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Daniel Rosenthal and Curtis A. Dickman

Object. The authors began using thoracoscopy to treat pathological conditions of the spine in 1992. In this study they delineate their clinical experience in which this procedure was used to resect herniated thoracic discs.

Methods. Fifty-five patients underwent thoracoscopy for the resection of herniated thoracic discs. Thirty-six patients presented with myelopathies and 19 with incapacitating thoracic radicular pain. Forty-three patients underwent a single-level, 11 a two-level, and one a three-level discectomy. The mean operative time for thoracoscopic microdiscectomy was 3 hours and 25 minutes (range 80–542 minutes) and the mean blood loss was 327 ml (range 124–1500 ml). Compared with thoracotomy, which was performed in 18 patients, thoracoscopy was associated with a mean of 1 hour less operative time and less than one-half of the blood loss, duration of chest tube drainage, usage of pain medication, and length of hospitalization. Compared with costotransversectomy, which was performed in 15 patients, thoracoscopy permitted more complete resection of calcified and midline thoracic discs because it provided a direct view of the entire anterior surface of the dura. Thoracotomy was associated with a significantly greater incidence of prolonged, disabling intercostal neuralgia compared with the mild transient episodes of intercostal neuralgia associated with thoracoscopy (50% compared with 16%). Thoracotomy also was associated with a significantly higher incidence of postoperative atelectasis and pulmonary dysfunction than thoracoscopy (33% compared with 7%). Clinical and neurological outcomes were excellent (mean follow-up period 15 months). Among the 36 myelopathic patients, 22 completely recovered neurologically; five improved functionally but had some residual myelopathic symptoms; and nine stabilized. Among the 19 patients with isolated thoracic radiculopathies, 15 recovered completely and four improved moderately; no patient had worsened radicular pain.

Conclusions. Thoracoscopic microdiscectomy is a reliable surgical technique that can be performed safely with excellent clinical and neurological results.

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Daniel Rosenthal and Curtis A. Dickman

Object

The authors began using thoracoscopy to treat pathological conditions of the spine in 1992. In this study they delineate their clinical experience in which this procedure was used to resect herniated thoracic discs.

Methods

Fifty-five patients underwent thoracoscopy for the resection of herniated thoracic discs. Thirty-six patients presented with myelopathies and 19 with incapacitating thoracic radicular pain. Forty-three patients underwent a single-level, 11 a two-level, and one a three-level discectomy. The mean operative time for thoracoscopic microdiscectomy was 3 hours and 25 minutes (range 80-542 minutes) and the mean blood loss was 327 ml (range 124-1500 ml). Compared with thoracotomy, which was performed in 18 patients, thoracoscopy was associated with a mean of 1 hour less operative time and less than one-half of the blood loss, duration of chest tube drainage, usage of pain medication, and length of hospitalization. Compared with costotransversectomy, which was performed in 15 patients, thoracoscopy permitted more complete resection of calcified and midline thoracic discs because it provided a direct view of the entire anterior surface of the dura. Thoracotomy was associated with a significantly greater incidence of prolonged, disabling intercostal neuralgia compared with the mild transient episodes of intercostal neuralgia associated with thoracoscopy (50% compared with 16%). Thoracotomy also was associated with a significantly higher incidence of postoperative atelectasis and pulmonary dysfunction than thoracoscopy (33% compared with 7%). Clinical and neurological outcomes were excellent (mean follow-up period 15 months). Among the 36 myelopathic patients, 22 completely recovered neurologically; five improved functionally but had some residual myelopathic symptoms; and nine stabilized. Among the 19 patients with isolated thoracic radiculopathies, 15 recovered completely; four improved moderately; and none had worsened radicular pain.

Conclusions

Thoracoscopic microdiscectomy is a reliable surgical technique that can be performed safely with excellent clinical and neurological results.

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Curtis A. Dickman, Daniel Rosenthal, and John J. Regan

In this review the authors address the surgical strategies required to resect residual thoracic disc herniations. Fifteen patients who had undergone prior thoracic discectomy and who harbored residual or incompletely excised symptomatic thoracic discs were reviewed retrospectively. The surgical procedures that had failed to excise the herniated discs completely included 11 posterolateral approaches, one thoracotomy, and three thoracoscopic procedures. Of the incompletely resected or residual disks 13 were central calcified, two were soft, 12 were extradural, and three were intradural discs. Indications for reoperation were often multiple in each patient and included misidentification of the level of disc disease at the initial operation (five cases), abandoning the procedure because of intraoperative spinal cord injury (three cases), inadequate visualization of the pathology (eight cases), migration of a soft disc fragment within the spinal canal (one case), and intradural disc extension (three cases). The symptoms at the time of reoperation included myelopathy in 13 patients and radicular pain in two. The mean interval before reoperation was 150 days (range 1 day-4 years). The reoperation procedures included one thoracotomy and 14 video-assisted thoracoscopic procedures performed ipsilateral (11 cases) or contralateral (four cases) to the site of the initial surgery.

The herniated disc material was excised completely in all 15 cases without causing new neurological deficits. Reoperation complications included atelectasis in three patients, intercostal neuralgia in two, a loosened screw that required removal in one, and a cerebrospinal fluid leak in one patient. Of the 13 patients who experienced myelopathy preoperatively, 10 recovered neurological function and three stabilized. All patients with radicular pain improved.

Calcified, large, broad-based, centrally located, or transdural thoracic disc herniations can be difficult to resect. These lesions require a ventral operative approach to visualize the dura adequately for a safe and complete resection.

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Curtis A. Dickman, Daniel Rosenthal, and John J. Regan

Object. In this review the authors address the surgical strategies required to resect residual herniated thoracic discs.

