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Open access

Ezequiel Goldschmidt, Philippe Lavigne, Carl Snyderman and Paul A. Gardner

This video depicts the case of a 59-year-old woman that presented to the emergency department with the worst headache of her life. CT showed subarachnoid hemorrhage and digital subtraction angiogram demonstrated a right-side posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) aneurysm. Given the medial and ventral position of the aneurysm, deep to the lower cranial nerves, which obviated distal control from an open approach, and the absence of an endovascular option able to reliably preserve the PICA, an endonasal approach was offered. A far medial approach was performed, and the aneurysm was successfully clipped. The patient developed a postoperative CSF leak with persistent posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus treated with reexploration and an eventual ventriculoperitoneal shunt. The patient was discharged without neurological deficits.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/_9hsM2CaMow.

Restricted access

Ezequiel Goldschmidt, Amir H. Faraji, Brian T. Jankowitz, Paul Gardner and Robert M. Friedlander

Near-infrared (NIR) light is commonly used to map venous anatomy in the upper extremities to gain intravenous access for line placement. In this report, the authors describe the use of a common and commercially available NIR vein finder to delineate the cortical venous anatomy prior to dural opening.

During a variety of cranial approaches, the dura was directly visualized using an NIR vein finder. The NIR light source allowed for recognition of the underlying cortical venous anatomy, dural sinuses, and underlying pathology before the dura was opened. This information was considered when tailoring the dural opening. When the dura was illuminated with the NIR vein finder, the underlying cortical and sinus venous anatomy was evident and correlated with the observed cortical anatomy. The vein finder was also accurate in locating superficial lesions and pathological dural veins. A complete accordance in the findings on the pre– and post–dural opening images was observed in all cases.

This simple, inexpensive procedure is readily compatible with operative room workflow, necessitates no head fixation, and offers a real-time image independent of brain shift.

Full access

Gurpreet S. Gandhoke, Ezequiel Goldschmidt, Robert Kellogg and Stephanie Greene

A fetal MRI study obtained at 21 weeks’ gestation revealed a suboccipital meningocele without hydrocephalus. One day after term birth, MRI demonstrated an acquired cerebellar encephalocele, and MRI obtained 5 months later showed progressive enlargement of the encephalocele, still without obvious hydrocephalus. The patient underwent an operation in which an external ventricular drain was placed, the grossly normal cerebellum was reduced into the posterior fossa without resection, and the dural defect was closed. The drain was weaned out over 5 days, and no ventriculoperitoneal shunt was placed. Postoperative MR images revealed normal cerebellum and no hydrocephalus. The patient is developmentally normal. Meningocele and encephalocele are embryologically distinct. An acquired encephalocele could develop from hydrocephalus (which was not present in this case), or secondary to the lower resistance to expansion into the dural defect of the meningocele relative to the resistance to expansion of the fetal skull. The cerebellar tissue was normal in this case, and was thus preserved. The developmental prognosis is excellent. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first reported case of this occurrence. It is important to differentiate between congenital and acquired encephalocele etiologies, because resection of the cerebellar tissue in an acquired encephalocele (as is routinely done in cases of congenital encephalocele) would be expected to result in neurological deficits.

Open access

Ezequiel Goldschmidt, Andrew S. Venteicher, Maximiliano Nuñez, Eric Wang, Carl Snyderman and Paul Gardner

This 25-year-old woman presented after a second hemorrhage from a mesencephalic cavernous malformation. High-definition fiber tracking demonstrated lateral displacement of the corticospinal tracts, making a midline approach ideal. The lesion appeared to present to the third ventricle, but a transcallosal approach was abandoned due to the posterior third ventricular location and after FIESTA imaging revealed a superior and medial rim of normal parenchyma that would have to be transgressed to access the malformation. An endoscopic endonasal approach with interdural pituitary hemitransposition was performed. The interpeduncular cistern was accessed and the thalamoperforating arteries dissected to access the cavernous malformation that was completely removed in a piecemeal fashion. The patient’s preexisting internuclear ocular palsies and hemiparesis were slightly worsened after surgery as predicted by a drop in anterior tibialis motor evoked potentials. Postoperative MRI showed no infarct, and the hemiparesis was back to baseline at 1-month follow-up.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/e6203R9HHmk.

Open access

Michael M. McDowell, Andrew Venteicher, Ezequiel Goldschmidt, Maximiliano Nuñez, David O. Okonkwo and Paul A. Gardner

Craniocervical instability due to chronic atlantoaxial dissociation presents the challenge of providing adequate decompression, reduction, and fixation to promote long-term stability while avoiding iatrogenic vertebral artery dissection or entrapment. The authors present one patient with chronic atlantoaxial dissociation and basilar invagination treated via Goel’s technique and with bilateral vertebral artery mobilization. There was substantial decompression and reduction postoperatively and the patient was discharged with a stable examination. Vertebral artery mobilization at the C1–2 junction can be safely performed via a standard midline suboccipital incision and dissection without vertebral artery injury.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/VS1Mt1dBLO4.

