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Teng-yu Li, Yu-lun Xu, Jun Yang, James Wang and Gui-Huai Wang

OBJECT

The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical characteristics, imaging features, differential diagnosis, treatment options, and prognosis for primary spinal epidural cavernous hemangiomas.

METHODS

Fourteen patients with pathologically diagnosed non–vertebral origin cavernous hemangiomas who had undergone surgery at Beijing Tiantan Hospital between 2003 and 2012 were identified in the hospital's database. The patients' clinical data, imaging characteristics, surgical treatment, and postoperative follow-up were analyzed retrospectively.

RESULTS

There were 9 males and 5 females with an average age of 51.64 years. The primary epidural cavernous hemangiomas were located in the cervical spine (2 cases), cervicothoracic junction (2 cases), thoracic spine (8 cases), thoracolumbar junction (1 case), and lumbar spine (1 case). Hemorrhage was confirmed in 4 cases during surgery. Preoperatively 5 lesions were misdiagnosed as schwannoma, 1 was misdiagnosed as a meningioma, and 1 was misdiagnosed as an arachnoid cyst. Preoperative hemorrhages were identified in 2 cases. Three patients had recurrent cavernous hemangiomas. The initial presenting symptoms were local pain in 5 cases, radiculopathy in 6 cases, and myelopathy in 3 cases. Upon admission, 1 patient had radicular symptoms and 13 had myelopathic symptoms. The average symptom duration was 18 months. All patients underwent surgery; complete resection was achieved in 8 cases, subtotal resection in 4 cases, and partial resection in 2 cases. Postoperative follow-up was completed in 10 cases (average follow-up 34 months); 1 patient died, 5 patients showed clinical improvement, and 4 patients remained neurologically unchanged.

CONCLUSIONS

Total surgical removal of spine epidural cavernous hemangiomas with a chronic course is the optimum treatment and carries a good prognosis. Secondary surgery for recurrent epidural cavernous hemangioma is technically more challenging. In patients with profound myelopathy from acute hemorrhage, even prompt surgical decompression can rarely reverse all symptoms.

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Yue-Qi Du, Teng Li, Chao Ma, Guang-Yu Qiao, Yi-Heng Yin and Xin-Guang Yu

OBJECTIVE

The authors conducted a study to investigate the biomechanical feasibility and stability of C1 lateral mass–C2 bicortical translaminar screw (C1LM-C2TL) fixation, C1 lateral mass–C2/3 transarticular screw (C1LM-C2/3TA) fixation, and C1LM-C2/3TA fixation with transverse cross-links (C1LM-C2/3TACL) as alternative techniques to the Goel-Harms technique (C1 lateral mass–C2 pedicle screw [C1LM-C2PS] fixation) for atlantoaxial fixation.

METHODS

Eight human cadaveric cervical spines (occiput–C7) were tested using an industrial robot. Pure moments that were a maximum of 1.5 Nm were applied in flexion-extension (FE), lateral bending (LB), and axial rotation (AR). The specimens were first tested in the intact state and followed by destabilization (a type II odontoid fracture) and fixation as follows: C1LM-C2PS, C1LM-C2TL, C1LM-C2/3TA, and C1LM-C2/3TACL. For each condition, the authors evaluated the range of motion and neutral zone across C1 and C2 in all directions.

RESULTS

Compared with the intact spine, each instrumented spine significantly increased in stability at the C1–2 segment. C1LM-C2TL fixation demonstrated similar stability in FE and LB and greater stability in AR than C1LM-C2PS fixation. C1LM-C2/3TA fixation was equivalent in LB and superior in FE to those of C1LM-C2PS and C1LM-C2TL fixation. During AR, the C1LM-C2/3TA–instrumented spine failed to maintain segmental stability. After adding a cross-link, the rotational stability was significantly increased in the C1LM-C2/3TACL–instrumented spine compared with the C1LM-C2/3TA–instrumented spine. Although inferior to C1LM-C2TL fixation, the C1LM-C2/3TACL–instrumented spine showed equivalent rotational stability to the C1LM-C2PS–instrumented spine.

