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Albert J. Fenoy and Richard K. Simpson Jr.

Object

Wound complications are uncommon following deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery. However, certain key technical steps can be performed in each procedure to minimize this still troublesome risk. The authors reviewed the incidence and management of all hardware-related wound dehiscences and infections in a large patient series.

Methods

All patients undergoing new DBS hardware implantation surgery between 2002 and 2010 by a single surgeon (R.K.S.) were entered into a database after undergoing verification by cross-referencing manufacturer implantation records. All hardware-related complications such as wound dehiscence, erosions, and/or infections were identified, and wound location, time of incidence, and mechanism were categorized. Charts were reviewed to evaluate the success of conservative treatment versus partial or total hardware removal.

Results

Seven hundred twenty-eight patients received 1333 new DBS leads and 1218 new implantable pulse generators (IPGs) in a total of 1356 stereotactic procedures for movement disorders. Seventy-eight percent of patients underwent staged lead and IPG implantations. Sixteen patients presented with atraumatic device-related infection and/or dehiscence within 12 months from original implantation; 9 of these patients (1.24%) required additional surgery after antibiotic failure. All 8 patients presenting with cranial wound complications were treated initially by debridement in an attempt to salvage the leads; debridement followed by intravenous antibiotics was only successful in 2 patients presenting with dehiscence alone. One of 2 lead-only removals was successful in infections originating in the cranium; the only IPG-originating infection was treated by partial hardware removal and intravenous antibiotics. Two of 637 IPG replacements resulted in infections within 12 months after revision, requiring either partial or total hardware removal, while 1 dehiscence in this group was treated by debridement alone.

Conclusions

In a large series of new DBS hardware implantations, the incidence of postoperative wound dehiscence and/or infections requiring further surgery was 1.24%. Standard practice for all implantations was a short procedural duration, copious povidone-iodine irrigation, and postoperative antibiotic administration. Partial hardware removal should be initially attempted for infection. Debridement alone is successful in treating dehiscence without infection.

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Albert J. Fenoy and Richard K. Simpson Jr.

Object

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery is increasingly prominent in the treatment of various disorders refractory to medication. Despite the procedure's efficacy, the community at large continues to be hesitant about presumed associated risks. The main object of this study was to assess the incidence of various surgical complications occurring both during and after DBS device implantation in a large population of patients with movement disorders in an effort to better quantify patient risk, define management plans, and develop methods for risk avoidance. A second aim was to corroborate the low procedural complication risk of DBS reported by others, which in light of the procedure's efficacy is needed to promote its widespread acceptance.

Methods

All patients who had undergone new DBS device implantation surgery between 2002 and 2010 by a single surgeon were entered into a database after being verified by cross-referencing manufacturer implantation records. All surgical records and charts were reviewed to identify intraoperative, perioperative, and long-term surgical complications, including any characteristics predictive of an adverse event.

Results

Seven hundred twenty-eight patients received 1333 new DBS electrodes and 1218 new internal pulse generators (IPGs) in a total of 1356 stereotactic procedures for the treatment of movement disorders. Seventy-eight percent of the patients had staged lead and IPG implantations. Of the 728 patients, 452 suffered from medically refractory Parkinson disease; in the other patients, essential tremor (144), dystonia (64), mixed disease (30), and other hyperkinetic movement disorders (38) were diagnosed. Severe intraoperative adverse events included vasovagal response in 6 patients (0.8%), hypotension in 2 (0.3%), and seizure in 2 (0.3%). Postoperative imaging confirmed asymptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) in 4 patients (0.5%), asymptomatic intraventricular hemorrhage in 25 (3.4%), symptomatic ICH in 8 (1.1%), and ischemic infarction in 3 (0.4%), associated with hemiparesis and/or decreased consciousness in 13 (1.7%). Long-term complications of DBS device implantation not requiring additional surgery included hardware discomfort in 8 patients (1.1%) and loss of desired effect in 10 (1.4%). Hardware-related complications requiring surgical revision included wound infections in 13 patients (1.7%), lead malposition and/or migration in 13 (1.7%), component fracture in 10 (1.4%), component malfunction in 4 (0.5%), and loss of effect in 19 (2.6%).

Conclusions

The authors confirmed that the overall risk of both procedure- and hardware-related adverse events is acceptably low. They offer advice on how to avoid the most common complications.

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Richard K. Simpson Jr. and Warren D. Parker

✓ A case of an unusual distal posterior cerebral artery (PCA) aneurysm is presented. The saccular aneurysm arose from a fetal PCA distal to the posterior temporal branch of the P3 segment. The aneurysm was treated by placing a clip on the PCA distal to the anterior temporal branch of the P2 segment. A ventriculoperitoneal shunt was also placed. The patient's postoperative recovery was unremarkable and without residual neurological deficit. The highly unusual location of this aneurysm is discussed and the neurosurgical literature is reviewed in detail.

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Richard K. Simpson Jr., Richard L. Harper and R. Nick Bryan

✓ A patient with a giant traumatic aneurysm of the right internal carotid artery presented with recurrent massive epistaxis 30 years after a head injury. During an episode of acute hemorrhage, this patient was effectively treated with occlusion of the internal carotid artery circulation by a detachable inflatable balloon.

