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André Olivier and Gilles Bertrand

✓ A stereotaxic device is described for percutaneous twist-drill insertion of depth electrodes for seizure recording and brain biopsy. This apparatus, which permits a lateral orthogonal approach, has been used in conjunction with a Leksell type of stereotaxic frame. Its main advantages are the ample working space it provides at the site of insertion of intracerebral electrodes, and the stable attachment it offers in fixing these electrodes on the skull.

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Robert R. Hansebout and Gilles Bertrand

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Kost Elisevich, Suzanne Fontaine and Gilles Bertrand

✓ Cranial settling and basilar invagination with medullospinal compression is believed to have resulted in the production of a syrinx in a case of Paget's disease of the cranium. This mechanism of compression at the craniovertebral junction resembles the development of syringomyelia in Chiari malformations presenting in adult life.

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The first human stereotaxic apparatus

The contribution of Aubrey Mussen to the field of stereotaxis

Claude Picard, Andre Olivier and Gilles Bertrand

✓ The first human stereotaxic apparatus was probably built in London, England, around 1918 to the specifications of Aubrey Mussen, a neuroanatomist and neurophysiologist who had worked with Clarke. The recent acquisition by the Montreal Neurological Institute of Mussen's original apparatus prompts this report on the salient points of his career, and summary of his early contributions to stereotaxy.

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Gilles Bertrand, John Blundell and Rosario Musella

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Mark C. Preul, Joseph Stratford, Gilles Bertrand and William Feindel

✓ Neurosurgeons are well known for being productive researchers and innovators. Few, however, have possessed the prolific ingenuity of William Cone. In 1934, he and Wilder Penfield were cofounders of the Montreal Neurological Institute where, until 1959, he filled the twin roles of neurosurgeon-in-chief and neuropathologist.

Because he did not find writing easy, many of his technical inventions and refinements remained unpublished. His numerous innovations included the extensive use of twist-drill technique for biopsy, drainage for subdural hematoma and cerebral abscess, and ventriculography. In the mid-1940's, he developed power tools driven by nitrogen that led to the modern, universally used air-driven tool systems. He had a special interest in the treatment of spinal dysfunction, for which he invented the Cone-Barton skull-traction tongs along with the Cone spinal operating table. He also devised operative procedures for vertebral fracture-dislocation and craniospinal anomalies. For the maintenance of muscle tone in the paralyzed bladder, he constructed a tidal drainage system. He introduced and popularized ventriculoperitoneal shunting techniques and carried out some of the earliest experimental trials to treat brain infections with sulphonamide and antibiotic drugs. He designed his own set of surgical suction devices, bone rongeurs, and a personal suction “air-conditioning” system for each surgeon. He had a keen early interest in intracranial tumors, and also demonstrated on monkeys how subdural mass lesions caused pupillary dilation and mesial temporal lobe damage due to cerebral compression. His work for the military during World War II on effects of altitude on brain pressure remained classified for many years. The first clipping and excision of an intracranial aneurysm is attributed to Cone.

Although Penfield was known as “the Chief,” Cone was referred to as “the Boss.” His fervent dedication to provide total care to his patients was expressed in round-the-clock vigils; he did not separate “nursing” from “surgical” care. Ultimately, Cone's driving passion for perfection led in part to his tragic death. His accomplishments, inventions, and his example as teacher and physician have become part of neurosurgery's collective legacy.

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Charles W. Needham, Gilles Bertrand and S. Terence Myles

✓ A case of sphenoid meningioma with multiple cranial nerve signs is described in which the olfactory and optic brain tracts were involved unilaterally by the local effects of the tumor. All true cranial nerves except the eleventh were bilaterally, symmetrically, and selectively involved as a result of the general pressure effects of the tumor. The mechanisms that can produce this syndrome of multiple cranial nerve failure by a sequence of various brain shifts and hernias, hydrocephalus, and foraminal impaction, are discussed and demonstrated.

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G. Rees Cosgrove, Gilles Bertrand, Suzanne Fontaine, Yves Robitaille and Denis Melanson

✓ Five cases of histologically verified cavernous angiomas of the spinal cord are reported. Acute lower-extremity sensory disturbance was the initial symptom in four patients, and one presented with weakness of the hand. Progressive neurological deficit occurred in all patients, but the clinical course and outcome were extremely variable. Myelography revealed an intramedullary lesion in two cases but was completely normal in three; magnetic resonance imaging was diagnostic in these patients. Subtotal removal was accomplished in two cases, and myelotomy and biopsy were carried out in three. Four of the cavernous angiomas were located in the cervicothoracic region, whereas one was found in the thoracolumbar cord. All of the patients exhibited characteristic gross and microscopic features as well as hemosiderin-laden macrophages indicating remote hemorrhage. The diagnostic, therapeutic, and prognostic implications of this rare condition are discussed.

