Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 17 items for

  • Author or Editor: John W. German x
Clear All Modify Search
Free access

Ravi H. Gandhi and John W. German

Object

A wide variety of spinal intradural pathology traditionally has been treated from a midline posterior laminectomy using standard microsurgical techniques. This approach has been successful in treating the pathology; however, it carries a risk of postoperative complications including CSF leakage, wound infection, and spinal instability. The authors describe a minimally invasive surgical (MIS) approach to treating spinal intradural pathology with a low rate of postoperative complications.

Methods

Through a retrospective review of a prospectively collected surgical database, the authors identified 26 patients who underwent 27 surgeries via an MIS approach for intradural pathology of the spine. Using a tubular retractor system and an operative microscope, the authors were able to treat all patients with a unilateral, paramedian, and muscle-splitting technique. They then collected data regarding operative blood loss, length of stay, imaging characteristics, and outcomes.

Results

Eight cervical, 8 thoracic, and 11 lumbar intradural pathological entities, which included 14 oncological lesions, 4 Chiari I malformations, 4 arachnoid cysts, 3 tethered cords, 1 syrinx, and 1 chronic visceral pain, were treated via an MIS approach. The average blood loss was 197 ml and the average hospital stay was 3 days. One patient had to return to the operating room for noninfectious wound dehiscence. One patient required reoperation 18 months after the initial surgery for recurrence of the initial pathology. There was no CSF leak, no infection, and no spinal instability associated with the initial surgery on follow-up.

Conclusions

Intradural spinal pathology can be safely and effectively treated with MIS approaches without an increased risk of neurological injury. This approach may also offer a reduced postoperative length of stay, risk of CSF leak, and risk of future spinal instability.

Full access

Tyler J. Kenning, Ravi H. Gandhi and John W. German

Object

Hinge craniotomy (HC) has recently been described as an alternative to decompressive craniectomy (DC). Although HC may obviate the need for cranial reconstruction, an analysis comparing HC to DC has not yet been published.

Methods

A retrospective review was conducted of 50 patients who underwent cranial decompression (20 with HC, 30 with DC). Baseline demographics, neurological examination results, and underlying pathology were reviewed. Clinical outcome was assessed by length of ventilatory support, length of intensive care unit stay, and survival at discharge. Control of intracranial hypertension was assessed by average daily intracranial pressure (ICP) for the duration of ICP monitoring and an ICP therapeutic intensity index. Radiographic outcomes were assessed by comparing preoperative and postoperative CT scans for: 1) Rotterdam score; 2) postoperative volume of cerebral expansion; 3) presence of uncal herniation; 4) intracerebral hemorrhage; and 5) extraaxial hematoma. Postoperative CT scans were analyzed for the size of the craniotomy/craniectomy and magnitude of extracranial herniation.

Results

No significant differences were identified in baseline demographics, neurological examination results, or Rotterdam score between the HC and DC groups. Both HC and DC resulted in adequate control of ICP, as reflected in the average ICP for each group of patients (HC = 12.0 ± 5.6 mm Hg, DC = 12.7 ± 4.4 mm Hg; p > 0.05) at the same average therapeutic intensity index (HC = 1.2 ± 0.3, DC = 1.2 ± 0.4; p > 0.05). The need for reoperation (3 [15%] of 20 patients in the HC group, 3 [10%] of 30 patients in the DC group; p > 0.05), hospital survival (15 [75%] of 20 in the HC group, 21 [70%] of 30 in the DC group; p > 0.05), and mean duration of both mechanical ventilation (9.0 ± 7.2 days in the HC group, 11.7 ± 12.0 days in the DC group; p > 0.05) and intensive care unit stay (11.6 ± 7.7 days in the HC group, 15.6 ± 15.3 days in the DC group; p > 0.05) were similar. The difference in operative time for the two procedures was not statistically significant (130.4 ± 71.9 minutes in the HC group, 124.9 ± 63.3 minutes in the DC group; p > 0.05). The size of the cranial defect was comparable between the 2 groups. Postoperative imaging characteristics, including Rotterdam score, also did not differ significantly. Although a smaller volume of cerebral expansion was associated with HC (77.5 ± 54.1 ml) than DC (105.1 ± 65.1 ml), this difference was not statistically significant.

Conclusions

Hinge craniotomy appears to be at least as good as DC in providing postoperative ICP control and results in equivalent early clinical outcomes.