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Robert A. Scranton, Ioannis M. Skaribas and Richard K. Simpson Jr.

The authors describe a case of delayed spastic quadriparesis caused by a peri-electrode mass following the implantation of a minimally invasive percutaneous spinal cord stimulator (SCS). Prior reports with paddle-type electrodes are reviewed, and a detailed histological and pathophysiological comparison with the present case is made.

The patient developed tolerance to a cervical percutaneous SCS 4 months after implantation, followed by the onset of spastic quadriparesis 9 months after implantation. The stimulator was removed, and contrast-enhanced MRI revealed an enhancing epidural mass where the system had been placed, with severe spinal cord compression. Decompression was carried out, and the patient experienced neurological improvement. Pathological examination revealed fibrotic tissue with granulomatous and multinucleated giant cell reactions. No evidence of infection or hemorrhage was found. Professionals treating patients with SCSs or contemplating their insertion should be aware of this delayed complication and associated risk factors.

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Hans-Holger Capelle, Richard K. Simpson Jr., Martin Kronenbuerger, Jochen Michaelsen, Volker Tronnier and Joachim K. Krauss

Object. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has become an accepted therapy for movement disorders such as Parkinson disease (PD) and essential tremor (ET), when these conditions are refractory to medical treatment. The presence of a cardiac pacemaker is still considered a contraindication for DBS in functional neurosurgery. The goal of this study was to evaluate the technical and clinical management of DBS for the treatment of movement disorders in elderly patients with cardiac pacemakers.

Methods. Six patients with cardiac pacemakers underwent clinical and cardiac examinations to analyze the safety of DBS in the treatment of movement disorders. Four patients suffered from advanced PD and two patients had ET. The mean age of these patients at surgery was 69.5 years (range 63–79 years). The settings of the pacemakers were programmed in a manner considered to minimize the chance of interference between the two systems.

There were no adverse events during surgery. Four patients underwent stimulation of the thalamic ventralis intermedius nucleus (VIM), and two patients stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus. In general, bipolar sensing was chosen for the cardiac pacemakers. In all but one patient the quadripolar DBS electrodes were programmed for bipolar stimulation. Several control electrocardiography studies, including 24-hour monitoring, did not show any interference between the two systems. At the time this paper was written the patients had been followed up for a mean of 25.3 months (range 4–48 months).

Conclusions. In certain conditions it is safe for patients with cardiac pacemakers to receive DBS for treatment of concomitant movement disorders. Cardiac pacemakers should not be viewed as a general contraindication for DBS in patients with movement disorders.

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Richard K. Simpson Jr., James L. Pool, Robert G. Grossman, James E. Rose and Addison A. Taylor

✓ Carotid sinus hypersensitivity (CSH) can cause severe bradycardia, hypotension, asystole, and cardiac arrest. Three patients with the combined (mixed) cardioinhibitory and vasodepressor form of CSH were studied with intensive cardiovascular monitoring. After medical management failed, the patients were successfully treated by transection of the glossopharyngeal nerve and upper rootlets of the vagus nerve at their exit from the brain stem. Methods of diagnosis of CSH, and the benefits and limitations of medical and surgical therapies are discussed.

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Rajesh Pahwa, Kelly E. Lyons, Steven B. Wilkinson, Richard K. Simpson Jr., William G. Ondo, Daniel Tarsy, Thorkild Norregaard, Jean P. Hubble, Donald A. Smith, Robert A. Hauser and Joseph Jankovic

Object

The effects of thalamic deep brain stimulation (DBS) on essential tremor (ET) and Parkinson disease (PD) have been well documented, but there is a paucity of long-term data. The aim of this study was to evaluate the longterm safety and efficacy of DBS of the ventralis intermedius nucleus (VIM) of the thalamus for PD and ET.

Methods

Thirty-eight of 45 patients enrolled at five sites completed a 5-year follow-up study. There were 26 patients with ET and 19 with PD undergoing 29 unilateral (18 ET/11 PD) and 16 bilateral (eight ET/eight PD) procedures. Patients with ET were evaluated using the Tremor Rating Scale, and patients with PD were evaluated using the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale. The mean age of patients with ET was 70.2 years and 66.3 years in patients with PD. Unilaterally implanted patients with ET had a 75% improvement of the targeted hand tremor; those with bilateral implants had a 65% improvement in the left hand and 86% in the right compared with baseline. Parkinsonian patients with unilateral implants had an 85% improvement in the targeted hand tremor and those with bilateral implants had a 100% improvement in the left hand and 90% improvement in the right. Common DBS-related adverse events in patients receiving unilateral implants were paresthesia (45%) and pain (41%), and in patients receiving implants bilaterally dysarthria (75%) and balance difficulties (56%) occurred. Device-related surgical revisions other than IPG replacements occurred in 12 (27%) of the 45 patients.

Conclusions

Thalamic stimulation is safe and effective for the long-term management of essential and parkinsonian tremors. Bilateral stimulation can cause dysarthria and incoordination and should be used cautiously.