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  • Author or Editor: Daniel A. Wecht x
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Richard H. Singleton, Brian T. Jankowitz, Daniel A. Wecht and Paul A. Gardner

Object

The use of commercially available topical hemostatic adjuncts has increased the safety profile of surgery as a whole. Cranial surgery has also benefited from the development of numerous agents designed to permit more rapid achievement of hemostasis. Flowable topical hemostatic agents applied via syringe injection are now commonly employed in many neurosurgical procedures, including cranial surgery. Intravascular use of these strongly thrombogenic agents is contraindicated, but in certain settings, inadvertent intravascular administration can occur, resulting in vascular occlusion, thrombosis, and potential dissemination. To date, there have no reports detailing the presence and incidence of this complication.

Methods

The authors conducted a retrospective review of all cranial surgeries performed at Presbyterian University Hospital by members of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Department of Neurological Surgery between 2007 and 2009. Cases complicated by vascular occlusion due to inadvertent intravascular administration of flowable topical hemostatic matrix (FTHM) were identified and analyzed.

Results

Iatrogenic vascular occlusion induced by FTHM was identified in 5 (0.1%) of 3969 cranial surgery cases. None of these events occurred in 3318 supratentorial cases, whereas 5 cases of cerebral venous sinus occlusion occurred in 651 infratentorial cases (0.8%). The risk of accidental vessel occlusion was significantly associated with infratentorial surgery, and all events occurred in the transverse and/or sigmoid sinus. No episodes of inadvertent vascular occlusion occurred during endoscopic surgery. No cases of arterial occlusion were identified. Of the 5 patients with FTHM-related cerebral venous sinus occlusion, none developed long-term neurological sequelae referable to the event.

Conclusions

Inadvertent intravascular administration of FTHM is a rare complication associated with cranial surgery that occurs most commonly during infratentorial procedures around the transverse and/or sigmoid sinuses. Modifications in the choice of when to use an FTHM and the method of application may help prevent accidental venous sinus administration.

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Joseph C. Maroon, Hikmat El-Kadi, Adnan A. Abla, Daniel A. Wecht, Jeffrey Bost, John Norwig and Tim Bream

Object

Neurapraxia, transient posttraumatic paralysis of the motor and/or sensory tracts in the spinal cord, may be a career-ending event in an athlete. Management, rehabilitation, and return-to-play decisions remain controversial.

Methods

Five elite football players were evaluated after experiencing episodes of neurapraxia. All patients experienced bilateral paresthesias—three in all four extremities and two in the upper extremities—lasting a few minutes to more than 24 hours. Transient motor deficits occurred in two individuals but caused no permanent sequelae. Neuroimaging confirmed the presence of herniated discs, focal cord compression, and no parenchymal changes in all cases.

All patients underwent anterior cervical microdiscectomy and fusion, and cervical plates were placed in four. After aggressive rehabilitation and confirmation of fusion ranging from 9 weeks to 8 months postoperatively, the players were allowed to return to active play. Two of the players developed recurrent career-ending disc herniations, one above and the other below the fusion level. One player required repeated spinal cord decompression.

Conclusions

Neurologically intact athletes with focal cord compression due to a single-level herniated disc may safely return to football after undergoing decompressive surgery and confirmation of fusion. It appears, however, that there may be an increased chance of repeated herniation above or below a fused level.