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  • Author or Editor: Michael B. Miller x
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Matthew J. Mcgirt, Graeme Woodworth, George Thomas, Neil Miller, Michael Williams and Daniele Rigamonti

Object. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunts effectively reverse symptoms of pseudotumor cerebri postoperatively, but long-term outcome has not been investigated. Lumboperitoneal (LP) shunts are the mainstay of CSF shunts for pseudotumor cerebri; however, image-guided stereotaxy and neuroendoscopy now allow effective placement of a ventricular catheter without causing ventriculomegaly in these cases. To date it remains unknown if CSF shunts provide long-term relief from pseudotumor cerebri and whether a ventricular shunt is better than an LP shunt. The authors investigated these possibilities.

Methods. The authors reviewed the records of all shunt placement procedures that were performed for intractable headache due to pseudotumor cerebri at one institution between 1973 and 2003. Using proportional hazards regression analysis, predictors of treatment failure (continued headache despite a properly functioning shunt) were assessed, and shunt revision and complication rates were compared between LP and ventricular (ventriculoperitoneal [VP] or ventriculoatrial [VAT]) shunts.

Forty-two patients underwent 115 shunt placement procedures: 79 in which an LP shunt was used and 36 in which a VP or VAT shunt was used. Forty patients (95%) experienced a significant improvement in their headaches immediately after the shunt was inserted. Severe headache recurred despite a properly functioning shunt in eight (19%) and 20 (48%) patients by 12 and 36 months, respectively, after the initial shunt placement surgery. Seventeen patients without papilledema and 19 patients in whom preoperative symptoms had occurred for longer than 2 years experienced recurrent headache, making patients with papilledema or long-term symptoms fivefold (relative risk [RR] 5.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.5–17.8; p < 0.01) or 2.5-fold (RR 2.51, 95% CI 1.01–9.39; p = 0.05) more likely to experience headache recurrence, respectively. In contrast to VP or VAT shunts, LP shunts were associated with a 2.5-fold increased risk of shunt revision (RR 2.5, 95% CI 1.5–4.3; p < 0.001) due to a threefold increased risk of shunt obstruction (RR 3, 95% CI 1.5–5.7; p < 0.005), but there were similar risks between the two types of shunts for overdrainage (RR 2.3, 95% CI 0.8–7.9; p = 0.22), distal catheter migration (RR 2.1, 95% CI 0.3–19.3; p = 0.55), and shunt infection (RR 1.3, 95% CI 0.3–13.2; p = 0.75).

Conclusions. Based on their 30-year experience in the treatment of these patients, the authors found that CSF shunts were extremely effective in the acute treatment of pseudotumor cerebri—associated intractable headache, providing long-term relief in the majority of patients. Lack of papilledema and long-standing symptoms were risk factors for treatment failure. The use of ventricular shunts for pseudotumor cerebri was associated with a lower risk of shunt obstruction and revision than the use of LP shunts. Using ventricular shunts in patients with papilledema or symptoms lasting less than 2 years should be considered for those with pseudotumor cerebri—associated intractable headache.

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Michael S. B. Edwards, Michael R. Harrison, Meredith Halks-Miller, Don K. Nakayama, Mitchell S. Berger, Philip L. Glick and Daryl H. Chinn

✓ A model of congenital hydrocephalus in utero in fetal lambs and rhesus monkeys has been produced by the intracisternal injection of kaolin. Initial attempts to produce hydrocephalus using silicone oil were unrewarding. Hydrocephalus had developed by 2 weeks post-injection and could be followed by ultrasonography. The pathological findings were similar to those reported using kaolin in other species. Ventriculoamniotic shunting, when successful, was capable of partially reversing the deleterious effects of hydrocephalus. The major drawback of the present model is that hydrocephalus is produced during the second rather than the first trimester of pregnancy. However, kaolin produces mainly an obstructive hydrocephalus without other associated brain or systemic anomalies.

