✓The authors report an unusual case of cortical herniation into a chronic subdural hematoma (SDH). The patient was successfully treated with good outcome. A 4-month-old boy with a history of macrocrania and very large bilateral chronic SDHs underwent subduroperitoneal shunt treatment shortly after presentation. Eight months later he developed a new-onset seizure disorder, which was localized by electroencephalography to the right frontal region. Neuroimaging demonstrated the development of a focal herniation of the brain through a subdural membrane into the subdural space. The patient underwent a craniotomy to resect the seizure focus and the herniated cortex. The subdural shunt was subsequently replaced. After 2 years of follow-up, the patient remains free of seizures, is on no medication regimen, and is neurologically and developmentally normal. To the authors' knowledge, this is only the fourth report in the medical literature of cortical herniation through a chronic subdural membrane and the first in which successful treatment with a good outcome is described.
Leslie Acakpo-Satchivi and Thomas G. Luerssen
R. Shane Tubbs, Douglas Barnhart and Leslie Acakpo-Satchivi
✓ Acceptable cavities for the distal portion of a cerebrospinal fluid diversion shunt include the peritoneal, pleural, and atrial cavities. The authors report on a patient in whom placement into the peritoneal cavity failed, the pleural cavity was not an option, and access to the right atrium was not technically possible via standard cannulation techniques into the veins of the neck and shoulder regions. A right ventriculoatrial shunt was thus placed into the right atrium via the ipsilateral femoral vein. Eight months postoperatively, the patient's condition was at baseline and there were no signs of shunt malfunction. This technique may prove useful when other measures have failed.
R. Shane Tubbs, Leslie Acakpo-Satchivi, Jeffrey P. Blount, W. Jerry Oakes and John C. Wellons III
✓ Complications following cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) diversion procedures are protean. The formation of pseudoaneurysms after the placement of a ventricular catheter as part of a CSF diversion procedure is presumably quite rare.
The authors report the case of a child in whom a pericallosal artery pseudoaneurysm developed following the endoscopic insertion of a ventricular catheter as part of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement procedure. Significant intraventricular bleeding signaled vascular injury. Angiography revealed a right pericallosal artery pseudoaneurysm. The patient subsequently underwent surgical trapping of his pseudoaneurysm and physical therapy for left leg monoparesis.
This appears to be the first reported case of pseudoaneurysm formation following the placement of a ventricular catheter for a CSF diversion procedure. This case underlines a rare but serious risk involved with the routine placement of CSF shunts.
Andrew S. Ferrell, R. Shane Tubbs, Leslie Acakpo-Satchivi, John P. Deveikis and Mark R. Harrigan
Foix-Alajouanine syndrome has become a well-known entity since its initial report in 1926. The traditional understanding of this clinical syndrome is as a progressive spinal cord venous thrombosis related to a spinal vascular lesion, resulting in necrotic myelopathy. However, spinal venous thrombosis is extremely rare and not a feature of any common spinal vascular syndrome. A translation and review of the original 42-page French report revealed 2 young men who had presented with progressive and unrelenting myelopathy ultimately leading to their deaths. Pathological analysis demonstrated endomesovasculitis of unknown origin, including vessel wall thickening without evidence of luminal narrowing, obliteration of cord vessels, or thrombosis. Foix and Alajouanine also excluded the presence of intramedullary arteriovenous malformations. At the time, dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) had not been described, and therefore this type of lesion was not specifically sought. In retrospect, it seems possible that both patients had progressive myelopathy due to Type I dAVFs. In the decades since that original report, numerous authors have included spinal cord venous thrombosis as a central feature of Foix-Alajouanine syndrome. The inclusion of thrombosis in the clinical picture of this syndrome is not only incorrect but may leave one with the impression of therapeutic futility, thus possibly preventing successful surgical or endovascular therapy.
Roberto C. Heros
R. Shane Tubbs, Charles A. Khoury, E. George Salter, Leslie Acakpo-Satchivi, John C. Wellons III, Jeffrey P. Blount and W. Jerry Oakes
New information regarding nerve branches of the brachial plexus can be useful to the surgeon performing neurotization procedures following patient injury. Nerves in the vicinity of the axillae have been commonly used for neural grafting procedures, with the exception of the lower subscapular nerve (LSN).
The authors dissected and measured the LSN in 47 upper extremities (left and right sides) obtained in 27 adult cadavers, and determined distances between the LSN and surrounding nerves to help quantify it for possible use in neurotization procedures.
The mean diameter of the LSN was 2.3 mm. The mean length of the LSN from its origin at the posterior cord until it branched to the subscapularis muscle was 3.5 cm, and the mean distance from this branch until its termination in the teres major muscle was 6 cm. Therefore, the mean length of the entire LSN from the posterior cord to the teres major was 9.5 cm.
When the LSN was mobilized to explore its possible use in neurotization, it reached the entrance site of the musculocutaneous nerve into the coracobrachialis muscle in all but three sides and was within 1.5 cm from this point in these three. In the other specimens, the mean length of the LSN distal to this site of the musculocutaneous nerve was 2 cm. The mobilized LSN reached the axillary nerve trunk as it entered the quadrangular space in all specimens. The mean length of the LSN distal to this point on the axillary nerve was 2.5 cm. Furthermore, on all but one side the LSN was found within the confines of an anatomical triangle previously described by the authors.
