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Nikhil K. Murthy, Kimberly K. Amrami, Stephen M. Broski, Patrick B. Johnston, and Robert J. Spinner

OBJECTIVE

Neurolymphomatosis (NL) is a rare manifestation of lymphoma confined to the peripheral nervous system that is poorly understood. It can be found in the cauda equina, but extraspinal disease can be underappreciated. The authors describe how extraspinal NL progresses to the cauda equina by perineural spread and the implications of this on timely and safe diagnostic options.

METHODS

The authors used the Mayo Clinic medical records database to find cases of cauda equina NL with sufficient imaging to characterize the lumbosacral plexus diagnosed from tissue biopsy. Demographics (sex, age), clinical data (initial symptoms, cerebrospinal fluid, evidence of CNS involvement, biopsy location, primary or secondary disease), and imaging findings were reviewed.

RESULTS

Ten patients met inclusion and exclusion criteria, and only 2 of 10 patients presented with cauda equina symptoms at the time of biopsy, with 1 patient undergoing a cauda equina biopsy. Eight patients were diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, 1 with low-grade B-cell lymphoma, and 1 with mantle cell lymphoma. Isolated spinal nerve involvement was identified in 5 of 10 cases, providing compelling evidence regarding the pathophysiology of NL. The conus medullaris was not radiologically involved in any case. Lumbosacral plexus MRI was able to identify extraspinal disease and offered diagnostically useful biopsy targets. FDG PET/CT was relatively insensitive for detecting disease in the cauda equina but was helpful in identifying extraspinal NL.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors propose that perineural spread of extraspinal NL to infiltrate the cauda equina occurs in two phases. 1) There is proximal and distal spread along a peripheral nerve, with eventual spread to anatomically connected nerves via junction and branch points. 2) The tumor cells enter the spinal canal through corresponding neural foramina and propagate along the spinal nerves composing the cauda equina. To diffusely infiltrate the cauda equina, a third phase occurs in which tumor cells can spread circumdurally to the opposite side of the spinal canal and enter contralateral nerve roots extending proximally and distally. This spread of disease can lead to diffuse bilateral spinal nerve disease without diffuse leptomeningeal spread. Recognition of this phasic mechanism can lead to identification of safer extraspinal biopsy targets that could allow for greater functional recovery after appropriate treatment.

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Collin J. Larkin, Anastasios G. Roumeliotis, Constantine L. Karras, Nikhil K. Murthy, Maria Fay Karras, Huy Minh Tran, Ketan Yerneni, and Matthew B. Potts

Annually, 20% of all practicing neurosurgeons in the United States are faced with medical malpractice litigation. The average indemnity paid in a closed neurosurgical civil claim is $439,146, the highest of all medical specialties. The majority of claims result from dissatisfaction following spinal surgery, although claims after cranial surgery tend to be costlier. On a societal scale, the increasing prevalence of medical malpractice claims is a catalyst for the practice of defensive medicine, resulting in record-level healthcare costs. Outside of the obvious financial strains, malpractice claims have also been linked to professional disenchantment and career changes for afflicted physicians. Unfortunately, neurosurgical residents receive minimal practical education regarding these matters and are often unprepared and vulnerable to these setbacks in the earlier stages of their careers. In this article, the authors aim to provide neurosurgical residents and junior attendings with an introductory guide to the fundamentals of medical malpractice lawsuits and the implications for neurosurgeons as an adjunct to more formal residency education.

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Zachary A. Abecassis, Amit B. Ayer, Jessica W. Templer, Ketan Yerneni, Nikhil K. Murthy, and Matthew C. Tate

OBJECTIVE

Intraoperative stimulation has emerged as a crucial adjunct in neurosurgical oncology, aiding maximal tumor resection while preserving sensorimotor and language function. Despite increasing use in clinical practice of this stimulation, there are limited data on both intraoperative seizure (IS) frequency and the presence of afterdischarges (ADs) in patients undergoing such procedures. The objective of this study was to determine risk factors for IS or ADs, and to determine the clinical consequences of these intraoperative events.

METHODS

A retrospective chart review was performed for patients undergoing awake craniotomy (both first time and repeat) at a single institution from 2013 to 2018. Hypothesized risk factors for ADs/ISs in patients were evaluated for their effect on ADs and ISs, including tumor location, tumor grade (I–IV), genetic markers (isocitrate dehydrogenase 1/2, O 6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase [MGMT] promoter methylation, chromosome 1p/19q codeletion), tumor volume, preoperative seizure status (yes/no), and dosage of preoperative antiepileptic drugs for each patient. Clinical outcomes assessed in patients with IS or ADs were duration of surgery, length of stay, presence of perioperative deficits, and postoperative seizures. Chi-square analysis was performed for binary categorical variables, and a Student t-test was used to assess continuous variables.

RESULTS

A total of 229 consecutive patients were included in the analysis. Thirty-five patients (15%) experienced ISs. Thirteen (37%) of these 35 patients had experienced seizures that were appreciated clinically and noted on electrocorticography simultaneously, while 8 patients (23%) experienced ISs that were electrographic alone (no obvious clinical change). MGMT promoter methylation was associated with an increased prevalence of ISs (OR 3.3, 95% CI 1.2–7.8, p = 0.02). Forty patients (18%) experienced ADs. Twenty-three percent of patients (9/40) with ISs had ADs prior to their seizure, although ISs and ADs were not statistically associated (p = 0.16). The presence of ADs appeared to be correlated with a shorter length of stay (5.1 ± 2.6 vs 6.1 ± 3.7 days, p = 0.037). Of the clinical features assessed, none were found to be predictive of ADs. Neither IS nor AD, or the presence of either IS or AD (65/229 patients), was a predictor for increased length of stay, presence of perioperative deficits, or postoperative seizures.

CONCLUSIONS

ISs and ADs, while commonly observed during intraoperative stimulation for brain mapping, do not negatively affect patient outcomes.