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Ricardo B. V. Fontes and Vincent C. Traynelis

Object

Minimally invasive lateral transpsoas interbody fusion (LTIF) has emerged as a popular surgical technique in a remarkably short period of time. The authors' experience with this procedure and anecdotal evidence in the literature suggest that the iliac crest may occasionally prevent access to the L4–5 interspace during minimally invasive LTIF. The authors propose that removal of a minimal amount of ilium would allow for successful exposure of the L4–5 interspace in those cases with a “high-riding” iliac crest. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of iliac osteotomy to enhance exposure of the L4–5 interspace for minimally invasive LTIF.

Methods

Twenty L4–5 minimally invasive LTIF procedures were performed on 10 cadavers. The L4–5 minimally invasive LTIFs were successfully completed in 13 of 20 attempts. In the remaining 7 cases, the iliac crest prevented perfect orthogonal access to the L4–5 interspace. An iliac osteotomy was performed until the tubular retractors could be perfectly aligned with the L4–5 interspace and minimally invasive LTIF accomplished. Anteroposterior fluoroscopic images were obtained before and after the osteotomies. The angle between the working instrument and the superior L-5 endplate was measured, as were craniocaudal displacement and the resected iliac area.

Results

Iliac osteotomy enabled completion of L4–5 minimally invasive LTIF in the 7 remaining cases. Iliac resection was minimal; an average of 4.92 cm2 of iliac surface was resected (range 2.08–8.27 cm2) to enable L4–5 access. Adequate working angles were maintained (average 3.3° change after resection) while significant caudal displacement of the tubular system was achieved (average 15.7 mm, range 5.2–27.6 mm).

Conclusions

A significant portion of patients may have a high-riding iliac crest and that may have had an impact on minimally invasive LTIF in this series; L4–5 cases are rare in relation to midlumbar spine cases in most minimally invasive LTIF patient series. Significant caudal displacement of the tubular system was achieved with minimal iliac osteotomy, ensuring access to the L4–5 interspace in all specimens while maintaining the minimally invasive philosophy behind minimally invasive LTIF.

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Robert G. Kellogg, Ricardo B. V. Fontes and Demetrius K. Lopes

Fat embolism syndrome (FES) is a common clinical entity that can occasionally have significant neurological sequelae. The authors report a case of cerebral fat embolism and FES that required surgical management of intracranial pressure (ICP). They also discuss the literature as well as the potential need for neurosurgical management of this disease entity in select patients. A 58-year-old woman presented with a seizure episode and altered mental status after suffering a right femur fracture. Head CT studies demonstrated hypointense areas consistent with fat globules at the gray-white matter junction predominantly in the right hemisphere. This CT finding is unique in the literature, as other reports have not included imaging performed early enough to capture this finding. Brain MR images obtained 3 days later revealed T2-hyperintense areas with restricted diffusion within the same hemisphere, along with midline shift and subfalcine herniation. These findings steered the patient to the operating room for decompressive hemicraniectomy. A review of the literature from 1980 to 2012 disclosed 54 cases in 38 reports concerning cerebral fat embolism and FES. Analysis of all the cases revealed that 98% of the patients presented with mental status changes, whereas only 22% had focal signs and/or seizures. A good outcome was seen in 57.6% of patients with coma and/or abnormal posturing on presentation and in 90.5% of patients presenting with mild mental status changes, focal deficits, or seizure. In the majority of cases ICP was managed conservatively with no surgical intervention. One case featured the use of an ICP monitor, while none featured the use of hemicraniectomy.

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Ricardo B. Fontes, Lee A. Tan and John E. O'Toole

Spinal dural arteriovenous fistula (dAVF) is the most common vascular malformation of the spinal cord. Traditionally it is treated by the standard muscle-splitting midline approach with bilateral laminectomies extending from one level above to one level below the dAVF. We present a minimally invasive approach for ligation of dAVF with concurrent use of intraoperative indocyanine green (ICG) angiography. Minimally invasive watertight dural closure technique is also demonstrated and discussed. The minimally invasive approach with intraoperative ICG results in quicker recovery, early mobilization and shorter hospital stay compared to traditional open approach.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/mNUeJKLxL3Q.

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Lee A. Tan, Ricardo B. Fontes and Richard W. Byrne

Choroid plexus papillomas (CPP) are uncommon benign brain tumors that usually arise in the fourth ventricle in adults and lateral ventricles in children. Extraventricular CPPs are rare and can be found primarily in the cerebellopontine angle (CPA). We present a case of primary extraventricular CPP in the right CPA successfully resected with retrosigmoid approach. Detailed surgical techniques of retrosigmoid craniotomy and tumor dissection are presented in high definition video with narration.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/6591en3nWlY.

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Lee A. Tan, Manish K. Kasliwal, Joshua Wewel, Ricardo B. V. Fontes and John E. O'Toole

Schwannomas are the most common intradural-extramedullary spinal tumors, with an estimated incidence of 3 to 10 cases per 100,000 people. With continued advances in minimally invasive surgery (MIS) over recent years, MIS techniques have been utilized by spine surgeons in the resection of intradural spinal neoplasms with favorable surgical results and clinical outcomes. This video demonstrates a rare case of symptomatic, synchronous, same-level lumbar intradural-extramedullary neoplasm and acute disc herniation, both of which were successfully treated using a single MIS approach. Surgical pearls and nuances are discussed to better delineate technique and minimize potential complications.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/78ibbicBRUk.

