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Stanley L. Barnwell, Van V. Halbach, Christopher F. Dowd, Randall T. Higashida, Grant B. Hieshima and Charles B. Wilson

✓ Dural arteriovenous (AV) fistulas are thought to be acquired lesions that form in an area of thrombosis within a sinus. If the sinus remains completely thrombosed, venous drainage from these lesions occurs through cortical veins, or, if the sinus is open, venous drainage is usually into the involved sinus. Among 105 patients with dural A V fistulas evaluated over the the past 5 years, seven had a unique type of dural AV fistula in the superior sagittal, transverse, or straight sinus in which only cortical venous drainage occurred despite a patent involved sinus; the fistula was located within the wall of a patent dural sinus, but outflow was not into the involved sinus. This variant of dural AV fistulas puts the patient at serious risk for hemorrhage or neurological dysfunction caused by venous hypertension. Three patients presented with hemorrhage, one with progressive neurological dysfunction, one with seizures, and two with bruit and headaches. A combination of surgical and endovascular techniques was used to close the fistula while preserving flow through the sinus.

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Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Timothy B. Mapstone, Jacob B. Archer, Christopher Wilson, Nicholas Theodore, Robert F. Spetzler and Mark C. Preul

An understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of tethered cord syndrome (TCS) and modern management strategies have only developed within the past few decades. Current understanding of this entity first began with the understanding and management of spina bifida; this later led to the gradual recognition of spina bifida occulta and the symptoms associated with tethering of the filum terminale. In the 17th century, Dutch anatomists provided the first descriptions and initiated surgical management efforts for spina bifida. In the 19th century, the term “spina bifida occulta” was coined and various presentations of spinal dysraphism were appreciated. The association of urinary, cutaneous, and skeletal abnormalities with spinal dysraphism was recognized in the 20th century. Early in the 20th century, some physicians began to suspect that traction on the conus medullaris caused myelodysplasia-related symptoms and that prophylactic surgical management could prevent the occurrence of clinical manifestations. It was not, however, until later in the 20th century that the term “tethered spinal cord” and the modern management of TCS were introduced. This gradual advancement in understanding at a time before the development of modern imaging modalities illustrates how, over the centuries, anatomists, pathologists, neurologists, and surgeons used clinical examination, a high level of suspicion, and interest in the subtle and overt clinical appearances of spinal dysraphism and TCS to advance understanding of pathophysiology, clinical appearance, and treatment of this entity. With the availability of modern imaging, spinal dysraphism can now be diagnosed and treated as early as the intrauterine stage.

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Christopher Wilson, Alan P. Yaacoub, Adewale Bakare, Na Bo, Abdul Aasar and Nicholas M. Barbaro

OBJECTIVE

A common cause of peroneal neuropathy is compression near the fibular head. Studies demonstrate excellent outcomes after decompression but include few cases (range 15–60 patients). Consequently, attempts to define predictors of good outcomes are limited. Here, the authors combine their institutional outcomes with those in the literature to identify predictors of good outcomes after peroneal nerve decompression.

METHODS

The authors searched their institutional electronic medical records to identify all peroneal nerve decompressions performed in the period between December 1, 2012, and September 30, 2016, and created an IRB-approved database. They also conducted a MEDLINE and literature search to identify articles discussing surgical decompression. All data were combined by meta-analysis to identify the factors associated with a favorable outcome, which was defined as improvement in preoperative symptoms. Patients were analyzed in the aggregate and by presentation (pain, paresthesias, weakness, foot drop). The factors evaluated included age, sex, body mass index, diabetes, smoking status, previous knee or lumbar spine surgery, preoperative symptom duration, and etiology. A meta-analysis was completed for any factor evaluated in at least three data sets.

RESULTS

Twenty-one institutional cases had sufficient data for review. The follow-up among this group was long: median 29 months, range 12–52 months. On aggregate analysis of the data, only diabetes was significantly associated with unfavorable outcomes after decompression (p = 0.05). A trend toward worse outcomes was seen in smokers presenting with pain (p = 0.06). Outcomes were not affected by presentation.

