Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 41 items for

  • Author or Editor: Bermans J. Iskandar x
Clear All Modify Search
Restricted access

Bermans J. Iskandar, Jerry Oakes, Colleen McLaughlin, Alan K. Osumi and Robert D. Tien

✓ Terminal syringohydromyelia is a cystic dilatation of the lower third of the spinal cord. The authors describe its incidence and characteristics, its frequent association with occult spinal dysraphism, and its clinical significance and need for surgical treatment. All 143 cases of occult spinal dysraphism treated at the Duke University Medical Center between 1972 and 1992 were reviewed. A terminal syrinx was found in 24 (27%) of the 90 cases that were evaluated by magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. In contrast, three (6.2%) of 48 cases evaluated by myelography and postmyelographic computerized tomography had a syrinx documented.

The relative radiographic severity of the different syringes was estimated by using measurements of the syrinx and spinal cord on the MR images, classifying the cysts into large and small. Large syringes were frequently symptomatic, commonly presenting with pain, motor and sensory deficits of the lower extremities, scoliosis, and bowel and bladder dysfunction. Terminal syringohydromyelia with occult spinal dysraphic lesions was most often associated with tethered spinal cord from a tight filum terminale in the presence of an anorectal anomaly (67% of cases), meningocele manqué (54%), and diastematomyelia (38%). An infrequent association was seen with other spinal cord anomalies.

The results of surgical management of terminal syringohydromyelia were analyzed, highlighting the necessity and effectiveness of shunting the large cysts, especially in the setting of a progressive symptomatology. Of the 11 patients with shunts who underwent MR imaging, 10 showed either complete or significant resolution of the syrinx; all five patients who had presented with pain (mainly back pain) showed complete resolution of the pain after shunting; finally, one-third of patients with shunt placement had significant postoperative improvement in their neurological examination, whereas none worsened. It is stressed that terminal syringohydromyelia is an important pathological entity that should be considered in patients with occult spinal dysraphism, and treated surgically when clinically or radiographically significant.

Restricted access
Restricted access

Bermans J. Iskandar, Benjamin B. Fulmer, Mark N. Hadley and W. Jerry Oakes

Object. The management of tethered spinal cord syndrome with onset of symptomatology occurring in adulthood remains controversial, although the necessity of early surgery in the pediatric tethered cord syndrome population is well established. To ascertain the results of surgery in adult patients with this anomaly, the authors undertook a retrospective review of 34 cases.

Methods. The authors studied the hospital records of 34 consecutive patients who presented in adulthood with tethered cord syndrome and conducted follow-up phone interviews with 28 of them. The population consisted of 12 men and 22 women, ranging in age from 18 to 70 years (mean 34 years). The most common presenting feature was pain, followed by weakness and incontinence. All patients underwent surgery. The most common operative findings were tight filum terminale, split cord malformation, and lipomyelomeningocele, paralleling those observed in pediatric studies.

Long-term surgical results and patient outcome ratings were encouraging. After a mean clinical follow-up period of 4 years, significant improvement occurred in 22 of 27 patients presenting with pain, 13 of 27 patients with motor or sensory dysfunction, and 11 of 18 patients with bowel and bladder disturbance. In addition, telephone interviews were obtained after a period of 8.6 years. Twenty-two (79%) of 28 patients called the operation a long-term success; 21 (75%) of 28 patients believed that they had significant postoperative improvement (and not just stabilization) in pain and/or neurological function. Surgical complications were generally minor.

Nineteen (86%) of 22 employed patients returned to work after surgery. Two (33%) of six patients who were not employed before surgery worked full time postoperatively. Only two of the 28 patients interviewed had received Workers' Compensation benefits; both of these had good outcomes and returned to work.

Conclusions. Tethered spinal cord syndrome in adults is an uncommon entity that can become symptomatic. Although surgery in adults involves greater risk of neurological injury than in children, it is a low-risk procedure with encouraging results. Because neurological deficits are generally irreversible, early surgery is recommended.

Restricted access

Bermans J. Iskandar, Gary L. Hedlund, Paul A. Grabb and W. Jerry Oakes

Object. To provide more information about this rare condition, the authors describe five cases of syringohydromyelia without hindbrain herniation. Preoperative magnetic resonance imaging with and without gadolinium—diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid revealed no evidence of spinal cord tumor, arachnoiditis, or spinal dysraphism.

Methods. Craniocervical decompression was performed in all patients, after which there was resolution of the symptoms in the four symptomatic patients, and all five showed marked reduction in the size of the syrinx.

Conclusions. The authors hypothesize the rare occurrence of syringohydromyelia resulting from a Chiari-like pathophysiological condition but lacking a hindbrain hernia. Patients with this condition may benefit from craniocervical decompression.

Full access

Bermans J. Iskandar, Gary L. Hedlund, Paul A. Grabb and W. Jerry Oakes

Object

To provide more information about this rare condition, the authors describe five cases of syringohydromyelia without hindbrain herniation. Preoperative magnetic resonance imaging with and without gadolinium-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid revealed no evidence of spinal cord tumor, arachnoiditis, or spinal dysraphism.

Methods

Craniocervical decompression was performed in all patients, after which there was resolution of the symptoms in the four symptomatic patients, and all five showed marked reduction in the size of the syrinx.

Conclusions

The authors hypothesize the rare occurrence of syringohydromyelia resulting from a Chiari-like pathophysiological condition but lacking a hindbrain hernia. Patients with this condition may benefit from craniocervical decompression.

