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Paul C. McCormick

Dorsal thoracic arachnoid web is a rare but often overlooked cause of progressive myelopathy. Syringomyelia, either above or below the compressive arachnoid band, may also be present. Dorsal arachnoid cyst and ventral spinal cord herniation may be mistaken for this condition. This video demonstrates the microsurgical identification and techniques of resection of a dorsal arachnoid band producing a progressive myelopathy in a 63-year-old man.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/KDNTqiyW6yo.

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Paul C. McCormick

Benign myxopapillary filum terminale ependymomas are often poorly encapsulated and in apposition the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). These characteristics present the potential surgical risk of CSF dissemination or injury to the delicate cauda equina nerve roots. This video details the techniques of en bloc surgical resection of a filum terminale ependymoma. Treatment strategies and techniques are illustrated to reduce the risk of CSF dissemination and cauda equina injury.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/LK8AYg-5T7o.

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Paul C. McCormick

Ependymomas are the most commonly occurring intramedullary spinal cord tumor in adults. With few exceptions these tumors are histologically benign, although they exhibit some biologic variability with respect to growth rate. While unencapsulated, spinal ependymomas are non-infiltrative and present a clear margin of demarcation from the surrounding spinal cord that serves as an effective dissection plane. This video demonstrates the technique of microsurgical resection of an intramedullary ependymoma through a posterior midline myelotomy.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/lcHhymSvSqU.

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Paul C. McCormick

Dumbbell tumors of the cervical spine can present considerable management challenges related to adequate exposure of both intraspinal and paraspinal tumor components, potential injury to the vertebral artery, and spinal stability. This video demonstrates the microsurgical removal of a large cervical dumbbell schwannoma with instrumented fusion via a single stage extended posterior approach. The video shows patient positioning, tumor exposure, and the sequence and techniques of tumor resection, vertebral artery identification and protection, and dural repair.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/3lIVfKEcxss.

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Paul C. McCormick

Ventral thoracic spinal cord herniation is a rare but increasingly recognized cause of progressive myelopathy. This video demonstrates the imaging characteristics and surgical techniques for release and reduction of the spinal cord herniation as well as primary repair and reinforcement of the ventral dural hernia defect through an extended posterior approach. An instrumented fusion was concomitantly performed.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/6Pcokep6Tug.

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Paul C. McCormick

Spinal cord hemangioblastomas account for about 10% of spinal cord tumors. They usually arise from the dorsolateral pia mater and are characterized by their significant vascularity. The principles and techniques of safe resection are different than those employed for the more commonly occurring intramedullary glial tumors (e.g. ependymoma, astrocytoma) and consist of circumferential detachment of the tumor margin from the surrounding normal pia. This video demonstrates the microsurgical techniques of resection of a thoracic spinal cord hemangioblastoma.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/yT5KLi4VyAo.

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Paul C. McCormick

The occurrence of motor deficit following resection of an intradural spinal schwannoma is an uncommon but potentially serious complication. This video illustrates the technique of microsurgical resection of an L-4 sensory nerve root schwannoma with preservation of the corresponding functional L-4 motor nerve root.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/HrZkGj1JKd4.

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Paul C. McCormick

✓The long-anticipated results of the Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT) were recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In this trial the investigators compared operative and nonoperative care in patients with symptomatic lumbar disc herniation. Despite the expenditure of several million dollars on this multi-center, prospective, randomized, controlled clinical trial, the SPORT investigators admitted, “conclusions about the superiority or equivalence of the treatments under study are not warranted based on the intent-to-treat analysis.” In the present article the author provides a critical review of the SPORT formulation and hypothesis, study design and methodology, and results and interpretations in an attempt to explain why the authors of this study were unable to assess the study's only intended null hypothesis that there would be no difference in outcomes between operative and nonoperative management of herniated lumbar discs. Issues related to misrepresentation and misinterpretation of the SPORT results for herniated lumbar discs are also assessed.

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Paul C. McCormick

This Neurosurgical Focus video supplement contains detailed narrated videos of a broad range of intradural pathology such as neoplasms, including intramedullary, extramedullary, and dumbbell tumors, vascular malformations, functional disorders, and rare conditions that are often overlooked or misdiagnosed such as arachnoid cysts, ventral spinal cord herniation, and dorsal arachnoid web.

The intent of this supplement is to provide meaningful educational and instructional content at all levels of training and practice. As such, the selected video submissions each provide a comprehensive detailed narrative description and coordinated video that contains the entire spectrum of relevant information including imaging, operative setup and positioning, and exposure, as well as surgical strategies, techniques, and sequencing toward the safe and effective achievement of the operative objective. This level of detail often necessitated a more lengthy video duration than is typically presented in oral presentations or standard video clips from peer reviewed publications. Unfortunately, space limitations precluded the inclusion of several other excellent video submissions in this supplement.

While most videos in this supplement reflect standard operative approaches and techniques there are also submissions that describe innovative exposures and techniques that have expanded surgical options such as ventral approaches, stereotactic guidance, and minimally invasive exposures. There is some redundancy in both the topics and techniques both to underscore fundamental surgical principles as well as to provide complementary perspective from different surgeons.

It has been my privilege to serve as guest editor for this video supplement and I would like to extend my appreciation to Mark Bilsky, Bill Krauss, and Sander Connolly for reviewing the large number submitted videos. Most of all, I would like to thank the authors for their skill and effort in the preparation of the outstanding videos that constitute this video supplement.

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Paul C. McCormick

The theme of the 80th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the title of this presidential address, “We are neurosurgery,” is a simple 3-word affirmation of who neurosurgeons are, what they have achieved, and how much there is yet to accomplish. Recent advances in neurobiology and the clinical neurosciences have brought an unprecedented understanding of the human nervous system in both health and disease. As a specialty, neurosurgery has translated knowledge, expanded techniques, and incorporated technology to exponentially expand the science and scope of neurosurgical practice.

However, the rapidly advancing, divergently evolving growth of neurosurgery has had profound effects on all aspects of neurosurgery. In this address, the author examines the contemporary meaning of the annual meeting's theme as it relates to the science, practice, specialty, and profession of neurosurgery, as well as the neurosurgeon. In doing so, the author reveals his interpretation of “We are neurosurgery,” which he hopes will have an effect on others.