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Victor M. Haughton, Timothy A. Schmidt, Kevin Keele, Howard S. An and Tae-Hong Lim

Object. The authors conducted a study in which their objective was to measure the effect of tears in the annulus fibrosus on the motions of lumbar spinal motion segments.

Methods. Lumbar spinal motion segments were harvested from human cadavers and studied using a 1.5-tesla magnetic resonance imager. The motion segments were subjected to incremental flexion, extension, rotation, and lateral bending torques. Displacements and rotations were measured using a kinematic system. The segments were sectioned on a cryomicrotome to verify the presence of tears in the annulus fibrosus.

Conclusions. Tears in the annulus fibrosus increase the amount of motion that results from a torque applied to the motion segment. Radial and transverse tears of the annulus fibrosus have a greater effect on motions produced by an axial rotatory torque than on those produced by flexion, extension, or lateral bending torques. The difference between normal discs and discs with annular tears is more marked during moments of axial rotational than during those of flexion, extension, or lateral bending.

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Brian P. Witwer, Roham Moftakhar, Khader M. Hasan, Praveen Deshmukh, Victor Haughton, Aaron Field, Konstantinos Arfanakis, Jane Noyes, Chad H. Moritz, M. Elizabeth Meyerand, Howard A. Rowley, Andrew L. Alexander and Behnam Badie

Object. Preserving vital cerebral function while maximizing tumor resection is a principal goal in surgical neurooncology. Although functional magnetic resonance imaging has been useful in the localization of eloquent cerebral cortex, this method does not provide information about the white matter tracts that may be involved in invasive, intrinsic brain tumors. Recently, diffusion-tensor (DT) imaging techniques have been used to map white matter tracts in the normal brain. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the role of DT imaging in preoperative mapping of white matter tracts in relation to cerebral neoplasms.

Methods. Nine patients with brain malignancies (one pilocytic astrocytoma, five oligodendrogliomas, one low-grade oligoastrocytoma, one Grade 4 astrocytoma, and one metastatic adenocarcinoma) underwent DT imaging examinations prior to tumor excision. Anatomical information about white matter tract location, orientation, and projections was obtained in every patient. Depending on the tumor type and location, evidence of white matter tract edema (two patients), infiltration (two patients), displacement (five patients), and disruption (two patients) could be assessed with the aid of DT imaging in each case.

Conclusions. Diffusion-tensor imaging allowed for visualization of white matter tracts and was found to be beneficial in the surgical planning for patients with intrinsic brain tumors. The authors' experience with DT imaging indicates that anatomically intact fibers may be present in abnormal-appearing areas of the brain. Whether resection of these involved fibers results in subtle postoperative neurological deficits requires further systematic study.

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Lindsey Nelson, Samir Lapsiwala, Victor M. Haughton, Jane Noyes, Amir H. Sadrzadeh, Chad H. Moritz, M. Elizabeth Meyerand and Behnam Badie

Object. Injury to the supplementary motor area (SMA) is thought to be responsible for transient motor and speech deficits following resection of tumors involving the medial frontal lobe. Because direct intraoperative localization of SMA is difficult, the authors hypothesized that functional magnetic resonance (fMR) imaging might be useful in predicting the risk of postoperative deficits in patients who undergo resection of tumors in this region.

Methods. Twelve patients who had undergone fMR imaging mapping while performing speech and motor tasks prior to excision of their tumor, that is, based on anatomical landmarks involving the SMA, were included in this study. The distance between the edge of the tumor and the center of SMA activation was measured and was correlated with the risk of incurring postoperative neurological deficits.

In every patient, SMA activation was noted in the superior frontal gyrus on preoperative fMR imaging. Two speech and two motor deficits typical of SMA injury were observed in three of the 12 patients. The two speech deficits occurred in patients with tumors involving the dominant hemisphere, whereas one of the motor deficits occurred in a patient with a tumor in the nondominant hemisphere. The risk of developing a postoperative speech or motor deficit was 100% when the distance between the SMA and the tumor was 5 mm or less. When the distance between SMA activation and the lesion was greater than 5 mm, the risk of developing a motor or a speech deficit was 0% (p = 0.0007).

