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Hans-Jakob Steiger, Bernd Turowski, and Daniel Hänggi

Object

In this study, the authors present a review of a series of 20 intramedullary spinal cord cavernous malformations (SCCMs) with particular focus on MR imaging and prognostic factors.

Methods

Between 1994 and 2009, 20 patients with SCCM were treated under the care of the senior author. The diagnosis was made in all patients after the onset of clinical symptoms. The age of the 9 men and 11 women ranged between 26 and 71 years (median 38.5 years). The duration of symptoms prior to referral ranged from 1 week to 9 years (median 6.5 months). At the time of referral, 4 patients had no significant neurological deficits, 10 patients suffered significant functional restrictions, and 6 patients presented with severe paraparesis and loss of functional strength. None of the patients had complete paraplegia. Seventeen patients underwent microsurgical removal, while 3 patients opted for conservative therapy. For the present analysis, the medical records and MR images and/or reports were reviewed. Classification of length of history, pretreatment status, MR imaging pattern, and treatment modality was done and correlated with outcome.

Results

The cavernoma was located at the cervical level in 8 patients and between T-1 and L-1 in 12 patients. The cavernoma appeared as mainly T2 hyperintense on MR images in 7 patients, mainly T2 hypointense in 2 patients, and mixed in the remaining 10 patients. The craniocaudal extension of the core varied between 5 and 45 mm. In 2 patients with cervical cavernomas, a distinct T2 signal of the spinal cord cranial and distal to the cavernoma was seen, and in a patient with a large thoracic cavernoma, T2 extinction cranial and caudal to the cavernoma was seen as a sign of hemosiderosis. Neurological deficits improved postoperatively in 12 of the surgically treated patients, remained stable in 2, and deteriorated in 3. The 3 patients who were conservatively treated remained stable over a follow-up of 3–9 years. Postoperative improvement was seen in 5 of 7 surgical patients with a history of symptoms of 2 months or less, 5 of 6 patients with a history of 2–24 months, and in 2 of 4 patients with a history of more than 2 years. Two of the 3 patients with postoperative deterioration had a history of more than 2 years and the third a short history of 1 month.

Conclusions

Although a satisfactory outcome can be achieved through surgical treatment of SCCMs, some patients worsen after surgery or during the postoperative course. Long-term stability is possible in oligosymptomatic conservatively treated patients. The prevalence and pathophysiological importance of segmental spinal cord edema and hemosiderosis is incompletely understood at the present time.

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Daniel Hänggi, Michael Reinert, and Hans-Jakob Steiger

Object

Preliminary experience with the C-Port Flex-A Anastomosis System (Cardica, Inc.) to enable rapid automated anastomosis has been reported in coronary artery bypass surgery. The goal of the current study was to define the feasibility and safety of this method for high-flow extracranial-intracranial (EC-IC) bypass surgery in a clinical series.

Methods

In a prospective study design, patients with symptomatic carotid artery (CA) occlusion were selected for C-Port–assisted high-flow EC-IC bypass surgery if they met the following criteria: 1) transient or moderate permanent symptoms of focal ischemia; 2) CA occlusion; 3) hemodynamic instability; and 4) had provided informed consent. Bypasses were done using a radial artery graft that was proximally anastomosed to the superficial temporal artery trunk, the cervical external, or common CA. All distal cerebral anastomoses were performed on M2 branches using the C-Port Flex-A system.

Results

Within 6 months, 10 patients were enrolled in the study. The distal automated anastomosis could be accomplished in all patients; the median temporary occlusion time was 16.6 ± 3.4 minutes. Intraoperative digital subtraction angiography (DSA) confirmed good bypass function in 9 patients, and in 1 the anastomosis was classified as fair. There was 1 major perioperative complication that consisted of the creation of a pseudoaneurysm due to a hardware problem. In all but 1 case the bypass was shown to be patent on DSA after 7 days; furthermore, in 1 patient a late occlusion developed due to vasospasm after a sylvian hemorrhage. One-week follow-up DSA revealed transient asymptomatic extracranial spasm of the donor artery and the radial artery graft in 1 case. Two patients developed a limited zone of infarction on CT scanning during the follow-up course.

Conclusions

In patients with symptomatic CA occlusion, C-Port Flex-A–assisted high-flow EC-IC bypass surgery is a technically feasible procedure. The system needs further modification to achieve a faster and safer anastomosis to enable a conclusive comparison with standard and laser-assisted methods for high-flow bypass surgery.

