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Eugenio Pozzati, Leo Fagioli, Franco Servadei and Giulio Gaist

✓ The effects of common carotid artery ligation on five giant aneurysms (greater than 2.5 cm in diameter) of the internal carotid artery were studied by computerized tomography (CT). Four aneurysms thrombosed completely and one partially. The CT image of the thrombosed part in giant aneurysms is protean, varying from hyperdensity in the immediate postoperative period to isodensity and finally to inhomogeneously increased or decreased density, the attenuation values depending on the different stages of organization of the thrombus and on calcium deposition.

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Francesco Tognetti, Massimo Poppi, Giulio Gaist and Franco Servadei

✓ An unusual case of pudendal neuralgia due to a solitary neurofibroma of the perineal region is described. The authors outline the long clinical history. There was complete pain relief after removal of the lesion.

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Alex B. Valadka, Andrew I. R. Maas and Franco Servadei

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Eugenio Pozzati, Giulio Gaist and Franco Servadei

✓ This paper describes two patients with traumatic aneurysms of the supraclinoid internal carotid artery, which occurred after a closed-head injury and without demonstrable basal skull fracture. In the first case, the traumatic origin of the aneurysm was demonstrated by repeat angiograms. The second case documents the formation of a giant, traumatic, true aneurysm of the supraclinoid carotid artery over a period of less than 2 months; there was an associated traumatic partial occlusion of the vessel proximal to the aneurysm. The mechanisms of injury of the supraclinoid carotid artery are discussed.

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Federico Nicolosi, Zefferino Rossini, Ismail Zaed, Angelos G. Kolias, Maurizio Fornari and Franco Servadei

OBJECTIVE

Neurosurgical training is usually based on traditional sources of education, such as papers, books, direct surgical experience, and cadaveric hands-on courses. In low-middle income countries, standard education programs are often unavailable, mainly owing to the lack of human and economic resources. Introducing digital platforms in these settings could be an alternative solution for bridging the gap between Western and poor countries in neurosurgical knowledge.

METHODS

The authors identified from the Internet the main digital platforms that could easily be adopted in low-middle income countries. They selected free/low-cost mobile content with high educational impact.

RESULTS

The platforms that were identified as fulfilling the characteristics described above are WFNS Young Neurosurgeons Forum Stream, Brainbook, NeuroMind, UpSurgeOn, The Neurosurgical Atlas, Touch surgery, The 100 UCLA Subjects in Neurosurgery, Neurosurgery Survival Guide, EANS (European Association of Neurosurgical Societies) Academy, Neurosurgical.TV, 3D Neuroanatomy, The Rhoton Collection, and Hinari. These platforms consist of webinars, 3D interactive neuroanatomy and neurosurgery content, videos, and e-learning programs supported by neurosurgical associations or journals.

CONCLUSIONS

Digital education is an emerging tool for contributing to the spread of information in the neurosurgical community. The continuous improvement in the quality of content will rapidly increase the scientific validity of digital programs. In conclusion, the fast and easy access to digital resources could contribute to promote neurosurgical education in countries with limited facilities.

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Marco Cenzato, Francesco DiMeco, Marco Fontanella, Davide Locatelli and Franco Servadei

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Reza Ghadirpour, Davide Nasi, Corrado Iaccarino, Antonio Romano, Luisa Motti, Rossella Sabadini, Franco Valzania and Franco Servadei

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the technical feasibility, accuracy, and relevance on surgical outcome of D-wave monitoring combined with somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) and motor evoked potentials (MEPs) during resection of intradural extramedullary (IDEM) spinal tumors.

METHODS

Clinical and intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IONM) data obtained in 108 consecutive patients who underwent surgery for IDEM tumors at the Institute for Scientific and Care Research “ASMN” of Reggio Emilia, Italy, were prospectively entered into a database and retrospectively analyzed. The IONM included SSEPs, MEPs, and—whenever possible—D-waves. All patients were evaluated using the modified McCormick Scale at admission and at 3, 6, and 12 months of follow-up .

RESULTS

A total of 108 patients were included in this study. A monitorable D-wave was achieved in 71 of the 77 patients harboring cervical and thoracic IDEM tumors (92.2%). Recording of D-waves in IDEM tumors was significantly associated only with a preoperative deeply compromised neurological status evaluated using the modified McCormick Scale (p = 0.04). Overall, significant IONM changes were registered in 14 (12.96%) of 108 patients and 9 of these patients (8.33%) had permanent loss of at least one of the 3 evoked potentials. In 7 patients (6.48%), the presence of an s18278 caudal D-wave was predictive of a favorable long-term motor outcome even when the MEPs and/or SSEPs were lost during IDEM tumor resection. However, in 2 cases (1.85%) the D-wave permanently decreased by approximately 50%, and surgery was definitively abandoned to prevent permanent paraplegia. Cumulatively, SSEP, MEP, and D-wave monitoring significantly predicted postoperative deficits (p = 0.0001; AUC = 0.905), with a sensitivity of 85.7% and a specificity of 97%. Comparing the area under the receiver operating characteristic curves of these tests, D-waves appeared to have a significantly greater predictive value than MEPs and especially SSEPs alone (0.992 vs 0.798 vs 0.653; p = 0.023 and p < 0.001, respectively). On multiple logistic regression, the independent risk factors associated with significant IONM changes in the entire population were age older than 65 years and an anterolateral location of the tumor (p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

