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Andrei Fernandes Joaquim, Enrico Ghizoni and Helder Tedeschi

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Andrei F. Joaquim, Enrico Ghizoni, Helder Tedeschi, Simone Appenzeller, K. Daniel Riew and MD

Cervical spine involvement commonly occurs in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), especially those with inadequate treatment or severe disease forms. The most common site affected by RA is the atlantoaxial joint, potentially resulting in atlantoaxial instability, with cervical pain and neurological deficits. The second most common site of involvement is the subaxial cervical spine, often with subluxation, resulting in nerve root or spinal cord compression.

In this paper, the authors review the most commonly used plain radiographic criteria to diagnose cervical instabilities seen with RA. Finally, we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of cervical CT and MRI in the setting of cervical involvement in RA.

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Ulysses C. Batista, Andrei F. Joaquim, Yvens B. Fernandes, Roger N. Mathias, Enrico Ghizoni and Helder Tedeschi

OBJECT

Most of the craniometric relationships of the normal craniocervical junction (CCJ), especially those related to angular craniometry, are still poorly studied and based on measurements taken from simple plain radiographs. In this study, the authors performed a craniometric evaluation of the CCJ in a population without known CCJ anomalies. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the normal CCJ craniometry based on measurements obtained from CT scans.

METHOD

The authors analyzed 100 consecutive CCJ CT scans obtained in adult patients who were admitted at their tertiary hospital for treatment of non-CCJ conditions between 2010 and 2012. A total of 17 craniometrical measurements were performed, including the relation of the odontoid with the cranial base, the atlantodental interval (ADI), the clivus length, the clivus-canal angle (CCA)—the angle formed by the clivus and the upper cervical spine, and the basal angle.

RESULTS

The mean age of the 100 patients was 50.6 years, and the group included 52 men (52%) and 48 women (48%). In 5 patients (5%), the tip of the odontoid process was more than 2 mm above the Chamberlain line, and in one of these 5 patients (1% of the study group). it was more than 5 mm above it. One patient had a Grabb-Oakes measurement above 9 mm (suggesting ventral cervicomedullary encroachment). The mean ADI value was 1.1 mm. The thickness of the external occipital protuberance ranged from 7.42 to 22.36 mm. The mean clivus length was 44.74 mm, the mean CCA was 153.68° (range 132.32°–173.95°), and the mean basal angle was 113.73° (ranging from 97.06°–133.26°).

CONCLUSIONS

The data obtained in this study can be useful for evaluating anomalies of the CCJ in comparison with normal parameters, potentially improving the diagnostic criteria of these anomalies. When evaluating CCJ malformations, one should take into account the normal ranges based on CT scans, with more precise bone landmarks, instead of those obtained from simple plain radiographs.

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Otávio Turolo da Silva, Marcelo Ferreira Sabba, Henrique Igor Gomes Lira, Enrico Ghizoni, Helder Tedeschi, Alpesh A. Patel and Andrei Fernandes Joaquim

OBJECTIVE

The authors evaluated a new classification for subaxial cervical spine trauma (SCST) recently proposed by the AOSpine group based on morphological criteria obtained using CT imaging.

METHODS

Patients with SCST treated at the authors’ institution according to the Subaxial Cervical Spine Injury Classification system were included. Five different blinded researchers classified patients’ injuries according to the new AOSpine system using CT imaging at 2 different times (4-week interval between each assessment). Reliability was assessed using the kappa index (κ), while validity was inferred by comparing the classification obtained with the treatment performed.

