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Robert E. Elliott, Shaun D. Rodgers, Luigi Bassani, Amr Morsi, Eric B. Geller, Chad Carlson, Orrin Devinsky and Werner K. Doyle

Object

The authors undertook this study to analyze the efficacy of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) in a large consecutive series of children 18 years of age and younger with treatment-resistant epilepsy and compare the safety and efficacy in children under 12 years of age with the outcomes in older children.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed 141 consecutive cases involving children (75 girls and 66 boys) with treatment-resistant epilepsy in whom primary VNS implantation was performed by the senior author between November 1997 and April 2008 and who had at least 1 year of follow-up since implantation. The patients' mean age at vagus nerve stimulator insertion was 11.1 years (range 1–18 years). Eighty-six children (61.0%) were younger than 12 years at time of VNS insertion (which constitutes off-label usage of this device).

Results

Follow-up was complete for 91.8% of patients and the mean duration of VNS therapy in these patients was 5.2 years (range 25 days–11.4 years). Seizure frequency significantly improved with VNS therapy (mean reduction 58.9%, p < 0.0001) without a significant reduction in antiepileptic medication burden (median number of antiepileptic drugs taken 3, unchanged). Reduction in seizure frequency of at least 50% occurred in 64.8% of patients and 41.4% of patients experienced at least a 75% reduction. Major (3) and minor (6) complications occurred in 9 patients (6.4%) and included 1 deep infection requiring device removal, 1 pneumothorax, 2 superficial infections treated with antibiotics, 1 seroma/hematoma treated with aspiration, persistent cough in 1 patient, severe but transient neck pain in 1 patient, and hoarseness in 2 patients. There was no difference in efficacy or complications between children 12 years of age and older (FDA-approved indication) and those younger than 12 years of age (off-label usage). Linear regression analyses did not identify any demographic and clinical variables that predicted response to VNS.

Conclusions

Vagus nerve stimulation is a safe and effective treatment for treatment-resistant epilepsy in young adults and children. Over 50% of patients experienced at least 50% reduction in seizure burden. Children younger than 12 years had a response similar to that of older children with no increase in complications. Given the efficacy of this device and the devastating effects of persistent epilepsy during critical developmental epochs, randomized trials are needed to potentially expand the indications for VNS to include younger children.

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Shaun D. Rodgers, Luigi Bassani, Howard L. Weiner and David H. Harter

Subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGAs) are benign tumors, most commonly associated with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). Arising from the lateral ependymal surface, these tumors may obstruct one or both foramina of Monro, resulting in hydrocephalus and often requiring treatment. Although interhemispheric-transcallosal and transcortical-transventricular approaches have been the standard methods for resecting these tumors, advances in neuroendoscopic techniques have expanded SEGAs as a potential target for endoscopic resection.

The authors present a case of an endoscopically resected SEGA with stereotactic guidance in a 4-year-old girl with TSC. A gross-total resection of an enlarging SEGA was achieved. This represents one of the early case reports of endoscopically resected SEGAs. Although recent advances in medical treatment for SEGAs with mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway inhibitors have shown promising initial results, the long-term safety and efficacy of mTOR inhibitors has yet to be determined. The propensity of these tumors to cause obstructive hydrocephalus requires that a surgical option remain. Neuroendoscopic approaches may allow a safe and effective technique.

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Shaun D. Rodgers and David H. Harter

Intradural intramedullary cervical spinal cord tumors pose a significant challenge for the neurosurgeon to resect with minimal morbidity. We present the case of a 12-year-old male with a cervical ependymoma and demonstrate our resection technique.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/5DHlnxdggU0.

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Shaun D. Rodgers, Bryan J. Marascalchi, Russell G. Strom and Paul P. Huang

Short-lasting unilateral neuralgiform headache attacks with conjunctival injection and tearing (SUNCT) syndrome is classified under trigeminal autonomic cephalalgias. This rare headache syndrome is infrequently associated with secondary pathologies. In this paper the authors report on a patient with paroxysmal left retroorbital pain with associated autonomic symptoms of ipsilateral conjunctival injection and lacrimation, suggestive of SUNCT syndrome. After failed medical treatment an MRI sequence was obtained in this patient, demonstrating an epidermoid tumor in the left cerebellopontine angle. The patient's symptoms completely resolved after a gross-total resection of the tumor. This case demonstrates the effectiveness of resection as definitive treatment for SUNCT syndrome associated with tumoral compression of the trigeminal nerve. Early MRI studies should be considered in all patients with SUNCT, especially those with atypical signs and symptoms.

