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Stéphane Fuentes, Phillipe Metellus, Henry Dufour, and François Grisoli

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Pablo Bouillot, Stéphane Fuentes, Henry Dufour, Luis Manera, and François Grisoli

✓ The authors report a new case of combined atlantoaxial and occipitoatlantal rotatory subluxation in a 17-year-old girl. They describe the clinical and imaging features of this rare entity. An occiput—C2 arthrodesis was performed.

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Stéphane Fuentes, Olivier Levrier, Philippe Metellus, Henry Dufour, Jean Marc Fuentes, and François Grisoli

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Henry Dufour, Philippe Métellus, Luis Manera, Stéphane Fuentes, Laurent Do, and François Grisoli

✓ A 36-year-old woman with an uneventful medical history was admitted to the emergency department following an initial generalized seizure. Neuroimaging workup disclosed a homogeneous mass at the vertex, which first was diagnosed as vertex meningioma. Anticonvulsant drug therapy was administered and the patient was discharged. Two months later the patient was examined in our neurosurgery department for additional therapeutic recommendations. A repeated neuroimaging examination showed considerable regression of the lesion. The findings on magnetic resonance imaging were consistent with those of a regressing extradural hematoma (EDH). A complete blood-coagulation study displayed no evidence of abnormality. Thorough questioning of the patient revealed no history of pericranial infection or head trauma occurring within the last 2 years. The final diagnosis was spontaneously occurring vertex EDH. In this report the authors describe the clinical and neuroimaging features of the case as well as the management strategy, and discuss etiological aspects within the context of a careful review of the literature.

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Stéphane Fuentes, Sergueï Malikov, Benjamin Blondel, Philippe Métellus, Henry Dufour, and François Grisoli


The cervicothoracic junction is always a difficult area to approach. When operating on this specific area (for tumor or trauma), the aim is generally to decompress and stabilize the spine. The authors describe an improved median sternotomy method for reaching the anterior aspect of the spine down to T-5.


Seven patients with a mean age of 40 years (range 17–68 years) were included in this study. The vertebral lesion was due to trauma in 4 cases and tumor in the other 3. A single vertebral body was involved in 2 cases, 2 in 3 cases, and 3 in 2 cases. The vertebra most often involved was T-3 (6 cases), although T-4 was involved in 2 cases, T-5 in 2 cases, and T-1 and T-2 in 1 case each. All patients underwent the same preoperative workup: CT scanning, MR imaging, and CT angiography of the aortic arch.


The median sternotomy made it possible to effectively decompress and stabilize the spinal cord. An anterior screw plate was used in 5 cases. The plate extended from T-2 to T-5 in 3 cases, from T-2 to T-4 in 2 cases, and from C-7 to T-4 in 1 case. The mean duration of surgery was 195 minutes (range 180–240 minutes). No neurological deterioration occurred. The mean hospital stay was 8 days (range 6–15 days). In 2 cases (28.6%), recurrent left nerve palsy was observed postoperatively; the palsy was transient in both of these cases, and full recovery occurred within 3 months. The mean follow-up among this series of patients was 29 months (range 22–38 months).


The median sternotomy provided a good means of reaching the upper thoracic spine (T2–5) and cervicothoracic junction. It enables surgeons to decompress the spinal cord and stabilize the spine.

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Jean Régis, William Pellet, Christine Delsanti, Henry Dufour, Pierre Hughes Roche, Jean Marc Thomassin, Michel Zanaret, and Jean Claude Peragut

Object. Microsurgical excision is an established treatment for vestibular schwannoma (VS). In 1992 the authors used a patient questionnaire to evaluate the functional outcome and quality of life in a series of 224 consecutive patients. In addition, starting with gamma knife surgery (GKS) in 1992, the authors decided to use the same methodology to evaluate prospectively the results of this modality to compare the two alternatives.

Methods. Among the 500 patients who were included prospectively, the authors only evaluated patients in whom GKS was the primary treatment for unilateral VS. Four years of follow up was available for the first 104 consecutive patients. Statistical analysis of the GKS and microsurgery populations has shown that only a comparison of Stage II and III (according to the Koos classification) was meaningful in terms of group size and preoperative risk factor distribution. Objective results and questionnaire answers from the first 97 consecutive patients were compared with the 110 patients in the microsurgery group who fulfilled the inclusion criteria.

