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Massimo Miscusi, Eliana Gilioli, Franco Faccioli and Albino Bricolo

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Massimo Marianetti, Concetta Mina, Massimo Miscusi, Filippo Maria Polli and Paolo Missori

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Paolo Missori, Massimo Miscusi, Sergio Paolini, Claudio DiBiasi, Vannina Finocchi, Simone Peschillo and Roberto Delfini

✓Conservative treatment is reported in a child with atlantoaxial rotatory fixation. Three-dimensional (3D) computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging demonstrated the degree of dislocation and alar ligament damage. A rigid cervical collar and muscle relaxant agents without any traction allowed full recovery. Control 3D CT scanning and MR imaging findings are reported.

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Massimo Miscusi, Antonio Currà, Carlo Della Rocca, Paolo Missori and Vincenzo Petrozza

The authors report the case of a 55-year-old man who presented with acute motor-sensory axonal neuropathy (AMSAN), a variant of Guillain-Barré syndrome with a poor prognosis, immediately after surgery for resection of a cervical chondroma. A misdiagnosis of spinal cord shock due to an acute surgical or vascular postoperative complication was initially made in this patient. Nevertheless, there was continuous transient improvement that was followed by progressive worsening, and further investigation was necessary. The diagnosis of AMSAN, associated with acute colitis caused by Helicobacter pylori, was made based on neurophysiological examinations and colonoscopy. Interestingly, the patient also developed nephrotic syndrome, which was thought to be a further complication of the autoimmune reaction. Delayed administration of immunoglobulins (400 mg/kg/day), mesalazine (800 mg 3×/day), and meropenem (3 g/day) was used to treat the Helicobacter infection and the autoimmune reaction, leading to restoration of renal function and slight neurological improvement. The patient's general condition and neurological status improved slightly, but he remained seriously disabled (Frankel Grade C). This case demonstrates that a new onset of neurological symptoms in the early postoperative period after spine surgery could be related to causes other than iatrogenic myelopathy, and that an early diagnosis can reduce neurological sequelae, leading to a better outcome.

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Massimo Miscusi, Maurizio Domenicucci, Filippo Maria Polli, Stefano Forcato, Fabio De Giorgio and Antonino Raco

Object

The authors' aim was to conduct a surgical anatomy and feasibility study on the use of an extended posterolateral approach to the cervicothoracic junction (Fessler approach) in cadavers to facilitate en bloc removal of the second thoracic vertebra using the Tomita technique. To apply this technique, it is mandatory to approach both sides of the vertebra. But such a maneuver is very difficult in the region of the cervicothoracic junction because the scapula and its muscles represent an anatomical barrier to the paravertebral compartment and lateral aspects of the vertebrae.

Methods

To study the extended posterolateral Fessler approach to the cervicothoracic junction and the possible application of the Tomita technique on the second thoracic vertebra, 3 fresh-frozen cadavers were used in the Laboratory of Human Anatomy at the University of Nantes.

Results

The proposed approach allows exposure of both the posterior arch and the body of the second thoracic vertebra without any significant resection or traction of the superficial and deep posterior thoracic muscles, enabling application of the Tomita technique and facilitating intraoperative spinal fixation.

Conclusions

The proposed surgical technique is technically feasible. Nevertheless, it should be an option reserved for selected patients for whom the surgical complexity can be justified by the characteristics of their malignancy and expected curative outcome.

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Massimo Gerosa, Antonio Nicolato, Roberto Foroni, Bruno Zanotti, Laura Tomazzoli, Massimo Miscusi, Franco Alessandrini and Albino Bricolo

Object. The aim of this retrospective study was to assess the role of gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS) as a primary treatment for brain metastases by evaluating the results in particularly difficult cases such as oncotypes—which are unresponsive to radiation—cystic lesions, and highly critical locations such as the brainstem.

Methods. Treatment of 804 patients with 1307 solitary (29%), single (26%), and multiple (45%) brain metastases was evaluated. Treatment planning parameters were as follows: mean tumor volume 4.8 cm3 (range 0.01–21.5 cm3), mean prescription dose 20.6 Gy (range 12–29 Gy), and mean number of isocenters 6.5 (one–19). In unresponsive oncotypes such as melanoma and renal cell carcinoma, the mean target dosages were higher. Cystic metastatic lesions were initially stereotactically evacuated and then GKS was performed. Patients with brainstem metastases were treated with lower doses. Conventional radiotherapy was used in only a minority (14%) of selected cases. The overall median patient survival time was 13.5 months, and the 1-year actuarial local progression-free survival rate was 94%, with a mean palliation index and functional independence index of 53.8 and 52.5 weeks, respectively. The local tumor control rate was 93%, with a mean follow-up period of 14 months. In the overall series, and especially in the unresponsive oncotypes, systemic disease progression was the main limiting factor with regard to patient life expectancy.

Conclusions. Gamma knife radiosurgery seems to be the primary treatment option for patients harboring small-tomedium size (≤ 20-cm3) brain metastases with reasonable life expectancy and no impending intracranial hypertension. Results are better than with those obtained using whole-brain radiotherapy and comparable to the best selected surgery—radiation series, even in oncotypes unresponsive to therapeutic radiation, cystic tumors, and tumors located in the brain stem.

