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Daniel H. Kim and David G. Kline

✓ Seventy-eight traumatic neuropathies were seen in 94 patients with femoral nerve lesions; 54 of these were operated on because of persistent complete functional loss and/or pain. The most common mechanism of injury to the femoral nerve was iatrogenic due to inguinal herniorrhaphy, total hip replacement, intraabdominal vascular or gynecological operation, and, less commonly, appendectomy, lumbar sympathectomy, and laparoscopic procedures. Femoral nerve injuries also resulted from penetrating gunshot and stab wounds, laceration by glass, and stretch/contusive injuries associated with pelvic fractures. There were no signs of clinical or electrical recovery in 45 of 78 patients with traumatic nerve injuries. These and other partial injuries associated with pain were explored and evaluated by intraoperative nerve stimulation and recording of nerve action potentials (NAPs).

Despite complete loss of nerve function preoperatively, 13 patients had recordable NAPs and underwent neurolysis; each recovered function to at least a Grade 3 level. Twenty-seven patients had sural graft repairs performed with graft lengths varying from 2.5 to 14 cm. Most patients had some nerve regeneration and regained function to Grade 3 to 4 levels by 2 years postoperatively. Four of five patients with suture repairs recovered to Grade 3 or better within 2 years postoperatively. Despite a proximal pelvic level for most of these injuries and, as a result, lengthy graft repairs, recovery of some useful function was the rule rather than the exception. Tumors involved the femoral nerve in 16 patients and included eight neurofibromas, four schwannomas, one neurogenic sarcoma, two ganglion cysts, and one leiomyosarcoma. All tumors were treated surgically and most were removed successfully.

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Timing of surgical stabilization after cervical and thoracic trauma

Invited submission from the Joint Section Meeting on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves, March 2004

Todd J. Albert and David H. Kim

✓ Appropriate timing for surgical intervention following destabilizing cervical or thoracic spine trauma remains controversial. Clinical investigators have failed to provide convincing evidence that the timing of surgery significantly affects neurological outcome in most situations. Nevertheless, early surgical stabilization of the injured spine has been shown to provide significant nonneurological benefits such as more rapid patient mobilization, facilitation of treating associated injuries, reduction in rates of pulmonary and pressure sore complications, reduction in duration of intensive care unit and hospital stays, and a decrease in overall medical costs.

The findings of basic science studies have improved our understanding of the molecular and cellular events surrounding initial and secondary spinal cord injury (SCI), and analysis of these findings suggests that the early postinjury period may present a unique opportunity for meaningful intervention. This possibility has been supported by results obtained in animal studies that demonstrate the potential for improving functional outcome when surgical intervention is performed within a few hours following experimental SCI. Despite the absence of significant neurological recovery in most clinical studies, the results of most recent clinical studies strongly support the overall clinical benefits of early surgical intervention, particularly in the setting of unstable thoracic spinal column injury with associated SCI. Based on the best available scientific and clinical evidence, the authors report that it is therefore recommended that surgical stabilization be performed in as timely a fashion as possible, particularly for unstable thoracic spine trauma, within the constraints of the patient's overall medical condition and availability of appropriate resources.

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David G. Kline and Daniel H. Kim

Object. The purpose of this paper was to analyze outcomes in patients at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) who presented with contusion—stretch injuries to the axillary nerve. These injuries resulted from shoulder injury either with or without fracture/dislocation. Although recovery of deltoid function can occur spontaneously, this was not always the case.

Methods. Severe deficits persisting for several months led the patients to undergo surgery. Operative categories included isolated axillary palsy (56 procedures), combined axillary and suprascapular palsies (11 procedures), axillary and radial palsies (14 procedures), and axillary palsy with another deficit, usually infraclavicular plexus loss (20 procedures). Deltoid function was evaluated pre- and postoperatively by applying the LSUHSC grading system. An anterior infraclavicular approach was usually followed during surgery, but in three patients an additional posterior approach was used.