Full access

Timothy Y. Tran, Irie E. Dunne and John W. German

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) continues to carry a significant public health burden and is anticipated to worsen worldwide over the next century. Recently the authors of several articles have suggested that exposure to beta blockers may improve mortality rates following TBI. The exact mechanism through which beta blockers mediate this effect is unknown. In this paper, the authors review the literature regarding the safety of beta blockers in patients with TBI. The findings of several recent retrospective cohort studies are examined and implications for future investigation are discussed. Future questions to be addressed include: the specific indications for the use of beta blockers in patients with TBI, the optimal type and dose of beta blocker given, the end point of beta blocker therapy, and the safety of beta blockers in cases of severe TBIs.

Full access

John W. German, Susan M. Kellie, Manjunath P. Pai and Paul T. Turner

Scedosporium apiospermum is a rare cause of fungal vertebral osteomyelitis that may result in chronic infection requiring multiple surgical interventions and long-term medical therapy. This case is the seventh one reported in the literature and is the first to include salvage surgery of a previous major spinal reconstruction. This report is also the first to describe the use of the new antifungal agent voriconazole. In treating this case of chronic vertebral osteomyelitis, several principles are emphasized from both the surgical and medical perspectives. From a surgical perspective, the use of salvage surgery, temporary avoidance of spinal instrumentation, and an appropriate choice of graft materials are emphasized. From a medical perspective, confirmation of the diagnosis, the need for long-term antifungal therapy, the need for long-term patient compliance, and the use of the new antifungal agent voriconazole are emphasized. Application of these principles has led to an adequate 2-year outcome.

Full access

M. Reid Gooch, Greg E. Gin, Tyler J. Kenning and John W. German

Object

Decompressive craniectomy is a potentially life-saving procedure used in the treatment of medically refractory intracranial hypertension, most commonly in the setting of trauma or cerebral infarction. Once performed, surviving patients are obligated to undergo a second procedure for cranial reconstruction. The complications following cranial reconstruction are not well described in the literature and may very well be underreported. A review of the complications would suggest measures to improve the care of these patients.

Methods

A retrospective chart review was undertaken of all patients who had undergone cranioplasty during a 7-year period. Demographic data, indications for craniectomy, as well as preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative parameters following cranioplasty, were recorded. Perioperative and postoperative complications were also recorded. Patients were classified as having no complications, any complications, and complications requiring reoperation. The groups were compared to identify risk factors predictive of poor outcomes.

Results

The authors identified 62 patients who had undergone cranioplasty. The immediate postoperative complication rate was 34%. Of these, 46 patients did not require reoperation and 16 did. Of those requiring reoperation, 7 were due to infection, 2 from wound breakdown, 2 from intracranial hemorrhage, 3 from bone resorption, and 1 from a sunken cranioplasty, and 1 patient's cranioplasty procedure was prematurely ended due to intraoperative hypotension and bradycardia. The only factor statistically associated with need for reoperation was the presence of a bifrontal cranial defect (bifrontal: 8 [67%] of 12, requiring reoperation; unilateral: 8 [16%] of 49 requiring reoperation; p < 0.01)

Conclusions

Cranioplasty following decompressive craniectomy is associated with a high complication rate. Patients undergoing a bifrontal craniectomy are at significantly increased risk for postcranioplasty complications, including the need for reoperation.

Restricted access

John W. German, Klugh Arnett III and Stephen L. Skirboll

Object

Falls from pickup truck cargo areas represent a unique mode of injury in children and adolescents. The goal of this study was to identify the neurological spectrum of injuries resulting from children riding in the back of pickup trucks.

Methods

The authors undertook a retrospective review of the University of New Mexico Hospital trauma registry of data compiled over a 7-year period. Their goal was to identify instances in which a fall or ejection from a pickup truck cargo area was the mechanism of injury. The charts of pediatric patients (≤ 16 years of age) with neurological injuries were reviewed and analyzed.

Seventy-three pediatric patients with injuries related to riding in the cargo areas of trucks were identified, of which 53 children (73%) had sustained neurological injuries. Among these 53 children, 64% sustained isolated head injuries, 15% isolated spine injuries, 9.4% combined spine and head injuries, 2% combined peripheral nerve, spine, and head injuries, 4% isolated peripheral nerve injuries, and 5.6% concussive events. In 53.4% of patients with neurological injuries the results of computed tomography (CT) examination were abnormal. In 36% of patients with Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) scores of 14 to 15 there was evidence of intracranial hemorrhage on head CT scans. Injury Severity Scores were similar in the patients who were ejected and those who fell from cargo areas, but patients who were ejected had a lower mean GCS score than those who suffered falls (GCS score 12.5 and 14.3, respectively).

