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Alba Scerrati, Pasquale De Bonis, Nicolò Norri, and Michele Alessandro Cavallo

Most patients with spasticity, rigidity, and other symptoms of the upper motor neuron syndrome respond effectively to surgical treatment with an intrathecal baclofen pump when their symptoms become intractable to nonsurgical measures. Baclofen administered into the lumbar subarachnoid space produces a locally high concentration at the spinal level and a low concentration supraspinally, avoiding most of the central side effects associated with a high oral dose, such as drowsiness and confusion.

The aim of surgical treatment is to provide the appropriate volume and concentration of the drug in the subarachnoid space, avoiding the main surgical complications, that is, infections, skin erosion, and catheter displacement.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/HetelPwwwak

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Pasquale De Bonis, Angelo Pompucci, Annunziato Mangiola, Q. Giorgio D'Alessandris, Luigi Rigante, and Carmelo Anile

Object

It is generally believed that the outcome of traumatic brain injury is not improved by decompressive craniectomy in patients older than 30–50 years. A literature search was performed to assess the level of evidence with respect to the effect of age on outcome in these cases.

Methods

References were identified by PubMed searches of journal articles published between 1995 and December 2008. The inclusion criteria were as follows: 1) clinical series including adults; and 2) focus on age as a prognostic factor. Technical notes and laboratory investigations were excluded.

Results

Fourteen English-language articles were finally selected. In 5 of the 14 studies, the authors performed no statistical analysis. In 6 studies they concluded that age was not significantly related to outcome (with 1 of these studies showing a correlation between age and outcome only after 65 years). Three studies showed a correlation between age and outcome.

Conclusions

With respect to age and effectiveness of decompressive craniectomy, there are no robust data to establish any degree of core evidence and the referred age thresholds are arbitrary.

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Luca Massimi, Pasquale De Bonis, Giuseppe Esposito, Federica Novegno, Benedetta Pettorini, Gianpiero Tamburrini, Massimo Caldarelli, and Concezio Di Rocco

Scalp masses are not infrequently encountered in daily clinical practice. They are represented by a wide spectrum of different clinical entities and are usually managed by an excision or by simple observation. Although it happens rarely, head lumps may hide an underlying cranioencephalic malformation that has to be preoperatively diagnosed to perform an appropriate treatment.

Cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are not included among the intracranial malformations connected with a scalp mass. The authors report on the unusual case of a child harboring a complex intracranial AVM that initially presented as a small scalp mass. Actually, this young boy came to the authors' attention just for a small, soft, pulsatile, and reducible mass of the vertex that produced a circumscribed bone erosion. The presence of macrocranium and venous engorgement of the face, however, suggested the presence of an intracranial “mass.” The neuroimaging investigations pointed out a temporal AVM causing dilation of the intracranial sinuses and ectasia of the vein of the scalp; one of the veins was appreciable as a lump on the vertex.

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Carmelo Anile, Pasquale De Bonis, Alessio Albanese, Alessandro Di Chirico, Annunziato Mangiola, Gianpaolo Petrella, and Pietro Santini

Object

The ability to predict outcome after shunt placement in patients with idiopathic normal-pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) represents a challenge. To date, no single diagnostic tool or combination of tools has proved capable of reliably predicting whether the condition of a patient with suspected NPH will improve after a shunting procedure. In this paper, the authors report their experience with 120 patients with the goal of identifying CSF hydrodynamics criteria capable of selecting patients with idiopathic NPH. Specifically, they focused on the comparison between CSF-outflow resistance (R-out) and intracranial elastance (IE).

Methods

Between January 1977 and December 2005, 120 patients in whom idiopathic NPH had been diagnosed (on the basis of clinical findings and imaging) underwent CSF hydrodynamics evaluation based on an intraventricular infusion test. Ninety-six patients underwent CSF shunt placement: 32 between 1977 and 1989 (Group I) on the basis of purely clinical and radiological criteria; 44 between 1990 and 2002 (Group II) on the basis of the same criteria as Group I and because they had an IE slope > 0.25; and 20 between 2003 and 2005 (Group III) on the basis of the same criteria as Group II but with an IE slope ≥ 0.30. Outcomes were evaluated by means of both Stein-Langfitt and Larsson scores. Patients' conditions were considered improved when there was a stable decrease (at 6- and 12-month follow-up) of at least 1 point in the Stein-Langfitt score and 2 points in the Larsson score.

