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Gene H. Barnett, David W. Miller and Joseph Weisenberger

Object. The goal of this study was to develop and assess the use and limitations of performing brain biopsy procedures by using image-guided surgical navigation systems (SNSs; that is, frameless stereotactic systems) with scalp-applied fiducial markers.

Methods. Two hundred eighteen percutaneous brain biopsies were performed in 213 patients by using a frameless stereotactic SNS that operated with either sonic or optical digitizer technology and scalp-applied fiducial markers for the purpose of registering image space with operating room space. Common neurosurgical and stereotactic instrumentation was adapted for use with a localizing wand, and recently developed target and trajectory guidance software was used.

Eight (3.7%) of the 218 biopsy specimens were nondiagnostic; five of these (2.4%) were obtained during procedures in 208 supratentorial lesions and three were obtained during procedures in 10 infratentorial lesions (30%; p < 0.001). Complications related to the biopsy procedure occurred in eight patients (seven of whom had supratentorial lesions and one of whom had an infratentorial lesion, p > 0.25). Five complications were intracerebral hemorrhages (two of which required craniotomy), two were infections, and one was wound breakdown after instillation of intratumoral carmustine following biopsy. There were only three cases of sustained morbidity, and there were two deaths and one delayed deterioration due to disease progression.

Two surgeons performed the majority of the procedures (193 cases). The three surgeons who performed more than 10 biopsies had complication rates lower than 5%, whereas two of the remaining four surgeons had complication rates greater than 10% (p = 0.15).

Twenty-three additional procedures were performed in conjunction with the biopsies: nine brachytherapies; five computer-assisted endoscopies; four cyst aspirations; two instillations of carmustine; two placements of Ommaya reservoirs; and one craniotomy.

Conclusions. Brain biopsy procedures in which guidance is provided by a frameless stereotactic SNS with scalp-applied fiducial markers represents a safe and effective alternative to frame-based stereotactic procedures for supratentorial lesions. There were comparable low rates of morbidity and a high degree of diagnostic success. Strategies for performing posterior fossa biopsies are suggested.

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Joseph P. Broderick, Thomas Brott, Thomas Tomsick, Rosemary Miller and Gertrude Huster

✓ The authors report a study of all instances of spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) (188 cases) and subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) (80 cases) that occurred in the Greater Cincinnati area during 1988. Adjusted for age, sex, and race, the annual incidence of ICH was 15 per 100,000 population (95% confidence interval 13 to 17) versus six per 100,000 for SAH (95% confidence interval 5 to 8). The incidence of ICH was at least double that of SAH for women, men, and whites and approximately 1½ times that for blacks. The 30-day mortality rate of 44% for ICH was not significantly different from the 46% mortality rate for SAH. Despite the evidence that ICH is more than twice as common and the disorder just as deadly as SAH, clinical and laboratory research continues to focus primarily on SAH.

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Ryan Snowden, Justin Miller, Tome Saidon, Joseph D. Smucker, K. Daniel Riew and Rick Sasso


The authors sought to compare the effect of index level sagittal alignment on cephalad radiographic adjacent segment pathology (RASP) in patients undergoing cervical total disc arthroplasty (TDA) or anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).


This was a retrospective study of prospectively collected radiographic data from 79 patients who underwent TDA or ACDF and were enrolled and followed prospectively at two centers in a multicenter FDA investigational device exemption trial of the Bryan cervical disc prosthesis used for arthroplasty. Neutral lateral radiographs were obtained pre- and postoperatively and at 1, 2, 4, and up to 7 years following surgery. The index level Cobb angle was measured both pre- and postoperatively. Cephalad disc degeneration was determined by a previously described measurement of the disc height/anteroposterior (AP) distance ratio.


Sixty-eight patients (n = 33 ACDF; n = 35 TDA) had complete radiographs and were included for analysis. Preoperatively, there was no difference in the index level Cobb angle between the ACDF and TDA patients. Postoperatively, the ACDF patients had a larger segment lordosis compared to the TDA patients (p = 0.002). Patients who had a postoperative kyphotic Cobb angle were more likely to have undergone TDA (p = 0.01). A significant decrease in the disc height/AP distance ratio occurred over time (p = 0.035), by an average of 0.01818 at 84 months. However, this decrease was not influenced by preoperative alignment, postoperative alignment, or type of surgery.


