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Clinical adjacent-segment pathology after central corpectomy for cervical spondylotic myelopathy: incidence and risk factors

Aditya Vedantam and Vedantam Rajshekhar

OBJECTIVE

The goal of this study was to investigate the prevalence and risk factors of clinical adjacent-segment pathology (CASP) following central corpectomy for cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) or ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL).

METHODS

The authors reviewed 353 cases involving patients operated on by a single surgeon with a minimum 12-month follow-up after central corpectomy for CSM or OPLL between 1995 and 2007. Patients with symptoms consistent with CASP at follow-up were selected for the study. The authors analyzed the prevalence and risk factors for CASP after central corpectomy for CSM/OPLL.

RESULTS

Fourteen patients (13 male, 1 female; mean age 46.9 ± 7.7 years) were diagnosed with symptoms of CASP (3.9% of 353 patients) at follow-up. The mean interval between the initial surgery and presentation with symptoms of CASP was 95.6 ± 54.1 months (range 40–213 months). Preoperative Nurick grades ranged from 2 to 5 (mean 3.5 ± 1.2), and the Nurick grades at follow-up ranged from 1 to 5 (mean 3.0 ± 1.3, p = 0.27). Twelve patients had myelopathic symptoms and 2 had radiculopathy at follow-up. Patients with poorer preoperative Nurick grades had a higher risk for development of CASP (HR 2.6 [95% CI 1.2–5.3], p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

In the present study, CASP was seen in 3.9% of patients following central corpectomy for CSM/OPLL. The risk of CASP after central corpectomy for CSM/OPLL was higher in patients with poorer preoperative Nurick grades.

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Rapid-onset paraparesis and quadriparesis in patients with intramedullary spinal dermoid cysts: report of 10 cases

Shabari Girishan and Vedantam Rajshekhar

OBJECT

Intramedullary dermoid cysts are rare tumors of the spinal cord. Presentation with rapid onset of paraparesis or quadriparesis (onset within 2 weeks) is rarer still. The authors present their experience in the management and outcome of patients with such a presentation.

METHODS

Patient records between 2000 and 2014 were retrospectively reviewed to identify those with intraspinal dermoid cysts who presented with rapid-onset paraparesis or quadriparesis. Their clinical, radiological, operative, and follow-up data were analyzed.

RESULTS

Of a total of 50 patients with intraspinal dermoid cysts managed during the study period, 10 (20%) presented with rapid-onset paraparesis or quadriparesis; 9 patients ranged in age from 8 months to 2 years, and 1 patient was 25 years old. A dermal sinus was seen in the lumbar region of 4 patients, the sacral region of 3, and the thoracic region of 1, and in 1 patient no sinus was found. All except 1 patient presented with rapid-onset paraparesis secondary to infection of the intramedullary dermoid cyst. One patient presented with rupture of a dermoid cyst with extension into the central canal up to the medulla. Early surgery was done soon after presentation in all except 2 patients. Among the 9 patients who underwent surgery (1 patient did not undergo surgery), total excision of the intramedullary dermoid cyst was done in 3 patients, near-total excision in 4 patients, and partial excision in 2 patients. Of the 9 patients who underwent surgery, 8 showed significant improvement in their neurological status, and 1 patient remained stable. The 1 patient who did not undergo surgery died as a result of an uncontrolled infection after being discharged to a local facility for management of wound infection.

CONCLUSIONS

Early recognition of a dermal sinus and the associated intraspinal dermoid cyst and timely surgical intervention can eliminate the chances of acute deterioration of neurological function. Even after an acute onset of paraparesis or quadriparesis, appropriate antibiotic therapy and prompt surgery can provide reasonably good outcomes in these patients.

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Resolution of syringomyelia and basilar invagination after traction

Case illustration

Vivek Joseph and Vedantam Rajshekhar

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Thoracic intramedullary melanocytoma with long-term follow-up

Case report

Geeta Chacko and Vedantam Rajshekhar

Melanocytomas are tumors of the neuraxis seen predominantly in adults. The authors report a case of a thoracic intramedullary melanocytoma with long-term follow-up of 8 years postsurgery. Melanocytomas, although rare, must be included in the differential diagnosis of intramedullary spinal cord tumors.