The authors hope that these data will prove useful to the surgeon for both identifying the LSN and planning for potential neurotization procedures of the brachial plexus.
Cuong J. Bui, R. Shane Tubbs, Chevis N. Shannon, Leslie Acakpo-Satchivi, John C. Wellons III, Jeffrey P. Blount and W. Jerry Oakes
There is scant literature regarding the long-term outcome in patients with cranial vault encephaloceles, and what literature there is may underestimate long-term deficits. The goal of this study was to address this lack of information.
The authors performed a retrospective chart review of cranial vault encephaloceles performed at our institution between 1989 and 2003. Fifty-two total patients were identified and 44 of these cases were reviewed. Additionally, 34 of the 44 patients were contacted and given an outcome survey (Hydrocephalus Outcome Questionnarie [HOQ]) to evaluate physical, emotional, cognitive, and overall health outcomes.
The mean age for patients in this cohort was 9.6 years (range 4–17 years) and the mean follow-up time was 9.2 years. There was an equal sex distribution and there were no deaths. Hydrocephalus was found in 60% of occipital and 14% of frontal encephaloceles, and epilepsy was confirmed in 17% of occipital and 7% of frontal lesions. Outcome assessments performed using the HOQ showed that 50% of the patients with occipital encephaloceles had overall HOQ health scores of 0.5 or less and 55% had HOQ cognitive scores of 0.3 or less, compared with 0% of patients in both categories who had frontal encephaloceles. It was also found that the presence of hydrocephalus and epilepsy independently and significantly lowered the overall health scores.
Occipital encephaloceles carry a worse prognosis than frontal encephaloceles, with higher rates of hydrocephalus and seizure. Based on this study, the presence of hydrocephalus and epilepsy are significant additive adverse prognostic factors. Approximately half of the patients with occipital encephaloceles will be severely debilitated and will probably be unable to live and function independently in society. These data may be useful to clinicians in counseling patients and predicting long-term outcome following repair of cranial vault encephaloceles.
R. Shane Tubbs, Charles Law, Drew Davis, Mohammadali M. Shoja, Leslie Acakpo-Satchivi, John C. Wellons III, Jeffrey P. Blount and W. Jerry Oakes
Postoperative epidural morphine is commonly used to control pain in children following dorsal rhizotomy for spasticity. The authors report their experience in using a regimen of scheduled minor analgesic drugs to manage postoperative pain, with the goal of avoiding opiate use following a spinal intradural procedure.
Postoperative pain scores were analyzed in a group of 22 children who underwent a partial dorsal rhizotomy. According to a preestablished standard regimen for postoperative pain control after dorsal rhizotomy, in each patient an intraoperative epidural catheter was placed for the potential infusion of postoperative morphine. Additionally, this cohort underwent a scheduled regimen of acetaminophen (10 mg/kg) and ibuprofen (10 mg/kg), alternating every 2 hours. For comparison, a retrospective chart review was performed in 20 patients with rhizotomies completed prior to the use of this oral analgesic protocol.
Only one patient received a postoperative dose of morphine epidurally. None of the remaining patients required postoperative epidural morphine for pain control. Pain scores were significantly lower in this group compared with a retrospective review of patients treated according to the standard regimen. Length of hospital stay was shorter in these patients and antiemetic requirements were lower.
A regimen of minor analgesic therapy, when given in alternating doses every 2 hours immediately after partial dorsal rhizotomy for spasticity and throughout hospitalization, significantly reduced postoperative pain scores, hospitalization, and antiemetic requirements in these patients.
R. Shane Tubbs, Mohammadali M. Shoja, Leslie Acakpo-Satchivi, John C. Wellons III, Jeffrey P. Blount, W. Jerry Oakes and Bermans J. Iskandar
Surgical exposure of the extracranial part of the vertebral artery (VA) is occasionally necessary. Historically, the greater portion of the extracranial portion of the VA has been approached by traversing the anterior cervical triangle. The authors speculated that this entire segment of the VA could be reached with equal efficacy via the posterior cervical triangle (PCT).
Six adult cadavers underwent dissection of the left and right VAs via the PCT. The entire extracranial VA was easily exposed through this approach. Only three of 12 sides required the transection of the clavicular head of the sternocleidomastoid muscle for exposure of the most proximal segment of the VA as it originated from the subclavian artery. No gross injury to the VA or other regional vessels or nerves was noted.
The authors found that the extracranial VA can be exposed easily through the PCT. Following confirmation of this technique in vivo, this approach may be added to the surgeon’s armamentarium for exposing the extracranial segment of the VA.
Jeffrey P. Blount, R. Shane Tubbs, John C. Wellons III, Leslie Acakpo-Satchivi, David Bauer and W. Jerry Oakes
✓ In certain highly selected circumstances, division of a distally nonfunctional or dysfunctional cord can be a means of definitive untethering that spares and protects more rostral neurological function and results in definitive untethering. The authors reviewed their institutional experience with such cases and evaluated the limited literature. Based on their experience, treatment can be effective in carefully selected patients who undergo spinal cord transection, and the rate of repetitive tethered spinal cord can be decreased. Although uncommon, spinal cord transection appears to be an effective therapy in carefully selected patents with symptoms of repetitive cord tethering.