Methods. Data obtained in 15 patients who had undergone prior thoracic discectomy and who harbored residual or incompletely excised symptomatic thoracic discs were reviewed retrospectively. The surgical procedures that had failed to excise the herniated discs completely included 11 posterolateral approaches, one thoracotomy, and three thoracoscopyguided surgical procedures. Of the lesions that were incompletely resected or residual, there were 13 central calcified, two soft, 12 extradural, and three intradural discs. Indications for reoperation were often multiple in each patient and included misidentification of the level of disc disease at the initial operation (five cases), abandoning the procedure because of intraoperative spinal cord injury (three cases), inadequate visualization of the pathological entity (eight cases), migration of a soft disc fragment within the spinal canal (one case), and intradural disc extension (three cases). The symptoms at the time of reoperation included myelopathy in 13 patients and radicular pain in two patients. The mean interval before reoperation was 150 days (range 1 day–4 years). The reoperation procedures included one thoracotomy and 14 video-assisted thoracoscopic procedures performed ipsilateral (11 cases) or contralateral (four cases) to the site of the initial surgery.

The herniated disc material was excised completely in all 15 cases without causing new neurological deficits. Reoperation complications included atelectasis in three patients, intercostal neuralgia in two, a loosened screw that required removal in one, residual intradural disc herniation that required a second reoperation in one patient, and a cerebrospinal fluid leak in one patient. Of the 13 patients who experienced myelopathy prior to operation, 10 recovered neurological function and three stabilized. All patients with radicular pain improved.

Conclusions. Calcified, large, broad-based, centrally located, or transdural thoracic disc herniations can be difficult to resect. These lesions require a ventral operative approach to visualize the dura adequately for a safe and complete resection.

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Jason A. Chen, Daniel Rosenthal Garber, and Alan R. Cohen

Spinal extradural arachnoid cysts (SEACs) are uncommon spinal lesions that may cause myelopathy, most frequently in the 2nd decade of life. There are multiple theories of their pathogenesis, and associated entities include spinal trauma, spina bifida, and the lymphedema-distichiasis syndrome. The authors report the case of an otherwise healthy, developmentally normal 13-year-old boy who presented with multiple SEACs. Upon further neuroimaging workup, he was found to have an asymptomatic retrocerebellar arachnoid cyst, cavum septi pellucidi, and cavum vergae. Three contiguous but separate spinal cysts were identified intraoperatively, and they were completely excised with closure of the dural defects. The patient recovered motor and sensory function of the lower extremities. This collection of uncommon neuroimaging findings provides important clues to the pathogenesis of the disease and guides the optimal management of patients with SEACs. The unusual presentation of SEACs, together with uncommon midline abnormalities, provides further evidence of their congenital, midline origin. Therefore, it is reasonable to pursue imaging of the brain in atypical cases of SEACs.

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Daniel Rosenthal, Gerhard Marquardt, Ruediger Lorenz, and Michael Nichtweiß

✓ It is well accepted that the treatment of spinal tumors that threaten neurological integrity comprises resection, vertebral body reconstruction, and stabilization if the patient's condition is suitable. In spite of the excellent results reported using thoracotomy, the majority of investigators recommend posterolateral techniques because of lower morbidity, shorter hospitalization time, and the possibility of performing dorsal stabilization via the same incision. To overcome some of the disadvantages of thoracotomy, the authors developed an anterior procedure that permits vertebrectomy, reconstruction, and stabilization to be performed entirely by endoscopic technique. Microsurgical endoscopy and stabilization were performed in four patients with metastatic disease of the thoracic spine. All were ambulatory after surgery and at follow up; preoperative neurological and neurophysiological deficits improved as well. No complications occurred in this small series. Microsurgical endoscopy achieves a substantial reduction in trauma, use of analgesic medications, and hospitalization time. Early results seem to indicate that adequate decompression, stabilization and reduction of surgical morbidity can be achieved with this technique.

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Lennart Riemann, Daphne C. Voormolen, Katrin Rauen, Klaus Zweckberger, Andreas Unterberg, Alexander Younsi, and the Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in Traumatic Brain Injury (CENTER-TBI) Investigators and Participants

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this paper was to evaluate the prevalence of postconcussive symptoms and their relation to health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in pediatric and adolescent patients with mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) who received head CT imaging during initial assessment.

METHODS

Patients aged between 5 and 21 years with mTBI (Glasgow Coma Scale scores 13–15) and available Rivermead Post Concussion Questionnaire (RPQ) at 6 months of follow-up in the multicenter, prospectively collected CENTER-TBI (Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in TBI) study were included. The prevalence of postconcussive symptoms was assessed, and the occurrence of postconcussive syndrome (PSC) based on the ICD-10 criteria, was analyzed. HRQOL was compared in patients with and without PCS using the Quality of Life after Brain Injury (QOLIBRI) questionnaire.

RESULTS

A total of 196 adolescent or pediatric mTBI patients requiring head CT imaging were included. High-energy trauma was prevalent in more than half of cases (54%), abnormalities on head CT scans were detected in 41%, and admission to the regular ward or intensive care unit was necessary in 78%. Six months postinjury, 36% of included patients had experienced at least one moderate or severe symptom on the RPQ. PCS was present in 13% of adolescents and children when considering symptoms of at least moderate severity, and those patients had significantly lower QOLIBRI total scores, indicating lower HRQOL, compared with young patients without PCS (57 vs 83 points, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Adolescent and pediatric mTBI patients requiring head CT imaging show signs of increased trauma severity. Postconcussive symptoms are present in up to one-third of those patients, and PCS can be diagnosed in 13% 6 months after injury. Moreover, PCS is significantly associated with decreased HRQOL.

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Oral Presentations

2010 AANS Annual Meeting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 1–5, 2010