CONCLUSIONS

On the basis of our biomechanical study, C1LM-C2TL and C1LM-C2/3TACL fixation resulted in satisfactory atlantoaxial stabilization compared with C1LM-C2PS. Therefore, the authors believe that the C1LM-C2TL and C1LM-C2/3TACL fixation may serve as alternative procedures when the Goel-Harms technique (C1LM-C2PS) is not feasible due to anatomical constraints.

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Hong-Qi Zhang, Tong Chen, Shao-Shuai Wu, Liang-Hong Teng, Yong-Zhong Li, Li-Yong Sun, Zhi-Ping Zhang, De-Yu Guo, De-Hong Lu and Feng Ling

Object

The authors undertook this study to establish an animal model to investigate the pathophysiological changes of venous hypertensive myelopathy (VHM).

Methods

This study was a randomized control animal study with blinded evaluation. The VHM model was developed in 24 adult New Zealand white rabbits by means of renal artery and vein anastomosis and trapping of the posterior vena cava; 12 rabbits were subjected to sham surgery. The rabbits were investigated by spinal function evaluation, abdominal aortic angiography, spinal MRI, and pathological examination of the spinal cord at different follow-up stages.

Results

Twenty-two (91.67%) of 24 model rabbits survived the surgery and postoperative period. The patency rate of the arteriovenous fistula was 95.45% in these 22 animals. The model rabbits had significantly decreased motor and sensory hindlimb function as well as abnormalities at the corresponding segments of the spinal cord. Pathological examination showed dilation and hyalinization of the small blood vessels, perivascular and intraparenchymal lymphocyte infiltration, proliferation of glial cells, and neuronal degeneration. Electron microscopic examination showed loose lamellar structure of the myelin sheath, increased numbers of mitochondria in the thin myelinated fibers, and pyknotic neurons.

Conclusions

This model of VHM is stable and repeatable. Exploration of the sequential changes in spinal cord and blood vessels has provided improved understanding of this pathology, and the model may have potential for improving therapeutic results.

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Teng-yu Li, Jun-sheng Chu, Yu-lun Xu, Jun Yang, James Wang, Yu-Hua Huang, Aij-Lie Kwan and Gui-Huai Wang

Object

The aim of this study was to investigate the surgical strategies and outcomes for spinal ependymomas of different lengths.

Methods

The authors used data from 210 patients with spinal ependymomas (WHO Grades II and III) in this 10-year retrospective study (January 1999 to December 2008), dividing them into 3 different groups according to length (spinal ependymomas < 5 cm, 5–10 cm, and > 10 cm). All patients underwent tumor resection. The basic characteristics of the patients were reviewed and the functional status was assessed using the McCormick classification.

Results

There were 89, 81, and 40 patients, respectively, in the 3 groups (< 5 cm, 5–10 cm, and > 10 cm). Grosstotal resections (GTRs) were performed in 172 patients (81.9% overall, or 86.5%, 79.0%, and 77.5% in the 3 groups, respectively). Subtotal and partial resections were achieved in 38 patients (18.1%). Eight patients with medulla oblongata or upper cervical cord tumors received a tracheotomy postoperatively. The follow-up period ranged from 56 to 176 months. One hundred thirty-five patients (76.7%) experienced improvement, (88.2%, 83.8%, and 34.4% in the < 5 cm, 5–10 cm, and > 10 cm groups, respectively). Thirty-three patients (18.8%) maintained their pretreatment status, and 8 patients (4.5%) showed deterioration following tumor resection at 6 months. Tumor recurrence or progression was observed in 6 (2.9%) of the 210 patients. Among the 6 patients, recurrent tumors were located in the conus (n = 3), thoracic (n = 1), and medullocervical cord (n = 2).

Conclusions

Radical resection of spinal ependymomas could be performed in most patients, and the rate of GTR was significantly different in the different-length groups (< 10 cm vs > 10 cm, p = 0.032). Patients with longer tumors had worse surgical results compared with those with small tumors (p < 0.001), and more postoperative neuropathic pain and proprioceptive deficits could usually be observed in patients harboring larger tumors. Early diagnosis and timely operation are critical to achieving better neurological outcomes. For tumors with dense adhesions, complete removal should be performed cautiously because of the significant incidence of neurological deterioration.