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Rajeev D. Sen, Carolina Gesteira Benjamin, Howard A. Riina and Donato Pacione

The authors report on an 81-year-old woman with a pathologic hangman's fracture secondary to a complex arteriovenous fistula (AVF). The patient presented with severe, unremitting neck pain and was found to have fractures bilaterally through the pars interarticularis of C-2 with significant anterior subluxation of C-2 over C-3 along with widening of the left transverse foramen. Due to an abnormally appearing left vertebral artery (VA) on CT angiography, the patient underwent conventional angiography, which revealed a complex AVF stemming from the left VA at the level of C-2 with dilated posterior cervical veins and a large venous varix. Given the radiographic evidence of bone remodeling and the chronicity of the AVF, it is believed that the C-2 vertebra was weakened over time by the pulsatile and compressive force of the vascular malformation eventually leading to fracture with minimal stress. Coil embolization of the AVF was performed followed by surgical fixation of C-1 to C-4. This case highlights the importance of investigating an underlying disease process in patients who present with significant spinal fractures in the absence of trauma.

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Carolina Gesteira Benjamin, Rajeev D. Sen, John G. Golfinos, Chandra Sen, J. Thomas Roland Jr., Sean McMenomey and Donato Pacione

OBJECTIVE

Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) is a known complication of surgeries near the major dural venous sinuses. While the majority of CVSTs are asymptomatic, severe sinus thromboses can have devastating consequences. The objective of this study was to prospectively evaluate the true incidence and risk factors associated with postoperative CVST and comment on management strategies.

METHODS

A prospective study of 74 patients who underwent a retrosigmoid, translabyrinthine, or suboccipital approach for posterior fossa tumors, or a supratentorial craniotomy for parasagittal/falcine tumors, was performed. All patients underwent pre- and postoperative imaging to evaluate sinus patency. Demographic, clinical, and operative data were collected. Statistical analysis was performed to identify incidence and risk factors.

RESULTS

Twenty-four (32.4%) of 74 patients had postoperative MR venograms confirming CVST, and all were asymptomatic. No risk factors, including age (p = 0.352), BMI (p = 0.454), sex (p = 0.955), surgical approach (p = 0.909), length of surgery (p = 0.785), fluid balance (p = 0.943), mannitol use (p = 0.136), tumor type (p = 0.46, p = 0.321), or extent of resection (p = 0.253), were statistically correlated with thrombosis. All patients were treated conservatively, with only 1 patient receiving intravenous fluids. There were no instances of venous infarctions, hemorrhages, or neurological deficits. The rate of CSF leakage was significantly higher in the thrombosis group than in the nonthrombosis group (p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

This prospective study shows that the radiographic incidence of postoperative CVST is higher than that previously reported in retrospective studies. In the absence of symptoms, these thromboses can be treated conservatively. While no risk factors were identified, there may be an association between postoperative CVST and CSF leak.

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Roshan S. Prabhu, Katherine R. Miller, Anthony L. Asher, John H. Heinzerling, Benjamin J. Moeller, Scott P. Lankford, Robert J. McCammon, Carolina E. Fasola, Kirtesh R. Patel, Robert H. Press, Ashley L. Sumrall, Matthew C. Ward and Stuart H. Burri

OBJECTIVE

Preoperative stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a feasible alternative to postoperative SRS and may lower the risk of radiation necrosis (RN) and leptomeningeal disease (LMD) recurrence. The study goal was to report the efficacy and toxicity of preoperative SRS in an expanded patient cohort with longer follow-up period relative to prior reports.

METHODS

The records for patients with brain metastases treated with preoperative SRS and planned resection were reviewed. Patients with classically radiosensitive tumors, planned adjuvant whole brain radiotherapy, or no cranial imaging at least 1 month after surgery were excluded. Preoperative SRS dose was based on lesion size and was reduced approximately 10–20% from standard dosing. Surgery generally followed within 48 hours.

RESULTS

The study cohort consisted of 117 patients with 125 lesions treated with single-fraction preoperative SRS and planned resection. Of the 117 patients, 24 patients were enrolled in an initial prospective trial; the remaining 93 cases were consecutively treated patients who were retrospectively reviewed. Most patients had a single brain metastasis (70.1%); 42.7% had non–small cell lung cancer, 18.8% had breast cancer, 15.4% had melanoma, and 11.1% had renal cell carcinoma. Gross total resection was performed in 95.2% of lesions. The median time from SRS to surgery was 2 days, the median SRS dose was 15 Gy, and the median gross tumor volume was 8.3 cm3. Event cumulative incidence at 2 years was as follows: cavity local recurrence (LR), 25.1%; distant brain failure, 60.2%; LMD, 4.3%; and symptomatic RN, 4.8%. The median overall survival (OS) and 2-year OS rate were 17.2 months and 36.7%, respectively. Subtotal resection (STR, n = 6) was significantly associated with increased risk of cavity LR (hazard ratio [HR] 6.67, p = 0.008) and worsened OS (HR 2.63, p = 0.05) in multivariable analyses.

