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Iman Feiz-Erfan, L. Fernando Gonzalez, and Curtis A. Dickman

✓ The authors describe a new technique of internal atlantooccipital screw fixation involving posterior wiring and fusion for the treatment of traumatic atlantooccipital dislocation, which was performed in a 17-year-old male patient involved in a motor vehicle accident and who suffered from atlantooccipital dislocation without neurological injury. At the 6-month follow-up examination, the patient was neurologically intact with a solid occipitocervical fusion and full range of motion of the neck.

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Mark B. Ellis, Daniel Gridley, Suresh Lal, Geetha R. Nair, and Iman Feiz-Erfan

Phosphaturic mesenchymal tumor (mixed connective tissue variant) (PMT-MCT) are tumors that may cause tumor-induced osteomalacia and rarely appear intracranially. The authors describe the case of an 8-year-old girl who was found to have PMT-MCT with involvement of the cerebellar hemisphere and a small tumor pedicle breaching the dura mater and involving the skull. This was removed surgically in gross-total fashion without further complication. Histologically the tumor was confirmed to be a PMT-MCT. There was no evidence of tumor-induced osteomalacia. At the 42-month follow-up, the patient is doing well, has no abnormalities, and is free of recurrence. PMT-MCTs are rare tumors that may involve the brain parenchyma. A gross-total resection may be effective to cure these lesions.

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Jonathan S. Hott, Iman Feiz-Erfan, Kathy Kenny, and Curtis A. Dickman

Object. The authors evaluated the clinical and surgical outcomes obtained in patients with giant herniated thoracic discs (HTDs), defined as occupying more than 40% of the spinal canal. Surgery-related considerations and functional outcomes in patients with small- and medium-sized HTDs were compared.

Methods. The authors reviewed 140 cases of surgically treated HTDs, 20 (14%) of which were giant. Before and after surgery, all patients underwent computerized tomography myelography, magnetic resonance imaging, or both. Functional outcomes were assessed using the Frankel grading system preoperatively, immediately after surgery, and at long-term follow-up examination. The results observed in patients with giant HTDs were compared with those with small- and medium-sized HTDs. The mean overall follow-up period was 2.6 years.

Sixty-six patients (47%) presented with myelopathy, including 19 (95%) with a giant HTD. Of the latter, 16 (80%) underwent anterior, eight thoracoscopic, and eight open thoracotomy approaches. Four patients (20%) with laterally oriented giant HTDs within the spinal canal underwent surgery via a posterolateral approach.

Based on analysis of long-term follow-up data, 53% of patients with giant HTDs improved neurologically by one Frankel grade. Progression of myelopathy was arrested in 42%, and in 5% the Frankel grade worsened by one. In patients with small- and medium-sized HTDs, the Frankel grade improved by one in 77%, stabilized in 23%, and worsened in 0%. Patients with giant HTDs who underwent thoracoscopic surgery had worse short- and long-term functional outcomes than those in whom open thoracotomy was performed.

Conclusions. Patients with giant HTDs presented more frequently with myelopathy and experienced worse functional outcomes than those with smaller HTDs. Based on their experience, the authors recommend open thoracotomy rather than thoracoscopy for the treatment of midline giant HTDs.

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Ganesh Rao, Robert Bohinski, Iman Feiz-Erfan, and Laurence D. Rhines

✓The retroperitoneal surgical approach has gained acceptance as a way to access the ventral aspect of the lumbar spine. Visualization is often limited, however, by the psoas muscle, which lies along the posterolateral aspect of the spine. Improved visualization is often attempted by retracting the muscle from the wound, which generally pulls the muscle laterally from the spine but not posteriorly, which is desirable for a better exposure of the spine, particularly the neural elements. In this paper, the authors describe a simple, atraumatic technique for retraction of the psoas muscle that allows excellent visualization of the spine.

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Iman Feiz-Erfan, Mary Harrigan, Volker K. H. Sonntag, and Timothy R. Harrington

Object

In a double-blind randomized study, platelet concentrate was used to treat 50 patients who underwent anterior cervical fusion with allograft bone and internal fixation, predominantly for degenerative disc disease or soft herniated cervical disc. The goal in this study was to compare the outcomes in patients treated with and without the platelet gel.

Methods

Patients were assessed radiographically at 6, 12, and 52 weeks and at 2 years if needed. Clinically, patients were evaluated with the visual analog scale, Neck Disability Index, Short Form–36, and a modified Prolo Scale.

Results

Follow-up included 90% of the patients at 1 year and 84% at 2 years. The overall fusion rate was 84%.

Conclusions

Whereas patients with degenerative discs treated with platelet gel demonstrated early fusion at the 12-week follow-up interval, no consistent early fusion was obtained with the use of the platelet gel preparation in patients with a soft disc herniation.

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Jonathan S. Hott, Iman Feiz-Erfan, Louis J. Kim, Harold L. Rekate, and Volker K. H. Sonntag

✓ Cervical spine injuries in the pediatric population typically affect the upper cervical region. The authors present the first reported case of a subaxial C6–7 unilateral locked facet joint in a neurologically intact 10-month-old infant. To date, this patient's nonoperative treatment has been successful. The proposed biomechanical mechanism of this injury and the treatment paradigm are discussed.