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Ralph J. Medele, Walter Stummer, Arthur J. Mueller, Hans-Jakob Steiger, and Hans-Jürgen Reulen

Object. The syndrome of retinal or vitreous hemorrhage in association with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is known as Terson's syndrome. The authors' purpose was to determine whether intraocular hemorrhage occurs with similar incidence when caused by severe brain injury accompanied by acutely raised intracranial pressure (ICP).

Methods. Prospective ophthalmological examination was performed in 22 consecutive patients with SAH or severe brain injury and elevated ICP. Thirteen patients were admitted for SAH (World Federation of Neurological Surgeons Grades II–IV) and nine for severe brain injury (Glasgow Coma Scale scores 3–10). Monitoring of ICP was performed at the time of admission via a ventricular catheter. Initial ICP exceeded 20 mm Hg in all patients. Indirect ophthalmoscopy without induced mydriasis was performed within the 1st week after the acute event. Retinal or vitreous hemorrhage was seen in six (46%) of 13 patients with SAH and in four (44%) of nine patients with severe brain injury. Ocular bleeding was found bilaterally in three patients with SAH and in one patient with severe brain injury (18%). Six of the 10 patients with Terson's syndrome died as a result of their acute event.

Conclusions. The present results indicate that Terson's syndrome may be related to acute elevation of ICP, independent of its causes, and may occur with similar incidence in patients with severe brain injury and those with SAH. Because recognition and treatment of Terson's syndrome may prevent visual impairment and associated secondary damage to the eye, increased awareness of this entity in all patients with acute raised intracranial hypertension is recommended.

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Ralph J. Medele, Walter Stummer, Arthur J. Mueller, Hans-Jakob Steiger, and Hans-Jürgen Reulen

Object

The syndrome of retinal or vitreous hemorrhage in association with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is known as Terson's syndrome. The authors' purpose was to determine whether intraocular hemorrhage occurs with similar incidence when caused by severe brain injury accompanied by acutely raised intracranial pressure (ICP).

Methods

Prospective ophthalmological examination was performed in 22 consecutive patients with SAH or severe brain injury and elevated ICP. Thirteen patients were admitted for SAH (World Federation of Neurological Surgeons Grades II–IV) and nine for severe brain injury (Glasgow Coma Scale scores 3–10). Monitoring of ICP was performed at the time of admission via a ventricular catheter. Initial ICP exceeded 20 mm Hg in all patients. Indirect ophthalmoscopy without induced mydriasis was performed within the 1st week after the acute event. Retinal or vitreous hemorrhage was seen in six (46%) of 13 patients with SAH and in four (44%) of nine patients with severe brain injury. Ocular bleeding was found bilaterally in three patients with SAH and in one patient with severe brain injury (18%). Six of the 10 patients with Terson's syndrome died as a result of their acute event.

Conclusions

The present results indicate that Terson's syndrome may be related to acute elevation of ICP, independent of its causes, and may occur with similar incidence in patients with severe brain injury and those with SAH. Because recognition and treatment of Terson's syndrome may prevent visual impairment and associated secondary damage to the eye, increased awareness of this entity in all patients with acute raised intracranial hypertension is recommended.

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Sevgi Sarikaya-Seiwert, Kristin Gierga, Rüdiger Wessalowski, Hans-Jakob Steiger, and Daniel Hänggi

Spinal solitary epidural cavernous angiomas are rare benign vascular malformations, which occur even less frequently in children than in adults. It is uncommon to find such lesions without adjacent vertebral involvement. Occasionally, these lesions can lead to neurological symptoms through growth or due to intralesional hemorrhage. In this report the authors describe 2 children presenting with acute symptoms and neurological deficits caused by hemorrhage within solitary spinal epidural cavernous angiomas. A 13-year-old girl and a 9-year-old girl, previously healthy, were admitted to the authors' department due to acute radicular pain and neurological deficits. In both cases MR imaging revealed a solitary epidural mass with signs of bleeding and compression of the spinal cord. Complete resection of the lesion via a dorsal approach was performed in both patients. The histological examination of the lesions revealed the characteristic structures of a cavernous angioma with hemosiderin deposits and acute hemorrhage. Both patients recovered fully after surgical removal of the lesions. Review of the literature confirmed that spinal epidural cavernous angiomas are extremely rare in the pediatric patient population, described currently in only 2 instances, but without acute hemorrhage. These cases suggest that epidural cavernous angiomas also have to be considered in the pediatric patient population in the differential diagnosis of intraspinal lesions with acute or progressive neurological symptoms. Microsurgical resection of these cavernous malformations is an effective and curative treatment option.

