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H. Gordon Deen

✓ A new technique is reported for preparation of the recipient graft bed for posterolateral intertransverse process fusion of the lumbar spine. The dorsal surface of each transverse process is reflected open like the pages of a book. This increases the surface area of cancellous bone in the recipient bed, thereby promoting better contact with the grafted bone. This maneuver also preserves much of the periosteal blood supply to the dorsal aspect of the transverse process and much of the cortical bone that would normally be drilled away during decortication. The technical details are described.

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Gazanfar Rahmathulla and H. Gordon Deen

The past 2 decades have seen a considerable increase in the number of lumbar spinal fusion surgeries. To enhance spinal stabilization and fusion, make the construct resistant to or stiffer for axial stress loading, lateral bending, and torsional stresses, cross-links and connectors were designed and included in a rod-screw construct. The authors present the case of a 49-year-old woman who presented 11 years after undergoing an L4–5 decompression and fusion in which a pedicle screw-rod construct with an integrated cross-link was designed to attach onto the pedicle screws. The patient's response at the time to the initial surgery was excellent; however, at the time of presentation 11 years later, she had significant postural headaches, severe neurogenic claudication, and radiculopathy. Imaging revealed canal compression across the instrumented levels and a possible thickened adherent filum terminale. Reexploration of the level revealed a large erosive dural defect with a CSF leak, spinal canal compression, and a thickened filum at the level of the cross-link. To the author's knowledge, such complications have not been reported in literature. The authors discuss this rare complication of spinal fusion and the need to avoid dural compression when cross-links are used.

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H. Gordon Deen and Eric W. Nottmeier

Sacral insufficiency fracture is a painful injury, for which no effective treatment currently exists. The objective of this study was to report on the clinical outcomes and technical aspects of balloon kyphoplasty, which was used in three patients with this injury.

Three elderly women with intractable pain from sacral insufficiency fractures were treated with polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) injections into the sacrum by using a modified balloon kyphoplasty procedure. The visual analog scale pain score improved by four points in each case. Functional status was improved and analgesic medication requirements were decreased in all three patients. There were no complications associated with the procedure.

Because of the unique anatomy of the sacrum, it was difficult to monitor instrument placement and PMMA injection by using conventional fluoroscopy. BrainLAB image guidance was used in one case, and was helpful in guiding instrument placement and assuring accurate PMMA deposition at the fracture site.

Balloon kyphoplasty may be a treatment alternative in selected patients with sacral insufficiency fractures. BrainLAB image guidance may offer some advantages over conventional fluoroscopy with regard to the monitoring of instrument placement and PMMA injection.

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H. Gordon Deen and Thomas P. Fox

✓ This 25-year-old woman with polyostotic fibrous dysplasia (McCune-Albright syndrome) suffered low-back pain after a minor traumatic injury. Neurological examination demonstrated normal status. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed cystic lesions in multiple thoracic and lumbar vertebral bodies, consistent with polyostotic fibrous dysplasia. Severe vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) were seen at T-8 and L-2. Balloon kyphoplasty was performed to treat the T-8 and L-2 VCFs and also prophylactically at T-9 and T-10 to forestall impending fractures at those levels. The patient tolerated the procedures very well and reported complete resolution of back pain. Balloon kyphoplasty may be an option in patients with painful VCFs caused by fibrous dysplasia.

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Federico Roncaroli, Bernd W. Scheithauer and H. Gordon Deen Jr.

✓ A case of multiple hemangiomas of the cauda equina nerve roots, conus medullaris, and lower spinal cord is described. The 74-year-old male patient presented with a 9-month history of progressive bilateral leg weakness. He had a history of lymphoma at the age of 39 years and renal cell carcinoma in his early 40s. Neither disease was evident at the time of this presentation. A magnetic resonance image revealed multiple enhancing nodules in the cauda equina region as well as on the pial surface of the lower thoracic spinal cord and conus medullaris. The patient underwent an L2–3 laminectomy. Cauda equina nerve roots were found to be studded with numerous purple nodules, the largest measuring 6 to 8 mm. The nodules were adherent to nerve roots from which they could not be resected. Two lesions were histologically examined and found to be capillary hemangiomas. Twelve months into an uneventful postoperative course, the patient is neurologically unchanged. This unique case might represent a distinct form of hemangiomatosis confined to the cauda equina nerve roots and spinal cord.

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H. Gordon Deen Jr., Bernd W. Scheithauer and Michael J. Ebersold

✓ The clinical features and pathological materials of 51 cases of histologically verified meningiomas in patients under 21 years of age were reviewed. The age range was 7 to 20 years, with the majority of cases being clustered in the second decade of life. There was virtually a 1:1 sex ratio, with 26 females and 25 males. Thirty-eight patients had intracranial meningiomas, three had intraorbital tumors, and 10 had intraspinal tumors. Twelve patients (24%) had neurofibromatosis. Twenty patients (39%) had tumor recurrence. The cases were subdivided into five histological categories: meningotheliomatous, fibrous, transitional, psammomatous, and papillary. In each case, the clinical course was correlated with histological subtype. The 15-year survival rate in patients with intracranial meningiomas of all types was 68%. Factors adversely affecting survival included infratentorial location, papillary histology, and evidence of brain invasion.

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H. Gordon Deen, Richard S. Zimmerman and Louis A. Lanza

✓ A method is described in which anterior fusion of the thoracic vertebral column is performed using a rib strut graft maintained on its vascular pedicle. This straightforward technique is useful in selected patients undergoing anterior thoracic fusion procedures and can be used in conjunction with other anterior spinal implants. By maintaining bone graft blood supply, this technique promotes an optimum fusion environment, which may enhance the speed of graft incorporation and the ultimate strength of the construct.

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Thabele Leslie-Mazwi and H. Gordon Deen

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