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Kurtis I. Auguste, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, and Mitchel S. Berger

Patients with brain tumors are at considerable risk for the formation of venous thromboemboli. One method of preventing these complications is mechanical prophylaxis in which an external pneumatic compression device and graduated elastic compression stockings are used. Evidence indicates that these devices prevent deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) by limiting venous stasis and increasing fibrinolytic activity at both the local and systemic levels. The authors present evidence for the occurrence of both mechanisms and discuss the use of mechanical compression in the setting of surgery for brain tumors. They also present data proving the efficacy of these devices in patients who undergo craniotomy with motor mapping for resection of glioma and in whom the contralateral leg receives no prophylaxis. Finally, they comment on the use of anticoagulation therapy both in addition to and in place of mechanical prophylaxis.

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Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, Kurtis I. Auguste, and Michael T. Lawton

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Kurtis I. Auguste and Michael W. McDermott

Object

When complicated by infection, craniotomy bone flaps are commonly removed, discarded, and delayed cranioplasty is performed. This treatment paradigm is costly, carries the risks associated with additional surgery, and may cause cosmetic deformities. The authors present their experience with an indwelling antibiotic irrigation system used for the sterilization and salvage of infected bone flaps as an alternative to their removal and replacement.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records for 12 patients with bone flap infections following craniotomy who received treatment with the wash-in, wash-out indwelling antibiotic irrigation system. Infected flaps were removed and scrubbed with povidone–iodine solution and soaked in 1.5% hydrogen peroxide while the wound was debrided. The bone flaps were returned to the skull and the irrigation system was installed. Antibiotic medication was infused through the system for a mean of 5 days. Intravenous antibiotic therapy was continued for 2 weeks and oral antibiotics for 3 months postoperatively. Wound checks were performed at clinic follow-up visits, and there was a mean follow-up period of 13 months. Eleven of the 12 patients who had undergone placement of the bone flap irrigation system experienced complete resolution of the infection. In five patients there was involvement of the nasal sinus cavities, and in four there was a history of radiation treatment. In the one patient whose infection recurred, there was both involvement of the nasal sinuses and a history of extensive radiation treatment.

Conclusions

Infected bone flaps can be salvaged, thus avoiding the cost, risk, and possible disfigurement associated with flap removal and delayed cranioplasty. Although prior radiation treatment and involvement of the nasal sinuses may interfere with wound healing and clearance of the infection, these factors should not preclude the use of irrigation with antibiotic agents for bone flap salvage.

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Dario J. Englot, Edward F. Chang, and Kurtis I. Auguste

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) was approved by the US FDA in 1997 as an adjunctive treatment for medically refractory epilepsy. It is considered for use in patients who are poor candidates for resection or those in whom resection has failed. However, disagreement regarding the utility of VNS in epilepsy continues because of the variability in benefit reported across clinical studies. Moreover, although VNS was approved only for adults and adolescents with partial epilepsy, its efficacy in children and in patients with generalized epilepsy remains unclear. The authors performed the first meta-analysis of VNS efficacy in epilepsy, identifying 74 clinical studies with 3321 patients suffering from intractable epilepsy. These studies included 3 blinded, randomized controlled trials (Class I evidence); 2 nonblinded, randomized controlled trials (Class II evidence); 10 prospective studies (Class III evidence); and numerous retrospective studies. After VNS, seizure frequency was reduced by an average of 45%, with a 36% reduction in seizures at 3–12 months after surgery and a 51% reduction after > 1 year of therapy. At the last follow-up, seizures were reduced by 50% or more in approximately 50% of the patients, and VNS predicted a ≥ 50% reduction in seizures with a main effects OR of 1.83 (95% CI 1.80–1.86). Patients with generalized epilepsy and children benefited significantly from VNS despite their exclusion from initial approval of the device. Furthermore, posttraumatic epilepsy and tuberous sclerosis were positive predictors of a favorable outcome. In conclusion, VNS is an effective and relatively safe adjunctive therapy in patients with medically refractory epilepsy not amenable to resection. However, it is important to recognize that complete seizure freedom is rarely achieved using VNS and that a quarter of patients do not receive any benefit from therapy.

