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Si Zhang, Hexiang Zhao, Hao Li, Chao You and Xuhui Hui

OBJECTIVE

Decompressive craniectomy (DC) is a life-saving treatment for severe hemorrhagic cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT). However, the correlations between the clinicoradiological features and surgical outcomes of this disease are not well established. Therefore, the authors endeavored to analyze the potential risk factors for this more severe subtype of CVT and to provide more evidence regarding the benefits of DC in patients with hemorrhagic CVT.

METHODS

The clinical features, radiological findings, and surgical outcomes of patients with severe hemorrhagic CVT who had undergone DC treatment in the period from January 2005 to March 2015 were retrospectively analyzed, and the risk factors for this disease were evaluated.

RESULTS

Fifty-eight patients, 39 females (67.2%) and 19 males (32.8%), with a mean age of 39.7 ± 12.5 years, were included in this study. The mean duration from symptom onset to surgery was 3.3 ± 1.9 days, and 21 patients experienced acute courses. On neuroimaging, the mean mass lesion volume was 114.7 ± 17.7 ml. Nine patients had bilateral lesions, and 7 patients had deep CVT. According to their hemorrhagic proportion, cases were divided into hemorrhage-dominated (27 [46.6%]) and edema-dominated (31 [53.4%]) groups. After 6 months of follow-up, 56.9% of patients had achieved a favorable outcome, and 8 patients had died. The hemorrhage-dominated lesions (p = 0.026) and deep cerebral venous involvement (p = 0.026) were significantly associated with a poor outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

In patients suffering from severe hemorrhagic CVT, DC is an effective life-saving treatment that is associated with favorable outcomes. Hemorrhage-dominated lesions and deep cerebral venous involvement have a significant impact on the outcome of this disease.

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Si Zhang, Xiang Wang, Xuesong Liu, Yan Ju and Xuhui Hui

Object

The authors retrospectively analyzed data on brainstem gangliogliomas treated in their department and reviewed the pertinent literature to foster understanding of the preoperative characteristics, management, and clinical outcomes of this disease.

Methods

In 2006, the authors established a database of treated lesions of the posterior fossa. The epidemiology findings, clinical presentations, radiological investigations, pathological diagnoses, management, and prognosis for brainstem gangliogliomas were retrospectively analyzed.

Results

Between 2006 and 2012, 7 patients suffering from brainstem ganglioglioma were treated at the West China Hospital of Sichuan University. The mean age of the patients, mean duration of symptoms prior to diagnosis, and mean duration of follow-up were 28.6 years, 19.4 months, and 38.1 months, respectively. The main presentations were progressive cranial nerve deficits and cerebellar signs. Subtotal resection was achieved in 2 patients, and partial resection in 5. All tumors were pathologically diagnosed as WHO Grade I or II ganglioglioma. Radiotherapy and adjuvant chemotherapy were not administered. After 21–69 months of follow-up, patient symptoms were resolved or stable without aggravation, and MRI showed that the size of residual lesions was unchanged without progression or recurrence.

Conclusions

The diagnosis of brainstem ganglioglioma is of great importance given its favorable prognosis. The authors recommend the maximal safe resection followed by close observation without adjuvant therapy as the optimal treatment for this disease.

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Kang Guo, Lijun Heng, Haihong Zhang, Lei Ma, Hui Zhang and Dong Jia

OBJECTIVE

The authors sought to identify the relevance between pneumocephalus and postoperative intracranial infections, as well as bacteriological characteristics and risk factors for intracranial infections, in patients with pituitary adenomas after endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery.

METHODS

In total, data from 251 consecutive patients with pituitary adenomas who underwent pure endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgeries from 2014 to 2018 were reviewed for preoperative comorbidities, intraoperative techniques, and postoperative care.

RESULTS

This retrospective study found 18 cases of postoperative pneumocephalus (7.17%), 9 CNS infections (3.59%), and 12 CSF leaks (4.78%). Of the patients with pneumocephalus, 5 (27.8%) had CNS infections. In patients with CNS infections, the culture results were positive in 7 cases and negative in 2 cases. The statistical analysis suggested that pneumocephalus (maximum bubble diameter of ≥ 1 cm), diaphragmatic defects (intraoperative CSF leak, Kelly grade ≥ 1), and a postoperative CSF leak are risk factors for postoperative CNS infections.