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Joshua B. Bederson, Henry M. Bartkowski, Kirkland Moon, Meredith Halks-Miller, Merry C. Nishimura, Michael Brant-Zawadski and Lawrence H. Pitts

✓ Many aspects of the use of high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging in the examination of brain edema have not been fully explored. These include the quantitation of edema fluid, the ability to distinguish between various types of edema, and the extent to which tissue changes other than a change in water content can affect NMR relaxation times. The authors have compared NMR relaxation times obtained by both in vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and in vitro NMR spectroscopy of brain-tissue samples from young adult rats with cold lesions, fluid-percussion injury, hypoxic-ischemic injury, bacterial cerebritis, and cerebral tumor. Changes in relaxation times were compared with changes in brain water content, cerebral blood volume, and the results of histological examination.

In general, both in vivo and in vitro longitudinal relaxation times (T1) and transverse relaxation times (T2) were prolonged in the injured hemispheres of all experimental groups. Water content of tissue from the injured hemispheres was increased in all groups. A linear correlation between T2 (but not T1) and water content was found. Changes in the values of T1 and T2 could be used to distinguish tumor from cold-injured tissue. Cerebral blood volume was reduced in the injured hemispheres and correlated inversely with prolongation of T1 and T2. The results of this study suggest that, in a clinical setting, prolongation of T2 is a better indicator of increased water content than prolongation of T1, yet quantitation of cerebral edema based solely upon prolongation of in vivo or in vitro T1 and T2 should be undertaken with caution.

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Michael P. Steinmetz, Jared Miller, Ann Warbel, Ajit A. Krishnaney, William Bingaman and Edward C. Benzel


The cervicothoracic junction (CTJ) is the transitional region between the cervical and thoracic sections of the spinal axis. Because it is a transitional zone between the mobile lordotic cervical and rigid kyphotic thoracic spines, the CTJ is a region of potential instability. This potential for instability may be exaggerated by surgical intervention.


A retrospective review of all patients who underwent surgery involving the CTJ in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation during a 5-year period was performed. The CTJ was strictly defined as encompassing the C-7 vertebra and C7–T1 disc interspace. Patients were examined after surgery to determine if treatment had failed. Failure was defined as construct failure, deformity (progression or de novo), or instability. Variables possibly associated with treatment failure were analyzed. Statistical comparisons were performed using the Fisher exact test.

Between January 1998 and November 2003, 593 CTJ operations were performed. Treatment failed in 14 patients. Of all variables studied, failure was statistically associated with laminectomy and multilevel ventral corpectomies with fusion across the CTJ. Other factors statistically associated with treatment failure included histories of cervical surgery, tobacco use, and surgery for the correction of deformity.


The CTJ is a vulnerable region, and this vulnerability is exacerbated by surgery. Results of the present study indicate that laminectomy across the CTJ should be supplemented with instrumentation (and fusion). Multilevel ventral corpectomies across the CTJ should also be supplemented with dorsal instrumentation. Supplemental instrumentation should be considered for patients who have undergone prior cervical surgery, have a history of tobacco use, or are undergoing surgery for deformity correction.

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Bram P. Verhofste, Michael P. Glotzbecker, Michael T. Hresko, Patricia E. Miller, Craig M. Birch, Michael J. Troy, Lawrence I. Karlin, John B. Emans, Mark R. Proctor and Daniel J. Hedequist


Pediatric cervical deformity is a complex disorder often associated with neurological deterioration requiring cervical spine fusion. However, limited literature exists on new perioperative neurological deficits in children. This study describes new perioperative neurological deficits in pediatric cervical spine instrumentation and fusion.


A single-center review of pediatric cervical spine instrumentation and fusion during 2002–2018 was performed. Demographics, surgical characteristics, and neurological complications were recorded. Perioperative neurological deficits were defined as the deterioration of preexisting neurological function or the appearance of new neurological symptoms.


