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Wilson Z. Ray, Vijay M. Ravindra, Gregory F. Jost, Erica F. Bisson and Meic H. Schmidt

As health care reform continues to evolve, demonstrating the cost effectiveness of spinal fusion procedures will be of critical value. Posterior subaxial cervical fusion with lateral mass screw and rod instrumentation is a well-established fixation technique. Subaxial transarticular facet fixation is a lesser known fusion technique that has been shown to be biomechanically equivalent to lateral mass screws for short constructs. Although there has not been a widespread adoption of transarticular facet screws, the screws potentially represent a cost-effective alternative to lateral mass rod and screw constructs. In this review, the authors describe an institutional experience with the use of lateral mass screws and provide a theoretical cost comparison with the use of transarticular facet screws.

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Wilson Z. Ray, Vijay M. Ravindra, Meic H. Schmidt and Andrew T. Dailey

Object

Pelvic fixation is a crucial adjunct to many lumbar fusions to avoid L5–S1 pseudarthrosis. It is useful for treatment of kyphoscoliosis, high-grade spondylolisthesis, L5–S1 pseudarthrosis, sacral tumors, lumbosacral dislocations, and osteomyelitis. The most popular method, iliac fixation, has drawbacks including hardware prominence, extensive muscle dissection, and the need for connection devices. S-2 alar iliac fixation provides a useful primary or salvage alternative. The authors describe their techniques for using stereotactic navigation for screw placement.

Methods

The O-arm Surgical Imaging System allowed for CT-quality multiplanar reconstructions of the pelvis, and registration to a StealthStation Treon provided intraoperative guidance. The authors describe their technique for performing computer-assisted S-2 alar iliac fixation for various indications in 18 patients during an 18-month period.

Results

All patients underwent successful bilateral placement of screws 80–100 mm in length. All placements were confirmed with a second multiplanar reconstruction. One screw was moved because of apparent anterior breach of the ilium. There were no immediate neurological or vascular complications due to screw placement. The screw length required additional instruments including a longer pedicle finder and tap.

Conclusions

Stereotactic guidance to navigate the placement of distal pelvic fixation with bilateral S-2 alar iliac fixation can be safely performed in patients with a variety of pathological conditions. Crossing the sacroiliac joint, choosing trajectory, and ensuring adequate screw length can all be enhanced with 3D image guidance. Long-term outcome studies are underway, specifically evaluating the sacroiliac joint.

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Ricky Chen, Vijay M. Ravindra, Adam L. Cohen, Randy L. Jensen, Karen L. Salzman, Andrew P. Prescot and Howard Colman

The preferred management of suspected low-grade gliomas (LGGs) has been disputed, and the implications of molecular changes for medical and surgical management of LGGs are important to consider. Current strategies that make use of molecular markers and imaging techniques and therapeutic considerations offer additional options for management of LGGs. Mutations in the isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 and 2 (IDH1 and IDH2) genes suggest a role for this abnormal metabolic pathway in the pathogenesis and progression of these primary brain tumors. Use of magnetic resonance spectroscopy can provide preoperative detection of IDH-mutated gliomas and affect surgical planning. In addition, IDH1 and IDH2 mutation status may have an effect on surgical resectability of gliomas. The IDH-mutated tumors exhibit better prognosis throughout every grade of glioma, and mutation may be an early genetic event, preceding lineage-specific secondary and tertiary alterations that transform LGGs into secondary glioblastomas. The O6-methylguanine-DNAmethyltransferase (MGMT) promoter methylation and 1p19q codeletion status can predict sensitivity to chemotherapy and radiation in low- and intermediate-grade gliomas. Thus, these recent advances, which have led to a better understanding of how molecular, genetic, and epigenetic alterations influence the pathogenicity of the different histological grades of gliomas, can lead to better prognostication and may lead to specific targeted surgical interventions and medical therapies.

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Vijay M. Ravindra, Jayson A. Neil, Marcus D. Mazur, Min S. Park, William T. Couldwell and Philipp Taussky

The craniocervical junction (CCJ) functions within a complicated regional anatomy necessary to protect and support vital neurovascular structures. In select instances, vascular pathology can be attributed to this complicated interplay of motion and structure found within this narrow space. The authors report 3 cases of complex vascular pathology related to motion at the CCJ and detail the management of these cases. Two cases involved posterior circulation vascular compression syndromes, and one case involved a vascular anomaly and its relation to aneurysm formation and rupture. The patient in Case 1 was a 66-year-old man with a history of syncopal episodes resulting from the bilateral vertebral artery becoming occluded when he rotated his head. Successful microsurgical decompression at the skull base resulted in patent bilateral vertebral artery V3 segments upon head movement in all directions. The patient in Case 2 was a 53-year-old woman who underwent elective resection of a right temporal meningioma and who experienced postoperative drowsiness, dysphagia, and mild right-arm ataxia. Subsequent MRI demonstrated bilateral posterior inferior cerebel-lar artery (PICA) strokes. Cerebral angiography showed a single PICA, of extradural origin, supplying both cerebellar hemispheres. The PICA exhibited dynamic extradural compression when the patient rotated her head; the bilateral PICA strokes were due to head rotation during surgical positioning. In Case 3, a 37-year-old woman found unconscious in her home had diffuse subarachnoid hemorrhage and evidence of a right PICA aneurysm. A right far-lateral craniectomy was performed for aneurysm clipping, and she was found to have a dissecting aneurysm with an associated PICA originating extradurally. There was a shearing phenomenon of the extradural PICA along the dura of the foramen magnum, and this microtraumatic stress imposed on the vessel resulted in a dissecting aneurysm. This series of complex and unusual cases highlights the authors’ understanding of vascular pathology of the CCJ and its management.

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Marcus D. Mazur, Vijay M. Ravindra and Douglas L. Brockmeyer

OBJECT

Patients with occipitocervical (OC) instability from congenital vertebral anomalies (CVAs) of the craniocervical junction (CCJ) often have bony abnormalities that make instrumentation placement difficult. Within this patient population, some bilateral instrumentation constructs either fail or are not feasible, and a unilateral construct must be used. The authors describe the surgical management and outcomes of this disorder in patients in whom unilateral fixation constructs were used to treat OC instability.

METHODS

From a database of OC fusion procedures, the authors identified patients who underwent unilateral fixation for the management of OC instability. Patient characteristics, surgical details, and radiographic outcomes were reviewed. In each patient, CT scans were performed at least 4 months after surgery to evaluate for fusion.

RESULTS

Eight patients with CVAs of the CCJ underwent unilateral fixation for the treatment of OC instability. For 4 patients, the procedure occurred after a bilateral OC construct failed or infection forced hardware removal. For the remainder, it was the primary procedure. Two patients required reoperation for hardware revision and 1 developed nonunion requiring revision of the bone graft. Ultimately, 7 patients demonstrated osseous fusion on CT scans and 1 had a stable fibrous union.

CONCLUSIONS

These findings demonstrate that a unilateral OC fixation is effective for the treatment of OC instability in children with CVAs of the CCJ in whom bilateral screw placement fails or is not feasible.