Results

Group I: while no statistically significant difference in mean R-out value between improved and unimproved cases was observed, a clear-cut IE slope value of 0.25 differentiated very sharply between unimproved and improved cases. Group II: R-out values in the 2 unimproved cases were 20 and 47 mm Hg/ml/min, respectively. The mean IE slope in the improved cases was 0.56 (range 0.30–1.4), while the IE slopes in the 2 unimproved cases were 0.26 and 0.27. Group III: the mean IE slope was 0.51 (range 0.31–0.7). The conditions of all patients improved after shunting. A significant reduction of the Evans ratio was observed in 34 (40.5%) of the 84 improved cases and in none of the unimproved cases.

Conclusions

Our strategy based on the analysis of CSF pulse pressure parameters seems to have a great accuracy in predicting surgical outcome in clinical practice.

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Giorgio Lofrese, Francesco Cultrera, Jacopo Visani, Nicola Nicassio, Walid Ibn Essayed, Roberto Donati, Michele Alessandro Cavallo, and Pasquale De Bonis

Vertebral artery injury (VAI) is a potential catastrophic complication of Goel and Harms C1–C2 posterior arthrodesis. Meticulous study of preoperative spinal CT angiography together with neuronavigation plays a fundamental role in avoiding VAI. Doppler ultrasonography may be an additional intraoperative tool, providing real-time identification of the vertebral artery (VA) and thus helping its preservation.

Thirty-three consecutive patients with unstable odontoid fractures underwent Goel and Harms C1–C2 posterior arthrodesis. Surgery was performed with the aid of lateral fluoroscopic control in 16 cases (control group) that was supplemented by Doppler ultrasonography in 17 cases (Doppler group). Two patients in each group had a C1 ponticulus posticus. In the Doppler group, Doppler probing was performed during lateral subperiosteal muscle dissection, stepwise drilling, and tapping. Blood flow velocity in the V3 segment of the VA was recorded before and after posterior arthrodesis. All patients had a 12-month outpatient follow-up, and outcome was assessed using the Smiley-Webster Pain Scale. Neither VAI nor postoperative neurological impairments were observed in the Doppler group. In the control group, VAIs occurred in the 2 patients with C1 ponticulus posticus. In the Doppler group, 1 patient needed intra- and postoperative blood transfusions, and no difference in terms of Doppler signal or VA blood flow velocity was detected before and after C1–C2 posterior arthrodesis. In the control group, 3 patients needed intra- and postoperative blood transfusions.

Useful in supporting fluoroscopy-assisted procedures, intraoperative Doppler may play a significant role even during surgeries in which neuronavigation is used, reducing the chance of a mismatch between the view on the neuronavigation screen and the actual course of the VA in the operative field and supplying the additional data of blood flow velocity.

Free access

Alba Scerrati, Jacopo Visani, Luca Ricciardi, Flavia Dones, Oriela Rustemi, Michele Alessandro Cavallo, and Pasquale De Bonis

OBJECTIVE

Chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) is one of the most common neurosurgical pathologies, typically affecting the elderly. Its incidence is expected to grow along with the aging population. Surgical drainage represents the treatment of choice; however, postoperative complications and the rate of recurrence are not negligible. For this reason, nonsurgical alternatives (such as middle meningeal artery embolization, steroids, or tranexamic acid administration) are gaining popularity worldwide and need to be carefully evaluated, especially in the elderly population.

METHODS

The authors performed a systematic review according to PRISMA criteria of the studies analyzing the nonsurgical strategies for CSDHs. They collected all papers in the English language published between 1990 and 2019 by searching different medical databases. The chosen keywords were “chronic subdural hematoma,” “conservative treatment/management,” “pharmacological treatment,” “non-surgical,” “tranexamic acid,” “dexamethasone,” “corticosteroid,” “glucocorticoid,” “middle meningeal artery,” “endovascular treatment,” and “embolization.”

RESULTS

The authors ultimately collected 15 articles regarding the pharmacological management of CSDHs matching the criteria, and 14 papers included the endovascular treatment.

CONCLUSIONS

The results showed that surgery still represents the mainstay in cases of symptomatic patients with large CSDHs; however, adjuvant and alternative therapies can be effective and safe in a carefully selected population. Their inclusion in new guidelines is advisable.