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Francisco A. Ponce, Patrick P. Han, Robert F. Spetzler, Alexa Canady, and Iman Feiz-Erfan

✓ Wyburn-Mason syndrome is a rare condition associated with multiple cerebral arteriovenous malformations. The disease, also called retinoencephalofacial angiomatosis, includes lesions of the retina, brain, and skin. This disorder stems from a vascular dysgenesis of the embryological anterior plexus early in the gestational period when the primitive vascular mesoderm is shared by the involved structures. The timing of the insult to the embryonic tissue determines which structures are affected. Extensions of the lesions vary widely but cutaneous lesions are unusual. Among reports in the literature, only three cases appear to have manifested without retinal involvement. The authors report the fourth case of Wyburn-Mason syndrome in which there was no retinal involvement and the first to involve neither the retina nor the face.

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Iman Feiz-Erfan, Benjamin D. Fox, Remi Nader, Dima Suki, Indro Chakrabarti, Ehud Mendel, Ziya L. Gokaslan, Ganesh Rao, and Laurence D. Rhines

Object

Hematogenous metastases to the sacrum can produce significant pain and lead to spinal instability. The object of this study was to evaluate the palliative benefit of surgery in patients with these metastases.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed all cases involving patients undergoing surgery for metastatic disease to the sacrum at a single tertiary cancer center between 1993 and 2005.

Results

Twenty-five patients (21 men, 4 women) were identified as having undergone sacral surgery for hematogenous metastatic disease during the study period. Their median age was 57 years (range 25–71 years). The indications for surgery included palliation of pain (in 24 cases), need for diagnosis (in 1 case), and spinal instability (in 3 cases). The most common primary disease was renal cell carcinoma.

Complications occurred in 10 patients (40%). The median overall survival was 11 months (95% CI 5.4–16.6 months). The median time from the initial diagnosis to the diagnosis of metastatic disease in the sacrum was 14 months (95% CI 0.0–29.3 months). The numerical pain scores (scale 0–10) were improved from a median of 8 preoperatively to a median of 3 postoperatively at 90 days, 6 months, and 1 year (p < 0.01). Postoperative modified Frankel grades improved in 8 cases, worsened in 3 (due to disease progression), and remained unchanged in 14 (p = 0.19). Among patients with renal cell carcinoma, the median overall survival was better in those in whom the sacrum was the sole site of metastatic disease than in those with multiple sites of metastatic disease (16 vs 9 months, respectively; p = 0.053).

Conclusions

Surgery is effective to palliate pain with acceptable morbidity in patients with metastatic disease to the sacrum. In the subgroup of patients with renal cell carcinoma, those with the sacrum as their solitary site of metastatic disease demonstrated improved survival.

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Jeffrey D. Klopfenstein, Louis J. Kim, Iman Feiz-Erfan, Jonathan S. Hott, Pam Goslar, Joseph M. Zabramski, and Robert F. Spetzler

Object

The goal of this study was to compare rapid and gradual weaning from external ventricular drainage in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) in a prospective, randomized trial.

Methods

Between December 2001 and December 2002, 81 patients with aneurysmal SAH in whom external ventricular drains (EVDs) had been placed were enrolled in the study: 41 patients were randomized to the rapidly weaned group and 40 were randomized to the gradually weaned group. The two groups were well matched with respect to age, sex, posterior aneurysm location, Fisher grade, Hunt and Hess grade, intraventricular hemorrhage on admission, and hydrocephalus on admission. Rapid weaning was defined as weaning that occurred within 24 hours with immediate closure of the EVD, whereas gradual weaning took place over a 96-hour period with daily, sequential height elevations of the EVD system followed by drain closure for 24 hours. All patients in whom EVD weaning failed underwent shunt placement. Rates of shunt implantation, days in the intensive care unit (ICU), and overall duration of hospitalization were compared. There was no significant difference in rates of shunt implantation between the rapidly weaned (63.4%) and gradually weaned (62.5%) groups. Nevertheless, patients in the gradually weaned group spent a mean of 2.8 more days in the ICU (p = 0.0002) and 2.4 more days in the hospital (p = 0.0314) than patients in the rapidly weaned group.

Conclusions

Compared with rapid weaning, gradual, multistep EVD weaning provided no advantage to patients with aneurysmal SAH in preventing the need for long-term shunt placement and prolonged ICU and hospital stays.

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Tsinsue Chen, Karam Moon, Daphne E. deMello, Iman Feiz-Erfan, Nicholas Theodore, and Ratan D. Bhardwaj

A 13-year-old boy presented with fever and neck pain and stiffness, which was initially misdiagnosed as culture-negative meningitis. Magnetic resonance images of the brain and cervical spine demonstrated what appeared to be an intradural extramedullary mass at the C1–3 level, resulting in moderate cord compression, and a Chiari Type I malformation. The patient underwent a suboccipital craniectomy and a C1–3 laminectomy with intradural exploration for excisional biopsy and resection. The lesion containing the parasite was extradural, extending laterally through the C2–3 foramina. Inflammatory tissue secondary to Onchocerca lupi infection was identified, and treatment with steroids and doxycycline was initiated. At the 6-month follow-up, the patient remained asymptomatic, with MR images demonstrating a significant reduction in lesional size. However, 10 weeks postoperatively, the infection recurred, necessitating a second operation. The patient was treated with an additional course of doxycycline and is currently maintained on ivermectin therapy. This is the second reported case of cervical O. lupi infection in a human. In the authors' experience, oral doxycycline alone was insufficient in controlling the disease, and the addition of ivermectin therapy was necessary.