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Abdominal pseudohernia following intradural tumor excision

Case illustration

Ruben Choudhury and Vedantam Rajshekhar

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Solitary cysticercus granuloma of the brainstem

Report of four cases

Rahul Lath and Vedantam Rajshekhar

✓ Isolated brainstem involvement in patients who have neurocysticercosis is rare. The authors describe the clinical and radiological features of four patients with a solitary cysticercus granuloma of the brainstem and discuss their case management. In three of the patients the onset of symptoms was fairly rapid, occurring over a few days. The granuloma appeared as an enhancing lesion measuring 20 mm or less, with a ring- or disklike appearance on computerized tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. A stereotactic biopsy provided the definitive diagnosis in one patient. In two patients the granuloma resolved spontaneously with complete regression of symptoms and signs and in one patient the granuloma resolved following albendazole therapy. In all patients, outcome was excellent or good (follow-up evaluation 6 months–3 years) with only one patient having persistent paresthesias on one side of his body. Because spontaneous resolution is the rule, a conservative approach to case management, including observation, is recommended. The importance of recognizing this entity and avoiding unnecessary surgical intervention or empirical antituberculous chemotherapy is emphasized.

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Computerized tomography—guided stereotactic surgery for brainstem masses: a risk—benefit analysis in 71 patients

Vedantam Rajshekhar and Mathew J. Chandy

✓ The benefits of the use of computerized tomography (CT)-guided stereotactic surgical techniques for the management of intrinsic brainstem masses diagnosed from clinical evaluation and imaging studies were evaluated vis-à-vis the risks involved in 71 consecutive patients. Seventy-two procedures were performed. The masses were diffuse, involving two or three contiguous brainstem segments, in 60 patients and focal in 11 patients. On the CT scans, 25 patients had hypodense nonenhancing masses, two had isodense nonenhancing masses, 19 had ring-enhancing masses, and 25 had heterogeneously enhancing masses. A positive biopsy was obtained in 68 of 69 patients (98.5%) undergoing a biopsy procedure. In nine patients (12.6%) with suspected malignant masses a benign pathology was diagnosed (four tuberculomas, two epidermoid cysts, one pyogenic abscess, one epidermal cyst, and one case of encephalitis). Additionally, fluid from cystic masses could be aspirated in eight cases, providing benefit in six (four patients had benign lesions and two had neoplastic lesions). Thereby, a total of 13 patients (18.3%) were deemed to have benefited from the surgery (two patients were included in both categories). Patients with focal masses and ring-enhancing masses had the highest proportion of benign lesions (60% and 36.8%, respectively) and therefore derived the most benefit from histological verification. There was no procedurerelated mortality. One patient (1.4%) suffered permanent morbidity and four others (5.6%) had transient worsening attributable to the procedure. The authors conclude that CT-guided stereotactic surgery of the brainstem is safe and reliable. Histological verification of all enhancing (especially ring-enhancing) and focal brainstem masses should be undertaken to identify patients with benign nonneoplastic lesions. Selected patients with diffuse hypodense nonenhancing masses with atypical clinical or imaging features may also benefit from stereotactic biopsy. Even in these patients the lack of enhancement on a contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance image, rather than the diffuse location of the tumor alone, should form the basis for diagnosing a malignant glioma. The main value of stereotactic surgery lies in the identification of benign masses in a significant proportion of patients with intrinsic brainstem masses and in providing a rapid and safe method for evacuation of the contents of cystic masses.