RESULTS

Fifty-one patients were included: 31 underwent surgical treatment, and 20 were managed nonsurgically. Intraobserver agreement for subgroups ranged from 0.61 to 0.93, and interobserver agreement was 0.51 (first assessment) and 0.6 (second assessment). Intraobserver agreement for groups ranged from 0.66 to 0.95, and interobserver agreement was 0.52 (first assessment) and 0.63 (second assessment). The kappa index in all evaluations was 0.67 for Type A, 0.08 for Type B, and 0.68 for Type C injuries, and for the facet modifier it was 0.33 (F1), 0.4 (F2), 0.56 (F3), and 0.75 (F4). Complete agreement for all components was attained in 25 cases (49%) (19 Type A and 6 Type C), and for subgroups it was attained in 22 cases (43.1%) (16 Type A0 and 6 Type C). Type A0 injuries were treated conservatively or surgically according to their neurological status and ligamentous status. Type C injuries were treated surgically in almost all cases, except one.

CONCLUSIONS

While the general reliability of the newer AOSpine system for SCST was acceptable for group classification, significant limitations were identified for subgroups. Type B injuries were rarely diagnosed, and only mild (Type A0) and extreme severe (Type C) injuries had a high rate of interobserver agreement. Facet modifiers and intermediate injury patterns require better descriptions to improve their low agreement in cases of SCST.

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Andrei F. Joaquim, Enrico Ghizoni, Marcos Juliano dos Santos, Marcelo Gomes C. Valadares, Felipe Soares da Silva and Helder Tedeschi

OBJECT

Hemangioblastomas are rare, benign, highly vascularized tumors that can be found throughout the neuraxis but are mainly located in the cerebellum and in the spinal cord. Spinal hemangioblastomas can present with motor and sensory deficits, whose severity varies according to the size and location of the tumor. Resection is the best treatment option to avoid neurological deterioration. The authors report surgical results in the treatment of intramedullary hemangioblastomas and discuss the technical nuances important to achieving total resection without adding new deficits.

METHODS

A consecutive series of patients with intramedullary hemangioblastomas operated on between 2000 and 2014 by the senior author (H.T.) is presented. The functional scale proposed by McCormick was used to evaluate the patients' neurological status before and after surgery.

RESULTS

Sixteen patients were included in the study and underwent 17 surgeries. Follow-up was at least 6 months. Age at presentation varied from 13 to 58 years (mean 33.8 years). Ten patients (62.5%) were males and 6 patients (37.5%) were females. Seven (43.75%) of the 16 patients had associated von Hippel—Lindau syndrome, with hemangioblastomas also presenting in other locations. Three patients had multiple tumors in the same segment in the spinal cord, and 10 patients (62.5%) presented with cysts. According to the site of presentation, 11 tumors (68.75%) were localized at the cervical region (including the cervicomedullary junction) and 5 tumors (31.25%) at the thoracic level. Total resection was achieved in all cases, evidenced by postoperative MRI. Four patients had some functional worsening immediately after surgery. After 6 months, 1 patient had functional worsening compared with preoperative status, and 2 patients had clinical improvement. The majority of the patients remained clinically stable postoperatively.

CONCLUSIONS

Adequate knowledge of anatomy and the correct use of microsurgical techniques allowed total resection of these tumors, with minimal morbidity and maximum functional recovery. Outcome seems to be directly related to the neurological status before surgery.

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Andrei F. Joaquim, Enrico Ghizoni, Helder Tedeschi, Ulysses Caus Batista and Alpesh A. Patel

Object

The Thoracolumbar Injury Classification and Severity Score (TLICS) was developed to improve injury classification and guide surgical decision making, yet validation remains necessary. This study evaluates the neurological outcome of patients with thoracolumbar spine trauma (TLST) treated according to the TLICS.

Methods

The TLICS was prospectively applied to a consecutive series of patients treated for TLST between 2009 and 2012. Patients with a TLICS of 4 points or more were surgically treated, whereas patients with a TLICS of 3 points or fewer were conservatively managed. The primary outcome was the American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (AIS).

