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Bharathi D. Jagadeesan, Andrew W. Grande, Daniel J. Guillaume, David R. Nascene and Ramachandra P. Tummala

Dural sinus malformations (DSMs) are rare congenital malformations that can be midline or lateral in location. Midline DSMs have been reported to have a worse prognosis than lateral DSMs and have traditionally been more difficult to manage. The authors report 2 unusual manifestations of midline DSMs and their management with percutaneous transfontanelle embolization. The first patient (Case 1) presented at 21 days of life with a large midline DSM and multiple highflow dural and pial arteriovenous shunts. The child developed congestive cardiac failure and venous congestion with intracranial hemorrhage and seizures within a few weeks. The second patient (Case 2) presented with a large midline DSM found on prenatal imaging that was determined to be a purely venous malformation on postnatal evaluation. This large malformation resulted in consumptive coagulopathy and apneic episodes from brainstem compression. The patient in Case 1 was treated initially with endovascular embolization and eventually with curative percutaneous-transfontanelle embolization. The patient in Case 2 was treated with percutaneous transfontanelle embolization in combination with posterior fossa decompression and cranial expansion surgery.

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Ellen L. Air, Yashar M. Ghomri, Rachana Tyagi, Andrew W. Grande, Kerry Crone and Francesco T. Mangano

Object

Vagal nerve stimulators (VNSs) have been used successfully to treat medically refractory epilepsy. Although their efficacy is well established, appropriate management of infections is less clearly defined. In the authors' experience, patients who have gained a benefit from VNS implantation have been reluctant to have the device removed. The authors therefore sought conservative management options to salvage infected VNS systems.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective review of 191 (93 female and 98 male) consecutive patients in whom VNS systems were placed between 2000 and 2007.

Results

They identified 10 infections (5.2%). In 9 of 10 patients the cultured organism was Staphylococcus aureus. Three (30%) of 10 patients underwent early removal (within 1 month) of the VNS as the initial treatment. The remaining 7 patients were initially treated with antibiotics. Two (28.6%) of these patients were successfully treated using antibiotics without VNS removal. Patients in whom conservative treatment failed were given cephalexin as first-line antibiotic treatment. All patients recovered completely regardless of treatment regimen.

Conclusions

This study confirms the low rate of infection associated with VNS placement and suggests that, in the case of infection, treatment without removal is a viable option. However, the authors' data suggest that oral antibiotics are not the best first-line therapy.

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Bharathi D. Jagadeesan, Haralabos Zacharatos, David R. Nascene, Andrew W. Grande, Daniel J. Guillaume and Ramachandra P. Tummala

A 5-month-old infant was to be treated with elective transarterial embolization for a vein of Galen aneurysmal malformation (VGAM). A team of endovascular surgical neuroradiologists, pediatric interventional radiologists, and pediatric cardiologists attempted conventional femoral arterial access, which was unsuccessful given the small caliber of the femoral arteries and superimposed severe vasospasm. Thereafter, eventual arterial access was achieved by navigating from the venous to the arterial system across the patent foramen ovale following a right femoral venous access. Embolization was then successfully performed. At a later date, the child underwent successful transvenous balloon-assisted embolization and eventual arterial embolization with cure of the VGAM.

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Adel Elnashar, Smruti K. Patel, Almaz Kurbanov, Kseniya Zvereva, Jeffrey T. Keller and Andrew W. Grande

OBJECTIVE

Percutaneous stereotactic radiofrequency rhizotomy (PSR) is often used to treat trigeminal neuralgia, a serious condition that results in lancinating, episodic facial pain. Thorough understanding of the microsurgical anatomy of the foramen ovale (FO) and its surrounding structures is required for efficient, effective, and safe use of this technique. This morphometric study compares anatomical and surgical orientations to identify the variations of the FO and assess cannulation difficulty.

METHODS

Bilateral foramina from 174 adult human dry skulls (348 foramina) were analyzed using anatomical and surgical orientations in photographs from standardized projections. Measurements were obtained for shape, size, adjacent structures, and morphometric variability effect on cannulation. The risk of potential injury to surrounding structures was also assessed.

RESULTS

The authors identified 6 distinctive shapes of the FO and 5 anomalous variants from the anatomical view, and 6 shapes from the surgical view. In measurements of surface area of this foramen obtained using the surgical view, loss (average 18.5% ± 5.7%) was significant compared with the anatomical view. Morphometrically, foramen size varied significantly and obstruction from a calcified pterygoalar ligament occurred in 7.8% of specimens. Importantly, 8% of foramina were difficult to cannulate, thus posing a 12% risk of inadvertent cannulation of the foramen lacerum.

CONCLUSIONS

Significant variability in the FO’s shape and size probably affected its safe and effective cannulation. Preoperative imaging by 3D head CT may be helpful in predicting ease of cannulation and in guiding treatment decisions, such as a percutaneous approach over microvascular decompression or radiosurgery.

