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Michael A. Mooney, Mark E. Oppenlander, U. Kumar Kakarla and Nicholas Theodore

Tumoral calcinosis is characterized by tumor-like deposition of calcium in periarticular soft tissue. Spinal involvement is rare, and perioperative diagnosis of tumoral calcinosis can be difficult because lesions may be confused with bony neoplasms. Symptoms of tumoral calcinosis result from bony involvement and/or direct compression of surrounding anatomical structures, for which treatment with surgical decompression can be highly successful. The craniovertebral junction is rarely affected by tumoral calcinosis, and patients with this condition may present with distinct symptoms. Herein, to their knowledge the authors present the first case of tumoral calcinosis affecting the craniovertebral junction in a patient who presented with severe dysphagia and required transoral decompression. Recognition of tumoral calcinosis by neurosurgeons is essential for facilitating diagnosis and treatment, and the transoral approach is an effective method for decompression in select patients.

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Mark E. Oppenlander, Justin C. Clark, James Kalyvas and Curtis A. Dickman

Object

Symptomatic herniated thoracic discs (HTDs) are rare, and patients infrequently require treatment of 2 or more disc levels. The authors assess the surgical management and outcomes of patients with multiple-level symptomatic HTDs.

Methods

A retrospective review of a prospectively maintained database was performed of 220 consecutive patients treated surgically for symptomatic HTDs. Clinical and surgical results were compared between patients with single-level disease and patients with multiple-level disease and also among the different approaches used for surgical decompression.

Results

Between 1992 and 2012, 56 patients (mean age 48 years; 26 male, 30 female) underwent 62 procedures for 130 HTDs. Forty-six patients (82%) had myelopathy, and 36 (64%) had thoracic radiculopathy; 24 patients had both conditions in varying degree. Symptom duration averaged 28 months. The surgical approach was dictated by disc size, consistency, and location. Twenty-three thoracotomy, 26 thoracoscopy, and 13 posterolateral procedures were performed. Five patients required a combination of approaches. Patients underwent 2-level (n = 44), 3-level (n = 7), 4-level (n = 4), or 5-level (n = 1) discectomies. Instrumented fusion was performed in 36 patients (64%). Thirteen patients harbored 19 additional discs, which were deemed asymptomatic/nonoperative.

The mean hospital stay was 6.5 days. Complete disc resection was verified with postoperative imaging in every patient. The procedural complication rate was 23%, and the nature of complications differed based on approach. No patients had surgery-related spinal cord injury or new myelopathy.

At a mean follow-up of 48 months, myelopathy and radiculopathy had resolved or improved at a rate of 85% and 92%, respectively. Using a general linear model, preoperative symptom duration (p = 0.037) and perioperative hospital length of stay (p = 0.004) emerged as negative predictors of myelopathy improvement. Most patients (96%) were satisfied with the surgical results.

Compared with 164 patients who underwent single-level HTD decompression, patients requiring surgery for multiple-level HTDs were more often myelopathic (p = 0.012). Surgery for multiple-level HTDs was more likely to require a thoracotomy approach (p = 0.00055) and instrumented fusion (p < 0.0001) and resulted in greater blood loss (p = 0.0036) and higher complication rates (p = 0.0069). The rates of resolution for myelopathy (p = 0.24) and radiculopathy (p = 1.0), however, were similar between the 2 patient groups.

Conclusions

The management of multiple-level symptomatic HTDs is complex, requiring individualized clinical decision making. The surgical approaches must be selected to minimize manipulation of the compressed thoracic spinal cord, and a patient may require a combination of approaches. Excellent surgical results can be achieved in this unique and challenging patient population.

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Mark E. Oppenlander, Forrest D. Hsu, Patrick Bolton and Nicholas Theodore

Although exceedingly rare, catastrophic neurological decline may result from endotracheal intubation of patients with preexisting cervical spine disease. The authors report on 2 cases of quadriplegia resulting from emergent endotracheal intubation in the intensive care unit.

A 68-year-old man with ankylosing spondylitis became quadriplegic after emergent intubation. A new C6–7 fracturedislocation was identified, and the patient underwent emergent open reduction and C4–T2 posterior fixation and fusion. The patient remained quadriplegic and ultimately died of pneumonia 1 year later. This is the first report with radiographic documentation of a cervical fracture-dislocation resulting from intubation in a patient with ankylosing spondylitis.

A 73-year-old man underwent posterior C6–T1 decompression and fixation for a C6–7 fracture. On postoperative Day 12, emergent intubation for respiratory distress resulted in C6-level quadriplegia. Imaging revealed acute spondyloptosis at C6–7, and the patient underwent emergent open reduction with revision and extension of posterior fusion from C-3 to T-2. He remained quadriplegic and ventilator dependent. Five days after the second operation, care was withdrawn. This is the first report of intubation as a cause of significant neurological decline related to disruption of a recently fixated cervical fracture.