An additional 115 cases in the literature had extractable data for meta-analysis, and other associations were seen. Preoperative symptom duration longer than 12 months was associated with unfavorable outcomes (OR 0.23, 95% CI 0.08–0.65). Patients presenting with paresthesias or hypesthesia demonstrated a trend toward more unfavorable outcomes when operated on more than 6 months after symptom onset (OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.13–1.06). Even after the meta-analysis, outcomes did not vary with an advanced age (OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.24–1.98) or with patient sex (OR 1.13, 95% CI 0.42–3.06).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors provide their institutional data in combination with published data regarding outcomes after peroneal nerve decompression. Outcomes are typically favorable and generally unaffected by the type of symptoms preoperatively, especially if the patient is nondiabetic and preoperative symptom duration is less than 12 months. Patients with paresthesias may benefit from surgery within 6 months after onset. Smoking may adversely affect surgical outcomes. Finally, an advanced age does not adversely affect outcomes, and older patients should be considered for surgery.

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Stanley L. Barnwell, Christopher F. Dowd, Richard L. Davis, Michael S. B. Edwards, Philip H. Gutin and Charles B. Wilson

✓ The cases of seven patients with intramedullary, cryptic vascular malformations of the spinal cord are reported. In all patients, the clinical course was progressive; a Brown-Séquard syndrome was the most common presenting symptom complex. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging was performed in all patients. The pattern seen most often was a focus of high signal (on both T1- and T2-weighted MR images) surrounded by a larger zone of low signal (best seen on T2-weighted images), and was remarkably similar for all patients. Six patients underwent surgical exploration; removal of the lesions halted the progression of symptoms in five patients, and one patient had worsened sensory function after surgery. Motor function did not decrease postoperatively in any patient. The one patient who refused surgery has continued to decline neurologically. Histopathological examination of surgical specimens showed a cavernous malformation in one patient, a venous malformation in one, venous varices in two, and organizing hematomas in two; these findings are markedly different from those in previously reported cases of cryptic vascular malformations.

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Tomoaki Terada, Randall T. Higashida, Van V. Halbach, Christopher F. Dowd, Mitsuharu Tsuura, Norihiko Komai, Charles B. Wilson and Grant B. Hieshima

✓ Dural sinus thrombosis has been hypothesized as a possible cause of dural arteriovenous fistulas (AVF's). The pathogenesis and evolution from thrombosis to actual development of an AVF are still unknown. To study dural fistula formation, a surgically induced venous hypertension model in rats was created by producing an arteriovenous shunt between the carotid artery and the external jugular vein. The external jugular vein beyond the anastomosis was ligated 2 to 3 months after surgery and angiography was performed to identify any new acquired AVF's.

Forty-six male Sprague-Dawley rats, each weighing approximately 300 gm, were used for this study. In Group I, 22 rats underwent a common carotid artery anastomosis to the external jugular vein, which is the largest draining vein from the transverse sinus via the posterior facial vein, followed by proximal external jugular vein ligation. In Group II, 13 rats underwent the same surgical procedure, followed by contralateral posterior facial vein occlusion. Group III served as the control group, in which 11 rats underwent only unilateral external jugular vein occlusion with or without contralateral posterior facial vein occlusion. The shunts in Groups I and II were ligated at 2 to 3 months following surgery, and transfemoral angiography was performed immediately before and after occlusion.

New acquired AVF's had developed in three rats (13.6%) in Group I, three rats (23.1%) in Group II, and no rats (0%) in Group III. One of these newly formed fistulas was located at the dural sinus, analogous to the human dural AVF. The other five were located in the subcutaneous tissue, including the face and neck. The dural AVF in the rat was present on follow-up angiography at 1 week after the bypass occlusion. It is concluded that chronic venous hypertension of 2 to 3 months' duration, without associated venous or sinus thrombosis, can induce new AVF's affecting the dural sinuses or the subcutaneous tissue.

