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Si Zhang, Hexiang Zhao, Hao Li, Chao You and Xuhui Hui

OBJECTIVE

Decompressive craniectomy (DC) is a life-saving treatment for severe hemorrhagic cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT). However, the correlations between the clinicoradiological features and surgical outcomes of this disease are not well established. Therefore, the authors endeavored to analyze the potential risk factors for this more severe subtype of CVT and to provide more evidence regarding the benefits of DC in patients with hemorrhagic CVT.

METHODS

The clinical features, radiological findings, and surgical outcomes of patients with severe hemorrhagic CVT who had undergone DC treatment in the period from January 2005 to March 2015 were retrospectively analyzed, and the risk factors for this disease were evaluated.

RESULTS

Fifty-eight patients, 39 females (67.2%) and 19 males (32.8%), with a mean age of 39.7 ± 12.5 years, were included in this study. The mean duration from symptom onset to surgery was 3.3 ± 1.9 days, and 21 patients experienced acute courses. On neuroimaging, the mean mass lesion volume was 114.7 ± 17.7 ml. Nine patients had bilateral lesions, and 7 patients had deep CVT. According to their hemorrhagic proportion, cases were divided into hemorrhage-dominated (27 [46.6%]) and edema-dominated (31 [53.4%]) groups. After 6 months of follow-up, 56.9% of patients had achieved a favorable outcome, and 8 patients had died. The hemorrhage-dominated lesions (p = 0.026) and deep cerebral venous involvement (p = 0.026) were significantly associated with a poor outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

In patients suffering from severe hemorrhagic CVT, DC is an effective life-saving treatment that is associated with favorable outcomes. Hemorrhage-dominated lesions and deep cerebral venous involvement have a significant impact on the outcome of this disease.

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Qiguang Wang, Si Zhang and Yan Ju

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Si Zhang, Xiang Wang, Xuesong Liu, Yan Ju and Xuhui Hui

Object

The authors retrospectively analyzed data on brainstem gangliogliomas treated in their department and reviewed the pertinent literature to foster understanding of the preoperative characteristics, management, and clinical outcomes of this disease.

Methods

In 2006, the authors established a database of treated lesions of the posterior fossa. The epidemiology findings, clinical presentations, radiological investigations, pathological diagnoses, management, and prognosis for brainstem gangliogliomas were retrospectively analyzed.

Results

Between 2006 and 2012, 7 patients suffering from brainstem ganglioglioma were treated at the West China Hospital of Sichuan University. The mean age of the patients, mean duration of symptoms prior to diagnosis, and mean duration of follow-up were 28.6 years, 19.4 months, and 38.1 months, respectively. The main presentations were progressive cranial nerve deficits and cerebellar signs. Subtotal resection was achieved in 2 patients, and partial resection in 5. All tumors were pathologically diagnosed as WHO Grade I or II ganglioglioma. Radiotherapy and adjuvant chemotherapy were not administered. After 21–69 months of follow-up, patient symptoms were resolved or stable without aggravation, and MRI showed that the size of residual lesions was unchanged without progression or recurrence.

Conclusions

The diagnosis of brainstem ganglioglioma is of great importance given its favorable prognosis. The authors recommend the maximal safe resection followed by close observation without adjuvant therapy as the optimal treatment for this disease.

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Yingsong Wang, Jingming Xie, Zhi Zhao, Ying Zhang, Tao Li and Yongyu Si

Object

Phase contrast–cine MRI (PC-cine MRI) studies in patients with syringomyelia and Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) have demonstrated abnormal CSF flow across the foramen magnum, which can revert to normal after craniocervical decompression with syrinx shrinkage. In order to investigate the mechanisms leading to postoperative syringomyelia shrinkage, the authors studied the hydrodynamic changes of CSF flow in the craniocervical junction and spinal canal in patients with scoliosis associated with syringomyelia after one-stage deformity correction by posterior vertebral column resection.

Methods

Preoperative and postoperative CSF flow dynamics at the levels of the foramen magnum, C-7, T-7 (or apex), and L-1 were assessed by electrocardiogram-synchronized cardiac-gated PC-cine MRI in 8 adolescent patients suffering from severe scoliosis with syringomyelia and CM-I (scoliosis group) and undergoing posterior vertebral column resection. An additional 8 patients with syringomyelia and CM-I without spinal deformity (syrinx group) and 8 healthy volunteers (control group) were also enrolled. Mean values were obtained for the following parameters: the duration of a CSF cycle, the duration of caudad CSF flow (CSF downflow [DF]) and cephalad CSF flow (CSF upflow [UF]), the ratio of DF duration to CSF cycle duration (DF%), and the ratio of UF duration to CSF cycle duration (UF%). The ratio of the stationary phase (SP) duration to CSF cycle duration was calculated (SP%). The maximum downflow velocities (VDmax) and maximum upflow velocities (VUmax) were measured. SPSS (version 14.0) was used for all statistical analysis.

Results

Patients in the scoliosis group underwent one-stage posterior vertebral column resection for deformity correction without suboccipital decompression. The mean preoperative coronal Cobb angle was 102.4° (range 76°–138°). The mean postoperative Cobb angle was 41.7° (range 12°–75°), with an average correction rate of 59.3%. During the follow-up, 1 patient with hypermyotonia experienced a significant decrease of muscle tension and 1 patient with reduced anal sphincter tone manifested recovery. A total of 5 patients demonstrated a significant decrease (> 30%) in syrinx size. With respect to changes in CSF flow dynamics, the syrinx group was characterized by slower and shorter downflow than the control group, and the difference was more significant at the foramen magnum and C-7 levels. In patients with scoliosis, CSF downflow at the foramen magnum level was significantly restricted, and a prolonged stationary phase indicated increased obstruction of CSF flow. After posterior vertebral column resection, the peak velocity of CSF flow at the foramen magnum increased, and the downflow phase duration was markedly prolonged. The parameters showed a return to almost normal CSF dynamics at the craniocervical region, and this improvement was maintained for 6–12 months of follow-up.

