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Der-Yang Cho, Hung-Lin Lin, Wen-Yuan Lee and Han-Chung Lee

Object

The authors evaluated a new minimally invasive spinal surgery technique to correct degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis involving a split–spinous process laminotomy and discectomy (also known as the “Marmot operation”).

Methods

This prospective study randomized 70 patients with lumbar stenosis to undergo either a Marmot operation (40 patients), or a conventional laminectomy (30 patients), with or without discectomy. Spinal anteroposteri-or diameter, cross-sectional area, lateral recess distance, spinal stability, postoperative back pain, functional outcomes, and muscular trauma were evaluated. The follow up ranged from 10 to 18 months, with a mean of 15.1 months for the Marmot operation group and 14.8 months for the conventional laminectomy group.

Compared with patients in the conventional laminectomy group, patients who received a Marmot operation had a shorter mean postoperative duration until ambulation without assistance, a reduced mean duration of hospital stay, a lower mean creatine phosphokinase–muscular-type isoenzyme level, a lower visual analog scale score for back pain at 1-year follow up, and a better recovery rate. These patients also had a longer mean duration of operative time and a greater mean blood loss compared with the conventional group. Satisfactory neurological decompression and symptom relief were achieved in 93% of these patients. Most of the patients (66%) in this group needed discectomy for decompression. The postoperative mean lateral recess width, spinal anteroposterior diameter, and cross-sectional area were all significantly increased. There was no evidence of spinal instability in any patient. One patient with insufficient lateral recess decompression and recurrent disc herniation needed additional conventional laminectomy and discectomy, and one patient with mild superficial wound infection was successfully treated with antibiotics and frequent dressing changes.

Conclusions

A Marmot operation may provide effective spinal decompression. Although this method requires more operative time than a conventional method, it may involve only minimal muscular trauma, spinal stability maintenance, and early mobilization; shorten the duration of hospital stay; reduce postoperative back pain; and provide satisfactory neurological and functional outcomes.

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Central core of the cerebrum

Laboratory investigation

Chan-Young Choi, Seong-Rok Han, Gi-Taek Yee and Chae-Heuck Lee

Object

The purpose of this study was to understand 3D relationships of white matter fibers and subcortical areas of gray matter in the central core.

Methods

The lateral and medial aspects of 4 cerebral hemispheres were dissected, applying the fiber dissection technique under the microscope.

Results

The central core between the insula and midline includes the extreme, external, and internal capsules; claustrum; putamen; globus pallidus; caudate nucleus; amygdala; diencephalon; substantia innominata; fornix; anterior commissure; mammillothalamic tract; fasciculus retroflexus; thalamic peduncles, including optic and auditory radiations; ansa peduncularis; thalamic fasciculus; and lenticular fasciculus. It is attached to the remainder of the cerebral hemisphere by the cerebral isthmus, which is composed of white matter fibers located between the dorsolateral margin of the caudate nucleus and the full circumference of the circular sulcus of insula. The rostral fibers of the corpus callosum are included in the frontal portion of the cerebral isthmus.

Conclusions

It is very useful for neurosurgeons to facilitate the understanding of spatial relationships and pertinent surgical approaches in and around the central core with a highly complex anatomy by using fiber dissection.

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Han-Jung Chen, Tao-Chen Lee and Chun-Chung Lui

✓ The authors describe the case of a 53-year-old woman who suffered from a hemifacial spasm caused by a venous angioma in the posterior fossa. At operation the parenchymal segment of the angioma was preserved and vascular decompression was performed by placing pieces of shredded Teflon between the vessel and nerve. After decompression the patient was completely free from spasm.

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Cheng-Loong Liang, Chun-Chung Lui, Kang Lu, Tao-Chen Lee and Han-Jung Chen

✓ The authors describe a patient with ossiculum terminale. Thin-section three-dimensional computerized tomography reconstructions, magnetic resonance images, and radiographs of the cervical spine were obtained to evaluate the atlantoaxial stability and structures of the ossiculum terminale. Bone had formed between the ossicles and the body of the odontoid process, and good atlantoaxial stability was clearly demonstrated.

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Seong Min Kim, Ho Yun Lee, Han Kyu Kim and Joseph M. Zabramski

OBJECT

The goal of this study was to develop a practical landmark for the safe and easy identification of the cochlea when performing anterior petrosectomy based on cadaver dissection results.

METHODS

The cochlear line was defined as the line drawn from the crossing point between the greater superficial petrosal nerve (GSPN) and the petrous internal carotid artery to the line drawn over the apex of the superior circumference of the dura of the internal auditory canal at a right angle. The validity of the cochlear line marking the anteromedial perimeter of the cochlea at the angle of the GSPN and the internal acoustic canal as a practical landmark were evaluated using 5 cadaver heads.

RESULTS

The mean distance (± SD) measured from the cochlear line to the margin of the cochlear cavity was 2.25 ± 0.51 mm (range 1.50–3.00 mm).

