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Gerald F. Tuite, Carolyn M. Carey, William W. Nelson, Scott J. Raffa, and S. Parrish Winesett

Profuse bleeding originating from an injured cerebral sinus can be a harrowing experience for any surgeon, particularly during an operation on a young child. Common surgical remedies include sinus ligation, primary repair, placement of a hemostatic plug, and patch or venous grafting that may require temporary stenting. In this paper the authors describe the use of a contoured bioresorbable plate to hold a hemostatic plug in place along a tear in the inferomedial portion of a relatively inaccessible part of the posterior segment of the superior sagittal sinus in an 11-kg infant undergoing hemispherotomy for epilepsy. This variation on previously described hemostatic techniques proved to be easy, effective, and ultimately lifesaving. Surgeons may find this technique useful in similar dire circumstances when previously described techniques are ineffective or impractical.

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Gerald F. Tuite, Bruce B. Storrs, Yves L. Homsy, Sarah J. Gaskill, Ethan G. Polsky, Margaret A. Reilly, Ignacio Gonzalez-Gomez, S. Parrish Winesett, Luis F. Rodriguez, Carolyn M. Carey, Sharon A. Perlman, and Lisa Tetreault

An intradural somatic-to-autonomic anastomosis, or Xiao procedure, has been described to create a “skin-CNS-bladder” reflex that improves bladder and bowel function in patients with neurogenic bladder and bowel dysfunction. The authors present their experience with a 10-year-old boy with chronic neurogenic bladder and bowel dysfunction related to spinal cord injury who underwent the Xiao procedure. After undergoing a left L-5 ventral root to left S2–3 intradural anastomosis, the patient reported that his bladder and bowel dysfunction improved between 6 and 12 months. Two years after the procedure, however, he reported that there was no change in his bladder or bowel dysfunction as compared with his condition prior to the procedure. Frequent, systematic multidisciplinary evaluations produced conflicting data.

Electrophysiological and histological evaluation of the previously performed anastomosis during surgical reexploration 3 years after the Xiao procedure revealed that the anastomosis was in anatomical continuity but neuroma formation had prevented reinnervation. Nerve action potentials were not demonstrable across the anastomosis, and stimulation of the nerve above and below the anastomosis created no bladder or perineal contractions.

This is the first clinical report on the outcome of the Xiao procedure in a child with spinal cord injury outside of China. It is impossible to draw broad conclusions about the efficacy of the procedure based on a single patient with no demonstrable benefit. However, future studies should carefully interpret transient improvements in bladder function, urodynamic findings, and the patient's ability to void in response to scratching after the Xiao procedure. The authors' experience with the featured patient, in whom reinnervation could not be demonstrated, suggests that such changes could be related to factors other than the establishment of a skin-CNS-bladder reflex as a result of a somatic-to-autonomic anastomosis.

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Gerald F. Tuite, Ethan G. Polsky, Yves Homsy, Margaret A. Reilly, Carolyn M. Carey, S. Parrish Winesett, Luis F. Rodriguez, Bruce B. Storrs, Sarah J. Gaskill, Lisa L. Tetreault, Denise G. Martinez, and Ernest K. Amankwah

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Gerald F. Tuite, Ethan G. Polsky, Yves Homsy, Margaret A. Reilly, Carolyn M. Carey, S. Parrish Winesett, Luis F. Rodriguez, Bruce B. Storrs, Sarah J. Gaskill, Lisa L. Tetreault, Denise G. Martinez, and Ernest K. Amankwah


Xiao et al. and other investigators have studied an intradural somatic-to-autonomic (e.g., L-5 to S3–4) nerve transfer as a method to create a reflex arc to allow bladder emptying in response to cutaneous stimulation (the Xiao procedure). In previous clinical studies of patients with spinal dysraphism who underwent the Xiao procedure, high success rates (70%–85%) were reported for the establishment of a “skin-CNS-bladder” reflex arc that allows spontaneous, controlled voiding in children with neurogenic bladder dysfunction. However, many of these studies did not use blinded observers, did not have control groups, and/or featured only limited follow-up durations.


A randomized, prospective, double-blind trial was initiated in March 2009, enrolling children with myelomeningocele (MM), lipomyelomeningocele (LMM), and neurogenic bladder dysfunction who were scheduled for spinal cord detethering (DT) for the usual indications. At the time of DT, patients were randomized between 2 arms of the study: half of the patients underwent a standard spinal cord DT procedure alone (DT group) and half underwent DT as well as the Xiao procedure (DT+X group). Patients, families, and study investigators, all of whom were blinded to the surgical details, analyzed the patients' strength, sensory function, mobility, voiding, and urodynamic bladder function before surgery and at regular intervals during the 3-year follow-up.


Twenty patients were enrolled in the study: 10 underwent only DT and the other 10 underwent DT+X. The addition of the Xiao procedure to spinal cord DT resulted in longer operative times (p = 0.024) and a greater chance of wound infection (p = 0.03). Patients in both treatment arms could intermittently void or dribble small amounts of urine (< 20% total bladder capacity) in response to scratching in dermatomes T-9 through S-2 using a standardized protocol, but the voiding was not reproducible and the volume voided was not clinically useful in any patient. Voiding in response to scratching was not more frequent in patients who underwent DT+X compared with those who underwent only DT. Bladder contractions in response to scratching occurred in both treatment arms at various intervals after surgery, but they were not more reproducible or more frequent in the patients who underwent the Xiao procedure than in the patients who did not. No patient in either treatment arm was continent of urine before, during, or after the study.


Patients with MM and LMM who underwent the Xiao procedure during spinal cord DT were no more likely to be able to void, to control their urination, to achieve continence, or to have a demonstrable urodynamic bladder contraction in response to cutaneous stimulation than patients who underwent only spinal cord DT. This study, in the context of disappointing results reported in other recent studies of the Xiao procedure, raises doubts about the clinical applicability of this procedure in humans until further basic science research is performed.