Questionnaire answers indicated that 100% of patients who underwent GKS compared with 63% of patients who underwent microsurgery had no new facial motor disturbance. Forty-nine percent of patients who underwent GKS (17% in the microsurgery study) had no ocular symptoms, and 91% of patients treated with GKS (61% in the microsurgery study) had no functional deterioration after treatment. The mean hospitalization stay was 3 days after GKS and 23 days after microsurgery. All the patients who underwent GKS who had been employed, except one, had kept the same professional activity (56% in the microsurgery study). The mean time away from work was 7 days for GKS (130 days in the microsurgery study). Among patients whose preoperative hearing level was Class 1 according to the Gardner and Robertson scale, 70% preserved functional hearing after GKS (Class 1 or 2) compared with only 37.5% in the microsurgery group.

Conclusions. Functional side effects happen during the first 2 years after radiosurgery. Findings after 4 years of follow up indicated that GKS provided better functional outcomes than microsurgery in this patient series.

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Thomas Graillon, Patrick Rakotozanany, Benjamin Blondel, Tarek Adetchessi, Henry Dufour, and Stéphane Fuentes


The optimal management of unstable thoracolumbar fractures remains unclear. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the results of using an expandable prosthetic vertebral body cage (EPVBC) in the management of unstable thoracolumbar fractures.


Eighty-five patients with unstable T7–L4 thoracolumbar fractures underwent implantation of an EPVBC via an anterior approach combined with posterior fixation. Long-term functional outcomes, including visual analog scale and Oswestry disability index scores, were evaluated.


In a mean follow-up period of 16 months, anterior fixation led to a significant increase in vertebral body height, with an average gain of 19%. However, the vertebral regional kyphosis angle was not significantly increased by anterior fixation alone. No significant difference was found between early postoperative, 3-month, and 1-year postoperative regional kyphosis angle and vertebral body height. Postoperative impaction of the prosthetic cage in adjacent endplates was observed in 35% of the cases, without worsening at last follow-up. Complete fusion was observed at 1 year postoperatively and no cases of infections or revisions were observed in relation to the anterior approach.


The use of EPVBCs for unstable thoracolumbar fractures is safe and effective in providing long-term vertebral body height restoration and kyphosis correction, with a moderate surgical and sepsis risk. Anterior cage implantation is an alternative to iliac bone graft fusion and is a viable option in association with a posterior approach, in a single operation without additional risks.

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Simona Mihaela Florea, Thomas Graillon, Thomas Cuny, Regis Gras, Thierry Brue, and Henry Dufour


Ophthalmoplegia is a rare complication of transsphenoidal surgery, only noted in a few studies. The purpose of this study was to analyze the complications of cranial nerve III, IV, or VI palsy after transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenoma and understand its physiopathology and outcome.


The authors retrospectively analyzed 24 cases of postoperative ophthalmoplegia selected from the 1694 patients operated via a transsphenoidal route in their department.


Two patients were operated on via microscopy and 22 via endoscopy. Patients operated on endoscopically had a greater risk of presenting with an extraocular nerve deficit postoperatively (p = 0.0115). It was found that an extension into or an invasion of the cavernous sinus (Knosp grade 3 or 4 on MRI, 18/24 patients) was correlated with a higher risk of postoperative ophthalmoplegia (p < 0.0001). The deficit was apparent immediately after surgery in 2 patients. For these 2 patients, the mechanisms of ophthalmoplegia were compression or intraoperative nerve lesion. The other 22 patients became symptomatic in the 12–72 hours following the surgery. The mechanisms implied in these cases were intrasellar compressive hematoma (4/22 cases), intracavernous hemorrhagic suffusion, or incomplete resection of the intracavernous portion of the tumor. All patients who did not present with oculomotor palsy immediately after surgery completely recovered their deficits in the 3 months that followed, while the other 2 experienced permanent damage.


Extraocular nerve dysfunction after transsphenoidal pituitary surgery is a rare complication that occurs more frequently in the case of the invasion or an important extension into the cavernous sinus. In this series, it also appears to be significantly more frequent in patients operated on via an endoscopic approach. Most patients have deficits that appear with a delay of 12–72 hours postoperatively and they are most likely to completely recover.

