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Robert C. Dauser, Gerald F. Tuite and Charles W. McCluggage

✓ A variety of surgical procedures have been proposed for the treatment of moyamoya disease, but few have used the potential of the middle meningeal artery to any great extent. During the period of spontaneous collateral formation, patients with this disease are at risk for the development of transient ischemic attacks and strokes. Surgical treatments aimed at increasing collateral flow to the brain from the external carotid system have included both direct and indirect anastomotic methods. In this report, the authors describe a technique that used the middle meningeal artery circulation as a source of collateral blood supply by inverting dural flaps that are located on a large meningeal vessel, allowing the richly vascularized outer dural surface to contact a large surface area of the ischemic cortex. An extensive degree of revascularization was observed.

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Gerald F. Tuite, Robert Veres, H. Alan Crockard and Debbie Sell

✓ Knowledge of the role and hazards of transoral surgery has expanded rapidly, but the application of this technique in children has been limited. To assess its usefulness, 27 pediatric patients who underwent transoral surgery between 1985 and 1994 were studied.

Transoral surgery was performed for irreducible anterior neuraxial compression at the craniovertebral junction caused by basilar impression, atlantoaxial subluxation with pseudotumor, or chordoma. The patients ranged in age from 3 to 17 years. Symptomatic presentation varied widely, but 89% had significant neurological deficits before surgery. No patient with normal strength deteriorated after surgery. Of the 16 patients with a preoperative motor deficit, nine improved rapidly, three were unchanged, and four significantly worsened in the perioperative period. Those with mobile atlantoaxial subluxation were most vulnerable to surgically related neurological morbidity.

Twenty-four patients were alive for long-term follow-up study (average 5.7 years, range 1–9.2 years). Of those with preoperative weakness, nine improved one Frankel grade, four remained the same, and one deteriorated from Frankel Grade D to C. Swallowing and speech worsened in five patients; this occurred only after resection of lesions above the foramen magnum (p < 0.05) when rostral pharyngeal disruption resulted in velopharyngeal dysfunction.

This study, unlike previous reviews of pediatric transoral operations, leads the authors to suggest that although transoral surgery can be effective, it also carries a significant risk of neurological injury in patients with symptomatic spinal cord compression and it is also associated with long-term swallowing and speech difficulties.

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Joshua M. Beckman, Ernest K. Amankwah, Lisa L. Tetreault and Gerald F. Tuite

OBJECT

The application of concentrated topical antibiotic powder directly to surgical wounds has been associated with a reduction in wound infection in cardiac, spinal, and deep brain stimulator surgery. As a result of these findings, the corresponding author began systematically applying concentrated bacitracin powder directly to wounds during shunt surgery more than 5 years ago. The object of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of concentrated bacitracin powder applied directly to wounds prior to closure during cranial shunt surgery and to evaluate the association between shunt infection and other risk factors. A single surgeon’s cranial shunt surgery experience, equally divided between periods during which antibiotic powder was and was not applied, was studied to assess the effect of concentrated bacitracin powder application on shunt infection rates.

METHODS

This retrospective cohort study included all patients who underwent a cranial shunting procedure at All Children’s Hospital performed by a single surgeon (G.F.T.) from 2001 to 2013. The surgeon applied bacitracin powder to all shunt wounds prior to closure between 2008 and 2013, whereas no antibiotic powder was applied to wounds prior to 2008. Both initial and revision shunting procedures were included, and all procedures were performed at a large children’s hospital (All Children’s Hospital). The primary outcome measure was shunt infection, which was defined using clinical criteria previously used by the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network. The association between bacitracin powder use and shunt infection was estimated using hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs from Cox proportional hazard regression models.

RESULTS

A total of 47 infections out of 539 shunt operations occurred during the study period, resulting in an overall infection rate of 8.7%. Procedures performed before the use of concentrated bacitracin powder was instituted resulted in a 13% infection rate, whereas procedures performed after systematic use of bacitracin powder had been adopted experienced a 1% infection rate. Bacitracin powder use was associated with a reduced risk of shunt infection in univariate analysis (HR 0.11, 95% CI 0.03–0.34, p = 0.0002) and also in multivariate analysis (HR 0.12, 95% CI 0.04–0.41, p = 0.0006) when controlling for covariates that were associated with infection from the univariate analysis. The presence of a tracheostomy or a gastrostomy tube was also found to be independently associated with shunt infection in multivariate analysis (HR 3.15, 95% CI 1.05–9.50, p = 0.04, and HR 2.82, 95% CI 1.33–5.96, p = 0.007, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

This study suggests, for the first time, that the systematic application of concentrated bacitracin powder to surgical wounds prior to closure during shunt surgery may be associated with a reduction in cranial shunt infection. This initial finding requires validation in a large prospective study before widespread application can be advocated.

