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John H. Schneider, Martin H. Weiss and William T. Couldwell

✓ The Los Angeles County General Hospital has played an integral role in the development of medicine and neurosurgery in Southern California. From its fledgling beginnings, the University of Southern California School of Medicine has been closely affiliated with the hospital, providing the predominant source of clinicians to care for and to utilize as a teaching resource the immense and varied patient population it serves.

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Martin P. Berry, R. Derek T. Jenkin, Colin W. Keen, Bhavani D. Nair and W. John Simpson

✓ One hundred and twenty-two patients with medulloblastoma received postoperative irradiation at the Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, from 1958 to 1978, inclusive. The surgical procedure in these patients was total resection (44 patients), subtotal resection (66 patients), or biopsy alone (12 patients). Twenty-five patients received adjuvant chemotherapy.

Overall 5- and 10-year survival rates were 56% and 43%, respectively. Improved survival rates were associated with an increased degree of resection and with posterior fossa radiation doses of 5200 rads or more. The posterior fossa was the common site of first relapse (in 56 patients, 46%). Systemic metastases at first relapse occurred in 18 of 52 patients (35%), and were associated with the use of ventriculosystemic shunts. Millipore filters did not prevent systemic relapse in shunted patients.

A subset of 15 patients who received a posterior fossa dose of 5200 rads or more after a total resection had a 5-year survival rate of 77%, which remained constant to 10 years. This result is considered to be the upper limit that can be achieved by current treatment methods.

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John S. Kuo, Cynthia Hawkins, James T. Rutka and Martin H. Weiss

Object

The authors investigated the feasibility of using fat allografts (chemically treated to reduce the host immune response) for neurosurgical applications.

Methods

Subcutaneous fat specimens collected from New Zealand White rabbits were treated with DNAse I and sodium deoxycholate to reduce immunogenicity before subcutaneous, midscapular implantation in immunocompetent recipient rabbits. Allograft incorporation and the host-allograft response were examined at 1, 6, and 11 weeks by histopathological analysis. Control specimens of autograft and untreated fat allograft implants were examined for comparison.

Results

The host immune response was markedly reduced in the region around the chemically treated fat allografts when compared with untreated allografts, and was similar to the tolerant host response to autografts.

Conclusions

Based on their results, the authors suggest that fat allografts processed for reduced immunogenicity may be a convenient, viable alternative for neurosurgical applications.

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Raqeeb M. Haque, Hani R. Malone, Martin W. Bauknight, Michael A. Kellner, Alfred T. Ogden, John H. Martin, Kurenai Tanji and Christopher J. Winfree

Object

Despite extensive study, no meaningful progress has been made in encouraging healing and recovery across the site of spinal cord injury (SCI) in humans. Spinal cord bypass surgery is an unconventional strategy in which intact peripheral nerves rostral to the level of injury are transferred into the spinal cord below the injury. This report details the feasibility of using spinal accessory nerves to bypass cervical SCI and intercostal nerves to bypass thoracolumbar SCI in human cadavers.

Methods

Twenty-three human cadavers underwent cervical and/or lumbar laminectomy and dural opening to expose the cervical cord and/or conus medullaris. Spinal accessory nerves were harvested from the Erb point to the origin of the nerve's first major branch into the trapezius. Intercostal nerves from the T6–12 levels were dissected from the lateral border of paraspinal muscles to the posterior axillary line. The distal ends of dissected nerves were then transferred medially and sequentially inserted 4 mm deep into the ipsilateral cervical cord (spinal accessory nerve) or conus medullaris (intercostals). The length of each transferred nerve was measured, and representative distal and proximal cross-sections were preserved for axonal counting.