Restricted access

Alan Bush, Maximiliano Nuñez, Alyssa K. Brisbin, Robert M. Friedlander and Ezequiel Goldschmidt

OBJECTIVE

Cortical folding places regions that are separated by a large distance along the cortical surface in close proximity. This process is not homogeneous; regions such as the insular opercula have a much higher cortical surface distance (CSD) to euclidean distance (ED) than others. Here the authors explore the hypothesis that in the folded brain the CSD, and not the ED, determines regions of common irrigation, because this measure corresponds more closely with the distance along the prefolded brain, where the subarachnoid arterial vascular network starts forming.

METHODS

The authors defined a convergence index that compared the ED to the CSD and applied it to the cortical surface reconstruction of an average brain. They then compared cortical convergence to the irrigation patterns of major sulci and fissures of the brain, by assessing whether these structures were crossed or not crossed by arterial vessels in 20 fixed hemispheres.

RESULTS

The regions of highest convergence (top 1%) were clustered around the sylvian fissure, which is the only brain depression with high convergence values along its edges. Arterial crossings were commonly observed in every major sulcus of the brain, with the exception of the sylvian fissure, constituting a highly significant difference (p < 10−4).

CONCLUSIONS

Arteries do not cross regions of high convergence. In the adult brain the CSD, rather than the ED, predicts the regional irrigation pattern. The distant origin of the frontal and temporal lobes creates a region of high cortical convergence, which explains why arteries do not cross the sylvian fissure.

Free access

Hazem Mashaly, Erin E. Paschel, Nicolas K. Khattar, Ezequiel Goldschmidt and Peter C. Gerszten

OBJECTIVE

The development of symptomatic adjacent-segment disease (ASD) is a well-recognized consequence of lumbar fusion surgery. Extension of a fusion to a diseased segment may only lead to subsequent adjacent-segment degeneration. The authors report the use of a novel technique that uses dynamic stabilization instead of arthrodesis for the surgical treatment of symptomatic ASD following a prior lumbar instrumented fusion.

METHODS

A cohort of 28 consecutive patients was evaluated who developed symptomatic stenosis immediately adjacent to a previous lumbar instrumented fusion. All patients had symptoms of neurogenic claudication refractory to nonsurgical treatment and were surgically treated with decompression and dynamic stabilization instead of extending the fusion construct using a posterior lumbar dynamic stabilization system. Preoperative symptoms, visual analog scale (VAS) pain scores, and perioperative complications were recorded. Clinical outcome was gauged by comparing VAS scores prior to surgery and at the time of last follow-up.

RESULTS

The mean follow-up duration was 52 months (range 17–94 months). The mean interval from the time of primary fusion surgery to the dynamic stabilization surgery was 40 months (range 10–96 months). The mean patient age was 51 years (range 29–76 years). There were 19 (68%) men and 9 (32%) women. Twenty-three patients (82%) presented with low-back pain at time of surgery, whereas 24 patients (86%) presented with lower-extremity symptoms only. Twenty-four patients (86%) underwent operations that were performed using single-level dynamic stabilization, 3 patients (11%) were treated at 2 levels, and 1 patient underwent 3-level decompression and dynamic stabilization. The most commonly affected and treated level (46%) was L3–4. The mean preoperative VAS pain score was 8, whereas the mean postoperative score was 3. No patient required surgery for symptomatic degeneration rostral to the level of dynamic stabilization during the follow-up period.

CONCLUSIONS

The use of posterior lumbar dynamic stabilization may offer a valid and safe option for the management of patients who develop ASD rostral to a previously instrumented arthrodesis. The technique may serve as an alternative to multilevel arthrodesis in this patient population. By implanting a dynamic stabilization device instead of an extension of a rigid construct, this might translate into a reduction in the development of yet another level of ASD.

Restricted access

Ezequiel Goldschmidt, Wendy Fellows-Mayle, Rachel Wolfe, Ajay Niranjan, John C. Flickinger, L. Dade Lunsford and Peter C. Gerszten

OBJECTIVE

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has been used to treat trigeminal neuralgia by targeting the cisternal segment of the trigeminal nerve, which in turn triggers changes in the gasserian ganglion. In the lumbar spine, the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) is responsible for transmitting pain sensitivity and is involved in the pathogenesis of peripheral neuropathic pain. Therefore, radiosurgery to the DRG might improve chronic peripheral pain. This study evaluated the clinical and histological effects of high-dose radiosurgery to the DRG in a rodent model.

