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Juan S. Uribe and Fernando L. Vale

Object

In this retrospective review, the authors examine the clinical characteristics, diagnosis, and outcome of surgery in 25 consecutive patients with mesial basal temporal lobe (MBTL) tumors. A limited access approach to the inferior temporal gyrus (ITG) was used.

Methods

Patients with MBTL tumors were identified from the epilepsy and tumor surgery database at the authors' institution. Intraaxial tumors localized to the mesial basal structures, and without involvement of the cortical surface of the temporal lobe, temporal stem, and basal ganglia were included. Preoperative and postoperative MR images were obtained in all patients. The mean follow-up period was 24 months (range 9–36 months). Preoperative symptoms, neurological deficits, outcomes, surgical complications, and a technical description of the approach are discussed.

Results

Intraaxial MBTL tumors in 25 patients (mean age 44 years, range 8–76 years) were resected using a limited access approach via the ITG. The largest groups of tumors were high-grade gliomas and dysembryoblastic neuroepithelial tumors (8 in each group), followed by oligodendrogliomas, cerebral metastases, and gangliogliomas. Seizures, headaches, and disorientation were the most common preoperative symptoms. Postoperative MR images demonstrated gross-total resection in all cases. There were 2 surgical complications (a superficial wound infection and a transient frontalis branch palsy). There were no permanent neurological complications or significant new hemianoptic defects.

Conclusions

A limited access ITG approach performed with intraoperative image guidance offers an alternative corridor for resection of MBTL tumors (Schramm Type A). This approach may be technically less demanding than the transsylvian or subtemporal approach. Gross-total resection is feasible utilizing this approach and compares favorably with other, more classical approaches.

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Fernando L. Vale, Edwin L. Bradley, and Winfield S. Fisher III

✓ The incidence of chronic hydrocephalus requiring shunting after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is not precisely known. The authors investigated whether the need for ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunting can be predicted by initial Hunt and Hess grade or Fisher computerized tomography score. One hundred eight patients who presented with SAH and underwent 116 surgical procedures for aneurysm clipping were evaluated retrospectively to determine the incidence of chronic hydrocephalus. Chronic hydrocephalus was defined as clinically and radiographically demonstrated hydrocephalus that lasted 2 weeks or longer after the original hemorrhage and that required shunting. All SAH patients were managed in a similar fashion with induced hypervolemia, relative hemodilution, and hypertension complemented by a course of calcium channel blockers. The majority of patients underwent perioperative extracranial ventricular drainage to allow intraoperative brain relaxation and to assist intracranial pressure management. The overall mortality rate of the study group was 17%. Of the surviving patients, 20% underwent VP shunt placement secondary to chronic hydrocephalus. There were no statistically significant relationships between chronic hydrocephalus and patient age or gender, aneurysm type and size, or use of a perioperative drain. There was a high clinical correlation between chronic hydrocephalus and admission Hunt and Hess grades and Fisher grades (p < 0.05). All of the patients who survived a second bleeding episode and almost 46% of the patients who presented with intraventricular hemorrhage required placement of a VP shunt. The authors present predictive tables of chronic hydrocephalus based on the patient's admission Hunt and Hess grade and Fisher classification.

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Edwin Ramos, Selim Benbadis, and Fernando L. Vale

Object

The purpose of this study was to identify the causes of failed temporal lobe resection in patients with mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) and the role of repeat surgery for seizure control.

Methods

This is a retrospective study of 105 patients who underwent temporal lobe resection for MTS with unilateral electroencephalographic findings. The mean follow-up duration was 36 months (range 24–84 months). Surgeries were all performed by the senior author (F.L.V.).

Results

Following initial surgical intervention, 97 patients (92%) improved to Engel Class I or II (Group A), and 8 (8%) did not have significant improvement (Engel Class III or IV; Group B). These 8 patients were restudied using video-electroencephalography (EEG) and MR imaging. All major surgical failures occurred within 1 year after initial intervention. Reevaluation demonstrated 3 patients (37.5%) with contralateral temporal EEG findings. Five patients (62.5%) had evidence of ipsilateral recurrent discharges. Four patients underwent extended neocortical resection along the previous resection cavity. Their outcomes ranged from Engel Class I to Class III. Only 1 patient (12.5%) who failed to improve after initial surgery was found to have incomplete resection of mesial structures. This last patient underwent reoperation to complete the resection and improved to Engel Class I.

