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Tim A. Scearce, Cheng-Mei Shaw, Andrew D. Bronstein and Phillip D. Swanson

✓ The authors report a unique case of a dermoid cyst that ruptured into the lumbosacral subarachnoid space following trauma, resulting in dissemination of cyst contents into the ventricles and cerebrospinal subarachnoid spaces. An intraspinous source should be considered when intraventricular fat is identified without a clear intracranial source.

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Hillary Shurtleff, Molly Warner, Andrew Poliakov, Brian Bournival, Dennis W. Shaw, Gisele Ishak, Tong Yang, Mahesh Karandikar, Russell P. Saneto, Samuel R. Browd and Jeffrey G. Ojemann

Object

The authors describe their experience with functional MR (fMR) imaging in children as young as 5 years of age, or even younger in developmental age equivalent. Functional MR imaging can be useful for identifying eloquent cortex prior to surgical intervention. Most fMR imaging clinical work has been done in adults, and although children as young as 8 years of age have been included in larger clinical series, cases in younger children are rarely reported.

Methods

The authors reviewed presurgical fMR images in eight patients who were 8 years of age or younger, six of whom were 5 or 6 years of age. Each patient had undergone neuropsychological testing. Three patients functioned at a below-average level, with adaptive functioning age scores of 3 to 4 years. Self-paced finger tapping (with passive movement in one patient) and silent language tasks were used as activation tasks. The language task was modified for younger children, for whom the same (not novel) stimuli were used for extensive practice ahead of time and in the MR imaging unit. Patient preparation involved techniques such as having experienced staff present to work with patients and providing external management during imaging. Six of eight patients had extensive training and practice prior to the procedure. In the two youngest patients, this training included use of a mock MR unit.

Results

All cases yielded successful imaging. Finger tapping in all seven of the patients who could perform it demonstrated focal motor activation in the frontal-parietal region, with expected activation elsewhere, including in the cerebellum. Three of four patients had the expected verb generation task activations, with left-hemisphere dominance, including a 6-year-old child who functioned at the 3-year, 9-month level. The only child (an 8-year-old) who was not prepared prior to the imaging session for the verb generation task failed this task due to movement artifact.

Conclusions

Despite the challenges of successfully using fMR imaging in very young and clinically involved patients, these studies can be performed successfully in children with a chronological age of 5 or 6 years and a developmental age as young as 3 or 4 years.

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Miranda N. Shaw, Etienne P. Morel, P. Andrew Utter, Yazeed M. Gussous, Lise Ginoux, Lawrence J. Berglund, Ralph E. Gay and William E. Krauss

Object

The object of this study was to determine if the addition of transverse connectors (TCs) to a rod-screw construct leads to increased stabilization of the cervical spine.

Methods

Eleven human cadaveric cervical spines (C2–T1) were used to examine the effect of adding connectors to a C3–7 rod-screw construct in 3 models of instability: 1) C3–6 wide laminectomy, 2) wide laminectomy and 50% foraminotomy at C4–5 and C5–6, and 3) wide laminectomy with full medial to lateral foraminotomy. Following each destabilization procedure, specimens were tested with no TC, 1 TC between the C-5 screws, and 2 TCs between the C-4 and C-6 screws. Testing of the connectors was conducted in random order. Specimens were subjected to ± 2 Nm of torque in flexion and extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation. Range of motion was determined for each experimental condition. Statistical comparisons were made between the destabilized and intact conditions, and between the addition of TCs and the absence of TCs.

Results

The progressive destabilization procedures significantly increased motion. The addition of TCs did not significantly change motion in flexion and extension. Lateral bending was significantly decreased with 2 connectors, but not with 1 connector. The greatest effect was on axial rotation. In general, 2 TCs were more restrictive than 1 TC, and decreased motion 10% more than fixation alone.

Conclusions

Regardless of the degree of cervical destabilization, 1 or 2 TCs decreased motion compared with rods and screws alone. Axial rotation was most affected. Transverse connectors effectively increase the rigidity of rod-screw constructs in the cervical spine. Severe cervical instability can be overcome with the use of 2 TCs, but in cases in which 2 cannot be used, 1 should be adequate and superior to none.

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Andrew Shaw and E. Antonio Chiocca

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Andrew Shaw and E. Antonio Chiocca

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Andrew Shaw and E. Antonio Chiocca

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Anthony C. Wang, George M. Ibrahim, Andrew V. Poliakov, Page I. Wang, Aria Fallah, Gary W. Mathern, Robert T. Buckley, Kelly Collins, Alexander G. Weil, Hillary A. Shurtleff, Molly H. Warner, Francisco A. Perez, Dennis W. Shaw, Jason N. Wright, Russell P. Saneto, Edward J. Novotny, Amy Lee, Samuel R. Browd and Jeffrey G. Ojemann

OBJECTIVE

The potential loss of motor function after cerebral hemispherectomy is a common cause of anguish for patients, their families, and their physicians. The deficits these patients face are individually unique, but as a whole they provide a framework to understand the mechanisms underlying cortical reorganization of motor function. This study investigated whether preoperative functional MRI (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) could predict the postoperative preservation of hand motor function.

METHODS

Thirteen independent reviewers analyzed sensorimotor fMRI and colored fractional anisotropy (CoFA)–DTI maps in 25 patients undergoing functional hemispherectomy for treatment of intractable seizures. Pre- and postoperative gross hand motor function were categorized and correlated with fMRI and DTI findings, specifically, abnormally located motor activation on fMRI and corticospinal tract atrophy on DTI.

RESULTS

Normal sensorimotor cortical activation on preoperative fMRI was significantly associated with severe decline in postoperative motor function, demonstrating 92.9% sensitivity (95% CI 0.661–0.998) and 100% specificity (95% CI 0.715–1.00). Bilaterally robust, symmetric corticospinal tracts on CoFA-DTI maps were significantly associated with severe postoperative motor decline, demonstrating 85.7% sensitivity (95% CI 0.572–0.982) and 100% specificity (95% CI 0.715–1.00). Interpreting the fMR images, the reviewers achieved a Fleiss’ kappa coefficient (κ) for interrater agreement of κ = 0.69, indicating good agreement (p < 0.01). When interpreting the CoFA-DTI maps, the reviewers achieved κ = 0.64, again indicating good agreement (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

Functional hemispherectomy offers a high potential for seizure freedom without debilitating functional deficits in certain instances. Patients likely to retain preoperative motor function can be identified prior to hemispherectomy, where fMRI or DTI suggests that cortical reorganization of motor function has occurred prior to the operation.