Axillary lesions usually began in the proximal portion of the posterior cord. Although several patients had distraction of the nerve, lesions in continuity were found in more than 90% of cases. Intraoperative nerve action potential (NAP) recordings were performed to determine the need for resection. Most repairs were made using grafts, although in three patients with relatively focal lesions suture was used.

When an NAP was recorded across the lesion and neurolysis was performed, recovery was judged to be a mean Grade 4 according to the LSUHSC in 30 cases. Recovery following suture repairs was a mean Grade 3.8, whereas recovery after 66 graft repairs was a mean Grade 3.7. In cases in which suprascapular palsies were associated with axillary injuries, the former recovered but the latter did not necessarily do so without surgery. If the radial nerve was also injured, recovery of the triceps and brachioradialis muscles and wrist extension was usually obtained, but it was far more difficult to reverse the loss of finger and thumb extension. Although few in number, complications did occur and they are important.

Conclusions. Operative exploration of axillary contusion—stretch lesions is worthwhile in carefully selected cases. If indicated by inspection and intraoperative electrical studies, nerve repair can lead to useful function.

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Neurofibromatosis-associated nerve sheath tumors

Case report and review of the literature

Judith A. Murovic, Daniel H. Kim and David G. Kline

In this paper the authors describe a patient with neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) who presented with sequelae of this disease. They also review the current literature on NF1 and NF2 published between 2001 and 2005.

The method used to obtain information for the case report consisted of a family member interview and a review of the patient's chart. For the literature review the authors used the search engine Ovid Medline to identify papers published on the topic between 2001 and 2005. Neurofibromatosis Type 1 appears in approximately one in 2500 to 4000 births, is caused by a defect on 17q11.2, and results in neurofibromin inactivation. The authors reviewed the current literature with regard to the following aspects of this disease: 1) diagnostic criteria for NF1; 2) criteria for other NF1-associated manifestations; 3) malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (PNSTs); 4) the examination protocol for a patient with an NF1-related NST; 5) imaging findings in patients with NF1; 6) other diagnostic studies; 7) surgical and adjuvant treatment for NSTs and malignant PNSTs; and 8) hormone receptors in NF1-related tumors. Pertinent illustrations are included.

Neurofibromatosis Type 2 occurs much less frequently than NF1, that is, in one in 33,000 births. Mutations in NF2 occur on 22q12 and result in inactivation of the tumor suppressor merlin. The following data on this disease are presented: 1) diagnostic criteria for NF2; 2) criteria for other NF2 manifestations; 3) malignant PNSTs in patients with NF2; 4) examination protocol for the patient with NF2 who has an NST; and 5) imaging findings in patients with NF2. Relevant illustrations are included.

It is important that neurosurgeons be aware of the sequelae of NF1 and NF2, because they may be called on to treat these conditions.

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Daniel C. Rohrer, Kim J. Burchiel and David P. Gruber

✓ A diverse collection of unverified theories as to the etiology of extradural meningeal cysts have been previously proposed. One case of intraspinal extradural meningeal cyst of the thoracolumbar region is presented in which a ball-valve mechanism involving an idiopathic dural rent and a herniated segment of an underlying dorsal rootlet was suggested by the operative findings. Closure of the dural rent with marsupialization of the meningeal cyst obliterated this extradural lesion. The ball-valve mechanism of formation and other previously proposed theories are discussed.

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Daniel H. Kim, Judith A. Murovic, Yong-Yeon Kim and David G. Kline

Object

The authors report data in 45 surgically treated posterior interosseous nerve (PIN) entrapments or injuries.

Methods

Forty-five PIN entrapments or injuries were managed surgically between 1967 and 2004 at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) or Stanford University Medical Center. Patient charts were reviewed retrospectively. The LSUHSC grading system was used to assess PIN-innervated muscle function.