CONCLUSIONS

Anterior petrosectomy can be performed more efficiently by using the cochlear line as a key landmark to preserve the cochlea.

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Chang-Hyun Lee, Hae-Won Koo, Seong Rok Han, Chan-Young Choi, Moon-Jun Sohn and Chae-Heuck Lee

OBJECTIVE

De novo seizure following craniotomy (DSC) for nontraumatic pathology may adversely affect medical and neurological outcomes in patients with no history of seizures who have undergone craniotomies. Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) are commonly used prophylactically in patients undergoing craniotomy; however, evidence supporting this practice is limited and mixed. The authors aimed to collate the available evidence on the efficacy and tolerability of levetiracetam monotherapy and compare it with that of the classic AED, phenytoin, for DSC.

METHODS

PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library were searched for studies that compared levetiracetam with phenytoin for DSC prevention. Inclusion criteria were adult patients with no history of epilepsy who underwent craniotomy with prophylactic usage of phenytoin, a comparator group with levetiracetam treatment as the main treatment difference between the two groups, and availability of data on the numbers of patients and seizures for each group. Patients with brain injury and previous seizure history were excluded. DSC occurrence and adverse drug reaction (ADR) were evaluated. Seizure occurrence was calculated using the Peto odds ratio (POR), which is the relative effect estimation method of choice for binary data with rare events.

RESULTS

Data from 7 studies involving 803 patients were included. The DSC occurrence rate was 1.26% (4/318) in the levetiracetam cohort and 6.60% (32/485) in the phenytoin cohort. Meta-analysis showed that levetiracetam is significantly superior to phenytoin for DSC prevention (POR 0.233, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.117–0.462, p < 0.001). Subgroup analysis demonstrated that levetiracetam is superior to phenytoin for DSC due to all brain diseases (POR 0.129, 95% CI 0.039–0.423, p = 0.001) and tumor (POR 0.282, 95% CI 0.117–0.678, p = 0.005). ADRs in the levetiracetam group were cognitive disturbance, thrombophlebitis, irritability, lethargy, tiredness, and asthenia, whereas rash, anaphylaxis, arrhythmia, and hyponatremia were more common in the phenytoin group. The overall occurrence of ADR in the phenytoin (34/466) and levetiracetam (26/432) groups (p = 0.44) demonstrated no statistically significant difference in ADR occurrence. However, the discontinuation rate of AEDs due to ADR was 53/297 in the phenytoin group and 6/196 in the levetiracetam group (POR 0.266, 95% CI 0.137–0.518, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

Levetiracetam is superior to phenytoin for DSC prevention for nontraumatic pathology and has fewer serious ADRs that lead to discontinuation. Further high-quality studies that compare levetiracetam with placebo are necessary to provide evidence for establishing AED guidelines.

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Chang-Sheng Hsieh, Sang-Ho Lee, Hyung Chang Lee, Hyeong-Seok Oh, Byeong-Wook Hwang, Sang-Joon Park and Jian-Han Chen

Congenital hypoplasia of the spinal pedicle is a rare condition. Previously reported cases were treated conservatively or with posterior instrumented fusion. However, the absence or hypoplasia of the lumbar pedicle may increase the difficulty of pedicle screw fixation and fusion. Herein, the authors describe 2 cases of rare adult congenital hypoplasia of the right lumbar pedicles associated with spondylolisthesis. The patients underwent anterior lumbar interbody fusion with a stand-alone cage as well as percutaneous pedicle screw fixation. This method was used to avoid the difficulties associated with pedicle screw fixation and to attain solid fusion. Both patients achieved satisfactory outcomes after a minimum of 2 years of follow-up. This method may be an alternative for patients with congenital hypoplasia of the lumbar spinal pedicle.

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Yu-Hua Huang, Tao-Chen Lee, Tsung-Han Lee, Chen-Chieh Liao, Jason Sheehan and Aij-Lie Kwan

Object

Decompressive craniectomy is a life-saving measure for patients who have sustained traumatic brain injury (TBI), but patients undergoing this procedure may still die during an early phase of head injury. The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence, causes, and risk factors of 30-day mortality in traumatically brain-injured patients undergoing decompressive craniectomy.

Methods

The authors included 201 head-injured patients undergoing decompressive craniectomy in this 3-year retrospective study. The main outcome evaluated was 30-day mortality in patients who had undergone craniectomy after TBI. Demographic and clinical data, including information on death, were obtained for subsequent analysis. The authors identified differences between survivors and nonsurvivors in terms of clinical parameters; multivariate logistic regression was used to adjust for independent risk factors of short-term death.

