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Stefano Ferraresi, Elisabetta Basso, Lorenzo Maistrello, Alba Scerrati, and Piero Di Pasquale

The treatment of deafferentation pain is a primary goal of a referral center for peripheral nerve surgery. DREZ is an important asset in the neurosurgeon’s armamentarium. The surgical technique and long-term results are analyzed in two series, with or without intraoperative monitoring (IOM). DREZotomy is highly effective in lumbar root avulsive injuries but is ineffective in resolving pain due to spinal cord injuries. Cervical DREZotomy for cancer pain is not superior to intrathecal morphine. In brachial plexus avulsive injuries, the largest series shows a 74% success rate, but the efficacy of the procedure is lost over time. No relevant difference has been observed since the introduction of IOM.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/uG_kkQj5m1U

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Stefano Ferraresi, Debora Garozzo, and Enzo Bianchini

✓ Aggressive fibromatosis (desmoid tumor) of a peripheral nerve is a rarity. Isolated cases have been reported in which the tumor originated from neighboring structures and only secondarily invaded the nerves. The case described in this report is unusual because the tumor selectively invaded the patient's nerve fascicles, requiring removal and graft repair. The procedure was followed by an excellent clinical recovery and no recurrence as of the 6-year follow-up review.

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Stefano Ferraresi, Debora Garozzo, and Paolo Buffatti

Object

The authors report various techniques, and their results, after performing median and ulnar nerve transfers to reanimate the biceps muscle in C5–7 avulsion-related brachial plexus injuries (BPIs).

Methods

Forty-three adult patients with BPIs of the upper-middle plexus underwent reinnervation of the biceps muscle; neurotization of the musculocutaneous nerve was performed using fascicles from the ulnar nerve (39 cases) and the median nerve (four cases). The different techniques included sectioning, rerouting, and direct suturing of the entire musculocutaneous nerve (35 cases); direct reinnervation of the motor branches of the musculocutaneous nerve (three cases); and reinnervation using small grafts to the motor fascicles that enter the biceps muscle (five cases).

Elbow flexion recovery ranged from M2 to M4+, according to the patient's age and the level of integrity of the hand. No surgery-related failure occurred. No significant difference in outcome was related to any of the technical variants. In patients younger than age 45 years and exhibiting a normal hand function a score of M4 or better was always achieved. On average, reinnervation occurred 6 months after surgery. There was no clinical evidence of donor nerve dysfunction.

Conclusions

When accurate selection criteria are met, the results after this type of neurotization have proved excellent.

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Stefano Ferraresi, Debora Garozzo, Vittorino Migliorini, and Paolo Buffatti

✓ The aim of this paper was to report on further experience with a new technique for reanimation of the facial nerve. This procedure allows a straight end-to-side hypoglossal–facial anastomosis without interruption of the 12th cranial nerve or the need for graft interposition. It is technically demanding and time consuming but offers an effective, reliable, and extraordinarily quick means of reinnervating the facial muscles, including the orbicularis oculi muscle, thus avoiding the need for a gold weight in the eyelid or a fascial sling.

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Virginio Bonito, Cristina Agostinis, Stefano Ferraresi, and Carlo Alberto Defanti

✓ Superficial siderosis is a rare condition characterized by deposition of hemosiderin in the leptomeninges and in the subpial layers of the brain and spinal cord. It is associated with cerebrospinal fluid abnormalities consistent with recurrent bleeding into the subarachnoid space. The usual symptoms are hearing loss, ataxia, spastic paraparesis, sensory and sphincter deficits, and mental deterioration.

A case is presented of severe superficial siderosis of the central nervous system in a 51-year-old man who had suffered a brachial plexus injury at the age of 20 years. The diagnosis was made by means of magnetic resonance imaging 16 years after the initial symptoms, which comprised bilateral hearing loss and anosmia. Subarachnoid bleeding was due to traumatic pseudomeningocele of the brachial plexus, a very unusual cause of superficial siderosis. This case is interesting insofar as the surgical treatment prevented further bleeding and possibly progression of the disease.

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Stefano Ferraresi, Debora Garozzo, Ezio Bianchini, and Roberto Gasparotti

The authors report on a loss of foot dorsiflexion in pediatric-age individuals and suggest that the possible cause could be a perineurioma of the sciatic nerve.