Injuries were caused by nontraumatic (21 PIN entrapments and four tumors) and traumatic (nine lacerations, eight fractures, and three contusions) mechanisms. Presentations included weakness in the extensor carpi ulnaris muscle, causing compromised wrist extension and radial drift; extensor digitorum, indicis, and digiti minimi muscles with paretic finger extension; extensor pollicis brevis and longus muscles with weak thumb extension; and abductor pollicis longus muscle with rare decreased thumb abduction due to substitutions of the median nerve–innervated abductor pollicis brevis muscle and, at 90°, the extensor pollicis brevis and longus muscles. Preoperative evaluations consisted of electromyography and nerve conduction studies, elbow and forearm plain x-ray films, and magnetic resonance imaging for tumor detection.

At surgery, in continuity lesions were found in 21 entrapments and three fracture-related and three contusion injuries; all transmitted nerve action potentials (NAPs) and were treated with neurolysis. Five fracture-related PIN injuries, one of which was a lacerating injury, were in continuity and transmitted no NAPs; graft repairs were performed in all of these cases. Among nine lacerations, three PINs appeared in continuity, although intraoperative NAPs were absent. Two of these nerves were treated with secondary end-to-end suture anastomosis repair and one with secondary graft repair. There were six transected lacerations: three were treated with primary suture anastomosis repair, two with secondary suture anastomosis, and one with graft repair. Four tumors involving the PIN were resected. Most muscles innervated by 45 PINs had LSUHSC Grade 3 or better functional outcomes.

Conclusions

Forty-five PIN entrapments or injuries responded well to PIN release and/or repair.

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Daniel H. Kim, Judith A. Murovic, Yong-Yeon Kim and David G. Kline

Object

The authors present data obtained in 15 surgically treated patients with anterior interosseous nerve (AIN) entrapments and injuries.

Methods

Fifteen patients with AIN entrapments and injuries underwent surgery between 1967 and 1997 at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) or Stanford University Medical Center. Patient charts were reviewed retrospectively. The LSUHSC grading system was used to evaluate the function of muscles supplied by the AIN.

Nontraumatic injuries included seven AIN compressions by bone or soft tissue. Traumatic injury mechanisms consisted of stretch or contusion (six patients), injection (one patient), and burn scar (one patient). Presentations included weakness in the flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) muscle to the index finger, FDP muscle to the middle finger, pronator quadratus muscle, and flexion of the distal phalanx of the thumb. Preoperative evaluations included electromyography and nerve conduction studies as well as elbow and forearm plain radiographs.

On surgery, lesions in continuity involved seven compressions, four stretch or contusion injuries, and one injection injury, all of which demonstrated nerve action potentials (NAPs) and were treated with neurolysis. Among the seven compression and four stretch or contusion injury cases, six and three patients, respectively, had LSUHSC Grade 3 or better functional recoveries postoperatively. Two stretch or contusion injuries involved lesions in continuity but demonstrated negative NAPs at surgery. Thus, each was treated using a graft repair after resection of a neuroma. There was one burn scar injury, which was treated via an end-to-end suture anastomosis, leading to a functional recovery better than Grade 3.

Conclusions

Fifteen AIN entrapments or injuries responded favorably to nerve release and/or repair.

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Sang Hyun Park, Yoshua Esquenazi, David G. Kline and Daniel H. Kim

OBJECT

Iatrogenic injuries to the spinal accessory nerve (SAN) are not uncommon during lymph node biopsy of the posterior cervical triangle (PCT). In this study, the authors review the operative techniques and surgical outcomes of 156 surgical repairs of the SAN following iatrogenic injury during lymph node biopsy procedures.

METHODS

This retrospective study examines the authors’ clinical and surgical experience with 156 patients with SAN injury between 1980 and 2012. All patients suffered iatrogenic SAN injuries during lymph node biopsy, with the vast majority (154/156, 98.7%) occurring in Zone I of the PCT. Surgery was performed on the basis of anatomical and electro-physiological findings at the time of the operation. The mean follow-up period was 24 months (range 8–44 months).

