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  • Author or Editor: Bénédict Rilliet x
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Frédéric Schils, Benedict Rilliet and Michael Payer


The authors conducted a study to evaluate and compare prospectively the implantation of either an empty carbon fiber composite frame cage (CFCFC) or an iliac crest autograft after anterior cervical discectomy (ACD) for cervical disc herniation with monoradiculopathy.


Thirty-six consecutive patients with one-level radiculopathy due to single-level cervical disc herniation were treated by ACD, and implantation of either an empty CFCFC (24 patients) or an iliac crest autograft (12 patients). Radiological and clinical assessments were performed preoperatively, immediately postoperatively; and at 3, 6, and 12 months postoperatively. Fusion, at the 12-month follow-up examination was demonstrated in 96% of the patients in the cage group and in 100% of those in the autograft group. The mean anterior intervertebral body height was 3.7 mm preoperatively and 3.9 mm at 12 months in the CFCFC, and 4.1 and 3.8 mm, respectively, in the autograft group. In cage-treated patients, neck pain, as measured using the visual analog scale (VAS) (Score 0 = minimum; 10 = maximum) decreased from 6.4 preoperatively to 2.0 at 12 months, and radicular pain, decreased from 8.4 preoperatively to 1.5 at 12 months. In the autograft group, neck pain changed from a mean preoperative VAS score of 7.2 to 2.5 at 12 months, and radicular pain decreased from a preoperative mean of 7.8 to 1.4 at 12 months. Analysis of the 12-Item Short Form Health Survey domains and the Oswestry Disability Index scores indicated a significant improvement in both the Physical and Mental Component Summary domains in both groups.


Implantation of an empty CFCFC or a tricortical iliac crest autograft after ACD are safe and reliable options for the treatment of cervical disc herniation causing one-sided radiculopathy. Both procedures produced equally satisfying clinical and radiological results, leading to a high fusion rate and maintaining intervertebral height. Implantation of an empty CFCFC has the advantages of avoiding any donor site morbidity and requiring a significantly shorter operative time.

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Arthur R. Kurzbuch, Benedict Rilliet, Maria-Isabel Vargas, Colette Boex and Enrico Tessitore

The authors report the case of a 58-year-old man presenting with a 3-year history of clinical signs of progressive cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM). Magnetic resonance imaging showed a severe stenosis of the cervical spinal canal at C3–4 and C5–6 levels due to multiple discopathies. High signal intensities on T2-weighted MR images of the spinal cord and low signal intensities on T1-weighted images at the C2–6 levels were noted, as was contrast enhancement at the C3–4 level. The patient underwent a bilateral decompressive laminectomy at C3–6. The patient did not show any clinical improvement. Thus, further cervical MR imaging was performed and the differential diagnosis of an intramedullary tumor was considered in view of the persisting intramedullary enhancement. This diagnosis prompted a second operation involving a posterior midline myelotomy and excision of an intramedullary ependymoma at the C3–4 level. Intramedullary tumors should be considered in the differential diagnosis of CSM with an atypical pattern of MR imaging features.

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Amir R. Dehdashti, Bénédict Rilliet, Daniel A. Rufenacht and Nicolas de Tribolet

Object. This study was designed to determine whether the frequency of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus in patients suffering from aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) differs when comparing surgical clip application with endovascular obliteration of ruptured aneurysms.

Methods. In this prospective nonrandomized study, 245 patients with aneurysmal SAH treated using either surgical clip application or endovascular coil embolization were studied at our institution between September 1997 and March 2003. One hundred eighty patients underwent clip application and 65 had coil embolization. In those patients who underwent clip application of anterior circulation aneurysms, the lamina terminalis was systematically fenestrated.

The occurrence of acute, asymptomatic, and shunt-dependent hydrocephalus was analyzed in both treatment groups. A subgroup analysis of patients with good clinical grade (World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies [WFNS] Grades I–III) and better Fisher Grade (1–3) and of patients with Fisher Grade 4 hemorrhage was performed.