The authors describe 4 cases in which foot drop in the absence of sensory discomfort was the heralding sign of perineurioma of the sciatic nerve. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a focal enlargement of the sciatic nerve, but the tumor was confined only to its lateral compartment. Treatment in 2 cases involved excision of the affected segment and subsequent graft repair. The two other patients shared the same clinical, radiological, and surgical findings, but no nerve biopsy sample was obtained; the patients underwent only a tibialis posterior muscle transfer. Long-term recovery of nerve function never occurred.

Because tumor resection and nerve graft yield no functional results, a tendon transfer to restore walking may be the sole useful surgical procedure in these cases. Removal of the tumor may not be necessary because long-term follow-up confirms that perineuriomas are self-limiting and the final prognosis is favorable.

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Eduardo Fernandez, Francesco Doglietto, Alessandro Ciampini, and Liverana Lauretti

The aim of this paper was to report on further experience with a new technique for reanimation of the facial nerve. This procedure allows a straight end-to-side hypoglossal–facial anastomosis without interruption of the 12th cranial nerve or the need for graft interposition. It is technically demanding and time consuming but offers an effective, reliable, and extraordinarily quick means of reinnervating the facial muscles, including the orbicularis oculi muscle, thus avoiding the need for a gold weight in the eyelid or a fascial sling.

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Fabio Raneri, Oriela Rustemi, Giampaolo Zambon, Giulia Del Moro, Salima Magrini, Yuri Ceccaroni, Elisabetta Basso, Francesco Volpin, Martina Cappelletti, Jacopo Lardani, Stefano Ferraresi, Franco Guida, Franco Chioffi, Giampietro Pinna, Giuseppe Canova, Domenico d’Avella, Francesco Sala, and Lorenzo Volpin

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak and of the subsequent lockdown on the neurosurgical services of the Veneto region in Italy compared to the previous 4 years.

METHODS

A survey was conducted in all 6 neurosurgical departments in the Veneto region to collect data about surgical, inpatient care and endovascular procedures during the month of March for each year from 2016 to 2020. Safety measures to avoid infection from SARS-CoV-2 and any COVID-19 cases reported among neurosurgical patients or staff members were considered.

RESULTS

The mean number of neurosurgical admissions for the month of March over the 2016–2019 period was 663, whereas in March 2020 admissions decreased by 42%. Emergency admissions decreased by 23%. The average number of neurosurgical procedures was 697, and declined by 30% (range −10% to −51% in individual centers). Emergency procedures decreased in the same period by 23%. Subarachnoid hemorrhage and spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage both decreased in Veneto—by 25% and 22%, respectively. Coiling for unruptured aneurysm, coiling for ruptured aneurysm, and surgery for ruptured aneurysm or arteriovenous malformation diminished by 49%, 27%, and 78%, respectively. Endovascular procedures for acute ischemic stroke (AIS) increased by 33% in 2020 (28 procedures in total). There was a slight decrease (8%) in brain tumor surgeries. Neurosurgical admissions decreased by 25% and 35% for head trauma and spinal trauma, respectively, while surgical procedures for head trauma diminished by 19% and procedures for spinal trauma declined by 26%. Admissions and surgical treatments for degenerative spine were halved. Eleven healthcare workers and 8 patients were infected in the acute phase of the pandemic.

CONCLUSIONS

This multicenter study describes the effects of a COVID-19 outbreak on neurosurgical activities in a vast region in Italy. Remodulation of neurosurgical activities has resulted in a significant reduction of elective and emergency surgeries compared to previous years. Most likely this is a combined result of cancellation of elective and postponable surgeries, increase of conservative management, increase in social restrictions, and in patients’ fear of accessing hospitals. Curiously, only endovascular procedures for AIS have increased, possibly due to reduced physical activity or increased thrombosis in SARS-CoV-2. The confounding effect of thrombectomy increase over time cannot be excluded. No conclusion can be drawn on AIS incidence. Active monitoring with nasopharyngeal swabs, wearing face masks, and using separate pathways for infected patients reduce the risk of infection.