Dermal sinus tracts in the spine range from asymptomatic pits to tracts with significant disease. These tracts may be associated with lesions that tether the spinal cord and can either become infected or produce neurological deficits. Over time the treatment of these lesions has varied little: complete resection and intradural exploration are the standard surgical interventions. The authors review their experience with 23 dermal sinus tracts treated in the last 19 years by the senior author. The clinical findings, radiographic appearance, treatment, and pathological findings of these lesions will be discussed. The authors will also provide a summary of the literature covering these lesions.
Scott Elton and W. Jerry Oakes
Jeffrey P. Blount and Scott Elton
Lipomas of the spinal cord are among the most fascinating lesions encountered by the pediatric neurosurgeon. An understanding of spinal lipomas may, however, be difficult because the terminology used to describe the accumulations of spinal fat is confusing, inconsistently applied, and at times contradictory. An anatomical characterization of lipomas may assist in understanding these lesions. Lipomas of the spinal cord are very rare and cause symptoms related to mass effect and secondary compressive myelopathy. Lipomas of the conus medullaris (or lipomyelomeningocele) are the most common form of fatty masses in the spine and can be divided into dorsal, caudal, and transitional forms. These lesions are a manifestation of occult spinal dysraphism and a common cause of the tethered cord syndrome (TCS). The natural history of untreated lipomyelomeningocele, although incompletely understood, appears to be progressive neurological deterioration with loss of bladder control. Timely, careful surgical intervention may prevent significant neurological deterioration and progressive disability in the majority of children harboring these lesions. In surgical intervention the surgeon seeks to disrupt the connection between the fibrofatty mass and underlying cord as well as to reestablish normal anatomical planes. Several intraoperative video segments illustrating lipomyelome-ningocele resection are included in this paper. Lipomas of the terminal filum (fatty filum) are truly occult and are also associated with TCS. Surgical treatment of filum lipomas carries significantly lower risk than that for lipomas of the conus medullaris. Again, the goal of surgery is to disrupt the connection between the abnormal fibrofatty tissue and the underlying spinal cord.
R. Shane Tubbs, George Salter, Scott Elton, Paul A. Grabb and W. Jerry Oakes
Object. Historically, the sagittal suture has been used as an external landmark to indicate the middle portion of the superior sagittal sinus (SSS). The goal of this study was to verify this relationship.
Methods. The authors examined 30 adult cadavers to reveal the location of the SSS with respect to the sagittal suture. Their findings demonstrated that the SSS is deviated to the right of the sagittal suture in the majority of observed specimens, although the maximum displacement to the right side was never more than 11 mm.
Conclusions. This information should be useful to the neurosurgeon who must be aware of the SSS and its relationship with superficial skull landmarks.
R. Shane Tubbs, W. Jerry Oakes, Jeffrey P. Blount, Scott Elton, George Salter and Paul A. Grabb
Object. The proximal segment of the axillary nerve (ANp) is often difficult to identify without extensive dissection deep into the axilla. The present study was performed to find reliable surgical landmarks for this nerve.
Methods. Thirty dissections of human cadavers were performed to determine the relationships between the ANp and specific anatomical structures.
The authors found that the ANp is consistently located within an anatomical triangle constructed by lines passing between the coracobrachialis and pectoralis minor muscles and the axillary artery. In addition, the ANp was routinely found 4 cm distal to the coracoid process of the scapula.
Conclusions. These findings should assist the surgeon in locating the ANp during brachial plexus reconstruction.
R. Shane Tubbs, Scott Elton, George Salter, Jeffrey P. Blount, Paul A. Grabb and W. Jerry Oakes
Object. There is a lack of reports in the literature that contain descriptions of superficial anatomical landmarks for the identification of the internally located frontal sinus. Neurosurgeons must often enter the cranium through the frontal bone and knowledge of the frontal sinus is essential to minimize complications.
Methods. Seventy adult cadaveric frontal sinuses were evaluated. Measurements included both the lateral and superior extent of the frontal sinus in reference to a midpupillary line, and the superior extent of the frontal sinus from the nasion. Frontal sinuses were found bilaterally in all specimens. The mean height of the frontal sinus superior to the nasion was 2.8 cm. In 71.4% and 74.3% of specimens the lateral extent of the frontal sinus was found to be medial to the left and right midpupillary line, respectively. Distances superior to a plane drawn through the supraorbital ridges at a midpupillary line included a mean of 2.5 mm for the left side and 1.8 mm for the right side.
Conclusions. Of 70 sinuses, none extended more than 5 mm lateral to a midpupillary line. At this same midpupillary line and at a plane drawn through the supraorbital ridges, the frontal sinus was never higher than 12 mm. Finally, in the midline the frontal sinus never reached more than 4 cm above the nasion. These measurements will assist surgeons who must manipulate the frontal bone.
Brandon Miller, Mirza Baig, John Hayes and Scott Elton
The authors performed an analysis of retrospectively obtained data to compare the outcomes of pediatric patients admitted to their institution for traumatic injuries resulting from car, motorcycle, and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) accidents.
