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Petra M. Klinge, Abigail McElroy, John E. Donahue, Thomas Brinker, Ziya L. Gokaslan, and Michael D. Beland

OBJECTIVE

The craniocervical junction (CCJ) is anatomically complex and comprises multiple joints that allow for wide head and neck movements. The thecal sac must adjust to such movements. Accordingly, the thecal sac is not rigidly attached to the bony spinal canal but instead tethered by fibrous suspension ligaments, including myodural bridges (MDBs). The authors hypothesized that pathological spinal cord motion is due to the laxity of such suspension bands in patients with connective tissue disorders, e.g., hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS).

METHODS

The ultrastructure of MDBs that were intraoperatively harvested from patients with Chiari malformation was investigated with transmission electron microscopy, and 8 patients with EDS were compared with 8 patients without EDS. MRI was used to exclude patients with EDS and craniocervical instability (CCI). Real-time ultrasound was used to compare the spinal cord at C1–2 of 20 patients with EDS with those of 18 healthy control participants.

RESULTS

The ultrastructural damage of the collagen fibrils of the MDBs was distinct in patients with EDS, indicating a pathological mechanical laxity. In patients with EDS, ultrasound revealed increased cardiac pulsatory motion and irregular displacement of the spinal cord during head movements.

CONCLUSIONS

Laxity of spinal cord suspension ligaments and the associated spinal cord motion disorder are possible pathogenic factors for chronic neck pain and headache in patients with EDS but without radiologically proven CCI.

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Robert E. Elliott, Stephen Rush, Amr Morsi, Nisha Mehta, Jeri Spriet, Ashwatha Narayana, Bernadine Donahue, Erik C. Parker, and John G. Golfinos

Object

Reports on resection of tumors in or near eloquent cortices have noted neurological complications in up to 30% of patients. This paper contains an analysis of symptom resolution and neurological morbidity following 20-Gy Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for supratentorial brain metastases ≤ 2 cm in greatest diameter.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 98 consecutively treated adults (33 men and 65 women with a median age of 61.4 years at the time of GKS) with Karnofsky Performance Scale score ≥ 60, who underwent GKS for supratentorial brain metastases ≤ 2 cm in diameter. Lesion location was classified as noneloquent (Grade I), near eloquent (Grade II), or eloquent (Grade III), in accordance with the grading system developed by the group at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Following treatment, the patients underwent MR imaging and clinical examinations at 6 weeks and every 3 months thereafter.

Results

Ninety-eight patients underwent 20-Gy GKS for 131 metastases at initial presentation and 31 patients underwent salvage 20-Gy GKS for 76 new lesions, for a total of 207 lesions (mean lesion volume 0.44 cm3). Lesions were classified as follows: Grade I, 96 (46.4%); Grade II, 51 (24.6%); and Grade III, 60 (29%). Fifteen patients (2 with Grade II and 13 with Grade III lesions) presented with deficits referable to their lesions, yielding pre-GKS deficit rates of 7.2% per lesion and 15.3% per patient. The pre-GKS deficits improved or resolved in 10 patients (66.7%) at a median time of 2.8 months and remained stable in 3 patients (20%). Two patients (13.3%) experienced worsened neurological deficits. One patient who was neurologically intact prior to treatment developed a new hemiparesis (1 of 83 patients [1.2%]). The rates of permanent neurological deterioration following GKS for Grades I, II, and III lesions were 0% (0 of 96 tumors), 2% (1 of 51), and 3.3% (2 of 60), respectively. The pre-GKS neurological deficits and larger lesions were the most significant risk factors for post-GKS neurological deterioration.

Conclusions

Gamma Knife surgery performed using a 20-Gy dose provides amelioration of neurological deficits from brain metastases that are ≤ 2 cm in diameter and located in or near eloquent cortices in nearly two-thirds of patients with a low incidence of morbidity. Consistent with the surgical literature, higher rates of neurological complications were observed as proximity to eloquent regions and lesion size increased. There was no neurological deterioration in patients harboring metastases in noneloquent areas.

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Stephen Rush, Robert E. Elliott, Amr Morsi, Nisha Mehta, Jeri Spriet, Ashwatha Narayana, Bernadine Donahue, Erik C. Parker, and John G. Golfinos

Object

In this paper, the authors' goal was to analyze the incidence, timing, and treatment of new metastases following initial treatment with 20-Gy Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) alone in patients with limited brain metastases without whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT).

Methods

A retrospective analysis of 114 consecutive adults (75 women and 34 men; median age 61 years) with KPS scores of 60 or higher who received GKS for 1–3 brain metastases ≤ 2 cm was performed (median lesion volume 0.35 cm3). Five patients lacking follow-up data were excluded from analysis. After treatment, patients underwent MR imaging at 6 weeks and every 3 months thereafter. New metastases were preferentially treated with additional GKS. Indications for WBRT included development of numerous metastases, leptomeningeal disease, or diffuse surgical-site recurrence.

Results

The median overall survival from GKS was 13.8 months. Excluding the 3 patients who died before follow-up imaging, 12 patients (11.3%) experienced local failure at a median of 7.4 months. Fifty-three patients (50%) developed new metastases at a median of 5 months. Six (7%) of 86 instances of new lesions were symptomatic. Most patients (67%) with distant failures were successfully treated using salvage GKS alone. Whole-brain radiotherapy was indicated in 20 patients (18.3%). Thirteen patients (11.9%) died of neurological disease.

Conclusions

For patients with limited brain metastases and functional independence, 20-Gy GKS provides excellent disease control and high-functioning survival with minimal morbidity. New metastases developed in almost 50% of patients, but additional GKS was extremely effective in controlling disease. Using our algorithm, fewer than 20% of patients required WBRT, and only 12% died of progressive intracranial disease.