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Avery Lee Buchholz, Steven L. Morgan, Leslie C. Robinson, and Bruce M. Frankel

OBJECT

Most cases of traumatic spondylolisthesis of the axis (hangman's fracture) can be treated nonoperatively with reduction and subsequent immobilization in a rigid cervical collar or halo. However, in some instances, operative management is necessary and can be accomplished by using either anterior or posterior fusion techniques. Because open posterior procedures can result in significant blood loss, pain, and limited cervical range of motion, other less invasive options for posterior fixation are needed. The authors describe a minimally invasive, navigation-guided technique for surgical treatment of Levine-Edwards (L-E) Type II hangman's fractures.

METHODS

For 5 patients with L-E Type II hangman's fracture requiring operative reduction and internal fixation, percutaneous screw fixation directed through the fracture site was performed. This technique was facilitated by use of intraoperative 3D fluoroscopy and neuronavigation.

RESULTS

Of the 5 patients, 2 were women, 3 were men, and age range was 46–67 years. No intraoperative or postoperative complications occurred. All patients wore a rigid cervical collar, and flexion-extension radiographs were obtained at 6 months. For all patients, dynamic imaging demonstrated a stable construct.

CONCLUSIONS

L-E type II hangman's fractures can be safely repaired by using percutaneous minimally invasive surgical techniques. This technique may be appropriate, depending on circumstances, for all L-E Type I and II hangman's fractures; however, the degree of associated ligament injury and disc disruption must be accounted for. Percutaneous fixation is not appropriate for L-E Type III fractures because of significant displacement and ligament and disc disruption. This report is meant to serve as a feasibility study and is not meant to show superiority of this procedure over other surgical options.

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Scheherazade Le, Viet Nguyen, Leslie Lee, S. Charles Cho, Carmen Malvestio, Eric Jones, Robert Dodd, Gary Steinberg, and Jaime López

OBJECTIVE

Brainstem cavernous malformations (CMs) often require resection due to their aggressive natural history causing hemorrhage and progressive neurological deficits. The authors report a novel intraoperative neuromonitoring technique of direct brainstem somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs) for functional mapping intended to help guide surgery and subsequently prevent and minimize postoperative sensory deficits.

METHODS

Between 2013 and 2019 at the Stanford University Hospital, intraoperative direct brainstem stimulation of primary somatosensory pathways was attempted in 11 patients with CMs. Stimulation identified nucleus fasciculus, nucleus cuneatus, medial lemniscus, or safe corridors for incisions. SSEPs were recorded from standard scalp subdermal electrodes. Stimulation intensities required to evoke potentials ranged from 0.3 to 3.0 mA or V.

RESULTS

There were a total of 1 midbrain, 6 pontine, and 4 medullary CMs—all with surrounding hemorrhage. In 7/11 cases, brainstem SSEPs were recorded and reproducible. In cases 1 and 11, peripheral median nerve and posterior tibial nerve stimulations did not produce reliable SSEPs but direct brainstem stimulation did. In 4/11 cases, stimulation around the areas of hemosiderin did not evoke reliable SSEPs. The direct brainstem SSEP technique allowed the surgeon to find safe corridors to incise the brainstem and resect the lesions.

CONCLUSIONS

Direct stimulation of brainstem sensory structures with successful recording of scalp SSEPs is feasible at low stimulation intensities. This innovative technique can help the neurosurgeon clarify distorted anatomy, identify safer incision sites from which to evacuate clots and CMs, and may help reduce postoperative neurological deficits. The technique needs further refinement, but could potentially be useful to map other brainstem lesions.

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Shyam S. Rao, David Y. Chung, Zoe Wolcott, Faheem Sheriff, Ayaz M. Khawaja, Hang Lee, Mary M. Guanci, Thabele M. Leslie-Mazwi, W. Taylor Kimberly, Aman B. Patel, and Guy A. Rordorf

OBJECTIVE

There is variability and uncertainty about the optimal approach to the management and discontinuation of an external ventricular drain (EVD) after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Evidence from single-center randomized trials suggests that intermittent CSF drainage and rapid EVD weans are safe and associated with shorter ICU length of stay (LOS) and fewer EVD complications. However, a recent survey revealed that most neurocritical care units across the United States employ continuous CSF drainage with a gradual wean strategy. Therefore, the authors sought to determine the optimal EVD management approach at their institution.

METHODS

The authors reviewed records of 200 patients admitted to their institution from 2010 to 2016 with aneurysmal SAH requiring an EVD. In 2014, the neurocritical care unit of the authors’ institution revised the internal EVD management guidelines from a continuous CSF drainage with gradual wean approach (continuous/gradual) to an intermittent CSF drainage with rapid EVD wean approach (intermittent/rapid). The authors performed a retrospective multivariable analysis to compare outcomes before and after the guideline change.

RESULTS

The authors observed a significant reduction in ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt rates after changing to an intermittent CSF drainage with rapid EVD wean approach (13% intermittent/rapid vs 35% continuous/gradual, OR 0.21, p = 0.001). There was no increase in delayed VP shunt placement at 3 months (9.3% vs 8.6%, univariate p = 0.41). The intermittent/rapid EVD approach was also associated with a shorter mean EVD duration (10.2 vs 15.6 days, p < 0.001), shorter ICU LOS (14.2 vs 16.9 days, p = 0.001), shorter hospital LOS (18.2 vs 23.7 days, p < 0.0001), and lower incidence of a nonfunctioning EVD (15% vs 30%, OR 0.29, p = 0.006). The authors found no significant differences in the rates of symptomatic vasospasm (24.6% vs 20.2%, p = 0.52) or ventriculostomy-associated infections (1.3% vs 8.8%, OR 0.30, p = 0.315) between the 2 groups.

CONCLUSIONS

An intermittent CSF drainage with rapid EVD wean approach is associated with fewer VP shunt placements, fewer complications, and shorter LOS compared to a continuous CSF drainage with gradual EVD wean approach. There is a critical need for prospective multicenter studies to determine if the authors’ experience is generalizable to other centers.

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Oral Presentations

2010 AANS Annual Meeting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania May 1–5, 2010