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Paul A. Gardner, Pawel G. Ochalski and John J. Moossy

Palmar hyperhidrosis is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system characterized by excessive perspiration of the palms, but may involve other body parts as well. Traditional posterior approaches have been performed less often in favor of less invasive thoracoscopic sympathectomies, which have a high success rate with low associated morbidity. However, some patients are not candidates for a transthoracic surgery and may need an alternative treatment strategy.

In situations in which a posterior approach may be necessary, the authors have developed a minimal access endoscopic-assisted dorsal sympathectomy procedure, applying minimally invasive spine muscle splitting techniques. The authors believe that the development of this technique may help to minimize surgical morbidity associated with the traditional posterior approach by reducing pain, tissue damage, and length of postoperative recovery. This paper is a report on the successful treatment of palmar hyperhidrosis using a minimally invasive posterior technique and describes the surgical approach and outcomes in 2 patients who have been treated in this manner.

Two patients underwent minimally invasive endoscopic-assisted posterior thoracic sympathectomy for hyperhidrosis. Both patients experienced relief of their symptoms after surgery with follow-up durations of 32 and 9 months and length of stays of 0.9 and 2.8 days, respectively. One patient suffered a unilateral Horner syndrome and underwent an eyelid lift. The other patient was readmitted to the hospital 2 days after discharge with atelectasis. She was obese and suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at baseline, which were reasons she opted for a posterior approach. Neither patient suffered a pneumo- or hemothorax.

Minimally invasive endoscopic-assisted posterior thoracic sympathectomy can be safely performed for relief of hyperhidrosis. The procedure has risks for the usual complications of sympathectomy. This technique may provide an alternative to thoracoscopic approaches, especially in those patients with pulmonary disease or obesity.

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Pawel G. Ochalski, David O. Okonkwo, Michael J. Bell and P. David Adelson

The authors report on a case of successful reversal of sedation with flumazenil, a benzodiazepine antagonist, in a child following a moderate traumatic brain injury and demonstrate the utility of flumazenil to reverse benzodiazepine effects in traumatically injured children.

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Pawel G. Ochalski, Matthew A. Adamo, P. David Adelson, David O. Okonkwo and Ian F. Pollack


Fractures of the clivus and traumatic diastases of the clival synchondroses are rare in the pediatric population. The incidence, outcome, and biomechanics associated with these fractures have been difficult to ascertain secondary to the lack of literature pertaining to their occurrence.


A Boolean search of the electronic medical record database at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, was performed to identify patients with fractures of the clivus that were diagnosed using CT of the head. A retrospective review of the chart and radiographic imaging was then performed to assess data regarding patient demographics, mechanism of injury, and skull and brain parenchymal injuries, as well as outcomes.


Between May 2002 and November 2007, 16 patients with fractures of the clivus were identified. The mean age of these patients was 9 years (range 1–16 years). Eleven (68.8%) of the 16 patients had an associated traumatic diastasis of the central skull base. Five (31.3%) of the 16 patients died. However, of the 11 patients who survived, all had a good outcome with a Glasgow Outcome Scale score of 4 or 5 at the time of discharge. The incidence of clival fractures among patients with head injuries was 0.33%.


Clival fractures occur with a similar incidence in both the pediatric and adult trauma population. Outcome is not correlated directly with the extent of clival fracture, but rather with the presenting Glasgow Coma Scale score and concomitant brain parenchymal injuries. The identification of traumatic diastases in patients with clival fractures suggests that static loading forces are a significant factor in the biomechanics producing these types of fractures.

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Pawel G. Ochalski, James T. Edinger, Michael B. Horowitz, William R. Stetler, Geoffrey H. Murdoch, Amin B. Kassam and Johnathan A. Engh

Angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma (AFH) is a rare soft-tissue neoplasm that most commonly appears in the limbs, typically affecting children and young adults. The tumor has a propensity for local recurrence and recurrent hemorrhage but rarely for remote metastasis. To date, only 2 reports have documented an intracranial occurrence of the tumor (1 of which was believed to be metastatic disease). This is the second report of primary intracranial AFH. Additionally, hemorrhage from an intracranial AFH lesion has yet to be reported, and little is known about the radiographic characteristics and biological behavior of these lesions. In this report, the authors describe the case of a patient with recurrent hemorrhage due to primary multifocal intracranial AFH. Initially misdiagnosed as a cavernous malformation and then an unusual meningioma, the tumor was finally correctly identified when there was a large enough intact resection specimen to reveal the characteristic histological pattern. The diagnosis was confirmed using immunohistochemical and molecular studies.

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Pawel G. Ochalski, Michael B. Horowitz, Arlan H. Mintz, Steven J. Hughes, David O. Okonkwo, Amin B. Kassam and Andrew R. Watson

The authors report the safety and efficacy of using a percutaneous minimal-access insertion technique for distal shunt catheter placement in 100 cases.

From June 2007 to March 2008, they attempted 100 minimal-access insertions of distal shunt catheters in 91 patients who required ventriculoperitoneal shunting. Using the minimal-access approach, they avoided utilizing laparoscopic assistance or a mini-laparotomy in 91% of the cases. There were no bowel injuries or misplaced distal catheters. Additional outcomes in terms of operative times, cases that required conversion to open or laparoscopically assisted implantation, and infection rates are presented.

They conclude that intraperitoneal shunt catheter placement can be safely and effectively accomplished using a simplified percutaneous minimal-access insertion method that does not require direct laparoscopic visualization.