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Peng-Yuan Chang and Michael Y. Wang

In minimally invasive spinal fusion surgery, transforaminal lumbar (sacral) interbody fusion (TLIF) is one of the most common procedures that provides both anterior and posterior column support without retraction or violation to the neural structure. Direct and indirect decompression can be done through this single approach. Preoperative plain radiographs and MR scan should be carefully evaluated. This video demonstrates a standard approach for how to perform a minimally invasive transforaminal lumbosacral interbody fusion.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/bhEeafKJ370.

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Michael Y. Wang, Peng-Yuan Chang, and Jay Grossman

OBJECTIVE

Over the past decade, Enhancing Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) programs have been implemented throughout the world across multiple surgical disciplines. However, to date no spinal surgery equivalent has been described. In this report the authors review the development and implementation of a “fast track” surgical approach for lumbar fusion.

METHODS

The first 42 consecutive cases in which patients were treated with the new surgical procedure were reviewed. A combination of endoscopic decompression, expandable cage deployment, and percutaneous screw placement were performed with liposomal bupivacaine anesthesia to allow the surgery to be performed without general endotracheal anesthesia.

RESULTS

In all cases the surgical procedure was performed successfully without conversion to an open operation. The patients' mean age (± SD) was 66.1 ± 11.7 years, the male/female ratio was 20:22, and a total of 47 levels were treated. The mean operative time was 94.6 ± 22.4 minutes, the mean intraoperative blood loss was 66 ± 30 ml, and the mean hospital length of stay was 1.29 ± 0.9 nights. Early follow-up showed a significant improvement in the mean Oswestry Disability Index score (from 40 ± 13 to 17 ± 11, p = 0.0001). Return to the operating room was required in 2 cases due to infection and in 1 case due to cage displacement. An iterative quality improvement program demonstrated areas of improvement, including steps to minimize infection, improve postoperative analgesia, and reduce cage osteolysis.

CONCLUSIONS

ERAS programs for improving spinal fusion surgery are possible and necessary. This report demonstrates a first foray to apply these principles through 1) a patient-focused approach, 2) reducing the stress of the operation, and 3) an iterative improvement process.

Free access

Peng Li, Haibo Ren, Shizhen Zhang, and Wei Wang

Object

The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the efficacy and safety of Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for the treatment of cavernous sinus hemangiomas (CSHs). The authors report on 16 patients who underwent GKS as a primary or adjuvant treatment for CSH.

Methods

Sixteen patients harboring CSHs (14 women and 2 men ranging in age from 21 to 65 years [mean 41.3 years]) underwent GKS at West China Hospital. In 4 patients the diagnosis was based on histological findings; in the other 12 patients it was based on findings on MR images. After patients were given a local anesthetic agent, the treatments were performed using a Leksell Gamma Knife model C. Gadolinium-enhanced MR images of T1-weighted, T2-weighted, and FLAIR sequences were obtained to determine the pretreatment location of the lesion. A mean peripheral dose of 13.3 Gy (range 11–14 Gy) was directed to the 40%–50% isodose line.

Results

The mean follow-up time in this study was 21.5 months (range 12–36 months). In 11 of 12 patients with symptoms, clinical improvement was reported at an average of 3.3 months (range 1–8 months) after GKS. Significant or partial tumor shrinkage was observed in 14 patients (87.5%) at the last follow-up. No new neurological impairments were reported after GKS.

Conclusions

Magnetic resonance imaging may play an important role in the preoperative diagnosis of CSHs. Gamma Knife surgery may be a safe and effective primary or adjuvant treatment option for CSHs; however, long-term follow-up with more cases is needed to verify the benefits of this treatment.

Open access

Lei Zhao, Peng Wang, and Weixin Li

Os odontoideum is a rare anomaly of the second cervical vertebra, which can result in the compression and injury of cervical spinal cord. This deformity is surgically challenging. The authors presented a case of a 50-year-old man with a 2-year history of numbness and weakness in four limbs. The x-ray suggested the os odontoideum. MRI demonstrated a dramatic compression of the cervical spinal cord and an abnormally high signal intensity area in this region. The patient underwent a midline posterior approach for the treatment of this lesion. Postoperatively, the reduction results were satisfactory and the compression was relieved.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/3qDzR2kOz8k.