D-wave monitoring was feasible in all patients without severe preoperative motor deficits. D-waves demonstrated a statistically significant higher ability to predict postoperative deficits compared with SSEPs and MEPs alone and allowed us to proceed with IDEM tumor resection, even in cases of SSEP and/or MEP loss. Patients older than 65 years and with anterolateral IDEM tumors can benefit most from the use of IONM.

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Maria Pia Tropeano, Riccardo Spaggiari, Hernán Ileyassoff, Kee B. Park, Angelos G. Kolias, Peter J. Hutchinson and Franco Servadei

OBJECTIVE

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a global public health problem and more than 70% of trauma-related deaths are estimated to occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Nevertheless, there is a consistent lack of data from these countries. The aim of this work is to estimate the capacity of different and heterogeneous areas of the world to report and publish data on TBI. In addition, we wanted to estimate the countries with the highest and lowest number of publications when taking into account the relative TBI burden.

METHODS

First, a bibliometric analysis of all the publications about TBI available in the PubMed database from January 1, 2008, to December 31, 2018, was performed. These data were tabulated by country and grouped according to each geographical region as indicated by the WHO: African Region (AFR), Region of the Americas (PAH), South-East Asia Region (SEAR), European Region (EUR), Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR), and Western Pacific Region (WPR). In this analysis, PAH was further subdivided into Latin America (AMR-L) and North America (AMR-US/Can). Then a “publication to TBI volume ratio” was derived to estimate the research interest in TBI with respect to the frequency of this pathology.

RESULTS

Between 2008 and 2018 a total of 8144 articles were published and indexed in the PubMed database about TBI. Leading WHO regions in terms of contributions were AMR-US/Can with 4183 articles (51.36%), followed by EUR with 2003 articles (24.60%), WPR with 1507 (18.50%), AMR-L with 141 articles (1.73%), EMR with 135 (1.66%), AFR with 91 articles (1.12%), and SEAR with 84 articles (1.03%). The highest publication to TBI volume ratios were found for AMR-US/Can (90.93) and EUR (21.54), followed by WPR (8.71) and AMR-L (2.43). Almost 90 times lower than the ratio of AMR-US/Can were the ratios for AFR (1.15) and SEAR (0.46).

CONCLUSIONS

An important disparity currently exists between countries with a high burden of TBI and those in which most of the research is conducted. A call for improvement of data collection and research outputs along with an increase in international collaboration could quantitatively and qualitatively improve the ability of LMICs to ameliorate TBI care and develop clinical practice guidelines.

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Corrado Iaccarino, Paolo Schiavi, Edoardo Picetti, Matteo Goldoni, Davide Cerasti, Marialuisa Caspani and Franco Servadei

Object

Traumatic parenchymal mass lesions are common sequelae of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). They occur in up to 8.2% of all TBI cases and 13%–35% of severe TBI cases, and they account for up to 20% of surgical intracranial lesions. Controversy exists concerning the association between radiological and clinical evolution of brain contusions. The aim of this study was to identify predictors of unfavorable outcome, analyze the evolution of brain contusions, and evaluate specific indications for surgery.

Methods

In a retrospective, multicenter study, patients with brain contusions were identified in separate patient cohorts from 11 hospitals over a 4-year period (2008–2011). Data on clinical parameters and course of the contusion were collected. Radiological parameters were registered by using CT images taken at the time of hospital admission and at subsequent follow-up times. Patients who underwent surgical procedures were identified. Outcomes were evaluated 6 months after trauma by using the Glasgow Outcome Scale-Extended.

Results

Multivariate analysis revealed the following reliable predictors of unfavorable outcome: 1) increased patient age, 2) lower Glasgow Coma Scale score at first evaluation, 3) clinical deterioration in the first hours after trauma, and 4) onset or increase of midline shift on follow-up CT images. Further multivariate analysis identified the following as statistically significant predictors of clinical deterioration during the first hours after trauma: 1) onset of or increase in midline shift on follow-up CT images (p < 0.001) and 2) increased effacement of basal cisterns on follow-up CT images (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

In TBI patients with cerebral contusion, the onset of clinical deterioration is predictably associated with the onset or increase of midline shift and worsened status of basal cisterns but not with hematoma or edema volume increase. A combination of clinical deterioration and increased midline shift/basal cistern compression is the most reasonable indicator for surgery.