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Thomas Westermaier, Stefan Zausinger, Alexander Baethmann, Hans-Jakob Steiger, and Robert Schmid-Elsaesser

Object. Mild-to-moderate hypothermia is increasingly used for neuroprotection in humans. However, it is unknown whether administration of barbiturate medications in burst-suppressive doses—the gold standard of neuroprotection during neurovascular procedures—provides an additional protective effect under hypothermic conditions. The authors conducted the present study to answer this question.

Methods. Thirty-two Sprague—Dawley rats were subjected to 90 minutes of middle cerebral artery occlusion and randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups: 1) normothermic controls; 2) methohexital treatment (burst suppression); 3) induction of mild hypothermia (33°C); and 4) induction of mild hypothermia plus methohexital treatment (burst suppression). Local cerebral blood flow was continuously monitored using bilateral laser Doppler flowmetry and electroencephalography. Functional deficits were quantified and recorded during daily neurological examinations. Infarct volumes were assessed histologically after 7 days. Methohexital treatment, mild hypothermia, and mild hypothermia plus methohexital treatment reduced infarct volumes by 32%, 71%, and 66%, respectively, compared with normothermic controls. Furthermore, mild hypothermia therapy provided the best functional outcome, which was not improved by additional barbiturate therapy.

Conclusions. The results of this study indicate that barbiturate-induced burst suppression is not required to achieve maximum neuroprotection under mild hypothermic conditions. The magnitude of protection afforded by barbiturates alone appears to be modest compared with that provided by mild hypothermia.

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Sven O. Eicker, Sascha Rhee, Hans-Jakob Steiger, Jörg Herdmann, and Frank W. Floeth

Object

Approaches to treating extraforaminal lumbar disc herniations can be challenging due to the unique anatomy and the need to prevent spinal instability. Numerous approaches, including conventional midline, paramedian, minimally invasive, and full endoscopic approaches, have been described. The purposes of this study were to point out the outcome and clinical advantages of a transtubular microsurgical approach and to describe and illustrate this technique.

Methods

Between 2009 and 2012, a series of 51 patients underwent a minimally invasive dilative transtubular microsurgical approach for the treatment of extraforaminal lumbar disc herniations. All patients were clinically evaluated using the visual analog scale (VAS) and Oswestry Disability Index preoperatively and 6 months postoperatively.

Results

Both pain scores and functional status showed significant improvement after surgery (p < 0.001): radicular pain decreased from VAS score of 7.9 to one of 1.3, lower back pain from VAS score of 2.4 to 1.4, and the Oswestry Disability Index from 42.0 to 12.3. Subgroup analyses revealed no differences in outcome regarding obesity or timing of surgery (early vs late intervention). Highly significant was the correlation between preoperative radicular pain activity and timing of surgical intervention (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

The dilative transtubular microsurgical approach combines the advantages of the conventional open muscle-splitting approach and the endoscopic approach. The technique is easy to use with a steep learning curve. Less muscle trauma and the absence of bony resection prevent facet pain and instability, thereby contributing to a rapid recovery. Patients in this series improved excellently in the short-term follow-up.

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Kerim Beseoglu, Sabrina Lodes, Walter Stummer, Hans-Jakob Steiger, and Daniel Hänggi

Object

In 2003 the authors introduced a minimally invasive transorbital keyhole approach. Because this approach requires removal of the orbital rim and orbital roof, there have been concerns regarding perioperative morbidity, long-term morbidity, and cosmetic results. The authors evaluated approach-related morbidity and cosmetic results in their patients to determine the rate of complications and compared this to published reports of similar approaches.

Material

Seventy-one patients (41 female, 30 male) underwent operations using this approach between 2004 and 2008. Immediate approach-related morbidity was recorded after the operation. Late morbidity was determined after 7 months by an independent examiner while cosmetic results were self-rated by the patient using a questionnaire.

Results

Fifty-one (72%) of 71 patients had no postoperative complications and 12 (16.9%) had minor complications, the most common of which was subgaleal CSF collection (7.0%). Other minor complications included facial nerve palsy (2.8%), hyposphagma (2.8%), periorbital swelling due to periorbital hematoma (2.8%), and subdural hematoma (1.4%). Major complications requiring surgical revision occurred in 4 patients (5.6%); these were CSF fistulas in 2 patients, pneumocephalus in 1 patient, and a hematoma in 1 patient. Forty-nine (90.7%) of all 54 examined patients rated the cosmetic results as very good or good. Major long-term morbidity was hyposmia or anosmia (14 patients) followed by hypoesthesia around the scar (9 patients).

Conclusions

The transorbital keyhole approach is a feasible approach with a low-risk profile for postoperative or long-term morbidity and excellent cosmetic outcome.