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Open access

Surgical management of thoracic myelopathy from long-segment epidural lipomatosis with skip hemilaminotomies: illustrative case

Matthew T. Neal, Devi P. Patra, and Mark K. Lyons


Thoracic spinal epidural lipomatosis (SEL) involves the pathological overgrowth of histologically normal, unencapsulated adipose tissue that can compress the spinal cord and cause myelopathy. SEL has been associated with multiple medical conditions, including Scheuermann kyphosis (SK). Optimal treatment strategies for SEL, especially in the setting of a sagittal spinal deformity, remain unclear.


In this report, the authors discussed surgical management of a patient with thoracic SEL and SK using skip hemilaminotomies for resection of the epidural adipose tissue. To the authors’ knowledge, only one other report described a similar surgical technique in a patient who did not have a spinal deformity.


When conservative efforts fail, thoracic SEL may require surgical treatment. Surgical planning must account for co-medical conditions such as SK. The described approach involving skip laminotomies, which minimizes spine destabilization, is a viable option to treat SEL spanning multiple spinal segments. Prognosis after surgical treatment varies and is impacted by multiple factors, including severity of preoperative neurological deficits.

Open access

Lateral supracerebellar infratentorial approach for pontomesencephalic cavernous malformations

Karl R. Abi-Aad, Devi P. Patra, Matthew E. Welz, Evelyn Turcotte, and Bernard R. Bendok

Cavernomas at the posterolateral pontomesencephalic surface can be approached from a lateral infratentorial supracerebellar corridor. In this surgical video, we demonstrate two cases of brainstem cavernomas resected through a lateral supracerebellar infratentorial approach. A supine position with lateral turn of the head was used along with significant reverse Trendelenburg to allow the cerebellum to fall away with gravity from the tentorium. After exposure of the posterior surface of the brainstem between the tentorium and the superior cerebellar surface with aid of neuronavigation, the cavernomas were safely resected.

The video can be found here:

Free access

Preoperative diffusion tensor imaging–fiber tracking for facial nerve identification in vestibular schwannoma: a systematic review on its evolution and current status with a pooled data analysis of surgical concordance rates

Amey R. Savardekar, Devi P. Patra, Jai D. Thakur, Vinayak Narayan, Nasser Mohammed, Papireddy Bollam, and Anil Nanda


Total tumor excision with the preservation of neurological function and quality of life is the goal of modern-day vestibular schwannoma (VS) surgery. Postoperative facial nerve (FN) paralysis is a devastating complication of VS surgery. Determining the course of the FN in relation to a VS preoperatively is invaluable to the neurosurgeon and is likely to enhance surgical safety with respect to FN function. Diffusion tensor imaging–fiber tracking (DTI-FT) technology is slowly gaining traction as a viable tool for preoperative FN visualization in patients with VS.


A systematic review of the literature in the PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science databases was performed in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, and those studies that preoperatively localized the FN in relation to a VS using the DTI-FT technique and verified those preoperative FN tracking results by using microscopic observation and electrophysiological monitoring during microsurgery were included. A pooled analysis of studies was performed to calculate the surgical concordance rate (accuracy) of DTI-FT technology for FN localization.


Fourteen studies included 234 VS patients (male/female ratio 1:1.4, age range 17–75 years) who had undergone preoperative DTI-FT for FN identification. The mean tumor size among the studies ranged from 29 to 41.3 mm. Preoperative DTI-FT could not visualize the FN tract in 8 patients (3.4%) and its findings could not be verified in 3 patients (1.2%), were verified but discordant in 18 patients (7.6%), and were verified and concordant in 205 patients (87.1%).


Preoperative DTI-FT for FN identification is a useful adjunct in the surgical planning for large VSs (> 2.5 cm). A pooled analysis showed that DTI-FT successfully identifies the complete FN course in 96.6% of VSs (226 of 234 cases) and that FN identification by DTI-FT is accurate in 90.6% of cases (205 of 226 cases). Larger studies with DTI-FT–integrated neuronavigation are required to look at the direct benefit offered by this specific technique in preserving postoperative FN function.