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Gerald F. Tuite, Robert Veres, H. Alan Crockard, David Peterson and Richard D. Hayward

✓ In this report the authors describe a device that consists of a transportable, radiolucent board that couples to a standard halo head ring. The board provides continuous cervical spine immobilization during all phases of acute medical treatment of cervical spine instability, including closed reduction, transport, radiographic imaging, and operative procedures. By combining the advantages of several existing systems, this immobilization device facilitates and improves the safety of comprehensive acute management of cervical spinal instability by eliminating the need for patient transfer from stretcher to radiography machine to operating table. Its radiolucent construction and its compatibility with standard operating tables allow unencumbered surgical access and ample room for biplanar fluoroscopy, thereby also facilitating operative procedures, particularly the placement of internal spinal fixation.

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Ali Abou Madawi, Adrian T. H. Casey, Guirish A. Solanki, Gerald Tuite, Robert Veres and H. Alan Crockard

✓ Sixty-one patients treated with C1–2 transarticular screw fixation for spinal instability participated in a detailed clinical and radiological study to determine outcome and clarify potential hazards. The most common condition was rheumatoid arthritis (37 patients) followed by traumatic instability (15 patients). Twenty-one of these patients (onethird) underwent either surgical revision for a previously failed posterior fusion technique or a combined anteroposterior procedure. Eleven patients underwent transoral odontoidectomy and excision of the arch of C-1 prior to posterior surgery. No patient died, but there were five vertebral artery (VA) injuries and one temporary cranial nerve palsy. Screw malposition (14% of placements) was comparable to another large series reported by Grob, et al. There were five broken screws, and all were associated with incorrect placement.

Anatomical measurements were made on 25 axis bones. In 20% the VA groove on one side was large enough to reduce the width of the C-2 pedicle, thus preventing the safe passage of a 3.5-mm diameter screw.

In addition to the obvious dangers in patients with damaged or deficient atlantoaxial lateral mass, the following risk factors were identified in this series: 1) incomplete reduction prior to screw placement, accounting for two-thirds of screw complications and all five VA injuries; 2) previous transoral surgery with removal of the anterior tubercle or the arch of the atlas, thus obliterating an important fluoroscopic landmark; and 3) failure to appreciate the size of the VA in the axis pedicle and lateral mass. A low trajectory with screw placement below the atlas tubercle was found in patients with VA laceration.

The technique that was associated with an 87% fusion rate requires detailed computerized tomography scanning prior to surgery, very careful attention to local anatomy, and nearly complete atlantoaxial reduction during surgery.

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Stephen L. Reintjes, Ernest K. Amankwah, Luis F. Rodriguez, Carolyn C. Carey and Gerald F. Tuite

OBJECT

Fusion rates are high for children undergoing posterior cervical fusion (PCF) and occipito-cervical fusion (OCF). Autologous bone has been widely used as the graft material of choice, despite the risk of donor-site morbidity associated with harvesting the bone, possibly because very low fusion rates were reported with posterior allograft cervical fusions in children several decades ago. Higher overall fusion rates using allograft in adults, associated with improvements in internal fixation techniques and the availability of osteoinductive substances such as bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), have led to heightened enthusiasm for the use of bank bone during pediatric PCF. A systematic review was performed to study factors associated with successful bone fusion, including the type of bone graft used.

METHODS

The authors performed a comprehensive PubMed search of English-language articles pertaining to PCF and OCF in patients less than 18 years old. Of the 561 abstracts selected, 148 articles were reviewed, resulting in 60 articles that had sufficient detail to be included in the analysis. A meta-regression analysis was performed to determine if and how age, fusion technique, levels fused, fusion substrate, BMP use, postoperative bracing, and radiographic fusion criteria were related to the pooled prevalence estimates. A systematic review of the literature was performed according to the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) statement.