Conclusions

Failure of temporal lobe resection for MTS is multifactorial. The cause of failure lies in the pathological substrate of the epileptogenic area. Complete seizure control cannot be predicted solely by conventional preoperative workup. Initial surgical failures from temporal lobe resection often benefit from reevaluation, because reoperation may be beneficial in selected patients. Based on this work, the authors have proposed a management and treatment algorithm for these patients.

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Fernando L. Vale, Stephen Reintjes, and Hermes G. Garcia

Object

The purpose of this study was to identify the complications associated with the inferior temporal gyrus approach to anterior mesial temporal lobe resection for temporal lobe epilepsy.

Methods

This retrospective study examined complications experienced by 483 patients during the 3 months after surgery. All surgeries were performed during 1998–2012 by the senior author (F.L.V.).

Results

A total of 13 complications (2.7%) were reported. Complications were 8 delayed subdural hematomas (1.6%), 2 superficial wound infections (0.4%), 1 delayed intracranial hemorrhage (0.2%), 1 small lacunar stroke (0.2%), and 1 transient frontalis nerve palsy (0.2%). Three patients with subdural hematoma (0.6%) required readmission and surgical intervention. One patient (0.2%) with delayed intracranial hemorrhage required readmission to the neuroscience intensive care unit for observation. No deaths or severe neurological impairments were reported. Among the 8 patients with subdural hematoma, 7 were older than 40 years (87.5%); however, this finding was not statistically significant (p = 0.198).

Conclusions

The inferior temporal gyrus approach to mesial temporal lobe resection is a safe and effective method for treating temporal lobe epilepsy. Morbidity and mortality rates associated with this procedure are lower than those associated with other neurosurgical procedures. The finding that surgical complications seem to be more common among older patients emphasizes the need for early surgical referral of patients with medically refractory epilepsy.

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Ali A. Baaj, Juan S. Uribe, and Fernando L. Vale

Chance-type fractures of the spine have been associated with seat-belt injuries in the pediatric population. Nonoperative management is appropriate in most cases of Chance fractures, but surgical intervention is occasionally warranted to deter progression of kyphosis and neurological deterioration. Internal fixation using pedicle screws has been widely used in the surgical repair of this injury. The authors report on a 6-year-old girl who suffered an L-2 Chance fracture with facet disruption, kyphosis, and significant posterior ligamentous injury. She underwent open reduction and internal fixation using Songer cable wiring augmented with bilateral lamina plating. At the 18-week follow-up, she continued to be free of any neurological deficits and her alignment was stable on plain radiographs of flexion-extension. The authors have therefore described a feasible option in the surgical management of Chance-type fractures in the pediatric spine.

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Fernando L. Vale, Mark Oliver, and David W. Cahill

Object. Despite 50 years of neurosurgical experience, occipitocervical fusion continues to present a technical challenge to the surgeon. Traditional nonrigid techniques applied in the occiput and cervical spine often fail secondary to postsurgical cranial settling or rotational deformity. Unlike widely used nonrigid and semirigid techniques, rigid fixation of the craniocervical junction should allow correction of deformity in any plane, provide immediate stability without need for external orthosis, and prevent cranial settling.

Methods. Since 1992, the senior author (D.W.C.) has used a rigid plate and screw fixation system for occipitocervical fusions. The technique proved to be more difficult than expected, and the procedure has evolved as experience was gained. The authors present a series of 24 patients and a technique that now involves the use of a custom-designed T-plate that is attached to the midline occipital “keel” at one end and to the spine at the other end by means of screw-fixed plates.

Conclusions. Although it is still evolving, the current technique for obtaining rigid occipitocervical fixation allows for immediate rigidity and stability of the spine without the use of an external orthosis (that is, in the absence of osteoporosis), may be extended to any level of the spine, may be used in the absence of posterior elements, prevents postsurgical cranial settling and restenosis, facilitates reduction of the spinal deformity in any plane, and sometimes eliminates the need for an anterior (transoral) decompressive procedure.

