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Craig Kilburg, Humbert G. Sullivan and Michelle A. Mathiason

Object

This retrospective study was designed to determine whether side of approach during instrumented, one- or two-level primary anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) affects the incidence of recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) injury diagnosed by observation of the vocal cords (OVC).

Methods

Records of all patients who underwent one- or two-level instrumented primary ACDF (418 patients) between January 1995 and February 2004 were reviewed. Data collected from these charts included surgeon, patient demographics, preoperative diagnosis, side of exposure, number of vertebral levels fused, and presence of RLN injury diagnosed by OVC after referral for persistent dysphonia. Time from surgery to OVC for patients with right-sided exposures was not statistically different from that for patients with left-sided exposures. Of 418 patients, 278 (66.5%) had right-sided exposures and 140 (33.5%) had left-sided exposures. Eight RLN injuries (1.9%) were noted—five in patients with right-sided exposures (1.8%) and three in patients with left-sided exposures (2.1%). The difference between right- and left-sided injury rates was shown to be nonsignificant using Fisher exact tests.

Conclusions

Results indicate that, given the study’s sample size, side of approach during instrumented, one- or two-level primary ACDF has no significant effect on RLN injury incidence in patients with persistent dysphonia referred for OVC. The definitive answer regarding the true incidence of RLN injury relative to approach side awaits a prospective study with preoperative, immediate postoperative, and periodic OVC in a large, homogeneous population with sufficient numbers of patients with right- and left-sided approaches.

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Craig Kilburg, Philipp Taussky, M. Yashar S. Kalani and Min S. Park

The use of flow-diverting stents for intracranial aneurysms has become more prevalent, and flow diverters are now routinely used beyond their initial scope of approval at the proximal internal carotid artery. Although flow diversion for the treatment of cerebral aneurysms is becoming more commonplace, there have been no reports of its use to treat flow-related cerebral aneurysms associated with arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). The authors report the cases of 2 patients whose AVM-associated aneurysms were managed with flow diversion. A 40-year-old woman presented with a history of headaches that led to the identification of an unruptured Spetzler-Martin Grade V, right parietooccipital AVM associated with 3 aneurysms of the ipsilateral internal carotid artery. Initial attempts at balloon-assisted coil embolization of the aneurysms were unsuccessful. The patient underwent placement of a flow-diverting stent across the diseased vessel; a 6-month follow-up angiogram demonstrated complete occlusion of the aneurysms. In the second case, a 57-year-old man presented with new-onset seizures, and an unruptured Spetzler-Martin Grade V, right frontal AVM associated with an irregular, wide-necked anterior communicating artery aneurysm was identified. The patient underwent placement of a flow-diverting stent, and complete occlusion of the aneurysm was observed on a 7-month follow-up angiogram. These 2 cases illustrate the potential for use of flow diversion as a treatment strategy for feeding artery aneurysms associated with AVMs. Because of the need for dual antiplatelet medications after flow diversion in this patient population, however, this strategy should be used judiciously.

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Wajd N. Al-Holou, Samuel Terman, Craig Kilburg, Hugh J. L. Garton, Karin M. Muraszko and Cormac O. Maher

Object

Arachnoid cysts are a frequent finding on intracranial imaging. The prevalence and natural history of these cysts in adults are not well defined.

Methods

We retrospectively reviewed the electronic medical records of a consecutive series of adults who underwent brain MRI over a 12-year interval to identify those with arachnoid cysts. The MRI studies were reviewed to confirm the diagnosis. For those patients with arachnoid cysts, we evaluated presenting symptoms, cyst size, and cyst location. Patients with more than 6 months' clinical and imaging follow-up were included in a natural history analysis.

Results

A total of 48,417 patients underwent brain MRI over the study period. Arachnoid cysts were identified in 661 patients (1.4%). Men had a higher prevalence than women (p < 0.0001). Multiple arachnoid cysts occurred in 30 patients. The most common locations were middle fossa (34%), retrocerebellar (33%), and convexity (14%). Middle fossa cysts were predominantly left-sided (70%, p < 0.001). Thirty-five patients were considered symptomatic and 24 underwent surgical treatment. Sellar and suprasellar cysts were more likely to be considered symptomatic (p < 0.0001). Middle fossa cysts were less likely to be considered symptomatic (p = 0.01. The criteria for natural history analysis were met in 203 patients with a total of 213 cysts. After a mean follow-up of 3.8 ± 2.8 years (for this subgroup), 5 cysts (2.3%) increased in size and 2 cysts decreased in size (0.9%). Only 2 patients developed new or worsening symptoms over the follow-up period.

Conclusions

Arachnoid cysts are a common incidental finding on intracranial imaging in all age groups. Although arachnoid cysts are symptomatic in a small number of patients, they are associated with a benign natural history for those presenting without symptoms.

