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Meng Huang, David D. Gonda, Valentina Briceño, Sandi K. Lam, Thomas G. Luerssen, and Andrew Jea

Upper airway obstruction resulting from overflexion of the craniocervical junction after occipitocervical fusion is a rare but potentially life-threatening complication and is associated with morbidity. The authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records and diagnostic images of 2 pediatrie patients who underwent occipitocervical fusion by the Neuro-Spine Program at Texas Children’s Hospital and experienced dyspnea and/or dysphagia from new upper airway obstruction in the postoperative period. Patient demographics, operative data, and preoperative and postoperative occiput-C2 angles were recorded. A review of the literature for similar complications after occipitocervical fusion was performed. A total of 13 cases of prolonged upper airway obstruction after occipitocervical fusion were analyzed. Most of these cases involved adults with rheumatoid arthritis. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, there have been no previous reports of prolonged upper airway obstruction in children after an occipitocervical fusion. Fixation of the neck in increased flexion (−18° to −5°) was a common finding among these adult and pediatrie cases. The authors’ cases involved children with micrognathia and comparatively large tongues, which may predispose the oropharynx to obstruction with even the slightest amount of increased flexion. Close attention to a satisfactory fixation angle (occiput-C2 angle) is necessary to avoid airway obstruction after an occipitocervical fusion. Children with micrognathia are particularly sensitive to changes in flexion at the craniocervical junction after occipitocervical fixation.

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Benjamin Davidson, Karim Mithani, Yuexi Huang, Ryan M. Jones, Maged Goubran, Ying Meng, John Snell, Kullervo Hynynen, Clement Hamani, and Nir Lipsman

OBJECTIVE

Magnetic resonance imaging–guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) is an emerging treatment modality that enables incisionless ablative neurosurgical procedures. Bilateral MRgFUS capsulotomy has recently been demonstrated to be safe and effective in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and major depressive disorder (MDD). Preliminary evidence has suggested that bilateral MRgFUS capsulotomy can present increased difficulties in reaching lesional temperatures as compared to unilateral thalamotomy. The authors of this article aimed to study the parameters associated with successful MRgFUS capsulotomy lesioning and to present longitudinal radiographic findings following MRgFUS capsulotomy.

METHODS

Using data from 22 attempted MRgFUS capsulotomy treatments, the authors investigated the relationship between various sonication parameters and the maximal temperature achieved at the intracranial target. Lesion volume and morphology were analyzed longitudinally using structural and diffusion tensor imaging. A retreatment procedure was attempted in one patient, and their postoperative imaging is presented.

RESULTS

Skull density ratio (SDR), skull thickness, and angle of incidence were significantly correlated with the maximal temperature achieved. MRgFUS capsulotomy lesions appeared similar to those following MRgFUS thalamotomy, with three concentric zones observed on MRI. Lesion volumes regressed substantially over time following MRgFUS. Fractional anisotropy analysis revealed a disruption in white matter integrity, followed by a gradual return to near-baseline levels concurrent with lesion regression. In the patient who underwent retreatment, successful bilateral lesioning was achieved, and there were no adverse clinical or radiographic events.

CONCLUSIONS

With the current iteration of MRgFUS technology, skull-related parameters such as SDR, skull thickness, and angle of incidence should be considered when selecting patients suitable for MRgFUS capsulotomy. Lesions appear to follow morphological patterns similar to what is seen following MRgFUS thalamotomy. Retreatment appears to be safe, although additional cases will be necessary to further evaluate the associated safety profile.

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Uzma Samadani, Sameer Farooq, Robert Ritlop, Floyd Warren, Marleen Reyes, Elizabeth Lamm, Anastasia Alex, Elena Nehrbass, Radek Kolecki, Michael Jureller, Julia Schneider, Agnes Chen, Chen Shi, Neil Mendhiratta, Jason H. Huang, Meng Qian, Roy Kwak, Artem Mikheev, Henry Rusinek, Ajax George, Robert Fergus, Douglas Kondziolka, Paul P. Huang, and R. Theodore Smith

OBJECT

Automated eye movement tracking may provide clues to nervous system function at many levels. Spatial calibration of the eye tracking device requires the subject to have relatively intact ocular motility that implies function of cranial nerves (CNs) III (oculomotor), IV (trochlear), and VI (abducent) and their associated nuclei, along with the multiple regions of the brain imparting cognition and volition. The authors have developed a technique for eye tracking that uses temporal rather than spatial calibration, enabling detection of impaired ability to move the pupil relative to normal (neurologically healthy) control volunteers. This work was performed to demonstrate that this technique may detect CN palsies related to brain compression and to provide insight into how the technique may be of value for evaluating neuropathological conditions associated with CN palsy, such as hydrocephalus or acute mass effect.