Results

A total of 65 patients were treated. In 37 patients, the TLICS was 3 points or fewer and the patients were treated nonsurgically (Group 1). The remaining 28 patients with a TLICS of 4 or more points underwent surgical treatment (Group 2). In Group 1, 28 patients underwent some follow-up at the authors' institution; all of these patients were neurologically intact with compression or burst fractures (TLICS of 1 or 2 points; median 2). The average age in this group was 44.5 years, and follow-up ranged from 1 to 36 months (mean 6.7 months, median 3 months). Two patients (both with a TLICS of 2 points) underwent late surgery for axial back pain and mild focal kyphosis, without significant clinical improvement. In Group 2, follow-up ranged from 1 to 18 months (mean 4.4 months, median 3 months) and the TLICS ranged from 4 to 10 points (median 7 points). In this group, preoperatively, 9 (32%) patients had AIS Grade E injuries, 6 (21%) had AIS Grade C, 1 (4%) had AIS Grade B, and 12 (43%) had AIS Grade A injuries. At the final follow-up, the AIS grade was E in 11 patients (39%), D in 5 (18%), and A in 12 (43%). No patient had neurological worsening during the follow-up.

Conclusions

The TLICS can be used to guide treatment that is safe with regard to the neurological status of patients treated for TLST.

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Cleiton Formentin, Erion Junior de Andrade, Leo Gordiano Matias, Andrei F. Joaquim, Helder Tedeschi, Cássio Eduardo Raposo-Amaral and Enrico Ghizoni

OBJECTIVE

Many repair techniques have been proposed to treat large myelomeningocele (MMC), and although effective in many cases, some of these techniques can be complex and time consuming, with complications such as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage, flap loss, tip necrosis, and wound dehiscence. The purpose of this study was to analyze cases of large skin defects and the methods applied and to report the outcomes of the keystone design perforator island flap (KDPIF) technique for large MMC closure.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective review of all neonatal patients who had undergone KDPIF for MMC closure in the period from 2013 to 2018. All patients had a diagnosis of lumbosacral MMC based on obstetric ultrasound. The neurosurgeons and plastic surgeons had selected the cases after concluding that primary closure would be unlikely. The design of the flap is based on the randomly located vascular perforators, creating two identical opposing flaps to fashion a double keystone flap. During wound closure, V-Y advancement of each end of the double flap in the longitudinal axis creates redundancy in the central portion of the flap and reduces the horizontal tension. After discharge, both the neurosurgery and plastic surgery teams followed up all patients, tracking the results with photography.

RESULTS

No skin flap dehiscence or necrosis, infection, or CSF leakage was detected, proving the reliability of the flap. One of the patients required further surgery for the large skin defects after insufficient intrauterine closure of the MMC and successfully underwent KDPIF treatment. Another patient (14.3%) had severe neonatal sepsis, which ultimately led to death. A ventriculoperitoneal shunt was required after the skin defect repair in 5 (83.3%) of the 6 surviving patients. Exceptional aesthetic results were achieved for all patients during the follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS

The KDPIF technique is based on well-known vascular perforators of the intercostal, lumbar, and gluteal regions. Wound tension is widely distributed by the flap and, as a consequence, relevant tissue bulk, reliable vascularity, and important geometrical versatility are provided. In addition, most of the muscles and fascia are preserved, which is another advantage in terms of minimizing secondary morbidity to local tissue rearrangement. The use of KDPIF closure was successfully shown to be a viable alternative for more complex MMCs that present with large skin defects.