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Luca Ricciardi, Sokol Trungu, Alba Scerrati, Pasquale De Bonis, Oriela Rustemi, Mauro Mazzetto, Giorgio Lofrese, Francesco Cultrera, Cédric Y. Barrey, Alessandro Di Bartolomeo, Amedeo Piazza, Massimo Miscusi, and Antonino Raco

OBJECTIVE

Anderson type II odontoid fractures are severe conditions, mostly affecting elderly people (≥ 70 years old). Surgery can be performed as a primary treatment or in cases of failed conservative management. This study aimed to investigate how duration from injury to surgery, as well as clinical, radiological, and surgical risk factors, may influence the union rate after anterior odontoid screw placement for Anderson type II odontoid fractures.

METHODS

The authors conducted a retrospective multicenter study. Demographic, clinical, surgical, and radiological data of patients who underwent anterior odontoid screw placement for Anderson type II fractures were retrieved from institutional databases. Study exclusion criteria were prolonged corticosteroid drug therapy (> 4 weeks), polytraumatic injuries, oncological diagnosis, and prior cervical spine trauma.

RESULTS

Eighty-five patients were included in the present investigation. The union rate was 76.5%, and 73 patients (85.9%) did not report residual instability. Age ≥ 70 years (p < 0.001, OR 6), female gender (p = 0.016, OR 3.61), osteoporosis (p = 0.009, OR 4.02), diabetes (p = 0.056, OR 3.35), fracture diastasis > 1 mm (p < 0.001, OR 8.5), and duration from injury to surgery > 7 days (p = 0.002, OR 48) independently influenced union rate, whereas smoking status (p = 0.677, OR 1.24) and odontoid process angulation > 10° (p = 0.885, OR 0.92) did not.

CONCLUSIONS

Although many factors have been reported as influencing the union rate after anterior odontoid screw placement for Anderson type II fractures, duration from injury to surgery > 7 days appears to be the most relevant, resulting in a 48 times higher risk for nonunion. Early surgery appears to be associated with better radiological outcomes, as reported by orthopedic surgeons in other districts. Prospective comparative clinical trials are needed to confirm these results.

Free access

Gianluca Trevisi, Carmelo Lucio Sturiale, Alba Scerrati, Oriela Rustemi, Luca Ricciardi, Fabio Raneri, Alberto Tomatis, Amedeo Piazza, Anna Maria Auricchio, Vito Stifano, Carmine Romano, Pasquale De Bonis, and Annunziato Mangiola

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to analyze the risk factors associated with the outcome of acute subdural hematoma (ASDH) in elderly patients treated either surgically or nonsurgically.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective multicentric analysis of clinical and radiological data on patients aged ≥ 70 years who had been consecutively admitted to the neurosurgical department of 5 Italian hospitals for the management of posttraumatic ASDH in a 3-year period. Outcome was measured according to the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) at discharge and at 6 months’ follow-up. A GOS score of 1–3 was defined as a poor outcome and a GOS score of 4–5 as a good outcome. Univariate and multivariate statistics were used to determine outcome predictors in the entire study population and in the surgical group.

RESULTS

Overall, 213 patients were admitted during the 3-year study period. Outcome was poor in 135 (63%) patients, as 65 (31%) died during their admission, 33 (15%) were in a vegetative state, and 37 (17%) had severe disability at discharge. Surgical patients had worse clinical and radiological findings on arrival or during their admission than the patients undergoing conservative treatment. Surgery was performed in 147 (69%) patients, and 114 (78%) of them had a poor outcome. In stratifying patients by their Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score, the authors found that surgery reduced mortality but not the frequency of a poor outcome in the patients with a moderate to severe GCS score. The GCS score and midline shift were the most significant predictors of outcome. Antiplatelet drugs were associated with better outcomes; however, patients taking such medications had a better GCS score and better radiological findings, which could have influenced the former finding. Patients with fixed pupils never had a good outcome. Age and Charlson Comorbidity Index were not associated with outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

Traumatic ASDH in the elderly is a severe condition, with the GCS score and midline shift the stronger outcome predictors, while age per se and comorbidities were not associated with outcome. Antithrombotic drugs do not seem to negatively influence pretreatment status or posttreatment outcome. Surgery was performed in patients with a worse clinical and radiological status, reducing the rate of death but not the frequency of a poor outcome.