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Weijun Peng, Zhihua Xing, Jingjing Yang, Yang Wang, Weihao Wang, and Wei Huang

Object

Erythropoietin (EPO) shows promise as a neuroprotective agent in animal models of traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, clinical trials of the efficacy of EPO treatment in patients with TBI yield conflicting results. The authors conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the effect of EPO in experimental animal models of TBI, the goal being to inform the design of future clinical trials.

Methods

The authors identified eligible studies by searching PubMed, Web of Science, MEDLINE, Embase, and Google Scholar in October 2013. Data were pooled using the random-effects model, and results were reported in terms of standardized mean difference. Statistical heterogeneity was examined using both I2 and chi-square tests, and the presence of small study effects was investigated with funnel plots and Egger tests. In-depth analyses were performed for lesion volume and neurobehavioral outcome, and the studies' methodological quality was also evaluated.

Results

Of a total of 290 studies, 13 found an effect of EPO on lesion volume and neurobehavioral outcome. Overall, the methodological quality of the studies was poor, and there was evidence of statistical heterogeneity among the publications as well as small-study effects. However, in-depth analyses showed statistically significant findings in favor of a beneficial effect of EPO after TBI.

Conclusions

Despite limitations of this systematic review that may have influenced the findings, the authors conclude that EPO might be beneficial in treating experimental TBI in terms of reducing lesion volume and improving neurobehavioral outcome. However, this review also indicates that more well-designed and well-reported animal studies are needed.

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Wenhua Chen, Wei Xing, Zhongming He, Ya Peng, Caoye Wang, and Qi Wang

OBJECTIVE

The study aimed to assess the diagnostic accuracy of 320-detector row nonsubtracted and subtracted volume CT angiography (VCTA) in detecting small cerebral aneurysms (< 3 mm) compared with 3D digital subtraction angiography (3D DSA).

METHODS

Six hundred sixty-two patients underwent 320-detector row VCTA and 3D DSA for suspected cerebral aneurysms. Five neuroradiologists independently reviewed VCTA and 3D DSA images. The 3D DSA was considered the reference standard, and the sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of nonsubtracted and subtracted VCTA in depicting small aneurysms were analyzed. A p value < 0.05 was considered a significant difference.

RESULTS

According to 3D DSA images, 98 small cerebral aneurysms were identified in 90 of 662 patients. Nonsubtracted VCTA depicted 90 small aneurysms. Ten small aneurysms were missed, and 2 small aneurysms were misdiagnosed. The missed small aneurysms were located almost in the internal carotid artery, near bone tissue. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of nonsubtracted VCTA in depicting small aneurysms were 89.8%, 99.2%, and 96.5%, respectively, on a per-aneurysm basis. Subtracted VCTA depicted 97 small aneurysms. Three small aneurysms were missed, and 2 small aneurysms were misdiagnosed. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of subtracted VCTA in depicting small aneurysms were 96.9%, 99.2%, and 98.6%, respectively, on a per-aneurysm basis. There was no difference in accuracy between subtracted VCTA and 3D DSA (p = 1.000). However, nonsubtracted VCTA had significantly less sensitivity than 3D DSA and subtracted VCTA (p = 0.039 and 0.016, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

Subtracted 320-detector row VCTA is sensitive enough to replace 3D DSA in the diagnosis of small cerebral aneurysms (< 3 mm). The accuracy rate of nonsubtracted VCTA was lower than that of subtracted VCTA and 3D DSA, especially in the assessment of small internal carotid artery aneurysms adjacent to the skull base.

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Xin Yu, Jianning Zhang, Rui Liu, Yaming Wang, Hongwei Wang, Peng Wang, Jinhui Chen, and Song Liu

OBJECT

The treatment for giant posterior fossa cystic craniopharyngiomas remains an important challenge in neurosurgery. The authors evaluated the effects of treating 20 patients with giant posterior fossa cystic craniopharyngiomas using phosphorus-32 (P-32) interstitial radiotherapy at their hospital.

