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Rudolf Beisse, Thomas Mückley, Meic H. Schmidt, Matthias Hauschild and Volker Büren

Object. Decompression of the spinal canal in the management of thoracolumbar trauma is controversial, but many authors have advocated decompression in patients with severe canal compromise and neurological deficits. Anterior decompression, corpectomy, and fusion have been shown to be more reliable for spinal canal reconstruction than posterior procedures; however, traditional anterior-access procedures, thoracotomy, and thoracoabdominal approaches are associated with significant complications. Endoscopy-guided spinal access avoids causing these morbidities, but it has not been shown to yield equivalent results in spinal canal clearance. This study was conducted to demonstrate the effectiveness of endoscopic spinal canal decompression and reconstruction quantitatively by using pre- and postoperative computerized tomography (CT) scanning.

Methods. Thirty patients with thoracolumbar canal compromise underwent endoscopic anterior spinal canal decompression, interbody reconstruction, and stabilization for fractures (27 cases), and tumor, infection, and severe degenerative disc disease (one case each). The mean follow-up period was 42 months (range 24 months–6 years). Neurological examinations, Frankel grades, radiological studies, and intraoperative findings were prospectively collected.

Spinal canal clearance quantified on pre- and postoperative CT scans improved from 55 to 110%. A total of 25% of patients with complete paraplegia and 65% of those with incomplete neurological deficit improved neurologically. The complication rate was 16.7% and included one reintubation, two pleural effusions, one intercostal neuralgia, and one persistent lesion of the sympathetic chain.

Conclusions. The authors describe the endoscopic technique of anterior spinal canal decompression in the thoracolumbar spine. The morbidities associated with an open procedure were avoided, and excellent spinal canal clearance was accomplished as was associated neurological improvement.

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Jennifer L. O. Merrimen, P. Daniel McNeely, Richard L. Bendor-Samuel, Matthias H. Schmidt and Robert B. Fraser

✓Amniotic band sequence is a disruption sequence having a broad spectrum of clinical manifestations ranging from partial amputations to major craniofacial and limb–body wall defects. Most reported cases of placental–cerebral adhesion pertain to patients with severe craniofacial defects who were either stillborn or who died a few hours after birth. The authors present a case of a male infant born with a placental–cerebral adhesion through a cranial defect. This adhesion was separated at birth, and duraplasty and primary scalp closure were performed. A detailed examination of the placenta revealed the presence of multiple amniotic bands. The case demonstrates that survival and normal early postnatal development are possible if the condition is treated promptly.

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Mark A. MacLean, Karim Mukhida, Jai J. S. Shankar, Matthias H. Schmidt and David B. Clarke

Transorbital penetration accounts for one-quarter of the penetrating head injuries (PHIs) in adults and half of those in children. Injuries that traverse (with complete penetration of) the brainstem are often fatal, with survivors rarely seen in clinical practice. Here, the authors describe the case of a 16-year-old male who suffered and recovered from an accidental transorbital PHI traversing the brainstem—the first case of complete neurological recovery following such injury. Neuroimaging captured the trajectory of the initial injury. A delayed-onset carotid cavernous fistula and the subsequent development of internal carotid artery pseudoaneurysms were managed by endovascular embolization.

The authors also review the relevant literature. Sixteen cases of imaging-confirmed PHI traversing the brainstem have been reported, 14 involving the pons and 12 penetrating via the transorbital route. Management and outcome of PHI are informed by object velocity, material, entry point, trajectory, relationship to neurovascular structures, and the presence of a retained foreign body. Trauma resuscitation is followed by a careful neurological examination and appropriate neuroimaging. Ophthalmological examination is performed if transorbital penetration is suspected, as injuries may be occult; the potential for neurovascular complications highlights the value of angiography. The featured case shows that complete recovery is possible following injury that traverses the brainstem.

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Oral Presentations

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