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Howard H. Kaufman

✓ At the time of the American Civil War (1861–1865), a great deal was known about closed head injury and gunshot wounds to the head. Compression was differentiated from concussion, but localization of lesions was not precise. Ether and especially chloroform were used to provide anesthesia. Failure to understand how to prevent infection discouraged physicians from aggressive surgery. Manuals written to educate inexperienced doctors at the onset of the war provide an overview of the advice given by senior surgeons.

The Union experiences in the treatment of head injury in the Civil War were discussed in the three surgical volumes of The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion. Wounds were divided into incised and puncture wounds, blunt injuries, and gunshot wounds, which were analyzed separately. Because the patients were not stratified by severity of injury and because there was no neuroimaging, it is difficult to understand the clinical problems and the effectiveness of surgery. Almost immediately after the war, increased knowledge about cerebral localization and the development of antisepsis (and then asepsis) permitted the development of modern neurosurgery.

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T. Glenn Pait, Phillip V. McAllister and Howard H. Kaufman

✓ Knowledge of the relevant anatomy is important when developing a strategy for introducing screws into the lateral masses to secure internal fixation devices. This paper defines key bony landmarks and their relationship to critical neurovascular structures and identifies a location for safe placement of cervical articular pillar (lateral mass) screws.

Measurements of anatomical landmarks in 10 spines from human cadavers aged 61 to 85 years were made by caliper and a metric ruler. Landmarks were the lateral facet line, rostrocaudal line, medial facet line, intrafacet line, and medial facet line—vertebral artery line. The average distances and ranges were recorded. Such great variance existed in measurements from spine to spine and within the same spine as to render averages clinically unreliable. Dissection revealed that division of the articular pillar into four quadrants leaves one, the superior lateral quadrant, under which there are no neurovascular structures; this may be considered the “safe quadrant” for placement of posterior screws and plates.

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Vincent C. Traynelis, Gary D. Marano, Ralph O. Dunker and Howard H. Kaufman

✓ Traumatic atlanto-occipital dislocation is a serious injury that is usually fatal. The number of patients surviving this injury, however, appears to be increasing, and most of these survivors are children. This may reflect an improvement in emergency transport services. Seventeen previously reported cases of patients surviving atlanto-occipital dislocation for more than 48 hours are reviewed and an additional case is presented. Many of these patients had an excellent neurological outcome. The radiographic criteria necessary for the diagnosis of atlanto-occipital dislocation are discussed. Cervical computerized tomography may confirm the diagnosis when necessary. It is suggested that there are three types of atlanto-occipital dislocation; utilizing this new classification, a rationale for treatment is described. Fusion is favored for long-term stability.

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Vincent C. Traynelis, Gary D. Marano, Ralph O. Dunker and Howard H. Kaufman

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Kent Sauter, Howard H. Kaufman, Stephen M. Bloomfield, Sandi Cline and Daniel Banks

✓ The case is reported of a 45-year-old woman who was being treated for chronic back and right leg pain with intrathecal morphine administered via a subcutaneous continuous-infusion device. She received an accidental 450-mg bolus injection of morphine intrathecally and developed hypertension, status epilepticus, intracerebral hemorrhage, and respiratory failure. Treatment with continuous intravenous naloxone infusion, lumbar catheter drainage of cerebrospinal fluid, and control of hypertension and status epilepticus resulted in an excellent outcome with return to neurological baseline. Care providers who refill pump reservoirs with morphine must be knowledgeable about these devices and the life-threatening consequences associated with errors in refilling them. This case describes the complications and successful treatment of high-dose intrathecal morphine overdose.

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Patrick R. Yassini, Kent Sauter, Sydney S. Schochet, Howard H. Kaufman and Stephen M. Bloomfield

✓ Hypertrophic nerve lesions displaying onion-bulb cellular formations are quite rare in the absence of a generalized hypertrophic neuropathy. The isolated peripheral nerve lesion has been termed “localized hypertrophic mononeuropathy” (LHN), and fewer than 30 cases of this condition have been reported. Very little is known regarding the etiology and the natural course of this rare disorder. A unique case of LHN afflicting spinal roots in association with a sacral meningocele is reported with a brief review of the relevant literature. The unique features of this case not only reveal a variable clinical presentation of the disease but also support the theory that LHN may be a localized reaction to nerve trauma or entrapment.

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Massive osteolysis of the skull and upper cervical spine

Case report and review of the literature

Houman Khosrovi, Orlando Ortiz, Howard H. Kaufman, Sydney S. Schochet Jr., Gurijala N. Reddy and Donn Simmons

✓ Massive osteolysis is a type of idiopathic osteolysis in which there is spontaneous onset of bone resorption. Almost any bone in the body can be affected. The authors present the case of a 62-year-old man diagnosed with massive osteolysis of the occipital bone and the upper two cervical vertebrae. Despite extensive pneumocephalus, no neurological sign or spinal instability was evident. In this case 4000 cGy of radiation in 200-cGy fractions was administered to the diseased area while the patient was kept in a Miami-J collar. At the 2-year follow-up examination, arrest of the disease process and new bone formation was evident on radiographic studies.

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Deborah Blumenthal, Mariana Berho, Stephen Bloomfield, Sydney S. Schochet Jr. and Howard H. Kaufman

✓ This paper reports a childhood meningioma in association with meningioangiomatosis. The patient was an 11-month-old baby boy who presented with a left focal seizure. He had no stigmata of neurofibromatosis. Computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging revealed an extra-axial, contrast-enhancing mass in the interhemispheric fissure which indented the right frontal lobe. The tumor was totally removed. Microscopically, the lesion was a fibrous and transitional meningioma with foci of necrosis and scattered mitotic figures. The adherent neural parenchyma showed the histological features of meningioangiomatosis. It is concluded that meningioangiomatosis may accompany childhood meningiomas more often than is generally appreciated.