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George I. Jallo

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Gustavo Pradilla and George Jallo


Arachnoid cysts are commonly encountered fluid collections in the central nervous system. Recent advances in neuroimaging have translated into an increased detection of these cysts; that is, diagnoses can be made more frequently at earlier stages. Significant advances have also been made in the surgical management of these lesions. The authors report on a case series that illustrates the diverse forms of presentation and the treatment modalities commonly used for arachnoid cysts.


Between January 2002 and December 2006, 20 patients with arachnoid cysts underwent surgery performed by the senior author at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Seventy percent of the cysts were supratentorial, 5% infratentorial, and 25% spinal. All diagnoses were confirmed on neuroimaging, surgery, and histological examination. Included in the study were 12 male (60%) and eight female (40%) patients, ranging in age from 2 weeks to 39 years (mean age 10.9 years) at the time of surgery.

Symptoms at presentation included headache (41%), weakness (23%), seizure (14%), hydrocephalus (9%), scoliosis (4%), cognitive decline (4%), and visual loss (4%). Twenty-five percent of the cysts were sylvian, 20% intraventricular, and 20% suprasellar. Supratentorial cysts were treated endoscopically in 73% of patients and with open resection in the remaining 27%. Complications included spasticity, hemiparesis, cerebrospinal fluid leak, hydrocephalus, and subdural hygroma. On follow-up evaluation, 60% of patients had stable cysts and improved symptoms, 13% complete symptom resolution, and 13% stable symptoms.

All patients with spinal cysts underwent laminectomies and fenestration, and one cystosubarachnoid (CS) shunt was placed. Cyst reaccumulation occurred in three patients; two patients required cystoperitoneal (CP) and CS shunts. No deaths occurred.


Most arachnoid cysts are found incidentally and can be managed conservatively. Symptomatic patients are surgical candidates. Treatments include CP shunt placement, craniotomy, or endoscopic fenestration, and stereotactic aspiration. Recent advances in neurosurgical techniques and neuroendoscopy continue to favor fenestration over shunt insertion as the method of choice for initial cyst decompression.

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George I. Jallo, Ian Suk and László Bognár

✓Many subfrontal and orbitofrontal craniotomy techniques have been proposed and developed for anterior cranial fossa lesions. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the surgical experience with the frontolateral keyhole craniotomy through a superciliary skin incision in children.

The keyhole craniotomy is a modification of the traditional pterional approach. This modified approach, a craniotomy with a 2.5 × 3—cm bone opening just above the eyebrow through a superciliary incision, has been previously described in adults for many lesions situated in the anterior cranial fossa, including tumors and aneurysms. The authors review their experience in using this approach in 27 children for a variety of intracranial lesions.

This approach was used for 28 procedures in children ranging in age from 1 to 16 years (mean age 10 years). The lesions included arachnoid cysts, cerebrospinal fluid fistulas, and tumors; no vascular lesions were treated.

The authors have found this craniotomy to be a safe and simple approach for treating anterior cranial fossa and suprasellar lesions in children.

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Jonathan Pindrik, George I. Jallo and Edward S. Ahn

This case series highlights multiple complications and subsequent removal of retained shunt hardware in pediatric patients after successful endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV). Removal or retention of existing shunt hardware following ETV represents an important dilemma. Prior studies have reported infections and organ perforation related to nonfunctioning shunts but none in the context of successful ETV. Data obtained in 3 children with hydrocephalus treated at the authors' institution were retrospectively reviewed after the patients experienced complications due to retained shunt hardware following ETV. Etiologies of hydrocephalus included tectal glioma and intraventricular hemorrhage. All 3 patients had a history of multiple shunt revisions and underwent urgent ETV in the setting of a shunt malfunction. In each case, the entire shunt system was left in situ, but it became the source of subsequent complications. Two of the 3 patients presented with the shunt infected by gram-negative bacilli 10 days and 4.5 months postoperatively, respectively. The remaining patient experienced wound dehiscence over the shunt valve 4.5 months after ETV. In all patients, the complications were managed successfully by removing the shunt hardware. None of the patients required repeat shunt insertion from the time of removal throughout the follow-up period (mean 24 months, range 9–36 months). During the study period, a total of 6 patients with indwelling shunt hardware underwent ETV with the expectation of being shunt independent. Among these 6 patients, 3 experienced no complications from the retained hardware whereas 3 patients (50%) ultimately experienced adverse consequences related to retained hardware. This case series illustrates complications involving retained shunt hardware after successful ETV. These examples support consideration of shunt removal at the time of ETV in the appropriate context.