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Elias Dakwar, Fernando L. Vale, and Juan S. Uribe

Object

The minimally invasive lateral retroperitoneal transpsoas approach is increasingly used to treat various spinal disorders. Accessing the retroperitoneal space and traversing the abdominal wall poses a risk of injury to the major nervous structures and adds significant morbidity to the procedure. Most of the current literature focuses on the anatomy of the lumbar plexus within the substance of the psoas muscle. However, there is sparse knowledge regarding the trajectory of the lumbar plexus nerves that travel along the retroperitoneum and abdominal wall muscles in relation to the lateral approach to the spine. The objective of this study is to define the anatomical trajectories of the major motor and sensory branches of the lumbar plexus that are located outside the psoas muscle.

Methods

Six adult fresh frozen cadaveric specimens were dissected and studied (12 sides). The relationship between the retroperitoneum, abdominal wall muscles, and the lumbar plexus nerves was analyzed in reference to the minimally invasive lateral retroperitoneal approach. Special attention was given to the lumbar plexus nerves that run outside of psoas muscle in the retroperitoneal cavity and within the abdominal muscle wall.

Results

The skin and muscles of the abdominal wall and the retroperitoneal cavity were dissected and analyzed with respect to the major motor and sensory branches of the lumbar plexus. The authors identified 4 nerves at risk during the lateral approach to the spine: subcostal, iliohypogastric, ilioinguinal, and lateral femoral cutaneous nerves. The anatomical trajectory of each of these nerves is described starting from the spinal column until their termination or exit from the pelvic cavity.

Conclusions

There is risk of direct injury to the main motor/sensory nerves that supply the anterior abdominal muscles during the early stages of the lateral retroperitoneal transpsoas approach while obtaining access to the retroperitoneum. There is also a risk of injury to the ilioinguinal, iliohypogastric, and lateral femoral cutaneous nerves in the retroperitoneal space where they travel obliquely during the blunt retroperitoneal dissection. Moreover, there is a latent possibility of lesioning these nerves with the retractor blades against the anterior iliac crest.

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Juan S. Uribe, Nicolas Arredondo, Elias Dakwar, and Fernando L. Vale

Object

The lateral retroperitoneal transpsoas approach is being increasingly employed to treat various spinal disorders. The minimally invasive blunt retroperitoneal and transpsoas dissection poses a risk of injury to major nervous structures. The addition of electrophysiological monitoring potentially decreases the risk of injury to the lumbar plexus. With respect to the use of the direct transpsoas approach, however, there is sparse knowledge regarding the relationship between the retroperitoneum/psoas muscle and the lumbar plexus at each lumbar segment. The authors undertook this anatomical cadaveric dissection study to define the anatomical safe zones relative to the disc spaces for prevention of nerve injuries during the lateral retroperitoneal transpsoas approach.

Methods

Twenty lumbar segments were dissected and studied. The relationship between the retroperitoneum, psoas muscle, and the lumbar plexus was analyzed. The area between the anterior and posterior edges of the vertebral body (VB) was divided into 4 equal zones. Radiopaque markers were placed in each disc space at the midpoint of Zone III (middle posterior quarter). At each segment, the psoas muscle, lumbar plexus, and nerve roots were dissected. The distribution of the lumbar plexus with reference to the markers at each lumbar segment was analyzed.

Results

All parts of the lumbar plexus, including nerve roots, were found within the substance of the psoas muscle dorsal to the posterior fourth of the VB (Zone IV). No Zone III marker was posterior to any part of the lumbar plexus with the exception of the genitofemoral nerve. The genitofemoral nerve travels obliquely in the substance of the psoas muscle from its origin to its innervations. It emerges superficially and anterior from the medial border of the psoas at the L3–4 level and courses along the anterior medial fourth of the L-4 and L-5 VBs (Zone I). The nerves of the plexus that originate at the upper lumbar segments emerge from the lateral border of the psoas major and cross obliquely into the retroperitoneum in front of the quadratus lumborum and the iliacus muscles to the iliac crest.

Conclusions

With respect to prevention of direct nerve injury, the safe anatomical zones at the disc spaces from L1–2 to L3–4 are at the middle posterior quarter of the VB (midpoint of Zone III) and the safe anatomical zone at the L4–5 disc space is at the midpoint of the VB (Zone II–Zone III demarcation). There is risk of direct injury to the genitofemoral nerve in Zone II at the L2–3 space and in Zone I at the lower lumbar levels L3–4 and L4–5. There is also a potential risk of injury to the ilioinguinal, iliohypogastric, and lateral femoral cutaneous nerves in the retroperitoneal space where they travel obliquely, inferiorly, and anteriorly to the reach the iliac crest and the abdominal wall.