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Craig Kilburg, J. Scott McNally, Adam de Havenon, Philipp Taussky, M. Yashar S. Kalani and Min S. Park

The evaluation and management of acute ischemic stroke has primarily relied on the use of conventional CT and MRI techniques as well as lumen imaging sequences such as CT angiography (CTA) and MR angiography (MRA). Several newer or less-established imaging modalities, including vessel wall MRI, transcranial Doppler ultrasonography, and 4D CTA and MRA, are being developed to complement conventional CT and MRI techniques. Vessel wall MRI provides high-resolution analysis of both extracranial and intracranial vasculature to help identify previously occult lesions or characteristics of lesions that may portend a worse natural history. Transcranial Doppler ultrasonography can be used in the acute setting as a minimally invasive way of identifying large vessel occlusions or monitoring the response to stroke treatment. It can also be used to assist in the workup for cryptogenic stroke or to diagnose a patent foramen ovale. Four-dimensional CTA and MRA provide a less invasive alternative to digital subtraction angiography to determine the extent of the clot burden and the degree of collateral blood flow in large vessel occlusions. Along with technological advances, these new imaging modalities are improving the diagnosis, workup, and management of acute ischemic stroke— roles that will continue to expand in the future.

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Al-Wala Awad, Craig Kilburg, Michael Karsy, William T. Couldwell and Philipp Taussky

OBJECTIVE

The Pipeline embolization device (PED) is a self-expanding mesh stent that diverts blood flow away from an aneurysm; it has been successfully used to treat aneurysms of the proximal internal carotid artery (ICA). PEDs have a remarkable ability to alter regional blood flow along the tortuous segments of the ICA and were incidentally found to alter the angle of the anterior genu after treatment. The authors quantified these changes and explored their implications as they relate to treatment effect.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed cases of aneurysms treated with a PED between the ophthalmic and posterior communicating arteries from 2012 through 2015. The angles of the anterior genu were measured on the lateral projections of cerebral angiograms obtained before and after treatment with a PED. The angles of the anterior genu of patients without aneurysms were used as normal controls.

RESULTS

Thirty-eight patients were identified who had been treated with a PED; 34 (89.5%) had complete obliteration and 4 (10.5%) had persistence of their aneurysm at last follow-up (mean 11.3 months). After treatment, 32 patients had an increase, 3 had a decrease, and 3 had no change in the angle of the anterior genu. The average measured angle of the anterior genu was 36.7° before treatment and 44.3° after treatment (p < 0.0001). The average angle of the anterior genu of control patients was 43.32° (vs 36.7° for the preoperative angle in the patients with aneurysms, p < 0.057). The average change in the angle of patients with postoperative Raymond scores of 1 was 9.10°, as compared with 1.25° in patients with postoperative Raymond scores > 1 (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Treatment with a PED significantly changes the angle of the anterior genu. An average change of 9.1° was associated with complete obliteration of treated aneurysms. These findings have important implications for the treatment and management of cerebral aneurysm.

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Wajd N. Al-Holou, Samuel W. Terman, Craig Kilburg, Hugh J. L. Garton, Karin M. Muraszko, William F. Chandler, Mohannad Ibrahim and Cormac O. Maher

Object

We reviewed our experience with pineal cysts to define the natural history and clinical relevance of this common intracranial finding.

Methods

The study population consisted of 48,417 consecutive patients who underwent brain MR imaging at a single institution over a 12-year interval and who were over 18 years of age at the time of imaging. Patient characteristics, including demographic data and other intracranial diagnoses, were collected from cases involving patients with a pineal cyst. We then identified all patients with pineal cysts who had been clinically evaluated at our institution and who had at least 6 months of clinical and imaging follow-up. All inclusion criteria for the natural history analysis were met in 151 patients.

Results

Pineal cysts measuring 5 mm or larger in greatest dimension were found in 478 patients (1.0%). Of these, 162 patients were male and 316 were female. On follow-up MR imaging of 151 patients with pineal cyst at a mean interval of 3.4 years from the initial study, 124 pineal cysts remained stable, 4 increased in size, and 23 decreased in size. Cysts that were larger at the time of initial diagnosis were more likely to decrease in size over the follow-up interval (p = 0.004). Patient sex, patient age at diagnosis, and the presence of septations within the cyst were not significantly associated with cyst change on follow-up.

Conclusions

Follow-up imaging and neurosurgical evaluation are not mandatory for adults with asymptomatic pineal cysts.

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Walavan Sivakumar, Michael Jensen, Julie Martinez, Michael Tanana, Nancy Duncan, Robert Hoesch, Jay K. Riva-Cambrin, Craig Kilburg, Safdar Ansari and Paul A. House

In Brief

The authors designed a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate intravenous acetaminophen as a scheduled adjunct with our standardized craniotomy pain control regimen. No statistically significant effect was found in narcotic consumption at 24 or 48 hours after surgery. At 24 but not 48 hours, patients treated with intravenous acetaminophen did report significantly lower pain scores than patients given the placebo. These data provide only modest support for using intravenous acetaminophen to improve postoperative craniotomy pain.