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Maurizio Fornari, Giovanni Luccarelli, Sergio Giombini, and Luisa Chiapparini

Object. The authors attempted to simplify the operative approach to severe multilevel cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Seven patients with progressive and severe myelopathy underwent modified double-door laminoplasty during a 5-month period.

Methods. The double-door laminoplasty procedure was modified by using two artificial titanium laminae obtained by simple surgical 0.5-mm Ti-mesh (rather than by bone graft or ceramic spacers).

Preoperatively, gait disturbance was present in all patients with long-tract signs on neurological examination. In all cases the sagittal diameter of the cervical spinal canal was somewhat reduced (< 10 mm) by congenital stenosis, and further severe compression of the spinal cord resulted from osteophytic bars and calcified ligamenta flava at different levels. No abnormal alignment, pathological movements, or instability was present. Computerized tomography (CT) studies demonstrated severe multilevel cervical compression, and T2-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) imaging demonstrated pathological areas of hyperintensity within the spinal cord in all cases.

In the initial follow-up study (range 8–12 months), the patients who underwent this procedure experienced marked improvement of gait disturbance without any significant incidence of morbidity or complications. Postoperative CT and MR imaging studies demonstrated complete spinal cord decompression and restoration of the patency of the subarachnoid spaces.

Conclusions. The proposed procedure has the advantage of achieving both an immediate stabilization of the open laminae by means of a bridgelike mechanism and protection from the possible compression of the dural sac by paravertebral muscles.

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Robert A. Beatty

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Giovanni Luccarelli, Maurizio Fornari, and Mario Savoiardo

✓ An aneurysmal bone cyst of the occipital bone, presenting as an intracranial space-occupying lesion, is reported. Clinical and neuroradiological findings are described in detail. The significance of angiographic and computerized tomographic findings is discussed.

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Yunus Aydın and Halit Çavuşoğlu

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Meningiomas of the lateral ventricles

Neuroradiological and surgical considerations in 18 cases

Maurizio Fornari, Mario Savoiardo, Giulio Morello, and Carlo L. Solero

✓ The clinical and neuroradiological findings and the surgical results in a series of 18 patients with meningiomas of the lateral ventricles, operated on over a 23-year period, are described. This experience is compared with previously reported series and the following conclusions are drawn: 1) these tumors have no characteristic symptomatology; 2) the preoperative diagnosis should be reached by means of both computerized tomography and carotid and vertebral angiography; 3) the safest surgical approach is through a sagittal paramedian parieto-occipital cortical incision; and 4) piecemeal removal is crucial for achieving total extirpation of the tumor with minimum damage of the surrounding brain tissue and for careful intraoperative hemostasis.

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Federico Nicolosi, Zefferino Rossini, Ismail Zaed, Angelos G. Kolias, Maurizio Fornari, and Franco Servadei

OBJECTIVE

Neurosurgical training is usually based on traditional sources of education, such as papers, books, direct surgical experience, and cadaveric hands-on courses. In low-middle income countries, standard education programs are often unavailable, mainly owing to the lack of human and economic resources. Introducing digital platforms in these settings could be an alternative solution for bridging the gap between Western and poor countries in neurosurgical knowledge.

METHODS

The authors identified from the Internet the main digital platforms that could easily be adopted in low-middle income countries. They selected free/low-cost mobile content with high educational impact.

RESULTS

The platforms that were identified as fulfilling the characteristics described above are WFNS Young Neurosurgeons Forum Stream, Brainbook, NeuroMind, UpSurgeOn, The Neurosurgical Atlas, Touch surgery, The 100 UCLA Subjects in Neurosurgery, Neurosurgery Survival Guide, EANS (European Association of Neurosurgical Societies) Academy, Neurosurgical.TV, 3D Neuroanatomy, The Rhoton Collection, and Hinari. These platforms consist of webinars, 3D interactive neuroanatomy and neurosurgery content, videos, and e-learning programs supported by neurosurgical associations or journals.

CONCLUSIONS

Digital education is an emerging tool for contributing to the spread of information in the neurosurgical community. The continuous improvement in the quality of content will rapidly increase the scientific validity of digital programs. In conclusion, the fast and easy access to digital resources could contribute to promote neurosurgical education in countries with limited facilities.