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Severin Schramm, Aashna Mehta, Kurtis I. Auguste, and Phiroz E. Tarapore

OBJECTIVE

Navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS) is a noninvasive technique often used for localization of the functional motor cortex via induction of motor evoked potentials (MEPs) in neurosurgical patients. There has, however, been no published record of its application in pediatric epilepsy surgery. In this study, the authors aimed to investigate the feasibility of nTMS-based motor mapping in the preoperative diagnostic workup within a population of children with medically refractory epilepsy.

METHODS

A single-institution database was screened for preoperative nTMS motor mappings obtained in pediatric patients (aged 0 to 18 years, 2012 to present) with medically refractory epilepsy. Patient clinical data, demographic information, and mapping results were extracted and used in statistical analyses.

RESULTS

Sixteen patients met the inclusion criteria, 15 of whom underwent resection. The median age was 9 years (range 0–17 years). No adverse effects were recorded during mapping. Specifically, no epileptic seizures were provoked via nTMS. Recordings of valid MEPs induced by nTMS were obtained in 10 patients. In the remaining patients, no MEPs could be elicited. Failure to generate MEPs was associated significantly with younger patient age (r = 0.8020, p = 0.0001863). The most frequent seizure control outcome was Engel Epilepsy Surgery Outcome Scale class I (9 patients).

CONCLUSIONS

Navigated TMS is a feasible, effective, and well-tolerated method for mapping the motor cortex of the upper and lower extremities in pediatric patients with epilepsy. Patient age modulates elicitability of MEPs, potentially reflecting various stages of myelination. Successful motor mapping has the potential to add to the existing presurgical diagnostic workup in this population, and further research is warranted.

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Kurtis I. Auguste, Cynthia Chin, Frank L. Acosta, and Christopher P. Ames

Object

Expandable cylindrical cages (ECCs) have been utilized successfully to reconstruct the thoracic and lumbar spine. Their advantages include ease of insertion, reduced endplate trauma, direct application/maintenance of interbody distraction force, and one-step kyphosis correction. The authors present their experience with ECCs in the reconstruction of the cervical spine in patients with various pathological conditions.

Methods

Data obtained in 22 patients were reviewed retrospectively. A standard anterior cervical corpectomy was performed in all cases. Local vertebral body bone was harvested for use as graft material. Patients underwent pre- and postoperative assessment involving the visual analog scale (VAS), Nurick grading system for determining myelopathy disability, and radiographic studies to determine cervical kyphosis/lordosis and cage subsidence. Fusion was defined as the absence of motion on flexion–extension x-ray films.

Sixteen patients presented with spondylotic myelopathy, two with osteomyelitis, two with fracture, one with tumor metastasis, and one with severe stenosis. Fourteen patients underwent supplemental posterior spinal fusion, seven underwent single-level corpectomy, and 15 patients underwent multilevel corpectomy. No perioperative complications occurred. The mean follow-up period was 22 months. In 11 patients with preexisting kyphosis (mean deformity +19°), the mean correction was 22°. There was no statistically significant difference in subsidence between single- and multilevel corpectomy or between 360º fusion and anterior fusion alone. The VAS scores improved by 35%, and the Nurick grade improved by 31%. The fusion rate was 100%.

Conclusions

The preliminary results support the use of ECCs in the cervical spine in the treatment of patients with various disease processes. No significant subsidence was noted, and pain and functional scores improved in all cases. Expandable cylindrical cages appear to be well suited for cervical reconstruction and for correcting sagittal malalignment.

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Kurtis I. Auguste, Marcus L. Ware, and Michael T. Lawton

Object

The azygos or undivided anterior cerebral artery (ACA) is a rare variant, and aneurysms associated with this variant are particularly rare. Most reported azygos ACA aneurysms are saccular, but the authors encountered four patients with this variant who had nonsaccular aneurysms. A review of the management of these lesions and this morphological distinction is presented.

Methods

A retrospective review of patients with aneurysms treated over a 6-year period identified five Type I (according to the Baptista classification) azygos ACA lesions, of which four were nonsaccular. Aneurysms associated with other ACA variants (Baptista Types II and III) were excluded.

Azygos ACA aneurysms accounted for 0.5% of all treated lesions and 1.7% of all ACA and anterior communicating artery aneurysms. One lesion in this series was located proximally at the azygos ACA origin, and three were located distally. All four aneurysms were large (>10 mm in diameter), and two were thrombotic. All aneurysms were treated with microsurgical clip occlusion.

