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Chirag D. Gandhi and Kalmon D. Post

Over the past century pituitary surgery has undergone multiple revolutions in surgical technique and technological advancements that have resulted in what is now recognized as modern transsphenoidal surgery. Although the procedure is well established in the current neurosurgical literature, the historical maze that led to its development continues to be of interest because it allows us to appreciate better the unique contributions made by the pioneers of the technique as well as the innovative spirit that continues to fuel neurosurgery. The early events in the history of transsphenoidal surgery have already been well documented. Therefore, the authors summarize the major early transitions along the timeline and then further describe more recent advancements in transsphenoidal surgery such as the surgical microscope, fluoroscopy, endoscopy, intraoperative neuroimaging, frameless image guidance, and radioimmunoassay. The story of these innovations is unique because each was developed as a response to certain needs of the surgeon. An understanding of these more recent contributions coupled with the early history provides a more complete perspective on modern transsphenoidal surgery.

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Chirag D. Gandhi, Lana D. Christiano and Charles J. Prestigiacomo

The management of stroke has progressed significantly over the past 2 decades due to successful treatment protocols including intravenous and intraarterial options. The intravenous administration of tissue plasminogen activator within an established treatment window has been proven in large, well-designed studies. The evolution of endovascular strategies for acute stroke has been prompted by the limits of the intravenous treatment, as well as by the desire to demonstrate improved recanalization rates and improved long-term outcomes. The interventional treatment options available today are the intraarterial administration of tissue plasminogen activator and newer antiplatelet agents, mechanical thrombectomy with the MERCI device and the Penumbra system, and intracranial angioplasty and stent placement. In this review the authors outline the major studies that have defined the current field of acute stroke management and discuss the basic treatment paradigms that are commonly used today.

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Michael A. Chorney, Chirag D. Gandhi and Charles J. Prestigiacomo

Craniotomies are among the oldest neurosurgical procedures, as evidenced by early human skulls discovered with holes in the calvaria. Though devices change, the principles to safely transgress the skull are identical. Modern neurosurgeons regularly use electric power drills in the operating theater; however, nonelectric trephining instruments remain trusted by professionals in certain emergent settings in the rare instance that an electric drill is unavailable. Until the late Middle Ages, innovation in craniotomy instrumentation remained stunted without much documented redesign. Jacopo Berengario da Carpi's (c. 1457–1530 CE) text Tractatus de Fractura Calvae sive Cranei depicts a drill previously unseen in a medical volume. Written in 1518 CE, the book was motivated by defeat over the course of Lorenzo II de'Medici's medical care. Berengario's interchangeable bit with a compound brace (“vertibulum”), known today as the Hudson brace, symbolizes a pivotal device in neurosurgery and medical tool design. This drill permitted surgeons to stock multiple bits, perform the craniotomy faster, and decrease equipment costs during a period of increased incidence of cranial fractures, and thus the need for craniotomies, which was attributable to the introduction of gunpowder. The inspiration stemmed from a school of thought growing within a population of physicians trained as mathematicians, engineers, and astrologers prior to entering the medical profession. Berengario may have been the first to record the use of such a unique drill, but whether he invented this instrument or merely adapted its use for the craniotomy remains clouded.

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Christopher Doe, Pinakin R. Jethwa, Chirag D. Gandhi and Charles J. Prestigiacomo

The treatment of asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis (ACAS) has continued to evolve for the past 3 decades. With rapidly advancing technology, the results of old trials have become obsolete. While there has been little change in the efficacy of carotid endarterectomy, there have been vast improvements in both medical management and carotid angioplasty with stenting. Finding the best therapy for a given patient can therefore be difficult. In this article, the authors review the current literature regarding treatment options for ACAS and the methods available for stratifying patients who would benefit from surgical versus medical treatment.

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E. Jesus Duffis, Zaid Al-Qudah, Charles J. Prestigiacomo and Chirag Gandhi

Early treatment of ischemic stroke with thrombolytics is associated with improved outcomes, but few stroke patients receive thrombolytic treatment in part due to the 3-hour time window. Advances in neuroimaging may help to aid in the selection of patients who may still benefit from thrombolytic treatment beyond conventional time-based guidelines. In this article the authors review the available literature in support of using advanced neuroimaging to select patients for treatment beyond the 3-hour time window cutoff and explore potential applications and limitations of perfusion imaging in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke.

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Lana D. Christiano, Gaurav Gupta, Charles J. Prestigiacomo and Chirag D. Gandhi

Segal and McLaurin first described giant serpentine aneurysms, based on their distinct angiographic features, in 1977. These lesions are ≥ 25 mm, partially thrombosed aneurysms with a patent, serpiginous vascular channel that courses through the aneurysm. There is a separate inflow and outflow of the aneurysm, of which the outflow channel supplies brain parenchyma in the territory of the parent vessel. Given the large size, unique neck, and dependent distal vessels, these aneurysms pose a technical challenge in treatment. Initial management has included surgical obliteration, but as endovascular techniques have evolved, treatment options too have expanded. In this review the authors attempt to summarize the existing body of literature on this rare entity and describe some of their institutional management strategies.