Risk factors are identified and pertinent literature is reviewed for cases of catastrophic neurological complications after emergent endotracheal intubation. Strategies for obtaining airway control in patients with cervical spine pathology are also identified. Awareness of the potential dangers of airway management in patients with cervical spine pathology is critical for all involved subspecialty team members.

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Mark E. Oppenlander, M. Yashar S. Kalani and Curtis A. Dickman

Cavernous malformations (CMs) are found throughout the CNS but are relatively uncommon in the spine. In this report, the authors describe a giant CM with the imaging appearance of an aggressive, invasive, expansive tumor in the cervical spine. The intradural extramedullary portion of the tumor originated from a cervical nerve root; histologically, the lesion was identified as an intraneural CM. Most of the tumor extended into the paraspinal tissues. The tumor was also epidural, intraosseous, and osteolytic and had completely encased cervical nerve roots, peripheral nerves, branches of the brachial plexus, and the vertebral artery on the right side. It became symptomatic during the puerperal period. Gross-total resection was achieved using staged operative procedures, complex dural reconstruction, spinal fixation, and fusion. Clinical, radiographic, and histological details, as well as a discussion of the relevant literature, are provided.

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M. Yashar S. Kalani, Ting Lei, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Mark E. Oppenlander, Robert F. Spetzler and Peter Nakaji

The mesial temporal lobe can be approached via a pterional or orbitozygomatic craniotomy, the subtemporal approach, or transcortically. Alternatively, the entire mesial temporal lobe can be accessed using a lateral supracerebellar transtentorial (SCTT) approach. Here we describe the technical nuances of patient positioning, craniotomy, supracerebellar dissection, and tentorial disconnection to traverse the tentorial incisura to arrive at the posterior mesial temporal lobe for a cavernous malformation. The SCTT approach is especially useful for lesions in the dominant temporal lobe where an anterolateral approach may endanger language centers or the vein of Labbé.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/D8mIR5yeiVw.

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Yamaan S. Saadeh, Brandon W. Smith, Jacob R. Joseph, Sohaib Y. Jaffer, Martin J. Buckingham, Mark E. Oppenlander, Nicholas J. Szerlip and Paul Park

OBJECTIVE

Spinal cord injury (SCI) results in significant morbidity and mortality. Improving neurological recovery by reducing secondary injury is a major principle in the management of SCI. To minimize secondary injury, blood pressure (BP) augmentation has been advocated. The objective of this study was to review the evidence behind BP management after SCI.

METHODS

This systematic review was conducted following the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines. Using the PubMed database, the authors identified studies that investigated BP management after acute SCI. Information on BP goals, duration of BP management, vasopressor selection, and neurological outcomes were analyzed.

RESULTS

Eleven studies that met inclusion criteria were identified. Nine studies were retrospective, and 2 were single-cohort prospective investigations. Of the 9 retrospective studies, 7 reported a goal mean arterial pressure (MAP) of higher than 85 mm Hg. For the 2 prospective studies, the MAP goals were higher than 85 mm Hg and higher than 90 mm Hg. The duration of BP management varied from more than 24 hours to 7 days in 6 of the retrospective studies that reported the duration of treatment. In both prospective studies, the duration of treatment was 7 days. In the 2 prospective studies, neurological outcomes were stable to improved with BP management. The retrospective studies, however, were contradictory with regard to the correlation of BP management and outcomes. Dopamine, norepinephrine, and phenylephrine were the agents that were frequently used to augment BP. However, more complications have been associated with dopamine use than with the other vasopressors.

CONCLUSIONS

There are no high-quality data regarding optimal BP goals and duration in the management of acute SCI. Based on the highest level of evidence available from the 2 prospective studies, MAP goals of 85–90 mm Hg for a duration of 5–7 days should be considered. Norepinephrine for cervical and upper thoracic injuries and phenylephrine or norepinephrine for mid- to lower thoracic injuries should be considered.

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Corey T. Walker, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Mark E. Oppenlander, Jakub Godzik, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Robert J. Standerfer and Nicholas Theodore

OBJECTIVE

The authors report a novel paradigm for resection of the disc or dural complex to treat giant calcified transdural herniated thoracic discs, and they describe a technique for the repair of dural defects. These herniated thoracic discs are uncommon, complicated lesions that often require a multidisciplinary team for effective treatment. The intradural component must be removed to effectively decompress the spinal cord. The opening of the friable dura mater, which frequently adheres to the extradural component of the disc, can result in large defects and difficult-to-manage CSF leaks.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective study of the technique and outcomes in patients with a transdural herniated disc treated at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center within a 4-year period between 2012 and 2015.