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Leonardo Giacomini, Joao Paulo Sant Ana de Souza, Cleiton Formentin, Brunno Machado de Campos, Alexandre B. Todeschini, Evandro de Oliveira, Helder Tedeschi, Andrei Fernandes Joaquim, Fernando Cendes and Enrico Ghizoni

OBJECTIVE

Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) is the most common type of focal epilepsy in adolescents and adults, and in 65% of cases, it is related to hippocampal sclerosis (HS). Selective surgical approaches to the treatment of MTLE have as their main goal resection of the amygdala and hippocampus with minimal damage to the neocortex, temporal stem, and optic radiations (ORs). The object of this study was to evaluate late postoperative imaging findings on the temporal lobe from a structural point of view.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective evaluation of all patients with refractory MTLE who had undergone transsylvian selective amygdalohippocampectomy (SAH) in the period from 2002 to 2015. A surgical group was compared to a control group (i.e., adults with refractory MTLE with an indication for surgical treatment of epilepsy but who did not undergo the surgical procedure). The inferior frontooccipital fasciculus (IFOF), uncinate fasciculus (UF), and ORs were evaluated on diffusion tensor imaging analysis. The temporal pole neocortex was evaluated using T2 relaxometry.

RESULTS

For the IFOF and UF, there was a decrease in anisotropy, voxels, and fibers in the surgical group compared with those in the control group (p < 0.001). An increase in relaxometry time in the surgical group compared to that in the control group (p < 0.001) was documented, suggesting gliosis and neuronal loss in the temporal pole.

CONCLUSIONS

SAH techniques do not seem to totally preserve the temporal stem or even spare the neocortex of the temporal pole. Therefore, although the transsylvian approaches have been considered to be anatomically selective, there is evidence that the temporal pole neocortex suffers structural damage and potentially functional damage with these approaches.

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João Paulo Sant Ana Santos de Souza, Gabriel Ayub, Mateus Nogueira, Tamires Zanao, Tátila Martins Lopes, Luciana Ramalho Pimentel-Silva, Vinicius Domene, Gabriel Marquez, Clarissa Lin Yasuda, Letícia Franceschet Ribeiro, Brunno M. Campos, José Vasconcellos, Fabio Rogerio, Andrei Fernandes Joaquim, Fernando Cendes, Helder Tedeschi and Enrico Ghizoni

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a modified surgical approach for the treatment of temporal lobe epilepsy secondary to hippocampal sclerosis (HS). This modified approach, called temporopolar amygdalohippocampectomy (TP-AH), includes a transsylvian resection of the temporal pole and subsequent amygdalohippocampectomy utilizing the limen insula as an anatomical landmark.

METHODS

A total of 61 patients who were diagnosed with HS and underwent TP-AH between 2013 and 2017 were enrolled. Patients performed pre- and postoperative diffusion tensor imaging and were classified according to Engel’s scale for seizure control. To evaluate the functional preservation of the temporal stem white-matter fiber tracts, the authors analyzed postoperative Humphrey perimetries and pre- and postoperative neurocognitive performance (Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test [RAVLT], Weschler Memory Scale–Revised [WMS-R], intelligence quotient [IQ], Boston Naming Test [BNT], and semantic and phonemic fluency). Demographic data and surgical complications were also recorded and described.

RESULTS

After a median follow-up of 36 ± 16 months, 46 patients (75.4%) achieved Engel class I, of whom 37 (60.6%) were Engel class IA. No significant changes in either the inferior frontooccipital fasciculus and optic radiation tractography were observed postoperatively for both left- and right-side surgeries. Reliable perimetry was obtained in 40 patients (65.6%), of whom 27 (67.5%) did not present any visual field defects (VFDs) attributable to surgery, while 12 patients (30%) presented with quadrant VFD, and 1 patient (2.5%) presented with hemifield VFD. Despite a significant decline in verbal memory (p = 0.007 for WMS-R, p = 0.02 for RAVLT recognition), there were significant improvements in both IQ (p < 0.001) and visual memory (p = 0.007). Semantic and phonemic fluency, and scores on the BNT, did not change postoperatively.

CONCLUSIONS

TP-AH provided seizure control similar to historical temporal lobe approaches, with a tendency to preserve the temporal stem and a satisfactory incidence of VFD. Despite a significant decline in verbal memory, there were significant improvements in both IQ and visual memory, along with preservation of executive function. This approach can be considered a natural evolution of the selective transsylvian approach.