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Jun Jiang, Zezhang Zhu, Bangping Qian, Zhen Liu and Yong Qiu

Cervical myelomeningocele (MMC) is an uncommon congenital malformation of the spinal cord and accounts for a small proportion of neural tube defects. These lesions mostly occur in the dorsal part of the body. Only a single case of an anterior cervical MMC has been previously reported. The authors report a second case of anterior cervical MMC diagnosed when the patient began to experience symptoms of bilateral hand weakness in adulthood. In this patient, MR imaging of the cervical spine showed an anterior cervical MMC at the C6–7 level with hydrocephalus, thinning of the genu and trunk of the corpus callosum, maldevelopment of the cerebellar tonsils, and expansion of the fourth ventricle, posterior cranial fossa, and subarachnoid space. A CT scan and a 3D CT reconstruction of the cervical spine clearly demonstrated contiguous fusions of multiple lower-cervical vertebrae and neural arches, which was consistent with Type III Klippel-Feil syndrome. The patient was advised to undergo operative treatment to prevent the progression of her neurological deficit. However, after being notified of the potential neurological risks, the patient declined surgery and opted for conservative treatment with a hard neck collar. At 4 months' follow-up, the patient's neurological deficit remains stable with the MMC left untreated. The authors presume that the possible pathogenesis of anterior cervical MMC may greatly differ from that of posterior lesions. This lesion could also be associated with multiple other spinal abnormalities, which highlights the importance of comprehensive preoperative radiological examinations.

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Sebastian Rubino, Jiang Qian, Carlos D. Pinheiro-Neto, Tyler J. Kenning and Matthew A. Adamo

Hypothalamic hamartomas are benign tumors known to cause gelastic or dacrystic seizures, precocious puberty, developmental delay, and medically refractory epilepsy. These tumors are most often sporadic but rarely can be associated with Pallister-Hall syndrome, an autosomal dominant familial syndrome caused by truncation of glioblastoma transcription factor 3, a downstream effector in the sonic hedgehog pathway. In this clinical report, the authors describe two brothers with a different familial syndrome. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first report in the literature describing a familial syndrome caused by germline mutations in the Smoothened (SMO) gene and the first familial syndrome associated with hypothalamic hamartomas other than Pallister-Hall syndrome. The authors discuss the endoscopic endonasal biopsy and subtotal resection of a large hypothalamic hamartoma in one of the patients as well as the histopathological findings encountered. Integral to this discussion is the understanding of the hedgehog pathway; therefore, the underpinnings of this pathway and its clinical associations to date are also reviewed.

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Eric M. Deshaies, Matthew A. Adamo, Jiang Qian and Darryl A. DiRisio

✓ This 79-year-old woman presented with progressively worsening dementia, abulia, flat affect, urinary incontinence, and profuse watery diarrhea. Results of computerized tomography and magnetic resonance studies indicated an extraaxial, dural-based mass compressing the right frontal lobe and consistent with a convexity meningioma. A right frontal craniotomy was performed and the dural-based mass was resected. Histopathological features on immunostaining of the lesion were consistent with a carcinoid tumor (low-grade neuroendocrine carcinoma). Further evaluation revealed no primary carcinoid tumor in the foregut from which they typically originate. The authors concluded that this intracranial carcinoid tumor was the primary lesion despite its unusual location and that it should be included in the differential diagnosis of dural-based, extraaxial brain lesions.

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Alan S. Boulos, Eric M. Deshaies, Jiang Qian and A. John Popp

✓ In this report, the authors discuss a novel use of intradural vertebral artery (VA) stent placement to protect a tumor-encased vessel from injury during lesion resection. The tumor was a rare foramen magnum region xanthogranuloma and a component of Erdheim—Chester disease (ECD). This 64-year-old man presented with large masses encasing and compressing the intracranial segments of each VA. Preoperatively, a left VA stent was placed to protect the arterial wall during resection of the tumor. Histopathological study results on the subtotally resected mass were consistent with xanthogranuloma, a rare benign histiocytic tumor frequently occurring in patients with ECD. Further radiographic evaluation in the patient revealed an osteolytic lesion of the eleventh thoracic vertebra supporting the diagnosis of ECD disease. Based on this case study, the authors recommend the following: 1) tumor-encased vessels can be protected preoperatively by stent placement to assist with tumor debulking; and 2) patients diagnosed with a xanthogranuloma should be evaluated for multisystem involvement consistent with ECD.