The authors conducted a retrospective review of Columbus Children’s Hospital’s Trauma Registry data collected between January 1993 and December 2003. Data obtained in patients admitted with motor vehicle–related injuries were compiled for a total of 1608 patient records. Data regarding sex, age, hospital length of stay (LOS), Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score, revised trauma score, injury severity score (ISS), and use of a protective device were analyzed.
Of 1608 patients, 1257 (78%) were injured in automobile accidents, 123 (7.6%) in motorcycle accidents, and 228 (14.2%) in ATV accidents. Injuries sustained in all vehicle types peaked during the summer months. Patients involved in automobile crashes presented with significantly lower GCS scores than those injured in motorcycle and ATV accidents; however, there was no statistically significant difference in LOS among all three injury modalities. Protective devices were underutilized in all three motor vehicle categories but, when used, were associated with significantly higher GCS scores, ISSs, and shorter LOSs among patients admitted after automobile accidents. The correlation of seat belt use with better outcomes underscores the necessity to improve motor vehicle safety education for children, who are less likely to be restrained as they age.
Chris S. Karas, Mirza N. Baig and Scott W. Elton
The authors review all cases in which ventriculosubgaleal (VSG) shunts were placed at Columbus Children's Hospital for the treatment of posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus in order to assess the surgical procedure, effectiveness of surgery, and complications of cerebrospinal fluid diversion to the subgaleal space. The purpose of the review is to make a comparison between cases in which shunts were placed in the operating room (OR) and those in which they were placed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Considerations and complications specific to patient transport to the OR or surgical implantation in the NICU are discussed.
Seventeen infants with posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus were treated with VSG shunt placement over a period of 4 years. A retrospective analysis of these cases was performed to evaluate multiple aspects of the procedure. Specifically, the surgical procedure, duration of shunt function prior to shunt conversion, neuroimaging changes, operative complications, and risk of infection are discussed. The authors also performed a comparative analysis of shunt placement in the NICU and the OR.
The length of the procedure was similar in the two locations. No differences in perioperative or intraoperative risks and no increased risk of infection were seen in either location in this pilot study. Interestingly, the mean lifespan of primary implants placed in the NICU (73 days) was longer than that of those placed in the OR (43 days).
Ventriculosubgaleal shunt placement offers a safe and effective temporary means of treating post-hemorrhagic hydrocephalus and can be reliably and safely performed at the bedside.
Mirza N. Baig, Ali Raza, Moumen Asbahi and Scott Elton
In this study, retrospective data analysis was performed to analyze the utility of head computed tomography (CT) scanning in the diagnosis of Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) in the pediatric population.
The authors conducted a retrospective review of radiology charts describing head CT results obtained at Columbus Children's Hospital between January 2004 and January 2005. The records were searched for the key words “Chiari,” “cerebellar ectopy,” or “tonsillar ectopy.” The exclusion criteria included patients with previously known Chiari malformation Type I or Type II or those who had undergone follow-up magnetic resonance (MR) imaging at other institutions. Head CT and MR images for the remaining patients were reviewed to verify accuracy.
Of the 72 patients with suspicious findings of tonsillar ectopy on CT, only 37 (51.4%) had MR imaging findings consistent with CM-I. The tonsillar ectopy in these patients ranged from 3 mm to 17 mm below the foramen magnum.
The authors' findings indicate that incidental standard CT scans of the head have limited value in identifying CM-I.
Michael J. Cools, Carolyn S. Quinsey and Scott W. Elton
The choice of graft material for duraplasty in decompressions of Chiari malformations remains a matter of debate. The authors present a detailed technique for harvesting ligamenta nuchae, as well as the clinical and radiographic outcomes of this technique, in a case series.
The authors conducted a retrospective study evaluating the outcomes of Chiari malformation type I decompression and duraplasty in children aged 0–18 years at a single institution from 2013 to 2016. They collected both intraoperative and postoperative variables and compared them qualitatively to published data.
During the study period, the authors performed 25 Chiari malformation decompressions with ligamentum nuchae graft duraplasties. Of the 25 patients, 10 were females, and the mean age at surgery was 8.6 years (range 13 months to 18 years). The median operative time was 163 minutes (IQR 152–187 minutes), with approximately 10 minutes needed by a resident surgeon to harvest the graft. The mean length of stay was 3 nights (range 2–6 nights), and the mean follow-up was 12.6 months (range 0.5–43.5 months). One patient (4%) developed a CSF leak that was repaired using an oversewing patch. There were no postoperative pseudomeningoceles or infections. Of the 19 patients presenting with a syrinx, imaging showed improvement in 10 (53%) and 8 (42%) had stable syrinx size on imaging. Of 16 patients presenting with a symptomatic Chiari malformation, 14 (87.5%) experienced resolution of symptoms and in 1 (4%) symptoms remained the same. One patient (4%) presented with worsening syrinx and symptoms 1.5 months after initial surgery and underwent repeat decompression.
The authors describe a series of clinical and imaging outcomes of patients who underwent Chiari malformation decompression and duraplasty with a harvested ligamentum nuchae. The rates of postoperative CSF leak are similar to established techniques of autologous and artificial grafts, with similarly successful outcomes. Further study will be needed with larger patient cohorts to more directly compare duraplasty graft outcomes.