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Robert F. Spetzler and K. Stuart Lee

✓ Several techniques have been employed to incise the temporalis muscle for the pterional craniotomy. The authors describe a method which provides the advantage of a free bone flap, yet allows anatomical reapproximation of the temporalis muscle to its bone attachment.

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K. Stuart Lee and David L. Kelly Jr.

✓ The case of a patient with Cushing's disease and a pituitary macroadenoma, who also had a persistent trigeminal artery coursing through the sella turcica on preoperative imaging studies, is presented. The patient was treated by transsphenoidal resection of the tumor.

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K. Stuart Lee, Courtland H. Davis Jr., and Joe M. McWhorter

✓ Various anesthetic and surgical techniques have been recommended with or without cerebral function monitoring in attempts to reduce the risk of carotid endarterectomy, but there is no consensus as to the ideal method for performing this procedure. General anesthesia is now the most common anesthetic technique used, but of 337 carotid endarterectomies performed by the authors' service from 1981 through 1985, 305 (91%) were conducted with regional anesthesia. This paper presents the morbidity and mortality rates for those patients. There were two perioperative transient ischemic attacks (0.66%), two perioperative strokes (0.66%), and two perioperative deaths (0.66%). No patient in the series suffered a myocardial infarction within 30 days after endarterectomy. This series demonstrates that carotid endarterectomy can be performed with good results using regional anesthesia, which facilitates intraoperative cerebral function monitoring. Regional anesthesia is associated with a very low incidence of postoperative hypertension and perioperative myocardial infarction.

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K. Stuart Lee, David J. Gower, Joe M. McWhorter, and David A. Albertson

✓ Anterior sacral meningoceles are rare. This report describes familial anterior sacral meningoceles in a father and daughter who underwent magnetic resonance imaging as part of the preoperative evaluation. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a pelvic teratoma in the daughter and confirmed the absence of abnormal tissue in the father — findings not clearly provided by ultrasound studies, myelography, or contrast-enhanced computerized tomography. It is believed that MR imaging is the most useful preoperative diagnostic technique available in establishing a treatment plan for anterior sacral meningocele.

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David J. Gower, Carol Hollman, K. Stuart Lee, and Michael Tytell

✓ The heat shock or stress response is a highly conserved primary cellular response to injury. Synthesis of stress proteins (also called “heat shock proteins”) is an integral component of this response. Protection from various forms of sublethal stress following increased production of stress proteins has been demonstrated in a number of systems, including the retina. This immunocytochemical study demonstrates the synthesis, accumulation, and redistribution of the 70-kD stress protein following spinal cord injury in rats. The observations confirm that stress protein production is a fundamental feature of the molecular response of the spinal cord to injury, and raise the possibility that augmentation of this response could enhance posttraumatic neuronal survival.

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David J. Gower, Carol Hollman, K. Stuart Lee, and Michael Tytell

✓ Due to its investiture with bone, the spinal cord can be difficult to study anatomically and histologically. Tissue degradation during immersion fixation or mechanical trauma during extraction of unfixed tissue often produces confusing artifacts. Perfusion fixation eliminates many of these problems, but it is a slow, tedious, and technically demanding procedure. This report demonstrates that microwave irradiation of the spinal cord before its removal from the spine is a rapid and easy method of tissue fixation with an absence of artifacts comparable to that with perfusion fixation.

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Richard S. Zimmerman, Robert F. Spetzler, K. Stuart Lee, Joseph M. Zabramski, and Ronald W. Hargraves

✓ Once they become symptomatic, cavernous malformations of the brain stem appear to cause progressive morbidity from repetitive hemorrhage, and can even be fatal. Twenty-four patients with long-tract and/or cranial nerve findings from their cavernous malformations of the brain stem were seen for initial evaluation or surgical consultation and thereafter received either surgical or continued conservative treatment. The decision to operate was based on the proximity of the cavernous malformation to the pial surface of the brain stem, the patient's neurological status, and the number of symptomatic episodes. Sixteen patients were treated by definitive surgery directed at excision of their malformation. In four patients, associated venous malformations influenced the surgical approach and their recognition avoided the risk of inappropriate excision of the venous malformation. Although some of the 16 patients had transient, immediate, postoperative worsening of their neurological deficits, the outcome of all except one was the same or improved. Only one patient developed recurrent symptoms: a new deficit 2½ years after surgery required reoperation after regrowth of the cavernous malformation. She has been neurologically stable since the second surgery. One patient died 6 months postoperatively from a shunt infection and sepsis. The eight conservatively treated patients are followed with annual magnetic resonance imaging studies. One has a dramatic associated venous malformation. Seven patients have either minor intermittent or no symptoms, and the eighth died from a hemorrhage 1 year after his initial presentation.

Based on these results, surgical extirpation of symptomatic cavernous malformations of the brain stem appears to be the treatment of choice when a patient is symptomatic, the lesion is located superficially, and an operative approach can spare eloquent tissue. When cavernous malformations of the brain stem are completely excised, cure appears permanent.

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K. Stuart Lee, Jean N. Angelo, Joe M. McWhorter, and Courtland H. Davis Jr

✓ Subependymomas are relatively unusual tumors with a distinctive histological appearance. They are generally considered to be benign, and they are often found incidentally at autopsy. Most are located intracranially, and the most common site of origin is the fourth ventricle. Only two cases of subependymoma of the spinal cord have been reported previously. The authors present two additional cases of subependymoma of the cervical cord; both were symptomatic, and both were treated by microsurgical removal.

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Kee D. Kim, K. Stuart Lee, Domagoj Coric, Jason J. Chang, James S. Harrop, Nicholas Theodore, and Richard M. Toselli


The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the investigational Neuro-Spinal Scaffold (NSS), a highly porous bioresorbable polymer device, demonstrates probable benefit for safety and neurological recovery in patients with complete (AIS grade A) T2–12 spinal cord injury (SCI) when implanted ≤ 96 hours postinjury.


This was a prospective, open-label, multicenter, single-arm study in patients with a visible contusion on MRI. The NSS was implanted into the epicenter of the postirrigation intramedullary spinal cord contusion cavity with the intention of providing structural support to the injured spinal cord parenchyma. The primary efficacy endpoint was the proportion of patients who had an improvement of ≥ 1 AIS grade (i.e., conversion from complete paraplegia to incomplete paraplegia) at the 6-month follow-up visit. A preset objective performance criterion established for the study was defined as an AIS grade conversion rate of ≥ 25%. Secondary endpoints included change in neurological level of injury (NLI). This analysis reports on data through 6-month follow-up assessments.


Nineteen patients underwent NSS implantation. There were 3 early withdrawals due to death, which were all determined by investigators to be unrelated to the NSS or the implantation procedure. Seven of 16 patients (43.8%) who completed the 6-month follow-up visit had conversion of neurological status (AIS grade A to grade B [n = 5] or C [n = 2]). Five patients showed improvement in NLI of 1 to 2 levels compared with preimplantation assessment, 3 patients showed no change, and 8 patients showed deterioration of 1 to 4 levels. There were no unanticipated or serious adverse device effects or serious adverse events related to the NSS or the implantation procedure as determined by investigators.


In this first-in-human study, implantation of the NSS within the spinal cord appeared to be safe in the setting of surgical decompression and stabilization for complete (AIS grade A) thoracic SCI. It was associated with a 6-month AIS grade conversion rate that exceeded historical controls. The INSPIRE study data demonstrate that the potential benefits of the NSS outweigh the risks in this patient population and support further clinical investigation in a randomized controlled trial.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT02138110 (