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Teiji Tominaga, Toshiyuki Takahashi, Hiroaki Shimizu and Takashi Yoshimoto

✓ Vertebral artery (VA) occlusion by rotation of the head is uncommon, but can result from mechanical compression of the artery, trauma, or atlantoaxial instability. Occipital bone anomalies rarely cause rotational VA occlusion, and patients with nontraumatic intermittent occlusion of the VA usually present with compromised vertebrobasilar flow.

A 34-year-old man suffered three embolic strokes in the vertebrobasilar system within 2 months. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated multiple infarcts in the vertebrobasilar territory. Angiography performed immediately after the third attack displayed an embolus in the right posterior cerebral artery. Radiographic and three-dimensional computerized tomography bone images exhibited an anomalous osseous process of the occipital bone projecting to the posterior arch of the atlas. Dynamic angiography indicated complete occlusion of the left VA between the osseous process and the posterior arch while the patient's head was turned to the right. Surgical decompression of the VA resulted in complete resolution of rotational occlusion of the artery.

An occipital bone anomaly can cause rotational VA occlusion at the craniovertebral junction in patients who present with repeated embolic strokes resulting from injury to the arterial wall.

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Kuniyasu Niizuma, Miki Fujimura, Toshiyuki Takahashi, Akira Takahashi, Mika Watanabe and Teiji Tominaga

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Toshiyuki Takahashi, Teiji Tominaga, Masayuki Ezura, Kiyotaka Sato and Takashi Yoshimoto

✓ The authors report on a 38-year-old woman with a dislocated hangman fracture associated with unilateral vertebral artery (VA) occlusion. The patient presented with a mild central cord syndrome, as well as anterior subluxation of the C-2 vertebral body upon C-3, bilateral neural arch fractures, and a unilateral locked facet joint. Digital subtraction angiography revealed occlusion of the right VA, with the posterior cerebral circulation entirely dependent on the left VA. Intraoperative angiography demonstrated that complete reduction of the dislocation would have caused severe stenosis of the left VA; partial reduction and anterior fixation were performed instead, with excellent neurological outcome. In this case, intraoperative angiography was particularly useful for preventing brain-related ischemic complications during reduction.

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Ryo Kanematsu, Junya Hanakita, Toshiyuki Takahashi, Yosuke Tomita and Manabu Minami

OBJECTIVE

Surgical management of thoracic ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) remains challenging because of the anatomical complexity of the thoracic spine and the fragility of the thoracic spinal cord. Several surgical approaches have been described, but it remains unclear which of these is the most effective. The present study describes the microsurgical removal of OPLL in the middle thoracic level via the transthoracic anterolateral approach without spinal fusion, including the surgical outcome and operative tips.

METHODS

Between 2002 and 2017, a total of 8 patients with thoracic myelopathy due to OPLL were surgically treated via the transthoracic anterolateral approach without spinal fusion. The surgical techniques are described in detail. Clinical outcome, surgical complications, and the pre- and postoperative thoracic kyphotic angle were assessed.

RESULTS

The mean patient age at the time of surgery was 55 years (range 47–77 years). There were 5 women and 3 men. The surgically treated levels were within T3–9. The clinical symptoms and Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) score improved postoperatively in 7 cases, but did not change in 1 case. The mean JOA score increased from 6.4 preoperatively to 7.5 postoperatively (recovery rate 26%). Intraoperative CSF leakage occurred in 4 cases, and was successfully treated with fibrin glue sealing and spinal drainage. The mean follow-up period was 82.6 months (range 15.3–169 months). None of the patients had deterioration of the thoracic kyphotic angle.

CONCLUSIONS

Anterior decompression is the logical and ideal procedure to treat thoracic myelopathy caused by OPLL on the concave side of the spinal cord; however, this procedure is technically demanding. Microsurgery via the transthoracic anterolateral approach enables direct visualization of the thoracic ventral ossified lesion. The use of microscopic procedures might negate the need for bone grafting or spinal instrumentation.

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Toshiyuki Takahashi, Teiji Tominaga, Noriaki Watabe, A. Toshimitu Yokobori Jr., Hiroshi Sasada and Takashi Yoshimoto

Object. The efficacy of recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2) for enhancing anterior cervical spine interbody fusion when added to a porous hydroxyapatite (HA) graft was investigated.

Methods. Fourteen mature goats underwent three-level anterior discectomies after induction of endotracheal anesthesia. Porous HA grafts that contained 0, 5, and 50 µg of rhBMP-2 were placed concurrently with anterior cervical spine plates to achieve interbody fusion. The fusion rate, radiological findings, biomechanical stiffness, and histological appearance were evaluated in 42 spinal units immediately and again at 4 and 12 weeks after graft and plate placement.

