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Joshua T. Wewel, Bledi C. Brahimaj, Manish K. Kasliwal, and Vincent C. Traynelis

OBJECTIVE

Cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) is a progressive degenerative pathology that frequently affects older individuals and causes spinal cord compression with symptoms of neck pain, radiculopathy, and weakness. Anterior decompression and fusion is the primary intervention to prevent neurological deterioration; however, in severe cases, circumferential decompression and fusion is necessary. Published data regarding perioperative morbidity associated with these complex operations are scarce. In this study, the authors sought to add to this important body of literature by documenting a large single-surgeon experience of single-session circumferential cervical decompression and fusion.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis was performed to identify intended single-stage anterior-posterior or posterior-anterior-posterior cervical spine decompression and fusion surgeries performed by the primary surgeon (V.C.T.) at Rush University Medical Center between 2009 and 2016. Cases in which true anterior-posterior cervical decompression and fusion was not performed (i.e., those involving anterior-only, posterior-only, or delayed circumferential fusion) were excluded from analysis. Data including standard patient demographic information, comorbidities, previous surgeries, and intraoperative course, along with postoperative outcomes and complications, were collected and analyzed. Perioperative morbidity was recorded during the 90 days following surgery.

RESULTS

Seventy-two patients (29 male and 43 female, mean age 57.6 years) were included in the study. Fourteen patients (19.4%) were active smokers, and 56.9% had hypertension, the most common comorbidity. The most common clinical presentation was neck pain in 57 patients (79.2%). Twenty-three patients (31.9%) had myelopathy, and 32 patients (44.4%) had undergone prior cervical spine surgery. Average blood loss was 613 ml. Injury to the vertebral artery was encountered in 1 patient (1.4%). Recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy was observed in 2 patients (2.8%). Two patients (2.8%) had transient unilateral hand grip weakness. There were no permanent neurological deficits. Dysphagia was encountered in 45 patients (62.5%) postoperatively, with 23 (32%) requiring nasogastric parenteral nutrition and 9 (12.5%) patients ultimately undergoing percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) placement. Nine of the 72 patients required a tracheostomy. The incidence of pneumonia was 6.9% (5 patients) overall, and 2 of these patients were in the tracheostomy group. Superficial wound infections occurred in 4 patients (5.6%). Perioperative death occurred in 1 patient. Reoperation was necessary in 10 patients (13.9%). Major perioperative complications (permanent neurological deficit, vascular injury, tracheostomy, PEG tube, stroke, or death) occurred in 30.6% of patients. The risk of minor perioperative complications (temporary deficit, dysphagia, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, urinary tract infection, pneumonia, or wound infection) was 80.6%.

CONCLUSIONS

Single-session anterior-posterior cervical decompression and fusion is an inherently morbid operation required in select patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy. In this large single-surgeon series, there was a major perioperative complication risk of 30.6% and minor perioperative complication risk of 80.6%. This overall elevated risk for postoperative complications must be carefully considered and discussed with the patient preoperatively. In some situations, shared decision making may lead to the conclusion that a procedure of lesser magnitude may be more appropriate.

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Bledi Brahimaj, Michael Lamba, John C. Breneman, and Ronald E. Warnick

This case report documents the migration of 3 iodine-125 (125I) seeds from the tumor resection cavity into brain parenchyma over a 7-year period. A 66-year-old woman had a history of metastatic ovarian carcinoma, nickel allergy, and reaction to a titanium hip implant that required reoperation for hardware removal. In this unique case of parenchymal migration, the seed paths seemed to follow white matter tracts, traveling between 18.5 and 35.5 mm from the initial implant site. The patient's initial neurological decline, which was thought to be related to radiation necrosis, appeared to stabilize with medical therapy. She subsequently developed progressive right hemispheric edema that resulted in neurological deterioration and death. Considering her previous reactions to nickel and titanium, the authors now speculate that her later clinical course reflected an allergic reaction to the titanium casing of the 125I seeds. Containing a trace amount of nickel, 125I seeds can elicit a delayed hypersensitivity reaction in patients with a history of nickel dermatitis. Preoperative patch testing is recommended in these patients, and 125I seed implantation should be avoided in those who test positive.

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Max Whitmeyer, Bledi C. Brahimaj, André Beer-Furlan, Sameer Alvi, Madeline J. Epsten, Fred Crawford, Richard W. Byrne, and R. Mark Wiet

OBJECTIVE

Multiple short series have evaluated the efficacy of salvage microsurgery (MS) after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for treatment of vestibular schwannomas (VSs); however, there is a lack of a large volume of patient data available for interpretation and clinical adaptation. The goal of this study was to provide a comprehensive review of tumor characteristics, management, and surgical outcomes of salvage of MS after SRS for VS.

METHODS

The Medline/PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar databases were queried according to PRISMA guidelines. All English-language and translated publications were included. Studies lacking adequate study characteristics and outcomes were excluded. Cases involving neurofibromatosis type 2, previous MS, or malignant transformation were excluded when possible.

RESULTS

Twenty studies containing 297 cases met inclusion criteria. Three additional cases from Rush University Medical Center were added for 300 total cases. Tumor growth with or without symptoms was the primary indication for salvage surgery (92.3% of cases), followed by worsening of symptoms without growth (4.6%) and cystic enlargement (3.1%). The average time to MS after SRS was 39.4 months. The average size and volume of tumor at surgery were 2.44 cm and 5.92 cm3, respectively. The surgical approach was retrosigmoid (42.8%) and translabyrinthine (57.2%); 59.5% of patients had a House-Brackmann (HB) grade of I or II. The facial nerve was preserved in 91.5% of cases. Facial nerve preservation and HB grades were lower for the translabyrinthine versus retrosigmoid approach (p = 0.31 and p = 0.18, respectively); however, fewer complications were noted in the translabyrinthine approach (p = 0.29). Gross-total resection (GTR) was completed in 55.7% of surgeries. Studies that predominantly used subtotal resection (STR) were associated with a lower rate of facial nerve injury (5.3% vs 11.3%, p = 0.07) and higher rate of HB grade I or II (72.9% vs 48.0%, p = 0.00003) versus those using predominantly GTR. However, majority STR was associated with a recurrence rate of 3.6% as compared to 1.4% for majority GTR (p = 0.29).

CONCLUSIONS

This study showed that the leading cause of MS after SRS was tumor growth at an average of 39.4 months after radiation. There were no significant differences in outcomes of facial nerve preservation, postoperative HB grade, or complication rate based on surgical approach. Patients who underwent STR showed statistically significant better HB outcomes compared with GTR. MS after SRS was considered by most authors to be more difficult than primary MS. These data support the notion that the surgical goals of salvage surgery are debulking of tumor mass, decreasing compression of the brainstem, and not necessarily pursuing GTR.