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Neeraj Kumar, Newton B. Neidert, Felix E. Diehn, Norbert G. Campeau, Jonathan M. Morris and Haraldur Bjarnason

The authors report on a patient with craniospinal hypovolemia and inferior vena cava obstruction, and describe how the two conditions may be linked. This unique report further advances the emerging literature on spinal CSF venous fistulae.

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Jonathan M. Morris, Timothy J. Kaufmann, Norbert G. Campeau, Harry J. Cloft and Giuseppe Lanzino

Although more prevalent in males in the 6th and 7th decade of life, spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (SDAVFs) are an uncommon cause of progressive myelopathy. Magnetic resonance imaging and more recently Gd bolus MR angiography have been used to diagnose, radiographically define, and preprocedurally localize the contributing lumbar artery. Three-dimensional myelographic MR imaging sequences have recently been developed for anatomical evaluation of the spinal canal. The authors describe 3 recent cases in which volumetric myelographic MR imaging with a 3D phase-cycled fast imaging employing steady state acquisition (PC-FIESTA) and a 3D constructive interference steady state (CISS) technique were particularly useful not only for documenting an SDAVF, but also for providing localization when CT angiography, MR imaging, MR angiography, and spinal angiography failed to localize the fistula. In a patient harboring an SDAVF at T-4, surgical exploration was performed based on the constellation of findings on the PC-FIESTA images as well as the fact that the spinal segments leading to T-4 were the only ones that the authors were unable to catheterize. In a second patient, who harbored an SDAVF at T-6, after 2 separate angiograms failed to demonstrate the fistula, careful assessment of the CISS images led the authors to focus a third angiogram on the left T-6 intercostal artery and to perform superselective microcatheterization. In a third patient with an SDAVF originating from the lateral sacral branch, the PC-FIESTA sequence demonstrated the arterialized vein extending into the S-1 foramen, leading to a second angiogram and superselective internal iliac injections. The authors concluded that myelographic MR imaging sequences can be useful not only as an aid to diagnosis but also for localization of an SDAVF in complex cases.

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Jamie J. Van Gompel, Jonathan M. Morris, Jan L. Kasperbauer, Darlene E. Graner and William E. Krauss

Object

Synovial cysts of the cervical spine are rare. Further, synovial cysts of the C1–2 articulation, or retroodontoid cysts, are very rare, with fewer than 20 cases reported overall. The authors report on a single-institution series of 10 patients with C1–2 retroodontoid synovial cysts.

Methods

The charts of 10 patients with pathologically confirmed synovial cysts following resection between January 1998 and June 2009 were reviewed. The clinical presentation, radiographic findings, surgical management, and pre- and postoperative functional levels (reported as a modified Rankin outcome) are reported.

Results

All 10 patients underwent attempts at complete resection of the synovial cyst; none of the lesions were simply aspirated. All 4 patients with an initial recommendation of observation alone ultimately underwent surgery because of their swift neurological deterioration. The mean age at surgery was 75.4 ± 4.6 years (range 54–81 years). The mean presenting cyst volume was 4.6 ± 1.7 cm3. Nine of 10 patients underwent transoral resection of the cyst with posterior fusion. Six of the 10 patients underwent additional posterior laminectomy for decompression. The hospital length of stay varied from 2 to 45 days, with a mean of 19 ± 7 days. All patients undergoing transoral decompression had varying degrees of difficulty with postoperative dysphagia, diagnosed using videofluoroscopy. All patients improved in their modified Rankin Scale score after surgical intervention with a mean follow-up of 42 months (95% CI 12–72 months).

Conclusions

Synovial cysts of the atlantoaxial joint are rare. They occur in older patients in whom clinical deterioration is likely to occur. In most cases, these cysts can be diagnosed preoperatively. Transoral decompression with posterior fusion is an effective treatment for C1–2 degenerative cysts and can be accomplished with few complications. However, the ideal treatment for these lesions remains unknown.

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Timothy J. Kaufmann, Jonathan M. Morris, Andrea Saladino, Jay N. Mandrekar and Giuseppe Lanzino

Object

Little information is available on follow-up MR imaging after treatment of spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs). The authors studied MR imaging findings in treated spinal DAVFs in relation to clinical outcomes.

Methods

A retrospective review of patients with spinal DAVFs who had undergone both pre- and postoperative spinal MR imaging was conducted. Postoperative MR images were obtained as routine follow-up studies or because of subjective or objective clinical deterioration. Several pre- and posttreatment MR imaging characteristics were evaluated by 2 neuroradiologists blinded to the clinical outcome. Clinical outcomes of motor, sensory, and urinary function (in relation to the patient's preoperative status) at the time of the postoperative MR imaging were obtained from the clinical record. The chi-square, Fisher exact, and rank-sum tests were performed to correlate imaging findings and changes with clinical outcomes.