Results

Spinal accessory nerves were consistently of sufficient length to be transferred to caudal cervical spinal cord levels (C4–8). Similarly, intercostal nerves (from T-7 to T-12) were of sufficient length to be transferred in a tension-free manner to the conus medullaris. Spinal accessory data revealed an average harvested nerve length of 15.85 cm with the average length needed to reach C4–8 of 4.7, 5.9, 6.5, 7.1, and 7.8 cm. The average length of available intercostal nerve from each thoracic level compared with the average length required to reach the conus medullaris in a tension-free manner was determined to be as follows (available, required in cm): T-7 (18.0, 14.5), T-8 (18.7, 11.7), T-9 (18.8, 9.0), T-10 (19.6, 7.0), T-11 (18.8, 4.6), and T-12 (15.8, 1.5). The number of myelinated axons present on cross-sectional analysis predictably decreased along both spinal accessory and intercostal nerves as they coursed distally.

Conclusions

Both spinal accessory and intercostal nerves, accessible from a posterior approach in the prone position, can be successfully harvested and transferred to their respective targets in the cervical spinal cord and conus medullaris. As expected, the number of axons available to grow into the spinal cord diminishes distally along each nerve. To maximize axon “bandwidth” in nerve bypass procedures, the most proximal section of the nerve that can be transferred in a tension-free manner to a spinal level caudal to the level of injury should be implanted. This study supports the feasibility of SAN and intercostal nerve transfer as a means of treating SCI and may assist in the preoperative selection of candidates for future human clinical trials of cervical and thoracolumbar SCI bypass surgery.

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Emma J. Williams, Cliff S. Bunch, T. Adrian Carpenter, Stephen P. M. J. Downey, Iona V. Kendall, Marek Czosnyka, John D. Pickard, John Martin and David K. Menon

✓ There is increasing recognition that magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and spectroscopy may provide important information in the assessment of patients with acute brain injury. However, optimum care of the acutely head injured patient requires monitoring of intracranial pressure (ICP). Although many monitoring modalities have been integrated into commercially available MR-compatible systems, there have been no reports of commonly used intraparenchymal ICP sensors in an MR environment. The authors describe the use of an ICP micromanometer probe in an MR environment, with a fiberoptic connection that interfaces the probe with a commercially available MR-compatible monitoring system. Phantom studies were performed to demonstrate the safety and compatibility of the modified MR system at 0.5 tesla. The safety of the device was assessed in relation to its interaction with the static, gradient, and radiofrequency fields used in MR imaging. The MR compatibility was documented by demonstrating that its performance was unaffected by the operation of imaging sequences and by showing that there was no degradation of the diagnostic quality of imaging data obtained during ICP monitoring.

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Robert P. Naftel, Chevis N. Shannon, Gavin T. Reed, Richard Martin, Jeffrey P. Blount, R. Shane Tubbs and John C. Wellons III

Object

The use of intraventricular endoscopy to achieve diagnosis or to resect accessible intraventricular or paraventricular tumors has been described in the literature in both adults and children. Traditionally, these techniques have not been used in patients with small ventricles due to the perceived risk of greater morbidity. The authors review their experience with the effectiveness and safety of endoscopic brain tumor management in children with small ventricles.

Methods

Between July 2002 and December 2009, 24 children with endoscopically managed brain tumors were identified. Radiological images were reviewed by a radiologist blinded to study goals and clinical setting. Patients were categorized into small-ventricle and ventriculomegaly groups based on frontal and occipital horn ratio. Surgical success was defined a priori and analyzed between groups. Trends were identified in selected subgroups, including complications related to pathological diagnosis and surgeon experience.

Results

Six children had small ventricles and 18 had ventriculomegaly. The ability to accomplish surgical goals was statistically equivalent in children with small ventricles and those with ventriculomegaly (83% vs 89%, respectively, p = 1.00). There were no complications in the small-ventricle cohort, but in the ventriculomegaly cohort there were 2 cases of postoperative hemorrhages and 1 case of infection. All hemorrhagic complications occurred in patients with high-grade tumor histopathological type and were early in the surgeon's endoscopic career.

