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Kim Kramer, Heather J. McCrea, Cheryl Fischer and Jeffrey P. Greenfield

Successful delivery of intraventricular radioimmunotherapy is contingent on adequate CSF flow. The authors present a patient with medulloblastoma in whom obstructed CSF flow was causing hydrocephalus, which was initially corrected by implantation of a programmable shunting device. While managing the hydrocephalus, an endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) needed to be performed in a collapsed ventricular system to ensure adequate radioimmunotherapy distribution.

This 18-month-old patient with medulloblastoma involving leptomeningeal dissemination presented for intraventricular radioimmunotherapy. A CSF 111In-DTPA scintigraphy study obtained through the existing programmable ventriculoperitoneal shunt demonstrated activity in the lateral and third ventricles, but no activity over the cerebral convexities or spinal canal, consistent with obstruction at the level of the cerebral aqueduct. By maximization of ventricular size in a controlled setting, the patient was able to undergo a trial of ETV through very small ventricles. A postoperative CINE MR imaging study confirmed patent ETV. The pressure settings on the shunt were kept at the highest opening pressure (200 mm H2O) to maximize flow through the stoma and improve the distribution of CSF throughout the subarachnoid space. The CSF flow scintigraphy study was again performed, this time with tracer activity demonstrated down the thecal sac at 3 hours, and symmetrically over the cerebral convexities at 24 hours. The patient began weekly intraventricular administration of 131I-3F8 therapy.

Successful rerouting of CSF flow for the purpose of therapeutic radioisotope administration is possible. Endoscopic third ventriculostomy can be considered in patients with programmable shunting devices; normal or slit ventricles do not preclude successful ETV.

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Matei A. Banu, Amancio Guerrero-Maldonado, Heather J. McCrea, Victor Garcia-Navarro, Mark M. Souweidane, Vijay K. Anand, Linda Heier, Theodore H. Schwartz and Jeffrey P. Greenfield


Scarce morphometric data exist on the developing skull base as a corridor for endonasal endoscopic approaches (EEAs). Furthermore, the impact of skull base lesions on its development has not been assessed. The authors describe a novel set of anatomical parameters characterizing the developmental process as well as the utility of these parameters in preoperative planning and a feasibility assessment of EEAs for neurosurgical treatment of skull base lesions in children.


Based on specific MRI sequences in 107 pediatric patients (2–16 years of age) without skull base lesions (referred to here as the normal population), 3 sets of anatomical parameters were analyzed according to age group and sex: drilling distance, restriction sites, and working distance parameters. A separate set of patients undergoing EEAs was analyzed in similar fashion to address the impact of skull base lesions on the developmental process.


The volume of the sphenoid sinus significantly increases with age, reaching 6866.4 mm3 in the 14–16 years age group, and directly correlates with the pneumatization type (r = 0.533, p = 0.0001). The pneumatization process progresses slowly in a temporal-posterior direction, as demonstrated by the growth trend of the sellar width (r = 0.428, p = 0.0001). Nasal restriction sites do not change significantly with age, with little impact on EEAs. The intercarotid distance is significantly different only in the extreme age groups (3.9 mm, p = 0.038), and has an important impact on the transsphenoidal angle and the intracranial dissection limits (r = 0.443, p < 0.0001). The 14.9° transsphenoidal angle at 2–4 years has a 37.6% significant increase in the 11–13 years age group (p = 0.001) and is highly dependent on pneumatization type. Age-dependent differences between working parameters are mostly noted for the extreme age groups, such as the 8.6-mm increase in nare-vomer distance (p = 0.025). The nare-sellar distance is the only parameter with significant differences based on sex. Skull base lesions induce a high degree of variance in skull base measurements, delaying development and decreasing parameter values. Skull base parameters are interdependent. Nare-sellar distance can be used to assess global skull base development because it highly correlates with the intercarotid distance in both the normal population and in patients harboring skull base lesions.


Skull base development is a slow, gradual, age-dependent, sex-independent process significantly altering endonasal endoscopic corridors. Preoperative MRI measurements of the pediatric skull base are thus a useful adjunct in choosing the appropriate corridor and in assessing working angles and limits during dissection or reparative surgery. Skull base lesions can significantly impact normal skull base development and age-dependent growth patterns.