METHODS

The patients included 11 boys and 9 girls with an age range of 3 to 168 months. Before treatment, the tumor volumes ranged from 65 to 215 ml. The intracranial pressure was increased in 16 patients, and optic nerve damage had occurred in 18. The patients received P-32 interstitial radiotherapy following stereotactic cyst-fluid aspiration or drainage and were followed up for 7–138 months.

RESULTS

The treatment immediately relieved the intracranial hypertension symptoms in all patients. At the end of follow-up, imaging examinations revealed that the cystic tumors had disappeared, but some residual calcification remained in 12 patients, and had decreased by more than 75% of the initial volume in 8 patients. The damaged optic nerve recovered in 3 cases, improved in 12 cases, remained unchanged in 1 case, and was aggravated in 2 cases. No other severe complications related to surgery or interstitial radiation occurred. During the follow-up period, 7 new cysts appeared in 5 patients who had received additional interstitial radiotherapies with a dose of P-32 that was calculated using the same formula as for the initial treatment. The new tumors then disappeared in 2 patients, significantly shrank in 2 patients, and progressed in 1 patient.

CONCLUSIONS

For treating giant posterior fossa cystic craniopharyngiomas, P-32 interstitial radiation after stereotactic cyst-fluid aspiration or drainage can achieve a high tumor control rate and has relatively satisfactory clinical effects and quality of life outcomes with few complications.

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Yu Sun, Li-Xin Wang, Lei Wang, Si-Xin Sun, Xiao-Jian Cao, Peng Wang, and Li Feng

Object

The effectiveness of the topical application of mitomycin C (MMC) or 5-fluorouracil (5FU) in preventing peridural adhesion after laminectomy was compared in this study.

Methods

Laminectomies were performed at L-1 in 30 rats. Cotton pads soaked with 0.1 mg/ml MMC, 25 mg/ml 5FU, or 9 mg/ml saline (control) were applied to the operative sites. To evaluate neurological deficits pre- and postoperatively, somatosensory evoked potentials were monitored and the Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan locomotion test was performed. Four weeks postlaminectomy the rats were killed, and peridural scar adhesion was evaluated histologically. The level of hydroxyproline, the area of peridural scar tissue, and the number of fibroblasts were determined. The degree of peridural adhesion was classified according to the Rydell standard.

Results

No obvious adhesion formed in the rats in the MMC group, but severe peridural adhesions were found in those in the 5FU and control groups. The content of hydroxyproline, the area of peridural scar tissue, and the number of fibroblasts in the MMC group were significantly lower than those in the 5FU and control groups.

Conclusions

The topical application of MMC rather than 5FU may be a successful method of preventing post-laminectomy peridural adhesions.

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Peng Li, Fu Zhao, Jing Zhang, Zhenmin Wang, Xingchao Wang, Bo Wang, Zhijun Yang, Jun Yang, Zhixian Gao, and Pinan Liu

OBJECT

The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical features of spinal schwannomas in patients with schwannomatosis and compare them with a large cohort of patients with solitary schwannomas and neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2).

METHODS

The study was a retrospective review of 831 patients with solitary schwannomas, 65 with schwannomatosis, and 102 with NF2. The clinical, radiographic, and pathological data were extracted with specific attention to the age at onset, location of tumors, initial symptoms, family history, and treatment outcome.

RESULTS

The male-to-female ratio of patients with schwannomatosis (72.3% vs 27.7%) was significantly higher than that of patients with solitary schwannomas (53.3% vs 46.7%) and NF2 (54.0% vs 46.0%), respectively (chi-square test, p = 0.012). The mean age at the first spinal schwannoma operation of patients with NF2 (24.7 ± 10.2 years) was significantly younger than that of patients with solitary schwannomas (44.8 ± 13.2 years) and schwannomatosis (44.4 ± 14.1 years; 1-way ANOVA, p < 0.001). The initial symptoms were similar among the 3 groups, with pain being the most common. The distribution of spinal tumors among the 3 groups was significantly different. The peak locations of spinal schwannomas in patients with solitary schwannomas were at C1–3 and T12–L3; in schwannomatosis, the peak location was at T12-L5. A preferred spinal location was not evident for intradural-extramedullary tumors in NF2. Only a slight prominence in the lumbar area could be observed. The patients in the 3 groups obtained similar benefits from the operation; the recovery rates in the patients with solitary schwannomas, NF2, and schwannomatosis were 50.1%, 38.0%, and 53.9%, respectively. The prognosis varied among spinal schwannomas in the patients with schwannomatosis. Up until the last date of follow-up, most patients with schwannomatosis (81.5%) had undergone a single spinal operation, but 12 patients (18.5%) had undergone multiple spinal operations. Patients with nonsegmental schwannomatosis or those with early onset disease seemed to have a poor prognosis; they were more likely to undergo multiple spinal operations. Small cauda equina nodules were common in patients with schwannomatosis (46.7%) and NF2 (86.9%); these small schwannomas appeared to have relatively static behavior. Two patients suspicious for schwannomatosis were diagnosed with NF2 with the detection of constitutional NF2 mutations; 1 had unilateral vestibular schwannoma, and the other had suspicious bilateral trigeminal schwannomas.