Conclusions. Early data from this study indicated that fMR imaging might be useful in localizing the SMA and in determining the risk of postoperative deficits in patients who undergo resection of tumors located in the medial frontal lobe.

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Bermans J. Iskandar, Mark Quigley and Victor M. Haughton

Object. The Chiari I malformation presents significant challenges to clinicians because its pathophysiology is not well understood. In conducting cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow studies, investigators have attempted to correlate the clinical severity of these lesions with general flow velocity or bulk flow at the foramen magnum; however, these techniques have not allowed consistent prediction of symptomatology, explanation of the presence of syringomyelia, or the assessment of the hydrodynamic characteristics of the decompression. The authors used temporally and spatially resolved flow analyses to assess the characteristics of CSF flow in children with Chiari I malformation and the changes in these flow characteristics that occur after suboccipital decompression.

Methods. The authors studied eight children with symptomatic Chiari I malformation with or without syringomyelia and two children without Chiari I malformation. All patients underwent phase-contrast magnetic resonance imaging before and after posterior fossa decompression. Velocity plots were displayed for each voxel. Several indices of CSF flow were developed to characterize the flow patterns associated with Chiari I malformation.

In children with symptomatic Chiari I malformation, even though bulk flow or velocity is often normal, there was marked heterogeneity of flow at the foramen magnum. This was evident for several reasons: 1) an increase in cephalad and caudad peak velocities; 2) spatial inhomogeneity in velocities; 3) simultaneous bidirectional flow; and 4) substantial net craniad or caudad flows within particular voxels and subregions during the cardiac cycle. After posterior fossa decompression, the severity of these flow abnormalities decreased.

Conclusions. Foramen magnum CSF flow in children with symptomatic Chiari I malformations is spatially and temporally heterogeneous, and this heterogeneity improves postoperatively. The authors propose that relying on mean flow parameters in patients with Chiari I malformation is no longer sufficient; instead, more elaborate techniques to analyze foramen magnum CSF flow have become necessary.

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Bermans J. Iskandar and Victor Haughton


Measurements of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) velocities in the foramen magnum are used to determine the functional significance of Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I). Significantly higher peak velocities are found in adult patients with CM-I than in adult control participants. In addition, it appears that higher CSF velocities are found in pediatric patients with CM-I than in adult patients. Variations in CSF velocities across age groups in healthy individuals, however, have not been systematically studied.


Phase-contrast magnetic resonance imaging was performed in 10 pediatric patients after induction of anesthesia to evaluate conditions thought not to affect CSF flow in the foramen magnum. The peak systolic and diastolic velocities were plotted with respect to age and compared with velocities obtained in a group of 10 healthy adult volunteers. Differences between the adult and pediatric groups were tested for significance by using the Student t-test.

Peak velocities ranged from 1.9 to 19.9 cm/second in the pediatric group and from 1.2 to 4.5 cm/second in the adults. A trend line fitted to the data showed a decrease in velocity with age in the first two decades of life, and little change thereafter. Differences in the pediatric and adult groups were significant at a level of 0.05.


Peak CSF velocities vary significantly with age. To determine the normalcy of a CSF flow measurement, it must be compared with age-appropriate normative data.

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Svein O. Linge, Kent-A. Mardal, Anders Helgeland, John D. Heiss and Victor Haughton


The effect of craniovertebral decompression surgery on CSF flow dynamics in patients with Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) has been incompletely characterized. The authors used computational fluid dynamics to calculate the effect of decompression surgery on CSF flow dynamics in the posterior fossa and upper cervical spinal canal.


