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Scott Elton and W. Jerry Oakes

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Randaline R. Barnett, Allie L. Harbert, Hengameh B. Pajer, Angela Wabulya, Valerie L. Jewells, Scott W. Elton, and Carolyn S. Quinsey


In this study, the authors sought to investigate variables associated with postoperative seizures following endoscopic third ventriculostomy and choroid plexus cauterization (ETV/CPC) for treatment of pediatric hydrocephalus.


A retrospective analysis of 37 patients who underwent ETV/CPC for treatment of hydrocephalus at an academic medical center from September 2016 to March 2021 was conducted. Demographics, etiology of hydrocephalus, operative details, electroencephalography (EEG) data, MRI findings, need for subsequent procedures, perioperative laboratory tests, medical history, and presence of clinical postoperative seizures were collected. Postoperative seizures were defined as clinical seizures within 24 hours of surgery. Eighteen patients received levetiracetam intraoperatively as well as over the next 7 days postoperatively for seizure prophylaxis.


Of 37 included patients, 9 (24%) developed clinical seizures within 24 hours after surgery, 5 of whom subsequently had electroclinical seizures captured on video-EEG. The clinical seizures in 4 of those 5 patients (80%) may have been associated with the hemisphere of the brain through which the endoscope was introduced. The median corrected age of the cohort was 3.4 months. The median corrected age of patients who did not develop postoperative seizures was 2.3 months compared with 0.7 months for patients who did develop postoperative seizures (p > 0.99). Postoperative seizures occurred in 43% (3/7) of prenatally repaired myelomeningocele patients versus 29% (2/7) of postnatally repaired myelomeningocele patients. Of the 18 patients who received prophylactic levetiracetam, none (0%) developed postoperative seizures compared with 9 of the 19 patients (47%) who did not receive prophylactic levetiracetam (p = 0.014).


Postoperative seizures were recorded in 24% of the pediatric patients who underwent ETV/CPC for hydrocephalus, which is higher than previously reported rates in the literature of 5%. Since 80% of the postoperative electrographic seizures may have been associated with the hemisphere through which the endoscope was introduced, the surgical entry site may contribute to postoperative seizure development. In patients who received prophylactic perioperative levetiracetam, the postoperative seizure incidence dropped to 0% compared with 47% in those who did not receive prophylactic perioperative levetiracetam. This finding indicates that the use of prophylactic perioperative levetiracetam may be efficacious in the prevention of clinical seizures in this patient population.

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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.

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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.