METHODS

Eight Sprague-Dawley rats received either 40- or 80-Gy SRS to the fifth and sixth lumbar DRGs using the Leksell Gamma Knife Icon. Animals were euthanized 3 months after treatment, and the lumbar spine was dissected and taken for analysis. Simple histology was used to assess collagen deposition and inflammatory response. GFAP, Neu-N, substance P, and internexin were used as a measure of peripheral glial activation, neurogenesis, pain-specific neurotransmission, and neurotransmission in general, respectively. The integrity of the spinothalamic tract was assessed by means of the von Frey test.

RESULTS

The animals did not exhibit any signs of motor or sensory deficits during the experimentation period. Edema, fibrosis, and vascular sclerotic changes were present on the treated, but not the control, side. SRS reduced the expression of GFAP without affecting the expression of Neu-N, substance P, or internexin. The von Frey sensory perception elicited equivalent results for the control side and both radiosurgical doses.

CONCLUSIONS

SRS did not alter sensory or motor function but reduced the activation of satellite glial cells, a pathway for DRG-mediated pain perpetuation. Radiosurgery provoked changes equivalent to the effects of focal radiation on the trigeminal ganglion after SRS for trigeminal neuralgia, suggesting that radiosurgery could be successful in relieving radiculopathic pain.

Restricted access

Andrew S. Venteicher, Michael M. McDowell, Ezequiel Goldschmidt, Eric W. Wang, Carl H. Snyderman and Paul A. Gardner

OBJECTIVE

The authors conducted a study to identify clinical features of cranial base chondrosarcomas that will predict tumor progression after resection.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective study at a tertiary referral cranial base center. Patients who underwent resection of cranial base chondrosarcomas between January 2004 and December 2018 were followed longitudinally. The main outcome measure was progression-free survival (PFS).

RESULTS

A total of 41 patients were treated for histopathologically proven “conventional” cranial base chondrosarcomas during the study period, and the median PFS was 123 months for the cohort. Univariate analysis was performed on clinical, anatomical, and radiographic parameters collected for each patient. Features that were statistically significant were fed into a multivariate regression model, which revealed two independent predictors of PFS: patient age and encasement of 3–4 major arteries (> 25% of the vessel wall surrounded by tumor). Using these two variables of age and multiple arterial vessel encasement, the authors generated a risk stratification model using a simple point system to predict PFS in patients with cranial base chondrosarcomas. Based on these two factors known preoperatively, this model could stratify patients into high-risk (10% of patients), intermediate-risk (68% of patients), and low-risk (22% of patients) subgroups corresponding to dramatically distinct median PFS (1.8 years, 10.2 years, and no progression, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

In patients with cranial base chondrosarcomas, age and artery encasement are variables known preoperatively that can powerfully predict tumor progression, define operative goals, and aid in selecting postoperative adjuvant therapy.

Full access

David J. Salvetti, Zachary J. Tempel, Ezequiel Goldschmidt, Nicole A. Colwell, Federico Angriman, David M. Panczykowski, Nitin Agarwal, Adam S. Kanter and David O. Okonkwo

OBJECTIVE

Nutritional deficiency negatively affects outcomes in many health conditions. In spine surgery, evidence linking preoperative nutritional deficiency to postoperative surgical site infection (SSI) has been limited to small retrospective studies. Authors of the current study analyzed a large consecutive cohort of patients who had undergone elective spine surgery to determine the relationship between a serum biomarker of nutritional status (preoperative prealbumin levels) and SSI.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective review of the electronic medical charts of patients who had undergone posterior spinal surgeries and whose preoperative prealbumin level was available. Additional data pertinent to the risk of SSI were also collected. Patients who developed a postoperative SSI were identified, and risk factors for postoperative SSI were analyzed. Nutritional deficiency was defined as a preoperative serum prealbumin level ≤ 20 mg/dl.

RESULTS

Among a consecutive series of 387 patients who met the study criteria for inclusion, the infection rate for those with preoperative prealbumin ≤ 20 mg/dl was 17.8% (13/73), versus 4.8% (15/314) for those with preoperative prealbumin > 20 mg/dl. On univariate and multivariate analysis a low preoperative prealbumin level was a risk factor for postoperative SSI with a crude OR of 4.29 (p < 0.01) and an adjusted OR of 3.28 (p = 0.02). In addition, several previously known risk factors for infection, including diabetes, spinal fusion, and number of operative levels, were significant for the development of an SSI.

CONCLUSIONS

In this consecutive series, preoperative prealbumin levels, a serum biomarker of nutritional status, correlated with the risk of SSI in elective spine surgery. Prehabilitation before spine surgery, including strategies to improve nutritional status in patients with nutritional deficiencies, may increase value and improve spine care.