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Intrinsic brainstem epidermoid cyst

Case report and review of the literature

Pablo F. Recinos, Chanland Roonprapunt and George I. Jallo

✓ Brainstem epidermoid cysts are rare lesions, with only 18 reported cases in the literature and only five purely intrinsic epidermoid cysts within this group. The authors present the case of a 3-year-old girl with a history of chronic headaches, progressive diplopia, and relapsing and remitting mild right hemiparesis who was found to harbor an intrinsic brainstem epidermoid cyst at the pontomedullary junction. Initial working diagnoses included intrinsic brainstem astrocytoma and cavernoma. After tumor enlargement and progressive symptoms, a diffusion-weighted (DW) magnetic resonance (MR) imaging sequence was performed and a definitive diagnosis of an intrinsic brainstem epidermoid cyst was made in the patient. The patient underwent a suboccipital craniotomy and complete resection of the cyst with the aid of intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring. Three years after the operation, the patient is neurologically intact and no evidence of tumor recurrence has been found. The rarity of brainstem epidermoid cysts can make their diagnosis difficult; thus a DW MR imaging sequence of the brain is a useful diagnostic modality. Intrinsic brainstem epidermoid cysts can be removed safely, in a manner similar to that used for the surgical treatment of focal tumors.

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Khan W. Li, Clarke Nelson, Ian Suk and George I. Jallo

Neuroendoscopy began with a desire to visualize the ventricles and deeper structures of the brain. Unfortunately, the technology available to early neuroendoscopists was not sufficient in most cases for these purposes. The unique perspective that neuroendoscopy offered was not fully realized until key technological advances made reliable and accurate visualization of the brain and ventricles possible. After this technology was incorporated into the device, neuro-endoscopic procedures were rediscovered by neurosurgeons. Endoscopic third ventriculostomy and other related procedures are now commonly used to treat a wide array of neurosurgically managed conditions. A seemingly limitless number of neurosurgical applications await the endoscope. In the future, endoscopy is expected to become routine in modern neurosurgical practice and training.

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Matthew J. McGirt, Shlomi Constantini and George I. Jallo


Postoperative progressive spinal deformity often complicates functional outcome after resection of pediatric intramedullary spinal cord tumors (IMSCTs). The authors propose a preoperative grading scale that correlates with the postoperative development of progressive spinal deformity requiring subsequent fusion.


The data obtained in 164 patients who underwent resection of an IMSCT at a single institution were retrospectively collected and analyzed to determine the development of progressive spinal deformity requiring fusion. A grading scale (range of scores I–V) was created based on the presence or absence of 4 preoperative variables: preoperative scoliosis, involvement of the thorocolumbar junction, age < 13 years, and number of surgeries for an IMSCT. The grading scale was then retrospectively applied to this series of 164 children to assess the correlation of variables with subsequent spinal deformity.


Nine patients presented with Grade I status, 41 patients with Grade II, 58 patients with Grade III, 44 patients with Grade IV, and 12 patients with Grade V. Overall, 44 patients (27%) developed progressive spinal deformity requiring fusion at a mean follow-up of 5 years after surgery. A higher preoperative grade was associated with an increasing need for subsequent fusion for progressive spinal deformity (Grade I [0%], Grade II [5%], Grade III [26%], Grade IV [40%], and Grade V status [75%]).


Application of this grading scheme to a series of resected pediatric IMSCTs has demonstrated its correlation with the incidence of postoperative progressive spinal deformity requiring fusion. The application of a standardized grading scheme will assist in the process of surgical decision making and postoperative evaluation.