Conclusions

There were distinct abnormalities of CSF flow at the craniocervical junction in patients with syringomyelia. Abnormal dynamics of downflow could be aggravated by associated severe spinal deformity and improved by correction via posterior vertebral column resection.

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Liu Xue-Song, You Chao, Yang Kai-Yong, Huang Si-Qing and Zhang Heng

Object

An extensive sacrococcygeal chordoma is considered a challenge for neurosurgeons. Because of the complex anatomy of the sacral region, the risk of uncontrollable intraoperative hemorrhage, and the typically large tumor size at presentation, complete resections are technically difficult and the tumor recurrence rate is high. The aim of this study was to assess the value of using occlusion of the abdominal aorta by means of a balloon dilation catheter and electrophysiological monitoring when an extensive sacrococcygeal chordoma is removed.

Methods

Between 2004 and 2008, 9 patients underwent resection of extensive sacrococcygeal chordomas in the authors' department with the aid of occlusion of the abdominal aorta and electrophysiological monitoring. All of these operations were performed via the posterior approach. The records of the 9 patients were reviewed retrospectively.

Results

Wide resections were performed in 6 cases and marginal excisions in the other 3. Five patients underwent postoperative radiotherapy. Intraoperative hemorrhage was controlled at 100–400 ml. Postoperatively, none of the patients had any new neurological dysfunction, and 2 patients regained normal urinary and bowel function. The mean follow-up period was 31.4 months (range 10–57 months). No patient developed local recurrence or had metastatic spread of tumor during follow-up.

Conclusions

Occlusion of the abdominal aorta and electrophysiological monitoring are useful methods for assisting in resection of sacrococcygeal chordoma. They can reduce intraoperative hemorrhage and entail little chance of tumor cell contamination. They can also help surgeons to protect the organs in the pelvic cavity and neurological function. Use of these methods could give patients better quality of life.

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Jingming Xie, Yingsong Wang, Zhi Zhao, Ying Zhang, Yongyu Si, Tao Li, Zhendong Yang and Luping Liu

Object

The surgical treatment of severe and rigid spinal deformities poses difficulties and dangers. In this article, the authors summarize their surgical techniques and evaluate patient outcomes after performing posterior vertebral column resection (PVCR) for the correction of spinal deformities with curves greater than 100°, and investigate the crucial points to ensure neurological safety during this challenging procedure.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed their experience with 28 patients with extremely severe (Cobb angles in the coronal or sagittal plane > 100°) and rigid thoracic or thoracolumbar spine deformities who underwent PVCR. The average patient age was 20.2 years and all patients underwent a minimum follow-up of 24 months (range 24–60 months). Patients were divided into groups according to their morphological classification as follows: kyphosis alone (Group A, 6 patients with a mean Cobb angle of 109.0° [range 105°–120°]); kyphoscoliosis with coronal plane curves notably greater than sagittal plane curves (Group B, 14 patients with mean scoliotic curves of 116.6° [range 102°–170°] and kyphotic curves of 77.7° [range 42°–160°]); and kyphoscoliosis with sagittal curves notably greater than coronal plane curves (Group C, 8 patients with a mean coronal curve of 85.4° [range 65°–110°] and a mean sagittal curve of 117.6° [range 102°–155°]).

Results

A total of 36 vertebrae were removed in 28 patients who had a severe rigid spinal deformity, and the mean fusion extent was 13.3 vertebrae (range 7–17 vertebrae). The mean operating time was 620 minutes (range 320–920 minutes) with an average operative blood loss of 6,680 ml (range 3,000–24,000 ml). The overall final correction rate of scoliosis was 59.0%, and average postoperative kyphotic Cobb angles ranged from 30.4° to 95.9°. In Group A the mean preoperative sagittal angle of 109.0° was corrected to a mean postoperative angle of 32.0°. In the Group B kyphoscoliotic patients, the correction rate in the coronal plane was 58.6%; the Cobb angle in the sagittal plane was corrected from a mean of 77.7° preoperatively to 25.1° postoperatively; in Group C, the correction rate in the coronal plane was 58.5%, and the mean sagittal angle was reduced from a mean of 117.6° preoperatively to 39.0°. Of the 28 patients who underwent PVCR, 46 complications were observed in 18 patients intra- and postoperatively. There were 5 neurological complications including 1 case of late-onset paralysis and 4 cases of thoracic nerve root pain, all of which resolved during the early follow-up period. Nonneurological complications occurred more often in kyphoscoliotic patients (41 complications). The mean follow-up of all patients was 33.7 months (range 24–60 months).

Conclusions

Posterior vertebral column resection was effective in correcting severe rigid spinal deformity, although the procedure was technically demanding, exhaustingly lengthy, and was associated with a variety of complications. The PVCR technique created a space for spinal correction and spinal cord tension adjustment and the correction could be performed under direct inspection and by palpation of the tension in the spinal cord through the space. Therefore, in terms of the spinal cord, the deformity correction process involved in the PVCR procedure is relatively safe.