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Youn-Kwan Park, Joo Han Kim, Hung Seob Chung and Jung Keun Suh

Object. When performing surgery, the extraforaminal window is very narrow at the L5—S1 level. The authors describe a microsurgical method for decompression of the L-5 nerve root trapped between a marginal osteophyte of the vertebral body and the transverse process. The procedure was performed in 16 patients with extraforaminal stenosis.

Methods. The cranial part of the L5—S1 facet joint and the caudal portion of the pedicle and transverse process of L-5 were removed via a midline skin incision and partial resection of the pars interarticularis; a high-speed drill was used as was a surgical microscope. The affected nerve root was decompressed and mobilized cranially.

Postoperatively all patients reported excellent relief of their sciatic pain, and there were no technique-associated complications. There was no recurrence during the follow-up period, that ranged from 14 to 70 months.

Conclusions. The authors recommend this technique for the effective decompression of symptomatic extraforaminal L5—S1 stenosis. The need for a dangerous and tedious removal of the vertebral osteophyte together with spinal fusion is avoided.

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Dong-Hyuk Park, Youn-Kwan Park, Jae-In Oh, Taek-Hyun Kwon and Hung-Seob Chung

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Taek-Hyun Kwon, Youn-Kwan Park, Dong-Jun Lim, Tai-Hyoung Cho, Yong-Gu Chung, Hung-Seob Chung and Jung-Keun Suh

Object. A wide variation in postoperative drainage volumes is observed during treatment of chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) with twist-drill or burr-hole craniostomy and closed-system drainage. In this study the authors investigate the causes of the variation, the clinical significance thereof, and its influence on treatment outcome.

Methods. A total of 175 cases were investigated between January 1991 and December 1997. Of these, 145 patients had surgery for CSDH, of whom 30 had bilateral lesions. The cases of CSDH were divided into five subtypes (low-density, isodense, high-density, mixed-density, and layering types) on the basis of the brain computerized tomography (CT) findings. Burr-hole craniostomies with closed-system drainage were performed in all patients and the drainage was maintained for 5 days, during which daily amounts of fluid were measured. The mean drainage volume over 5 days was 320 ml, with the largest volume (413 ml) seen in the low-density type and the smallest (151 ml) in the mixed-density type of CSDH. There were recurrences in six patients (seven instances, 4%). The mixed-density type had the highest recurrence rate (8.6%), whereas there was no recurrence for the low-density type. There were no recurrences in 81 patients in whom the total drainage volumes for 5 days were more than 200 ml, but there were recurrences in six (seven instances) of 94 patients in whom the total drainage volume was less than 200 ml.

Conclusions. The postoperative drainage volumes varied greatly because of differences in the outer membrane permeability of CSDH, and such variation seems to be related to the findings on the CT scans obtained preoperatively. Patients with CSDH in whom there is less postoperative drainage than expected should be carefully observed, with special attention paid to the possibility of recurrence.

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Hong Joo Moon, Bong-Kyung Shin, Joo Han Kim, Jong-Hyun Kim, Taek-Hyun Kwon, Hung-Seob Chung and Youn-Kwan Park

Intramedullary teratomas, particularly adult cervicothoracic lesions, are extremely rare. Up to now only 6 cases of intramedullary cervical teratomas have been reported in adults, and all of these were histologically mature. The authors present the case of a 35-year-old man with progressive myelopathic symptoms who was admitted through an outpatient clinic and was surgically treated. The characteristics, diagnosis, epidemiology, and treatment of cervical intramedullary teratomas in adults are also reviewed. Postoperative MR imaging showed that the tumor had been near totally removed, and severely adherent tissue remained ventrocranially with tiny focal enhancement on follow-up MR imaging. Pathological examinations revealed immature teratoma without any malignant component. Adjuvant therapy was not performed. Although no change in neurological findings and symptoms was apparent postoperatively, lesion regrowth was demonstrated on MR imaging 4 months after surgery. At 8 months postoperatively, myelopathic symptoms had developed and a huge intramedullary tumor recurred according to MR imaging. This case is the seventh reported instance of intramedullary cervical teratoma in an adult, and the first case report of the immature type with malignant features.