A total of 184 cases (160 patients, 57% male) with an average age of 12.6 ± 5.30 years (range 0.2–24.9 years) were included. Deformity (n = 39) and instability (n = 36) were the most frequent indications. Syndromes were present in 39% (n = 71), with Down syndrome (n = 20) and neurofibromatosis (n = 12) the most prevalent. Eighty-seven (48%) children presented with preoperative neurological deficits (16 sensory, 16 motor, and 55 combined deficits).

A total of 178 (96.7%) cases improved or remained neurologically stable. New neurological deficits occurred in 6 (3.3%) cases: 3 hemiparesis, 1 hemiplegia, 1 quadriplegia, and 1 quadriparesis. Preoperative neurological compromise was seen in 4 (67%) of these new deficits (3 myelopathy, 1 sensory deficit) and 5 had complex syndromes. Three new deficits were anticipated with intraoperative neuromonitoring changes (p = 0.025).

Three (50.0%) patients with new neurological deficits recovered within 6 months and the child with quadriparesis was regaining neurological function at the latest follow-up. Hemiplegia persisted in 1 patient, and 1 child died due a complication related to the tracheostomy. No association was found between neurological deficits and indication (p = 0.96), etiology (p = 0.46), preoperative neurological symptoms (p = 0.65), age (p = 0.56), use of halo vest (p = 0.41), estimated blood loss (p = 0.09), levels fused (p = 0.09), approach (p = 0.07), or fusion location (p = 0.07).


An improvement of the preexisting neurological deficit or stabilization of neurological function was seen in 96.7% of children after cervical spine fusion. New or progressive neurological deficits occurred in 3.3% of the patients and occurred more frequently in children with preoperative neurological symptoms. Patients with syndromic diagnoses are at higher risk to develop a deficit, probably due to the severity of deformity and the degree of cervical instability. Long-term outcomes of new neurological deficits are favorable, and 50% of patients experienced complete neurological recovery within 6 months.

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Nimodipine treatment in poor-grade aneurysm patients

Results of a multicenter double-blind placebo-controlled trial

Kenneth C. Petruk, Michael West, Gerard Mohr, Bryce K. A. Weir, Brien G. Benoit, Fred Gentili, Lew B. Disney, Moe I. Khan, Michael Grace, Renn O. Holness, Melinda S. Karwon, Robert M. Ford, G. Stuart Cameron, William S. Tucker, G. Barrie Purves, Jack D. R. Miller, K. Michael Hunter, Michael T. Richard, Felix A. Durity, Richard Chan, Lawrence J. Clein, Falah B. Maroun and Alain Godon

✓ A multicenter, randomized placebo-controlled double-blind trial of nimodipine in poor-grade aneurysm patients was carried out in 17 Canadian hospitals. Of 188 patients enrolled in the trial, 32 were excluded for protocol violations and two were excluded due to statistical considerations, leaving 154 patients for valid outcome analysis. Nimodipine treatment was associated with a significantly better outcome (p < 0.001): 21 (29.2%) of 72 nimodipine-treated patients had a good outcome at 3 months after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) compared to eight (9.8%) of 82 placebo-treated patients. Delayed ischemic deficits from vasospasm alone were significantly less frequent in the nimodipine group (p < 0.05) with permanent deficits occurring in five nimodipine-treated patients (6.9%) and in 22 placebo-treated patients (26.8%). Improvement in the good outcome rate and reduction in delayed ischemic deficits from vasospasm alone occurred in both Grade 3 and 4 patients, with no difference between nimodipine- and placebo-treated patients being found in Grade 5 patients.

Repeat angiography after Day 4 was carried out in 124 patients. There was no significant difference in the incidence of moderate or severe diffuse spasm, which was seen in 64.3% of nimodipine-treated patients and 66.2% of placebo-treated patients. The authors conclude that nimodipine treatment in poor-grade patients with SAH results in an increase in the number of good outcomes and a reduction in the incidence of delayed neurological deterioration due to vasospasm. This effect occurs by a mechanism other than prevention of large-vessel spasm as visualized on angiography.