CONCLUSIONS

In pituitary adenoma patients who underwent pure endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgeries, intraoperative saddle reconstruction has a crucial role for patients with postoperative intracranial infections. Additionally, postoperative pneumocephalus plays an important role in predicting intracranial infections that must not be neglected. Therefore, neurosurgeons should pay close attention to the discovery of postoperative intracranial pneumocephalus because this factor is as important as a postoperative CSF leak. Pneumocephalus (maximum bubble diameter of ≥ 1 cm), diaphragmatic defects (an intraoperative CSF leak, Kelly grade ≥ 1), and a postoperative CSF leak were risk factors predictive of postoperative intracranial infections. In addition, it is essential that operative procedures be carefully performed to avoid diaphragmatic defects, to reduce exposure to the external environment, and to decrease patients’ suffering.

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Hui Liu, Zemin Li, Sibei Li, Kuibo Zhang, Hao Yang, Jianru Wang, Xiang Li and Zhaomin Zheng

OBJECT

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of rod stiffness and implant density on coronal and sagittal plane correction in patients with main thoracic curve adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS).

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective study of 77 consecutive cases involving 56 female and 21 male patients with Lenke Type 1 main thoracic curve AIS who underwent single-stage posterior correction and instrumented spinal fusion with pedicle screw fixation between July 2009 and July 2012. The patients' mean age at surgery was 15.79 ± 3.21 years. All patients had at least 1 year of follow-up. Radiological parameters in the coronal and sagittal planes, including Cobb angle of the major curve, side-bending Cobb angle of the major curve, thoracic kyphosis (TK), correction rates, and screw density, were measured and analyzed. Screw densities (calculated as number of screws per fusion segment × 2) of < 0.60 and ≥ 0.60 were defined as low and high density, respectively. Titanium rods of 5.5 mm and 6.35 mm diameter were defined as low and high stiffness, respectively. Patients were divided into 4 groups based on the type of rod and density of screw placement that had been used: Group A, low-stiffness rod with low density of screw placement; Group B, low-stiffness rod with high density of screw placement; Group C, high-stiffness rod with low density of screw placement; Group D, high-stiffness rod with high density of screw placement.

RESULTS

The mean coronal correction rate of the major curve, for all 77 patients, was (81.45% ± 7.51%), and no significant difference was found among the 4 groups (p > 0.05). Regarding sagittal plane correction, Group A showed a significant decrease in TK after surgery (p < 0.05), while Group D showed a significant increase (p < 0.05); Group B and C showed no significant postoperative changes in TK (p > 0.05). The TK restoration rate was highest in Group D and lowest in Group A (A, −39.32% ± 7.65%; B, −0.37% ± 8.25%; C, −4.04% ± 6.77%; D, 37.59% ± 8.53%). Screw density on the concave side was significantly higher than that on the convex side in all the groups (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

For flexible main thoracic curve AIS, both rods with high stiffness and those with low stiffness combined with high or low screw density could provide effective correction in the coronal plane; rods with high stiffness along with high screw density on the concave side could provide better outcome with respect to sagittal TK restoration.

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Ren-Jie Zhang, Hui-Min Li, Hai Gao, Chong-Yu Jia, Tao Xing, Fu-Long Dong and Cai-Liang Shen

OBJECTIVE

Traditional trajectory (TT) screws are widely used in lumbar fixation. However, they may require revision surgery in some instances, especially in patients with osteoporotic spines. Cortical bone trajectory (CBT) screws may potentially be used to rescue a failed TT screw and vice versa in nonosteoporotic spines. This study aimed to investigate whether a CBT screw can salvage a compromised TT screw in osteoporotic lumbar spines and vice versa.

METHODS

A total of 42 vertebrae from 17 cadaveric lumbar spines were obtained. Bone mineral density was measured, and a CBT screw was randomly inserted into one side of each vertebra. A TT screw was then inserted into the contralateral side. The biomechanical properties of the screws were tested to determine their insertional torque, pullout strength, and fatigue performance. After checking the screws for the failure of each specimen, the failed screw track was salvaged with a screw of the opposite trajectory. The specimen was then subjected to the same mechanical tests, and results were recorded. A repeat pullout test on TT and CBT screws was also performed.

