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Courtney Pendleton, Edward S. Ahn and Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

Object

Harvey Cushing, credited with pioneering the field of neurosurgery as a distinct surgical subspecialty in the US, was at the forefront of neurooncology, publishing seminal papers on the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric brain tumors during the latter part of his career. However, his contributions to the surgical treatment of these lesions during the early stages of his tenure at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, from 1896 to 1912, remain largely unknown.

Methods

After obtaining institutional review board approval, and through the courtesy of the Alan Mason Chesney Archives, the authors reviewed the Johns Hopkins Hospital surgical files from the years 1896 to 1912. Patients younger than 18 years of age, presenting with symptoms suspicious for an intracranial tumor, and undergoing surgical intervention by Cushing were selected for further analysis.

Results

Of the 40 pediatric patients undergoing surgery for suspected intracranial neoplasms, 26 were male. The mean age among the entire sample was 10.1 years. Cushing used three main operative approaches in the surgical treatment of pediatric intracranial neoplasms: infratentorial/suboccipital, subtemporal, and hemisphere flap. Twenty-three patients had negative findings following both the primary and subsequent surgical interventions conducted by Cushing. Postoperative conditions following the primary surgical intervention were improved in 24 patients. Twelve patients (30%) died during their inpatient stay for the primary intervention. The mean time to the last follow-up was 24.9 months; the mean time to death was 10.0 months.

Conclusions

Cushing strove to maximize exposure while minimizing blood loss in an attempt to increase his ability to successfully treat pediatric brain tumors. His early contributions to the field of pediatric neurooncology demonstrate his commitment to advancing the field of neurosurgery.

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Kaisorn L. Chaichana, Courtney Pendleton, Daniel M. Sciubba, Jean-Paul Wolinsky and Ziya L. Gokaslan

Object

Metastatic epidural spinal cord compression (MESCC) is a relatively common and debilitating complication of metastatic disease that often results in neurological deficits. Recent studies have supported decompressive surgery over radiation therapy for patients who present with MESCC. These studies, however, have grouped all patients with different histological types of metastatic disease into the same study population. The differential outcomes for patients with different histological types of metastatic disease therefore remain unknown.

Methods

An institutional database of patients undergoing decompressive surgery for MESCC at an academic tertiary-care institution between 1996 and 2006 was retrospectively reviewed. Patients with primary lung, breast, prostate, kidney, or gastrointestinal (GI) cancer or melanoma were identified. Fisher exact and log-rank analyses were used to compare pre-, peri-, and postoperative variables and survival for patients with these different types of primary cancers.

Results

Twenty-seven patients with primary lung cancer, 26 with breast cancer, 20 with prostate cancer, 21 with kidney cancer, 13 with GI cancer, and 7 with melanoma were identified and categorized. All of these patients were followed up for a mean ± SD of 10.8 ± 3.8 months following surgery. Patients with primary lung and prostate cancers were typically older than patients with other types of primary cancers. Patients with prostate cancer had the shortest duration of symptoms and more commonly presented with motor deficits, while patients with breast cancer more commonly had cervical spine involvement and compression fractures. For all histological types, > 90% of patients retained the ability to ambulate following surgery. However, the group with the highest percentage of patients who regained ambulatory function after decompressive surgery was the lung cancer group. Patients with breast or kidney cancer and those with melanoma had the highest median duration of survival following decompressive surgery.

Conclusions

The present study identifies differences in presenting symptoms, operative course, perioperative complications, long-term ambulatory outcomes, and duration of survival for patients with lung, breast, prostate, kidney, and GI cancers and melanoma. This understanding may allow better risk stratification for patients with MESCC.

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Jennifer M. Dmetrichuk, Courtney Pendleton, George I. Jallo and Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

Object

The early 20th century posed several challenges in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of intracranial tumors. However, this was a time in which more information was becoming more readily available based on pathological examination and surgical case reports. Such early work was crucial in shaping the current understanding of the nervous system and in developing modern treatment strategies. An early historical overview of the diagnosis and surgical interventions in pediatric patients with brainstem gliomas has not been described. Furthermore, Dr. Harvey Cushing's contributions to this field have not been reported.

Methods

Following institutional review board approval, and through the courtesy of the Alan Mason Chesney Archives, the authors reviewed the Johns Hopkins Hospital surgical files dating from 1896 to 1912.

Results

The authors describe Cushing's early experience with a pediatric brainstem glioma during his time as a young attending physician at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. The case, presented in 1909, described the clinical events in a 15-year-old schoolgirl who presented with signs of a cerebellopontine lesion. A suboccipital exploration was performed by Cushing; his findings and surgical approach are described.

Conclusions

Harvey Cushing's early contributions to the field of pediatric neurosurgery, and to the operative treatment of pediatric brainstem gliomas have remained largely unknown. The case presented here represents the early work of the American “Father of Neurosurgery.”

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Katherine Latimer, Courtney Pendleton, Jason Rosenberg, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol and Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

A multitude of theories characterized medical thought on migraine in the early 20th century. Newly discovered historical case files revealed Dr. Harvey Cushing's previously unpublished early attempts at surgical cure of migraine. Following institutional review board approval, and through the courtesy of the Alan Mason Chesney Archives, the authors reviewed the microfilm surgical records for The Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1896 to 1912. Patients undergoing surgical intervention by Dr. Harvey Cushing for the treatment of migraine were selected for further review. All 4 patients in the series were women and ranged in age from 29 to 41 years old. The women were admitted and observed in the hospital until a migraine occurred. Surgeries were performed while the women were in the midst of an attack. Cushing used surgical strategies including decompression, temporal artery ligation, and removal of the spine of the second vertebra. In each case, the patients' headaches eventually returned following surgery. Cushing relied on a combination of contemporary theories on migraine including humeral science, vasospastic theory, organic cause, and increased intracranial pressure. His unpublished efforts foreshadowed future surgical efforts at curing migraines.

