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Wouter I. Schievink, M. Marcel Maya and Franklin G. Moser

OBJECTIVE

Post–dural puncture headaches are common, and the treatment of such headaches can be complex when they become chronic. Among patients with spontaneous spinal CSF leaks, digital subtraction myelography (DSM) can localize the exact site of the leak when an extradural CSF collection is present, and it can also demonstrate CSF-venous fistulas in those without an extradural CSF collection. The authors now report on the use of DSM in the management of patients with chronic post–dural puncture headaches.

METHODS

The patient population consisted of a consecutive group of 27 patients with recalcitrant post–dural puncture headache that had lasted from 2 to 150 months (mean 26 months).

RESULTS

The mean age of the 17 women and 10 men was 39.1 years (range 18–77 years). An extensive extradural CSF collection was present in 5 of the 27 patients, and DSM was able to localize the exact site of the dural defect in all 5 patients. Among the 22 patients who did not have an extradural CSF collection, DSM showed a CSF-venous fistula in 1 patient (5%). Three other patients had a small pseudomeningocele at the level of the dural puncture. Percutaneous glue injection or microsurgical repair resulted in resolution of symptoms in 8 of the 9 patients in whom an abnormality had been identified on imaging.

CONCLUSIONS

Digital subtraction myelography is able to precisely localize the dural puncture site in patients with a post–dural puncture headache and an extensive extradural CSF collection, and it may rarely detect a CSF-venous fistula in such patients without an extradural CSF collection.

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Wouter I. Schievink, M. Marcel Maya and Franklin G. Moser

A spinal CSF–venous fistula is one of three specific types of spinal CSF leak that can be seen in patients with spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH). They are best demonstrated on specialized imaging, such as digital subtraction myelography (DSM) or dynamic myelography, but often they are diagnosed on the basis of increased contrast density in the draining veins (the so-called hyperdense paraspinal vein sign) on early postmyelography CT scans. The authors report on 2 patients who underwent directed treatment (surgery in one patient and glue injection in the other) based on the hyperdense paraspinal vein sign, in whom the actual site of the fistula did not correspond to the level or laterality of the hyperdense paraspinal vein sign. The authors suggest consideration of DSM or dynamic myelography prior to undertaking treatment directed at these fistulas.

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Wouter I. Schievink, M. Marcel Maya, Franklin G. Moser and James Tourje

Object. Spontaneous intracranial hypotension is a noteworthy but commonly misdiagnosed cause of new daily persistent headaches. Subdural fluid collections are frequent radiographic findings, but they can be interpreted as primary rather than secondary pathological entities, and uncertainties exist regarding their optimal management. The authors therefore reviewed their experience with subdural fluid collections in 40 consecutive patients with spontaneous spinal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks and intracranial hypotension.

Methods. The mean age of the 26 female and 14 male patients was 43 years (range 13–72 years). Subdural fluid collections were present in 20 patients (50%); 12 of these patients (60%) had subdural hygromas alone, and eight (40%) had subacute to chronic subdural hematomas (SDHs) associated with significant mass effect. The subdural hygromas resolved within several days to weeks following treatment of the underlying CSF leak. Three patients with SDHs underwent evacuation of the hematoma prior to the establishment of the diagnosis of spontaneous intracranial hypotension, but the SDHs did not resolve until the underlying spinal CSF leak was treated. In the remaining five patients, the CSF leak was treated primarily and the SDHs resolved over a 1- to 3-month period without the need for evacuation.

Conclusions. Subdural fluid collections are common in spontaneous intracranial hypotension, varying in appearance from thin subdural hygromas to large SDHs associated with significant mass effect. These collections can be safely managed by directing treatment at the underlying CSF leak without the need for hematoma evacuation.

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Allen B. Kantrowitz, Craig Hall, Franklin Moser, Aldo Spallone and Joseph G. Feghali

✓ A split-calvaria osteoplastic rotational flap to repair the anterior fossa floor after tumor excision was devised and tested clinically. At surgery, the flap is outlined between the glabella and the vertex. After the pericranium between the glabella and the flap's anterior pole is elevated to form its pedicle, a full-thickness craniotomy is performed to expose the diploic aspect of the bone graft donor site (when the graft is relatively wide, bifrontal craniotomies may be advantageous). The diploic space is split in situ, taking care to protect the pedicle and its attachments to the osseous segment. Linear osteotomies in the outer table are created to mobilize the flap. With the flap rotated frontally, the craniotomy is completed. After tumor extirpation, the margins of the osseous segment of the flap are shaped to conform to the defect of the anterior fossa floor. Transverse osteotomies are performed so that the graft's convex curve conforms to that of the anterior fossa floor. The flap is then rotated into position.

Follow-up evaluation in two patients at 22 and 30 months demonstrated bone integrity of the anterior fossa floor with graft preservation. Transient postoperative cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) rhinorrhea, which occurred in Case 1, was avoided in Case 2 by placing the osseous segment of the graft coplanar with the bone floor of the fossa. Neither patient had late meningitis or CSF rhinorrhea.

