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Ulrich Hubbe, Pamela Franco-Jimenez, Jan-Helge Klingler, Ioannis Vasilikos, Christoph Scholz and Evangelos Kogias


The aim of the study was to investigate the safety and efficacy of minimally invasive tubular microdiscectomy for the treatment of recurrent lumbar disc herniation (LDH). As opposed to endoscopic techniques, namely microendoscopic and endoscopic transforaminal discectomy, this microscopically assisted technique has never been used for the treatment of recurrent LDH.


Thirty consecutive patients who underwent minimally invasive tubular microdiscectomy for recurrent LDH were included in the study. The preoperative and postoperative visual analog scale (VAS) scores for pain, the clinical outcome according to modified Macnab criteria, and complications were analyzed retrospectively. The minimum follow-up was 1.5 years. Student t-test with paired samples was used for the statistical comparison of pre- and postoperative VAS scores. A p value < 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant.


The mean operating time was 90 ± 35 minutes. The VAS score for leg pain was significantly reduced from 5.9 ± 2.1 preoperatively to 1.7 ± 1.3 postoperatively (p < 0.001). The overall success rate (excellent or good outcome according to Macnab criteria) was 90%. Incidental durotomy occurred in 5 patients (16.7%) without neurological consequences, CSF fistula, or negative influence to the clinical outcome. Instability occurred in 2 patients (6.7%).


The clinical outcome of minimally invasive tubular microdiscectomy is comparable to the reported success rates of other minimally invasive techniques. The dural tear rate is not associated to higher morbidity or worse outcome. The technique is an equally effective and safe treatment option for recurrent LDH.

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Evangelos Kogias, Ronen Sircar, Jan-Helge Klingler, Martin Hermann Deininger and Ulrich Hubbe

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Martin H. Deininger, Ulrich Hubbe, Olaf Moske-Eick and Vassilios I. Vougioukas

✓The often extended and elongated configuration of a diffuse subdural hematoma of the spine makes it impossible to completely evacuate with common neurosurgical approaches. The authors describe the complete evacuation of a diffuse subdural hematoma of the entire spine due to trauma in a patient who suffered myelopathy and paraplegia in succession, by using transient subdural catheter lysis. After the patient underwent a partial hemilaminectomy at T7–8 and L2–3 using a lateral transmuscular approach, a 15 cm-long intraventricular catheter was inserted at each hemilaminectomy site and connected to an external ventricular drainage system in a procedure lasting 1 hour. Subsequently, 5000 IU of urokinase was applied four times daily for 30 minutes each time over the next 5 days. Two months later, the patient presented with spastic paraparesis Manual Muscle Test Grade 4/5. Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging revealed no catheter-related complications.

The authors conclude from this case that transient catheter lysis may be an effective and gentle method to treat diffuse and elongated subdural hematomas of the spine due to trauma. A larger series needs to be analyzed, however, to address the indications and limitations of the technique compared with conventional open surgery. Such evaluation should include serial MR imaging and electrophysiological examination.

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Jan-Helge Klingler, Marie Therese Krüger, Evangelos Kogias, Stefanie M. Brendecke, Ulrich Hubbe and Christian Scheiwe

Malignant meningiomas are a rare but aggressive subset of intracranial meningiomas leading to a very limited life expectancy. The occurrence of spinal metastases in these tumors is an even rarer event. The described patient had an intracranial malignant meningioma and developed a symptomatic osteolytic contrast-enhancing lesion in the left C-1 lateral mass suspicious for metastasis. The authors performed a minimally invasive posterior resection of the lesion with vertebroplasty of C-1. Histopathology verified metastasis of the malignant meningioma. The surgical procedure resulted in prompt and permanent pain reduction until the patient died 18 months later. Given the very limited life expectancy in this case, the authors did not consider occipitocervical fusion because of their desire to preserve the range of motion of the head. Therefore, they suggest minimally invasive tumor resection and vertebroplasty in selected palliative tumor patients.

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Jan-Helge Klingler, Ulrich Hubbe, Christoph Scholz, Florian Volz, Marc Hohenhaus, Ioannis Vasilikos, Waseem Masalha, Ralf Watzlawick and Yashar Naseri


Intraoperative 3D imaging and navigation is increasingly used for minimally invasive spine surgery. A novel, noninvasive patient tracker that is adhered as a mask on the skin for 3D navigation necessitates a larger intraoperative 3D image set for appropriate referencing. This enlarged 3D image data set can be acquired by a state-of-the-art 3D C-arm device that is equipped with a large flat-panel detector. However, the presumably associated higher radiation exposure to the patient has essentially not yet been investigated and is therefore the objective of this study.