Results

Thirty-four patients met inclusion criteria. Treatment was surgical in 33 patients and endovascular in 1 patient. Follow-up MR imaging was performed at a mean 168 ± 107 days after treatment. Twenty-seven patients (79.4%) were either clinically stable or improved, and 7 (20.6%) experienced worsening in one or more clinical outcomes. Most patients were found to have improvement of MR imaging changes. However, some degree of persistent spinal cord signal abnormality, enhancement, and swelling was observed in 31 (91.2%), 29 (85.3%), and 18 (52.3%) patients, respectively. Changes in these MR imaging characteristics compared with preoperative MR imaging did not correlate with clinical outcomes (p > 0.05), with the one exception of a significant correlation between change in urinary function and extent of spinal cord contrast enhancement (p = 0.026), a correlation of uncertain importance. Ten of the 34 patients underwent posttreatment digital subtraction angiography, and 3 of these patients had recurrent/residual DAVFs. Worsening of motor function significantly correlated with recurrent/residual DAVF (p = 0.053).

Conclusions

Spinal cord abnormalities persist on postoperative MR imaging studies in patients with treated spinal DAVFs, and although they tend to mildly improve with time, these changes may not correlate with clinical outcomes. However, regardless of imaging findings, worsening motor function may correlate with a recurrent or residual DAVF.

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John D. Heiss, Nicholas Patronas, Hetty L. DeVroom, Thomas Shawker, Robert Ennis, William Kammerer, Alec Eidsath, Thomas Talbot, Jonathan Morris, Eric Eskioglu and Edward H. Oldfield

Object. Syringomyelia causes progressive myelopathy. Most patients with syringomyelia have a Chiari I malformation of the cerebellar tonsils. Determination of the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the progression of syringomyelia associated with the Chiari I malformation should improve strategies to halt progression of myelopathy.

Methods. The authors prospectively studied 20 adult patients with both Chiari I malformation and symptomatic syringomyelia. Testing before surgery included the following: clinical examination; evaluation of anatomy by using T1-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) imaging; evaluation of the syrinx and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) velocity and flow by using phase-contrast cine MR imaging; and evaluation of lumbar and cervical subarachnoid pressure at rest, during the Valsalva maneuver, during jugular compression, and following removal of CSF (CSF compliance measurement). During surgery, cardiac-gated ultrasonography and pressure measurements were obtained from the intracranial, cervical subarachnoid, and lumbar intrathecal spaces and syrinx. Six months after surgery, clinical examinations, MR imaging studies, and CSF pressure recordings were repeated. Clinical examinations and MR imaging studies were repeated annually. For comparison, 18 healthy volunteers underwent T1-weighted MR imaging, cine MR imaging, and cervical and lumbar subarachnoid pressure testing.

Compared with healthy volunteers, before surgery, the patients had decreased anteroposterior diameters of the ventral and dorsal CSF spaces at the foramen magnum. In patients, CSF velocity at the foramen magnum was increased, but CSF flow was reduced. Transmission of intracranial pressure across the foramen magnum to the spinal subarachnoid space in response to jugular compression was partially obstructed. Spinal CSF compliance was reduced, whereas cervical subarachnoid pressure and pulse pressure were increased. Syrinx fluid flowed inferiorly during systole and superiorly during diastole on cine MR imaging. At surgery, the cerebellar tonsils abruptly descended during systole and ascended during diastole, and the upper pole of the syrinx contracted in a manner synchronous with tonsillar descent and with the peak systolic cervical subarachnoid pressure wave. Following surgery, the diameter of the CSF passages at the foramen magnum increased compared with preoperative values, and the maximum flow rate of CSF across the foramen magnum during systole increased. Transmission of pressure across the foramen magnum to the spinal subarachnoid space in response to jugular compression was normal and cervical subarachnoid mean pressure and pulse pressure decreased to normal. The maximum syrinx diameter decreased on MR imaging in all patients. Cine MR imaging documented reduced velocity and flow of the syrinx fluid. Clinical symptoms and signs improved or remained stable in all patients, and the tonsils resumed a normal shape.