At 12 weeks postsurgery, manual testing showed a 100% fusion rate in the spines with HA grafts containing high-dose rhBMP-2; however, only a 50% fusion rate was shown in spines with grafts that contained no or low-dose rhBMP-2. On radiographic and histological studies the process of solid fusion was seen to be more advanced in relation to the use of larger amounts of rhBMP-2. Biomechanical testing demonstrated significantly higher stiffness values for grafts that contained high-dose rhBMP-2 than those without rhBMP-2 in flexion at 4 weeks, as well as in flexion, extension, and lateral bending tests at 12 weeks. Histological analysis demonstrated that rhBMP-2 increased the amount of bone apposition on the surface of the implants and promoted bone formation in the porous structure without increasing the penetration distance.

Conclusions. Through osteogenesis at the fusion site, the addition of rhBMP-2 to a porous HA ceramic graft enhances the rate of anterior cervical fusion.

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Toshiki Endo, Toshiyuki Takahashi, Hidefumi Jokura and Teiji Tominaga

Object

Spinal intradural arachnoid cysts are a rare cause of spinal cord compression. Since 2000, the authors have treated patients using 2- or 3-level hemilaminectomy or laminectomy followed by partial cyst wall resection as well as endoscopic inspection and fenestration of the cyst wall. They evaluated the usefulness and reliability of endoscopic treatment for this clinical entity based on long-term follow-up results.

Methods

Between 1997 and 2003, 11 patients (3 males and 8 females) with spinal intradural arachnoid cysts were treated, and the authors conducted a retrospective review of these cases. Before 2000, 5 patients were surgically treated without the use of endoscopic techniques. During that time, more than 4 levels of hemilaminectomy were performed to expose and remove cyst walls that extended longitudinally over the spinal axis. Beginning in 2000, endoscopy was used in all 6 cases. Up to 3 levels of hemilaminectomy or 2 levels of laminectomy were performed, and the cyst wall was resected through the bone window. An endoscope was inserted into the cyst cavity and moved in the cranial and caudal direction to fenestrate the cyst wall, resulting in communication of the cyst cavity with the subarachnoid space.

Results

Postoperatively, the neurological symptoms of all patients improved. During long-term follow-up (mean 114.8 months), none of the patients treated with or without endoscopy experienced recurrent cyst formation.

Conclusions

Endoscopic techniques allow neurosurgeons to treat spinal intradural arachnoid cysts less invasively than with standard surgical approaches. Although the number of cases reviewed in this report is small, the data suggest that the use of endoscopy can be an important option in the surgical treatment of spinal arachnoid cysts.

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Keita Kuraishi, Junya Hanakita, Toshiyuki Takahashi, Manabu Minami, Masanao Mori and Mizuki Watanabe

The authors report on an 81-year-old woman whose condition deteriorated 2 months after undergoing osteoplastic laminoplasty with placement of hydroxyapatite spacers. Magnetic resonance imaging showed postlaminectomy scar formation compressing the cervical spinal cord. The patient underwent laminectomy and removal of remarkably thick epidural scar tissue, which resulted in resolution of her symptoms. Histological diagnosis of the scar was fibrous granulation tissue with foreign body granuloma, characterized by multinucleated giant cells and marked increases of capillary vessels, fibroblasts, and collagen fibers. This case of symptomatic postlaminectomy scar formation after osteoplastic laminoplasty suggests that osteoplastic laminoplasty cannot always prevent laminectomy membrane formation.

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Satoshi Yamaguchi, Masaaki Takeda, Toshiyuki Takahashi, Hitoshi Yamahata, Takafumi Mitsuhara, Tadaaki Niiro, Junya Hanakita, Kazutoshi Hida, Kazunori Arita and Kaoru Kurisu

OBJECT

Spinal meningioma and schwannoma are the most common spinal intradural extramedullary tumors, and the differentiation of these 2 tumors by CT and MRI has been a matter of debate. The purpose of this article is to present a case series of spinal meningiomas showing unique imaging features: a combination of a fan-shaped spinal cord and a streak in the tumor. The authors termed the former imaging feature “ginkgo leaf sign” and evaluated its diagnostic value.

METHODS

The authors present 7 cases of spinal meningioma having the ginkgo leaf sign. Thirty spinal extramedullary tumors arising lateral or ventrolateral to the spinal cord were studied to evaluate the diagnostic value of the ginkgo leaf sign for spinal meningiomas. Among 30 cases, 12 tumors were spinal meningiomas and 18 tumors from the control group were all schwannomas.

RESULTS

Seven of the 12 spinal meningiomas were positive for the ginkgo leaf sign. The sign was not present in the control group tumors. The overall ability to use the ginkgo leaf sign to detect meningioma indicated a sensitivity of 58%, specificity of 100%, positive predictive value of 100%, and negative predictive value of 78%.

CONCLUSIONS

The ginkgo leaf sign is highly specific to spinal meningiomas arising lateral or ventrolateral to the spinal cord. In the present series, the ginkgo leaf sign was perfectly predictive for spinal meningioma.

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Hidetoshi Matsukawa, Hiroyasu Kamiyama, Toshiyuki Tsuboi, Kosumo Noda, Nakao Ota, Shiro Miyata, Takanori Miyazaki, Yu Kinoshita, Norihiro Saito, Osamu Takahashi, Rihee Takeda, Sadahisa Tokuda and Rokuya Tanikawa

OBJECTIVE

Only a few previous studies have investigated subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) after surgical treatment in patients with unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs). Given the improvement in long-term outcomes of embolization, more extensive data are needed concerning the true rupture rates after microsurgery in order to provide reliable information for treatment decisions. The purpose of this study was to investigate the incidence of and risk factors for postoperative SAH in patients with surgically treated UIAs.