RESULTS

Of the 123 patients who underwent graft or suture repair, 107 patients (87%) improved to Grade 3 functionality or higher using the Louisiana State University Health Science Center (LSUHSC) grading system. Neurolysis was performed in 29 patients (19%) when the nerve was found in continuity with recordable nerve action potential (NAP) across the lesion. More than 95% of patients treated by neurolysis with positive NAP recordings recovered to LSUHSC Grade 3 or higher. Forty-one patients (26%) underwent end-to-end repair, while 82 patients (53%) underwent graft repair, and Grade 3 or higher recovery was assessed for 90% and 85% of these patients, respectively. The average graft length used was 3.81 cm. Neurotization was performed in 4 patients, 2 of whom recovered to Grade 2 and 3, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS

SAN injuries present challenges for surgical exploration and repair because of the nerve’s size and location in the PCT. However, through proper and timely intervention, patients with diminished or absent function achieved favorable functional outcomes. Surgeons performing lymph node biopsy procedures in Zone I of the PCT should be aware of the potential risk of injury to the SAN.

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Daniel H. Kim, Judith A. Murovic, Robert Tiel and David G. Kline

Object. This is a retrospective analysis of 353 surgically treated sciatic nerve lesions in which injury mechanisms, location, time to surgical repair, surgical techniques, and functional outcomes are reported. Results are presented to provide guidelines for management of these injuries.

Methods. One hundred seventy-five patients with buttock-level and 178 with thigh-level sciatic nerve injury were surgically treated at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center between 1968 and 1999. Buttock-level injury mechanisms included injection in 64 patients, hip fracture/dislocation in 26, contusion in 22, compression in 19, gunshot wound (GSW) in 17, hip arthroplasty in 15, and laceration in 12; at the thigh level, GSW was the cause in 62 patients, femoral fracture in 34, laceration in 32, contusion in 28, compression in 12, and iatrogenic injury in 10. Patients with sciatic nerve divisions in which positive intraoperative nerve action potentials (NAPs) were found underwent neurolysis and attained at least Grade 3 functional outcomes in 108 (87%) of 124 and in 91 (96%) of 95 buttock- and thigh-level tibial divisions, respectively, compared with 84 (71%) of 119 and 75 (79%) of 95, respectively, in the peroneal divisions. For suture repair, recovery to at least Grade 3 occurred in eight (73%) of 11 buttock-level and in 27 (93%) of 29 thigh-level tibial division injuries, and in three (30%) of 10 buttock-level and 20 (69%) of 29 thigh-level peroneal division lesions. For graft repair, good recovery occurred in 21 (62%) of 34 and in 43 (80%) of 54 buttock- and thigh-level tibial divisions, respectively, even in proximal repairs requiring long grafts, and in only nine (24%) of 37 and 22 (45%) of 49 buttock- and thigh-level peroneal division lesions, respectively.

Conclusions. Surgical exploration and neurolysis after positive NAP readings, or repair with sutures or grafts after negative NAP results are worthwhile in selected cases.

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Kurtus Dafford, Daniel Kim, Adriane Nelson and David Kline

Object

Desmoid tumors are fibrous, slow-growing, nonmalignant tumors with a low potential for metastasis. These lesions show a high propensity for infiltrative growth with local invasion.

Methods

The authors undertook a retrospective study of 15 desmoid tumors in 11 women and four men (ranging in age from 32 to 67 years; median 48 years) treated at their institution. This study included further resection for recurrent tumors in nine of 15 patients (60%).

Results

There were 13 patients (86%) with brachial plexus lesions, one patient (7%) with a lumbar plexus lesion, and one (7%) with a peroneal nerve lesion. There was a female predominance in the study group of 2.75:1. Four patients (27%) reported improvement in pain status, six (40%) reported no change from their preoperative pain levels, and five (33%) reported worsened pain symptoms. There was tumor recurrence in two patients (13%) leading to further surgical intervention.

Conclusions

This case series included many recurrent desmoid tumors of the brachial plexus. Most of these lesions were relatively large tumors, predominantly involved with the plexal elements adding to the challenge of the resection. Currently, function-sparing excision is considered the optimal treatment for desmoid tumors arising in extraabdominal sites. Adjunctive radiation or brachytherapy is reserved for a patient with further recurrence in whom resection would be disfiguring or in whom the disease is more refractory.