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Allen D. Berry III, Stephen L. Reintjes and John J. Kepes

✓ A case of a malignant fibrous histiocytoma (MFH) in the right temporal lobe of a 75-year-old man is reported. The tumor involved the brain and the overlying dura as one continuous mass and had undergone extensive liquefaction necrosis of its center that had a gross appearance similar to that of an abscess. The preoperative computerized tomography scan with injection of contrast material showed the lesion to have central and peripheral enhancement suggestive of metastatic tumor, glioblastoma multiforme, or abscess. Microscopically, the tumor showed the typical features of a MFH with marked acute inflammation in the areas of necrosis. No extracranial sources for this tumor were found clinically. This is the 15th reported case of MFH involving the central nervous system as a primary neoplasm and the first case with gross pathological and radiological features resembling in many respects those of an abscess.

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Fernando L. Vale, Stephen Reintjes and Hermes G. Garcia

Object

The purpose of this study was to identify the complications associated with the inferior temporal gyrus approach to anterior mesial temporal lobe resection for temporal lobe epilepsy.

Methods

This retrospective study examined complications experienced by 483 patients during the 3 months after surgery. All surgeries were performed during 1998–2012 by the senior author (F.L.V.).

Results

A total of 13 complications (2.7%) were reported. Complications were 8 delayed subdural hematomas (1.6%), 2 superficial wound infections (0.4%), 1 delayed intracranial hemorrhage (0.2%), 1 small lacunar stroke (0.2%), and 1 transient frontalis nerve palsy (0.2%). Three patients with subdural hematoma (0.6%) required readmission and surgical intervention. One patient (0.2%) with delayed intracranial hemorrhage required readmission to the neuroscience intensive care unit for observation. No deaths or severe neurological impairments were reported. Among the 8 patients with subdural hematoma, 7 were older than 40 years (87.5%); however, this finding was not statistically significant (p = 0.198).

Conclusions

The inferior temporal gyrus approach to mesial temporal lobe resection is a safe and effective method for treating temporal lobe epilepsy. Morbidity and mortality rates associated with this procedure are lower than those associated with other neurosurgical procedures. The finding that surgical complications seem to be more common among older patients emphasizes the need for early surgical referral of patients with medically refractory epilepsy.

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Stephen L. Reintjes, Ernest K. Amankwah, Luis F. Rodriguez, Carolyn C. Carey and Gerald F. Tuite

OBJECT

Fusion rates are high for children undergoing posterior cervical fusion (PCF) and occipito-cervical fusion (OCF). Autologous bone has been widely used as the graft material of choice, despite the risk of donor-site morbidity associated with harvesting the bone, possibly because very low fusion rates were reported with posterior allograft cervical fusions in children several decades ago. Higher overall fusion rates using allograft in adults, associated with improvements in internal fixation techniques and the availability of osteoinductive substances such as bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), have led to heightened enthusiasm for the use of bank bone during pediatric PCF. A systematic review was performed to study factors associated with successful bone fusion, including the type of bone graft used.

METHODS

The authors performed a comprehensive PubMed search of English-language articles pertaining to PCF and OCF in patients less than 18 years old. Of the 561 abstracts selected, 148 articles were reviewed, resulting in 60 articles that had sufficient detail to be included in the analysis. A meta-regression analysis was performed to determine if and how age, fusion technique, levels fused, fusion substrate, BMP use, postoperative bracing, and radiographic fusion criteria were related to the pooled prevalence estimates. A systematic review of the literature was performed according to the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) statement.

RESULTS

A total of 604 patients met the specific inclusion and exclusion criteria. The overall fusion rate was 93%, with a mean age of 9.3 years and mean follow-up of 38.7 months. A total of 539 patients had fusion with autograft (94% fusion rate) and 65 patients with allograft (80% fusion rate). Multivariate meta-regression analysis showed that higher fusion rates were associated with OCF compared with fusions that excluded the occiput (p < 0.001), with the use of autograft instead of allograft (p < 0.001), and with the use of CT to define fusion instead of plain radiography alone. The type of internal fixation, the use of BMP, patient age, and the duration of follow-up were not found to be associated with fusion rates in the multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSIONS

Fusion rates for PCF are high, with higher rates of fusion seen when autograft is used as the bone substrate and when the occiput is included in the fusion construct. Further study of the use of allograft as a viable alternative to autograft bone fusion is warranted because limited data are available regarding the use of allograft in combination with more rigid internal fixation techniques and osteoinductive substances, both of which may enhance fusion rates with allograft.

