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  • Author or Editor: Mical M. Samuelson x
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Frank S. Bishop, Michael A. Finn, Mical Samuelson and Richard H. Schmidt

In severe cases, posttraumatic cerebral sinus thrombosis can result in venous congestion and persistent intracranial hypertension refractory to both conventional medical therapy and surgical decompression. The authors report a unique case of a patient successfully treated with endovascular mechanical thrombolysis using balloon angioplasty for clinically significant posttraumatic venous sinus thrombosis and review the reported treatments for cerebral venous sinus occlusive disease.

This 18-year-old man suffered severe closed head injury from a fall while skateboarding. A head CT scan demonstrated basilar skull fractures involving the left jugular foramen. A CT angiogram revealed thrombosis of the left transverse sinus and occlusion of the sigmoid sinus and internal jugular vein. Despite treatment with anticoagulation therapy and decompressive hemi- and suboccipital craniectomies, intracranial hypertension remained refractory. Serial angiography demonstrated progressive sinus occlusion. Endovascular balloon thrombolysis of the left transverse and sigmoid sinuses resulted in immediate reduction of intracranial pressures and improved sinus patency. Intracranial pressure measurements remained low after the procedure. The patient eventually improved neurologically, was able to follow commands and walk, and was discharged to a rehabilitation facility for further recovery.

Anticoagulation therapy, surgical decompression, and endovascular thrombolysis have been reported as treatment modalities for clinically significant posttraumatic venous sinus thrombosis. In this case, endovascular mechanical thrombolysis with balloon angioplasty resulted in resolution of thrombus and successful immediate reduction of intracranial pressure. This treatment may be considered in patients with critically elevated intracranial pressure from posttraumatic venous sinus occlusion refractory to other treatment measures.

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Frank S. Bishop, Mical M. Samuelson, Michael A. Finn, Kent N. Bachus, Darrel S. Brodke and Meic H. Schmidt

Object

Thoracolumbar corpectomy is a procedure commonly required for the treatment of various pathologies involving the vertebral body. Although the biomechanical stability of anterior reconstruction with plating has been studied, the biomechanical contribution of posterior instrumentation to anterior constructs remains unknown. The purpose of this study was to evaluate biomechanical stability after anterior thoracolumbar corpectomy and reconstruction with varying posterior constructs by measuring bending stiffness for the axes of flexion/extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation.

Methods

Seven fresh human cadaveric thoracolumbar spine specimens were tested intact and after L-1 corpectomy and strut grafting with 4 different fixation techniques: anterior plating with bilateral, ipsilateral, contralateral, or no posterior pedicle screw fixation. Bending stiffness was measured under pure moments of ± 5 Nm in flexion/extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation, while maintaining an axial preload of 100 N with a follower load. Results for each configuration were normalized to the intact condition and were compared using ANOVA.

Results

Spinal constructs with anterior-posterior spinal reconstruction and bilateral posterior pedicle screws were significantly stiffer in flexion/extension than intact spines or spines with anterior plating alone. Anterior plating without pedicle screw fixation was no different from the intact spine in flexion/extension and lateral bending. All constructs had reduced stiffness in axial rotation compared with intact spines.

Conclusions

The addition of bilateral posterior instrumentation provided significantly greater stability at the thoracolumbar junction after total corpectomy than anterior plating and should be considered in cases in which anterior column reconstruction alone may be insufficient. In cases precluding bilateral posterior fixation, unilateral posterior instrumentation may provide some additional stability.