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Alexandra M. Giantini Larsen, David J. Cote, Hasan A. Zaidi, Wenya Linda Bi, Paul J. Schmitt, J. Bryan Iorgulescu, Michael B. Miller, Timothy R. Smith, M. Beatriz Lopes, John A. Jane Jr. and Edward R. Laws Jr.


The authors report the diagnosis, management, and outcomes of 6 cases of spindle cell oncocytoma (SCO) in an effort to guide clinical diagnosis and management of these uncommon lesions.


This study is a retrospective review of cases involving adult patients who underwent resection of pituitary lesions at the authors’ institutions between January 2000 and October 2017. The authors identified patients with histopathological confirmation of SCO and collected clinical data, including preoperative, perioperative, and postoperative management, complications, and outcomes.


Six patients with SCO were identified. Clinical findings at initial presentation included visual disturbances, dizziness, and headache. All patients underwent resection. Four resections were initially performed by the transsphenoidal approach, and 2 resections were performed by craniotomy at an outside institution with subsequent transsphenoidal reoperations. Neither necrosis nor increased mitotic activity was seen in the tumor samples. All samples stained positive for S100 protein and thyroid transcription factor 1 and negative for glial fibrillary acidic protein and pituitary hormones. Five of the samples stained positive for epithelial membrane antigen. The average MIB-1 index was 8.3% (range 2–17). Postoperatively, 3 of the 6 patients received further treatment for progression of residual tumor or for recurrence, 2 have stable residual tumor, and 1 has had no recurrence after gross-total resection. Two patients developed postoperative complications of transient sixth cranial nerve palsy and diplopia. There were no other complications.


SCO poses both a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge. These tumors are often initially misdiagnosed as nonfunctional pituitary adenomas because of their sellar location and nonspecific symptomatology. Postoperatively, SCO must also be distinguished from other neoplasms of the posterior pituitary gland through histopathological examination. Resection of SCO can be challenging, given its highly vascular and adherent nature. Long-term follow-up is critical, as the tumor is associated with higher recurrence and progression rates compared to other benign neoplasms of the sella.

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Michael G. O'Sullivan, Patrick F. Statham, Patricia A. Jones, J. Douglas Miller, N. Mark Dearden, Ian R. Piper, Shirley I. Anderson, Alma Housley, Peter J. Andrews, Susan Midgley, Jane Corrie, Janice I. Tocher and Robin Sellar

✓ Previous studies have suggested that only a small proportion (< 15%) of comatose head-injured patients whose initial computerized tomography (CT) scan was normal or did not show a mass lesion, midline shift, or abnormal basal cisterns develop intracranial hypertension. The aim of the present study was to re-examine this finding against a background of more intensive monitoring and data acquisition.

Eight severely head-injured patients with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 8 or less, whose admission CT scan did not show a mass lesion, midline shift, or effaced basal cisterns, underwent minute-to-minute recordings of arterial blood pressure, intracranial pressure (ICP), and cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) derived from blood pressure minus ICP. Intracranial hypertension (ICP ≥ 20 mm Hg lasting longer than 5 minutes) was recorded in seven of the eight patients; in five cases the rise was pronounced in terms of both magnitude (ICP ≥ 30 mm Hg) and duration. Reduced CPP (≤ 60 mm Hg lasting longer than 5 minutes) was recorded in five patients.

Severely head-injured (comatose) patients whose initial CT scan is normal or does not show a mass lesion, midline shift, or abnormal cisterns nevertheless remain at substantial risk of developing significant secondary cerebral insults due to elevated ICP and reduced CPP. The authors recommend continuous ICP and blood pressure monitoring with derivation of CPP in all comatose head-injured patients.