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Lee A. Tan, Manish K. Kasliwal, Nakhle Mhanna, Ricardo B. V. Fontes and Vincent C. Traynelis

Subependymomas can rarely occur in the spinal cord, and account for about 2% of symptomatic spinal cord tumors. It most often occurs in the cervical spinal cord, followed by cervicothoracic junction, thoracic cord and conus medullaris. It often has an eccentric location in the spinal cord and lacks gadolinium enhancement on magnetic resonance imaging. We present a rare case of symptomatic subependymoma of the cervical spinal cord, which underwent successful gross total resection. Surgical pearls and nuances are discussed to help surgeons to avoid potential complications.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/Rsm9KxZX7Yo.

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Ricardo B. V. Fontes, Adam P. Smith, Lorenzo F. Muñoz, Richard W. Byrne and Vincent C. Traynelis

Object

Early postoperative head CT scanning is routinely performed following intracranial procedures for detection of complications, but its real value remains uncertain: so-called abnormal results are frequently found, but active, emergency intervention based on these findings may be rare. The authors' objective was to analyze whether early postoperative CT scans led to emergency surgical interventions and if the results of neurological examination predicted this occurrence.

Methods

The authors retrospectively analyzed 892 intracranial procedures followed by an early postoperative CT scan performed over a 1-year period at Rush University Medical Center and classified these cases according to postoperative neurological status: baseline, predicted neurological change, unexpected neurological change, and sedated or comatose. The interpretation of CT results was reviewed and unexpected CT findings were classified based on immediate action taken: Type I, additional observation and CT; Type II, active nonsurgical intervention; and Type III, surgical intervention. Results were compared between neurological examination groups with the Fisher exact test.

Results

Patients with unexpected neurological changes or in the sedated or comatose group had significantly more unexpected findings on the postoperative CT (p < 0.001; OR 19.2 and 2.3, respectively) and Type II/III interventions (p < 0.001) than patients at baseline. Patients at baseline or with expected neurological changes still had a rate of Type II/III changes in the 2.2%–2.4% range; however, no patient required an immediate return to the operating room.

Conclusions

Over a 1-year period in an academic neurosurgery service, no patient who was neurologically intact or who had a predicted neurological change required an immediate return to the operating room based on early postoperative CT findings. Obtaining early CT scans should not be a priority in these patients and may even be cancelled in favor of MRI studies, if the latter have already been planned and can be performed safely and in a timely manner. Early postoperative CT scanning does not assure an uneventful course, nor should it replace accurate and frequent neurological checks, because operative interventions were always decided in conjunction with the neurological examination.

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Ricardo B. V. Fontes and Vincent C. Traynelis

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Bradley J. Hindman, Ricardo B. Fontes, Robert P. From, Vincent C. Traynelis, Michael M. Todd, Christian M. Puttlitz and Brandon G. Santoni

OBJECTIVE

With application of the forces of intubation, injured (unstable) cervical segments may move more than they normally do, which can result in spinal cord injury. The authors tested whether, during endotracheal intubation, intervertebral motion of an injured C3–4 cervical segment 1) is greater than that in the intact (stable) state and 2) differs when a high- or low-force laryngoscope is used.

METHODS

Fourteen cadavers underwent 3 intubations using force-sensing laryngoscopes while simultaneous cervical spine motion was recorded with lateral fluoroscopy. The first intubation was performed with an intact cervical spine and a conventional high-force line-of-sight Macintosh laryngoscope. After creation of a severe C3–4 distractive-flexion injury, 2 additional intubations were performed, one with the Macintosh laryngoscope and the other with a low-force indirect video laryngoscope (Airtraq), used in random order.

RESULTS

During Macintosh intubations, between the intact and the injured conditions, C3–4 extension (0.3° ± 3.0° vs 0.4° ± 2.7°, respectively; p = 0.9515) and anterior-posterior subluxation (−0.1 ± 0.4 mm vs −0.3 ± 0.6 mm, respectively; p = 0.2754) did not differ. During Macintosh and Airtraq intubations with an injured C3–4 segment, despite a large difference in applied force between the 2 laryngoscopes, segmental extension (0.4° ± 2.7° vs 0.3° ± 3.3°, respectively; p = 0.8077) and anterior-posterior subluxation (0.3 ± 0.6 mm vs 0.0 ± 0.7 mm, respectively; p = 0.3203) did not differ.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors' hypotheses regarding the relationship between laryngoscope force and the motion of an injured cervical segment were not confirmed. Motion-force relationships (biomechanics) of injured cervical intervertebral segments during endotracheal intubation in cadavers are not predicted by the in vitro biomechanical behavior of isolated cervical segments. With the limitations inherent to cadaveric studies, the results of this study suggest that not all forms of cervical spine injury are at risk for pathological motion and cervical cord injury during conventional high-force line-of-sight intubation.