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William D. Freeman, Jason Sebesto and Rabih G. Tawk

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Intramuscular myxoma causing lumbar radiculopathy

Case report and review of the literature

Kern H. Guppy, Franklin Wagner, Rabih Tawk and Lisbeth Gallagher

✓ The authors present the rare case of a myxoma, a benign soft-tissue tumor of mesenchymal origin noted for occurring in the left atrium of the heart, which was found in the lumbar paraspinal muscles of an 80-year-old woman. This patient experienced low-back pain for over 20 years and had noted its increasing severity with the development of an L-5 radiculopathy over a 3-month period. Magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbar spine revealed a large paraspinal mass that invaded the L-5 vertebral body and the left foramen of L5—S1. A computerized tomography—guided biopsy sampling procedure was performed, and examination of the specimen revealed an intramuscular myxoma. The patient underwent resection of the tumor and nerve root decompression. The diagnosis of intramuscular myxoma was confirmed, and the patient experienced complete resolution of her presenting symptoms. This patient represents the third reported case (the first in the English-language literature) of an intramuscular (paraspinal) myxoma presenting with lumbar nerve root compression.

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Nnenna Mbabuike, Kelly Gassie, Benjamin Brown, David A. Miller and Rabih G. Tawk


Tandem occlusions continue to represent a major challenge in patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS). The anterograde approach with proximal to distal revascularization as well as the retrograde approach with distal to proximal revascularization have been reported without clear consensus or standard guidelines.


The authors performed a comprehensive search of the PubMed database for studies including patients with carotid occlusions and tandem distal occlusions treated with endovascular therapy. They reviewed the type of approach employed for endovascular intervention and clinical outcomes reported with emphasis on the revascularization technique. They also present an illustrative case of AIS and concurrent proximal cervical carotid occlusion and distal middle cerebral artery occlusion from their own experience in order to outline the management dilemma for similar cases.


A total of 22 studies were identified, with a total of 790 patients with tandem occlusions in AIS. Eleven studies used the anterograde approach, 3 studies used the retrograde approach, 4 studies used both, and in 4 studies the approach was not specified. In the studies that reported Thrombolysis in Cerebral Infarction (TICI) grades, an average of 79% of patients with tandem occlusions were reported to have an outcome of TICI 2b or better. One study found good clinical outcome in 52.5% of the thrombectomy-first group versus 33.3% in the stent-first group, as measured by the modified Rankin Scale (mRS). No study evaluated the difference in time to reperfusion for the anterograde and retrograde approach and its association with clinical outcome. The patient in the illustrative case had AIS and tandem occlusion of the internal carotid and middle cerebral arteries and underwent distal revascularization using a Solitaire stent retrieval device followed by angioplasty and stent treatment of the proximal cervical carotid occlusion. The revascularization was graded as TICI 2b; the postintervention National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score was 17, and the discharge NIHSS score was 7. The admitting, postoperative, and 30-day mRS scores were 5, 1, and 1, respectively.


In stroke patients with tandem occlusions, distal to proximal revascularization represents a reasonable treatment approach and may offer the advantage of decreased time to reperfusion, which is associated with better functional outcome. Further studies are warranted to determine the best techniques in endovascular therapy to use in this subset of patients in order to improve clinical outcome.

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Leonardo B. C. Brasiliense, Ramon Navarro, Paul Brazis and Rabih G. Tawk

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Michael K. Rosner, Timothy R. Kuklo, Rabih Tawk, Ross Moquin and Stephen L. Ondra


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety and efficacy of prophylactic inferior vena cava (IVC) filter placement in high-risk patients who undergo major spine reconstruction.


In the pilot study, 22 patients undergoing major spine reconstruction received prophylactic IVC filters. These patients were prospectively followed to evaluate complications related to the filter, the rate of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) formation, and the rate of pulmonary embolism (PE). These data were compared with those obtained in a retrospective review for PE in a matched cohort treated at the same institution. At a second institution the treatment guidelines were implemented in 17 patients undergoing complex spine surgery with the same follow-up criteria.

In the pilot study, no patient experienced PE (0%), whereas two had DVT (9%). Bilateral DVT developed postoperatively in one patient (associated morbidity rate 4.5%), who required thrombolytic therapy. One patient died of unrelated surgical complications. The PE rate in the matched cohort at the same institution was 12%. At the second institution, no patient had PE, and no complications were noted.


In this patient population, prophylactic IVC filter placement appears to decrease the PE rate substantially, from 12 to 0%. The placement of IVC filters appears to be a safe and efficacious intervention for prevention of PE in high-risk patients.

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Kim J. Burchiel

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Rabih G. Tawk, Mary Duffy-Fronckowiak, Bryan E. Scott, Ronald A. Alberico, Aidnag Z. Diaz, Matthew B. Podgorsak, Robert J. Plunkett and Robert A. Fenstermaker

Object. The purpose of this study was to assess the durability and completeness of pain relief in patients treated using stereotactic gamma knife surgery (GKS) for trigeminal neuralgia (TN).

Methods. Thirty-eight patients with refractory TN were treated with stereotactic GKS. All patients received a prescription radiation dose of 35, 40, or 45 Gy to the 50% isodose surface through a 4-mm collimator helmet. The group was assessed regularly based on physician-directed interviews for a median follow up of 24 months (range 6–27 months). Pain relief was classified as excellent (no pain without medication), good (well-controlled pain with continued medication), fair (decreased but residual pain with continued medication), or poor (unimproved or increased pain with the same or increased medication).

Three months after treatment, pain relief was good or excellent in 71% of patients. By 24 months post-GKS, 50% of the original cohort had poor pain relief, 21% continued to have either excellent or good relief, 3% had fair relief, and 26% had not reached the 24-month follow up. Based on their status at the last follow up, 29% of patients had excellent and 16% had good pain relief. Thirty-seven percent experienced facial numbness, which was dose related. In addition, there was a significantly higher rate of complete pain relief in patients who had facial numbness following treatment (p = 0.003).

Conclusions. Stereotactic GKS is an effective treatment in patients with TN; however, the durability of pain relief and the time to treatment response are limiting factors. As with other types of ablative treatment, facial numbness is strongly associated with better treatment response.

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Ruth S. Kuo, Wililiam D. Freeman and Rabih G. Tawk

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Peter Kan, Visish M. Srinivasan, Nnenna Mbabuike, Rabih G. Tawk, Vin Shen Ban, Babu G. Welch, Maxim Mokin, Bartley D. Mitchell, Ajit Puri, Mandy J. Binning and Edward Duckworth

The Pipeline Embolization Device (PED) was approved for the treatment of intracranial aneurysms from the petrous to the superior hypophyseal segment of the internal carotid artery. However, since its approval, its use for treatment of intracranial aneurysms in other locations and non-sidewall aneurysms has grown tremendously. The authors report on a cohort of 15 patients with 16 cerebral aneurysms that incorporated an end vessel with no significant distal collaterals, which were treated with the PED. The cohort includes 7 posterior communicating artery aneurysms, 5 ophthalmic artery aneurysms, 1 superior cerebellar artery aneurysm, 1 anterior inferior cerebellar artery aneurysm, and 2 middle cerebral artery aneurysms. None of the aneurysms achieved significant occlusion at the last follow-up evaluation (mean 24 months). Based on these observations, the authors do not recommend the use of flow diverters for the treatment of this subset of cerebral aneurysms.

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Ramon Navarro, Linaloe Kala, W. David Freeman, Ricardo A. Hanel and Rabih G. Tawk