CONCLUSIONS

The clinical features of spinal schwannomas vary among patients with solitary schwannomas, NF2, and schwannomatosis. Spinal schwannomas of patients with NF2 appear to be more aggressive than those in patients with solitary schwannomas and schwannomatosis. Spinal schwannomas of schwannomatosis predominate in the lumbar area, and most of them can be treated successfully with surgery. The prognosis varies among spinal schwannomas of schwannomatosis; some patients may need multiple operations due to newly developed schwannomas. Sometimes, it is difficult to differentiate schwannomatosis from NF2 based on clinical manifestations. It is prudent to perform close follow-up examinations in patients with undetermined schwannomatosis and their offspring.

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Jun Fan, Yi Liu, Jun Pan, Yuping Peng, Junxiang Peng, Yun Bao, Jing Nie, Chaohu Wang, Binghui Qiu, and Songtao Qi

OBJECTIVE

An assessment of the transcranial approach (TCA) and the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) for craniopharyngiomas (CPs) according to tumor types has not been reported. The aim of this study was to evaluate both surgical approaches for different types of CPs.

METHODS

A retrospective review of primary resected CPs was performed. A QST classification system based on tumor origin was used to classify tumors into 3 types as follows: infrasellar/subdiaphragmatic CPs (Q-CPs), subarachnoidal CPs (S-CPs), and pars tuberalis CPs (T-CPs). Within each tumor type, patients were further arranged into two groups: those treated via the TCA and those treated via the EEA. Patient and tumor characteristics, surgical outcomes, and postoperative complications were obtained. All variables were statistically analyzed between surgical groups for each tumor type.

RESULTS

A total of 315 patients were included in this series, of whom 87 were identified with Q-CPs (49 treated via TCA and 38 via EEA); 56 with S-CPs (36 treated via TCA and 20 via EEA); and 172 with T-CPs (105 treated via TCA and 67 via EEA). Patient and tumor characteristics were equivalent between both surgical groups in each tumor type. The overall gross-total resection rate (90.5% TCA vs 91.2% EEA, p = 0.85) and recurrence rate (8.9% TCA vs 6.4% EEA, p = 0.35) were similar between surgical groups. The EEA group had a greater chance of visual improvement (61.6% vs 35.8%, p = 0.01) and a decreased risk of visual deterioration (1.6% vs 11.0%, p < 0.001). Of the patients with T-CPs, postoperative hypothalamic status was better in the TCA group than in the EEA group (p = 0.016). Postoperative CSF leaks and nasal complication rates occurred more frequently in the EEA group (12.0% vs 0.5%, and 9.6% vs 0.5%; both p < 0.001). For Q-CPs, EEA was associated with an increased gross-total resection rate (97.4% vs 85.7%, p = 0.017), decreased recurrence rate (2.6% vs 12.2%, p = 0.001), and lower new hypopituitarism rate (28.9% vs 57.1%, p = 0.008). The recurrence-free survival in patients with Q-CPs was also significantly different between surgical groups (log-rank test, p = 0.037). The EEA required longer surgical time for T-CPs (p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

CPs could be effectively treated by radical surgery with favorable results. Both TCA and EEA have their advantages and limitations when used to manage different types of tumors. Individualized surgical strategies based on tumor growth patterns are mandatory to achieve optimal outcomes.