In this cohort of patients undergoing TDA and ACDF, the authors found that preoperative and postoperative sagittal alignment have no effect on RASP at follow-up of at least 7 years. They identified time as the only significant factor affecting RASP.

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Joseph C. T. Chen, Javad Rahimian, Michael R. Girvigian and Michael J. Miller

✓ Radiosurgery has emerged as an indispensable component of the multidisciplinary approach to neoplastic, functional, and vascular diseases of the central nervous system. In recent years, a number of newly developed integrated systems have been introduced for radiosurgery and fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy treatments. These modern systems extend the flexibility of radiosurgical treatment in allowing the use of frameless image-guided radiation delivery as well as high-precision fractionated treatments. The Novalis linear accelerator system demonstrates adequate precision and reliability for cranial and extracranial radiosurgery, including functional treatments utilizing either frame-based or frameless image-guided methods.

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Joseph C. T. Chen, Michael Girvigian, Hugh Greathouse, Michael Miller and Javad Rahimian

Object. Radiosurgery has emerged as an important treatment of trigeminal neuralgia. Substantial advantages have been demonstrated in safety and comfort over other modalities. Radiosurgical treatment of trigeminal neuralgia has been well investigated with gamma knife devices involving fixed cobalt sources. Few reports exist concerning trigeminal neuralgia treated using linear accelerator (LINAC)—based devices. In recent years these devices have reached the level of mechanical precision that is required for such functional treatments. The authors describe their initial experience with radiosurgical treatment of trigeminal neuralgia when using a BrainLAB Novalis LINAC device equipped with the commercially available 4-mm collimator.

Methods. A total of 32 patients were treated in a 12-month period between November 2002 and November 2003. The median patient age was 67 years (range 38–84 years). Facial pain was graded using the Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) scoring system. All patients' pain was BNI Grade IV or V prior to treatment. Of these patients, 22 were undergoing initial treatment, and 10 were undergoing retreatment for recurrent pain following various treatments including percutaneous procedures, gamma knife surgery (GKS), or microvascular decompression. Two patients had multiple sclerosis. In patients undergoing initial radiosurgery, the most proximal segment of the cisternal portion of the trigeminal nerve received 85 to 90 Gy administered in a 5— or 7—noncoplanar arc single-isocenter plan with a 4-mm circular collimator. In patients undergoing repeated radiosurgery, the target received 60 Gy.

Overall good and excellent results (BNI Grade I, II, or III) were achieved in 25 (78%) of 32 patients. The median time to pain relief was 6 weeks. Fair results (improvement in pain with BNI Grade IV) were achieved in three patients (9%), and poor results (no improvement in pain and BNI Grade IV or V) were seen in four (13%). Two patients demonstrated new trigeminal dysfunction following treatment. No other complications occurred.

Conclusions. High-precision imaging and LINAC instrumentation have allowed for treatment of trigeminal neuralgia with results and safety comparable to those achieved using GKS. Linear accelerator—based radiosurgery with the Novalis device is a safe and effective method of managing trigeminal neuralgia and may become the preferred means at centers where the technology is available.

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Jonathan S. Fain, Francis H. Tomlinson, Bernd W. Scheithauer, Joseph E. Parisi, Geoffrey P. Fletcher, Patrick J. Kelly and Gary M. Miller