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Meningeal melanocytoma

Report of a case and a historical comparison

David B. Clarke, Richard Leblanc, Gilles Bertrand, Gilbert R. C. Quartey and G. Jackson Snipes

✓ Meningeal melanocytomas are rare tumors of the central nervous system that are found almost exclusively in the posterior fossa and spinal cord and whose natural history is poorly defined. In this report, the authors review the clinical presentation, radiological appearance, operative findings, and histological features in two cases of meningeal melanocytoma: one cranial and one spinal.

Two women, aged 21 and 30 years, were admitted to the hospital 60 years apart: the first because of progressive paraplegia and the second because of slowly progressive hearing loss. The first patient had an extradural tumor that was treated by laminectomy, subtotal resection, and postoperative radiotherapy in 1936. Her symptoms recurred 16 years later and she underwent reoperation of the residual tumor, which was found to have an intradural component. The authors' patient, who presented 60 years later, underwent plain and enhanced computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging that demonstrated a large posterior fossa lesion indicative of either an acoustic neuroma or a meningioma. She underwent posterior fossa decompression but only partial excision of the tumor could be accomplished because vigorous bleeding limited the extent of the resection. Surgery was followed by radiotherapy. The residual tumor enlarged despite these measures and required repeated resection 6 months later. At the second operation the tumor was much less vascular, perhaps reflecting the effects of radiotherapy, and was removed almost entirely. The patient died 6 months later from an anticoagulant-related cerebellar hemorrhage. In both cases the lesions were jet black, and histological examination revealed melanin-containing hypercellular tumors with rare mitotic figures.

Meningeal melanocytomas are being diagnosed with increased frequency in parallel with improvements in neuroimaging and clarification of histological features. Clinical presentation of patients with these tumors typically occurs in their fifth decade and women are affected twice as often as men. The posterior fossa lesions can mimic acoustic neuromas and meningiomas in location and radiological appearance; however, the internal auditory canal is normal. In the spine, meningeal melanocytomas present with the clinical features of myeloradiculopathy. Diagnosis is made intraoperatively from the gross, jet-black appearance of the tumor and from histological examination. Vascularity, size, and location may render complete resection unfeasible. Because of the tumor's propensity to recur, radiotherapy has been recommended but its role remains to be elucidated.

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Mark C. Preul, William Feindel, T. Forcht Dagi, Joseph Stratford and Gilles Bertrand

✓ The contributions of Arthur Elvidge (1899–1985), Wilder Penfield's first neurosurgical recruit, to the development of neurosurgery have been relatively neglected, although his work in brain tumors extended the previous work of Percival Bailey and Harvey Cushing. He published rigorous correlations of clinical and histological information and formulated a revised, modern nosology for neuroepithelial tumors, including a modern histological definition of glioblastoma multiforme. Well ahead of his time, he believed that glioblastoma was not strictly localized and was the first to comment that the tumor frequently showed “satellitosis.” He was the first neurosurgeon in North America to use angiography as a radiographic aid in the diagnosis of cerebrovascular disease. Having studied with Egas Moniz, he was the first to detail the use of angiographic examinations specifically for demonstrating cerebrovascular disorders, believing that it would make possible routine surgery of the intracranial blood vessels. Seeking to visualize all phases of angiography, he was the impetus behind the design of one of the first semi-automatic film changers. Elvidge and Egas Moniz made the first observations on thrombosis of the carotid vessels independently of each other. Elvidge elucidated the significance of embolic stroke and commented on the ischemic sequelae of subarachnoid hemorrhage. Besides his contributions to neurosurgery, he codiscovered the mode of transmission of poliomyelitis. Elvidge's soft-spoken manner, his dry wit and candor, mastery of the understatement, love of exotic travel, and consummate dedication to neurosurgery made him a favorite of patients, neurosurgery residents, nurses, and other hospital staff. His accomplishments and example as teacher and physician have become part of neurosurgery's growing legacy.