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Van V. Halbach, Randall T. Higashida, Christopher F. Dowd, Kenneth W. Fraser, Tony P. Smith, George P. Teitelbaum, Charles B. Wilson and Grant B. Hieshima

✓ Sixteen patients with dissecting aneurysms or pseudoaneurysms of the vertebral artery, 12 involving the intradural vertebral artery and four occurring in the extradural segment, were treated by endovascular occlusion of the dissection site. Patients with vertebral fistulas were excluded from this study. The dissection was caused by trauma in three patients (two iatrogenic) and in the remaining 13 no obvious etiology was disclosed. Nine patients presented with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), two of whom had severe cardiac disturbances secondary to the bleed. The nontraumatic dissections occurred in seven women and six men, with a mean age on discovery of 48 years. Fifteen patients were treated with endovascular occlusion of the parent artery at or just proximal to the dissection site. One patient had occlusion of a traumatic pseudoaneurysm with preservation of the parent artery. Four patients required transluminal angioplasty because of severe vasospasm produced by the presenting hemorrhage, and all benefited from this procedure with improved arterial flow documented by transcranial Doppler ultrasonography and arteriography.

In 15 patients angiography disclosed complete cure of the dissection. One patient with a long dissection of extracranial origin extending intracranially had proximal occlusion of the dissection site. Follow-up angiography demonstrated healing of the vertebral artery dissection but persistent filling of the artery above the balloons, which underscores the need for embolic occlusion near the dissection site. No hemorrhages recurred. One patient had a second SAH at the time of therapy which was immediately controlled with balloons and coils. This patient and one other had minor neurological worsening resulting from the procedure (mild Wallenberg syndrome in one and minor ataxia in the second).

Symptomatic vertebral artery dissections involving the intradural and extradural segments can be effectively managed by endovascular techniques. Balloon test occlusion and transluminal angioplasty can be useful adjuncts in the management of this disease.

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Stephen M. Wilson, Daniel Lam, Miranda C. Babiak, David W. Perry, Tina Shih, Christopher P. Hess, Mitchel S. Berger and Edward F. Chang

OBJECT

Transient aphasias are often observed in the first few days after a patient has undergone resection in the language-dominant hemisphere. The aims of this prospective study were to characterize the incidence and nature of these aphasias and to determine whether there are relationships between location of the surgical site and deficits in specific language domains.

METHODS

One hundred ten patients undergoing resection to the language-dominant hemisphere participated in the study. Language was evaluated prior to surgery and 2–3 days and 1 month postsurgery using the Western Aphasia Battery and the Boston Naming Test. Voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping was used to identify relationships between the surgical site location assessed on MRI and deficits in fluency, information content, comprehension, repetition, and naming.

RESULTS

Seventy-one percent of patients were classified as aphasic based on the Western Aphasia Battery 2–3 days postsurgery, with deficits observed in each of the language domains examined. Fluency deficits were associated with resection of the precentral gyrus and adjacent inferior frontal cortex. Reduced information content of spoken output was associated with resection of the ventral precentral gyrus and posterior inferior frontal gyrus (pars opercularis). Repetition deficits were associated with resection of the posterior superior temporal gyrus. Naming deficits were associated with resection of the ventral temporal cortex, with midtemporal and posterior temporal damage more predictive of naming deficits than anterior temporal damage. By 1 month postsurgery, nearly all language deficits were resolved, and no language measure except for naming differed significantly from its presurgical level.

CONCLUSIONS

These findings show that transient aphasias are very common after left hemisphere resective surgery and that the precise nature of the aphasia depends on the specific location of the surgical site. The patient cohort in this study provides a unique window into the neural basis of language because resections are discrete, their locations are not limited by vascular distribution or patterns of neurodegeneration, and language can be studied prior to substantial reorganization.

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Spiros L. Blackburn, William W. Ashley Jr., Keith M. Rich, Joseph R. Simpson, Robert E. Drzymala, Wilson Z. Ray, Christopher J. Moran, DeWitte T. Cross III, Michael R. Chicoine, Ralph G. Dacey Jr., Colin P. Derdeyn and Gregory J. Zipfel

Object

Large cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are often not amenable to direct resection or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) treatment. An alternative treatment strategy is staged endovascular embolization followed by SRS (Embo/SRS). The object of this study was to examine the experience at Washington University in St. Louis with Embo/SRS for large AVMs and review the results in earlier case series.

Methods

Twenty-one cases involving patients with large AVMs treated with Embo/SRS between 1994 and 2006 were retrospectively evaluated. The AVM size (before and after embolization), procedural complications, radiological outcome, and neurological outcome were examined. Radiological success was defined as AVM obliteration as demonstrated by catheter angiography, CT angiography, or MR angiography. Radiological failure was defined as residual AVM as demonstrated by catheter angiography, CT angiography, or MR angiography performed at least 3 years after SRS.

