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Ryan C. Hofler, Daniel M. Heiferman, Ayrin Molefe, Ryan LeDuc, Stephen J. Johans, Jordan D. Rosenblum, Russ P. Nockels and G. Alexander Jones

OBJECTIVE

Atlantoaxial instability is an important cause of pain and neurological dysfunction in patients with Down syndrome (DS), frequently requiring instrumented fusion of the upper cervical spine. This study provides a quantitative analysis of C2 morphology in DS patients compared with their peers without DS to identify differences that must be considered for the safe placement of instrumentation.

METHODS

A retrospective chart review identified age-matched patients with and without DS with a CT scan of the cervical spine. Three-dimensional reconstructions of these scans were made with images along the axis of, and perpendicular to, the pars, lamina, facet, and transverse foramen of C2 bilaterally. Two of the authors performed independent measurements of anatomical structures using these images, and the average of the 2 raters’ measurements was recorded. Pedicle height and width; pars axis length (the distance from the facet to the anterior vertebral body through the pars); pars rostrocaudal angle (angle of the pars axis length to the endplate of C2); pars axial angle (angle of the pars axis length to the median coronal plane); lamina height, length, and width; lamina angle (angle of the lamina length to the median coronal plane); and transverse foramen posterior distance (the distance from the posterior wall of the transverse foramen to the tangent of the posterior vertebral body) were measured bilaterally. Patients with and without DS were compared using a mixed-effects model accounting for patient height.

RESULTS

A total of 18 patients with and 20 patients without DS were included in the analysis. The groups were matched based on age and sex. The median height was 147 cm (IQR 142–160 cm) in the DS group and 165 cm (IQR 161–172 cm) in the non-DS group (p < 0.001). After accounting for variations in height, the mean pars rostrocaudal angle was greater (50.86° vs 45.54°, p = 0.004), the mean transverse foramen posterior distance was less (−1.5 mm vs +1.3 mm, p = 0.001), and the mean lamina width was less (6.2 mm vs 7.7 mm, p = 0.038) in patients with DS.

CONCLUSIONS

Patients with DS had a steeper rostrocaudal trajectory of the pars, a more posteriorly positioned transverse foramen posterior wall, and a narrower lamina compared with age- and sex-matched peers. These variations should be considered during surgical planning, as they may have implications to safe placement of instrumentation.

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Ryan M. Jones, Shona Kamps, Yuexi Huang, Nadia Scantlebury, Nir Lipsman, Michael L. Schwartz and Kullervo Hynynen

OBJECTIVE

The object of this study was to correlate lesion size with accumulated thermal dose (ATD) in transcranial MRI-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) treatments of essential tremor with focal temperatures limited to 50°C–54°C.

METHODS

Seventy-five patients with medically refractory essential tremor underwent MRgFUS thalamotomy at the authors’ institution. Intraoperative MR thermometry was performed to measure the induced temperature and thermal dose distributions (proton resonance frequency shift coefficient = −0.00909 ppm/°C). In 19 patients, it was not possible to raise the focal temperature above 54°C because of unfavorable skull characteristics and/or the pain associated with cranial heating. In this patient subset, sonications with focal temperatures between 50°C and 54°C were repeated (5.1 ± 1.5, mean ± standard deviation) to accumulate a sufficient thermal dose for lesion formation. The ATD profile sizes (17, 40, 100, 200, and 240 cumulative equivalent minutes at 43°C [CEM43]) calculated by combining axial MR thermometry data from individual sonications were correlated with the corresponding lesion sizes measured on axial T1-weighted (T1w) and T2-weighted (T2w) MR images acquired 1 day posttreatment. Manual corrections were applied to the MR thermometry data prior to thermal dose accumulation to compensate for off-resonance–induced spatial-shifting artifacts.