METHODS

The authors recorded subjects' eye movements by using an Eyelink 1000 eye tracker sampling at 500 Hz over 200 seconds while the subject viewed a music video playing inside an aperture on a computer monitor. The aperture moved in a rectangular pattern over a fixed time period. This technique was used to assess ocular motility in 157 neurologically healthy control subjects and 12 patients with either clinical CN III or VI palsy confirmed by neuro-ophthalmological examination, or surgically treatable pathological conditions potentially impacting these nerves. The authors compared the ratio of vertical to horizontal eye movement (height/width defined as aspect ratio) in normal and test subjects.

RESULTS

In 157 normal controls, the aspect ratio (height/width) for the left eye had a mean value ± SD of 1.0117 ± 0.0706. For the right eye, the aspect ratio had a mean of 1.0077 ± 0.0679 in these 157 subjects. There was no difference between sexes or ages. A patient with known CN VI palsy had a significantly increased aspect ratio (1.39), whereas 2 patients with known CN III palsy had significantly decreased ratios of 0.19 and 0.06, respectively. Three patients with surgically treatable pathological conditions impacting CN VI, such as infratentorial mass effect or hydrocephalus, had significantly increased ratios (1.84, 1.44, and 1.34, respectively) relative to normal controls, and 6 patients with supratentorial mass effect had significantly decreased ratios (0.27, 0.53, 0.62, 0.45, 0.49, and 0.41, respectively). These alterations in eye tracking all reverted to normal ranges after surgical treatment of underlying pathological conditions in these 9 neurosurgical cases.

CONCLUSIONS

This proof of concept series of cases suggests that the use of eye tracking to detect CN palsy while the patient watches television or its equivalent represents a new capacity for this technology. It may provide a new tool for the assessment of multiple CNS functions that can potentially be useful in the assessment of awake patients with elevated intracranial pressure from hydrocephalus or trauma.

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Meng Huang, Avery Buchholz, Anshit Goyal, Erica Bisson, Zoher Ghogawala, Eric Potts, John Knightly, Domagoj Coric, Anthony Asher, Kevin Foley, Praveen V. Mummaneni, Paul Park, Mark Shaffrey, Kai-Ming Fu, Jonathan Slotkin, Steven Glassman, Mohamad Bydon, and Michael Wang

OBJECTIVE

Surgical treatment for degenerative spondylolisthesis has been proven to be clinically challenging and cost-effective. However, there is a range of thresholds that surgeons utilize for incorporating fusion in addition to decompressive laminectomy in these cases. This study investigates these surgeon- and site-specific factors by using the Quality Outcomes Database (QOD).

METHODS

The QOD was queried for all cases that had undergone surgery for grade 1 spondylolisthesis from database inception to February 2019. In addition to patient-specific covariates, surgeon-specific covariates included age, sex, race, years in practice (0–10, 11–20, 21–30, > 30 years), and fellowship training. Site-specific variables included hospital location (rural, suburban, urban), teaching versus nonteaching status, and hospital type (government, nonfederal; private, nonprofit; private, investor owned). Multivariable regression and predictor importance analyses were performed to identify predictors of the treatment performed (decompression alone vs decompression and fusion). The model was clustered by site to account for site-specific heterogeneity in treatment selection.

RESULTS

A total of 12,322 cases were included with 1988 (16.1%) that had undergone decompression alone. On multivariable regression analysis clustered by site, adjusting for patient-level clinical covariates, no surgeon-specific factors were found to be significantly associated with the odds of selecting decompression alone as the surgery performed. However, sites located in suburban areas (OR 2.32, 95% CI 1.09–4.84, p = 0.03) were more likely to perform decompression alone (reference = urban). Sites located in rural areas had higher odds of performing decompression alone than hospitals located in urban areas, although the results were not statistically significant (OR 1.33, 95% CI 0.59–2.61, p = 0.49). Nonteaching status was independently associated with lower odds of performing decompression alone (OR 0.40, 95% CI 0.19–0.97, p = 0.04). Predictor importance analysis revealed that the most important determinants of treatment selection were dominant symptom (Wald χ2 = 34.7, accounting for 13.6% of total χ2) and concurrent diagnosis of disc herniation (Wald χ2 = 31.7, accounting for 12.4% of total χ2). Hospital teaching status was also found to be relatively important (Wald χ2 = 4.2, accounting for 1.6% of total χ2) but less important than other patient-level predictors.

CONCLUSIONS

Nonteaching centers were more likely to perform decompressive laminectomy with supplemental fusion for spondylolisthesis. Suburban hospitals were more likely to perform decompression only. Surgeon characteristics were not found to influence treatment selection after adjustment for clinical covariates. Further large database registry experience from surgeons at high-volume academic centers at which surgically and medically complex patients are treated may provide additional insight into factors associated with treatment preference for degenerative spondylolisthesis.