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Antonio Meola, Ayhan Comert, Fang-Cheng Yeh, Sananthan Sivakanthan and Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda

OBJECT

The dentatorubrothalamic tract (DRTT) is the major efferent cerebellar pathway arising from the dentate nucleus (DN) and decussating to the contralateral red nucleus (RN) and thalamus. Surprisingly, hemispheric cerebellar output influences bilateral limb movements. In animals, uncrossed projections from the DN to the ipsilateral RN and thalamus may explain this phenomenon. The aim of this study was to clarify the anatomy of the dentatorubrothalamic connections in humans.

METHODS

The authors applied advanced deterministic fiber tractography to a template of 488 subjects from the Human Connectome Project (Q1–Q3 release, WU-Minn HCP consortium) and validated the results with microsurgical dissection of cadaveric brains prepared according to Klingler’s method.

RESULTS

The authors identified the “classic” decussating DRTT and a corresponding nondecussating path (the nondecussating DRTT, nd-DRTT). Within each of these 2 tracts some fibers stop at the level of the RN, forming the dentatorubro tract and the nondecussating dentatorubro tract. The left nd-DRTT encompasses 21.7% of the tracts and 24.9% of the volume of the left superior cerebellar peduncle, and the right nd-DRTT encompasses 20.2% of the tracts and 28.4% of the volume of the right superior cerebellar peduncle.

CONCLUSIONS

The connections of the DN with the RN and thalamus are bilateral, not ipsilateral only. This affords a potential anatomical substrate for bilateral limb motor effects originating in a single cerebellar hemisphere under physiological conditions, and for bilateral limb motor impairment in hemispheric cerebellar lesions such as ischemic stroke and hemorrhage, and after resection of hemispheric tumors and arteriovenous malformations. Furthermore, when a lesion is located on the course of the dentatorubrothalamic system, a careful preoperative tractographic analysis of the relationship of the DRTT, nd-DRTT, and the lesion should be performed in order to tailor the surgical approach properly and spare all bundles.

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Gokmen Kahilogullari, Hasan Caglar Ugur, Ayhan Comert, Ibrahim Tekdemir and Yucel Kanpolat

Object

The branching structure of the middle cerebral artery (MCA) remains a debated issue. In this study the authors aimed to describe this branching structure in detail.

Methods

Twenty-seven fresh, human brains (54 hemispheres) obtained from routine autopsies were used. The cerebral arteries were first filled with colored latex and contrast agent, followed by fixation with formaldehyde. All dissections were done under a microscope. During examination, the trunk structures of the MCA and their relations with cortical branches were demonstrated. Lateral radiographs of the same hemispheres were then obtained and comparisons were made. Angles between the MCA trunks were measured on 3D CT cerebral angiography images in 25 patients (50 hemispheres), and their correlations with the angles obtained in the cadaver brains were evaluated.

Results

A new classification was made in relation to the terminology of the intermediate trunk, which is still a subject of debate. The intermediate trunk was present in 61% of cadavers and originated from a superior trunk in 55% and from an inferior trunk in 45%. Cortical branches supplying the motor cortex (precentral, central, and postcentral arteries) significantly originated from the intermediate trunk, and the diameter of the intermediate trunk significantly increased when it originated from the superior trunk. In measurements of the angles between the superior and intermediate trunks, it was found that the intermediate trunk had significant dominance in supplying the motor cortex as the angle increased. The intermediate trunk was classified into 3 types based on the angle values and the distance to the bifurcation point as Group A (pseudotrifurcation type), Group B (proximal type), and Group C (distal type). Group A trunks were seemingly closer to the trifurcation structure that has been reported on in the literature and was seen in 15%. Group B trunks were the most common type (55%), and Group C trunks were characterized as the farthest from the bifurcation point. Group C trunks also had the smallest diameter and fewest cortical branches. Similarities were found between the angles in cadaver specimens and on 3D CT cerebral angiography images. Beyond the separation point of the MCA, trunk structures always included the superior trunk and inferior trunk, and sometimes the intermediate trunk.

Conclusions

Interrelations of these vascular structures and their influences on the cortical branches originating from them are clinically important. The information presented in this study will ensure reliable diagnostic approaches and safer surgical interventions, particularly with MCA selective angiography.

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Berker Cemil, Kagan Tun, Erkan Kaptanoglu, Figen Kaymaz, Banu Cevirgen, Ayhan Comert and Ibrahim Tekdemir

Object

Epidural fibrosis is the scar tissue formed over the dura mater after a laminectomy. Extensive epidural fibrosis may be an important underlying cause of failed back syndrome. Pimecrolimus, an ascomycin derivative, is one of the new classes of immunomodulating macrolactams and was specifically developed for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. This study examined the preventive effects of the local application of pimecrolimus in minimizing spinal epidural fibrosis in a rat laminectomy model.

