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David A. Wilson, David J. Fusco and Nicholas Theodore

Iatrogenic vascular injury is a rare but potentially devastating complication of cervical spine instrumentation. The authors report on a patient who developed an anterior spinal artery pseudoaneurysm associated with delayed subarachnoid hemorrhage after undergoing odontoid screw placement 14 months earlier. This 86-year-old man presented with spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage (Fisher Grade 4) and full motor strength on neurological examination. Imaging demonstrated pseudarthrosis of the odontoid process, extension of the odontoid screw beyond the posterior cortex of the dens, and a pseudoaneurysm arising from an adjacent branch of the anterior spinal artery. Due to the aneurysm's location and lack of active extravasation, endovascular treatment was not attempted. Posterior C1–2 fusion was performed to treat radiographic and clinical instability of the C1–2 joint. Postoperatively, the patient's motor function remained intact. Almost all cases of vascular injury related to cervical spine instrumentation are recognized at surgery. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of delayed vascular injury following an uncomplicated cervical fixation. This case further suggests that the risk of this phenomenon may be elevated in cases of failed fusion.

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Rami O. Almefty, Tammy L. Tyree, David J. Fusco, Stephen W. Coons and Peter Nakaji

Histiocytic sarcoma is a rare malignancy with only 10 reports confirmed primarily involving the CNS. The diagnosis is dependent on the finding of malignant cells with histiocytic morphology and immunophenotype. The authors report a case of pathologically proven HS of the CNS. A 16-year-old boy presented with headaches, emesis, and altered sensorium. Noncontrast head CT scanning demonstrated a left parietal mass consistent with a tumor. Surgery was undertaken. Intraoperative findings revealed green-yellow exudates consistent with an abscess. Cultures were obtained and broad-spectrum antibiotics were started. The patient subsequently underwent multiple surgical procedures, including drainage and debulking of abscesses and hemicraniectomy. Two months after initial presentation, the patient's diagnosis of histiocytic sarcoma was confirmed. Pathological examination demonstrated necrotizing inflammation with preponderant neutrophil infiltration, variably atypical mononuclear and multinucleate histiocytes, and numerous mitoses. Additional immunohistochemistry studies confirmed immunoreactivity for CD68, CD45, CD45RO, and CD15 and were negative for CD3, CD20, melanoma cocktail, CD30, CD1a, CD34, HMB-45, and melan-A. Once the diagnosis of histiocytic sarcoma was confirmed, antibiotics were stopped and radiation therapy was undertaken. Despite treatment, the patient's neurological status continued to decline and the patient died 126 days after initial presentation.

This case represents a rare confirmed example of CNS histiocytic sarcoma. A profound inflammatory infiltrate seen on pathology and green exudates seen intraoperatively make the condition difficult to distinguish from an abscess. Immunohistochemistry showing a histiocytic origin and negative for myeloid, dendritic, or other lymphoid markers is essential for the diagnosis. Further research is needed to establish consensus on treatment.

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Jonathan Russin, David J. Fusco and Robert F. Spetzler

We present a 25-year-old female with a history of multiple intracranial cavernous malformations complaining of vertigo. Imaging is significant for increasing size of a lesion in her left cerebellar peduncle. Given the proximity to the lateral border of the cerebellar peduncle, a retrosigmoid approach was chosen. After performing a craniotomy that exposed the transverse-sigmoid sinus junction, the dura was open and reflected. The arachnoid was sharply opened and cerebrospinal fluid was aspirated to allow the cerebellum to fall away from the petrous bone. The cerebellopontine fissure was then opened to visualize the lateral wall of the cerebellar peduncle. The cavernous malformation was entered and resected.

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