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Jean Régis, Philippe Metellus, Henry Dufour, Pierre-Hughes Roche, Xavier Muracciole, William Pellet, Francois Grisoli, and Jean-Claude Peragut

Object. This study was directed to evaluate the potential role of gamma knife surgery (GKS) in the treatment of secondary trigeminal neuralgia (TN). The authors have identified three anatomicoclinical types of secondary TN requiring different radiosurgical approaches.

Methods. Pain control was retrospectively analyzed in a population of patients harboring tumors of the middle or posterior fossa that involved the trigeminal nerve pathway. This series included 53 patients (39 women and 14 men) treated using GKS between July 1992 and June 1997. The median follow-up period was 55 months. Treatment strategies differed according to lesion type, topography, and size, as well as visibility of the fifth cranial nerve in the prepontine cistern. Three different treatment groups were established. When the primary goal was treatment of the lesion (Group IV, 46 patients) we obtained pain cessation in 79.5% of cases. In some patients in whom GKS was not indicated for treatment of the lesion, TN was treated by targeting the fifth nerve directly in the prepontine cistern if visible (Group II, three patients) or in the part of the lesion including this nerve if the nerve root could not be identified (Group III, four patients). No deaths and no radiosurgically induced adverse effects were observed, but in two cases there was slight hypesthesia (Group IV). The neuropathic component of the facial pain appeared to be poorly sensitive to radiosurgery. At the last follow-up examination, six patients (13.3%) exhibited recurrent pain, which was complete in four cases (8.8%) and partial in two (4.4%).

Conclusions. The results of GKS regarding facial pain control are very similar to those achieved by microsurgery according to series published in the literature. Nevertheless, the low rate of morbidity and the greater comfort afforded the patient render GKS safer and thus more attractive.

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Pierre-Hugues Roche, Jean Régis, Henry Dufour, Henri-Dominique Fournier, Christine Delsanti, William Pellet, Francois Grisoli, and Jean-Claude Peragut

Object. The authors sought to assess the functional tolerance and tumor control rate of cavernous sinus meningiomas treated by gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS).

Methods. Between July 1992 and October 1998, 92 patients harboring benign cavernous sinus meningiomas underwent GKS. The present study is concerned with the first 80 consecutive patients (63 women and 17 men). Gamma knife radiosurgery was performed as an alternative to surgical removal in 50 cases and as an adjuvant to microsurgery in 30 cases. The mean patient age was 49 years (range 6–71 years). The mean tumor volume was 5.8 cm3 (range 0.9–18.6 cm3). On magnetic resonance (MR) imaging the tumor was confined in 66 cases and extensive in 14 cases. The mean prescription dose was 28 Gy (range 12–50 Gy), delivered with an average of eight isocenters (range two–18). The median peripheral isodose was 50% (range 30–70%). Patients were evaluated at 6 months, and at 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 years after GKS.

The median follow-up period was 30.5 months (range 12–79 months). Tumor stabilization after GKS was noted in 51 patients, tumor shrinkage in 25 patients, and enlargement in four patients requiring surgical removal in two cases. The 5-year actuarial progression-free survival was 92.8%. No new oculomotor deficit was observed. Among the 54 patients with oculomotor nerve deficits, 15 improved, eight recovered, and one worsened. Among the 13 patients with trigeminal neuralgia, one worsened (contemporary of tumor growing), five remained unchanged, four improved, and three recovered. In a patient with a remnant surrounding the optic nerve and preoperative low vision (3/10) the decision was to treat the lesion and deliberately sacrifice the residual visual acuity. Only one transient unexpected optic neuropathy has been observed. One case of delayed intracavernous carotid artery occlusion occurred 3 months after GKS, without permanent deficit. Another patient presented with partial complex seizures 18 months after GKS. All cases of tumor growth and neurological deficits observed after GKS occurred before the use of GammaPlan. Since the initiation of systematic use of stereotactic MR imaging and computer-assisted modern dose planning, no more side effects or cases of tumor growth have occurred.

Conclusions. Gamma knife radiosurgery was found to be an effective low morbidity—related tool for the treatment of cavernous sinus meningioma. In a significant number of patients, oculomotor functional restoration was observed. The treatment appears to be an alternative to surgical removal of confined enclosed cavernous sinus meningioma and should be proposed as an adjuvant to surgery in case of extensive meningiomas.