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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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Mark Dannenbaum, Bradley C. Lega, Dima Suki, Richard L. Harper and Daniel Yoshor


Microvascular decompression (MVD) of the facial nerve is an effective treatment for hemifacial spasm (HFS), but the procedure is associated with a significant risk of complications such as hearing loss and facial weakness. Many surgeons advocate the use of intraoperative brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) monitoring in an attempt to improve surgical outcomes. The authors critically assessed a large series of patients with HFS who underwent MVD without neurophysiological monitoring.


The authors retrospectively identified 114 consecutive patients, with a history of HFS and without a history of HFS surgery, in whom MVD was performed by a single surgeon without the use of neurophysiological monitoring. Postoperative outcomes were determined by reviewing records and through telephone interviews. At least 1 year of postoperative follow-up data were available for 91 of the 114 patients, and the median follow-up duration in all cases was 8 years (range 3 months–23 years). A Kaplan–Meier analysis showed that 86% of the patients were spasm free at 10 years postoperatively.


There were no surgical deaths or major deficits, and complications included 1 case of postoperative deafness, 1 of permanent subtotal hearing loss, and 10 of delayed facial palsy, 2 of which did not completely resolve at last follow-up. The outcomes, rates of hearing loss, and other complications compared well with those reported in studies in which investigators used intraoperative monitoring.


The results suggest that MVD without neurophysiological monitoring is a safe and effective treatment option in patients with HFS. Although BAER monitoring may be a valuable adjunct to surgery at centers experienced with the modality, the absence of intraoperative monitoring should not prevent neurosurgeons from performing MVD in patients with HFS.

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Spinal intramedullary ependymal cyst

Report of three cases

Daniel P. Robertson, Joel B. Kirkpatrick, Richard L. Harper and Michel E. Mawad

✓ Three cases of spinal intramedullary ependymal cyst, two at the thoracolumbar junction and one in the cervical spinal cord, are reported in women in their fifth to seventh decades. Neurological signs and symptoms were extremity dysesthesias, paresthesias, and weakness. Plain cervical and lumbothoracic x-ray films were normal for the patients' age. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging demonstrated a rounded cystic intramedullary mass at the thoracolumbar junction in two cases and at C3–7 in one case. The signal intensity of the cyst contents approximated that of cerebrospinal fluid on T1- and T2-weighted images. Upon administration of gadolinium-diethylenetriaminepenta-acetic acid (Gd-DTPA), MR imaging showed no enhancement in the cyst wall or cavity. Myelotomy and cyst drainage were performed in each case, and the neurological status of each patient improved. The lining of the cyst was biopsied in one of the three patients undergoing surgery and was composed of a single layer of cuboidal cells supported by glial tissue. Periodic acid-Schiff staining of the tissue did not reveal a basement membrane. The findings in these cases suggest that the Gd-DTPA-enhanced MR imaging appearance of intramedullary spinal ependymal cyst is consistent and allows for accurate preoperative diagnosis with or without biopsy.

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Christopher R. Tomaras, J. Bob Blacklock, Warren D. Parker and Richard L. Harper

✓ A series of 200 patients who underwent outpatient surgical treatment for cervical radiculopathy is presented. The patients were selected on the basis of their willingness to undergo surgery in the outpatient setting and the absence of serious underlying medical conditions. All operations were performed using general anesthetic techniques with limited posterior dissections. A laminoforaminotomy was performed at each affected level, which had been determined by preoperative imaging and clinical examination. After being observed for several hours, the patients were discharged if they met specific criteria. No patient required subsequent hospital admission in the immediate postoperative period. Follow-up review in 183 patients ranged from 3 to 43 months, with a mean of 19 months. In cases in which Workers' Compensation claims were not involved, 92.8% of patients reported an excellent or good outcome and returned to work or comparable duties at a mean of 2.9 weeks. In cases in which Workers' Compensation claims were involved, 77.8% of patients reported excellent or good outcome and returned to work at a mean of 7.6 weeks postoperatively. Two patients whose cases involved Workers' Compensation claims did not return to work. There were seven patients (3.8%) who had a poor outcome. Two of these patients underwent a second posterior procedure and reported a good outcome at the time of follow-up review. The results of this study show that outpatient surgical treatment of cervical radiculopathy can be safely provided in selected patients with outcomes similar to the inpatient surgical management of these individuals.