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Julio Sotelo, Mario Izurieta and Nicasio Arriada

Object. Ventricular shunt placement is the neurosurgical procedure most frequently associated with complications. Over the years, it has been a growing concern that the performance of most shunting devices does not conform to physiological parameters. An open ventriculoperitoneal (VP) bypass with a peritoneal catheter for which the cross-sectional internal diameter was 0.51 mm as a distinctive element for flow resistance was evaluated for use in the treatment of adult patients with hydrocephalus.

Methods. During a 2-year period, open shunts were surgically implanted in 54 adults with hydrocephalus; conventional shunts were implanted in 80 matched controls. Periodic evaluations were performed using neuroimaging studies and measures of clinical status. All patients were followed from 12 to 36 months, 18.5 ± 4 months for patients with the open shunt and 19.1 ± 8.1 months for controls (mean ± standard deviation). The device continued to function in 50 patients with the open shunt (93%) and in 49 controls (61%; p < 0.001). The Evans index in patients with the open shunt was 0.33 ± 0.09 throughout the follow up. No cases of infection, overdrainage, or slit ventricles were observed; the index in controls was 0.28 ± 0.08; 60% of them developed slit ventricles. During the follow-up period occlusion occurred in four patients with the open shunt (7%) and in 31 controls (39%; p < 0.001).

Conclusions. The daily cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drainage through the open VP shunt is close to 500 ml of uninterrupted flow propelled by the hydrokinetic force generated by the combination of ventricular pressure and siphoning effect. It complies with hydrokinetic parameters imposed by a bypass connection between the ventricular and peritoneal cavities as well as with the physiological archetype of continuous flow and drainage according to CSF production. The open shunt is simple, inexpensive, and an effective treatment for hydrocephalus in adults.

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Nicasio Arriada and Julio Sotelo

Object. Management of hydrocephalus caused by expansive lesions of the posterior fossa is complicated by two main drawbacks of shunt devices: sudden decompression and overdrainage. The ventriculoperitoneal (VP) continuous-flow (CF) shunt is characterized by a peritoneal catheter with an internal diameter of 0.51 mm that promotes continuous drainage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) at its production rate. The authors have previously demonstrated in adult patients with hydrocephalus that sudden decompression and overdrainage are absent when this shunt is used; here they report the findings of a prospective study in which the goal was to test the performance of this shunt in patients with severe hydrocephalus due to lesions of the posterior fossa.

Methods. During a 5-year period, 103 patients with severe hydrocephalus caused by lesions of the posterior fossa were treated by placement of a VP shunt. In 53 of these patients (control group) a shunt and valve system was surgically implanted and in 50 patients a CF shunt was implanted. All patients were followed up for a minimum of 2 years after surgery.

Shunt revision or change was necessary in 21 patients (40%) with conventional shunts and in four patients (8%) with the CF shunt (p < 0.003). Signs of overdrainage were observed in 18 patients (34%) in the control group, four of whom had ascending transtentorial herniation; this complication was not seen in patients with the CF shunt.

Conclusions. The CF shunt had a low rate of dysfunction and an absence of complications caused by overdrainage, which were frequently associated with the control shunts. The hydrodynamic properties of the CF shunt make it effective, even in severe cases of hydrocephalus caused by lesions of the posterior fossa.

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Raul Lopez-Serna, Juan Luis Gomez-Amador, Juan Barges-Coll, Nicasio Arriada-Mendicoa, Samuel Romero-Vargas, Miguel Ramos-Peek, Miguel Angel Celis-Lopez, Rogelio Revuelta-Gutierrez and Lesly Portocarrero-Ortiz

Human sacrifice became a common cultural trait during the advanced phases of Mesoamerican civilizations. This phenomenon, influenced by complex religious beliefs, included several practices such as decapitation, cranial deformation, and the use of human cranial bones for skull mask manufacturing. Archaeological evidence suggests that all of these practices required specialized knowledge of skull base and upper cervical anatomy. The authors conducted a systematic search for information on skull base anatomical and surgical knowledge among Mesoamerican civilizations. A detailed exposition of these results is presented, along with some interesting information extracted from historical documents and pictorial codices to provide a better understanding of skull base surgical practices among these cultures. Paleoforensic evidence from the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan indicates that Aztec priests used a specialized decapitation technique, based on a deep anatomical knowledge. Trophy skulls were submitted through a stepwise technique for skull mask fabrication, based on skull base anatomical landmarks. Understanding pre-Columbian Mesoamerican religions can only be realized by considering them in their own time and according to their own perspective. Several contributions to medical practice might have arisen from anatomical knowledge emerging from human sacrifice and decapitation techniques.

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Juan Antonio Ponce-Gómez, Luis Alberto Ortega-Porcayo, Hector Enrique Soriano-Barón, Arturo Sotomayor-González, Nicasio Arriada-Mendicoa, Juan Luis Gómez-Amador, Marité Palma-Díaz and Juan Barges-Coll


The goal of this study was to compare the indications, benefits, and complications between the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) and the microscopic transoral approach to perform an odontoidectomy. Transoral approaches have been standard for odontoidectomy procedures; however, the potential benefits of the EEA might be demonstrated to be a more innocuous technique. The authors present their experience with 12 consecutive cases that required odontoidectomy and posterior instrumentation.


Twelve consecutive cases of craniovertebral junction instability with or without basilar invagination were diagnosed at the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery in Mexico City, Mexico, between January 2009 and January 2013. The EEA was used for 5 cases in which the odontoid process was above the nasopalatine line, and was compared with 7 cases in which the odontoid process was beneath the nasopalatine line; these were treated using the transoral microscopic approach (TMA). Odontoidectomy was performed after occipital-cervical or cervical posterior augmentation with lateral mass and translaminar screws. One case was previously fused (Oc–C4 fusion). The senior author performed all surgeries. American Spinal Injury Association scores were documented before surgical treatment and after at least 6 months of follow-up.


Neurological improvement after odontoidectomy was similar for both groups. From the transoral group, 2 patients had postoperative dysphonia, 1 patient presented with dysphagia, and 1 patient had intraoperative CSF leakage. The endoscopic procedure required longer surgical time, less time to extubation and oral feeding, a shorter hospital stay, and no complications in this series.


Endoscopic endonasal odontoidectomy is a feasible, safe, and well-tolerated procedure. In this small series there was no difference in the outcome between the EEA and the TMA; however, fewer complications were documented with the endonasal technique.