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Letter

Brainstem ischemia

Hernando Rafael

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Satoshi Yamaguchi, Kuniki Eguchi, Yoshihiro Kiura, Masaaki Takeda and Kaoru Kurisu

Object

The vertebral artery (VA) often takes a protrusive course posterolaterally over the posterior arch of the atlas. In this study, the authors attempted to quantify this posterolateral protrusion of the VA.

Methods

Three-dimensional CT angiography images obtained for various cranial or cervical diseases in 140 patients were reviewed and evaluated. Seven patients were excluded for various reasons. To quantify the protrusive course of the VA, the diameter of the VA and 4 parameters were measured in images of the C1–VA complex obtained in the remaining 133 patients. The authors also checked for anomalies and anatomical variations.

Results

When there was no dominant side, mean distances from the most protrusive part of the VA to the posterior arch of the atlas were 6.73 ± 2.35 mm (right) and 6.8 ± 2.15 mm (left). When the left side of the VA was dominant, the distance on the left side (8.46 ± 2.00 mm) was significantly larger than that of the right side (6.64 ± 2.0 mm). When compared by age group (≤ 30 years, 31–60 years, and ≥ 61 years), there were no significant differences in the extent of the protrusion. When there was no dominant side, the mean distances from the most protrusive part of the VA to the midline were 30.73 ± 2.51 mm (right side) and 30.79 ± 2.47 mm (left side). When the left side of the VA was dominant, the distance on the left side (32.68 ± 2.03 mm) was significantly larger than that on the right side (29.87 ± 2.53 mm). The distance from the midline to the intersection of the VA and inner cortex of the posterior arch of the atlas was ~ 12 mm, irrespective of the side of VA dominance. The distance from the midline to the intersection of the VA and outer cortex of the posterior arch was ~ 20 mm on both sides. Anatomical variations and anomalies were found as follows: bony bridge formation over the groove for the VA on the posterior arch of C-1 (9.3%), an extracranial origin of the posterior inferior cerebellar artery (8.2%), and a VA passing beneath the posterior arch of the atlas (1.8%).

Conclusions

There may be significant variation in the location and branches of the VA that may place the vessel at risk during surgical intervention. If concern is noted about the vulnerability of the VA or its branches during surgery, preoperative evaluation by CT angiography should be considered.

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Satoshi Yamaguchi, Kazutoshi Hida, Masaaki Takeda, Takafumi Mitsuhara, Mizuki Morishige, Naoto Yamada and Kaoru Kurisu

Surgical lysis of the thickened arachnoid membrane is the first choice of treatment in spinal arachnoid pathologies that cause flow disturbances or blockage of CSF. However, it is important to consider that while extensive lysis of the arachnoid may temporarily provide a wide pathway for CSF, an extensive lytic procedure may later cause secondary adhesion. Thus, it is ideal for the proper extent of the arachnoid lysis to be determined after careful analysis of regional CSF flow. The authors report their limited experience with intraoperative visualization of CSF flow in spinal arachnoid pathologies. Two patients with a dorsal arachnoid web (DAW) with cervical syringomyelia and 1 patient with focal adhesive arachnoiditis causing edema of the spinal cord were surgically treated at the authors' institution between 2007 and 2013. In all cases, the presence of a DAW or focal adhesive arachnoiditis was suspected from the findings on MRI, namely 1) an indentation on the upper thoracic spinal cord and 2) syringomyelia and/or edema of the spinal cord above the indentation. Exploratory surgery disclosed a transversely thickened arachnoid septum on the dorsal side of the indented cord. To prove blockage of the CSF by the septum and to decide on the extent of arachnoid lysis, regional CSF flow around the arachnoid septum was visualized by subarachnoid injection of gentian violet solution close to the web. Injected dye stagnated just close to the arachnoid septum in all cases, and these findings documented CSF blockage by the septum. In 2 cases, a 2-minute observation showed that the injected dye stayed close to the web without diffusion. The authors performed not only resection of the web itself but also lysis of the thickened arachnoid on both sides of the spinal cord to make a CSF pathway on the ventral side. In the third case, the dye stagnated close to the web at first but then diffused through the nerve root to the ventral CSF space. The lysis procedure was completed after exclusive removal of the dorsal web. Postoperative MR images confirmed reduction of the syrinx and/or improvement of the edema in all cases, suggesting that the extent of arachnoid lysis was optimal in each case. No adverse effect was observed after subarachnoid injection of gentian violet. The authors believe that their technique of visualizing regional CSF flow will be helpful to decide the optimal extent of lysis in some local arachnoid pathologies.