CONCLUSIONS

This expanded and updated analysis confirms that single-fraction preoperative SRS confers excellent cavity local control with very low risk of RN or LMD. Preoperative SRS has several potential advantages compared to postoperative SRS, including reduced risk of RN due to smaller irradiated volume without need for cavity margin expansion and reduced risk of LMD due to sterilization of tumor cells prior to spillage at the time of surgery. Subtotal resection, though infrequent, is associated with significantly worse cavity LR and OS. Based on these results, a randomized trial of preoperative versus postoperative SRS is being designed.

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Joyce Koueik, Carolina Sandoval-Garcia, John R. W. Kestle, Brandon G. Rocque, David M. Frim, Gerald A. Grant, Robert F. Keating, Carrie R. Muh, W. Jerry Oakes, Ian F. Pollack, Nathan R. Selden, R. Shane Tubbs, Gerald F. Tuite, Benjamin Warf, Victoria Rajamanickam, Aimee Teo Broman, Victor Haughton, Susan Rebsamen, Timothy M. George and Bermans J. Iskandar

OBJECTIVE

Despite significant advances in diagnostic and surgical techniques, the surgical management of Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) with associated syringomyelia remains controversial, and the type of surgery performed is surgeon dependent. This study’s goal was to determine the feasibility of a prospective, multicenter, cohort study for CM-I/syringomyelia patients and to provide pilot data that compare posterior fossa decompression and duraplasty (PFDD) with and without tonsillar reduction.

METHODS

Participating centers prospectively enrolled children suffering from both CM-I and syringomyelia who were scheduled to undergo surgical decompression. Clinical data were entered into a database preoperatively and at 1–2 weeks, 3–6 months, and 1 year postoperatively. MR images were evaluated by 3 independent, blinded teams of neurosurgeons and neuroradiologists. The primary endpoint was improvement or resolution of the syrinx.

RESULTS

Eight clinical sites were chosen based on the results of a published questionnaire intended to remove geographic and surgeon bias. Data from 68 patients were analyzed after exclusions, and complete clinical and imaging records were obtained for 55 and 58 individuals, respectively. There was strong agreement among the 3 radiology teams, and there was no difference in patient demographics among sites, surgeons, or surgery types. Tonsillar reduction was not associated with > 50% syrinx improvement (RR = 1.22, p = 0.39) or any syrinx improvement (RR = 1.00, p = 0.99). There were no surgical complications.

CONCLUSIONS

This study demonstrated the feasibility of a prospective, multicenter surgical trial in CM-I/syringomyelia and provides pilot data indicating no discernible difference in 1-year outcomes between PFDD with and without tonsillar reduction, with power calculations for larger future studies. In addition, the study revealed important technical factors to consider when setting up future trials. The long-term sequelae of tonsillar reduction have not been addressed and would be an important consideration in future investigations.

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Monica Mureb, Danielle Golub, Carolina Benjamin, Jason Gurewitz, Ben A. Strickland, Gabriel Zada, Eric Chang, Dušan Urgošík, Roman Liščák, Ronald E. Warnick, Herwin Speckter, Skyler Eastman, Anthony M. Kaufmann, Samir Patel, Caleb E. Feliciano, Carlos H. Carbini, David Mathieu, William Leduc, DCS, Sean J. Nagel, Yusuke S. Hori, Yi-Chieh Hung, Akiyoshi Ogino, Andrew Faramand, Hideyuki Kano, L. Dade Lunsford, Jason Sheehan and Douglas Kondziolka

OBJECTIVE

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a chronic pain condition that is difficult to control with conservative management. Furthermore, disabling medication-related side effects are common. This study examined how stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) affects pain outcomes and medication dependence based on the latency period between diagnosis and radiosurgery.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of patients with type I TN at 12 Gamma Knife treatment centers. SRS was the primary surgical intervention in all patients. Patient demographics, disease characteristics, treatment plans, medication histories, and outcomes were reviewed.

RESULTS

Overall, 404 patients were included. The mean patient age at SRS was 70 years, and 60% of the population was female. The most common indication for SRS was pain refractory to medications (81%). The median maximum radiation dose was 80 Gy (range 50–95 Gy), and the mean follow-up duration was 32 months. The mean number of medications between baseline (pre-SRS) and the last follow-up decreased from 1.98 to 0.90 (p < 0.0001), respectively, and this significant reduction was observed across all medication categories. Patients who received SRS within 4 years of their initial diagnosis achieved significantly faster pain relief than those who underwent treatment after 4 years (median 21 vs 30 days, p = 0.041). The 90-day pain relief rate for those who received SRS ≤ 4 years after their diagnosis was 83.8% compared with 73.7% in patients who received SRS > 4 years after their diagnosis. The maximum radiation dose was the strongest predictor of a durable pain response (OR 1.091, p = 0.003). Early intervention (OR 1.785, p = 0.007) and higher maximum radiation dose (OR 1.150, p < 0.0001) were also significant predictors of being pain free (a Barrow Neurological Institute pain intensity score of I–IIIA) at the last follow-up visit. New sensory symptoms of any kind were seen in 98 patients (24.3%) after SRS. Higher maximum radiation dose trended toward predicting new sensory deficits but was nonsignificant (p = 0.075).

CONCLUSIONS

TN patients managed with SRS within 4 years of diagnosis experienced a shorter interval to pain relief with low risk. SRS also yielded significant decreases in adjunct medication utilization. Radiosurgery should be considered earlier in the course of treatment for TN.