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Jonathan A. Forbes

OBJECTIVE

Active-duty neurosurgical coverage has been provided at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan since 2007. Early operative logs were reflective of a large number of surgical procedures performed to treat battlefield injuries. However, with maturation of the war effort, the number of operations for battlefield injuries has decreased with time. Consequently, procedures performed for elective neurosurgical humanitarian care (NHC) increased in number and complexity prior to closure of the Korean Hospital in 2015, which resulted in effective termination of NHC at Bagram. Monthly neurosurgical caseloads for deployed personnel have dropped precipitously since this time, renewing a debate as to whether the benefits of providing elective NHC in Afghanistan outweigh the costs of such a strategy. To date, there is a paucity of information in the literature discussing the overall context of such a determination.

METHODS

The author retrospectively reviewed his personal database of all patients who underwent neurosurgical procedures at Bagram during his deployment there from April 17 to October 29, 2014. Standardized clinical parameters had been recorded in the ABNS NeuroLog system. All cases of nonelective surgical care for battlefield injuries were identified and excluded. Records of all other procedures, which represented elective NHC delivered during this period, were accessed to extract salient clinical and radiological data.

RESULTS

During the 6-month deployment, 49 patients (29 male and 20 female, age range 18 months to 63 years) were treated by the author in elective NHC. Procedures were performed for spinal degenerative disease (n = 28), cranial tumors (n = 11), pediatric conditions (n = 6), Pott’s disease (n = 2), peripheral nerve impingement (n = 1), and adult hydrocephalus (n = 1). The duration of follow-up ranged from 3 to 23 weeks. Complications referable to surgery included asymptomatic, unilateral lumbar screw fracture detected 3 months postoperatively and treated with revision of hardware (n = 1); wound infection requiring cranial flap explantation and staged cranioplasty (n = 1); and unanticipated return to the operating room for resection of residual tumor in a patient with a solitary metastatic lesion involving the mesial temporal lobe/ambient cistern (n = 1). There were no instances of postoperative neurological decline.

CONCLUSIONS

Elective NHC can be safely and effectively implemented in the deployed setting. Benefits of a military strategy that supports humanitarian care include strengthening of the bond between the US/Afghan military communities and the local civilian population as well as maintenance of skills of the neurosurgical team during the sometimes-lengthy intervals between cases in which emergent neurosurgical care is provided for treatment of battlefield injuries.

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Jonathan A. Forbes, Adam S. Reig, Luke D. Tomycz and Noel Tulipan

Object

Intracranial hypertension resulting from compression of the superior sagittal sinus (SSS) by an overlying depressed calvarial fracture is a rare condition. Primary surgical treatment for the symptomatic patient in this setting traditionally involves elevation of the fracture, which often carries significant associated morbidity.

Methods

The authors report a case involving a 6-year-old boy who suffered a closed, depressed, parietooccipital fracture as the result of an unhelmeted all-terrain vehicle accident. This fracture caused compression and subsequent thrombosis of the SSS, which resulted in CSF malabsorption and progressive intracranial hypertension. Initially headache free following the injury, he had developed severe and unremitting headaches by postinjury Day 7. A CT angiography study of the head obtained at this time exhibited thrombosis of the SSS underlying the depressed calvarial fracture. Subsequent lumbar puncture demonstrated markedly elevated intrathecal pressures. Large volumes of CSF were removed, with temporary improvement in symptoms. After medical management with anticoagulation failed, the decision was made to proceed with image-guided ventriculoperitoneal shunt insertion.

Results

The patient's headaches resolved immediately following the procedure, and anticoagulation therapy was reinstituted. Follow-up images obtained 4 months after the injury demonstrated evidence of resolution of the depressed fracture, with recanalization of the SSS. The anticoagulation therapy was then discontinued. To the authors' knowledge, this report is the first description of ventriculoperitoneal shunt insertion as the primary treatment of this infrequent condition.

Conclusions

This report demonstrates that select patients with this presentation can undergo CSF diversion in lieu of elevation of the depressed skull fracture—a surgical procedure shown to be associated with increased risks when the depressed fracture overlies the posterior SSS. The literature on this topic is reviewed and management of this condition is discussed.

