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Sharad Rajpal, Krisada Chanbusarakum and Praveen R. Deshmukh

✓Myelopathy caused by a spinal cord infection is typically related to an adjacent compressive lesion such as an epidural abscess. The authors report a case of progressive high cervical myelopathy from spinal cord tethering caused by arachnoiditis related to an adjacent C-2 osteomyelitis.

This 70-year-old woman initially presented with a methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus osteomyelitis involving the C-2 odontoid process. She was treated with appropriate antibiotic therapy but, over the course of 4 weeks, she developed progressive quadriparesis. A magnetic resonance image revealed near-complete resolution of the C-2 osteomyelitis, but new ventral tethering of the cord was observed at the level of the odontoid tip. She subsequently underwent open surgical decompression and cord detethering. Postoperatively she experienced improvement in her symptoms and deficits, which continued to improve 1 year after her surgery.

To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first reported case of progressive upper cervical myelopathy due to arachnoiditis and cord tethering from an adjacent methicillin-sensitive S. aureus C-2 osteomyelitis.

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Sharad Rajpal, David B. Niemann and Aquilla S. Turk

✓Venous outlet obstruction has recently been reported to be a potentially treatable cause of benign intracranial hypertension (BIH). In the English-language literature only 18 cases, all from the UK and Australia, involving the use of transverse sinus stenosis stent treatment for BIH have been reported; the youngest patient to receive treatment was a 17-year-old girl. The authors report the case of a 15-year-old boy who presented with headache, papilledema, decreased visual acuity, and diploplia who underwent successful unilateral transverse sinus stenosis stenting and experienced complete resolution of symptoms.

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Sharad Rajpal, David B. Niemann, Beverly Aagaard-Kienitz and Aquilla S. Turk

✓ A case of cranial-based metastatic non-Hodgkin lymphoma with cerebral vascular compromise is presented. The patient underwent intracranial endovascular stent placement resulting in an improvement in his symptoms. This is the first reported case of endovascular stent placement for an intracranial neoplasm in the literature to date.

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Sharad Rajpal, M. Shahriar Salamat, R. Shane Tubbs, David R. Kelly, W. Jerry Oakes and Bermans J. Iskandar

Object

The goal of the present study goal was to systematically confirm the previously recognized nomenclature for tethering tracts that are part of the spectrum of occult spinal dysraphic lesions.

Methods

The tethering tract in 20 patients with spina bifida occulta underwent histological examination with H & E staining and epithelial membrane antigen (EMA) immunolabeling, and additional selected specimens were stained with Masson trichrome.

Results

All tethering tracts contained fibrous connective tissue. Four tracts were lined with epithelial cells and either originated within a dermoid cyst, terminated at a skin dimple/sinus opening, or had both of these characteristics. No tethering tracts exhibited EMA positivity or meningeal elements. Although all tethering tracts originated in juxtaposition to the spinal cord, their termination sites were variable.

Conclusions

Based on histological findings and presumed embryological origin, the authors broadly classified tethering tracts terminating within the dura mater, epidural space, or lamina as “short tethering tracts” (STTs). The STTs occurred mostly in conjunction with split cord malformations and had a purely fibrous composition. Tethering tracts terminating superficial to the overlying lamina were classified as “long tethering tracts” (LTTs), and the authors propose that these are embryologically distinct from STTs. The LTTs were of two varieties: epithelial and nonepithelial, the former being typically associated with a skin dimple or spinal cord (epi)dermoid cyst. In fact, analysis of the data suggested that not every tethering tract terminating in or on the skin should be classified as a dermal sinus tract without histological confirmation, and because no evidence of meningeal tissue–lined tracts was detected, the use of the term “meningocele manqué” may not be appropriate.

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Alexander Mason, Renee Paulsen, Jason M. Babuska, Sharad Rajpal, Sigita Burneikiene, E. Lee Nelson and Alan T. Villavicencio

Object

Several retrospective studies have demonstrated higher accuracy rates and increased safety for navigated pedicle screw placement than for free-hand techniques; however, the accuracy differences between navigation systems has not been extensively studied. In some instances, 3D fluoroscopic navigation methods have been reported to not be more accurate than 2D navigation methods for pedicle screw placement. The authors of this study endeavored to identify if 3D fluoroscopic navigation methods resulted in a higher placement accuracy of pedicle screws.