RESULTS

A total of 604 patients met the specific inclusion and exclusion criteria. The overall fusion rate was 93%, with a mean age of 9.3 years and mean follow-up of 38.7 months. A total of 539 patients had fusion with autograft (94% fusion rate) and 65 patients with allograft (80% fusion rate). Multivariate meta-regression analysis showed that higher fusion rates were associated with OCF compared with fusions that excluded the occiput (p < 0.001), with the use of autograft instead of allograft (p < 0.001), and with the use of CT to define fusion instead of plain radiography alone. The type of internal fixation, the use of BMP, patient age, and the duration of follow-up were not found to be associated with fusion rates in the multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

Fusion rates for PCF are high, with higher rates of fusion seen when autograft is used as the bone substrate and when the occiput is included in the fusion construct. Further study of the use of allograft as a viable alternative to autograft bone fusion is warranted because limited data are available regarding the use of allograft in combination with more rigid internal fixation techniques and osteoinductive substances, both of which may enhance fusion rates with allograft.

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Amir Ahmadian, Jotham Manwaring, Devon Truong, Jeane McCarthy, Luis F. Rodriguez, Carolyn M. Carey and Gerald F. Tuite

Vascular access in the neonate can be challenging, especially in preterm infants. When other access is not available, superficial scalp veins can be safely used for vascular access. However, rare and potentially catastrophic complications can occur due to unique features of the neonatal skull and soft-tissue anatomy. The authors report a rare complication of vascular access in a preterm infant, which led to the direct infusion of parenteral nutrition into the intracranial space. The child had an excellent outcome after open drainage and irrigation of bilateral intracranial spaces and the spinal thecal sac. Relevant anatomy is illustrated, and an outcome-based literature review is presented on this rarely reported condition. Surgical and conservative management strategies are discussed, along with clinical and radiographic follow-up. Drainage and irrigation is advocated in patients with mass effect, viscous effusions, or declining neurological examination findings.

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Rajiv R. Iyer, Carolyn M. Carey, S. Alex Rottgers, Lisa Tetreault, Nir Shimony, Jennifer Katzenstein, Ernesto Ruas and Gerald F. Tuite

OBJECTIVE

Infants with severe hydrocephalus and extreme macrocephaly typically undergo CSF diversion early in life, which can result in significant cranial deformity due to CSF overdrainage. In this scenario, overlap of the cranial plates can precede the development of secondary synostosis and/or severe, permanent cranial deformity. As a result, extensive cranial vault remodeling is sometimes undertaken later in life, which is often challenging and has been associated with mortality and a high morbidity rate. The authors have previously described a technique for early postnatal cranial vault reduction and fixation (CVRF), in which the calvarial bones are stabilized using absorbable fixation plates in the neonatal period, in an attempt to facilitate patient positioning, simplify hydrocephalus management, and improve cosmesis. Here, the authors describe their institutional experience managing patients with extreme neonatal hydrocephalus with CSF diversion, with and without CVRF, over the past 12 years.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the charts of infants with extreme hydrocephalus (head circumference > 49 cm) treated at their children’s hospital with ventriculoperitoneal shunting, with or without CVRF, between 2005 and 2017. Data collected included age, sex, etiology of hydrocephalus, type of CVRF performed (anterior, posterior, or combined), follow-up duration, orbitofrontal circumference, craniometric measurements, intraoperative blood loss, operative duration, and postoperative complications. Developmental data were collected using the third edition of the Ages and Stages Questionnaire. Photographic imaging was used to demonstrate esthetic outcomes, and family questionnaires were used to evaluate satisfaction with the esthetic outcome.

RESULTS

Eleven patients with extreme neonatal hydrocephalus underwent CSF shunting; 5 underwent shunting alone and 6 patients underwent shunting and CVRF. For patients who underwent shunting and CVRF, the median age at CVRF was 6 days and the median interval between shunt placement and CVRF was 2.5 days. The mean extent of calvarial vault volume reduction was 44.5% (± 3.9%). The mean duration of the CVRF procedure was 108 minutes, and 5 of 6 patients required intraoperative transfusion. Of the 5 patients who underwent shunting alone, 3 developed severe cranial deformities. Of 6 patients who underwent shunting and CVRF, 1 had a poor cosmetic outcome. In the shunting-alone group, 2 patients died and 1 required extensive cranial vault correction at 10 years of age. One patient in the shunting and CVRF group also died.

CONCLUSIONS

CVRF in combination with CSF shunting in the neonatal period can simplify the treatment of the rare case of severe hydrocephalic macrocephaly and leads to cosmetic outcomes that are considered good by their families.