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Jonathan A. Forbes, Ian Laughlin, Shane Newberry, Michael Ryhn, Jason Pasley and Travis Newberry

In cases of penetrating injury with implantation of small arms ammunition, it can often be difficult to tell the difference between simple ballistics and ballistics associated with unexploded ordnances (UXOs). In the operative environment, where highly flammable substances are often close to the surgical site, detonation of UXOs could have catastrophic consequences for both the patient and surgical team. There is a paucity of information in the literature regarding how to evaluate whether an implanted munition contains explosive material. This report describes a patient who presented during Operation Enduring Freedom with an implanted munition suspicious for a UXO and the subsequent workup organized by Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Company prior to surgical removal. Clinical risk factors for UXOs include assassination attempts and/or wartime settings. Specific radiological features suggestive of a UXO include projectile size greater than 7.62-mm caliber, alterations in density of the tip, as well as radiological evidence of a hollowed-out core. If an implanted UXO is suspected, risks to the surgical and anesthesia teams can be minimized by notifying the nearest military installation with EOD capabilities and following clinical practice guidelines set forth by the Joint Theater Trauma System.

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Jonathan A. Forbes, Nathan Teschan, Samuel Hayden Jones, Phillip Parry, Luke Simonet and Narayana K. Swamy

There is limited evidence to suggest that anterior approaches for the resection of ventral intramedullary lesions of the cervical spinal cord may result in superior neurological outcomes compared with those following more traditional posterior approaches. To the authors’ knowledge, no report of an anterior approach to resect a ventral intramedullary capillary hemangioma exists in the literature. In the following paper, the case of a 75-year-old male who presented with progressive neck and left shoulder pain, weakness of the left hand, myelopathy, and gait imbalance is reported. Postcontrast T1-weighted MRI demonstrated a homogeneously enhancing intramedullary lesion with associated severe impingement of the cervical spinal cord at C-4. Following a C-4 corpectomy, intradural exposure revealed a vascular lesion that circumferentially enveloped the anterior spinal artery. Gross-total resection of the lesion was performed, followed by reconstruction of the corpectomy defect, without neurological deterioration. Pathology was consistent with capillary hemangioma. In this instance, the anterior approach helped to avoid unnecessary neural manipulation and allowed for early identification of normal proximal and distal segments of the anterior spinal artery, which facilitated safe dissection and gross-total removal.

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Jonathan A. Forbes, Ahmed J. Awad, Scott Zuckerman, Kevin Carr and Joseph S. Cheng

Object

The authors' goal was to better define the relationship between biomechanical parameters of a helmeted collision and the likelihood of concussion.

Methods

The English-language literature was reviewed in search of scholarly articles describing the rotational and translational accelerations observed during all monitored impact conditions that resulted in concussion at all levels of American football.

Results

High school players who suffer concussion experience an average of 93.9g of translational acceleration (TA) and 6505.2 rad/s2 of rotational acceleration (RA). College athletes experience an average of 118.4g of TA and 5311.6 rad/s2 of RA. While approximately 3% of collisions are associated with TAs greater than the mean TA associated with concussion, only about 0.02% of collisions actually result in a concussion. Associated variables that determine whether a player who experiences a severe collision also experiences a concussion remain hypothetical at present.

Conclusions

The ability to reliably predict the incidence of concussion based purely on biomechanical data remains elusive. This study provides novel, important information that helps to quantify the relative insignificance of biomechanical parameters in prediction of concussion risk. Further research will be necessary to better define other factors that predispose to concussion.

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Jonathan A. Forbes, Andrea A. Brock, Mayshan Ghiassi, Reid C. Thompson, David S. Haynes and Betty S. Tsai

Jugulotympanic paragangliomas were first described approximately 75 years ago. Since that time, there has been considerable evolution in knowledge of tumor biology, methods of classification, and appropriate management strategies. This paper attempts to summarize these gains in information.

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Scott L. Zuckerman, Andrew Kuhn, Michael C. Dewan, Peter J. Morone, Jonathan A. Forbes, Gary S. Solomon and Allen K. Sills

Object

Sports-related concussions (SRCs) represent a significant and growing public health concern. The vast majority of SRCs produce mild symptoms that resolve within 1–2 weeks and are not associated with imaging-documented changes. On occasion, however, structural brain injury occurs, and neurosurgical management and intervention is appropriate.

Methods

A literature review was performed to address the epidemiology of SRC with a targeted focus on structural brain injury in the last half decade. MEDLINE and PubMed databases were searched to identify all studies pertaining to structural head injury in sports-related head injuries.

Results

The literature review yielded a variety of case reports, several small series, and no prospective cohort studies.

Conclusions

The authors conclude that reliable incidence and prevalence data related to structural brain injuries in SRC cannot be offered at present. A prospective registry collecting incidence, management, and follow-up data after structural brain injuries in the setting of SRC would be of great benefit to the neurosurgical community.

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Abbas Amirjamshidi and Meysam Alimohammadi