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Andrea Pietrantonio, Sokol Trungu, Isabella Famà, Stefano Forcato, Massimo Miscusi and Antonino Raco

OBJECTIVE

Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is the most common spinal disease in the geriatric population, and is characterized by a compression of the lumbosacral neural roots from a narrowing of the lumbar spinal canal. LSS can result in symptomatic compression of the neural elements, requiring surgical treatment if conservative management fails. Different surgical techniques with or without fusion are currently treatment options. The purpose of this study was to provide a description of the long-term clinical outcomes of patients who underwent bilateral laminotomy compared with total laminectomy for LSS.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed all the patients treated surgically by the senior author for LSS with total laminectomy and bilateral laminotomy with a minimum of 10 years of follow-up. Patients were divided into 2 treatment groups (total laminectomy, group 1; and bilateral laminotomy, group 2) according to the type of surgical decompression. Clinical outcomes measures included the visual analog scale (VAS), the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) scores, and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI). In addition, surgical parameters, reoperation rate, and complications were evaluated in both groups.

RESULTS

Two hundred fourteen patients met the inclusion and exclusion criteria (105 and 109 patients in groups 1 and 2, respectively). The mean age at surgery was 69.5 years (range 58–77 years). Comparing pre- and postoperative values, both groups showed improvement in ODI and SF-36 scores; at final follow-up, a slightly better improvement was noted in the laminotomy group (mean ODI value 22.8, mean SF-36 value 70.2), considering the worse preoperative scores in this group (mean ODI value 70, mean SF-36 value 38.4) with respect to the laminectomy group (mean ODI 68.7 vs mean SF-36 value 36.3), but there were no statistically significant differences between the 2 groups. Significantly, in group 2 there was a lower incidence of reoperations (15.2% vs 3.7%, p = 0.0075).

CONCLUSIONS

Bilateral laminotomy allows adequate and safe decompression of the spinal canal in patients with LSS; this technique ensures a significant improvement in patients’ symptoms, disability, and quality of life. Clinical outcomes are similar in both groups, but a lower incidence of complications and iatrogenic instability has been shown in the long term in the bilateral laminotomy group.

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Massimo Miscusi, Sokol Trungu, Luca Ricciardi, Stefano Forcato, Alessandro Ramieri and Antonino Raco

OBJECTIVE

Over the last few decades, many surgical techniques for lumbar interbody fusion have been reported. The anterior-to-psoas (ATP) approach is theoretically supposed to benefit from the advantages of both anterior and lateral approaches with similar complication rates, even in L5–S1. At this segment, the anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) requires retroperitoneal dissection and retraction of major vessels, whereas the iliac crest does not allow the lateral transpsoas approach. This study aimed to investigate clinical-radiological outcomes and complications of the ATP approach at the L5–S1 segment in a single cohort of patients.

METHODS

This is a prospective single-center study, conducted from 2016 to 2019. Consecutive patients who underwent ATP at the L5–S1 segment for degenerative disc disease or revision surgery after previous posterior procedures were considered for eligibility. Complete clinical-radiological documentation and a minimum follow-up of 12 months were set as inclusion criteria. Clinical patient-reported outcomes, such as the visual analog scale for low-back pain, Oswestry Disability Index, and 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) scores, as well as spinopelvic parameters, were collected preoperatively, 6 weeks after surgery, and at the last follow-up visit. Intraoperative and perioperative complications were recorded. The fusion rate was evaluated on CT scans obtained at 12 months postoperatively.

RESULTS

Thirty-two patients met the inclusion criteria. The mean age at the time of surgery was 57.6 years (range 44–75 years). The mean follow-up was 33.1 months (range 13–48 months). The mean pre- and postoperative visual analog scale (7.9 ± 1.3 vs 2.4 ± 0.8, p < 0.05), Oswestry Disability Index (52.8 ± 14.4 vs 22.9 ± 6.0, p < 0.05), and SF-36 (37.3 ± 5.8 vs 69.8 ± 6.1, p < 0.05) scores significantly improved. The mean lumbar lordosis and L5–S1 segmental lordosis significantly increased after surgery. The mean pelvic incidence–lumbar lordosis mismatch and pelvic tilt significantly decreased. No intraoperative complications and a postoperative complication rate of 9.4% were recorded. The fusion rate was 96.9%. One patient needed a second posterior revision surgery for residual foraminal stenosis.

CONCLUSIONS

In the present case series, ATP fusion for the L5–S1 segment has resulted in valuable clinical-radiological outcomes and a relatively low complication rate. Properly designed clinical and comparative trials are needed to further investigate the role of ATP for different L5–S1 conditions.

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Paolo Missori, Alessandro Ramieri, Giuseppe Costanzo, Simone Peschillo, Sergio Paolini, Massimo Miscusi, Giancarlo D'Andrea and Roberto Delfini

✓ Late-onset vertebral body (VB) fracture after lumbar transpedicular fixation has not been previously described in the literature. The authors present three cases in which VB fracture occurred several months after posterolateral fixation in patients with degenerative disease or traumatic injury. The authors suggest that postoperative osteopenia, modified load-sharing function, and intravertebral clefts were responsible for the fractures.

Two women and one man were evaluated at a mean follow-up interval of 3 months. Two patients suffered recurrent lumbar pain. Radiography and magnetic resonance imaging revealed fracture of some of the instrumentation-treated VBs. These two patients underwent surgical superior or inferior extension of instrumentation. The third, an asymptomatic patient, received conservative management. The two patients who underwent reoperation made complete recoveries, and there was no evidence of further bone collapse in any case.

The authors speculate that alterations in the VBs may occur following application of spinal instrumentation. In rare cases, the device can fracture and consequently lead to recurrent lumbar back pain. Recovery can be achieved by extending the instrumentation in the appropriate direction.

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Xu Wang, Hong-Liang Zhang, Chi Ma, Jiang Wu and Jie Zhu