Results

The maximum diameter of all AVMs in this series was > 3 cm (mean 4.2 cm); 12 (57%) were Spetzler-Martin Grade IV or V. Clinical follow-up was available in 20 of 21 cases; radiological follow-up was available in 19 of 21 cases (mean duration of follow-up 3.6 years). Forty-three embolization procedures were performed; 8 embolization-related complications occurred, leading to transient neurological deficits in 5 patients (24%), minor permanent neurological deficits in 3 patients (14%), and major permanent neurological deficits in none (0%). Twenty-one SRS procedures were performed; 1 radiation-induced complication occurred (5%), leading to a permanent minor neurological deficit. Of the 20 patients with clinical follow-up, none experienced cerebral hemorrhage. In the 19 patients with radiological follow-up, AVM obliteration was confirmed by catheter angiography in 13, MR angiography in 2, and CT angiography in 1. Residual nidus was found in 3 patients. In patients with follow-up catheter angiography, the AVM obliteration rate was 81% (13 of 16 cases).

Conclusions

Staged endovascular embolization followed by SRS provides an effective means of treating large AVMs not amenable to standard surgical or SRS treatment. The outcomes and complication rates reported in this series compare favorably to the results of other reported therapeutic strategies for this very challenging patient population.

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Woojin Cho, Jonathan R. Mason, Justin S. Smith, Adam L. Shimer, Adam S. Wilson, Christopher I. Shaffrey, Francis H. Shen, Wendy M. Novicoff, Kai-Ming G. Fu, Joshua E. Heller and Vincent Arlet

Object

Lumbopelvic fixation provides biomechanical support to the base of the long constructs used for adult spinal deformity. However, the failure rate of the lumbopelvic fixation and its risk factors are not well known. The authors' objective was to report the failure rate and risk factors for lumbopelvic fixation in long instrumented spinal fusion constructs performed for adult spinal deformity.

Methods

This retrospective review included 190 patients with adult spinal deformity who had long construct instrumentation (> 6 levels) with iliac screws. Patients' clinical and radiographic data were analyzed. The patients were divided into 2 groups: a failure group and a nonfailure group. A minimum 2-year follow-up was required for inclusion in the nonfailure group. In the failure group, all patients were included in the study regardless of whether the failure occurred before or after 2 years. In both groups, the patients who needed a revision for causes other than lumbopelvic fixation (for example, proximal junctional kyphosis) were also excluded. Failures were defined as major and minor. Major failures included rod breakage between L-4 and S-1, failure of S-1 screws (breakage, halo formation, or pullout), and prominent iliac screws requiring removal. Minor failures included rod breakage between S-1 and iliac screws and failure of iliac screws. Minor failures did not require revision surgery. Multiple clinical and radiographic values were compared between major failures and nonfailures.

Results

Of 190 patients, 67 patients met inclusion criteria and were enrolled in the study. The overall failure rate was 34.3%; 8 patients had major failure (11.9%) and 15 had minor failure (22.4%). Major failure occurred at a statistically significant greater rate in patients who had undergone previous lumbar surgery, had greater pelvic incidence, and had poor restoration of lumbar lordosis and/or sagittal balance (that is, undercorrection). Patients with a greater number of comorbidities and preoperative coronal imbalance showed trends toward an increase in major failures, although these trends did not reach statistical significance. Age, sex, body mass index, smoking history, number of fusion segments, fusion grade, and several other radiographic values were not shown to be associated with an increased risk of major failure. Seventy percent of patients in the major failure group had anterior column support (anterior lumbar interbody fusion or transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion) while 80% of the nonfailure group had anterior column support.

Conclusions

The incidence of overall failure was 34.3%, and the incidence of clinically significant major failure of lumbopelvic fixation after long construct fusion for adult spinal deformity was 11.9%. Risk factors for major failures are a large pelvic incidence, revision surgery, and failure to restore lumbar lordosis and sagittal balance. Surgeons treating adult spinal deformity who use lumbopelvic fixation should pay special attention to restoring optimal sagittal alignment to prevent lumbopelvic fixation failure.