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M. Yashar S. Kalani, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Andrew S. Little, Udaya K. Kakarla and Nicholas Theodore

The authors describe a rare case of tumoral calcinosis (TC) of the thoracic spine in a 13-year-old boy with thoracic scoliosis. The patient presented with a 2-year history of back pain. He had no personal or family history of bone disease, deformity, or malignancy. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a heterogeneously enhancing mass involving the T-7 vertebral body and the left pedicle. Computed tomography findings suggested that the mass was calcified and that this had resulted in scalloping of the vertebral body. The lesion was resected completely by using a left T-7 costotransversectomy and corpectomy. The deformity was corrected with placement of a vertebral body cage and pedicle screw fixation from T-5 to T-9. Pathological analysis of the mass demonstrated dystrophic calcification with marked hypercellularity and immunostaining consistent with TC. This represents the third reported case of vertebral TC in the pediatric population. Pediatric neurosurgeons should be familiar with lesions such as TC, which may be encountered in the elderly and in hemodialysis-dependent populations, and may not always require aggressive resection.

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M. Yashar S. Kalani, Kaan Yagmurlu, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Daniel D. Cavalcanti and Robert F. Spetzler

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Vernard S. Fennell, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Sheri K. Palejwala, G. Michael Lemole Jr. and Travis M. Dumont

OBJECT

Endovascular treatment of cerebrovascular pathology, particularly aneurysms, is becoming more prevalent. There is a wide variety in clinical background and training of physicians who treat cerebrovascular pathology through endovascular means. The impact of clinical training background on patient outcomes is not well documented.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of a large national database, the University HealthSystem Consortium, that was queried in the years 2009–2013. Cases of both unruptured cerebral aneurysms and subarachnoid hemorrhage treated by endovascular obliteration were studied. Outcome measures of morbidity and mortality were evaluated according to the specialty of the treating physician.

RESULTS

Elective embolization of an unruptured aneurysm was the procedure code and primary diagnosis, respectively, for 12,400 cases. Patients with at least 1 complication were reported in 799 cases (6.4%). Deaths were reported in 193 cases (1.6%). Complications and deaths were varied by specialty; the highest incidence of complications (11.1%) and deaths (3.0%) were reported by neurologists. The fewest complications were reported by neurosurgeons (5.4%; 1.4% deaths), with a higher incidence of complications reported in cases performed by neurologists (p < 0.0001 for both complications and deaths) and to a lesser degree interventional radiologists (p = 0.0093 for complications). Subarachnoid hemorrhage was the primary diagnosis and procedure for 8197 cases. At least 1 complication was reported in 2385 cases (29%) and deaths in 983 cases (12%). The number of complications and deaths varied among specialties. The highest incidence of complications (34%) and deaths (13.5%) in subarachnoid hemorrhage was in cases performed by neurologists. The fewest complications were in cases by neurosurgeons (27%), with a higher incidence of complications in cases performed by neurologists (34%, p < 0.0001), and a trend of increased complications with interventional radiologists (30%, p < 0.0676). The lowest incidence of mortality was in cases performed by neurosurgeons (11.5%), with a significantly higher incidence of mortality in cases performed by neurologists (13.5%, p = 0.0372). Mortality rates did not reach statistical significance with respect to interventional radiologists (12.1%, p = 0.4884).

CONCLUSIONS

Physicians of varied training types and backgrounds use endovascular treatment of ruptured and unruptured intracerebral aneurysms. In this study there was a statistically significant finding that neurosurgically trained physicians may demonstrate improved outcomes with respect to endovascular treatment of unruptured aneurysms in this cohort. This finding warrants further investigation.

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Alberto Maud, Gustavo J. Rodriguez, Paisith Piriyawat and Salvador Cruz-Flores

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Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Jeanne S. Feuerstein, Nicholas Theodore, Daniel D. Cavalcanti, Robert F. Spetzler and Mark C. Preul

The authors present a review of spinal cord blood supply, discussing the anatomy of the vascular system and physiological aspects of blood flow regulation in normal and injured spinal cords. Unique anatomical functional properties of vessels and blood supply determine the susceptibility of the spinal cord to damage, especially ischemia. Spinal cord injury (SCI), for example, complicating thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repair is associated with ischemic trauma. The rate of this devastating complication has been decreased significantly by instituting physiological methods of protection. Traumatic SCI causes complex changes in spinal cord blood flow, which are closely related to the severity of injury. Manipulating physiological parameters such as mean arterial blood pressure and intrathecal pressure may be beneficial for patients with an SCI. Studying the physiopathological processes of the spinal cord under vascular compromise remains challenging because of its central role in almost all of the body's hemodynamic and neurofunctional processes.