Conclusions

Based on our experience, endoscopy should not be withheld in children with intraventricular tumors and small ventricles. Complications appear to be more dependent on tumor histopathological type and surgeon experience than ventricular size.

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Andrew Romeo, Robert P. Naftel, Christoph J. Griessenauer, Gavin T. Reed, Richard Martin, Chevis N. Shannon, Paul A. Grabb, R. Shane Tubbs and John C. Wellons III

Object

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is an alternative to shunt placement in children with hydrocephalus due to tectal plate gliomas (TPGs). However, controversy remains regarding the amount of ventricular size reduction that should be expected after ETV. This study investigates ventricular size change after ETV for TPGs.

Methods

Twenty-two children were identified from a 15-year retrospective database of neuroendoscopic procedures performed at the authors' institution, Children's Hospital of Alabama, in patients with a minimum of 1 year of follow-up. Clinical outcomes, including the need for further CSF diversion and symptom resolution, were recorded. The frontal and occipital horn ratio (FOR) was measured on pre- and postoperative, 1-year, and last follow-up imaging studies.

Results

In 17 (77%) of 22 children no additional procedure for CSF diversion was required. Of those in whom CSF diversion failed, 4 underwent successful repeat ETV and 1 required shunt replacement. Therefore, in 21 (96%) of 22 patients, CSF diversion was accomplished with ETV. Preoperative and postoperative imaging was available for 18 (82%) of 22 patients. The FOR decreased in 89% of children who underwent ETV. The FOR progressively decreased 1.7%, 11.2%, and 12.7% on the initial postoperative, 1-year, and last follow-up images, respectively. The mean radiological follow-up duration for 18 patients was 5.4 years. When ETV failed, the FOR increased at the time of failure in all patients. Failure occurred 1.6 years after initial ETV on average. The mean clinical follow-up period for all 22 patients was 5.3 years. In all cases clinical improvement was demonstrated at the last follow-up.

Conclusions

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy successfully treated hydrocephalus in the extended follow-up period of patients with TPGs. The most significant reduction in ventricular size was observed at the the 1-year followup, with only modest reduction thereafter.

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Adrian T. H. Casey, H. Alan Crockard, J. Martin Bland, John Stevens, Ronald Moskovich and Andrew Ransford

✓ The functional results of surgery in patients with myelopathic nonambulatory rheumatoid arthritis (Ranawat Class IIIb) are often disappointing, with high rates of postoperative morbidity and mortality. The authors therefore undertook a detailed investigation of a cohort of 55 Ranawat Class IIIb patients (11 men and 44 women) with a mean age of 64.7 years who were recruited prospectively over a 10-year period (1983–1993), to determine what factors may accurately predict a good surgical outcome. Only 14 patients (25.5%) were judged to have had a favorable outcome as determined by an improvement to Ranawat Class I or II or an improvement of at least 0.5 points in the Stanford Health Assessment Questionnaire disability index. The early postoperative mortality rate was high (12.7%) in this group and almost one-quarter of the patients were dead within 6 months. These poor results mirror those already published in the existing literature.

Univariate analysis revealed that age (p = 0.02), degree of vertical translocation (p = 0.05), and, more importantly, spinal cord area (p = 0.006) were significant predictors of outcome. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that spinal cord area (p = 0.026) was, in fact, the major determinant of outcome and, indeed, of long-term survival (p = 0.001). The mean spinal cord area of those patients not achieving a good outcome was 44 mm2. The atlantodens interval (ADI) was not shown to be a significant outcome determinant, which may be explained by the correlation between an increasing vertical translocation and a decreasing ADI (r = 0.4, p = 0.01). Furthermore, as the degree of vertical translocation increased, the space available for the cord was observed to decrease (p = 0.003) commensurate with a reduction in spinal cord area (p = 0.02). Together, these findings strongly argue for earlier surgical intervention, before the development of vertical translocation, permanent neurological damage, and spinal cord atrophy can occur.