Conclusions. The progression of syringomyelia associated with Chiari I malformation is produced by the action of the cerebellar tonsils, which partially occlude the subarachnoid space at the foramen magnum and act as a piston on the partially enclosed spinal subarachnoid space. This creates enlarged cervical subarachnoid pressure waves that compress the spinal cord from without, not from within, and propagate syrinx fluid caudally with each heartbeat, which leads to syrinx progression. The disappearance of the abnormal shape and position of the tonsils after simple decompressive extraarachnoidal surgery suggests that the Chiari I malformation of the cerebellar tonsils is acquired, not congenital. Surgery limited to suboccipital craniectomy, C-1 laminectomy, and duraplasty eliminates this mechanism and eliminates syringomyelia and its progression without the risk of more invasive procedures.

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John D. Heiss, Nicholas Patronas, Hetty L. DeVroom, Thomas Shawker, Robert Ennis, William Kammerer, Alec Eidsath, Thomas Talbot, Jonathan Morris, Eric Eskioglu and Edward H. Oldfield

Object

Syringomyelia causes progressive myelopathy. Most patients with syringomyelia have a Chiari I malformation of the cerebellar tonsils. Determination of the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the progression of syringomyelia associated with the Chiari I malformation should improve strategies to halt progression of myelopathy.

Methods

The authors prospectively studied 20 adult patients with both Chiari I malformation and symptomatic syringomyelia. Testing before surgery included the following: clinical examination; evaluation of anatomy by using T1-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) imaging; evaluation of the syrinx and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) velocity and flow by using phase-contrast cine MR imaging; and evaluation of lumbar and cervical subarachnoid pressure at rest, during the Valsalva maneuver, during jugular compression, and following removal of CSF (CSF compliance measurement). During surgery, cardiac-gated ultrasonography and pressure measurements were obtained from the intracranial, cervical subarachnoid, and lumbar intrathecal spaces and syrinx. Six months after surgery, clinical examinations, MR imaging studies, and CSF pressure recordings were repeated. Clinical examinations and MR imaging studies were repeated annually. For comparison, 18 healthy volunteers underwent T1-weighted MR imaging, cine MR imaging, and cervical and lumbar subarachnoid pressure testing.

Compared with healthy volunteers, before surgery, the patients had decreased anteroposterior diameters of the ventral and dorsal CSF spaces at the foramen magnum. In patients, CSF velocity at the foramen magnum was increased, but CSF flow was reduced. Transmission of intracranial pressure across the foramen magnum to the spinal subarachnoid space in response to jugular compression was partially obstructed. Spinal CSF compliance was reduced, whereas cervical subarachnoid pressure and pulse pressure were increased. Syrinx fluid flowed inferiorly during systole and superiorly during diastole on cine MR imaging. At surgery, the cerebellar tonsils abruptly descended during systole and ascended during diastole, and the upper pole of the syrinx contracted in a manner synchronous with tonsillar descent and with the peak systolic cervical subarachnoid pressure wave. Following surgery, the diameter of the CSF passages at the foramen magnum increased compared with preoperative values, and the maximum flow rate of CSF across the foramen magnum during systole increased. Transmission of pressure across the foramen magnum to the spinal subarachnoid space in response to jugular compression was normal and cervical subarachnoid mean pressuree and pulse pressure decreased to normal. The maximum syrinx diameter decreased on MR imaging in all patients. Cine MR imaging documented reduced velocity and flow of the syrinx fluid. Clinical symptoms and signs improved or remained stable in all patients, and the tonsils resumed a normal shape.

Conclusions

The progression of syringomyelia associated with Chiari I malformation is produced by the action of the cerebellar tonsils, which partially occlude the subarachnoid space at the foramen magnum and act as a piston on the partially enclosed spinal subarachnoid space. This creates enlarged cervical subarachnoid pressure waves that compress the spinal cord from without, not from within, and propagate syrinx fluid caudally with each heartbeat, which leads to syrinx progression. The disappearance of the abnormal shape and position of the tonsils after simple decompressive extraarachnoidal surgery suggests that the Chiari I malformation of the cerebellar tonsils is acquired, not congenital. Surgery limited to suboccipital craniectomy, C-1 laminectomy, and duraplasty eliminates this mechanism and eliminates syringomyelia and its progression without the risk of more invasive procedures.

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Eric K. Oermann, Marie-Adele S. Kress, Jonathan V. Todd, Brian T. Collins, Riane Hoffman, Huma Chaudhry, Sean P. Collins, David Morris and Matthew G. Ewend

Object

Experience with whole-brain radiation therapy for metastatic tumors in the brain has identified a subset of tumors that exhibit decreased local control with fractionated regimens and are thus termed radioresistant. With the advent of frameless radiosurgery, fractionated radiosurgery (2–5 fractions) is being used increasingly for metastatic tumors deemed too large or too close to crucial structures to be treated in a single session. The authors retrospectively reviewed metastatic brain tumors treated at 2 centers to analyze the dependency of local control rates on tumor radiobiology and dose fractionation.