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Shushovan Chakrabortty, Shizuo Oi, Yasuhisa Yoshida, Hiroshi Yamada, Michio Yamaguchi, Norihiko Tamaki and Satoshi Matsumoto

✓ Tail-like caudal appendages may be associated with spinal dysraphism, particularly with spinal lipomas or lipomyelomeningoceles. An unusual case is presented of a patient with a myelomeningocele and a thick filum terminale with tethered spinal cord, which presented with the external appearance of a human tail. A review of the literature reveals that human tails may be associated with dysraphic conditions. Extensive neuroradiological examinations should be performed for all such cases of apparent tails.

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Kiyoharu Shimizu, Masaaki Takeda, Takafumi Mitsuhara, Shunichi Tanaka, Yushi Nagano, Hitoshi Yamahata, Kaoru Kurisu and Satoshi Yamaguchi

OBJECTIVE

Spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (SDAVFs) commonly present with symptoms of myelopathy due to venous congestion in the spinal cord; asymptomatic SDAVFs are rarely encountered. To elucidate the clinical characteristics of asymptomatic SDAVFs, the authors present 5 new cases of asymptomatic SDAVF and report the results of their systematical review of the associated literature.

METHODS

Five databases were systematically searched for all relevant English-language articles on SDAVFs published from 1990 to 2018. The clinical features and imaging findings of asymptomatic SDAVFs were collected and compared with those of symptomatic SDAVFs.

RESULTS

Twenty cases, including the 5 cases from the authors’ experience, were found. Asymptomatic SDAVFs were more prevalent in the cervical region (35.0%); cervical lesions account for only 2% of all symptomatic SDAVFs. The affected perimedullary veins tended to drain more cranially (50.0%) than caudally (10.0%). Four cases of asymptomatic SDAVF became symptomatic, 1 case spontaneously disappeared, and the remaining 15 cases were unchanged or surgically treated.

CONCLUSIONS

The higher prevalence of asymptomatic SDAVFs in the cervical spine might be a distinct feature of asymptomatic SDAVFs. Given that venous congestion is the pathophysiology of a symptomatic SDAVF, abundant collateral venous pathways and unique flow dynamics of the CSF in the cervical spine might prevent asymptomatic cervical SDAVFs from becoming symptomatic. In cases in which venous congestion is avoidable, not all asymptomatic SDAVFs will become symptomatic.

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Satoshi Yamaguchi, Masaaki Takeda, Toshiyuki Takahashi, Hitoshi Yamahata, Takafumi Mitsuhara, Tadaaki Niiro, Junya Hanakita, Kazutoshi Hida, Kazunori Arita and Kaoru Kurisu

OBJECT

Spinal meningioma and schwannoma are the most common spinal intradural extramedullary tumors, and the differentiation of these 2 tumors by CT and MRI has been a matter of debate. The purpose of this article is to present a case series of spinal meningiomas showing unique imaging features: a combination of a fan-shaped spinal cord and a streak in the tumor. The authors termed the former imaging feature “ginkgo leaf sign” and evaluated its diagnostic value.

METHODS

The authors present 7 cases of spinal meningioma having the ginkgo leaf sign. Thirty spinal extramedullary tumors arising lateral or ventrolateral to the spinal cord were studied to evaluate the diagnostic value of the ginkgo leaf sign for spinal meningiomas. Among 30 cases, 12 tumors were spinal meningiomas and 18 tumors from the control group were all schwannomas.

RESULTS

Seven of the 12 spinal meningiomas were positive for the ginkgo leaf sign. The sign was not present in the control group tumors. The overall ability to use the ginkgo leaf sign to detect meningioma indicated a sensitivity of 58%, specificity of 100%, positive predictive value of 100%, and negative predictive value of 78%.