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Fabio Galbusera, Chiara M. Bellini, Francesco Costa, Roberto Assietti, and Maurizio Fornari

Object

Cervical instrumented fusion is currently performed using several fixation methods. In the present paper, the authors compare the following 4 implantation methods: a stand-alone cage, a cage supplemented by an anterior locking plate, a cage supplemented by an anterior dynamic plate, and a dynamic combined plate–cage device.

Methods

Four finite element models of the C4–7 segments were built, each including a different instrumented fixation type at the C5–6 level. A compressive preload of 100 N combined with a pure moment of 2.5 Nm in flexion, extension, right lateral bending, and right axial rotation was applied to the 4 models. The segmental principal ranges of motion and the load shared by the interbody cage were obtained for each simulation.

Results

The stand-alone cage showed the lowest stabilization capability among the 4 configurations investigated, but it was still significant. The cage supplemented by the locking plate was very stiff in all directions. The 2 dynamic plate configurations reduced flexibility in all directions compared with the intact case, but they left significant mobility in the implanted segment. These configurations were able to share a significant part of the load (up to 40% for the combined plate–cage) through the posterior cage. The highest risk of subsidence was obtained with the model of the stand-alone cage.

Conclusions

Noticeable differences in the results were detected for the 4 configurations. The actual clinical relevance of these differences, currently considered not of critical importance, should be investigated by randomized clinical trials.

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Francesco Costa, Giovanni Tosi, Luca Attuati, Andrea Cardia, Alessandro Ortolina, Marco Grimaldi, Fabio Galbusera, and Maurizio Fornari

OBJECTIVE

The O-arm system in spine surgery allows greater accuracy, lower rate of screw misplacement, and reduced surgical time. Some concerns have been postulated regarding the radiation doses to patients and surgeons. To the best of the authors' knowledge, most of the studies in the literature were performed with the use of phantoms. The authors present data regarding radiation exposure of the surgeon and operating room (OR) staff in a consecutive series of patients undergoing spine surgery.

METHODS

Radiation exposure data were collected in a series of 107 patients who underwent spine surgery using the O-arm system. The doses received by the surgeon and the staff were collected using electronic dosimeters.

RESULTS

All patients underwent 1–3 scans. The mean radiation dose to the patients was 5.15 mSv (range 1.48–7.64 mSv). The mean dose registered for the scan operator was 0.005 μSv (range 0.00–0.03 μSv) while the other members of the surgical team positioned outside the OR received 0 μSv.

CONCLUSIONS

The O-arm system exposes patients to a higher radiation dose than standard fluoroscopy. However, considering the clear advantages of this system, this adjunctive dose can be considered acceptable. Moreover, the effective dose to the patient can be reduced using collimation or minimizing the parameters of the O-arm system used in this paper. The exposure to operators is essentially negligible when radioprotective garments and protocols are adopted as recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.

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Francesco Costa, Alessandro Ortolina, Luca Attuati, Andrea Cardia, Massimo Tomei, Marco Riva, Luca Balzarini, and Maurizio Fornari

OBJECT

Fractures of C-1 and C-2 are complex and surgical management may be difficult and challenging due to the anatomical relationship sbetween the vertebrae and neurovascular structures. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role, reliability, and accuracy of cervical fixation using the O-arm intraoperative 3D image–based navigation system.

METHODS

The authors evaluated patients who underwent a navigation system–based surgery for stabilization of a fracture of C-1 and/or C-2 from August 2011 to August 2013. All of the fixation screws were intraoperatively checked and their position was graded.

RESULTS

The patient population comprised 17 patients whose median age was 47.6 years. The surgical procedures were as follows: anterior dens screw fixation in 2 cases, transarticular fixation of C-1 and C-2 in 1 case, fixation using the Harms technique in 12 cases, and occipitocervical fixation in 2 cases. A total of 67 screws were placed. The control intraoperative CT scan revealed 62 screws (92.6%) correctly placed, 4 (5.9%) with a minor cortical violation (< 2 mm), and only 1 screw (1.5%) that was judged to be incorrectly placed and that was immediately corrected. No vascular injury of the vertebral artery was observed either during exposition or during screw placement. No implant failure was observed.

CONCLUSIONS

The use of a navigation system based on an intraoperative CT allows a real-time visualization of the vertebrae, reducing the risks of screw misplacement and consequent complications.