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Sebastian Rubino, Jiang Qian, Carlos D. Pinheiro-Neto, Tyler J. Kenning and Matthew A. Adamo

Hypothalamic hamartomas are benign tumors known to cause gelastic or dacrystic seizures, precocious puberty, developmental delay, and medically refractory epilepsy. These tumors are most often sporadic but rarely can be associated with Pallister-Hall syndrome, an autosomal dominant familial syndrome caused by truncation of glioblastoma transcription factor 3, a downstream effector in the sonic hedgehog pathway. In this clinical report, the authors describe two brothers with a different familial syndrome. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first report in the literature describing a familial syndrome caused by germline mutations in the Smoothened (SMO) gene and the first familial syndrome associated with hypothalamic hamartomas other than Pallister-Hall syndrome. The authors discuss the endoscopic endonasal biopsy and subtotal resection of a large hypothalamic hamartoma in one of the patients as well as the histopathological findings encountered. Integral to this discussion is the understanding of the hedgehog pathway; therefore, the underpinnings of this pathway and its clinical associations to date are also reviewed.

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Bang-ping Qian, Ji-chen Huang, Yong Qiu, Bin Wang, Yang Yu, Ze-zhang Zhu, Sai-hu Mao and Jun Jiang

OBJECTIVE

To describe the incidence of complications in spinal osteotomy for thoracolumbar kyphosis caused by ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and to investigate the risk factors for these complications.

METHODS

From April 2000 to July 2017, 342 consecutive AS patients with a mean age (± SD) of 35.4 ± 9.8 years (range 17–71 years) undergoing spinal osteotomy were enrolled. Patients with complications within the 1st postoperative year were identified. Demographic, radiological, and surgical data were compared between patients with and without complications. The complications were classified into intraoperative and postoperative complications.

RESULTS

A total of 310 consecutive pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) and 37 multiple Smith-Petersen osteotomy (SPO) procedures were performed in 342 patients. Overall, 47 complications were identified in 47 patients (13.7%), including 31 intraoperative complications and 16 postoperative complications. Patients with complications were older than those without (p = 0.006). A significant difference was observed in preoperative global kyphosis (GK), lumbar lordosis (LL), sagittal vertical axis (SVA), and the correction of these radiographic parameters between patients with and without complications (p < 0.05). Two-level PSO (p = 0.022) and an increased number of instrumented vertebrae (p = 0.019) were significantly associated with an increased risk of complications.

CONCLUSIONS

The overall incidence of complications was 13.7%. Age; preoperative GK, LL, and SVA; the correction of GK, LL, and SVA; 2-level PSO; and number of instrumented vertebrae were risk factors. Therefore, the potential risk of extensive surgeries with large correction and long fusion in older AS patients with severe GK should be seriously considered in surgical decision-making.

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Guo-Bao Wang, Ai-Ping Yu, Chye Yew Ng, Gao-Wei Lei, Xiao-Min Wang, Yan-Qun Qiu, Jun-Tao Feng, Tie Li, Qing-Zhong Chen, Qian-Ru He, Fei Ding, Shu-Sen Cui, Yu-Dong Gu, Jian-Guang Xu, Su Jiang and Wen-Dong Xu

OBJECTIVE

Contralateral C7 (CC7) nerve root has been used as a donor nerve for targeted neurotization in the treatment of total brachial plexus palsy (TBPP). The authors aimed to study the contribution of C7 to the innervation of specific upper-limb muscles and to explore the utility of C7 nerve root as a recipient nerve in the management of TBPP.

METHODS

This was a 2-part investigation. 1) Anatomical study: the C7 nerve root was dissected and its individual branches were traced to the muscles in 5 embalmed adult cadavers bilaterally. 2) Clinical series: 6 patients with TBPP underwent CC7 nerve transfer to the middle trunk of the injured side. Outcomes were evaluated with the modified Medical Research Council scale and electromyography studies.

RESULTS

In the anatomical study there were consistent and predominantly C7-derived nerve fibers in the lateral pectoral, thoracodorsal, and radial nerves. There was a minor contribution from C7 to the long thoracic nerve. The average distance from the C7 nerve root to the lateral pectoral nerve entry point of the pectoralis major was the shortest, at 10.3 ± 1.4 cm. In the clinical series the patients had been followed for a mean time of 30.8 ± 5.3 months postoperatively. At the latest follow-up, 5 of 6 patients regained M3 or higher power for shoulder adduction and elbow extension. Two patients regained M3 wrist extension. All regained some wrist and finger extension, but muscle strength was poor. Compound muscle action potentials were recorded from the pectoralis major at a mean follow-up of 6.7 ± 0.8 months; from the latissimus dorsi at 9.3 ± 1.4 months; from the triceps at 11.5 ± 1.4 months; from the wrist extensors at 17.2 ± 1.5 months; from the flexor carpi radialis at 17.0 ± 1.1 months; and from the digital extensors at 22.8 ± 2.0 months. The average sensory recovery of the index finger was S2. Transient paresthesia in the hand on the donor side, which resolved within 6 months postoperatively, was reported by all patients.

CONCLUSIONS

The C7 nerve root contributes consistently to the lateral pectoral nerve, the thoracodorsal nerve, and long head of the triceps branch of the radial nerve. CC7 to C7 nerve transfer is a reconstructive option in the overall management plan for TBPP. It was safe and effective in restoring shoulder adduction and elbow extension in this patient series. However, recoveries of wrist and finger extensions are poor.