CONCLUSIONS

The ginkgo leaf sign is highly specific to spinal meningiomas arising lateral or ventrolateral to the spinal cord. In the present series, the ginkgo leaf sign was perfectly predictive for spinal meningioma.

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Satoshi Yamaguchi, Tetsuya Nagayama, Kuniki Eguchi, Masaaki Takeda, Kazunori Arita and Kaoru Kurisu

Object

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of multidetector-row CT angiography (MDCTA) in demonstrating spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (SDAVFs).

Methods

The authors studied 10 patients with SDAVFs, including 2 with spinal epidural AVFs, who underwent preoperative MR imaging, MDCTA, and digital subtraction angiography (DSA). In the evaluation of coronal sections of multiplanar reformation MDCTA images, inspection was focused on the presence of the following findings: 1) dilated perimedullary veins in the spinal canal; 2) focal enhancement of the nerve root, suggesting the location of the AVF, around the dural sleeve; and 3) a radicular vein that drains the AVF into perimedullary veins. The utility of MDCTA was assessed by comparing its findings with those of DSA in each case.

Results

Digital subtraction angiography confirmed that the AVFs were located in the thoracic spine in 4 patients and in the lumbar spine in 6 patients, and MDCTA detected dilated perimedullary veins in all 10 patients. In 8 patients, there was focal enhancement of the nerve root. The radicular vein that drains the AVF into the perimedullary veins was found in 8 cases. In 8 cases, the MDCTA-derived level and side of the AVF and its feeder corresponded with those shown by DSA. In 2 patients, however, the MDCTA-derived side of the feeder was on the side contralateral to the feeding artery confirmed by DSA. These lesions were interpreted as spinal epidural AVFs with perimedullary drainage. In 2 cases, MDCTA could not detect the multiplicity of their feeders.

Conclusions

The use of MDCTA preceding DSA can be helpful to focus the selective catheter angiography on certain spinal levels. However, one should keep in mind that epidural AVFs with perimedullary drainage may resemble SDAVFs and also that MDCTA cannot exclude the possibility of multiple feeders. Further research should elucidate how broadly selective angiography should explore around the MDCTA-suggested target.

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Taro Nimura, Keiichiro Yamaguchi, Tadashi Ando, Satoshi Shibuya, Takanori Oikawa, Atsuhiro Nakagawa, Reizo Shirane, Masatoshi Itoh and Teiji Tominaga

Object. The “wearing-off” phenomenon often hampers the treatment of Parkinson disease (PD). Although deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) is known to ameliorate the wearing-off phenomenon, the mechanism by which it does this remains unclear. As part of an inquiry into the mechanism of STN DBS, the authors measured synaptic dopamine levels in the striatum by performing positron emission tomography (PET) with [11C]raclopride.

Methods. Three patients with PD who were experiencing the wearing-off phenomenon underwent PET scanning before and after DBS of the STN. The clinical features in these patients were evaluated by applying the Hoehn and Yahr, United Parkinson's Disease Rating, and Schwab and England Activities of Daily Living Scales. Before and after surgery, PET scans were obtained using [11C]raclopride prior to and 1 hour following an oral administration of levodopa. Regions of interest for the [11C]raclopride binding potential (RacloBP) were set in the bilateral putamen and the caudate nucleus.

All clinical scores were dramatically improved postoperatively. Deep brain stimulation of the STN reduced the baseline RacloBP in both the putamen and caudate nucleus, but the differences between the pre- and postoperative levels were insignificant. Before DBS of the STN, the levodopa administration significantly reduced RacloBP in the putamen (p < 0.0001). Postoperatively the drug-induced reduction in RacloBP became statistically insignificant. The drug-induced increase in synaptic dopamine concentrations in the putamen preoperatively was estimated to be approximately four times higher than that after surgery (p < 0.01). The drug-induced RacloBP change in the caudate nucleus was similar to that in the putamen, although the magnitude of the change was lower (p < 0.005). The drug-induced increase in the caudate nucleus was also reduced postoperatively (p < 0.05).

Conclusions. Deep brain stimulation of the STN induces the stabilization of synaptic dopamine concentrations in the striatum and may attribute to the alleviation of levodopa-related motor fluctuations.