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Malia McAvoy, Heather J. McCrea, Vamsidhar Chavakula, Hoon Choi, Wenya Linda Bi, Rania A. Mekary, Scellig Stone and Mark R. Proctor


Few studies describe long-term functional outcomes of pediatric patients who have undergone lumbar microdiscectomy (LMD) because of the rarity of pediatric disc herniation and the short follow-up periods. The authors analyzed risk factors, clinical presentation, complications, and functional outcomes of a single-institution series of LMD patients over a 19-year period.


A retrospective case series was conducted of pediatric LMD patients at a large pediatric academic hospital from 1998 to 2017. The authors examined premorbid risk factors, clinical presentation, physical examination findings, type and duration of conservative management, indications for surgical intervention, complications, and postoperative outcomes.


Over the 19-year study period, 199 patients underwent LMD at the authors’ institution. The mean age at presentation was 16.0 years (range 12–18 years), and 55.8% were female. Of these patients, 70.9% participated in competitive sports, and among those who did not play sports, 65.0% had a body mass index greater than 25 kg/m2. Prior to surgery, conservative management had failed in 98.0% of the patients. Only 3 patients (1.5%) presented with cauda equina syndrome requiring emergent microdiscectomy. Complications included 4 cases of postoperative CSF leak (2.0%), 1 case of a noted intraoperative CSF leak, and 3 cases of wound infection (1.5%). At the first postoperative follow-up appointment, minimal or no pain was reported by 93.3% of patients. The mean time to return to sports was 9.8 weeks. During a mean follow-up duration of 8.2 years, 72.9% of patients did not present again after routine postoperative appointments. The total risk of reoperation was a rate of 7.5% (3.5% of patients underwent reoperation for the same level; 4.5% underwent adjacent-level decompression, and one patient [0.5%] ultimately underwent a fusion).


Microdiscectomy is a safe and effective treatment for long-term relief of pain and return to daily activities among pediatric patients with symptomatic lumbar disc disease in whom conservative management has failed.

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Sumit N. Niogi, Neal Luther, Kenneth Kutner, Teena Shetty, Heather J. McCrea, Ronnie Barnes, Leigh Weiss, Russell F. Warren, Scott A. Rodeo, Robert D. Zimmerman, Apostolos John Tsiouris and Roger Härtl


Statistical challenges exist when using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to assess traumatic axonal injury (TAI) in individual concussed athletes. The authors examined active professional American football players over a 6-year time period to study potential TAI after concussion and assess optimal methods to analyze DTI at the individual level.


Active American professional football players recruited prospectively were assessed with DTI, conventional MRI, and standard clinical workup. Subjects underwent an optional preseason baseline scan and were asked to undergo a scan within 5 days of concussion during gameplay. DTI from 25 age- and sex-matched controls were obtained. Both semiautomated region-of-interest analysis and fully automated tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) were used to examine DTI at individual and group levels. Statistical differences were assessed comparing individual DTI data to baseline imaging versus a normative database. Group-level comparisons were also performed to determine if longer exposure to professional-level play or prior concussion cause white matter microstructural integrity changes.


Forty-nine active professional football players were recruited into the study. Of the 49 players, 7 were assessed at baseline during the preseason and after acute concussion. An additional 18 players were assessed after acute concussion only. An additional 24 players had only preseason baseline assessments. The results suggest DTI is more sensitive to suspected TAI than conventional MRI, given that 4 players demonstrated decreased fractional anisotropy (FA) in multiple tracts despite normal conventional MRI. Furthermore, the data suggest individual assessment of DTI data using baseline premorbid imaging is more sensitive than typical methods of comparing data to a normative control group. Among all subjects with baseline data, 1 reduced FA tract (± 2.5 standard deviations) was found using the typical normative database reference versus 10 statistically significant (p < 0.05) reduced FA tracts when referencing internal control baseline data. All group-level comparisons were statistically insignificant (p > 0.05).


Baseline premorbid DTI data for individual DTI analysis provides increased statistical sensitivity. Specificity using baseline imaging also increases because numerous potential etiologies for reduced FA may exist prior to a concussion. These data suggest that there is a high potential for false-positive and false-negative assessment of DTI data using typical methods of comparing an individual to normative groups given the variability of FA values in the normal population.