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Anthony N. Grieff, George M. Ghobrial and Jack Jallo


The aim in this paper was to evaluate the efficacy of long-acting liposomal bupivacaine in comparison with bupivacaine hydrochloride for lowering postoperative analgesic usage in the management of posterior cervical and lumbar decompression and fusion.


A retrospective cohort-matched chart review of 531 consecutive cases over 17 months (October 2013 to February 2015) for posterior cervical and lumbar spinal surgery procedures performed by a single surgeon (J.J.) was performed. Inclusion criteria for the analysis were limited to those patients who received posterior approach decompression and fusion for cervical or lumbar spondylolisthesis and/or stenosis. Patients from October 1, 2013, through December 31, 2013, received periincisional injections of bupivacaine hydrochloride, whereas after January 1, 2014, liposomal bupivacaine was solely administered to all patients undergoing posterior approach cervical and lumbar spinal surgery through the duration of treatment. Patients were separated into 2 groups for further analysis: posterior cervical and posterior lumbar spinal surgery.


One hundred sixteen patients were identified: 52 in the cervical cohort and 64 in the lumbar cohort. For both cervical and lumbar cases, patients who received bupivacaine hydrochloride required approximately twice the adjusted morphine milligram equivalent (MME) per day in comparison with the liposomal bupivacaine groups (5.7 vs 2.7 MME, p = 0.27 [cervical] and 17.3 vs 7.1 MME, p = 0.30 [lumbar]). The amounts of intravenous rescue analgesic requirements were greater for bupivacaine hydrochloride in comparison with liposomal bupivacaine in both the cervical (1.0 vs 0.39 MME, p = 0.31) and lumbar (1.0 vs 0.37 MME, p = 0.08) cohorts as well. None of these differences was found to be statistically significant. There were also no significant differences in lengths of stay, complication rates, or infection rates. A subgroup analysis of both cohorts of opiate-naive versus opiate-dependent patients found that those patients who were naive had no difference in opiate requirements. In chronic opiate users, there was a trend toward higher opiate requirements for the bupivacaine hydrochloride group than for the liposomal bupivacaine group; however, this trend did not achieve statistical significance.


Liposomal bupivacaine did not appear to significantly decrease perioperative narcotic use or length of hospitalization, although there was a trend toward decreased narcotic use in comparison with bupivacaine hydrochloride. While the results of this study do not support the routine use of liposomal bupivacaine, there may be a benefit in the subgroup of patients who are chronic opiate users. Future prospective randomized controlled trials, ideally with dose-response parameters, must be performed to fully explore the efficacy of liposomal bupivacaine, as the prior literature suggests that clinically relevant effects require a minimum tissue concentration.

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James L. Frazier, Edward S. Ahn and George I. Jallo

✓ Brain abscesses occur infrequently but continue to be problematic for the pediatric neurosurgical community. The incidence of brain abscesses in children has not changed much, although individual reports may show an increase or decrease in the number of reported cases depending on the patient population studied. An increase could be attributed to earlier detection due to advancements in imaging modalities and/or to an increase in the number of children with immunodeficient states caused by AIDS, chemotherapy for malignant lesions, and immunosuppressive therapy for organ transplantation. A decrease in the incidence of brain abscesses could be attributed to practices such as antibiotic treatment for otitis media, sinusitis, and/or prophylactic antimicrobial treatment for congenital heart disease in children. The morbidity and mortality rates associated with brain abscesses have not changed dramatically in the antibiotic and imaging era, and their preferred management can vary among healthcare providers. These lesions have been successfully treated by neurosurgeons. The causes of brain abscesses are highly variable in children, which is also the case in adults, but the predisposing factors in the pediatric population differ in prevalence. Cyanotic congenital heart disease, hematogenous dissemination, contiguous infection, and penetrating traumatic injuries are the most common causes of brain abscesses in children. In this review, the authors discuss the causes and medical and surgical management of brain abscesses in children.