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Shaun D. Rodgers, Bryan J. Marascalchi, Bartosz T. Grobelny, Michael L. Smith and Uzma Samadani

Recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein–2 (rhBMP-2) promotes the induction of bone growth and is widely used in spine surgery to enhance arthrodesis. Recombinant human BMP-2 has been associated with a variety of complications including ectopic bone formation, adjacent-level fusion, local bone resorption, osteolysis, and radiculitis. Some of the complications associated with rhBMP-2 may be the result of rhBMP-2 induction of the inflammatory host response. In this paper the authors report on a patient with prior transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) using an interbody cage packed with rhBMP-2, in which rhBMP-2 possibly contributed to vascular injury during an attempted anterior lumbar interbody fusion. This 63-year-old man presented with a 1-year history of worsening refractory low-back pain and radiculopathy caused by a Grade 1 spondylolisthesis at L4–5. He underwent an uncomplicated L4–5 TLIF using an rhBMP-2–packed interbody cage. Postoperatively, he experienced marginal improvement of his symptoms. Within the next year and a half the patient returned with unremitting low-back pain and neurogenic claudication that failed to respond to conservative measures. Radiological imaging of the patient revealed screw loosening and pseudarthrosis. He underwent an anterior retroperitoneal approach with a plan for removal of the previous cage, complete discectomy, and placement of a femoral ring. During the retroperitoneal approach the iliac vein was adhered with scarring and fibrosis to the underlying previously operated L4–5 interbody space. During mobilization the left iliac vein was torn, resulting in significant blood loss and cardiac arrest requiring chest compression, defibrillator shocks, and blood transfusion. The patient was stabilized, the operation was terminated, and he was transferred to the intensive care unit. He recovered over the next several days and was discharged at his neurological baseline. The authors propose that the rhBMP-2–induced host inflammatory response partially contributed to vessel fibrosis and scarring, resulting in the life-threatening vascular injury during the reoperation. Spine surgeons should be aware of this potential inflammatory fibrosis in addition to other reported complications related to rhBMP-2.

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Shaun D. Rodgers, John A. Engler and Noel L. Perin

Plantar hyperhydrosis is a disabling condition of excessive, symmetric, focal sweating of the feet with social, psychological, and medical implications. Treatment options include topical agents, iontophoresis, botulinum toxin injection, and surgical disruption of the lumbar sympathetic chain.

Surgical corridors include transperitoneal and retroperitoneal approaches. We report our technique with a novel minimally invasive lateral retroperitoneal approach commonly used for lateral interbody fusions. The lateral approach for sectioning of the sympathetic chain in the treatment of hyperhydrosis appears safe. The approach may be advantageous for the patient and surgeons familiar with lateral interbody fusion. Further studies may elucidate the long term efficacy and safety of the lateral approach.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/Q82SGpmAXng.

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David H. Harter, Luigi Bassani, Shaun D. Rodgers, Jonathan Roth, Orrin Devinsky, Chad Carlson, Jeffery H. Wisoff and Howard L. Weiner

Object

Subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGAs) are benign tumors, most commonly associated with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). The vast majority of these tumors arise from the lateral ependymal surface adjacent to the foramen of Monro, therefore potentially encroaching on one or both foramina, and resulting in obstructive hydrocephalus that necessitates surgical decompression. The indications for surgery, intraoperative considerations, and evolution of the authors' management paradigm are presented.

Methods

Patients with TSC who underwent craniotomy for SEGA resection at New York University Langone Medical Center between January 1997 and March 2011 were identified. Preoperative imaging, clinical characteristics, management decisions, operative procedures, and outcomes were reviewed.

Results

Eighteen patients with TSC underwent 22 primary tumor resections for SEGAs. The indication for surgery was meaningful radiographic tumor progression in 16 of 21 cases. The average age at the time of operation was 10.3 years. Average follow-up duration was 52 months (range 12–124 months). The operative approach was intrahemispheric-transcallosal in 16 cases, transcortical-transventricular in 5, and neuroendoscopic in 1. Nine tumors were on the right, 9 on the left, and 3 were bilateral. Gross-total resection was documented in 16 of 22 cases in our series, with radical subtotal resection achieved in 4 cases, and subtotal resection (STR) in 2 cases. Two patients had undergone ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement preoperatively and 7 patients required shunt placement after surgery for moderate to severe ventriculomegaly. Two patients experienced tumor progression requiring reoperation; both of these patients had initially undergone STR.

Conclusions

The authors present their management strategy for TSC patients with SEGAs. Select patients underwent microsurgical resection of SEGAs with acceptable morbidity. Gross-total resection or radical STR was achieved in 90.9% of our series (20 of 22 primary tumor resections), with no recurrences in this group. Approximately half of our patient series required CSF diversionary procedures. There were no instances of permanent neurological morbidity associated with surgery.

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Shaun D. Rodgers, Sean O. McMenomey and Chandranath Sen

A petroclival meningioma represents a challenging tumor to resect in the cerebellopontine angle and ventral to the brain stem. Multiple cranial nerves and blood vessels may be intimately involved with the tumor. A partial labyrinthectomy presigmoid transpetrosal approach can facilitate resection while preserving hearing. This approach allows for a direct line of sight along the petrous bone while sealing the canals can preserve hearing. In this video operative manuscript, we demonstrate a step-by-step illustration of a partial labyrinthectomy presigmoid transpetrosal resection of a petroclival meningioma. This approach affords the best chance of hearing preservation and an opportunity for maximum tumor resection.

The video can be found here: http://youtu.be/29I4KEXz1vY.

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John G. Golfinos, J. Thomas Roland Jr. and Shaun D. Rodgers