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Anja Tschugg, Sebastian Tschugg, Sebastian Hartmann, Paul Rhomberg and Claudius Thomé

A 33-year-old man presented with moderate low-back pain and L-5 radiculopathy that progressed to severe paresis of L-5. On initial imaging, a corresponding spinal lesion was overlooked. Further CT and contrast-enhanced MRI demonstrated a presacral mass along the L-5 root far extraforaminally. A herniated disc was suspected, but with standard imaging a schwannoma could not be ruled out. The presacral L-5 root was explored via a microsurgical lateral extraforaminal transmuscular approach. To the best of the authors' knowledge, there have been no reports of sequestered extraforaminal lumbosacral disc herniations that herniated into the presacral region.

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Nikolaus Kögl, Martin Dostal, Alexander Örley, Claudius Thomé and Sebastian Hartmann

Pedicle fractures are rare and usually associated with repetitive stress, high-speed trauma, osteoporosis, unilateral spondylolysis, or instrumentation surgery. A review of the current literature on bilateral pedicle fractures of the lumbar spine revealed only a few cases listed as a complication of instrumentation or excessive decompression surgery. The authors present the clinical case of a 49-year-old man with exacerbating low-back pain and intermittent L5 radicular pain. The known comorbidities were rather remarkable for systemic lupus erythematosus and osteopenia. Radiological investigations revealed an acute bilateral pedicle fracture of L5 without any evidence of preexisting spondylolysis. An off-label minimally invasive fracture reduction and fixation was performed using traction screws and intraoperative navigation. The patient reported instant pain relief and did not show any sensorimotor deficits at discharge. The postoperative CT scan revealed an ossification of the former fracture after 3 months, with great 1-year follow-up outcome. This is the first documented report on the effectiveness of traction screws used in a patient with bilateral pedicle fractures of the L5 vertebra. This minimally invasive technique represents a promising treatment option in selected cases by sparing segmental fusion.

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Sebastian Herminghaus, Thomas Dierks, Ulrich Pilatus, Walter Möller-Hartmann, Jörg Wittsack, Gerhard Marquardt, Christoph Labisch, Heinrich Lanfermann, Wolfgang Schlote and Friedhelm E. Zanella

Object. In this study, 1H magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy was prospectively tested as a reliable method for presurgical grading of neuroepithelial brain tumors.

Methods. Using a database of tumor spectra obtained in patients with histologically confirmed diagnoses, 94 consecutive untreated patients were studied using single-voxel 1H spectroscopy (point-resolved spectroscopy; TE 135 msec, TR 1500 msec). A total of 90 tumor spectra obtained in patients with diagnostic 1H MR spectroscopy examinations were analyzed using commercially available software (MRUI/VARPRO) and classified using linear discriminant analysis as World Health Organization (WHO) Grade I/II, WHO Grade III, or WHO Grade IV lesions. In all cases, the classification results were matched with histopathological diagnoses that were made according to the WHO classification criteria after serial stereotactic biopsy procedures or open surgery. Histopathological studies revealed 30 Grade I/II tumors, 29 Grade III tumors, and 31 Grade IV tumors. The reliability of the histological diagnoses was validated considering a minimum postsurgical follow-up period of 12 months (range 12–37 months). Classifications based on spectroscopic data yielded 31 tumors in Grade I/II, 32 in Grade III, and 27 in Grade IV. Incorrect classifications included two Grade II tumors, one of which was identified as Grade III and one as Grade IV; two Grade III tumors identified as Grade II; two Grade III lesions identified as Grade IV; and six Grade IV tumors identified as Grade III. Furthermore, one glioblastoma (WHO Grade IV) was classified as WHO Grade I/II. This represents an overall success rate of 86%, and a 95% success rate in differentiating low-grade from high-grade tumors.

Conclusions. The authors conclude that in vivo 1H MR spectroscopy is a reliable technique for grading neuroepithelial brain tumors.