Neuroimaging is an indispensable tool in the workup and management of patients with neurological disorders. Arterial spin labeling (ASL) is an imaging modality that permits the examination of blood flow and perfusion without the need for contrast injection. Noninvasive in nature, ASL provides a feasible alternative to existing vascular imaging techniques, including angiography and perfusion imaging. While promising, ASL has yet to be fully incorporated into the diagnosis and management of neurological disorders. This article presents a review of the most recent literature on ASL, with a special focus on its use in moyamoya disease, brain neoplasms, seizures, and migraines and a commentary on recent advances in ASL that make the imaging technique more attractive as a clinically useful tool.
Sauson Soldozy, Jacob Galindo, Harrison Snyder, Yusuf Ali, Pedro Norat, Kaan Yağmurlu, Jennifer D. Sokolowski, Khadijeh Sharifi, Petr Tvrdik, Min S. Park, and M. Yashar S. Kalani
M. Harrison Snyder, Leonel Ampie, Vernon J. Forrester, JoAnne C. Wilson, James H. Nguyen, Christopher I. Shaffrey, and Avery L. Buchholz
Pyoderma gangrenosum (PG) is a rare inflammatory dermatosis that is most often associated with inflammatory bowel disease, but which can occur as a pathergic reaction around surgical incisions. The authors report the case of a patient who developed postoperative PG over the course of several months after undergoing extensive spinal instrumentation between the T4 and iliac levels. This is only the second such case occurring after spine surgery to be reported. The authors additionally review the literature to characterize treatment approaches and outcomes for this condition. The case highlights a potentially severe adverse effect of surgery that can be difficult to recognize and causes delays in effective treatment. It also demonstrates the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration in the effective care of patients.
Matthew J. Shepard, M. Harrison Snyder, Sauson Soldozy, Leonel L. Ampie, Saul F. Morales-Valero, and John A. Jane Jr.
Early surgical intervention for patients with pituitary apoplexy (PA) is thought to improve visual outcomes and decrease mortality. However, some patients may have good clinical outcomes without surgery. The authors sought to compare the radiological and clinical outcomes of patients with PA who were managed conservatively versus those who underwent early surgery.
Patients with symptomatic PA were identified. Radiological, endocrinological, and ophthalmological data were reviewed. Patients with progressive visual deterioration or ophthalmoplegia were candidates for early surgery (within 7 days). Patients without visual symptoms or whose symptoms improved on high-dose steroids were treated conservatively. Log-rank and univariate analysis compared clinical and radiological outcomes between those receiving early surgery and those who underwent intended conservative management.
Sixty-four patients with PA were identified: 47 (73.4%) underwent intended conservative management, while 17 (26.6%) had early surgery. Patients receiving early surgery had increased rates of impaired visual acuity (VA; 64.7% vs 27.7%, p = 0.009); visual field (VF) deficits (64.7% vs 19.2%, p = 0.002); and cranial neuropathies (58.8% vs 29.8%, p < 0.05) at presentation. Tumor volumes were greater in the early surgical cohort (15.1 ± 14.8 cm3 vs 4.5 ± 10.3 cm3, p < 0.001). The median clinical and radiological follow-up visits were longer in the early surgical cohort (70.0 and 64.4 months vs 26.0 and 24.7 months, respectively; p < 0.001). Among those with VA/VF deficits, visual outcomes were similar between both groups (p > 0.9). The median time to VA improvement (2.0 vs 3.0 months, p = 0.9; HR 0.9, 95% CI 0.3–3.5) and the median time to VF improvement (2.0 vs 1.5 months; HR 0.8, 95% CI 0.3–2.6, p = 0.8) were similar across both cohorts. Cranial neuropathy improvement was more common in conservatively managed patients (HR 4.8, 95% CI 1.5–15.4, p < 0.01). Conservative management failed in 7 patients (14.9%) and required surgery. PA volumes spontaneously regressed in 95.0% of patients (38/40) with successful conservative management, with a 6-month regression rate of 66.2%. Twenty-seven patients (19 in the conservative and 8 in the early surgical cohorts) responded to a prospectively administered Visual Function Questionnaire-25 (VFQ-25). VFQ-25 scores were similar across both cohorts (conservative 95.5 ± 3.8, surgery 93.2 ± 5.1, p = 0.3). Younger age, female sex, and patients with VF deficits or chiasmal compression were more likely to experience unsuccessful conservative management. Surgical outcomes were similar for patients receiving early versus delayed surgery.
These data suggest that a majority of patients with PA can be successfully managed without surgical intervention assuming close neurosurgical, radiological, and ophthalmological follow-up is available.