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Kathryn E. Fenton, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Mohammed G. Abdelwahab, Stephen W. Coons, Mark C. Preul and Adrienne C. Scheck

Object

For patients with glioblastoma multiforme, median survival time is approximately 14 months. Longer progression-free and overall survival times correlate with gross-total resection of tumor. The ability to identify tumor cells intraoperatively could result in an increased percentage of tumor resected and thus increased patient survival times. Available labeling methods rely on metabolic activity of tumor cells; thus, they are more robust in high-grade tumors, and their utility in low-grade tumors and metastatic tumors is not clear. The authors demonstrate intraoperative identification of tumor cells by using labeled tumor-specific antibodies.

Methods

GL261 mouse glioma cells exhibit high expression of a membrane-bound protein called second tyrosinase-related protein (TRP-2). The authors used these cells to establish an intracranial, immunocompetent model of malignant glioma. Antibodies to TRP-2 were labeled by using Alexa Fluor 488 fluorescent dye and injected into the tail vein of albino C57BL/6 mice. After 24 hours, a craniotomy was performed and the tissue was examined in vivo by using an Optiscan 5.1 handheld portable confocal fiber-optic microscope. Tissue was examined ex vivo by using a Pascal 5 scanning confocal microscope.

Results

Labeled tumor cells were visible in vivo and ex vivo under the respective microscopes.

Conclusions

Fluorescently labeled tumor-specific antibodies are capable of binding and identifying tumor cells in vivo, accurately and specifically. The development of labeled markers for the identification of brain tumors will facilitate the use of intraoperative fluorescence microscopy as a tool for increasing the extent of resection of a broad variety of intracranial tumors.

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Nikolay L. Martirosyan, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Peter Nakaji and Robert F. Spetzler

The anterior interhemispheric approach is a workhorse for treatment of lesions in the third ventricle. In this case, we demonstrate the utility of this approach for resecting a complex third ventricular cavernous malformation. We discuss patient positioning, optimal location of the craniotomy, and surgical resection techniques for safe removal of these lesions. We also demonstrate the importance of gravity retraction using the falx to prevent injury to the dominant frontal lobe.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/38woc28er7M.

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Nikolay L. Martirosyan, M. Yashar S. Kalani, G. Michael Lemole Jr., Robert F. Spetzler, Mark C. Preul and Nicholas Theodore

OBJECT

The arterial basket of the conus medullaris (ABCM) consists of 1 or 2 arteries arising from the anterior spinal artery (ASA) and circumferentially connecting the ASA and the posterior spinal arteries (PSAs). The arterial basket can be involved in arteriovenous fistulas and arteriovenous malformations of the conus. In this article, the authors describe the microsurgical anatomy of the ABCM with emphasis on its morphometric parameters and important role in the intrinsic blood supply of the conus medullaris.

METHODS

The authors performed microsurgical dissections on 16 formalin-fixed human spinal cords harvested within 24 hours of death. The course, diameter, and branching angles of the arteries comprising the ABCM were then identified and measured. In addition, histological sections were obtained to identify perforating vessels arising from the ABCM.

RESULTS

The ASA tapers as it nears the conus medullaris (mean preconus diameter 0.7 ± 0.12 mm vs mean conus diameter 0.38 ± 0.08 mm). The ASA forms an anastomotic basket with the posterior spinal artery (PSA) via anastomotic branches. In most of the specimens (n= 13, 81.3%), bilateral arteries formed connections between the ASA and PSA. However, in the remaining specimens (n= 3, 18.7%), a unilateral right-sided anastomotic artery was identified. The mean diameter of the right ABCM branch was 0.49 ± 0.13 mm, and the mean diameter of the left branch was 0.53 ± 0.14 mm. The mean branching angles of the arteries forming the anastomotic basket were 95.9° ± 36.6° and 90° ± 34.3° for the right- and left-sided arteries, respectively. In cases of bilateral arterial anastomoses between the ASA and PSA, the mean distance between the origins of the arteries was 4.5 ± 3.3 mm. Histological analysis revealed numerous perforating vessels supplying tissue of the conus medullaris.

CONCLUSIONS

The ABCM is a critical anastomotic connection between the ASA and PSA, which play an important role in the intrinsic blood supply of the conus medullaris. The ABCM provides an important compensatory function in the blood supply of the spinal cord. Its involvement in conus medullaris vascular malformations makes it a critical anatomical structure.

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M. Yashar S. Kalani, John E. Wanebo, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Peter Nakaji, Joseph M. Zabramski and Robert F. Spetzler

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Editorial

Cavernous malformations

Issam A. Awad