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Enlarging solitary cysticercus granulomas

Vedantam Rajshekhar and Mathew J. Chandy

✓ Solitary cysticercus granulomas that produce seizures usually measure less than 20 mm in diameter and diminish in size spontaneously. Unlike live cysticercus cysts, they have not been known to increase in size. In a prospective follow-up study of 93 consecutive patients with epilepsy and small solitary lesions (< 20 mm in diameter) enhancing on computerized tomography (CT), 91 were found to have solitary cysticercus granuloma; of these, seven (7.7%) were diagnosed as having an enlarging cysticercus granuloma. Enlarging lesions were defined as those that, on follow-up CT, had increased by more than 50% of their original size but were still less than 20 mm in diameter (Group 1, three patients) or those that had increased to more than 20 mm (Group 2, four patients). Excision biopsy is recommended for Group 2 solitary lesions, regardless of the clinical progression, to eliminate the possibility of other pathologies. However, a trial of albendazole therapy with early CT re-evaluation (within 4 to 6 weeks) may be warranted in those with Group 1 lesions and in selected patients with Group 2 lesions. It is important to recognize the entity of enlarging solitary cysticercus granuloma to avoid mistaking it for a tuberculoma and treating the patient with empiric antituberculous therapy.

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Management of brain abscess: an overview

Ranjith K. Moorthy and Vedantam Rajshekhar

✓ Recent advances in neuroimaging have resulted in a marked decrease in morbidity and death due to brain abscesses. The advent of computed tomography–guided stereotaxy has reduced morbidity in patients with deep-seated abscesses. Empirical therapy is best avoided in the present era, particularly given the availability of stereotactic techniques for aspiration and confirmation of diagnosis. Despite these advances, management of abscesses in patients with cyanotic heart disease and in immunosuppressed patients remains a formidable challenge. Unusual as well as more recently recognized pathogens are being isolated from abscesses in immunosuppressed patients. The authors provide an overview of the management of brain abscesses, highlighting their experience in managing these lesions in patients with cyanotic heart disease, stereotactic management of brain abscesses, and management of abscesses in immunosuppressed patients.

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Outcome in neurologically impaired patients with craniovertebral junction tuberculosis: results of combined anteroposterior surgery

Moses Joseph Arunkumar and Vedantam Rajshekhar

Object. The authors studied the immediate and long-term outcome after transoral decompression, occipitocervical fusion, and antituberculous therapy (ATT) in patients who had neurological deficits due to craniovertebral junction (CVJ) tuberculosis.

Methods. In this retrospective study, the authors reviewed the management and outcome in nine consecutive patients in whom features of spinal cord compression were observed and CVJ tuberculosis was diagnosed between 1993 and 1999. They ranged in age from 9 to 55 years. Onset of symptoms was acute or subacute and rapidly progressive (median 4 months, range 1–12 months). Patients presented with neck pain (89%), progressive limb weakness (89%), sensory symptoms (22%), and urinary dysfunction (33%). The mean preoperative functional grade based on the Nurick Scale was 3.4 (range 1–5). The disease caused reducible atlantoaxial dislocation (AAD) in three patients (33%), irreducible AAD in two (22%), basilar impression (BI) in one (11%), AAD with BI in one (11%), and C-2 vertebral body (VB) destruction without dislocation in two (22%). Surgery was performed in all cases. Five patients (56%) underwent transoral odontoidectomy, two (22%) transoral decompression of retropharyngeal abscess and granulation tissue, and two (22%) transoral decompression of abscess and diseased parts of the C-2 VB. All patients then underwent occipitocervical (occiput—C3) fusion in which a contoured Steinmann pin and iliac bone grafts were used.

Postoperatively, ATT was prescribed for 18 months. In the immediate postoperative period, function in these patients improved from a mean Nurick grade of 3.4 to 2.3 (p < 0.01). At long-term follow-up examination (median 18.8 months, range 7–46 months) function improved from a mean Nurick grade of 3.4 to 0.3 (range 0–2) (p < 0.001).

Conclusions. Patients with CVJ tuberculosis with features of cervical myelopathy are ideally managed with transoral decompressive procedures followed by occipitocervical fusion because this therapy provides immediate neurological improvement, stability, and allows early mobilization. The long-term prognosis in patients with this disease is excellent provided it is treated with appropriate surgical intervention(s) and with adequate duration of ATT.