Methods

A systematic analysis was conducted to examine pedicle screw insertion accuracy based on the use of 2D, 3D, and conventional fluoroscopic image guidance systems. A PubMed and MEDLINE database search was conducted to review the published literature that focused on the accuracy of pedicle screw placement using intraoperative, real-time fluoroscopic image guidance in spine fusion surgeries. The pedicle screw accuracy rates were segregated according to spinal level because each spinal region has individual anatomical and morphological variations. Descriptive statistics were used to compare the pedicle screw insertion accuracy rate differences among the navigation methods.

Results

A total of 30 studies were included in the analysis. The data were abstracted and analyzed for the following groups: 12 data sets that used conventional fluoroscopy, 8 data sets that used 2D fluoroscopic navigation, and 20 data sets that used 3D fluoroscopic navigation. These studies included 1973 patients in whom 9310 pedicle screws were inserted. With conventional fluoroscopy, 2532 of 3719 screws were inserted accurately (68.1% accuracy); with 2D fluoroscopic navigation, 1031 of 1223 screws were inserted accurately (84.3% accuracy); and with 3D fluoroscopic navigation, 4170 of 4368 screws were inserted accurately (95.5% accuracy). The accuracy rates when 3D was compared with 2D fluoroscopic navigation were also consistently higher throughout all individual spinal levels.

Conclusions

Three-dimensional fluoroscopic image guidance systems demonstrated a significantly higher pedicle screw placement accuracy than conventional fluoroscopy or 2D fluoroscopic image guidance methods.

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Sharad Rajpal, Tiffany A. Gerovac, Nicholas A. Turner, Jessica I. Tilghman, Bradley K. Allcock, Shannon L. McChesney, Gurwattan S. Miranpuri, Seung W. Park and Daniel K. Resnick

Object

The authors previously discovered that genes for the bradykinin-1 (B1) receptor and the transient receptor potential vanilloid subtype 1 (TRPV1) were overexpressed in animals exhibiting thermal hyperalgesia (TH) following spinal cord injury (SCI). They now report the effect of TRPV1 (AMG9810) and B1 (Lys-[Des-Arg9, Leu8]-bradykinin) antagonists on TH in animals following SCI.

Methods

The rats were subjected to contusion SCI and then divided into groups in which TH did or did not develop. The animals from both groups were given either AMG9810, Lys-(Des-Arg9, Leu8)-bradykinin, or the drug-specific vehicle (control groups). Animals were tested for TH preinjury and at regular intervals after SCI by using the hindlimb withdrawal latency test.

Conclusions

The administration of AMG9810 likely improves TH as a result of a generalized analgesic effect, whereas the effect of Lys-(Des-Arg9, Leu8)-bradykinin appears more specific to the reversal of TH. This information has potential usefulness in the development of treatment strategies for post-SCI neuropathic pain.

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Sharad Rajpal, R. Shane Tubbs, Timothy George, W. Jerry Oakes, Herbert E. Fuchs, Mark N. Hadley and Bermans J. Iskandar

Object

Children with spina bifida occulta require early surgery to prevent neurological deficits. The treatment of patients with a congenitally tethered cord who present in adulthood remains controversial.

Methods

The authors studied the medical records of 61 adult patients who underwent surgical untethering for spina bifida occulta at three institutions between 1994 and 2003. Patients who had undergone prior myelomeningocele repair or tethered cord release surgery were excluded.

The most common intraoperative findings were lipomyelomeningocele (41%) and a tight terminal filum (36%). The follow-up duration ranged from 10.8 to 149.5 months. Of the 34 patients with back pain, status improved in 65%, worsened in 3%, remained unchanged in 18%, and improved and later recurred in 15%. Lower-extremity pain improved in 16 patients (53%), remained unchanged in 23%, improved and then recurred in 17%, and worsened in 7%. Lower-extremity weakness improved in 47%, remained unchanged in 47%, and improved and then recurred in 5%. Finally, of the 17 patients with lower-extremity sensory changes, status improved in 35%, remained unchanged in 35%, and the information on five patients was unavailable. Surgical complications included three wound infections, one cerebrospinal fluid leak, and two pseudomeningoceles requiring surgical revision. One patient developed acute respiratory distress syndrome and sepsis postoperatively and died several days later.

Conclusions

Adult-age presentation of a congenital tethered cord is unusual. Despite a slight increase in postoperative neurological injury in adults, surgery has relatively low risk and offers good potential for neurological improvement or stabilization. As they do in children, the authors recommend early surgery in adults with this disorder. The decision to undertake surgery, however, should be modulated by other factors such as a patient's general medical condition and risk posed by anesthesia.