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Fernando L. Vale, Jennifer Burns, Amie B. Jackson, and Mark N. Hadley

✓ The optimal management of acute spinal cord injuries remains to be defined. The authors prospectively applied resuscitation principles of volume expansion and blood pressure maintenance to 77 patients who presented with acute neurological deficits as a result of spinal cord injuries occurring from C-1 through T-12 in an effort to maintain spinal cord blood flow and prevent secondary injury. According to the Intensive Care Unit protocol, all patients were managed by using Swan—Ganz and arterial blood pressure catheters and were treated with immobilization and fracture reduction as indicated. Intravenous fluids, colloid, and vasopressors were administered as necessary to maintain mean arterial blood pressure above 85 mm Hg. Surgery was performed for decompression and stabilization, and fusion in selected cases. Sixty-four patients have been followed at least 12 months postinjury by means of detailed neurological assessments and functional ability evaluations.

Sixty percent of patients with complete cervical spinal cord injuries improved at least one Frankel or American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) grade at the last follow-up review. Thirty percent regained the ability to walk and 20% had return of bladder function 1 year postinjury.

Thirty-three percent of the patients with complete thoracic spinal cord injuries improved at least one Frankel or ASIA grade. Approximately 10% of the patients regained the ability to walk and had return of bladder function.

As of the 12-month follow-up review, 92% of patients demonstrated clinical improvement after sustaining incomplete cervical spinal cord injuries compared to their initial neurological status. Ninety-two percent regained the ability to walk and 88% regained bladder function.

Eighty-eight percent of patients with incomplete thoracic spinal cord injuries demonstrated significant improvements in neurological function 1 year postinjury. Eighty-eight percent were able to walk and 63% had return of bladder function.

The authors conclude that the enhanced neurological outcome that was observed in patients after spinal cord injury in this study was in addition to, and/or distinct from, any potential benefit provided by surgery. Early and aggressive medical management (volume resuscitation and blood pressure augmentation) of patients with acute spinal cord injuries optimizes the potential for neurological recovery after sustaining trauma.

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Fernando L. Vale, Jennifer Burns, Amie B. Jackson, and Mark N. Hadley

The optimal management of acute spinal cord injuries remains to be defined. The authors prospectively applied resuscitation principles of volume expansion and blood pressure maintenance to 77 patients who presented with acute neurological deficits as a result of spinal cord injuries occurring from C-1 through T-12 in an effort to maintain spinal cord blood flow and prevent secondary injury. According to the Intensive Care Unit protocol, all patients were managed by Swan-Ganz and arterial blood pressure catheters and were treated with immobilization and fracture reduction as indicated. Intravenous fluids, colloid, and vasopressors were administered as necessary to maintain mean arterial blood pressure above 85 mm Hg. Surgery was performed for decompression and stabilization, and fusion in selected cases. Sixty-four patients have been followed at least 12 months postinjury by means of detailed neurological assessments and functional ability evaluations.

Sixty percent of patients with complete cervical spinal cord injuries improved at least one Frankel or American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) grade at the last follow-up review. Thirty percent regained the ability to walk and 20% had return of bladder function 1 year postinjury.

Thirty-three percent of the patients with complete thoracic spinal cord injuries improved at least one Frankel or ASIA grade. Approximately 10% of the patients regained the ability to walk and had return of bladder function.

As of the 12-month follow-up review, 92% of patients demonstrated clinical improvement after sustaining incomplete cervical spinal cord injuries compared to their initial neurological status. Ninety-two percent regained the ability to walk and 88% regained bladder function.

Eighty-eight percent of patients with incomplete thoracic spinal cord injuries demonstrated significant improvements in neurological function 1 year postinjury. Eighty-eight percent were able to walk and 63% had return of bladder function.

The authors conclude that the enhanced neurological outcome that was observed in patients after spinal cord injury in this study was in addition to, and/or distinct from, any potential benefit provided by surgery. Early and aggressive medical management (volume resuscitation and blood pressure augmentation) of patients with acute spinal cord injuries optimizes the potential for neurological recovery after sustaining trauma.