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Triantafyllos I. Bouras, Ilias Sourtzis and Damianos E. Sakas

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Triantafyllos Bouras, George Stranjalis and Damianos E. Sakas

✓The authors report on the case of a young man with a mild head injury and an isolated palsy of voluntary facial movements, attributed to a midbrain traumatic hematoma. This exception to the generally accepted conjunction between brainstem contusion and poor prognosis pertains to a special entity of midbrain laceration due to hyperextension of the head, with minimal influence on the level of consciousness. The clinical presentation of this lesion with facial palsy sparing emotion-related movement has rarely been described and offers a clue for exploring the neuroanatomy of facial movement.

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Damianos E. Sakas, Theofanis N. Flaskas, Ioannis G. Panourias and Nikolaos Georgakoulias

Chronic electrical cortical stimulation (ECS) is an evolving therapy for alleviating treatment-refractory chronic pain syndromes. In this report, the authors describe a modified technique of ECS that involves resection of dural strips and interdural placement of the electrodes as a patch, and bifocal stimulation by implanting 2 electrode strips, that is, one over the motor and one over the sensory cortices.

The technique was used in 4 patients with treatment-refractory pain syndromes: a 76-year-old woman with poststroke central pain, 2 women, (71 and 73 years old) with trigeminal pain, and a 44-year-old man with phantom limb pain. All 4 patients experienced a sustained significant improvement in the intensity of pain and have gained a substantially improved functionality and quality of life. An important finding in these patients was the constancy of impedance within a narrow values range throughout the postoperative period. For the cases, the follow-up exceeds 24, 15, 12, and 9 months. The factors affecting the efficacy of ECS are discussed. In the authors' opinion, interdural implantation of the electrodes holds the promise to improve the efficacy and consistency of ECS compared with the standard epidural or subdural implantation without increasing the risk of the procedure. The technical considerations and the potential therapeutic advantages of the interdural bifocal approach are discussed.

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Biologically inert synthetic dural substitutes

Appraisal of a medical-grade aliphatic polyurethane and a polysiloxane-carbonate block copolymer

Damianos E. Sakas, Komporn Charnvises, Lawrence F. Borges and Nicholas T. Zervas

✓ Two types of artificial membranes, a medical-grade aliphatic polyurethane and a polysiloxane-carbonate block copolymer, were tested as substitutes for dura in 24 and 12 rabbits, respectively. The films were placed either epidurally, subdurally, or as dural grafts in equal subgroups of animals. The postoperative course was uneventful with no manifestations of convulsive disorder or cerebrospinal fluid leak. The animals were sacrificed 3, 6, or 9 months after implantation of the artificial membranes. Both types of artificial membranes were easily removed from the underlying nervous and the other surrounding tissues. The histological examination failed to reveal adhesions, neomembrane formations, or any type of foreign body reactions to the polyurethane film. The implantation of the polysiloxane-carbonate film caused no reaction when it was applied epidurally. As a dural graft, the polysiloxane-carbonate copolymer induced the formation of a thin neomembrane of one to two layers of fibroblasts which formed a watertight seal of the dural defect. A similar thin neomembrane was found to encase this artificial membrane in the group of animals in which it was implanted subdurally. There was no foreign body reaction to the polysiloxane-carbonate film. The authors conclude that these materials hold promise as dural substitutes or in the prevention of spinal dural scarring, and should be evaluated clinically.

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Damianos E. Sakas, Karl W. Whittaker, Robert M. Crowell and Nicholas T. Zervas

✓ Over the last 30 years, perfluorocarbons (PFCs) have been extensively investigated as oxygen carriers. Early studies indicated that these compounds could be used as blood substitutes or protective agents against ischemia. Adverse characteristics such as instability, short intravascular half-life, and uncertainties concerning possible toxicity precluded wide clinical application. However, advances in PFC technology have led to the development of improved second-generation oxygen carriers that incorporate well-tolerated emulsifiers (egg-yolk phospholipids). The authors review recent developments in this field and consider the potential role of PFCs in future neurosurgical practice. Diagnostic applications could include their use to assess cerebral blood flow, local oxygen tension, and brain metabolism or to achieve enhanced imaging and precise staging of inflammatory, neoplastic, or vascular disease processes by means of computerized tomography, ultrasonography, and magnetic resonance studies. Therapeutic applications could include cerebral protection, an adjunctive role in radiotherapy of malignant brain tumors, protection against air embolism, the preservation of organs for transplantation, and ventilatory support in head-injured patients with compromised lung function. In addition, PFCs have been used successfully as a tool in ophthalmic microsurgery and potentially they could fulfill a similar role in microneurosurgery.

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Nikolaos Sakellaridis and Christos Kelesis

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Theodosis Kalamatianos, Lampis C. Stavrinou, Christos Koutsarnakis, Christina Psachoulia, Damianos E. Sakas and George Stranjalis

Object

A considerable body of evidence indicates that inflammation and angiogenesis play a significant role in the development and progression of chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH). While various experimental and clinical studies have implicated placental growth factor (PlGF) in the processes that underpin pathological angiogenesis, no study has thus far investigated its expression in CSDH. The actions of PlGF and its related proangiogenic vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are antagonized by a high-affinity soluble receptor, namely soluble VEGF receptor–1 (sVEGFR-1), and thus the ratio between sVEGFR-1 and angiogenic factors provides an index of angiogenic capacity.

Methods

In the present study, using an automated electrochemiluminescence assay, levels of PlGF and sVEGFR-1 were quantified in serum and hematoma fluid obtained in 16 patients with CSDH.

Results

Levels of PlGF and sVEGFR-1 were significantly higher in hematoma fluid than in serum (p < 0.0001). In serum, levels of sVEGFR-1 were higher than those of PlGF (p < 0.0001), whereas in hematoma fluid this difference was not apparent. Furthermore, the ratio of sVEGFR-1 to PlGF was significantly lower in hematoma fluid than in serum (p < 0.0001).

Conclusions

Given previous evidence indicating a role for PlGF in promoting angiogenesis, inflammatory cell chemotaxis, and stimulation, as well as its ability to amplify VEGF-driven signaling under conditions favoring pathological angiogenesis, enhanced expression of PlGF in hematoma fluid suggests the involvement of this factor in the mechanisms of inflammation and angiogenesis in CSDH. Furthermore, a reduced ratio of sVEGFR-1 to PlGF in hematoma fluid is consistent with the proangiogenic capacity of CSDH. Future studies are warranted to clarify the precise role of PlGF and sVEGFR-1 in CSDH.