S. Harrison Farber, David J. Mauler, Soumya Sagar, Mark A. Pacult, Corey T. Walker, Michael A. Bohl, Laura A. Snyder, Kristina M. Chapple, Volker K. H. Sonntag, Juan S. Uribe, Jay D. Turner, Steve W. Chang, and U. Kumar Kakarla
Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is a common and robust procedure performed on the cervical spine. Literature on ACDF for 4 or more segments is sparse. Increasing the number of operative levels increases surgical complexity, tissue retraction, and risks of complications, particularly dysphagia. The overall risks of these complications and rates of dysphagia are not well studied for surgery on 4 or more segments. In this study, the authors evaluated their institution’s perioperative experience with 4- and 5-level ACDFs.
The authors retrospectively reviewed patients who underwent 4- or 5-level ACDF at their institution over a 6-year period (May 2013–May 2019). Patient demographics, perioperative complications, readmission rates, and swallowing outcomes were recorded. Outcomes were analyzed with a multivariate linear regression.
A total of 174 patients were included (167 had 4-level and 7 had 5-level ACDFs). The average age was 60.6 years, and 54.0% of patients (n = 94) were men. A corpectomy was performed in 12.6% of patients (n = 22). After surgery, 56.9% of patients (n = 99) experienced dysphagia. The percentage of patients with dysphagia decreased to 22.8% (37/162) at 30 days, 12.9% (17/132) at 90 days, and 6.3% (5/79) and 2.8% (1/36) at 1 and 2 years, respectively. Dysphagia was more likely at 90 days postoperatively in patients with gastroesophageal reflux (OR 4.4 [95% CI 1.5–12.8], p = 0.008), and the mean (± SD) lordosis change was greater in patients with dysphagia than those without at 90 days (19.8° ± 13.3° vs 9.1° ± 10.2°, p = 0.003). Dysphagia occurrence did not differ with operative implants, including graft and interbody type. The mean length of time to solid food intake was 2.4 ± 2.1 days. Patients treated with dexamethasone were more likely to achieve solid food intake prior to discharge (OR 4.0 [95% CI 1.5–10.6], p = 0.004). Postsurgery, 5.2% of patients (n = 9) required a feeding tube due to severe approach-related dysphagia. Other perioperative complication rates were uniformly low. Overall, 8.6% of patients (n = 15) returned to the emergency department within 30 days and 2.9% (n = 5) required readmission, whereas 1.1% (n = 2) required unplanned return to surgery within 30 days.
This is the largest series of patients undergoing 4- and 5-level ACDFs reported to date. This procedure was performed safely with minimal intraoperative complications. More than half of the patients experienced in-hospital dysphagia, which increased their overall length of stay, but dysphagia decreased over time.
Leonel Ampie, M. Harrison Snyder, Jose F. Dominguez, Avery Buchholz, Chun-Po Yen, Mark E. Shaffrey, Hasan R. Syed, Christopher I. Shaffrey, and Justin S. Smith
Primary spinal meningiomas represent a rare indolent neoplasm usually situated in the intradural-extramedullary compartment. They have a predilection for afflicting the thoracic spine and most frequently present with sensory and/or motor symptoms. Resection is the first-line treatment for symptomatic tumors, whereas other clinical factors will determine the need for adjuvant therapy. In this study, the authors aimed to elucidate clinical presentation, functional outcomes, and long-term outcomes in this population in order to better equip clinicians with the tools to counsel their patients.
This is a retrospective analysis of patients treated at the authors’ institution between 1998 and 2018. All patients with thoracic meningiomas who underwent resection and completed at least one follow-up appointment were included. Multiple preoperative clinical variables, hospitalization details, and long-term outcomes were collected for the cohort.
Forty-six patients who underwent resection for thoracic meningiomas were included. The average age of the cohort was 59 years, and the median follow-up was 53 months. Persistent sensory and motor symptoms were present in 29 patients (63%). Fifteen lesions were ventrally positioned. There were 43 WHO grade I tumors, 2 WHO grade II tumors, and 1 WHO grade III tumor; the grade III tumor was the only case of recurrence. The median length of hospitalization was 4 days. Seventeen patients (37%) were discharged to rehabilitation facilities. Thirty patients (65.2%) experienced resolution or improvement of symptoms, and there were no deaths within 30 days of surgery. Only 1 patient developed painful kyphosis and was managed medically. Ventral tumor position, new postoperative deficits, and length of stay did not correlate with disposition to a facility. Age, ventral position, blood loss, and increasing WHO grade did not correlate with length of stay.
Outcomes are overall favorable for patients who undergo resection of thoracic meningiomas. Symptomatic patients often experience improvement, and patients generally do not require significant future operations. Tumors located ventrally, while anatomically challenging, do not necessarily herald a significantly worse prognosis or limit the extent of resection.