RESULTS

When CBT screws were used to rescue failed TT screws, the original torque increased by 50%, an average of 81% of the pullout strength of the initial TT screws was retained, and the fatigue performance was equal to that of the original screws, which were considerably stronger than the loose TT screws—that is, the TT repeat screws/TT screws were 33% of the pullout strength of the initial TT screws. When the TT screws were used to salvage the compromised CBT screws, the TT screws retained 51% of the original torque and 54% of the original pullout strength, and these screws were still stronger than the loose CBT screws—that is, the loose CBT screws retained 12% pullout strength of the initial CBT screws. Fatigue performance and the ratio of the pullout strength considerably decreased between the CBT rescue screws and the original CBT screws but slightly changed between the TT rescue screws and the original TT screws.

CONCLUSIONS

CBT and TT screws can be applied in a revision technique to salvage each other in osteoporotic lumbar spines. Additionally, CBT and TT screws each retain adequate insertional torque, pullout strength, and fatigue performance when used for revision in osteoporotic lumbar spines.

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Kui-Bo Zhang, Zhao-Min Zheng, Hui Liu and Xian-Guo Liu

Object

Application of the nucleus pulposus (NP) to the nerve root has been developed as a model of lumbar radicular pain. The relationship between disc degeneration and the induction of radicular pain, however, has not yet been fully explored. The authors of this study investigated pain-related behaviors and expression of tumor necrosis factor–α (TNF-α) in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) to evaluate the effects of punctured NP on lumbar radiculopathy.

Methods

An anular needle puncture model of intervertebral disc degeneration in a rat tail was established. Normal and previously punctured NP tissues were obtained and placed on the L-5 nerve root following a hemilaminectomy. Behavioral tests including assessment of motor function, mechanical threshold, and thermal withdrawal latency were performed before and after surgery. The TNF-α immunoreactivity in L-5 DRG specimens was examined through immunohistochemical study.

Results

The punctured discs showed significant degeneration 2 weeks after intervention. Application of both normal and punctured NP induced mechanical hyperalgesia in the ipsilateral paw for 10 days after surgery, but hyperalgesia was more severe in the punctured NP group. No statistically significant within-group changes in thermal withdrawal latency over time were found. A significant increase in the expression of TNF-α–positive neurons in DRG specimens was observed in both NP graft groups.

Conclusions

Needle puncture led to degenerative changes in the rat tail disc, and the degenerated NP enhanced mechanical hyperalgesia induced by application of the NP to the lumbar nerve root. This model of disc degeneration and lumbar radicular pain is appropriate for evaluating the efficacy of biological treatments for degenerative disc diseases.

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Miaomiao Suo, Yahui Lin, Hui Yu, Weihua Song, Kai Sun, Yan Song, Yinhui Zhang, Channa Zhang, Yufang Zhu, Qi Pang, Rutai Hui and Jingzhou Chen

Object

Variants of Kallikreins have been shown to be risk factors for intracranial aneurysm (IA) in a Finnish population. In the present study, the authors investigated the correlation between polymorphisms in the Kallikrein gene cluster and IAs in the Chinese population.

Methods

The association of Kallikrein variants (rs1722561 and rs1701946) with sporadic IAs was tested in 308 cases and 443 controls. The differences in allelic frequencies between patients and the control group were evaluated with the chi-square test.

Results

The C allele of rs1722561 showed a significant reduction in the risk of sporadic IA (OR 0.71, 95% CI 0.53–0.95; p = 0.023). However, no association of the variant rs1701946 with sporadic IA was found (OR 0.78, 95% CI 0.57–1.06; p = 0.115).

Conclusions

The variant rs1722561 of Kallikreins might reduce the risk of sporadic IAs among individuals of Chinese Han ethnicity. This study confirms the association between Kallikreins and IAs.

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Jian-Hua Zhong, Hua-Jun Zhou, Tao Tang, Han-Jin Cui, A-Li Yang, Qi-Mei Zhang, Jing-Hua Zhou, Qiang Zhang, Xun Gong, Zhao-Hui Zhang and Zhi-Gang Mei

OBJECTIVE

Reactive astrogliosis, a key feature that is characterized by glial proliferation, has been observed in rat brains after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). However, the mechanisms that control reactive astrogliosis formation remain unknown. Notch-1 signaling plays a critical role in modulating reactive astrogliosis. The purpose of this paper was to establish whether Notch-1 signaling is involved in reactive astrogliosis after ICH.