Oscillatory flow was simulated in idealized 3D models of the normal adult and the CM-I subarachnoid spaces (both previously described) and in 3 models of CM-I post–craniovertebral decompressions. The 3 postoperative models were created from the CM model by virtually modifying the CM model subarachnoid space to simulate surgical decompressions of different magnitudes. Velocities and pressures were computed with the Navier-Stokes equations in Star-CD for multiple cycles of CSF flow oscillating at 80 cycles/min. Pressure gradients and velocities were compared for 8 levels extending from the posterior fossa to the C3–4 level. Relative pressures and peak velocities were plotted by level from the posterior fossa to C3–4. The heterogeneity of flow velocity distribution around the spinal cord was compared between models.


Peak systolic velocities were generally lower in the postoperative models than in the preoperative CM model. With the 2 larger surgical defects, peak systolic velocities were brought closer to normal model velocities (equal values at C-3 and C-4) than with the smallest surgical defect. For the smallest defect, peak velocities were decreased, but not to levels in the normal model. In the postoperative models, heterogeneity in flow velocity distribution around the spinal cord increased from normal model levels as the degree of decompression increased.

Pressures in the 5 models differed in magnitude and in pattern. Pressure gradients along the spinal canal in the normal and CM models were nonlinear, with steeper gradients below C3–4 than above. The CM model had a steeper pressure gradient than the normal model above C3–4 and the same gradient below. The postoperative models had lower pressure gradients than the CM model above C2–3. The most conservative decompression had lower pressure gradients than the normal model above C2–3. The two larger decompression defects had CSF pressure gradients below those in the normal model above C2–3. These 2 models had a less steep gradient above C-3 and a steeper gradient below.


In computer simulations, craniovertebral surgical defects generally diminished CSF velocities and CSF pressures.

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Joyce Koueik, Carolina Sandoval-Garcia, John R. W. Kestle, Brandon G. Rocque, David M. Frim, Gerald A. Grant, Robert F. Keating, Carrie R. Muh, W. Jerry Oakes, Ian F. Pollack, Nathan R. Selden, R. Shane Tubbs, Gerald F. Tuite, Benjamin Warf, Victoria Rajamanickam, Aimee Teo Broman, Victor Haughton, Susan Rebsamen, Timothy M. George and Bermans J. Iskandar


Despite significant advances in diagnostic and surgical techniques, the surgical management of Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) with associated syringomyelia remains controversial, and the type of surgery performed is surgeon dependent. This study’s goal was to determine the feasibility of a prospective, multicenter, cohort study for CM-I/syringomyelia patients and to provide pilot data that compare posterior fossa decompression and duraplasty (PFDD) with and without tonsillar reduction.


Participating centers prospectively enrolled children suffering from both CM-I and syringomyelia who were scheduled to undergo surgical decompression. Clinical data were entered into a database preoperatively and at 1–2 weeks, 3–6 months, and 1 year postoperatively. MR images were evaluated by 3 independent, blinded teams of neurosurgeons and neuroradiologists. The primary endpoint was improvement or resolution of the syrinx.


Eight clinical sites were chosen based on the results of a published questionnaire intended to remove geographic and surgeon bias. Data from 68 patients were analyzed after exclusions, and complete clinical and imaging records were obtained for 55 and 58 individuals, respectively. There was strong agreement among the 3 radiology teams, and there was no difference in patient demographics among sites, surgeons, or surgery types. Tonsillar reduction was not associated with > 50% syrinx improvement (RR = 1.22, p = 0.39) or any syrinx improvement (RR = 1.00, p = 0.99). There were no surgical complications.


This study demonstrated the feasibility of a prospective, multicenter surgical trial in CM-I/syringomyelia and provides pilot data indicating no discernible difference in 1-year outcomes between PFDD with and without tonsillar reduction, with power calculations for larger future studies. In addition, the study revealed important technical factors to consider when setting up future trials. The long-term sequelae of tonsillar reduction have not been addressed and would be an important consideration in future investigations.