Conclusions

Azygos ACA aneurysms are rare, and may have unusual nonsaccular anatomy (for example, fusiform shape, broad base, complex branching, and/or thrombus in the lumen). The nonsaccular morphology of these aneurysms may render them unsuitable for endovascular coil placement, and may complicate their microsurgical management.

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Aaron J. Clark, Kurtis I. Auguste, and Peter P. Sun

Cervical cord neurapraxia is a common sports-related injury. It is defined as a transient neurological deficit following trauma localizing to the cervical spinal cord and can be caused by hyperextension, hyperflexion, or axial load mechanisms. Symptoms usually last less than 15 minutes, but can persist up to 48 hours in adults and as long as 5 days in children. While a strong causal relationship exists between cervical spine stenosis and cervical cord neurapraxia in adult patients, this association has not been observed in children. Likewise, while repeated episodes of neurapraxia can be commonplace in adult patients, recurrences have not been reported in the pediatric population. Treatment is usually supportive, but in adults with focal cervical lesions or instability, surgery is an option. Surgery for neurapraxia in children is rarely indicated.

Free access

Severin Schramm, Aashna Mehta, Kurtis I. Auguste, and Phiroz E. Tarapore

OBJECTIVE

Navigated transcranial magnetic stimulation (nTMS) is a noninvasive technique often used for localization of the functional motor cortex via induction of motor evoked potentials (MEPs) in neurosurgical patients. There has, however, been no published record of its application in pediatric epilepsy surgery. In this study, the authors aimed to investigate the feasibility of nTMS-based motor mapping in the preoperative diagnostic workup within a population of children with medically refractory epilepsy.

METHODS

A single-institution database was screened for preoperative nTMS motor mappings obtained in pediatric patients (aged 0 to 18 years, 2012 to present) with medically refractory epilepsy. Patient clinical data, demographic information, and mapping results were extracted and used in statistical analyses.

RESULTS

Sixteen patients met the inclusion criteria, 15 of whom underwent resection. The median age was 9 years (range 0–17 years). No adverse effects were recorded during mapping. Specifically, no epileptic seizures were provoked via nTMS. Recordings of valid MEPs induced by nTMS were obtained in 10 patients. In the remaining patients, no MEPs could be elicited. Failure to generate MEPs was associated significantly with younger patient age (r = 0.8020, p = 0.0001863). The most frequent seizure control outcome was Engel Epilepsy Surgery Outcome Scale class I (9 patients).

CONCLUSIONS

Navigated TMS is a feasible, effective, and well-tolerated method for mapping the motor cortex of the upper and lower extremities in pediatric patients with epilepsy. Patient age modulates elicitability of MEPs, potentially reflecting various stages of myelination. Successful motor mapping has the potential to add to the existing presurgical diagnostic workup in this population, and further research is warranted.

Open access

Georgia Kaidonis, Melike Pekmezci, Jessica Van Ziffle, Kurtis I. Auguste, and Jonathan C. Horton

BACKGROUND

In the past decade, next-generation sequencing has spurred significant progress in the understanding of cytogenetic alterations that occur in meningiomas. Eighty percent of adult meningiomas harbor pathogenic somatic variants involving NF2, TRAF7, SMARCB1, KLF4, PI3K, or POLR2A. Somatic variants in TRAF7 associated with meningiomas usually localize to the gene’s WD40 domains but are mutually exclusive to germline mutations, which cause a distinctive autosomal dominant syndrome.

OBSERVATIONS

This case involved a 15-year-old girl with bilateral optic nerve sheath meningiomas, diffuse meningiomatosis, and syndromic features, including craniosynostosis, brain anomalies, syndactyly, brachydactyly, epicanthus, and patent ductus arteriosus. Genetic testing of the meningioma specimen 7 years after biopsy showed a pathogenic p.R641C variant within the WD40 domain of the TRAF7 gene. Additional testing of unaffected tissues identified the same variant at lower allele frequencies, consistent with postzygotic somatic mosaicism.

LESSONS

The authors report postzygotic somatic mosaicism for a p.R641C variant in the TRAF7 gene in a patient with bilateral optic nerve sheath meningiomas, diffuse meningiomatosis and a constellation of systemic findings previously recognized in patients with germline mutations of this gene. This is the first report of optic nerve sheath meningioma in a patient with mutation in the TRAF7 gene.