METHODS

Data from 702 consecutive patients harboring 852 surgically treated UIAs were evaluated. Surgical treatments included neck clipping (complete or incomplete), coating/wrapping, trapping, proximal occlusion, and bypass surgery. Clippable UIAs were defined as UIAs treated by complete neck clipping. The annual incidence of postoperative SAH and risk factors for SAH were studied using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and Cox proportional hazards regression models.

RESULTS

The patients’ median age was 64 years (interquartile range [IQR] 56–71 years). Of 852 UIAs, 767 were clippable and 85 were not. The mean duration of follow-up was 731 days (SD 380 days). During 1708 aneurysm years, there were 4 episodes of SAH, giving an overall average annual incidence rate of 0.23% (95% CI 0.12%–0.59%) and an average annual incidence rate of 0.065% (95% CI 0.0017%–0.37%) for clippable UIAs (1 episode of SAH, 1552 aneurysm-years). Basilar artery location (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 23, 95% CI 2.0–255, p = 0.0012) and unclippable UIA status (adjusted HR 15, 95% CI 1.1–215, p = 0.046) were significantly related to postoperative SAH. An excellent outcome (modified Rankin Scale score of 0 or 1) was achieved in 816 (95.7%) of 852 cases overall and in 748 (98%) of 767 clippable UIAs at 12 months.

CONCLUSIONS

In this large case series, microsurgical treatment of UIAs was found to be safe and effective. Aneurysm location and unclippable morphologies were related to postoperative SAH in patients with surgically treated UIAs.

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Hidetoshi Matsukawa, Shiro Miyata, Toshiyuki Tsuboi, Kosumo Noda, Nakao Ota, Osamu Takahashi, Rihee Takeda, Sadahisa Tokuda, Hiroyasu Kamiyama and Rokuya Tanikawa

OBJECTIVE

After internal carotid artery (ICA) sacrifice without revascularization for complex aneurysms, ischemic complications can occur. In addition, hemodynamic alterations in the circle of Willis create conditions conducive to the formation of de novo aneurysms or the enlargement of existing untreated aneurysms. Therefore, the revascularization technique remains indispensable. Because vessel sizes and the development of collateral circulation are different in each patient, the ideal graft size to prevent low flow–related ischemic complications (LRICs) in external carotid artery (ECA)–middle cerebral artery (MCA) bypass with therapeutic ICA occlusion (ICAO) has not been well established. Authors of this study hypothesized that the adequate graft size could be calculated from the size of the sacrificed ICA and the values of MCA pressure (MCAP) and undertook an investigation in patients with complex ICA aneurysms treated with ECA-graft-MCA bypass and therapeutic ICAO.

METHODS

In the period between July 2006 and January 2016, 80 patients with complex ICA aneurysms were treated with ECA-MCA bypass and therapeutic ICAO. Preoperative balloon test occlusion (BTO) was performed, and the BTO pressure ratio was defined as the mean stump pressure/mean preocclusion pressure. Low flow–related ischemic complications were defined as new postoperative neurological deficits and ipsilateral cerebral blood flow reduction. Initial MCAP (iMCAP), MCAP after clamping the ICA (cMCAP), and MCAP after releasing the graft (gMCAP) were intraoperatively monitored. The MCAP ratio was defined as gMCAP/iMCAP. Based on the Hagen-Poiseuille law, the expected MCAP ratio ([expected gMCAP]/iMCAP) was hypothesized as follows: (1 – cMCAP/iMCAP)(graft radius/ICA radius)2 + (cMCAP/iMCAP). Correlations between the BTO pressure ratio and cMCAP/iMCAP, and between the actual and expected MCAP ratios, were evaluated. Risk factors for LRICs were also evaluated.

RESULTS

The mean BTO pressure ratio was significantly correlated with the mean cMCAP/iMCAP (r = 0.68, p < 0.0001). The actual MCAP ratio correlated with the expected MCAP ratio (r = 0.43, p < 0.0001). If the expected MCAP ratio was set up using the BTO pressure ratio instead of cMCAP/iMCAP (BTO-expected MCAP ratio), the mean BTO-expected MCAP ratio significantly correlated with the expected MCAP ratio (r = 0.95, p < 0.0001). During a median follow-up period of 26.1 months, LRICs were observed in 9 patients (11%). An actual MCAP ratio < 0.80 (p = 0.003), expected MCAP ratio < 0.80 (p = 0.001), and (M2 radius/graft radius)2 < 0.49 (p = 0.002) were related to LRICs according to the Cox proportional-hazards model.

CONCLUSIONS

Data in the present study indicated that it was important to use an adequate graft to achieve a sufficient MCAP ratio in order to avoid LRICs and that the adequate graft size could be evaluated based on a formula in patients with complex ICA aneurysms treated with ICAO.