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Leslie Acakpo-Satchivi and Thomas G. Luerssen

✓The authors report an unusual case of cortical herniation into a chronic subdural hematoma (SDH). The patient was successfully treated with good outcome. A 4-month-old boy with a history of macrocrania and very large bilateral chronic SDHs underwent subduroperitoneal shunt treatment shortly after presentation. Eight months later he developed a new-onset seizure disorder, which was localized by electroencephalography to the right frontal region. Neuroimaging demonstrated the development of a focal herniation of the brain through a subdural membrane into the subdural space. The patient underwent a craniotomy to resect the seizure focus and the herniated cortex. The subdural shunt was subsequently replaced. After 2 years of follow-up, the patient remains free of seizures, is on no medication regimen, and is neurologically and developmentally normal. To the authors' knowledge, this is only the fourth report in the medical literature of cortical herniation through a chronic subdural membrane and the first in which successful treatment with a good outcome is described.

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Jonathan N. Sellin, Aditya Vedantam, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea

OBJECTIVE

The complication profile of epidural triamcinolone acetonide use during lumbar decompression surgery is not known. However, isolated reports of increased risk of delayed CSF leakage with the use of triamcinolone acetonide in adult spinal surgery patients have been published. The purpose of this study was to determine the safety of epidural triamcinolone acetonide use in conjunction with lumbar decompression surgery in pediatric patients.

METHODS

The medical records of all patients who underwent lumbar decompression surgery with or without discectomy between July 1, 2007, and July 31, 2015, were retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS

During the study period, 58 patients underwent 59 spine procedures at Texas Children's Hospital. There were 33 female and 25 male patients. The mean age at surgery was 16.5 years (range 12–24 years). Patients were followed for an average of 38.2 months (range 4–97 months). Triamcinolone acetonide was used in 28 (of 35 total) cases of discectomy; there were no cases of delayed symptomatic CSF leaks (0%) in the minimally invasive and open discectomies. On the other hand, triamcinolone acetonide was used in 14 (of 24 total) cases of multilevel laminectomy, among which there were 10 delayed CSF leaks (71.4%) requiring treatment. The use of triamcinolone acetonide in patients who underwent multilevel laminectomy was significantly associated with an increased risk of delayed CSF leaks or pseudomeningoceles (Fisher's exact test, p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

There was an unacceptable incidence of delayed postoperative CSF leaks when epidural triamcinolone acetonide was used in patients who underwent multilevel laminectomy.

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Outcome from head injury related to patient' age

A longitudinal prospective study of adult and pediatric head injury

Thomas G. Luerssen, Melville R. Klauber and Lawrence F. Marshall

✓ A series of 8814 head-injured patients admitted to 41 hospitals in three separate metropolitan areas were prospectively studied. Of these, 1906 patients (21.6%) were 14 years of age or less. This “pediatric population” was compared to the remaining “adult population” for mechanism of injury, admission Glasgow Coma Scale score, motor score, blood pressure, pupillary reactivity, the presence of associated injuries, and the presence of subdural or epidural hematoma. The relationship of each of these factors was then correlated with posttraumatic mortality. Except for patients found to have subdural hematoma and those who were profoundly hypotensive, the pediatric patients exhibited a significantly lower mortality rate compared to the adults, thus confirming this generally held view. This study indicates that age itself, even within the pediatric age range, is a major independent factor affecting the mortality rate in head-injured patients.

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Christopher E. Wolfla, Thomas G. Luerssen and Robin M. Bowman

✓ A porcine model of regional intracranial pressure was used to compare regional brain tissue pressure (RBTP) changes during expansion of an extradural temporal mass lesion. Measurements of RBTP were obtained by placing fiberoptic intraparenchymal pressure monitors in the right and left frontal lobes (RF and LF), right and left temporal lobes (RT and LT), midbrain (MB), and cerebellum (CB). During expansion of the right temporal mass, significant RBTP gradients developed in a reproducible pattern: RT > LF = LT > RF > MB > CB. These gradients appeared early, widened as the volume of the mass increased, and persisted for the entire duration of the experiment. The study indicates that RBTP gradients develop in the presence of an extradural temporal mass lesion. The highest RBTP was recorded in the ipsilateral temporal lobe, whereas the next highest was recorded in the contralateral frontal lobe. The RBTP that was measured in either frontal lobe underestimated the temporal RBTP. These results indicated that if a frontal intraparenchymal pressure monitor is used in a patient with temporal lobe pathology, the monitor should be placed on the contralateral side and a lower threshold for therapy of increased intracranial pressure should be adopted. Furthermore, this study provides further evidence that reliance on a single frontal intraparenchymal pressure monitor may not detect all areas of elevated RBTP.

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Caroline Hadley, Carrie A. Mohila, Thomas G. Luerssen and Sandi Lam

In infants, the presence of a cranial defect may be due to a variety of traumatic, inflammatory, neoplastic, and congenital abnormalities. Differentiation between these possible etiologies is facilitated by clinical presentation, patient history, and physical examination. Congenital cutaneous neural crest–derived lesions are unlikely to be considered in a patient presenting with an asymptomatic cranial defect without overlying mass or skin pigmentation. The authors present an unusual case of a 2-month-old infant with an asymptomatic calvarial defect with normal overlying skin. Pathology of the excised tissue showed features consistent with a congenital neurocristic tumor: a pigmented, neural crest–derived hamartomatous tumor that typically presents as a melanotic skin lesion.