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Christina E. Sarris, Krystal L. Tomei, Peter W. Carmel and Chirag D. Gandhi

Lipomyelomeningocele represents a rare but complex neurological disorder that may present with neurological deterioration secondary to an inherent tethered spinal cord. Radiological testing is beneficial in determining the morphology of the malformation. Specialized testing such as urodynamic studies and neurophysiological testing may be beneficial in assessing for neurological dysfunction secondary to the lipomyelomeningocele. Early surgical intervention may be beneficial in preventing further neurological decline.

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Krystal L. Tomei, Christopher Doe, Charles J. Prestigiacomo and Chirag D. Gandhi

Object

Forty-two states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation based on the Lystedt law of Washington state, enacted in 2009 to protect young athletes who have sustained a concussion. The aim of this study was to note the several similarities and differences among the various laws.

Methods

Concussion legislation was compared for 50 states and the District of Columbia. Evaluation parameters of this study included stipulations of concussion education, criteria for removal from play, requirements for evaluation and return to play after concussion, and individuals required to assess young athletes. Other parameters that were not consistent across states were also noted.

Results

Forty-three states and the District of Columbia have passed concussion legislation, and an additional 4 states have pending legislation. All states with existing legislation support concussion education for coaches; however, only 48% require coaches to undergo formal education. Athletes must be educated on concussion in 86% of states and parents in 88.7%. Suspicion of concussion is a criterion for removal from play in 75% of states; signs and symptoms of concussion are criteria for removal from play in 16% of states. The individuals allowed to evaluate and clear an athlete for return to play differ greatly among states.

Conclusions

Injury prevention legislation holds historical precedent, and given the increasing attention to long-term sequelae of repeated head trauma and concussion, concussion legislation has been rapidly passed in 43 states and the District of Columbia. Although the exact stipulations of these laws vary among states, the overall theme is to increase recognition of concussion in young athletes and ensure that they are appropriately cleared for return to play after concussion.

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Matthew A. Amarante, Jeffrey A. Shrensel, Krystal L. Tomei, Peter W. Carmel and Chirag D. Gandhi

An intact, fully functional spine is the result of a complex sequence of embryological events involving both nervous and musculoskeletal system precursors. Deviations from this highly ordered system can result in congenital abnormalities ranging from clinically insignificant cosmetic changes to CNS malformations that are incompatible with life. Closure of the neural tube, which is believed to be the embryological event gone awry in these cases, is complete by just 28 days' gestation, often before pregnancy is detected. Although progress has been made to help prevent neural tube defects in the children of those attempting to conceive, these congenital deformities unfortunately continue to affect a startling number of infants worldwide each year. Furthermore, the precise mechanisms governing closure of the neural tube and how they might be interrupted remain elusive. What is known is that there are a large number of individuals who must deal with congenital spine dysraphism and the clinical sequelae on a daily basis. Bladder and urinary dysfunction are frequently encountered, and urological care is a critical, often neglected, component in the lifelong multidisciplinary approach to treatment. Although many treatment strategies have been devised, a need remains for evidence-based interventions, analysis of quality of life, and preemptive education of both caregivers and patients as they grow older. Pediatric neurosurgeons in particular have the unique opportunity to address these issues, often in the first few days of life and throughout pre- and postoperative evaluation. With proper management instituted at birth, many patients could potentially delay or avoid the potential urological complications resulting from congenital neurogenic bladder.

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Ryan Holland, Victor M. Sabourin, Chirag D. Gandhi, Peter W. Carmel and Charles J. Prestigiacomo

As his fellow soldiers ran past him, Joseph Warren stood bravely on Bunker Hill. It was June 17, 1775, and British troops were fighting the colonists in one of the early battles of the American Revolution. The British had already attempted two major assaults that day, and the third would end with Warren’s death. He was a medical doctor, public figure, and general who spent his life and last living moments fighting for freedom for the American colonists.

After the battle, there was much confusion about what had happened to Joseph Warren. Some thought he had survived the battle; other accounts differed on how exactly he had died. The details of the events on Bunker Hill remained a mystery until the following year, when Paul Revere helped identify Warren’s body by the false teeth that had been implanted years earlier. Warren’s remains showed that his head had been struck by a bullet.

Analysis of the skull helped to sift through the differing tales of Warren’s death and thus unveil the truth about what occurred that day. The smaller bullet wound in the left maxilla suggests that he was not shot while retreating with the rest of the soldiers. The larger exit wound in the right occiput illustrates that the bullet’s trajectory crossed the midline of the brain and most likely injured the brainstem. Therefore, contrary to rumors that circulated at the time, Joseph Warren most likely was killed instantly at the Battle of Bunker Hill while heroically facing his enemy.