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John C. Liu, Joseph D. Ciacci and Timothy M. George

✓ Treatment of the Dandy—Walker syndrome has included placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt alone or in combination with a posterior fossa cystoperitoneal shunt. Complications in shunting are common and are usually related to malfunction or infection. The authors present a case in which the patient developed headaches and focal cranial nerve deficits following infection caused by a cystoperitoneal shunt. Magnetic resonance imaging showed tethering of the brainstem. A posterior fossa craniotomy with microsurgical untethering and cyst fenestration achieved two goals: improvement of the focal cranial nerve deficits and elimination of the cystoperitoneal shunt.

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Jeffrey A. Steinberg, David D. Gonda, Karra Muller and Joseph D. Ciacci

Intramedullary spinal cord hematomas are a rare neurosurgical pathological entity typically arising from vascular and neoplastic lesions. Endometriosis is an extremely rare cause of intramedullary spinal cord hematoma, with only 5 previously reported cases in the literature. Endometriosis is characterized by ectopic endometrial tissue, typically located in the female pelvic cavity, that causes a cyclical pain syndrome, bleeding, and infertility. In the rare case of intramedullary endometriosis of the spinal cord, symptoms include cyclical lower-extremity radiculopathies and voiding difficulties, and can acutely cause cauda equina syndrome. The authors report a case of endometriosis of the conus medullaris, the first to include radiological, intraoperative, and histopathological imaging. A brief review of the literature is also presented, with discussion including etiological theories surrounding intramedullary endometriosis.

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Joseph P. Antonios, Ghassan J. Farah, Daniel R. Cleary, Joel R. Martin, Joseph D. Ciacci and Martin H. Pham

Spinal cord injury (SCI) has been associated with a dismal prognosis—recovery is not expected, and the most standard interventions have been temporizing measures that do little to mitigate the extent of damage. While advances in surgical and medical techniques have certainly improved this outlook, limitations in functional recovery continue to impede clinically significant improvements. These limitations are dependent on evolving immunological mechanisms that shape the cellular environment at the site of SCI. In this review, we examine these mechanisms, identify relevant cellular components, and discuss emerging treatments in stem cell grafts and adjuvant immunosuppressants that target these pathways. As the field advances, we expect that stem cell grafts and these adjuvant treatments will significantly shift therapeutic approaches to acute SCI with the potential for more promising outcomes.

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Bayard Wilson, Erik Curtis, Brian Hirshman, Ahmet Oygar, Karen Chen, Brandon C. Gabel, Florin Vaida, David W. Allison and Joseph D. Ciacci

OBJECTIVE

Normative data exists for stimulus-evoked pedicle screw electromyography (EMG) current thresholds in the lumbar spine, and is routinely referenced during spine surgeries to detect a screw breach, prevent injury of neural elements, and ensure the most biomechanically sound instrumentation construct. To date, similar normative data for cervical lateral mass screws is limited, thus the utility of lateral mass screw testing remains unclear. To address this disparity, in this study the authors describe cumulative lateral mass screw stimulation threshold data in patients undergoing posterior cervical instrumentation with lateral mass screws. These data are correlated with screw placement on postoperative imaging, and a novel correlation is discovered with direct clinical implications.

METHODS

Using a ball-tip probe, 154 lateral mass screws in 21 patients were electrically tested intraoperatively. In each case, for each screw, the lowest (or threshold) current at which the first polyphasic stimulus-evoked EMG response was reproducibly observed by a neurophysiologist was recorded. All patients underwent postoperative CT. Screw position within the lateral mass was first measured in the axial and sagittal planes for each lateral mass screw using the CT images. Screw placement was also evaluated by 2 independent physicians, blinded to current threshold data, on a binary scale of acceptability. The predictive capacity of screw EMG threshold data was evaluated via multivariable regression analyses and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analyses. Predictive capacity was examined with respect to screw position within the lateral mass, as well as screw acceptability.

RESULTS

Lateral mass screw EMG thresholds did not appear to differ significantly for screws considered “acceptable” versus “unacceptable” according to the radiographic criteria. Accordingly, ROC analysis confirmed that EMG current threshold data were of minimal utility in predicting screw radiographic acceptability. However, EMG threshold was significantly predictive of screw medial distance from the spinal canal. A screw stimulating below 7.5 mA correctly identified a screw as being within 2 mm of the spinal canal with 75% sensitivity and 92% specificity (positive predictive value 20%, negative predictive value 99.3%), independent of its distance relative to other lateral mass landmarks. EMG current threshold was not significantly predictive of screw deviation in the superior or inferior directions, and was inversely predictive of screw deviations in the lateral direction.

CONCLUSIONS

In the context of uncertainty regarding the utility of cervical lateral mass EMG current threshold data, this study found that EMG current thresholds correspond significantly, and exclusively, with screw distance from the spinal canal. This association appears independent of other criteria for screw misplacement. As such, the authors recommend that EMG current thresholds be referenced in the case of a suspected medial breach as an effective means to rule out screw placement too medial to the spinal canal.