Acute hydrocephalus was observed in 19% of surgical cases and 46% of endovascular ones. The occurrence of asymptomatic hydrocephalus was similar in both treatment groups (p = 0.4). Shunt-dependent hydrocephalus occurred in 14% of surgical cases and 19% of endovascular cases. This difference did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.53). Logistic regression models controlling for patient age, WFNS grade, Fisher grade, and acute hydrocephalus in patients with good clinical grade and better Fisher grade revealed no significant difference in the rate of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus in both therapy groups (odds ratio [OR] 0.8, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.2–2.65). Results of similar models indicated that among patients with intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH), surgical clip application carried a lower risk of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.14–0.75) compared with that for endovascular embolization.

Conclusions. Shunt-dependent hydrocephalus was comparable in the two treatment groups, even in patients with better clinical and radiological grades on admission. Only patients in the endovascular therapy group who had experienced IVH showed a higher likelihood of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus.

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Benoit Jenny, Michel Zerah, Dale Swift, Arnaud Le Tohic, Valérie Merzoug, Hortensia Alvarez, Gilles Grangé and Bénédict Rilliet

In this report, the authors describe 4 recent cases of posterior giant dural venous sinus ectasia in neonates diagnosed during pregnancy and encountered at 3 different institutions. Posterior giant venous sinus ectasia was diagnosed in 4 patients using antenatal ultrasonography and confirmed in 2 patients using prenatal MR imaging and in 3 patients using postnatal MR angiography. In 2 children angiography was performed at the age of 6 months. The pregnancy was terminated in 1 case, and the fetus underwent an autopsy. The 3 children who were born presented with various degree of cardiac insufficiency and were admitted to the intensive care unit after birth. Signs of increased intracranial pressure were present immediately after birth, including a bulging fontanel. No endovascular treatment was used in these cases. Surgery was performed in 2 cases as an attempt to alleviate increased intracranial pressure symptoms, without any real benefit. A slow venous flow in the ectasia was shown by ultrasonography in the case in which the pregnancy was terminated. Angiography or MR angiography did not show an obvious arteriovenous malformation in any of the cases, but an arteriovenous fistula secondary or contributing to the formation of the venous ectasia is one of the physiopathological hypotheses of the cause of this condition. Interestingly, spontaneous progressive thrombosis and regression of the intravascular component of the venous sinus ectasia was observed in all cases. The clinical outcome was acceptable in 1 child (who had a moderate handicap after the surgery) and good for the other 2 children (who had normal neurological development). Stratified thrombi of different ages are found in these giant venous ectasias and develop within the leaves of the dura close to the confluence of the major posterior venous sinuses. Therefore, it appears that the formation of a progressive thrombosis represents the normal evolution of these giant dural venous sinus ectasias, which explains the favorable outcome in some cases without specific surgical treatment, except for resuscitation techniques.

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Benoit Jenny, Ivan Radovanovic, Charles-Antoine Haenggeli, Jacqueline Delavelle, Daniel Rüfenacht, André Kaelin, Jean-Louis Blouin, Armand Bottani and Bénédict Rilliet

✓The PTEN hamartoma tumor syndrome, manifestations of which include Cowden disease and Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, is caused by various mutations of the PTEN gene located at 10q23. Its major criteria are macrocephaly and a propensity to develop breast and thyroid cancers as well as endometrial carcinoma. Minor diagnostic criteria include hamartomatous intestinal polyps, lipomas, fibrocystic disease of the breasts, and fibromas. Mutations of PTEN can also be found in patients with Lhermitte–Duclos disease (dysplastic gangliocytoma of the cerebellum). The authors report the case of a 17-year-old girl who had a severe cyanotic cardiac malformation for which surgery was not advised and a heterozygous missense mutation (c.406T>C) in exon 5 of PTEN resulting in the substitution of cysteine for arginine (p.Cys136Arg) in the protein, which was also found in her mother and sister. The patient presented in the pediatric emergency department with severe spastic paraparesis. A magnetic resonance imaging study of the spine showed vertebral hemangiomas at multiple levels, but stenosis and compression were maximal at level T5–6. An emergency T5–6 laminectomy was performed. The decompression was extremely hemorrhagic because the rapid onset of paraparesis necessitated prompt treatment, and there was no time to perform preoperative embolization. The patient's postoperative course was uneventful with gradual recovery.

This represents the first report of an association of a PTEN mutation and multiple vertebral angiomas. The authors did not treat the remaining angiomas because surgical treatment was contraindicated without previous embolization, which in itself would present considerable risk in this patient with congenital cyanotic heart disease.