RESULTS

Mean lesion sizes measured on T2w MRI (5.0 ± 1.4 mm) were, on average, 28% larger than those measured on T1w MRI (3.9 ± 1.4 mm). The ATD thresholds found to provide the best correlation with lesion sizes measured on T2w and T1w MRI were 100 CEM43 (regression slope = 0.97, R2 = 0.66) and 200 CEM43 (regression slope = 0.98, R2 = 0.89), respectively, consistent with data from a previous study of MRgFUS thalamotomy via repeated sonications at higher focal temperatures (≥ 55°C). Two-way linear mixed-effects analysis revealed that dominant tremor subscores on the Fahn-Tolosa-Marin Clinical Rating Scale for Tremor (CRST) were statistically different from baseline at 3 months and 1 year posttreatment in both low-temperature (50°C–54°C) and high-temperature (≥ 55°C) patient cohorts. No significant fixed effect on the dominant tremor scores was found for the temperature cohort factor.

CONCLUSIONS

In transcranial MRgFUS thalamotomy for essential tremor, repeated sonications with focal temperatures between 50°C and 54°C can accumulate a sufficient thermal dose to generate lesions for clinically relevant tremor suppression up to 1 year posttreatment, and the ATD can be used to predict the size of the resulting ablation zones measured on MRI. These data will serve to guide future clinical MRgFUS brain procedures, particularly those in which focal temperatures are limited to below 55°C.

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Ryan C. Hofler, Muturi G. Muriuki, Robert M. Havey, Kenneth R. Blank, Joseph N. Frazzetta, Avinash G. Patwardhan and G. Alexander Jones

OBJECTIVE

The authors conducted a study to determine whether a change in T1 tilt results in a compensatory change in the cervical sagittal vertical axis (SVA) in a cadaveric spine model.

METHODS

Six fresh-frozen cadavers (occiput [C0]–T1) were cleaned of soft tissue and mounted on a customized test apparatus. A 5-kg mass was applied to simulate head weight. Infrared fiducials were used to track segmental motion. The occiput was constrained to maintain horizontal gaze, and the mounting platform was angled to change T1 tilt. The SVA was altered by translating the upper (occipital) platform in the anterior-posterior plane. Neutral SVA was defined by the lowest flexion-extension moment at T1 and recorded for each T1 tilt. Lordosis was measured at C0–C2, C2–7, and C0–C7.

RESULTS

Neutral SVA was positively correlated with T1 tilt in all specimens. After increasing T1 tilt by a mean of 8.3° ± 2.2°, neutral SVA increased by 27.3 ± 18.6 mm. When T1 tilt was reduced by 6.7° ± 1.4°, neutral SVA decreased by a mean of 26.1 ± 17.6 mm.

When T1 tilt was increased, overall (C0–C7) lordosis at the neutral SVA increased from 23.1° ± 2.6° to 32.2° ± 4.4° (p < 0.01). When the T1 tilt decreased, C0–C7 lordosis at the neutral SVA decreased to 15.6° ± 3.1° (p < 0.01). C0–C2 lordosis increased from 12.9° ± 9.3° to 29.1° ± 5.0° with increased T1 tilt and decreased to −4.3° ± 6.8° with decreased T1 tilt (p = 0.047 and p = 0.041, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS

Neutral SVA is not a fixed property but, rather, is positively correlated with T1 tilt in all specimens. Overall lordosis and C0–C2 lordosis increased when T1 tilt was increased from baseline, and vice versa.

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Benjamin Davidson, Karim Mithani, Yuexi Huang, Ryan M. Jones, Maged Goubran, Ying Meng, John Snell, Kullervo Hynynen, Clement Hamani and Nir Lipsman

OBJECTIVE

Magnetic resonance imaging–guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) is an emerging treatment modality that enables incisionless ablative neurosurgical procedures. Bilateral MRgFUS capsulotomy has recently been demonstrated to be safe and effective in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and major depressive disorder (MDD). Preliminary evidence has suggested that bilateral MRgFUS capsulotomy can present increased difficulties in reaching lesional temperatures as compared to unilateral thalamotomy. The authors of this article aimed to study the parameters associated with successful MRgFUS capsulotomy lesioning and to present longitudinal radiographic findings following MRgFUS capsulotomy.

