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Luigi Bassani and David H. Harter


Techniques for the placement of intrathecal baclofen (ITB) systems have been described in detail, with special consideration given to complications from hardware placement. Risks including catheter kinking and migration, hardware erosion through the skin, and lumbar CSF leak are elevated given the often-low body mass index and poor nutritional status of this patient population. The bulk of a spinal catheter and fascial connector within the lumbar wound may increase the potential for the aforementioned risks, leading to potential risks for wound infection and breakdown. The authors' experience has led them to develop a novel method of paraspinal subfascial lumbar catheter placement to address these risks. The authors describe a novel lumbar intrathecal catheter placement technique as part of the ITB system.


All patients undergoing placement of an ITB system by the senior author at New York University Langone Medical Center between July 2010 and March 2011 underwent paraspinal subfascial lumbar catheter placement. Patients were followed-up by the surgeon 2 weeks after implantation and followed up and managed by their physiatrist thereafter, for an average of 5 months (range 0.5–9 months).


Of the 20 patients who underwent this method of intrathecal catheter placement, none developed any hardware erosion, catheter migration, or CSF leak. One patient developed an abdominal wound infection 3 weeks after implantation, necessitating pump removal.


In this initial short-term experience, subfascial placement of the lumbar spine intrathecal catheter may be an improvement over the traditional method of catheter placement. There is reduced risk of catheter migration or kinking, hardware erosion, CSF leak, and decreased operative time, all yielding a decreased reoperation rate in this vulnerable population.

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Robert Elliott and David H. Harter

Rhombencephalosynapsis (RES) is a rare congenital malformation of the cerebellum characterized by hypogenesis or agenesis of the vermis and fusion of the cerebellar hemispheres with or without fusion of the dentate nuclei and superior cerebellar peduncles. No genetic or chromosomal abnormalities have been identified for RES. Although the occurrence of RES is presumed to be sporadic, no clear pattern of inheritance has been identified. The authors report on a 17-year-old girl with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease Type 1 as well as RES.

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David H. Harter and Adam Davis

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Shaun D. Rodgers and David H. Harter

Intradural intramedullary cervical spinal cord tumors pose a significant challenge for the neurosurgeon to resect with minimal morbidity. We present the case of a 12-year-old male with a cervical ependymoma and demonstrate our resection technique.

The video can be found here:

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Saumitra K. Thakur, Benjamin A. Rubin, and David H. Harter


Intrathecal baclofen (ITB) is a valuable therapeutic option for patients with spasticity and dystonia. The techniques that place an ITB pump catheter into the subcutaneous fat of a lumbar incision are well described. Because patients who require ITB often have low body fat content, they may be predisposed to catheter-related complications. The senior author used a novel technique to place the catheter in a paraspinal subfascial fashion, and the short-term results were previously published. That study demonstrated no development of hardware erosions, catheter migrations, or CSF leaks within an average follow-up of 5 months. This study followed up on those initial findings by looking at the long-term outcomes since this technique was introduced.


Using the institutional review board-approved protocol, the electronic medical records were reviewed retrospectively for all patients who underwent paraspinal subfascial catheter placement by the senior author. Patients received follow-up with the surgeon at 2 weeks postoperatively and were followed routinely by their physiatrist thereafter.


Of the 43 patients identified as having undergone surgery by the senior author using the paraspinal subfascial technique between July 2010 and February 2014, 12 patients (27.9%) required reoperation. There were 5 patients (11.6%) who had complications related to the catheter or lumbar incision. No hardware erosions or CSF leaks were identified. These patients received a median follow-up of 3.0 years, with 30 of 43 patients receiving follow-up over 2.0 years.


This follow-up study suggests that the technique of paraspinal subfascial catheter placement translates to long-term decreases in CSF leakage and complications from erosion, infection, and also catheter malfunctions. It does not seem to affect the overall rate of complications.

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Bartosz T. Grobelny, Howard L. Weiner, and David H. Harter

A 4-year-old girl with a history of thoracic meningocele repair at the age of 3 months presented with progressive myelopathy. An intramedullary thoracic epidermoid was identified on MRI. The patient underwent excision of the epidermoid and subsequently returned to neurological baseline. This case illustrates the potential for delayed development of intraspinal epidermoid after initial repair of a simple meningocele.

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David H. Harter, Patrick F. Doherty, and Lawrence S. Chin

Apoptosis is a carefully regulated process involved in developmental and immunological events. The alteration of apoptotic pathways is important in the establishment and progression of neoplasia. Apoptosis allows for the orderly removal of excess cells but, in contrast to necrosis, it is not an inflammatory process. Many of the molecular components and effectors of apoptosis have been described. In this review the authors briefly discuss the current understanding of apoptosis in the context of the two prevailing hypotheses, the “conflicting signal” and “dual signal” theories.

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Donato Pacione, Omar Tanweer, Phillip Berman, and David H. Harter

Utilizing advanced 3D printing techniques, a multimaterial model was created for the surgical planning of a complex deformity of the skull base and craniovertebral junction. The model contained bone anatomy as well as vasculature and the previously placed occipital cervical instrumentation. Careful evaluation allowed for a unique preoperative perspective of the craniovertebral deformity and instrumentation options. This patient-specific model was invaluable in choosing the most effective approach and correction strategy, which was not readily apparent from standard 2D imaging. Advanced 3D multimaterial printing provides a cost-effective method of presurgical planning, which can also be used for both patient and resident education.

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Shaun D. Rodgers, Luigi Bassani, Howard L. Weiner, and David H. Harter

Subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGAs) are benign tumors, most commonly associated with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). Arising from the lateral ependymal surface, these tumors may obstruct one or both foramina of Monro, resulting in hydrocephalus and often requiring treatment. Although interhemispheric-transcallosal and transcortical-transventricular approaches have been the standard methods for resecting these tumors, advances in neuroendoscopic techniques have expanded SEGAs as a potential target for endoscopic resection.

The authors present a case of an endoscopically resected SEGA with stereotactic guidance in a 4-year-old girl with TSC. A gross-total resection of an enlarging SEGA was achieved. This represents one of the early case reports of endoscopically resected SEGAs. Although recent advances in medical treatment for SEGAs with mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway inhibitors have shown promising initial results, the long-term safety and efficacy of mTOR inhibitors has yet to be determined. The propensity of these tumors to cause obstructive hydrocephalus requires that a surgical option remain. Neuroendoscopic approaches may allow a safe and effective technique.

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Stephen P. Kalhorn, Russell G. Strom, and David H. Harter

Hydrocephalus caused by stenosis of the foramen of Monro is rare. The authors describe a 28-year-old female patient with bilateral foraminal stenosis treated using endoscopic septostomy and unilateral foraminal balloon plasty (foraminoplasty). The patient's hydrocephalus and symptoms resolved postoperatively. Endoscopic strategies may be employed as first-line therapy in this condition.