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Jeremy Steinberger, Dominic A. Nistal and Saadi Ghatan

Infantile hemangiomas (IHs) are the most common benign neoplasm of the neonatal and newborn period, affecting approximately 5% of infants. However, true IHs presenting in the neuraxis are quite rare with only 15 documented cases in the literature. Management of IH consists of utilizing steroids and immunomodulatory therapies to reduce the size of the tumor and surgery to remove the tumor to decrease symptoms and the risk of bleeding. Operative management of epidural and intradural extramedullary spinal hemangiomas has been described; however, management of intradural intramedullary IH has not been detailed in the literature. In this report, the authors describe the case of a 3-year-old girl who presented with multiple hemangiomas involving the liver, lung, and spine, with one component of the tumor involving the posterior intramedullary aspect of the spinal cord at the level of T3. After medical therapies had failed, the patient underwent endovascular embolization of the spinal hemangioma followed by resection of the tumor. While there is extensive literature on IH throughout many organ systems, only a handful of cases involving the neuraxis have been described. Operative management of refractory IH seems to allow for the reduction of tumor burden and the prevention of hemorrhagic injury.

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Yakov Gologorsky, Branko Skovrlj, Jeremy Steinberger, Max Moore, Marc Arginteanu, Frank Moore and Alfred Steinberger

Object

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) with segmental pedicular instrumentation is a wellestablished procedure used to treat lumbar spondylosis with or without spondylolisthesis. Available biomechanical and clinical studies that compared unilateral and bilateral constructs have produced conflicting data regarding patient outcomes and hardware complications.

Methods

A prospective cohort study was undertaken by a group of neurosurgeons. They prospectively enrolled 80 patients into either bilateral or unilateral pedicle screw instrumentation groups (40 patients/group). Demographic data collected for each group included sex, age, body mass index, tobacco use, and Workers' Compensation/litigation status. Operative data included segments operated on, number of levels involved, estimated blood loss, length of hospital stay, and perioperative complications. Long-term outcomes (hardware malfunction, wound dehiscence, and pseudarthrosis) were recorded. For all patients, preoperative baseline and 6-month postoperative scores for Medical Outcomes 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) outcomes were recorded.

Results

Patient follow-up times ranged from 37 to 63 months (mean 52 months). No patients were lost to follow-up. The patients who underwent unilateral pedicle screw instrumentation (unilateral cohort) were slightly younger than those who underwent bilateral pedicle screw instrumentation (bilateral cohort) (mean age 42 vs 47 years, respectively; p = 0.02). No other significant differences were detected between cohorts with regard to demographic data, mean number of lumbar levels operated on, or distribution of the levels operated on. Estimated blood loss was higher for patients in the bilateral cohort, but length of stay was similar for patients in both cohorts. The incidence of pseudarthrosis was significantly higher among patients in the unilateral cohort (7 patients [17.5%]) than among those in the bilateral cohort (1 patient [2.5%]) (p = 0.02). Wound dehiscence occurred for 1 patient in the unilateral cohort. Reoperation was offered to 8 patients in the unilateral cohort and 1 patient in the bilateral cohort (p = 0.03). The physical component scores of the Medical Outcomes SF-36 outcomes improved significantly for all patients (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion with either unilateral or bilateral segmental pedicular instrumentation is an effective treatment for lumbar spondylosis. Because patients with unilateral constructs were 7 times more likely to experience pseudarthrosis and require reoperation, TLIF with bilateral constructs might be the biomechanically superior technique.

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Justin Mascitelli, Kenneth De Los Reyes, Jeremy Steinberger and Hongyan Zou

Ommaya reservoirs are routinely placed for the administration of intrathecal chemotherapy or antibiotics. There is scant literature that addresses the functionality of an Ommaya catheter placed exclusively within a cavum septum pellucidum (CSP). In this case, the authors placed an Ommaya reservoir in a 30-year-old man with Burkitt lymphoma in the CNS for intrathecal chemotherapy. The catheter tip was placed within a large CSP. The authors demonstrated failure of the system by injecting contrast agent into the reservoir and obtaining immediate and delayed CT scans that failed to demonstrate contrast dissemination into the ventricular system. An Ommaya reservoir placed exclusively within a CSP is potentially not functional, and can be dangerous if used for intrathecal drug therapy.

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Andre Tomasino, Karishma Parikh, Heiko Koller, Walter Zink, A. John Tsiouris, Jeremy Steinberger and Roger Härtl

Object

The purpose of this retrospective study was to quantify the anatomical relationship between the vertebral artery (VA), the cervical pedicle, and its surrounding structures, including the incidence of irregularities. Additionally, data delineating a “safe zone,” and these data's application during instrumentation with transpedicular cervical screw fixation were considered. The anatomical proximity of the VA to the cervical pedicle prevents spine surgeons from preferring cervical pedicle screws (CPSs) over lateral mass screws at levels C3–6. Accurate placement of CPSs is often difficult to determine, because this definition can vary between 1 and 4 mm of lateral “noncritical” and “critical” pedicle breaches. No previous study in a western population has investigated the VA's proximity to the cervical pedicle, its percentage of occupancy in the transverse foramen (TF), and the incidence of irregular VA pathways.

Methods

One hundred twenty-seven consecutive patients who underwent CT angiography of the neck were enrolled in this study. The measurements included the following: medial pedicle border to VA; lateral pedicle border to VA; pedicle diameter (PD); sagittal diameter of the VA; coronal diameter of the VA; sagittal diameter of the TF; and coronal diameter of the TF. The cross-sections of the VA and the TF were measured to determine the occupation ratio of the VA. In addition, a safe zone was defined based on all lateral pedicle border to VA measurements in which the VA was within the TF. The level of entry of the VA into the TF as well as irregularities of the VA and the cervical pedicles were recorded.

Results

Vertebral artery dominance on the left side was seen in 69.3% of cases. The mean PD increased from 4.9 to 6.5 mm (from C-3 to C-7, respectively). Statistically significantly bigger PDs were seen in males. The mean PD at C-2 was 5.6 mm. Entry of the VA at C-6 was seen in approximately 80% of cases. The TF occupation ratio of the VA was found to be the greatest in C-4 and C-7 (37.1 and 74.2%, respectively). The safe zone increased from C-2 to C-6 (1.1 to 1.7 mm, respectively), but was only 0.65 mm at C-7. In 23.6% of cases, an irregular pathway of the VA or irregular anatomy of a cervical pedicle was seen, with the highest incidence of irregularities found at C-2.

Conclusions

Computed tomography angiography is a valuable tool that can help determine the relationships between cervical pedicles and the VA as well as irregular VA pathways. Pedicle diameter, safe zone, and occupational ratio of the VA in the foramen determine the risk associated with instrumentation and should be assessed individually. Based on the authors' measurements, C-4 and C-7 can be considered critical levels for CPS placement. Because of this and the high incidence of irregular VA pathways and different entry points, it may be helpful to review neck CT angiography studies before considering posterior instrumentation procedures in the cervical spine.