Methods

The medical records of 214 patients from 2 institutions with radiation-naive metastatic tumors in the brain treated with radiosurgery given either as a single dose or in 2–5 fractions were analyzed retrospectively. The authors compared the local control rates of the radiosensitive with the radioresistant tumors after either single-fraction or fractionated radiosurgery.

Results

There was no difference in local tumor control rates in patients receiving single-fraction radiosurgery between radioresistant and radiosensitive tumors (p = 0.69). However, after fractionated radiosurgery, treatment for radioresistant tumors failed at a higher rate than for radiosensitive tumors with an OR of 5.37 (95% CI 3.83–6.91, p = 0.032).

Conclusions

Single-fraction radiosurgery is equally effective in the treatment of radioresistant and radiosensitive metastatic tumors in the brain. However, fractionated stereotactic radiosurgery is less effective in radioresistant tumor subtypes. The authors recommend that radioresistant tumors be treated in a single fraction when possible and techniques for facilitating single-fraction treatment or dose escalation be considered for larger radioresistant lesions.

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Matthew C. Murphy, John Huston III, Kevin J. Glaser, Armando Manduca, Fredric B. Meyer, Giuseppe Lanzino, Jonathan M. Morris, Joel P. Felmlee and Richard L. Ehman

Object

The object of this study was to determine the potential of magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) to preoperatively assess the stiffness of meningiomas.

Methods

Thirteen patients with meningiomas underwent 3D brain MRE examination to measure stiffness in the tumor as well as in surrounding brain tissue. Blinded to the MRE results, neurosurgeons made a qualitative assessment of tumor stiffness at the time of resection. The ability of MRE to predict the surgical assessment of stiffness was tested using a Spearman rank correlation.

Results

One case was excluded due to a small tumor size. In the remaining 12 cases, both tumor stiffness alone (p = 0.023) and the ratio of tumor stiffness to surrounding brain tissue stiffness (p = 0.0032) significantly correlated with the surgeons' qualitative assessment of tumor stiffness. Results of the MRE examination provided a stronger correlation with the surgical assessment of stiffness compared with traditional T1- and T2-weighted imaging (p = 0.089), particularly when considering meningiomas of intermediate stiffness.

Conclusions

In this cohort, preoperative MRE predicted tumor consistency at the time of surgery. Tumor stiffness as measured using MRE outperformed conventional MRI because tumor appearance on T1- and T2-weighted images could only accurately predict the softest and hardest meningiomas.

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Kent R. Thielen, John C. Sillery, Jonathan M. Morris, Joseph M. Hoxworth, Felix E. Diehn, John T. Wald, Richard E. Rosebrock, Lifeng Yu and Patrick H. Luetmer

OBJECT

Precise localization and understanding of the origin of spontaneous high-flow spinal CSF leaks is required prior to targeted treatment. This study demonstrates the utility of ultrafast dynamic CT myelography for the precise localization of high-flow CSF leaks caused by spiculated spinal osteophytes.

METHODS

This study reports a series of 14 patients with high-flow CSF leaks caused by spiculated spinal osteophytes who underwent ultrafast dynamic CT myelography between March 2009 and December 2010. There were 10 male and 4 female patients, with an average age of 49 years (range 37–74 years). The value of ultrafast dynamic CT myelography in depicting the CSF leak site was qualitatively assessed.

RESULTS

In all 14 patients, ultrafast dynamic CT myelography was technically successful at precisely demonstrating the site of the CSF leak, the causative spiculated osteophyte piercing the dura, and the relationship of the implicated osteophyte to adjacent structures. Leak sites included 3 cervical, 11 thoracic, and 0 lumbar levels, with 86% of the leaks occurring from C-5 to T-7. Information obtained from the ultrafast dynamic CT myelogram was considered useful in all treated CSF leaks.

CONCLUSIONS

Spinal osteophytes piercing the dura are a more frequent cause of high-flow CSF leaks than previously recognized. Ultrafast dynamic CT myelography adds value beyond standard dynamic myelography or digital subtraction myelography in the diagnosis and anatomical characterization of high-flow spinal CSF leaks caused by these osteophytes. This information allows for appropriate planning for percutaneous or surgical treatment.