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Domenico Catapano, Chris A. Sloffer, Giorgio Frank, Ernesto Pasquini, Vincenzo A. D’Angelo and Giuseppe Lanzino

Object

The authors compare the views afforded by the operating microscope and the endoscope in the direct endonasal extended transsphenoidal approach to the sellar, suprasellar, and parasellar regions.

Methods

Five formalin-fixed, silicone-injected adult cadaveric heads were studied. A direct endonasal transsphenoidal approach was performed via the right nostril, pushing aside the nasal septum. The approach was performed with the microscope first, then with the endoscope. For each step (sellar, suprasellar, and clival), the exposure afforded by direct microscopic view was measured and then compared with that obtained using the endoscope. The direct endonasal approach provides a slightly off-midline view. Although the microscope provides an adequate view of the mid-line structures and part of the contralateral parasellar areas, the addition of the endoscope allows for a more panoramic view and permits widening of the approach in all directions.

Conclusions

An adequate exposure of the sellar, suprasellar, and infrasellar/upper clival regions can be achieved via a simple, direct endonasal approach. From a direct endonasal route, there is a preferential visualization of the structures contralateral to the approach. The endoscope affords a more panoramic view that extends the area covered by the operating microscope.

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Chris A. Sloffer and Giuseppe Lanzino

✓On December 12, 1785, the famous British surgeon John Hunter ligated an artery that was feeding a popliteal aneurysm. During the procedure he ligated only the proximal side of the artery and left the aneurysm sac untouched. This is frequently viewed as a landmark event in the history of surgery. There is considerable evidence, however, that another surgeon, Dominique Anel, performed a substantially similar procedure more than 75 years earlier. It is possible that the weight Hunter’s name has borne in the history of surgery has led to the procedure’s bearing his name rather than that of the lesser known Anel.

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Tobias A. Mattei, Brandon J. Bond, Carlos R. Goulart, Chris A. Sloffer, Martin J. Morris and Julian J. Lin

Object

Bicycle accidents are a very important cause of clinically important traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children. One factor that has been shown to mitigate the severity of lesions associated with TBI in such scenarios is the proper use of a helmet. The object of this study was to test and evaluate the protection afforded by a children's bicycle helmet to human cadaver skulls with a child's anthropometry in both “impact” and “crushing” situations.

Methods

The authors tested human skulls with and without bicycle helmets in drop tests in a monorail-guided free-fall impact apparatus from heights of 6 to 48 in onto a flat steel anvil. Unhelmeted skulls were dropped at 6 in, with progressive height increases until failure (fracture). The maximum resultant acceleration rates experienced by helmeted and unhelmeted skulls on impact were recorded by an accelerometer attached to the skulls. In addition, compressive forces were applied to both helmeted and unhelmeted skulls in progressive amounts. The tolerance in each circumstance was recorded and compared between the two groups.

Results

Helmets conferred up to an 87% reduction in so-called mean maximum resultant acceleration over unhelmeted skulls. In compression testing, helmeted skulls were unable to be crushed in the compression fixture up to 470 pound-force (approximately 230 kgf), whereas both skull and helmet alone failed in testing.

Conclusions

Children's bicycle helmets provide measurable protection in terms of attenuating the acceleration experienced by a skull on the introduction of an impact force. Moreover, such helmets have the durability to mitigate the effects of a more rare but catastrophic direct compressive force. Therefore, the use of bicycle helmets is an important preventive tool to reduce the incidence of severe associated TBI in children as well as to minimize the morbidity of its neurological consequences.

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Heather A. Fuhrman, Jeffrey P. Mullin and Chris A. Sloffer

War-related head injury, indeed neurological injury in general, has been a part of the history of humankind for as long as there has been warfare. Such injuries can result in the removal of the individual from combat, thus eliminating any subsequent contribution that he or she might have made to the battle. However, at times, the injuries can have more wide-reaching effects. In the case of commanders or leaders, the impact of their injuries may include the loss of their influence, planning, and leadership, and thus have a disproportionate effect on the battle, or indeed the war. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was a talented military strategist and leader who was respected by friends and foes alike. He held an honored reputation by the German people and the military leadership. His head injury on July 17, 1944, resulted in his being removed from the field of battle in northern France, but also meant that he was not able to lend his stature to the assassination attempt of Adolph Hitler on July 20. It is possible that, had he been able to lend his stature to the events, Hitler's hold on the nation's government might have been loosened, and the war might have been brought to an end a year earlier. The authors review Rommel's career, his injury, the subsequent medical treatment, and his subsequent death.

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Mark C. Preul, T. Forcht Dagi, Charles J. Prestigiacomo and Chris A. Sloffer