RESULTS

During the study period, 7 patients (mean age 56.1 years) presented to the department of neurosurgery with clinical symptoms consistent with myeloradiculopathy. In all cases, 2-level corpectomies of the involved levels were combined with circumferential resection of the dura and complete decompression of the spinal cord. The dural defect was repaired with an onlay dural patch, and a large piece of AlloDerm (LifeCell Corp) graft was sewn to close the pleural defect. Every patient had a perioperative lumbar drain placed for CSF diversion. No patient suffered neurological decline related to the surgery, and 3 patients experienced clinically significant improvement in function. Two patients developed an early postoperative CSF leak that required operative revision to oversew the defects.

CONCLUSIONS

This novel technique for decompression of the spinal cord by dural resection for the removal of giant calcified transdural herniated thoracic discs is safe and results in excellent decompression of the spinal cord. The technique becomes necessary when primary repair of the dura is not possible, and it can be used in cases in which the resection of pathology includes the dura.

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M. Yashar S. Kalani, Mark E. Oppenlander, Michael Levitt, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Robert F. Spetzler and Joseph M. Zabramski

Unruptured posterior circulation aneurysms pose a treatment challenge. Although data supports the use of endovascular technique for select ruptured cases, in unruptured cases, there may be clinical equipoise. Furthermore, wide-necked basilar apex aneurysms commonly require the use of stents and placement of patients on dual therapy. We present a case of a healthy 50-year-old woman with an incidental basilar tip aneurysm treated via an orbitozygomatic craniotomy. This video highlights the steps of dynamic retraction, which is retraction without placement of permanent rigid retraction system, and the added maneuverability afforded by the use of the mouthpiece on the microscope.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/jVfC6CCXdZY.

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Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Hai Sun, Mark E. Oppenlander, Peter Nakaji, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Joseph M. Zabramski and Robert F. Spetzler

Intraoperative rupture of an intracranial aneurysm is a potentially devastating but controllable complication. The authors have successfully used the previously described cotton-clip technique to repair tears at the necks of aneurysms.1–4 A tear on the neck of the aneurysm is covered with a piece of cotton and held in place with a suction device. The cotton is then clipped onto the tear with an aneurysm clip, using the cotton as a bolster. This simple, effective method has been useful in repairing a partial avulsion of the neck of an aneurysm.1,3

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/nT86RYVQWpc.

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Evgenii Belykh, Kaan Yağmurlu, Ting Lei, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Mark E. Oppenlander, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Vadim A. Byvaltsev, Robert F. Spetzler, Peter Nakaji and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

The best approach to deep-seated lateral and third ventricle lesions is a function of lesion characteristics, location, and relationship to the ventricles. The authors sought to examine and compare angles of attack and surgical freedom of anterior ipsilateral and contralateral interhemispheric transcallosal approaches to the frontal horn of the lateral ventricle using human cadaveric head dissections. Illustrative clinical experiences with a contralateral interhemispheric transcallosal approach and an anterior interhemispheric transcallosal transchoroidal approach are also related.

METHODS

Five formalin-fixed human cadaveric heads (10 sides) were examined microsurgically. CT and MRI scans obtained before dissection were uploaded and fused into the navigation system. The authors performed contralateral and ipsilateral transcallosal approaches to the lateral ventricle. Using the navigation system, they measured areas of exposure, surgical freedom, angles of attack, and angle of view to the surgical surface. Two clinical cases are described.

RESULTS

The exposed areas of the ipsilateral (mean [± SD] 313.8 ± 85.0 mm2) and contralateral (344 ± 87.73 mm2) interhemispheric approaches were not significantly different (p = 0.12). Surgical freedom and vertical angles of attack were significantly larger for the contralateral approach to the most midsuperior reachable point (p = 0.02 and p = 0.01, respectively) and to the posterosuperior (p = 0.02 and p = 0.04) and central (p = 0.04 and p = 0.02) regions of the lateral wall of the lateral ventricle. Surgical freedom and vertical angles of attack to central and anterior points on the floor of the lateral ventricle did not differ significantly with approach. The angle to the surface of the caudate head region was less steep for the contralateral (135.6° ± 15.6°) than for the ipsilateral (152.0° ± 13.6°) approach (p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

The anterior contralateral interhemispheric transcallosal approach provided a more expansive exposure to the lower two-thirds of the lateral ventricle and striothalamocapsular region. In normal-sized ventricles, the foramen of Monro and the choroidal fissure were better visualized through the lateral ventricle ipsilateral to the craniotomy than through the contralateral approach.