The split-calvaria osteoplastic rotational flap may represent an advance toward the ideal reconstruction of the anterior cranial fossa floor.

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Wouter I. Schievink, Franklin G. Moser, M. Marcel Maya and Ravi S. Prasad

OBJECTIVE

In most patients with spontaneous intracranial hypotension, a spinal CSF leak can be found, but occasionally, no leak can be demonstrated despite extensive spinal imaging. Failure to localize a CSF leak limits treatment options. The authors recently reported the discovery of CSF-venous fistulas in patients with spontaneous intracranial hypotension and now report on the use of digital subtraction myelography in patients with spontaneous intracranial hypotension but no CSF leak identifiable on conventional spinal imaging (i.e., non–digital subtraction myelography).

METHODS

The patient population consisted of 53 consecutive patients with spontaneous intracranial hypotension who underwent digital subtraction myelography but in whom no spinal CSF leak (i.e., presence of extradural CSF) was identifiable on conventional spinal imaging.

RESULTS

The mean age of the 33 women and 20 men was 53.4 years (range 29–71 years). A CSF-venous fistula was demonstrated in 10 (19%) of the 53 patients. A CSF-venous fistula was found in 9 (27%) of the 33 women and in 1 (5%) of the 20 men (p = 0.0697). One patient was treated successfully with percutaneous injection of fibrin sealant. Nine patients underwent surgery for the fistula. Surgery resulted in complete resolution of symptoms in 8 patients (follow-up 7–25 months), and in 1 patient, symptoms recurred after 4 months.

CONCLUSIONS

In this study, the authors found a CSF-venous fistula in approximately one-fifth of the patients with recalcitrant spontaneous intracranial hypotension but no CSF leak identifiable on conventional spinal imaging. The authors suggest that digital subtraction myelography be considered in this patient population.

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Wouter I. Schievink, Marc S. Schwartz, M. Marcel Maya, Franklin G. Moser and Todd D. Rozen

Object

Spontaneous intracranial hypotension is an important cause of headaches and an underlying spinal CSF leak can be demonstrated in most patients. Whether CSF leaks at the level of the skull base can cause spontaneous intracranial hypotension remains a matter of controversy. The authors' aim was to examine the frequency of skull base CSF leaks as the cause of spontaneous intracranial hypotension.

Methods

Demographic, clinical, and radiological data were collected from a consecutive group of patients evaluated for spontaneous intracranial hypotension during a 9-year period.

Results

Among 273 patients who met the diagnostic criteria for spontaneous intracranial hypotension and 42 who did not, not a single instance of CSF leak at the skull base was encountered. Clear nasal drainage was reported by 41 patients, but a diagnosis of CSF rhinorrhea could not be established. Four patients underwent exploratory surgery for presumed CSF rhinorrhea. In addition, the authors treated 3 patients who had a postoperative CSF leak at the skull base following the resection of a cerebellopontine angle tumor and developed orthostatic headaches; spinal imaging, however, demonstrated the presence of a spinal source of CSF leakage in all 3 patients.

Conclusions

There is no evidence for an association between spontaneous intracranial hypotension and CSF leaks at the level of the skull base. Moreover, the authors' study suggests that a spinal source for CSF leakage should even be suspected in patients with orthostatic headaches who have a documented skull base CSF leak.

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Avetis Azizyan, Joseph M. Miller, Ramzi I. Azzam, Marcel M. Maya, Pouyan Famini, Barry D. Pressman and Franklin G. Moser

OBJECT

Pituitary apoplexy is a rare and potentially life-threatening disorder that is most commonly characterized by a combination of sudden headache, visual disturbance, and hypothalamic/hormonal dysfunction. In many cases, there is hemorrhagic infarction of an underlying pituitary adenoma. The resulting clinical symptoms are due to compression of the remaining pituitary, cavernous sinuses, or cranial nerves. However, there are only 2 case reports in the literature describing spontaneous retroclival expansion of hemorrhage secondary to pituitary apoplexy. Ten cases of this entity with a review of the literature are presented here.

METHODS

This is a single-institution retrospective review of 2598 patients with sellar and parasellar masses during the 10-year period between 1999 and 2009. The pituitary and brain MRI and MRI studies were reviewed by 2 neuroradiologists for evidence of apoplexy, with particular attention given to retroclival extension.

RESULTS

Eighteen patients (13 men and 5 women; mean age 54 years) were identified with presenting symptoms of sudden onset of headache and ophthalmoplegia, and laboratory findings consistent with pituitary apoplexy. Ten of these patients (8 men and 2 women; mean age 55 years) had imaging findings consistent with retroclival hematoma.

CONCLUSIONS

Retroclival hemorrhage was seen in the majority of cases of pituitary apoplexy (56%), suggesting that it is more common than previously thought.