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Oscar Leal and John Miles

✓ A patient is reported with an epidermoid cyst of the brain stem, presenting as a progressive brain-stem mass, together with recurrent aseptic meningitis.

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William M. Lee and John E. Adams

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Karthik Madhavan, John Paul G. Kolcun, Lee Onn Chieng and Michael Y. Wang

Surgical robots have captured the interest—if not the widespread acceptance—of spinal neurosurgeons. But successful innovation, scientific or commercial, requires the majority to adopt a new practice. “Faster, better, cheaper” products should in theory conquer the market, but often fail. The psychology of change is complex, and the “follow the leader” mentality, common in the field today, lends little trust to the process of disseminating new technology. Beyond product quality, timing has proven to be a key factor in the inception, design, and execution of new technologies. Although the first robotic surgery was performed in 1985, scant progress was seen until the era of minimally invasive surgery. This movement increased neurosurgeons’ dependence on navigation and fluoroscopy, intensifying the drive for enhanced precision. Outside the field of medicine, various technology companies have made great progress in popularizing co-robots (“cobots”), augmented reality, and processor chips. This has helped to ease practicing surgeons into familiarity with and acceptance of these technologies. The adoption among neurosurgeons in training is a “follow the leader” phenomenon, wherein new surgeons tend to adopt the technology used during residency. In neurosurgery today, robots are limited to computers functioning between the surgeon and patient. Their functions are confined to establishing a trajectory for navigation, with task execution solely in the surgeon’s hands. In this review, the authors discuss significant untapped technologies waiting to be used for more meaningful applications. They explore the history and current manifestations of various modern technologies, and project what innovations may lie ahead.

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John D. Loeser, H. Lee Kilburn and Tim Jolley

✓ The authors describe three cases of neonatal depressed skull fracture subsequent to difficult delivery, treated without surgical elevation. None of the patients developed neurological deficits, cosmetic deformity or electroencephalographic signs of epileptiform activity. Neonatal depressed skull fractures not associated with focal neurological signs may not require surgical therapy; we are not certain what the absolute criteria for operation should be.

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David W. Roberts

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John S. Meyer, Susumu Ishikawa and T. K. Lee

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Michael L. Smith and John Y. K. Lee

✓Metastatic disease to the brain occurs in a significant percentage of patients with cancer and can limit survival and worsen quality of life. Glucocorticoids and whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) have been the mainstay of intracranial treatments, while craniotomy for tumor resection has been the standard local therapy. In the last few years however, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has emerged as an alternative form of local therapy. Studies completed over the past decade have helped to define the role of SRS. The authors review the evolution of the techniques used and the indications for SRS use to treat brain metastases. Stereotactic radiosurgery, compared with craniotomy, is a powerful local treatment modality especially useful for small, multiple, and deep metastases, and it is usually combined with WBRT for better regional control.

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John L. Go, Sandy C. Lee and Paul E. Kim

✓Primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) is an aggressive neoplastic process that occurs in both immuno-competent and immunocompromised patients. Over the past 30 years there has been a steady increase in the number of cases in both patient populations. The imaging features for the disease and demographic characteristics within these patient populations vary, and in this article the authors describe the salient features of these two groups.

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Sydney M. Hester, John F. Fisher, Mark R. Lee, Samuel Macomson and John R. Vender

Object

Intrathecal baclofen therapy has been used successfully for intractable spasticity in children with cerebral palsy. Infections are rare, but they are potentially life threatening if complicated by bacteremia or meningitis. Treatment without removal of the system is desirable if it can be done safely and effectively.

Methods

The authors reviewed the records of 207 patients ranging from 3 to 18 years of age with cerebral palsy who underwent placement or revision of a baclofen pump. They identified 38 patients with suspected or documented infectious complications. Initial attempts were made to eradicate infection with the devices in situ in all patients. Methods and effectiveness of pump salvage were evaluated.

Results

Of the 38 patients identified, 13 (34.2%) had documented infections; 11 had deep wound/pocket empyemas and 2 had meningitis. Eight patients with deep wound infections received intravenous antibiotics alone. All required pump explantation. The remaining 3 patients underwent a washout procedure as well; the infection was cured in 1 patient. Both patients with meningitis received intravenous and intrathecal antibiotics, and both required device explantation. In addition, 25 patients (65.8%) had excessive or increasing wound erythema. No objective criteria to document a superficial infection were present. The wounds were considered suspicious and were managed with serial examinations and oral antibiotics. The erythema resolved in 24 of the 25 patients.

Conclusions

In general, observation, wound care, and oral antibiotics are sufficient for wounds that are suspicious for superficial infection. For deep-seated infection, antibiotic therapy alone is generally insufficient and explantation is required. Washout procedures can be considered, but failures are common.