Methods

Thirty Wistar rats were divided into 3 equal groups: control, mitomycin C (MMC), and pimecrolimus groups. Each rat underwent a laminectomy at the L-3 lumbar level. In the experimental groups, a cotton pad soaked with MMC (0.5 mg/ml) or 5 mg pimecrolimus was placed on the exposed dura mater. No treatment was performed in the control group rats. Thirty days after surgery, the rats were killed and the dura mater thickness, epidural fibrosis, and arachnoidal involvement were quantified.

Results

The mean dura thickness was measured at 9.28 ± 3.39 μm in the MMC group and at 8.69 ± 2.32 μm in the pimecrolimus group, compared with 14.70 ± 4.14 μm in the control group. In addition, the epidural fibrosis and arachnoidal involvement were reduced significantly in the treatment groups compared with the control group.

Conclusions

In this animal model, it was shown that locally applied pimecrolimus effectively reduces epidural fibrosis and dural adherence in rats that underwent lumbar laminectomy. Mitomycin C was equally effective as pimecrolimus in reducing epidural fibrosis and dural adherence in this study.

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R. Shane Tubbs, Diala El-Zammar, Marios Loukas, Ayhan Cömert and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Object

Intradural intercommunications between adjacent nerve roots have received scant attention in the literature. Moreover, the pattern of these connections among individuals harboring normal, pre-, and postfixed brachial plexuses, to the authors' knowledge, has not been explored.

Methods

Sixty adult cadavers were evaluated for the presence of a normal, prefixed, or postfixed brachial plexus. Next, with the cadaver placed prone, laminectomies of all cervical and the upper thoracic vertebrae were performed. The dura mater was opened and observations were made for the presence of neural intercommunications between the roots of adjacent spinal levels. Any correlations between such root communications and pre- and postfixed brachial plexuses were explored.

Results

Among the cadavers, 28% harbored prefixed and 5% harbored postfixed brachial plexuses. Intercommunications between adjacent dorsal roots were more or less equally distributed between left and right sides. A total of 134 interconnections were identified between C-1 and T-2 levels. No interconnection spanned more than one spinal segment. When all sides were included, in ascending order based on the number of interconnections present, interconnections between roots were found between T-1 and T-2, C-1 and C-2, C-8 and T-1, C-2 and C-3, C-3 and C-4, C-4 and C-5, C-7 and C-8, C-6 and C-7, and C-5 and C-6. In this same order, the percent of total connections for each of these levels was 0, 0.8, 2, 7, 13, 15, 16, 20, and 25%. For left and right sides, a total of 73 and 61 interconnections were identified, respectively. This order of concentration was found to have no statistical difference between cadavers that had a normal arrangement of the brachial plexus, a prefixed brachial plexus, or a postfixed brachial plexus. No specimen was found to have interconnections between adjacent ventral roots.

Conclusions

Such variations as intradural interconnections may lead to misinterpretation of spinal levels harboring pathological entities of the spinal axis and should be considered during surgical procedures of this region such as rhizotomy. However, the present study did not find a correlation between the level of these interconnections and whether the brachial plexus was pre- or postfixed (that is, there were no observable shifts intradurally that corresponded to the extradural segmental contributions to the brachial plexus).

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Mehmet Arslan, Ayhan Cömert, Halil İbrahim Açar, Mevci Özdemir, Alaittin Elhan, İbrahim Tekdemir, R. Shane Tubbs, Ayhan Attar and Hasan Çağlar Uğur

Object

Although infrequent, injury to adjacent neurovascular structures during posterior approaches to lumbar intervertebral discs can occur. A detailed anatomical knowledge of relationships may decrease surgical complications.

Methods

Ten formalin-fixed male cadavers were used for this study. Posterior exposure of the lumbar thecal sac, nerve roots, pedicles, and intervertebral discs was performed. To identify retroperitoneal structures at risk during posterior lumbar discectomy, a transabdominal retroperitoneal approach was performed, and observations were made. The distances between the posterior and anterior edges of the lumbar intervertebral discs were measured, and the relationships between the disc space, pedicle, and nerve root were evaluated.

Results

For right and left sides, the mean distance from the inferior pedicle to the disc gradually increased from L1–2 to L4–5 (range 2.7–3.8 mm and 2.9–4.5 mm for right and left side, respectively) and slightly decreased at L5–S1. For right and left sides, the mean distance from the superior pedicle to the disc was more or less the same for all disc spaces (range 9.3–11.6 mm and 8.2–10.5 mm for right and left, respectively). The right and left mean disc-to-root distance for the L3–4 to L5–S1 levels ranged from 8.3 to 22.1 mm and 7.2 to 20.6 mm, respectively. The root origin gradually increased from L-1 to L-5. The right and left nerve root–to-disc angle gradually decreased from L-3 to S-1 (range 105°–110.6° and 99°–108°). Disc heights gradually increased from L1–2 to L5–S1 (range 11.3–17.4 mm). The mean distance between the anterior and posterior borders of the intervertebral discs ranged from 39 to 46 mm for all levels.

Conclusions

To avoid neighboring neurovascular structures, instrumentation should not be inserted into the lumbar disc spaces more than 3 cm from their posterior edge. Accurate anatomical knowledge of the relationships of intervertebral discs to nerve roots is needed for spine surgeons.

