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Patrick J. Kelly

✓ Sixteen consecutive patients with obstructive hydrocephalus due to nontumoral aqueductal stenosis of adolescent or adult onset underwent computerized tomography-guided stereotactic third ventriculostomy. Computer-assisted angiographic target-point cross-registration was used in surgical planning to reduce morbidity. The procedure was used as primary treatment in five previously unshunted patients and in 11 patients who had previously received shunts and who presented when their shunts became obstructed (five patients), became infected (five patients), or required multiple revisions (one patient). At the time of third ventriculostomy, shunt hardware was removed in patients with infected shunts and the distal element of the shunt was ligated in all patients with obstructed shunts except one, who later required repeat third ventriculostomy; the distal shunt was ligated at that time. Follow-up data (range 1 to 5 years, mean 3½ years, after surgery) showed that only one of the 16 patients had undergone a shunting procedure after the third ventriculostomy. The other 15 patients are asymptomatic and shunt-independent. In previously shunt-dependent patients, the peripheral subarachnoid space and cerebrospinal fluid absorption mechanism remained patent in spite of shunts placed earlier. Therefore, in patients with obstructive hydrocephalus due to aqueductal stenosis of adolescent or adult onset, stereotactic third ventriculostomy should be seriously considered as primary surgical management in previously unshunted patients and in shunt-dependent patients with obstructed or infected shunts.

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Patrick J. Kelly

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Marc S. Goldman and Patrick J. Kelly

✓ In the past, intention tremor has responded well to selected neuroablative procedures; however, objective symptomatic and functional outcomes of ventralis lateralis (VL) thalamotomy specifically for intention tremor in the post-computerized tomography era has rarely been reported. This series explored the symptomatic and functional impact of VL thalamotomy on 14 patients presenting at the Mayo Clinic with severe, refractory intention tremor due to multiple sclerosis (five patients), trauma (four patients), or stroke (five patients).

General neurological examinations, psychometric evaluations, speech pathology assessments, and neuroradiological scans were performed. Pre- and postoperative disability were graded according to a modified form of an established rating scale for tremor. All patients received VL radiofrequency thalamotomies utilizing neurophysiological recording and stimulation control. Contralateral targeted upper-extremity tremor remained symptomatically absent or markedly reduced in 81.8% of cases (mean follow-up period 23.4 months). The median disability score was reduced by 12 points (0.02 < p < 0.05). Persistent surgical morbidity was limited to two patients with mild, nondisabling dysarthrias. One elderly patient died of pulmonary complications 2 weeks postoperatively. There were no reported surgically induced exacerbations in multiple sclerosis; however, some of these patients exhibited difficulties with electrophysiological localization. These results compare favorably with those reported in the literature and confirm that stereotactic VL thalamotomy for debilitating intention tremor carries a low surgical risk and can be an effective treatment option for properly selected patients.

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Dudley H. Davis and Patrick J. Kelly

✓ Angiographically occult vascular malformations can be identified on computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. Surgical excision, when possible, is the treatment of choice in symptomatic lesions. Because these malformations are usually small and can be located in surgically treacherous areas of the brain, stereotactic resection should be considered. Stereotactic resection of a pathologically verified occult vascular malformation was performed in 26 patients in this series (13 females and 13 males, mean age 30 years). Seventeen patients presented with a seizure disorder, four with an intracerebral hemorrhage, and four with a progressive neurological deficit; one patient was asymptomatic. Sixteen patients had normal neurological examinations, nine had neurological signs referable to their lesion, and one had a visual field deficit related to a previous temporal lobectomy. In six patients evidence of acute hemorrhage was found on imaging studies or at surgery, and 11 patients had evidence of previous hemorrhage on imaging studies, determined at surgery or by histological examination. Three patients had evidence of both acute and previous hemorrhage and six patients had no evidence of hemorrhage. Lesions were located in cortical or subcortical areas in 21 patients, in the thalamus or basal ganglia in three, and in the posterior fossa in two. Following stereotactic resection, 24 patients were improved, one patient was unchanged, and one patient was worse. Without stereotaxis or intraoperative ultrasound studies, localization of these lesions at conventional craniotomy can be difficult. A stereotactic craniotomy is ideally suited to the treatment of these benign circumscribed, but potentially devastating lesions.

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Howard L. Weiner and Patrick J. Kelly

✓ The authors report their experience using a novel surgical approach for resecting tumors located in the posterior parahippocampal gyrus. Prior attempts to resect epileptogenic foci in this location have been limited by a significant risk of injury to lateral temporal lobe cortical and vascular structures. To avoid these potential complications, the authors have used a lateral occipitosubtemporal, computer-assisted stereotactic volumetric approach to resect radiographically defined tumors in seven patients with intraaxial neoplasms of the posteromedial temporal lobe. This series included one female and six male patients, ranging in age from 15 to 67 years, who presented with seizures, visual field loss, or headache. Gross-total resection of three high-grade gliomas, two gangliogliomas, and one mixed glioma was accomplished with no permanent morbidity or operative mortality. The authors conclude that this approach is advantageous for resecting tumors in this location because, by avoiding unnecessary brain resection or retraction, it significantly reduces the risk of injury to lateral temporal lobe structures, helps maintain precise spatial and anatomical orientation for the surgeon, and, like all computer-assisted volumetric approaches, delineates the margin between the tumor and surrounding neural tissue.

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