METHODS

Using data from 22 attempted MRgFUS capsulotomy treatments, the authors investigated the relationship between various sonication parameters and the maximal temperature achieved at the intracranial target. Lesion volume and morphology were analyzed longitudinally using structural and diffusion tensor imaging. A retreatment procedure was attempted in one patient, and their postoperative imaging is presented.

RESULTS

Skull density ratio (SDR), skull thickness, and angle of incidence were significantly correlated with the maximal temperature achieved. MRgFUS capsulotomy lesions appeared similar to those following MRgFUS thalamotomy, with three concentric zones observed on MRI. Lesion volumes regressed substantially over time following MRgFUS. Fractional anisotropy analysis revealed a disruption in white matter integrity, followed by a gradual return to near-baseline levels concurrent with lesion regression. In the patient who underwent retreatment, successful bilateral lesioning was achieved, and there were no adverse clinical or radiographic events.

CONCLUSIONS

With the current iteration of MRgFUS technology, skull-related parameters such as SDR, skull thickness, and angle of incidence should be considered when selecting patients suitable for MRgFUS capsulotomy. Lesions appear to follow morphological patterns similar to what is seen following MRgFUS thalamotomy. Retreatment appears to be safe, although additional cases will be necessary to further evaluate the associated safety profile.

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Alexandre Boutet, Dave Gwun, Robert Gramer, Manish Ranjan, Gavin J. B. Elias, David Tilden, Yuexi Huang, Stanley Xiangyu Li, Benjamin Davidson, Hua Lu, Pascal Tyrrell, Ryan M. Jones, Alfonso Fasano, Kullervo Hynynen, Walter Kucharczyk, Michael L. Schwartz and Andres M. Lozano

OBJECTIVE

Transcranial MR-guided focused ultrasound (MRgFUS) is a minimally invasive treatment for movement disorders. Considerable interpatient variability in skull transmission efficiency exists with the current clinical devices, which is thought to be dependent on each patient’s specific skull morphology. Lower skull density ratio (SDR) values are thought to impede acoustic energy transmission across the skull, attenuating or preventing the therapeutic benefits of MRgFUS. Patients with SDR values below 0.4 have traditionally been deemed poor candidates for MRgFUS. Although considerable anecdotal evidence has suggested that SDR is a reliable determinant of procedural and clinical success, relationships between SDR and clinical outcomes have yet to be formally investigated. Moreover, as transcranial MRgFUS is becoming an increasingly widespread procedure, knowledge of SDR distribution in the general population may enable improved preoperative counseling and preparedness.

METHODS

A total of 98 patients who underwent MRgFUS thalamotomy at the authors’ institutions between 2012 and 2018 were analyzed (cohort 1). The authors retrospectively assessed the relationships between SDR and various clinical outcomes, including tremor improvement and adverse effects, as well as procedural factors such as sonication parameters. An SDR was also prospectively obtained in 163 random emergency department patients who required a head CT scan for various clinical indications (cohort 2). Patients’ age and sex were used to explore relationships with SDR.

RESULTS

In the MRgFUS treatment group, 17 patients with a thalamotomy lesion had an SDR below 0.4. Patients with lower SDRs required more sonication energy; however, their low SDR did not influence their clinical outcomes. In the emergency department patient group, about one-third of the patients had a low SDR (< 0.4). SDR did not correlate with age or sex.

CONCLUSIONS

Although lower SDR values correlated with higher energy requirements during MRgFUS thalamotomy, within the range of this study population, the SDR did not appreciably impact or provide the ability to predict the resulting clinical outcomes. Sampling of the general population suggests that age and sex have no relationship with SDR. Other variables, such as local variances in bone density, should also be carefully reviewed to build a comprehensive appraisal of a patient’s suitability for MRgFUS treatment.