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Marc Moisi, Christian Fisahn, Lara Tkachenko, Shiveindra Jeyamohan, Stephen Reintjes, Peter Grunert, Daniel C. Norvell, R. Shane Tubbs, Jeni Page, David W. Newell, Peter Nora, Rod J. Oskouian and Jens Chapman

OBJECTIVE

Posterior atlantoaxial stabilization and fusion using C-1 lateral mass screw fixation has become commonly used in the treatment of instability and for reconstructive indications since its introduction by Goel and Laheri in 1994 and modification by Harms in 2001. Placement of such lateral mass screws can be challenging because of the proximity to the spinal cord, vertebral artery, an extensive venous plexus, and the C-2 nerve root, which overlies the designated starting point on the posterior center of the lateral mass. An alternative posterior access point starting on the posterior arch of C-1 could provide a C-2 nerve root–sparing starting point for screw placement, with the potential benefit of greater directional control and simpler trajectory. The authors present a cadaveric study comparing an alternative strategy (i.e., a C-1 screw with a posterior arch starting point) to the conventional strategy (i.e., using the lower lateral mass entry site), specifically assessing the safety of screw placement to preserve the C-2 nerve root.

METHODS

Five US-trained spine fellows instrumented 17 fresh human cadaveric heads using the Goel/Harms C-1 lateral mass (GHLM) technique on the left and the posterior arch lateral mass (PALM) technique on the right, under fluoroscopic guidance. After screw placement, a CT scan was obtained on each specimen to assess for radiographic screw placement accuracy. Four faculty spine surgeons, blinded to the surgeon who instrumented the cadaver, independently graded the quality of screw placement using a modified Upendra classification.

RESULTS

Of the 17 specimens, the C-2 nerve root was anatomically impinged in 13 (76.5%) of the specimens. The GHLM technique was graded Type 1 or 2, which is considered “acceptable,” in 12 specimens (70.6%), and graded Type 3 or 4 (“unacceptable”) in 5 specimens (29.4%). In contrast, the PALM technique had 17 (100%) of 17 graded Type 1 or 2 (p = 0.015). There were no vertebral artery injuries found in either technique. All screw violations occurred in the medial direction.

CONCLUSIONS

The PALM technique showed statistically fewer medial penetrations than the GHLM technique in this study. The reason for this is not clear, but may stem from a more angulated ”up-and-in” screw direction necessary with a lower starting point.

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Marc Mayberg, Stephen Reintjes, Anika Patel, Kelley Moloney, Jennifer Mercado, Alex Carlson, James Scanlan and Frances Broyles

OBJECTIVE

Successful transsphenoidal surgery for adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH)–producing pituitary tumors is associated with subnormal postoperative serum cortisol levels, which may guide decisions regarding immediate reoperation. However, little is known about the detailed temporal course of changes in serum cortisol in the immediate postoperative period, and the relationship of postoperative cortisol dynamics to remission and late recurrence.

METHODS

A single-center retrospective cohort analysis was performed for all patients undergoing pituitary surgery from 2007 through 2015. Standardized diagnostic and treatment algorithms were applied to all patients with potential Cushing’s disease (CD), including microsurgical transsphenoidal adenomectomy (TSA) by a single surgeon. All patients had serum cortisol levels drawn at 6-hour intervals for 72 hours after surgery, and were offered reoperation within 3 days for normal or supranormal postoperative cortisol levels. Primary outcomes were 6-month remission and late recurrence; secondary outcomes were persistent postoperative hypocortisolism and surgical morbidity. Discriminatory levels of postoperative serum cortisol for predicting remission were calculated at various intervals after surgery using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves.

RESULTS

Among 89 patients diagnosed with CD, 81 underwent initial TSA for a potentially curable lesion; 23 patients (25.8%) underwent an immediate second TSA. For the entire cohort, 6-month remission was achieved in 77.8% and late recurrences occurred in 9.5%, at a mean of 43.5 months. Compared with patients with a single surgery, those with an immediate second TSA had similar rates of remission (78.3% vs 77.6%) and late recurrence (5.6% vs 11.1%). The rate of hypocortisolism for patients with 2 surgeries (12/23, 52.2%) was significantly greater than that for patients with single surgeries (13/58, 22.4%; p < 0.001). There was no difference in the incidence of CSF leaks between the first and second operations. Remission was achieved in 58 (92.1%) of 64 patients who completed the 2-surgery protocol. The temporal course of postoperative serum cortisol levels among patients varied considerably, with subnormal nadir levels < 2 μg/dl occurring between 12 hours and 66 hours. Patients achieving remission had significantly lower mean serum cortisol levels at every time point after surgery (p < 0.01). By ROC curve analysis, nadir cortisol levels < 2.1 μg/dl were predictive of 6-month remission for the entire cohort over 3 days (positive predictive value [PPV] = 94%); discriminating cortisol levels for predicting remission on postoperative day (POD) 2 were < 5.4 μg/dl (PPV = 97%), although patients with remission after postoperative cortisol levels of 2–5 μg/dl had a significantly higher rate of late recurrence.

CONCLUSIONS

There is substantial variation in the temporal course of serum cortisol levels over the first 72 hours after TSA for CD, with nadir levels predictive for remission occurring as late as POD 3. Although a cortisol level of 2.1 μg/dl at any point was an accurate predictor of 6-month remission, levels less than 5.4 μg/dl on POD 2 were reasonably accurate. These data may enable decisions regarding the efficacy of an immediate second surgical procedure performed during the same hospitalization; immediate reoperation is associated with excellent remission rates and low recurrence rates in patients otherwise unlikely to achieve remission, but carries a higher risk of permanent hypocortisolism.