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Yves Ntilikina, David Bahlau, Julien Garnon, Sébastien Schuller, Axel Walter, Mickaël Schaeffer, Jean-Paul Steib, and Yann Philippe Charles

OBJECTIVE

Percutaneous instrumentation in thoracolumbar fractures is intended to decrease paravertebral muscle damage by avoiding dissection. The aim of this study was to compare muscles at instrumented levels in patients who were treated by open or percutaneous surgery.

METHODS

Twenty-seven patients underwent open instrumentation, and 65 were treated percutaneously. A standardized MRI protocol using axial T1-weighted sequences was performed at a minimum 1-year follow-up after implant removal. Two independent observers measured cross-sectional areas (CSAs, in cm2) and region of interest (ROI) signal intensity (in pixels) of paravertebral muscles by using OsiriX at the fracture level, and at cranial and caudal instrumented pedicle levels. An interobserver comparison was made using the Bland-Altman method. Reference ROI muscle was assessed in the psoas and ROI fat subcutaneously. The ratio ROI-CSA/ROI-fat was compared for patients treated with open versus percutaneous procedures by using a linear mixed model. A linear regression analyzed additional factors: age, sex, body mass index (BMI), Pfirrmann grade of adjacent discs, and duration of instrumentation in situ.

RESULTS

The interobserver agreement was good for all CSAs. The average CSA for the entire spine was 15.7 cm2 in the open surgery group and 18.5 cm2 in the percutaneous group (p = 0.0234). The average ROI-fat and ROI-muscle signal intensities were comparable: 497.1 versus 483.9 pixels for ROI-fat and 120.4 versus 111.7 pixels for ROI-muscle in open versus percutaneous groups. The ROI-CSA varied between 154 and 226 for open, and between 154 and 195 for percutaneous procedures, depending on instrumented levels. A significant difference of the ROI-CSA/ROI-fat ratio (0.4 vs 0.3) was present at fracture levels T12–L1 (p = 0.0329) and at adjacent cranial (p = 0.0139) and caudal (p = 0.0100) instrumented levels. Differences were not significant at thoracic levels. When adjusting based on age, BMI, and Pfirrmann grade, a significant difference between open and percutaneous procedures regarding the ROI-CSA/ROI-fat ratio was present in the lumbar spine (p < 0.01). Sex and duration of instrumentation had no significant influence.

CONCLUSIONS

Percutaneous instrumentation decreased muscle atrophy compared with open surgery. The MRI signal differences for T-12 and L-1 fractures indicated less fat infiltration within CSAs in patients who received percutaneous treatment. Differences were not evidenced at thoracic levels, where CSAs were smaller. Fat infiltration was not significantly different at lumbar levels with either procedure in elderly patients with associated discopathy and higher BMI. In younger patients, there was less fat infiltration of lumbar paravertebral muscles with percutaneous procedures.

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Christian Gross, Alain Rougier, Dominique Guehl, Thomas Boraud, Jean Julien, and Bernard Bioulac

✓ The effectiveness of ventroposterolateral pallidotomy in the treatment of akinesia and rigidity is not a new discovery and agrees with recent investigations into the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease, which highlight the role played by the unbridled activity of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) and the consequent overactivity of the globus pallidus internalis (GPi). Because high-frequency stimulation can reversibly incapacitate a nerve structure, we applied stimulation to the same target.

Seven patients suffering from severe Parkinson's disease (Stages III–V on the Hoehn and Yahr scale) and, particularly, bradykinesia, rigidity, and levodopa-induced dyskinesias underwent unilateral electrode implantation in the posteroventral GPi. Follow-up evaluation using the regular Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale has been conducted for 1 year in all seven patients, 2 years in five of them, and 3 years in one. In all cases high-frequency stimulation has alleviated akinesia and rigidity and has generally improved gait and speech disturbances. In some cases tremor was attenuated. In a similar manner, the authors observed a marked diminution in levodopa-induced dyskinesias. This could be an excellent primary therapy for younger patients exhibiting severe bradykinesia, rigidity, and levodopa-induced dyskinesias, which would allow therapists to keep ventroposterolateral pallidotomy in reserve as a second weapon.

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Suhan Senova, Koichi Hosomi, Jean-Marc Gurruchaga, Gaëtane Gouello, Naoufel Ouerchefani, Yara Beaugendre, Hélène Lepetit, Jean-Pascal Lefaucheur, Romina Aron Badin, Julien Dauguet, Caroline Jan, Philippe Hantraye, Pierre Brugières, and Stéphane Palfi

OBJECTIVE

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is a well-established therapy for motor symptoms in patients with pharmacoresistant Parkinson's disease (PD). However, the procedure, which requires multimodal perioperative exploration such as imaging, electrophysiology, or clinical examination during macrostimulation to secure lead positioning, remains challenging because the STN cannot be reliably visualized using the gold standard, T2-weighted imaging (T2WI) at 1.5 T. Thus, there is a need to improve imaging tools to better visualize the STN, optimize DBS lead implantation, and enlarge DBS diffusion.

METHODS

Gradient-echo sequences such as those used in T2WI suffer from higher distortions at higher magnetic fields than spin-echo sequences. First, a spin-echo 3D SPACE (sampling perfection with application-optimized contrasts using different flip angle evolutions) FLAIR sequence at 3 T was designed, validated histologically in 2 nonhuman primates, and applied to 10 patients with PD; their data were clinically compared in a double-blind manner with those of a control group of 10 other patients with PD in whom STN targeting was performed using T2WI.

RESULTS

Overlap between the nonhuman primate STNs segmented on 3D-histological and on 3D-SPACE-FLAIR volumes was high for the 3 most anterior quarters (mean [± SD] Dice scores 0.73 ± 0.11, 0.74 ± 0.06, and 0.60 ± 0.09). STN limits determined by the 3D-SPACE-FLAIR sequence were more consistent with electrophysiological edges than those determined by T2WI (0.9 vs 1.4 mm, respectively). The imaging contrast of the STN on the 3D-SPACE-FLAIR sequence was 4 times higher (p < 0.05). Improvement in the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale Part III score (off medication, on stimulation) 12 months after the operation was higher for patients who underwent 3D-SPACE-FLAIR–guided implantation than for those in whom T2WI was used (62.2% vs 43.6%, respectively; p < 0.05). The total electrical energy delivered decreased by 36.3% with the 3D-SPACE-FLAIR sequence (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

3D-SPACE-FLAIR sequences at 3 T improved STN lead placement under stereotactic conditions, improved the clinical outcome of patients with PD, and increased the benefit/risk ratio of STN-DBS surgery.