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Stephen J. Haines

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Stephen J. Haines

✓ Randomized clinical trials are widely accepted as the standard for evaluation of therapeutic innovation in many fields of medicine. The three basic components of such trials (concurrent comparison, random allocation, and objective observation) are designed to control four forms of bias (chronology bias, susceptibility bias, compliance bias, and observation bias) that may interfere with the interpretation of the results of a study. Only 2% of the articles evaluating therapeutic maneuvers published in the Journal of Neurosurgery have attempted to use concurrent controls. Only one of 863 such articles met the criteria for a randomized clinical trial. Reasons for underutilization of such trials in neurosurgery are discussed and suggestions for their wider use are offered.

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Stephen J. Haines and Samuel C. Levine

✓ Diagnosis of very small acoustic neuromas has become much more common since the advent of magnetic resonance imaging. Many of the patients so diagnosed have minimal unilateral hearing loss as their only symptom. Because limited information is available on the natural history and prognosis of these lesions, the choice of treatment is controversial. The authors review their recent experience with the surgical treatment of intracanalicular acoustic neuroma.

The records of 14 consecutive patients with intracanalicular acoustic neuroma were reviewed with respect to type of presentation, pre- and postoperative facial and auditory nerve function, surgical approach, and complications. Detailed results for patients operated on to preserve hearing are presented. Presenting symptoms were nearly equally divided among diminished hearing, vertigo, and tinnitus. Eleven of the 14 patients had serviceable hearing preoperatively and nine (82%) remained in this condition postoperatively. Facial nerve function was unchanged by operation in 12 patients. Seven operations were performed through the middle fossa, five through the posterior fossa, and two by the translabyrinthine approach.

The probability of preserving hearing during surgical excision of intracanalicular acoustic neuroma in patients with serviceable hearing exceeds 80%. Given the relative infrequency of serious complications and the likelihood of progressive hearing loss in the untreated patient, excision of such small tumors shortly after diagnosis may offer the best chance of long-term hearing preservation.

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Stephen J. Haines and Fernando Torres

✓ In 11 consecutive patients, intraoperative electromyographic (EMG) recordings were made from the facial muscles during microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm. In one patient, recordings could not be obtained for technical reasons, and two patients had no abnormality. In the remaining eight patients, the abnormal response resolved before decompression in two, resolved immediately at the time of decompression in five, and failed to resolve in one. All patients were relieved of their hemifacial spasm. In the five patients whose abnormalities resolved at the time of decompression, there was a precise intraoperative correlation between decompression of the nerve and disappearance of the abnormal EMG response. In three cases, this was a useful guide to the need to decompress more than one vessel. These results confirm the findings of Mailer and Jannetta, support the use of this technique for intraoperative monitoring of facial nerve decompression procedures, and provide strong circumstantial evidence that vascular cross-compression is an important etiological factor in hemifacial spasm.

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Timothy E. Hopkins and Stephen J. Haines

✓ To illustrate the rapidity with which a child can develop a severe, symptomatic Chiari I malformation, the authors present the case of a 3-month-old infant with Seckel syndrome (microcephaly, micrognathia, craniosynostosis, and multiple other abnormalities) and posterior sagittal and bilateral lambdoid synostosis. The infant underwent magnetic resonance (MR) imaging shortly after birth; the initial image demonstrated the cerebellar tonsils in the posterior fossa, with no herniation. He subsequently developed severe apneic episodes and bradycardia; repeated MR imaging at 3 months demonstrated severe tonsillar herniation with compression of the brainstem. The child underwent posterior fossa remodeling surgery, including release of the posterior sagittal and lambdoid sutures and decompression of the Chiari I malformation. The patient's apnea gradually improved; however, he died of complications of pneumonia and sepsis several weeks later.

The authors identified from the literature 21 patients in whom there was a documented MR image or other neuroimage that did not reveal evidence of a Chiari I malformation, followed by a subsequent study with clear documentation of the presence of Chiari I malformation. The interval between the initial study and the development of the tonsillar herniation ranged from 11 days to 18.5 years. In most cases, a lumbar cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) diversion had been performed. This patient developed a severely symptomatic Chiari I malformation during a 3-month period. These reports illustrate that the Chiari I malformation can develop rapidly in the face of increased intracranial pressure, craniosynostosis, and spinal CSF diversion.

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Stephen J. Haines and Michael L. Goodman

✓ In an effort to reduce the incidence of postoperative wound infection, the recently proposed regimen of intravenous vancomycin and tobramycin and streptomycin irrigating solution was used in 878 neurosurgical operations. There were eight infections, for an infection rate of 0.9%. This infection rate was compared to the rate in the previously reported series using a sequential statistical analysis. The infection rate was found to be signficantly greater than that previously reported. Controlled clinical trials will be required before the efficacy of antibiotic prophylaxis in clean neurosurgical procedures can be considered proven.

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Stephen J. Haines and Roberto C. Heros

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Todd Y. Nida and Stephen J. Haines

✓ Ten pediatric patients with multiloculated hydrocephalus caused by neonatal meningitis, ventriculitis, or intraventricular hemorrhage were surgically treated over a 14-year period (January 1, 1976, to December 31, 1990). Six patients underwent craniotomy and transcallosal fenestration of intraventricular septations followed by placement of a shunt, while the other four were treated by shunting procedures alone. Craniotomy resulted in reduction of the shunt revision rate from a median of 2.75 per year prior to fenestration to 0.25 per year following fenestration, with median observation periods of 44.5 and 27 months, respectively. This was compared to a median revision rate of 0.55 per year for patients treated with shunting procedures alone. There were no deaths in either group. Although no surgical complications were encountered, one patient did require a second fenestration procedure. The important aspects of multiloculated hydrocephalus, including pathophysiology, radiographic correlates, and treatment options, are discussed. The goal of treatment is to eliminate the need for multiple shunt revisions, minimizing the accompanying morbidity and expense. It is concluded that craniotomy and transcallosal fenestration of intraventricular septations is a successful treatment of multiloculated hydrocephalus.

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Stephen J. Haines, Joseph C. Maroon and Peter J. Jannetta

✓ Five cases of supratentorial intracerebral hemorrhage following posterior fossa surgery are reported. Possible etiologies are discussed, but in only one case can a definite etiology (hypertension) be found. The differential diagnosis of declining level of consciousness after posterior fossa surgery must include supratentorial intracerebral hemorrhage, and computerized tomography seems to be the diagnostic method of choice.

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Microvascular relations of the trigeminal nerve

An anatomical study with clinical correlation

Stephen J. Haines, Peter J. Jannetta and David S. Zorub

✓ The vascular relationships of the trigeminal nerve root entry zone were examined bilaterally in 20 cadavers of individuals known to be free of facial pain. Fourteen of 40 nerves made contact with an artery, but only four of these showed evidence of compression or distortion of the nerve. In addition, the vascular relationships of 40 trigeminal nerves exposed surgically for treatment of trigeminal neuralgia were studied, and 31 nerves showed compression by adjacent arteries. Venous compression was seen in four of the cadaver nerves and in eight nerves from patients with trigeminal neuralgia. These data support the hypothesis that arterial compression of the trigeminal nerve is associated with trigeminal neuralgia.