients between 20 and 65 years of age (p < 0.001). A large sex difference was noted among adult patients; 78% of adult patients undergoing CMD were female compared with only 53% of the children. Pediatric patients undergoing CMD were more likely to be white with a higher household net worth. Regional variability was identified among rates of CMD as well. The average annual rate of surgery ranged from 0.8 surgeries per 100,000 insured person-years in the Pacific census division to 2.0 surgeries per 100,000 insured person-years in the East South Central census division.

CONCLUSIONS

Analysis of a large nationwide health care network showed recently increasing rates of CMD in children and adults over the past 14 years.

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Benjamin D. Fox, Vikram V. Nayar, Keyne K. Johnson, Andrew Jea, Daniel Curry, Thomas G. Luerssen and William E. Whitehead

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Daniel K. Fahim, Keyne K. Johnson, William E. Whitehead, Daniel J. Curry, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea

Periosteal chondromas located in the spine are rare. The authors document an even more infrequent occurrence of a recurrent periosteal chondroma in the cervical spine of a 6-year-old boy. During the operation, a giant (> 7 cm in diameter) periosteal chondroma with involvement of the C-5 and C-6 vertebral bodies was resected. The vertebral column was reconstructed with anterior-posterior instrumentation. The pathological examination revealed that the tumor consisted of chondroid tissue with typical chondrocytes, confirming the diagnosis of periosteal chondroma.

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Emilie Chamard, Hugo Théoret, Elaine N. Skopelja, Lorie A. Forwell, Andrew M. Johnson and Paul S. Echlin

Object

Despite negative neuroimaging findings using traditional neuroimaging methods such as MRI and CT, sports-related concussions have been shown to cause neurometabolic changes in both the acute and subacute phases of head injury. However, no prospective clinical study has used an independent physician-observer design in the monitoring of these changes. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of repetitive concussive and sub-concussive head impacts on neurometabolic concentrations in a prospective study of two Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) ice hockey teams using MR spectroscopy (MRS).

Methods

Forty-five ice hockey players (25 men and 20 women) participated in this study. All participants underwent pre- and postseason MRI, including spectroscopy imaging, using a 3-T MRI machine. The linear combination model was used to quantify the following ratios: glutamate/creatine-phosphocreatine (Cr), myoinositol/Cr, and N-acetylaspartate (NAA)/Cr. Individuals sustaining a medically diagnosed concussion were sent for MRI at 72 hours, 2 weeks, and 2 months after injury.

Results

No statistically significant differences were observed between athletes who were diagnosed with a concussion and athletes who were not clinically diagnosed as sustaining a concussion. Although no statistically significant longitudinal metabolic changes were observed among athletes who were diagnosed with a concussion, the results demonstrated a predictable pattern of initial impairment, followed by a gradual return to ratios that were similar to, but lower than, baseline ratios. No significant pre- to postseason changes were demonstrated among men who were not observed to sustain a concussion. However, a substantively significant decrease in the NAA/Cr ratio was noted among the female hockey players (t(13) = 2.58, p = 0.02, η2 = 0.34).

Conclusions

A key finding in this study, from the standpoint of future research design, is the demonstration of substantively significant metabolic changes among the players who were not diagnosed with a concussion. In addition, it may explain why there are few statistically significant differences demonstrated between players who were diagnosed with a concussion and players who were not diagnosed with a concussion (that is, the potency of the independent variable was diminished by the fact that the group of players not diagnosed with a concussion might be better described as a subgroup of the players who may have sustained a concussion but were not observed and diagnosed with a concussion). This result suggests that definitions of concussion may need to be revisited within sports with high levels of repetitive subconcussive head impacts. Future analysis of these data will examine the relationships between the modes of MRI (diffusion tensor imaging, MRS, and susceptibility-weighted MR imaging) used in this study, along with other more sensitive evaluative techniques. This type of intermodal comparison may improve the identification of concussions that were previously dependent on the unreliable self-reporting of recognized concussion symptomatology by the athlete or on poorly validated neuropsychological tests.