METHODS

ICH was induced in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats via stereotactic injection of autologous blood into the right globus pallidus. N-[N-(3,5-difluorophenacetyl)-l-alanyl]-S-phenylglycine t-butyl ester (DAPT) was injected into the lateral ventricle to block Notch-1 signaling. The rats’ brains were perfused to identify proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)-positive/GFAP-positive nuclei. The expression of GFAP, Notch-1, and the activated form of Notch-1 (Notch intracellular domain [NICD]) and its ligand Jagged-1 was assessed using immunohistochemical and Western blot analyses, respectively.

RESULTS

Notch-1 signaling was upregulated and activated after ICH as confirmed by an increase in the expression of Notch-1 and NICD and its ligand Jagged-1. Remarkably, blockade of Notch-1 signaling with the specific inhibitor DAPT suppressed astrocytic proliferation and GFAP levels caused by ICH. In addition, DAPT improved neurological outcome after ICH.

CONCLUSIONS

Notch-1 signaling is a critical regulator of ICH-induced reactive astrogliosis, and its blockage may be a potential therapeutic strategy for hemorrhagic injury.

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Peng-Fan Yang, Hui-Jian Zhang, Jia-Sheng Pei, Qiao Lin, Zhen Mei, Zi-Qian Chen, Yan-Zeng Jia, Zhong-Hui Zhong and Zhi-Yong Zheng

OBJECT

The objectives of this study were to describe a novel minimal-access subtemporal approach for selective resection of the amygdala and hippocampus in patients with medically refractory mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) due to hippocampal sclerosis, and to analyze the related outcomes.

METHODS

The authors analyzed data from all cases involving patients with unilateral MTLE due to hippocampal sclerosis who were treated with selective amygdalohippocampectomy via the posterior subtemporal approach through a relatively small craniotomy, without a neuronavigation system, at their institution during the period from September 2010 to September 2012. Data were obtained on baseline characteristics, preoperative evaluations of unilateral mesial temporal sclerosis, surgical complications, and Engel class seizure outcomes. All patients underwent memory testing, IQ testing, and language testing.

RESULTS

The mean duration of follow-up was 33.6 months (range 24–48 months). There were no deaths and no cases of significant postoperative morbidity. One patient had a mild complication. At 2-year follow-up, 19 patients were seizure free (Engel Class I outcome). Verbal memory scores obtained at 3 months and at 2 years after surgery were significantly lower than preoperative scores for patients who underwent surgery on the left side of the brain (p < 0.05). Pictorial memory scores were higher following surgery compared with before surgery regardless of whether patients underwent left- or right-sided brain surgery. There was also improvement in performance IQ and total IQ following surgery in both groups. For patients who underwent right-sided brain surgery, verbal comprehension and semantic fluency testing scores were significantly higher at both 3 months and 2 years after surgery than before surgery. For patients who underwent left-sided brain surgery, scores on all language tests were significantly lower at 3 months after surgery than before surgery. Verbal comprehension testing scores returned to the preoperative level at 2 years after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

The posterior subtemporal approach through a relatively small craniotomy allows adequate exposure and safe resection of mesial temporal structures and effectively reduces medically intractable MTLE. It preserves IQ but may have a detrimental effect on verbal memory and language ability.

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Hui-Ren Tao, Tian-Li Yang, Michael S. Chang, Huan Li, Da-Wei Zhang, Hong-Bin Fan, Chao Shen and Zhuo-Jing Luo

Tethered cord is a common finding in congenital scoliosis. The most frequently advocated approach for this condition is to perform prophylactic detethering of the cord before scoliosis corrective surgery. The authors report on a 14-year-old patient with congenital thoracic kyphoscoliosis associated with a tethered cord, who developed progressive paraparesis and was successfully treated by posterior spine shortening osteotomy alone without prophylactic untethering. The patient had a 103° scoliotic curve together with a 93° kyphotic curve with an apical vertebra of T-7. Furthermore, he developed a significant progression of neurological deficits, including weakness of both legs and urinary and bowel incontinence. Preoperative MRI revealed that the spinal cord was entrapped by the apical vertebra and the low-placed conus medullaris was at approximately L-5. A posterior vertebral column resection of T-7 was performed for the purpose of simultaneously correcting the kyphoscoliosis and releasing tension on the tethered cord without a true detethering surgery. The patient's spinal cord function recovered completely from Frankel D to Frankel E by 6 months after the procedure. Evaluation at 31 months after surgery showed maintenance of good curve correction and normal neurological function.