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Andrew W. Grande, P. Colby Maher, Chad J. Morgan, Ondrej Choutka, Benjamin C. Ling, Timothy C. Raderstorf, Edward J. Berger and Charles Kuntz IV

Object

The standard treatment for lumbosacral tethered cord syndrome (TCS) in adults is surgical detethering. In patients with recurrent TCS, additional detethering operations are associated with increased risk of complications and subsequent scar formation. The authors studied the effect of undertaking a vertebral column subtraction osteotomy (VCSO) at the thoracolumbar junction to shorten the vertebral column and reduce neural element tension.

Methods

A model of TCS, developed in fresh-frozen human cadavers, was evaluated in three experiments. In Experiment 1, VCSO of 20 to 25 mm was performed at the T11–12 level. The vertebral column was sequentially shortened and the reduction in tension was measured separately in the terminal filum and the L-1 to S-3 or S-4 nerve roots. In Experiments 2 and 3 the reduction in tension was measured in the spinal cord after a VCSO and after simulating a traditional detethering operation.

Vertebral column shortening produced tension reduction in all experiments. Tension decreased to less than 0.6 g in the terminal filum, L1–S3/4 nerve roots, and spinal cord after closure of a 20- to 25-mm VCSO. The mean ± standard deviation of the Δtension/Δdistance was −0.242 ± 0.019 g/mm for the terminal filum, −0.246 ± 0.019 g/mm for the lumbar nerve roots, and −0.216 ± 0.040 g/mm for the sacral nerve roots. A simulated traditional detethering operation required significant neural element release (detethering) to achieve spinal cord tension reduction equivalent to VCSO.

Conclusions

A VCSO significantly reduced neural tension at the thoracolumbar junction. This novel procedure may provide an alternative to traditional surgical detethering when scarring is excessive and the risk of complications and retethering are high.

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Feres Chaddad-Neto, Marcos Devanir Silva da Costa, Baran Bozkurt, Hugo Leonardo Doria-Netto, Daniel de Araujo Paz, Ricardo da Silva Centeno, Andrew W. Grande, Sergio Cavalheiro, Kaan Yağmurlu, Robert F. Spetzler and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

The authors report a novel surgical route from a superior anatomical aspect—the contralateral anterior interhemispheric-transcallosal-transrostral approach—to a lesion located in the subcallosal region. The neurosurgical approach to the subcallosal region is challenging due to its deep location and close relationship with important vascular structures. Anterior and inferior routes to the subcallosal region have been described but risk damaging the branches of the anterior cerebral artery.

METHODS

Three formalin-fixed and silicone-injected adult cadaveric heads were studied to demonstrate the relationships between the transventricular surgical approach and the subcallosal region. The surgical, clinical, and radiological history of a 39-year-old man with a subcallosal cavernous malformation was retrospectively used to document the neurological examination and radiographic parameters of such a case.

RESULTS

The contralateral anterior interhemispheric-transcallosal-transrostral approach provides access to the subcallosal area that also includes the inferior portion of the pericallosal cistern, lamina terminalis cistern, the paraterminal and paraolfactory gyri, and the anterior surface of the optic chiasm. The approach avoids the neurocritical perforating branches of the anterior communicating artery.

CONCLUSIONS

The contralateral anterior interhemispheric-transcallosal-transrostral approach may be an alternative route to subcallosal area lesions, with less risk to the branches of the anterior cerebral artery, particularly the anterior communicating artery perforators.

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Patrick C. Hsieh, Stephen L. Ondra, Andrew W. Grande, Brian A. O'Shaughnessy, Karin Bierbrauer, Kerry R. Crone, Ryan J. Halpin, Ian Suk, Tyler R. Koski, Ziya L. Gokaslan and Charles Kuntz IV

Recurrent tethered cord syndrome (TCS) has been reported to develop in 5–50% of patients following initial spinal cord detethering operations. Surgery for multiple recurrences of TCS can be difficult and is associated with significant complications. Using a cadaveric tethered spinal cord model, Grande and colleagues demonstrated that shortening of the vertebral column by performing a 15–25-mm thoracolumbar osteotomy significantly reduced spinal cord, lumbosacral nerve root, and terminal filum tension. Based on this cadaveric study, spinal column shortening by a thoracolumbar subtraction osteotomy may be a viable alternative treatment to traditional surgical detethering for multiple recurrences of TCS.

In this article, the authors describe the use of posterior vertebral column subtraction osteotomy (PVCSO) for the treatment of 2 patients with multiple recurrences of TCS. Vertebral column resection osteotomy has been widely used in the surgical correction of fixed spinal deformity. The PVCSO is a novel surgical treatment for multiple recurrences of TCS. In such cases, PVCSO may allow surgeons to avoid neural injury by obviating the need for dissection through previously operated sites and may reduce complications related to CSF leakage. The novel use of PVCSO for recurrent TCS is discussed in this report, including surgical considerations and techniques in performing PVCSO.