Results

The 30-day mortality rate was 26.4% in traumatically brain-injured patients undergoing decompressive craniectomy. The majority of deaths following decompression resulted from uncontrollable brain swelling and extensive brain infarction, which accounted for 79.2% of mortality. In the multivariate logistic regression mode, the 2 independent risk factors for 30-day mortality were age (OR 1.035 [95% CI 1.006–1.064]; p = 0.018) and Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score before decompressive craniectomy (OR 0.769 [95% CI 0.597–0.990]; p = 0.041).

Conclusions

There is a high 30-day mortality rate in traumatically brain-injured patients undergoing decompressive craniectomy. Most of the deaths are attributed to ongoing brain damage, even after decompression. Risk factors of short-term death, including age and preoperative GCS score, are important in patient selection for decompressive craniectomy, and these factors should be considered together to ensure the highest chance of surviving TBI.

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Ching-Yi Lee, Han-Tao Li, Tony Wu, Mei-Yun Cheng, Siew-Na Lim and Shih-Tseng Lee

OBJECTIVE

Radiofrequency thermocoagulation (RFTC), which has been developed for drug-resistant epilepsy patients, involves less brain tissue loss due to surgery, fewer surgical adverse effects, and generally good seizure control. This study demonstrates the effectiveness of RFTC performed at limited hippocampal locations.

METHODS

Daily seizure diaries were prospectively maintained for at least 6 months by 9 patients (ages 30–59 years) with drug-resistant mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) before treatment with RFTC. The limited target for stereotactic RFTC was chosen based on intraoperative electroencephalography (EEG) recording and was initially tested with a Radionics electrode at a low temperature, 45°C, for 60 seconds. The therapeutic RFTC heating parameters were 78°C–80°C for 90 seconds. All patients who received the RFTC treatment underwent both MRI and EEG recording immediately postoperatively and at the 3-month follow-up. Monthly outpatient clinic visits were arranged over 6 months to document seizure frequency and severity to clarify the changes noted in imaging studies and EEG patterns.

RESULTS

Two patients were excluded from our analysis because one had undergone multiple seizure surgeries and the other had a poor recording of seizure frequency, before the RFTC surgery. Five and two patients underwent left-sided and right-sided RFTC, respectively. None of the patients had generalized tonic-clonic attacks postoperatively, and no adverse effects or complications occurred. According to MRI data, the effect of coagulation was limited to less than 1.0 cm in diameter and perifocal edema was also in limited range. The seizure frequency within 6 months decreased postoperatively with a mean reduction in seizures of 78% (range 36%–100%). Only two patients had a temporary increase in seizure frequency within 2 weeks of the surgery, and over 50% of all patients showed a decrease in average seizure frequency.

CONCLUSIONS

The study results confirm that limited RFTC provides a more effective surgery with similar seizure control but fewer complications than resective surgery for drug-resistant MTLE patients.

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Jae-Hoon Lee, Hwa-Seok Chang, Eun-Hee Kang, Dai-Jung Chung, Chi-Bong Choi, Jong-Hwan Lee, Soo-Han Hwang, Hoon Han and Hwi-Yool Kim

Object

The authors describe a method for percutaneous transplantation of human umbilical cord blood (hUCB)–derived multipotent stem cells (MSCs) under fluoroscopic guidance. The investigators then tested whether percutaneous transplantation of hUCB-derived MSCs improved neurological functional recovery after acute spinal cord injury (SCI).

Methods

The authors induced SCI in 10 dogs by percutaneous balloon compression. The 10 injured dogs were assigned randomly to the following groups (2 dogs each): Group 1, evaluated 2 weeks after sham transplantation; Group 2, evaluated 2 weeks after transplantation; Group 3, evaluated 4 weeks after sham transplantation; Group 4, evaluated 4 weeks after transplantation; and Group 5, evaluated 4 weeks after multispot transplantations. The dogs with sham transplantation (Groups 1 and 3) received the same volume of saline, as a control. A spinal needle was advanced into the spinal canal, and the investigators confirmed that the end of the spinal needle was located in the ventral part of spinal cord parenchyma by using contrast medium under fluoroscopic guidance. The hUCB-derived MSCs were transplanted into the cranial end of the injured segment in 6 injured dogs at 7 days after SCI.

Results

Two dogs in Group 2 showed no improvement until 2 weeks after transplantation. Three of 4 dogs (Groups 4 and 5) that received cellular transplants exhibited gradual improvement in hindlimb locomotion from 3 weeks after cell transplantation. The CM-DiI–labeled hUCB-derived MSCs were observed in the spinal cord lesions at 4 weeks posttransplantation and exerted a significant beneficial effect by reducing cyst and injury size. The transplanted cells were positive for NeuN, glial fibrillary acidic protein, and von Willebrand factor.

Conclusions

The percutaneous transplantation technique described here can be easily performed, and it differs from previous techniques by avoiding surgical exposure and allowing cells to be more precisely transplanted into the spinal cord. This technique has many potential applications in the treatment of human SCI by cell transplantation. The results also suggest that transplantation of hUCB-derived MSCs may have therapeutic effects that decrease cavitation for acute SCI.