✓ Small asymptomatic cysts of the pineal gland represent a common incidental finding in adults undergoing computerized tomography or magnetic resonance (MR) imaging or at postmortem examination. In contrast, large symptomatic pineal cysts are rare, being limited to individual case reports or small series. The authors have reviewed 24 cases of large pineal cysts. The mean patient age at presentation was 28.7 years (range 15 to 46 years); 18 were female and six male. Presenting features in 20 symptomatic cases included: headache in 19; nausea and/or vomiting in seven; papilledema in five; visual disturbances in five (diplopia in three, “blurred vision” in two, and unilateral partial oculomotor nerve palsy in one); Parinaud's syndrome in two; hemiparesis in one; hemisensory aberration in one; and seizures in one. Four lesions were discovered incidentally. Magnetic resonance imaging typically demonstrated a 0.8- to 3.0-cm diameter mass (mean 1.7 cm) with homogeneous decreased signal intensity on T1-weighted images, increased signal intensity on T2-weighted images, and a distinct margin. Hydrocephalus was present in eight cases. The cysts were surgically excised via an infratentorial/supracerebellar approach (23 cases) or stereotactically biopsied (one case). Histological examination revealed a cyst wall 0.5 to 2.0 mm thick comprised of three layers: an outer fibrous layer, a middle layer of pineal parenchymal cells with variable calcification, and an inner layer of hypocellular glial tissue often exhibiting Rosenthal fibers and/or granular bodies. Evidence of prior hemorrhage, mild astrocytic degenerative atypia, and disorganization of pineal parenchyma were often present. Postoperative follow-up review in all 24 cases (range 3 months to 10 years) revealed no complications in 21, mild ocular movement deficit in one, gradually resolving Parinaud's syndrome in one, and radiographic evidence of a postoperative venous infarct of the superior cerebellum with ataxia of 1 week's duration in one. Of the patients referred for study, the cysts were most often initially misdiagnosed as a pineocytoma in eight and a pilocytic astrocytoma in three. Only two patients were correctly diagnosed as having pineal cysts. This stresses the importance of recognizing the histopathological spectrum of pineal cysts, as well as correlation with radiographic findings, if a correct diagnosis is to be attained.

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Joseph G. Adel, Bernard R. Bendok, Ziad A. Hage, Andrew M. Naidech, Jeffery W. Miller and H. Hunt Batjer

✓The authors performed external carotid artery (ECA) angioplasty and stenting in a 45-year-old man who had presented with right hemispheric crescendo ischemic symptoms stemming from acute right internal carotid artery occlusion (ICAO). This unique application of ECA angioplasty and stenting augmented cerebral perfusion and improved clinical symptoms. In certain situations, ECA stenting can increase cerebral perfusion in the setting of ICAO and ECA stenosis. The authors are the first to describe this approach in this context.

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Christoph J. Griessenauer, Elias Rizk, Joseph H. Miller, Philipp Hendrix, R. Shane Tubbs, Mark S. Dias, Kelsie Riemenschneider and Joshua J. Chern


Tectal plate gliomas are generally low-grade astrocytomas with favorable prognosis, and observation of the lesion and management of hydrocephalus remain the mainstay of treatment.


A cohort of patients with tectal plate gliomas at 2 academic institutions was retrospectively reviewed.


Forty-four patients with a mean age of 10.2 years who harbored tectal plate gliomas were included in the study. The mean clinical and radiological follow-up was 7.6 ± 3.3 years (median 7.9 years, range 1.5–14.7 years) and 6.5 ± 3.1 years (median 6.5 years, range 1.1–14.7 years), respectively. The most frequent intervention was CSF diversion (81.8% of patients) followed by biopsy (11.4%), radiotherapy (4.5%), chemotherapy (4.5%), and resection (2.3%). On MR imaging tectal plate gliomas most commonly showed T1-weighted isointensity (71.4%), T2-weighted hyperintensity (88.1%), and rarely enhanced (19%). The initial mean volume was 1.6 ± 2.2 cm3 and it increased to 2.0 ± 4.4 cm3 (p = 0.628) at the last follow-up. Frontal and occipital horn ratio (FOHR) and third ventricular width statistically decreased over time (p < 0.001 and p < 0.05, respectively).


The authors' results support existing evidence that tectal plate gliomas frequently follow a benign clinical and radiographic course and rarely require any intervention beyond management of associated hydrocephalus.

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Javad Rahimian, Joseph C. Chen, Ajay A. Rao, Michael R. Girvigian, Michael J. Miller and Hugh E. Greathouse

Object. Stringent geometrical accuracy and precision are required in the stereotactic radiosurgical treatment of patients. Accurate targeting is especially important when treating a patient in a single fraction of a very high radiation dose (90 Gy) to a small target such as that used in the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia (3 to 4—mm diameter). The purpose of this study was to determine the inaccuracies in each step of the procedure including imaging, fusion, treatment planning, and finally the treatment. The authors implemented a detailed quality-assurance program.

