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Andrés A. Maldonado and Robert J. Spinner

Spinal accessory nerve (SAN) injury results in loss of motor function of the trapezius muscle and leads to severe shoulder problems. Primary end-to-end or graft repair is usually the standard treatment. The authors present 2 patients who presented late (8 and 10 months) after their SAN injuries, in whom a lateral pectoral nerve transfer to the SAN was performed successfully using a supraclavicular approach.

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Carlos E. Restrepo and Robert J. Spinner

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Robert J. Spinner, Robert L. Tiel, and David G. Kline

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Robert J. Spinner, John L. D. Atkinson, and Robert L. Tiel

Object. Based on a large multicenter experience and a review of the literature, the authors propose a unifying theory to explain an articular origin of peroneal intraneural ganglia. They believe that this unifying theory explains certain intriguing, but poorly understood findings in the literature, including the proximity of the cyst to the joint, the unusual preferential deep peroneal nerve (DPN) deficit, the absence of a pure superficial peroneal nerve (SPN) involvement, the finding of a pedicle in 40% of cases, and the high (10–20%) recurrence rate.

Methods. The authors believe that peroneal intraneural lesions are derived from the superior tibiofibular joint and communicate from it via a one-way valve. Given access to the articular branch, the cyst typically dissects proximally by the path of least resistance within the epineurium and up the DPN and the DPN component of the common peroneal nerve (CPN) before compressing nearby SPN fascicles. The authors present objective evidence based on anatomical, clinical, imaging, operative, and histological data that support this unifying theory.

Conclusions. The predictable clinical presentation, electrical studies, imaging characteristics, operative observations, and histological findings regarding peroneal intraneural ganglia can be understood in terms of their origin from the superior tibiofibular joint, the anatomy of the articular branch, and the internal topography of the peroneal nerve that the cyst invades. Understanding the controversial pathogenesis of these cysts will enable surgeons to perform operations based on the pathoanatomy of the articular branch of the CPN and the superior tibiofibular joint, which will ultimately improve clinical results.

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Jonathan J. Stone, Megan C. Kaszuba, and Robert J. Spinner

Patients who present with a history of cancer and the new onset of lumbosacral or peripheral neuropathy should be evaluated for the potential of metastasis. Targeted fascicular biopsy can be useful to diagnose atypical lesions within peripheral nerves in patients with major or progressive neurological deficits. In this video, the authors demonstrate the technique of targeted fascicular biopsy of the sciatic nerve in a 63-year-old man with a history of prostate cancer.

The video can be found here:

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Andrés A. Maldonado, Benjamin M. Howe, and Robert J. Spinner

Paralysis of the posterior interosseous nerve (PIN) secondary to compression is a rare clinical condition. Entrapment neuropathy may occur at fibrous bands at the proximal, middle, or distal edge of the supinator. Tumors are a relatively rare but well-known potential cause. The authors present 2 cases of PIN lesions in which compression by a benign lipoma at the level of the elbow resulted in near transection (discontinuity) of the nerve. They hypothesize a mechanism—a “sandwich effect”—by which compression was produced from below by the mass and from above by a fibrous band in the supinator muscle (i.e., the leading edge of the proximal supinator muscle [arcade of Fröhse] in one patient and the distal edge of the supinator muscle in the other). A Grade V Sunderland nerve lesion resulted from the advanced, chronic compression. The authors are unaware of a similar case with such an advanced pathoanatomical finding.

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Robert J. Spinner, Holly S. Gilmer, and Gregory R. Trost

If a single picture is worth a thousand words, then a video, by logical extension, would be priceless. This edition showcases peripheral nerve surgery in all its grandeur and preserves it for posterity. Classic and novel surgical techniques are shown related to tumor biopsy or resection; nerve decompression for entrapment; and nerve reconstruction with direct repair or nerve transfer. Akin to a nautical chart filled with detailed maps for sailors, this Neurosurgical Focus Video Atlas provides navigational tools for neurosurgeons. The shared underlying message is that a sound knowledge of anatomy can lead to innovation (i.e., creative approaches or solutions) and excellence (i.e., improved patient outcomes).

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Robert J. Spinner, Najeeb M. Thomas, and David G. Kline

✓ Diagnosis of piriformis syndrome is difficult and its precise definition is highly controversial. In this article, the authors present the case of a patient who had clinical features suggestive of piriformis syndrome. During surgery the patient was found to have a rare variation in anatomical structures, in which the peroneal nerve was displaced by the piriformis muscle. Surgical decompression did not alleviate the patient's symptoms.

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Kimon Bekelis, Symeon Missios, and Robert J. Spinner


Despite the growing epidemic of falls, the true incidence of peripheral nerve injuries (PNIs) in this patient population remains largely unknown.


The authors performed a retrospective cohort study of 839,210 fall-injured patients who were registered in the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB) between 2009 and 2011 and fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Regression techniques were used to investigate the association of demographic and socioeconomic factors with the rate of PNIs in this patient population. The association of age with the incidence of PNIs was also investigated.


Overall, 3151 fall-injured patients (mean age 39.1 years, 33.3% females) sustained a PNI (0.4% of all falls). The respective incidence of PNIs was 2.7 per 1000 patients for ground-level falls, 4.9 per 1000 patients for multilevel falls, and 4.5 per 1000 patients for falls involving force. This demonstrated a rapid increase in the first 2 decades of life, with a maximum rate of 1.1% of all falls in the 3rd decade, followed by a slower decline and eventual plateau in the 7th decade. In a multivariable analysis, the association of PNIs with age followed a similar pattern with patients 20–29 years of age, demonstrating the highest association (OR 2.34 [95% CI 2.0–2.74] in comparison with the first decade of life). Falls involving force (OR 1.25 [95% CI 1.14–1.37] in comparison with multilevel falls) were associated with a higher incidence of PNIs. On the contrary, female sex (OR 0.87 [95% CI 0.80–0.84]) and ground-level falls (OR 0.79 [95% CI 0.72–0.86]) were associated with a lower rate of PNIs.


Utilizing a comprehensive national database, the authors demonstrated that PNIs are more common than previously described in fall-injured patients and identified their age distribution. These injuries are associated with young adults and falls of high kinetic energy.

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Mark A. Mahan, Kimberly K. Amrami, and Robert J. Spinner