Free access

Roberts Bartholow: the progenitor of human cortical stimulation and his contentious experiment

Devi P. Patra, Ryan A. Hess, Karl R. Abi-Aad, Iryna M. Muzyka, and Bernard R. Bendok

Roberts Bartholow, a physician, born and raised in Maryland, was a surgeon and Professor in Medicine who had previously served the Union during the Civil War. His interest in scientific research drove him to perform the first experiment that tested the excitability of the human brain cortex. His historical experiment on one of his patients, Mary Rafferty, with a cancerous ulcer on the skull, was one of his great accomplishments. His inference from this experiment and proposed scientific theory of cortical excitation and localization in humans was one of the most critically acclaimed topics in the medical community, which attracted the highest commendation for the unique discovery as well as criticism for possible ethical violations. Despite that criticism, his theory and methods of cortical localization are the cornerstone of modern brain mapping and have, in turn, led to countless medical innovations.

Free access

Letter to the Editor. Errors in the meta-analysis of outcomes and complications of MRgFUS

Sebastian R. Schreglmann, Kailash P. Bhatia, Stefan Hägele-Link, Beat Werner, Ernst Martin, and Georg Kägi

Free access

A comparison of treating physician versus independent core lab assessments of post–aneurysm treatment imaging outcomes: an analysis of prospectively collected data from a randomized trial

Devi P. Patra, Arjun Syal, Rudy J. Rahme, Karl R. Abi-Aad, Rohin Singh, Evelyn L. Turcotte, Breck A. Jones, Jenna Meyer, Miles Hudson, Brian W. Chong, Guilherme Dabus, Robert F. James, Chandan Krishna, and Bernard R. Bendok


Aneurysm occlusion has been used as surrogate marker of aneurysm treatment efficacy. Aneurysm occlusion scales are used to evaluate the outcome of endovascular aneurysm treatment and to monitor recurrence. These scales, however, require subjective interpretation of imaging data, which can reduce the utility and reliability of these scales and the validity of clinical studies regarding aneurysm occlusion rates. Use of a core lab with independent blinded reviewers has been implemented to enhance the validity of occlusion rate assessments in clinical trials. The degree of agreement between core labs and treating physicians has not been well studied with prospectively collected data.


In this study, the authors analyzed data from the Hydrogel Endovascular Aneurysm Treatment (HEAT) trial to assess the interrater agreement between the treating physician and the blinded core lab. The HEAT trial included 600 patients across 46 sites with intracranial aneurysms treated with coiling. The treating site and the core lab independently reviewed immediate postoperative and follow-up imaging (3–12 and 18–24 months, respectively) using the Raymond-Roy occlusion classification (RROC) scale, Meyer scale, and recanalization survey. A post hoc analysis was performed to calculate interrater reliability using Cohen’s kappa. Further analysis was performed to assess whether degree of agreement varied on the basis of various factors, including scale used, timing of imaging, size of the aneurysm, imaging modality, location of the aneurysm, dome-to-neck ratio, and rupture status.


Minimal interrater agreement was noted between the core lab reviewers and the treating physicians for assessing aneurysm occlusion using the RROC grading scale (k = 0.39, 95% CI 0.38–0.40) and Meyer scale (k = 0.23, 95% CI 0.14–0.38). The degree of agreement between groups was slightly better but still weak for assessing recanalization (k = 0.45, 95% CI 0.38–0.52). Factors that significantly improved degree of agreement were scales with fewer variables, greater time to follow-up, imaging modality (digital subtraction angiography), and wide-neck aneurysms.


Assessment of aneurysm treatment outcome with commonly used aneurysm occlusion scales suffers from risk of poor interrater agreement. This supports the use of independent core labs for validation of outcome data to minimize reporting bias. Use of outcome tools with fewer point categories is likely to provide better interrater reliability. Therefore, the outcome assessment tools are ideal for clinical outcome assessment provided that they are sensitive enough to detect a clinically significant change.

Restricted access

2017 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting Los Angeles, CA • April 22–26, 2017