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Jonathan G. Thomas, Steven W. Hwang, William E. Whitehead, Daniel J. Curry, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea

Object

Lumbar disc herniation is rare in the pediatric age group, but may still cause a significant amount of pain and disability. Whereas minimally invasive surgery (MIS) for lumbar disc herniation is routinely performed in adults, it has not yet been described in the pediatric population. The purpose of this study was to describe the surgical results of pediatric MIS-treated lumbar disc disease.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed a series of 6 consecutive cases of lumbar microdiscectomy performed using MIS techniques between April 2008 and July 2010. Presenting symptoms, physical examination findings, and preoperative MR imaging results were obtained from medical records. Perioperative results, including blood loss, length of hospital stay, and complications were assessed. Findings at latest follow-up evaluation were also recorded.

Results

This report represents the first surgical series regarding pediatric lumbar microdiscectomies performed using MIS. The mean patient age was 16 years (range 14–17 years); there were 4 girls and 2 boys. Preoperative signs and symptoms of radiculopathic pain were notable in 100% of patients, and myotomal weakness was noted in 33% of patients. The first line of treatment in all patients was a period of conservative management lasting an average of 11.5 months (range 6–12 months). The mean intraoperative blood loss was 10.8 ml, and the mean postoperative length of stay was 1.3 days. There were no complications in this small series.

Conclusions

The treatment of pediatric lumbar disc herniation by using MIS techniques can be safe and efficacious. However, further study with a larger number of patients and longer follow-up is needed to compare outcomes between MIS and open microdiscectomies.

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Jonathan G. Thomas, Steven W. Hwang, Todd J. Blumberg, William E. Whitehead, Daniel J. Curry, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea

Object

Over 85% of patients with myelomeningoceles require placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt for hydrocephalus, and between 25% and 85% of these patients develop scoliosis. Although most patients undergo repeated shunt series radiography to evaluate for device malfunction, scoliosis radiographs are less consistently obtained. The authors sought to determine if a correlation exists between these 2 radiographic techniques for a given patient, as shunt series are obtained with the patient supine, whereas scoliosis radiographs are acquired with the patient standing upright. The authors also endeavored to study if shunt series radiographs can reliably detect significant scoliosis.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed a single institution's series of 593 patients with myelomeningoceles and identified all patients in whom a shunt series and scoliosis radiographs were obtained within a 6-month period. They reviewed the medical records and radiographs of these patients for demographic and radiographic parameters. They then applied a linear regression model and determined shunt series curve cutoffs to detect scoliotic curves greater than 20° and 50°.

Results

Of the 593 patients identified, 116 did not have radiographs available for interpretation. Of the remaining 477 patients, 201 had radiographic evidence of scoliosis (42%), and 66 had both a shunt series and a scoliosis radiographs acquired within a 6-month interval. In 4 patients, both end vertebrae of the scoliotic curve could not be visualized on a single radiograph. The mean age of the remaining cohort was 10.6 ± 5.2 years and the mean curve magnitude was 58° ± 37°. Using identical end vertebrae, the mean shunt series curve magnitude was 49° ± 35°. The mean interval between both radiographs was 2.3 ± 3.3 months. The regression model showed a strong linear association between shunt series and scoliosis series curves. A curve greater than 19° on shunt series radiographs would detect significant curves of greater than 20° on scoliosis series with 91% sensitivity and 78% specificity. A shunt series curve greater than 37° had 100% sensitivity and 93% specificity in identifying significant scoliotic curves greater than 50°.

Conclusions

Although shunt series radiographs may not precisely depict scoliotic curve magnitude because the impact of gravity is negated, they may be useful in helping to confirm clinical suspicion of scoliosis. The authors' results suggest a strong correlation between both types of radiographs.

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Daniel Hansen, Aditya Vedantam, Valentina Briceño, Sandi K. Lam, Thomas G. Luerssen and Andrew Jea

OBJECTIVE

The emphasis on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) outcomes is increasing, along with an emphasis on evidence-based medicine. However, there is a notable paucity of validated HRQOL instruments for the pediatric population. Furthermore, no standardization or consensus currently exists concerning which HRQOL outcome measures ought to be used in pediatric neurosurgery. The authors wished to identify HRQOL outcomes used in pediatric neurosurgery research over the past 10 years, their frequency, and usage trends.

METHODS

Three top pediatric neurosurgical journals were reviewed for the decade from 2005 to 2014 for clinical studies of pediatric neurosurgical procedures that report HRQOL outcomes. Similar studies in the peer-reviewed journal Pediatrics were also used as a benchmark. Publication year, level of evidence, and HRQOL outcomes were collected for each article.

RESULTS

A total of 31 HRQOL studies were published in the pediatric neurosurgical literature over the study period. By comparison, there were 55 such articles in Pediatrics. The number of publications using HRQOL instruments showed a significant positive trend over time for Pediatrics (B = 0.62, p = 0.02) but did not increase significantly over time for the 3 neurosurgical journals (B = 0.12, p = 0.5). The authors identified a total of 46 different HRQOL instruments used across all journals. Within the neurosurgical journals, the Hydrocephalus Outcome Questionnaire (HOQ) (24%) was the most frequently used, followed by the Health Utilities Index (HUI) (16%), the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL) (12%), and the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) (12%). Of the 55 articles identified in Pediatrics, 22 (40%) used a version of the PedsQL. No neurosurgical study reached above Level 4 on the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (OCEBM) system. However, multiple studies from Pediatrics achieved OCEBM Level 3, several were categorized as Level 2, and one reached Level 1.

CONCLUSIONS

The frequency of studies using HRQOL outcomes in pediatric neurosurgical research has not increased over the past 10 years. Within pediatric neurosurgery, high-quality studies and standardization are lacking, as compared with contemporary studies in Pediatrics. In general, although the HOQ, HUI, PedsQL, and SF-36 instruments are emerging as standards in pediatric neurosurgery, even greater standardization across the specialty is needed, along with the design and implementation of more rigorous studies.