Full access

Bermans J. Iskandar, Benjamin B. Fulmer, Mark N. Hadley and W. Jerry Oakes

Object

The management of tethered cord syndrome with onset of symptomatology occurring in adulthood remains controversial, although the necessity of early surgery in the pediatric tethered cord syndrome population is well established. To ascertain the results of surgery in adult patients with this anomaly, the authors undertook a retrospective review of 34 cases.

Methods

The authors studied the hospital records of 34 consecutive patients who presented in adulthood with tethered cord syndrome and conducted follow-up phone interviews with 28 of them. The population consisted of 12 men and 22 women, ranging in age from 18 to 70 years (mean 34 years). The most common presenting feature was pain, followed by weakness and incontinence. All patients underwent surgery. The most common operative findings were tight filum terminale, split cord malformation, and lipomyelomeningocele, paralleling those observed in pediatric studies.

Long-term surgical results and patient outcome ratings were encouraging. After a mean clinical follow-up period of 4 years, significant improvement occurred in 22 of 27 patients presenting with pain, 13 of 27 patients with motor or sensory dysfunction, and 11 of 18 patients with bowel and bladder disturbance. In addition, telephone interviews were obtained after a period of 8.6 years. Twenty-two (79%) of 28 patients called the operation a long-term success; 21 (75%) of 28 patients believed that they had significant postoperative improvement (and not just stabilization) in pain and/or neurological function. Surgical complications were generally minor.

Surgery-related complications included one cerebrospinal fluid leak and five pseudomeningoceles. Two patients complained of worsening motor or sensory dysfunction and one of worsening bladder dysfunction, whereas four patients experienced persistent pain and one complained of worsening pain postoperatively. According to the patients, the vast majority of these complications were minor.

Nineteen (86%) of 22 employed patients returned to work after surgery. Two (33%) of six patients who were not employed before surgery worked full time postoperatively. Only two of the 28 patients interviewed had received Workers' Compensation benefits; both of these had good outcomes and returned to work.

Conclusions

Tethered spinal cord syndrome in adults is an uncommon entity that can become symptomatic. Although surgery in adults involves greater risk of neurological injury than in children, it is a low-risk procedure with encouraging results. Because neurological deficits are generally irreversible, early surgery is recommended.

Restricted access

R. Shane Tubbs, John C. Wellons III, Bermans J. Iskandar and W. Jerry Oakes

Object. Historically, cutaneous stigmata representative of occult spinal dysraphism (OSD) have included lumbar hemangiomas. Frequently, this skin change is found in conjunction with other cutaneous alterations such as dermal sinus tracts and subcutaneous lipomas. Debate has recently surrounded the question of whether these skin changes in isolation might indicate underlying spinal disease. The authors reviewed their experience in their most recent 120 cases in which OSD was diagnosed.

Methods. The authors retrospectively reviewed records obtained in 120 patients with OSD. They found that many of the patients reviewed harbored only a flat capillary hemangioma as an indicator of OSD. In 21 patients (17.5%) with only midline lumbosacral flat capillary hemangiomas, underlying OSD was present. No single variety of OSD had a higher incidence of association with this single cutaneous stigma.

Conclusions. Based on their experience, the authors recommend magnetic resonance (MR) imaging evaluation in cases involving this skin lesion in isolation to discern the potential for surgically significant spinal cord anomalies. Prospective studies are now needed to examine MR images obtained in all children with this lesion in the midline lumbosacral spine and assess for OSD.

Restricted access

Joseph H. Piatt Jr.

Restricted access

R. Shane Tubbs, Bermans J. Iskandar, Alfred A. Bartolucci and W. Jerry Oakes

Object. Although the traditional nomenclature used to describe hindbrain hernias is useful, there are certainly patients in whom these morphological entities do not strictly apply. One such group is composed of patients with the more recently described Chiari 1.5 malformation in which a Chiari I malformation is seen in combination with brainstem herniation through the foramen magnum. In an attempt to elucidate further the best surgical strategy and to refine the descriptive terminology, the authors retrospectively analyzed all cases at their institutions in which this form of hindbrain herniation was diagnosed.

Methods. The authors reviewed the database for all patients in whom Chiari 1.5 malformation had been diagnosed. Each patient had undergone a posterior fossa decompressive surgery. Magnetic resonance images were evaluated for the extent of caudal descent of the brainstem, amount of tonsillar ectopia, inclination of the odontoid process, and any brain or brainstem abnormalities. Clinical presentations and postoperative results were correlated to the aforementioned radiological findings.

Twenty-two patients were identified. The obex was a mean 14.4 mm inferior to the foramen magnum, and the medulla exhibited a flattened appearance in the midsagittal plane in all patients. Syringomyelia was documented in 50% of the cases. The cerebellar tonsils were found to lie at C-1 and C-2 in nine and 13 patients, respectively. The mean angulation of the odontoid process was 84.4°. No abnormalities or caudal descent of the midbrain or pons was identified. Eighteen patients experienced resolution of preoperative symptoms. Persistence of syringomyelia prompted a second posterior fossa operation secondary to progressive scoliosis in 13.6% of the patients.

Conclusions. No single sign or symptom was found to be peculiar to the Chiari 1.5 malformation, although all patients in whom this diagnosis was established had undergone a posterior fossa decompressive surgery. A significant number (13.6%) of patients required repeated operation for persistent syringomyelia. Neurosurgeons may wish to consider that many patients may not respond as well to posterior fossa decompressive surgery especially if syringomyelia is present.