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Courtney Pendleton, Jordina Rincon-Torroella, Ziya L. Gokaslan, George I. Jallo and Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa

Although Harvey Cushing was mostly known for his contributions to brain tumor surgery, he was also a pioneer in the development of spinal cord surgery. This lesser known facet of Cushing’s career can provide a fresh and unique perspective into how the founders of neurosurgery surmounted early challenges in the field. The authors bring to light and examine for the first time Cushing’s unpublished writing “Technique of Laminectomy” along with his first 3 documented intramedullary spinal cord tumor (IMSCT) cases at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. The authors draw lessons from the challenges in pathological classification, preoperative diagnosis, tumor localization, and surgical technique ofthat time. Although Cushing’s attempts at exploration and resection of IMSCT as described here were of limited success, his ability to adapt his clinical and surgical technique to the challenges of the time, as well as develop skills to successfully manipulate the spinal cord during these exploratory procedures without the patients incurring neurological damage, postoperative infection, or complications, is a testament to his determination to advance the field and his meticulous operative technique. In spite of the limitations imposed on the pioneer neurosurgeons, Harvey Cushing and his contemporaries persevered through many of the challenges and built an essential part of neurosurgery’s common story.

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Courtney Pendleton, Edward S. Ahn, George I. Jallo and Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

As neurological surgery began developing into a surgical subspecialty in the US at the turn of the 20th century, with Harvey Cushing at the forefront, the operative treatment of spinal dysraphism was refined with attempts to minimize complications. Following institutional approval, and through the courtesy of the Alan Mason Chesney Archives, the authors reviewed the Johns Hopkins Hospital surgical files from 1896 to 1912. Patients presenting with spinal dysraphism who underwent surgical intervention by Dr. Harvey Cushing were selected for further analysis. Ten patients presented for surgical intervention for spinal dysraphism, and 7 of these had concurrent hydrocephalus. The mean age of these patients was 5.8 months (range 1–14 months). The mean length of stay was 20.4 days. There were 6 inpatient deaths. At the time of last follow-up, 2 patients were well, 1 patient remained unimproved, and 1 patient (for whom no discharge outcome was available) had died. The cases described in detail offer insight into the breadth of Cushing's practice and the varied approaches he employed. The use of Faradic stimulation to assess nerve root function, the use of complex multilayered closures, and the creation of operative tables for combined treatment of hydrocephalus and spinal dysraphism illustrate Cushing's contributions to developing the field of pediatric neurosurgery.

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Courtney Pendleton, Hasan A. Zaidi, George Jallo, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol and Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

A review of the Johns Hopkins Hospital surgical records from 1896 to 1912 revealed a case from 1908 wherein Dr. Harvey Cushing attempted to treat hydrocephalus in a 4-month-old infant by constructing a shunt for which he used a venous segment harvested from the patient's father. Prior to this procedure, surgeons used shunts constructed from various often highly immunogenic materials. In addition to addressing the limitations of these materials, Cushing's technique allowed the inclusion of valves within the shunt, preventing the retrograde flow of CSF. Despite the success of this procedure in canine models, the child's postoperative death prevented an assessment of its success in a human. It is possible that Cushing's approach would meet with more success today, given the modern benefits of human leukocyte antigen tissue typing and immunosuppressant agents.

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Courtney Pendleton, Allan J. Belzberg, Robert J. Spinner and Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa

Harvey Cushing is widely regarded as one of the forefathers of neurosurgery, and is primarily associated with his work on intracranial pathology. However, he had a clinical and academic interest in peripheral nerve surgery. Through the courtesy of the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives, the surgical records of the Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1896 to 1912 were reviewed. The records of a single patient undergoing brachial plexus exploration and cervical rib resection were selected for detailed review. The operative report and accompanying illustrations demonstrate Cushing’s interest in adding approaches to the pathology of the brachial plexus to his operative armamentarium.

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Neal B. Patel, Courtney Pendleton, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

The discipline of neurological surgery was considered primarily “hopeless” and, at best, experimental in the late 19th century. Harvey Cushing's efforts during his initial uncharted voyage through the surgery of the human cranium were rudimentary and exploratory. A direct review of his available patient records from early in his career provides the opportunity to look back at Cushing as a physician-scientist, uncovering work that demonstrates that he was at the forefront of neurosurgical intervention in avenues that have been largely overlooked. The authors present Cushing's notes pertaining to a case of tetanus. This case represents the intersection of neurosurgery and tetanus treatment in Dr. Cushing's intracerebral injection of antitoxin to treat generalized tetanus.

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Todd D. Vogel, Courtney Pendleton, Alfredo Quinoñes-Hinojosa and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Cervical dystonia is a psychologically and physically disabling disease that has intrigued clinicians since the early history of surgery. Because of its elusive etiology, its operative treatment has had an extended evolutionary voyage. Early surgical approaches involved resection of the sternocleidomastoid muscle. Later recognition of more diffuse involvement of the posterior neck muscles led to the introduction of new techniques with more effective results. A review of available surgical patient records at The Johns Hopkins Hospital from around the turn of the 20th century provided a glimpse of the early history of the operative treatment for torticollis through the work of some of the leaders of surgery, including Halsted, Cushing, and specifically Finney. Here, the authors present a segment of history on the surgical treatment of this disease as it relates to the introduction of myotomy and denervation techniques.