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R. Shane Tubbs, Jason M. Rogers, Marios Loukas, Ayhan Cömert, Mohammadali M. Shoja and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Object

The palmar cutaneous branch of the ulnar nerve (PCUN) has received little attention in the literature, and to the authors' knowledge, has received no attention in the neurosurgical literature. The present study was performed to help the surgeon minimize postoperative complications of nerve decompression at the wrist.

Methods

Forty cadaveric upper limbs underwent dissection of the ulnar nerve in the forearm, at the wrist, and in the palm. The PCUN was investigated and when identified, measurements were made and relationships documented between this cutaneous branch and the ulnar artery. The length and width of the PCUN were measured, as was the distance from the medial epicondyle of the humerus to the origin of the PCUN from the ulnar nerve.

Results

A PCUN was found on 90% of sides. The origin of the PCUN from the ulnar nerve was found to lay a mean of 14.3 cm distal to the medial epicondyle. The mean length and width of this branch were 13 and 0.08 cm, respectively. In the forearm, the PCUN traveled lateral to the ulnar artery on 75% of sides and on the medial side of this vessel on the remaining sides. The PCUN perforated the fascia of the anterior forearm just proximal to the distal wrist crease. In the palm, the PCUN traveled superficial to the superficial palmar arch on all but 5 sides, where it traveled deep to this vascular structure's distal extent. On 2 sides each, the PCUN communicated with the superficial and deep ulnar nerves. On 2 sides, the PCUN communicated with the palmar cutaneous branch of the median nerve. The majority of the terminal fibers of the PCUN were found on the ulnar side of a hypothetical line drawn longitudinally through the fourth digit and supplied an area roughly 3 × 3 cm over the proximal medial palm.

Conclusions

The authors hope that the present data may be useful to the surgeon during decompressive procedures at the wrist, such as carpal tunnel and the Guyon canal. Based on this study, skin incisions of the palm made longitudinally along a line through the middle of the fourth digit would minimize injury to the PCUN.

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Simel Kendir, Halil Ibrahim Acar, Ayhan Comert, Mevci Ozdemir, Gokmen Kahilogullari, Alaittin Elhan and Hasan Caglar Ugur

Object

Knowledge of the cranium projections of the gyral structures is essential to reduce the surgical complications and to perform minimally invasive interventions in daily neurosurgical practice. Thus, in this study the authors aimed to provide detailed information on cranial projections of the eloquent cortical areas.

Methods

Ten formalin-fixed adult human skulls were obtained. Using sutures and craniometrical points, the crania were divided into 8 windows: superior frontal, inferior frontal, superior parietal, inferior parietal, sphenoidal, temporal, superior occipital, and inferior occipital. The projections of the precentral gyrus, postcentral gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus, superior temporal gyrus, transverse temporal gyri, Heschl gyrus, genu and splenium of the corpus callosum, supramarginal gyrus, angular gyrus, calcarine sulcus, and sylvian fissure to cranial vault were evaluated.

Results

Three-fourths of the precentral gyrus and postcentral gyrus were in the superior parietal window. The inferior frontal gyrus extended to the inferior parietal window in 80%. The 3 important parts of this gyrus were located below the superior temporal line in all hemispheres. The orbital and triangular parts were in the inferior frontal window, and the opercular part was in the inferior parietal window. The superior temporal gyrus was usually located in the inferior parietal and temporal windows, whereas the supramarginal gyrus and angular gyrus were usually located in the superior and inferior parietal windows. The farthest anterior point of the Heschl gyrus was usually located in the inferior parietal window. The mean positions of arachnoid granulations were measured as 3.9 ± 0.39 cm anterior and 7.3 ± 0.51 cm posterior to the bregma.

Conclusions

Given that recognition of the gyral patterns underlying the craniotomies is not always easy, awareness of the coordinates and projections of certain gyri according to the craniometric points may considerably contribute to surgical interventions.

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Hasan Caglar Ugur, Gokmen Kahilogullari, Ali Firat Esmer, Ayhan Comert, Aysun B. Odabasi, Ibrahim Tekdemir, Alaittin Elhan and Yucel Kanpolat

Object

The vascularization pattern of the anatomy of the distal anterior cerebral artery (ACA) remains a subject of debate. The authors provide detailed information about the distal ACA and shed light on issues concerning it that have not previously been adequately discussed.

Methods

Fifty adult human brains (100 hemispheres) were obtained during routine autopsies. Cerebral arteries were separately cannulated and injected with latex. The vascularization patterns of the cortical branches and the variations of the arteries were investigated. The authors found that the distal ACA supplied all the inner surfaces of the frontal and parietal lobes and a median of one third of the outer surfaces. The origin of the arteries from the main trunk and their exit angles affected the vascularization patterns of the hemispheres. The authors redefine controversial terminology regarding the callosomarginal artery.

Conclusions

In each hemisphere, the vascularization pattern of the distal ACA is different to a greater or lesser extent. An awareness of this fact will contribute significantly to surgical interventions.