Patients were retrospectively included if a thoracolumbar 3D scan was performed intraoperatively between 2016 and 2019 using a 3D C-arm with a large 30 × 30–cm flat-panel detector (3D scan volume 4096 cm3) or a 3D C-arm with a smaller 20 × 20–cm flat-panel detector (3D scan volume 2097 cm3), and the dose area product was available for the 3D scan. Additionally, the fluoroscopy time and the number of fluoroscopic images per 3D scan, as well as the BMI of the patients, were recorded.


The authors compared 62 intraoperative thoracolumbar 3D scans using the 3D C-arm with a large flat-panel detector and 12 3D scans using the 3D C-arm with a small flat-panel detector. Overall, the 3D C-arm with a large flat-panel detector required more fluoroscopic images per scan (mean 389.0 ± 8.4 vs 117.0 ± 4.6, p < 0.0001), leading to a significantly higher dose area product (mean 1028.6 ± 767.9 vs 457.1 ± 118.9 cGy × cm2, p = 0.0044).


The novel, noninvasive patient tracker mask facilitates intraoperative 3D navigation while eliminating the need for an additional skin incision with detachment of the autochthonous muscles. However, the use of this patient tracker mask requires a larger intraoperative 3D image data set for accurate registration, resulting in a 2.25 times higher radiation exposure to the patient. The use of the patient tracker mask should thus be based on an individual decision, especially taking into considering the radiation exposure and extent of instrumentation.

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Thomas M. Freiman, Rainer Surges, Vassilios I. Vougioukas, Ulrich Hubbe, Jochen Talazko, Josef Zentner, Jürgen Honegger and Andreas Schulze-Bonhage

✓ The development of visual hallucinations after loss of vision is known as the Charles Bonnet syndrome. This phenomenon was first described in 1760 by Charles Bonnet and others during their observations of elderly patients with degeneration of the retina or cornea. To date a clear association between visual hallucinations and neurosurgical procedures has not been reported. Because of their clear demarcation, however, surgical lesions in the cerebrum offer a unique opportunity to determine the pathoanatomical aspects of visual hallucinations. During a 3-year period, 41 consecutive patients who acquired visual field defects after neurosurgery were examined for the occurrence of visual hallucination. Postoperatively, four of these patients experienced visual hallucinations. In two of them an upper quadrantanopia developed after the patients had undergone selective amygdalohippocampectomy. In the other two patients a complete hemianopia developed, in one case after resection of a parietal astrocytoma and in the other after resection of an occipital glioblastoma multiforme. The visual hallucinations were transient and gradually disappeared between 4 days and 6 months postoperatively. The patients were aware of the fact that their hallucinations were fictitious and displayed no psychosis. Electroencephalographic recordings were obtained in only two patients and epileptic discharges were found.

Deafferentiation of cortical association areas may lead to the spontaneous generation of complex visual phenomena. In the present series this phenomenon occurred in approximately 10% of patients with postoperative visual field defects. In all four cases the central optic radiation was damaged between the lateral geniculate nucleus and the primary visual cortex. The complex nature of the visual hallucination indicates that they were generated in visual association areas.

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Evangelos Kogias, Achim Kircher, Martin Hermann Deininger, Nikolaos Psarras, Tobias Keck, Arnd-Oliver Schäfer and Ulrich Hubbe

The authors report a very rare cause of low-back pain and sciatica in a patient with iliac vein thrombosis attributed to absence of the infrarenal segment of the inferior vena cava (IVC) with massively dilated venous collaterals draining via a paraspinal plexus into the azygous system.

This 21-year-old man presented with acute low-back pain radiating to the left ventral thigh. The initial CT scan revealed an intraspinal lesion that mimicked lumbar disc herniation. Further clarification revealed an iliac vein thrombosis, which was triggered by the absence of the infrarenal segment of the IVC, a very rare vascular anomaly. Collateral venous return was developed and led to lumbar varicosities and epidural vein engorgements. Laboratory examinations revealed factor V mutation as a predisposing factor for thrombosis. The patient's symptoms were relieved with anticoagulation and antiinflammatory therapy.

Absence of the infrarenal IVC associated with iliac vein thrombosis should be regarded as a very rare cause of radicular and low-back pain, and this condition can mimic the clinical and radiological signs of lumbar disc herniation. Sciatica might be the first clinical manifestation of this rare venous anomaly.