Conclusions

Falls or ejections from pickup truck cargo areas result in a relatively high incidence of traumatic head, spine, and peripheral nerve injury. Head CT scanning should therefore be considered in pediatric patients with this mechanism of injury. Cargo area occupancy poses an unacceptable risk of injury and should be avoided.

Restricted access

Ken R. Winston and Kathryn M. Beauchamp

Restricted access

Dueng-Yuan Hueng and Che-Hung Yen

Restricted access

Tyler J. Kenning, John C. Dalfino, John W. German, Doniel Drazin and Matthew A. Adamo

Object

The subdural evacuating port system (SEPS; Medtronic, Inc.) is a minimally invasive means of draining subacute or chronic subdural fluid collections. The purpose of this study was to examine a single institution's results with the SEPS.

Methods

A retrospective chart review was undertaken for all patients who underwent SEPS drainage of subdural collections. Demographic and radiographic characteristics were evaluated. Both pre- and post-SEPS CT studies were analyzed to determine the volume of subdural collection and midline shift. Hospital charts were reviewed for SEPS output, and periprocedural complications were noted. Results were classified as a success (S) or failure (F) based on the need for further subdural drainage procedures. Groups were then compared to identify factors predictive of success.

Results

Eighty-five subdural collections were treated in 74 patients (unilateral collections in 63 patients and bilateral in 11). Sixty-three collections (74%) were successfully drained. In a comparison of the success and failure groups, there were no statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) in the mean age pre-SEPS, Glasgow Coma Scale score, presenting symptoms, underlying coagulopathy or use of anticoagulation/antiplatelet agents, laterality of SDH, pre-SEPS subdural volume or midline shift, or any of the measurements used to characterize SEPS placement. There were a greater number of male patients in the success group (45 [82%] of 55 patients vs 11 [58%] of 19 patients; p = 0.04). The only statistically significant (p < 0.05) factor predictive of success was the radiographic appearance of the subdural collection. More hypodense collections were successfully treated (32 [51%] of 63 collections vs 4 [18%] of 22 collections; p = 0.005), whereas mixed density collections were more likely to fail SEPS treatment (S: 11 [17%] of 63 collections vs F: 14 [64%] of 22 collections; p < 0.00001). In the success group, the percentage of the collection drained after SEPS was greater (S: 47.1 ± 32.8% vs F: 19.8 ± 28.2%; p = 0.001) and a larger output was drained (S: 190.7 ± 221.5 ml vs F: 60.2 ± 63.3 ml; p = 0.001). In the patients with available but delayed scans (≥ 30 days since SEPS placement), the residual subdural collection following successful SEPS evacuation was nearly identical to that remaining after open surgical evacuation in the failure group. In 2 cases (2.4% of total devices used), SEPS placement caused a new acute subdural component, necessitating emergency evacuation in 1 patient.

Conclusions

The SEPS is a safe and effective treatment option for draining subacute and chronic SDHs. The system can be used quickly with local anesthesia only, making it ideal in elderly or sick patients who might not tolerate the physiological stress of a craniotomy under general anesthesia. Computed tomography is useful in predicting which subdural collections are most amenable to SEPS drainage. Specifically, hypodense subdural collections drain more effectively through an SEPS than do mixed density collections. Although significant bleeding after SEPS insertion was uncommon, 1 patient in the series required urgent surgical hematoma evacuation due to iatrogenic injury.

Full access

Denis J. DiAngelo, Kevin T. Foley, Brian R. Morrow, John S. Schwab, Jung Song, John W. German and Eve Blair

An in vitro biomechanical study was conducted to compare the effects of disc arthroplasty and anterior cervical fusion on cervical spine biomechanics in a multilevel human cadaveric model. Three spine conditions were studied: harvested, single-level cervical disc arthroplasty, and single-level fusion. A programmable testing apparatus was used that replicated physiological flexion/extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation. Measurements included vertebral motion, applied load, and bending moments. Relative rotations at the superior, treated, and inferior motion segment units (MSUs) were normalized with respect to the overall rotation of those three MSUs and compared using a one-way analysis of variance with Student–Newman–Keuls test (p < 0.05). Simulated fusion decreased motion across the treated site relative to the harvested and disc arthroplasty conditions. The reduced motion at the treated site was compensated at the adjacent segments by an increase in motion. For all modes of testing, use of an artificial disc prosthesis did not alter the motion patterns at either the instrumented level or adjacent segments compared with the harvested condition, except in extension.