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Neurosurgery and industry

Presidential address

Jon H. Robertson

The primary purpose of the relationship between neurosurgery and industry must be to improve patient care and advance medical knowledge. This relationship is desirable and can be mutually beneficial. Strict adherence to established ethical and legal guidelines is necessary to avoid financial conflicts of interest that may occur between neurosurgery and industry. The Code of Ethics established by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) in 1986 emphasizes the physician's responsibility to always act in the best interest of his or her patients. The AANS Guidelines for Corporate Relations were developed in 2004 to address the concern of the potential growing influence of industry in the activities of our neurosurgical organization. Recognizing a need to clarify the proper relationships between neurosurgeons and industry, Guidelines on Neurosurgeon-Industry Conflicts of Interest were recently established. The AANS is committed to the highest ethical and legal standards in future relations with our industry partners. Members of the AANS are encouraged to adhere to the voluntary guidelines established by our organization.

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Jon H. Robertson and Jeffrey M. Sorenson

A young man with type 1 neurofibromatosis presented with progressive myelopathy. Imaging revealed an anterolateral mass within the spinal canal at C1–2, with severe compression of the spinal cord. A far-lateral approach was used to remove the mass, which proved to be an extradural neurofibroma. This narrated stereoscopic video details the important steps of the operation.

The video can be found here:

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B. King Tipton, James T. Robertson and Jon H. Robertson

✓ Two cases of left atrial myxoma are reviewed, both presenting as embolic phenomena. Neither patient gave a history compatible with pre-existent cardiac dysfunction. Sudden collapse and subsequent right hemiplegia resulted in one patient when an embolus lodged in the left middle cerebral artery. The second patient presented with headache and transient visual obscuration in the left eye. She showed evidence of embolism to the central retinal artery, and particulate matter could be seen within the retinal arterioles. Attention is drawn to the fact that echocardiography now constitutes a simple, noninvasive, and highly reliable method of making this diagnosis. The propensity for embolic tumor fragments to grow and invade cerebral arterial walls is discussed along with its possible neurosurgical significance.

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L. Madison Michael II and Jon H. Robertson

The treatment of glomus jugulare tumors presents the surgeon with a significant management problem. Because the neoplasm originates in the region of the jugular bulb, it frequently involves the lower cranial nerves, with occasional extension into the posterior fossa. Despite extensive work on the development of surgical and radiation treatment strategies, considerable controversy still exists regarding the optimal management of these lesions. A historical review of the development of management options for glomus jugulare tumors is presented in an effort to offer a foundation for understanding their contemporary treatment.

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Chondroid chordoma

Case report

W. Craig Clark, Jon H. Robertson and Rafael Lara

✓ A case of the very rare chondroid variant of chordomas at the base of the skull is presented. The characteristic presentation, radiological and computerized tomographic appearance, findings at surgery, pathology, and treatment of this lesion are discussed. Neurosurgeons should be aware of this variant, due to its predilection for occurrence at the base of the skull and its more favorable prognosis compared with that of typical chordoma.

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Jacob Dagan, Jon H. Robertson and W. Craig Clark

✓ A microprocessor-controlled scanning device for use in carbon dioxide laser surgery is described. This device increases the speed of dissection, allows the surgeon to keep both hands in the operative field, and thereby decreases the fatigue associated with manual control of the micromanipulator used in a surgical laser system.

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Jason A. Brodkey, Jon H. Robertson, John J. Shea III and Gale Gardner

✓ Cholesterol granulomas of the head are relatively rare. Isolated lesions of the cerebellopontine angle are even more uncommon. In this report, 17 cases of petrous apex cholesterol granulomas are presented and management is discussed.

Symptoms at presentation included dizziness (14 patients), pressure (nine patients), tinnitus (eight patients), hearing loss (eight patients), otalgia (six patients), headache (six patients), nausea (three patients), drainage from ear (two patients), facial pain (two patients), seizure (two patients), lightheadedness (one patient), hemifacial spasm (one patient), and facial numbness (one patient). Six cases were managed without surgery and 11 patients underwent operative procedures. The approaches used included the infralabyrinthine (eight patients), transcanal—infracochlear (two patients), and translabyrinthine (one patient). The mean follow-up period for all cases was 29.5 months. Of those patients managed without surgery, symptoms improved in all except one, whose tinnitus was slightly worse. Of surgically treated patients, symptoms improved or remained the same except in one with worsened dizziness. There were nine patients with hearing present presurgery and seven whose hearing was preserved postsurgery. The authors present a case that was managed at another center where an attempt at surgical resection through a subtemporal middle fossa approach was unsuccessful. This lesion was successfully treated using an infralabyrinthine approach with drainage into the mastoid cavity.

Cholesterol granulomas of the petrous apex can be managed without surgery when symptoms are stable or improve. Otherwise, a transmastoid extradural approach with simple drainage into the mastoid sinus or middle ear produces symptomatic improvement with low morbidity. Resection of petrous apex cholesterol granulomas is not necessary.

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Dee J. Canale, Clarence. B. Watridge, Tyler S. Fuehrer and Jon H. Robertson

Neurological surgery was defined as a separate surgical specialty by Harvey Cushing and a few other surgeons, most of whom were trained and influenced by Cushing. One of these, Raphael Eustace Semmes, became the first neurosurgeon in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1912. After World War II, Semmes and his first associate, Francis Murphey, incorporated the Semmes-Murphey Clinic, which has been primarily responsible for the growth of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, as well as the development of select neurosurgical subspecialties in Memphis area hospitals.

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W. Craig Clark, James D. Acker, F. Curtis Dohan Jr. and Jon H. Robertson

✓ Five cases of sarcoid presenting as an intracranial tumor are reported. In one instance, the lesion presented as a tumor in the cerebellopontine angle, a site not previously reported for the initial presentation of sarcoid isolated to the central nervous system. The role of computerized tomography, surgery, and steroid therapy is discussed. In the absence of pulmonary involvement, serum angiotensin-converting enzyme levels do not appear to be helpful in predicting steroid response.