Methods. Overall geometrical accuracy of the Novalis stereotactic system was evaluated using a Radionics Geometric Phantom Chamber. The phantom has several magnetic resonance (MR) and computerized tomography (CT) imaging—friendly objects of various shapes and sizes. Axial 1-mm-thick MR and CT images of the phantom were acquired using a T1-weighted three-dimensional spoiled gradient recalled pulse sequence and the CT scanning protocols used clinically in patients. The absolute errors due to MR image distortion, CT scan resolution, and the image fusion inaccuracies were measured knowing the exact physical dimensions of the objects in the phantom. The isocentric accuracy of the Novalis gantry and the patient support system was measured using the Winston—Lutz test. Because inaccuracies are cumulative, to calculate the system's overall spatial accuracy, the root mean square (RMS) of all the errors was calculated. To validate the accuracy of the technique, a 1.5-mm-diameter spherical marker taped on top of a radiochromic film was fixed parallel to the x–z plane of the stereotactic coordinate system inside the phantom. The marker was defined as a target on the CT images, and seven noncoplanar circular arcs were used to treat the target on the film. The calculated system RMS value was then correlated with the position of the target and the highest density on the radiochromic film.

The mean spatial errors due to image fusion and MR imaging were 0.41 ± 0.3 and 0.22 ± 0.1 mm, respectively. Gantry and couch isocentricities were 0.3 ± 0.1 and 0.6 ± 0.15 mm, respectively. The system overall RMS values were 0.9 and 0.6 mm with and without the couch errors included, respectively (isocenter variations due to couch rotation are microadjusted between couch positions). The positional verification of the marker was within 0.7 ± 0.1 mm of the highest optical density on the radiochromic film, correlating well with the system's overall RMS value. The overall mean system deviation was 0.32 ± 0.42 mm.

Conclusions. The highest spatial errors were caused by image fusion and gantry rotation. A comprehensive quality-assurance program was developed for the authors' stereotactic radiosurgery program that includes medical imaging, linear accelerator mechanical isocentricity, and treatment delivery. For a successful treatment of trigeminal neuralgia with a 4-mm cone, the overall RMS value of equal to or less than 1 mm must be guaranteed.

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Brandon G. Rocque, Mick P. Kelly, Joseph H. Miller, Yiping Li and Paul A. Anderson


Use of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–2 has risen steadily since its approval by the FDA for use in anterior lumbar interbody fusion in 2002. The FDA has not approved the use of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) in children. Age less than 18 years or lack of evidence of epiphyseal closure are considered by the manufacturer to be contraindications to BMP use. In light of this, the authors performed a query of the database of one of the nation's largest health insurance companies to determine the rate of BMP use and complications in pediatric patients undergoing spinal fusion.


The authors used the PearlDiver Technologies private payer database containing all records from United Health-Care from 2005 to 2011 to query all cases of pediatric spinal fusion with or without BMP use. A review of the literature was also performed to examine the complications associated with BMP use in pediatric spinal fusion.


A total of 4658 patients underwent spinal fusion. The majority was female (65.4%), and the vast majority was age 10–19 years (94.98%) and underwent thoracolumbar fusion (93.13%). Bone morphogenetic protein was used in 1752 spinal fusions (37.61%). There was no difference in the rate of BMP use when comparing male and female patients or age 10 years or older versus less than 10 years. Anterior cervical fusions were significantly less likely to use BMP (7.3%). Complications occurred in 9.82% of patients treated with versus 9.88% of patients treated without BMP. The complication rate was nearly identical in male versus female patients and in patients older versus younger than 10 years. Comparison of systemic, wound-related, CNS, and other complications showed no difference between groups treated with and without BMP. The reoperation rate was also nearly identical.


Bone morphogenetic protein is used in a higher than expected percentage of pediatric spinal fusions. The rate of acute complications in these operations does not appear to be different in patients treated with versus those treated without BMP. Caution must be exercised in interpreting these data due to the many limitations of the administrative database as a data source, including the short length of follow-up.