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Charles H. Tator, Kotoo Meguro and David W. Rowed

✓ From 1969 to 1979, 20 patients with syringomyelia were treated with a syringosubarachnoid shunt. The principal indications for this procedure were: significant progressive neurological deterioration and absent or minimal tonsillar ectopia. There were 15 patients with idiopathic syringomyelia, four with posttraumatic syringomyelia, and one with syringomyelia secondary to spinal arachnoiditis. The operations were performed with an operating microscope, and attention was directed to preserving the arachnoid membrane to ensure proper placement of the distal end of the shunt in an intact subarachnoid space. In all cases, a silicone rubber ventricular catheter was inserted into the syrinx through a posterior midline myelotomy.

The average follow-up period was 5 years. A favorable result was obtained in 15 of the 20 patients (75%), including an excellent result with improvement of neurological deficit in 11 patients and a good result with cessation of progression in four patients. In the remaining five patients the result was poor with further progression of neurological deficit. A short duration of preoperative symptoms was usually a favorable prognostic feature. Four patients with a history of less than 6 months all had excellent results. Thirteen patients had a syringosubarachnoid shunt only, and all had good or excellent results. Seven patients had other surgical procedures, before, accompanying, or after shunt placement, and two had favorable results. Thus, the syringosubarachnoid shunt is an effective therapeutic modality for many patients with syringomyelia, particularly if there is little or no tonsillar herniation.

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Hiroyuki Asakawa, Kiyoyuki Yanaka, Kiyoshi Narushima, Kotoo Meguro and Tadao Nose

✓ Although the craniovertebral junction is one of the most common sites at which anomalies develop, spina bifida occulta of the axis (C-2) associated with cervical myelopathy is extremely rare. The authors present the case of a 46-year-old man who developed progressive tetraparesis caused by a cervical canal stenosis at the level of the axis. The spinal cord was compressed by an invaginated bifid lamina of the axis. The patient made a remarkable recovery after undergoing decompressive laminectomy of C-3 and removal of the bifid posterior arch of the axis.

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Yasushi Shibata, Kotoo Meguro, Kiyoshi Narushima, Fumiho Shibuya, Mikio Doi and Yoichi Kikuchi

✓ The case is described of a 72-year-old woman who presented with a progressive right hemiparesis and central neurogenic hyperventilation. Pathological and radiological studies revealed diffuse infiltration of a malignant lymphoma into the entire central nervous system and the upper spinal cord. The authors review 12 cases of tumor-induced central neurogenic hyperventilation and discuss the pathophysiology of this condition.

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Kiyoyuki Yanaka, Kotoo Meguro, Kiyoshi Narushima, Shingo Takano, Mikio Doi and Tadao Nose

✓ The authors describe the case of a 16-year-old boy presenting with clinical onset of subarachnoid hemorrhage. The patient was found to have a small aneurysm arising from the distal portion of a basal perforating branch of the anterior cerebral artery (ACA), lying within a cavum septi pellucidi. Neuroimaging demonstrated a hematoma within the cavum septi pellucidi and the aneurysm was resected via a transcallosal approach guided by an intraoperative portable digital subtraction angiography (DSA) system. The origin of the aneurysm was presumed to be idiopathic. This report is the first to describe an aneurysm of a basal perforating artery arising from the ACA that resulted in an intracaval hematoma. When approaching small vascular lesions during surgery, intraoperative DSA is the method of choice to identify the precise trajectory and distance to the lesions.

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Adam S. Wu, Robert W. Griebel, Kotoo Meguro and Daryl R. Fourney

Spinal subdural empyema is an exceptionally rare and serious condition. Immediate surgery with complete exposure and drainage of the abscess is generally recommended. The authors present a patient in whom a Staphylococcus aureus septicemia related to nosocomial pneumonia developed after a thoracic laminectomy. The surgery was further complicated by an unintended durotomy (dural tear). Ten days postoperatively, the patient experienced back pain and lower-extremity symptoms caused by a subdural empyema. Cultures from the wound also grew S. aureus. This represents the first case of spinal subdural empyema in which the spread of infection into the subdural space is believed to have been facilitated by a dural tear. The patient had a favorable outcome despite an initial delay in surgical intervention because of a pulmonary embolus.