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C. Hunter Sheldon, Robert H. Pudenz, Wallace B Hamby and William F. Meacham

✓ In the second and final series of comments solicited for the Journal of Neurosurgery's 50th anniversary, four additional authors, each of whom was an original contributor to the first volume of the Journal, share some thoughts and anecdotes regarding their first articles.

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William M. Lougheed, Brian M. Marshall, Michael Hunter, Ernest R. Michel and Harley Sandwith-Smyth

✓ A 54-year-old woman was admitted with a complete occlusion of the right internal carotid artery and a 25% stenosis of the left internal carotid artery. Intracranial circulation on the right side was restored by taking a vein from the leg and anastomosing the vein of the intracranial carotid artery just distal to the anterior clinoid process. Prior to insertion the vein was turned inside out, the valves removed and then reinverted allowing the distal end of the vein to be anastomosed to the intracranial internal carotid artery. The blood flow was therefore reversed in the vein. The proximal end of the vein was anastomosed to the common carotid artery. Upon completion there was excellent circulation in the bypass graft and internal carotid artery.

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Anthony J. Kwon, William D. Hunter, Mark Moldavsky, Kanaan Salloum and Brandon Bucklen


The lateral transpsoas approach to the lumbar spine is a well-defined procedure for the management of discogenic spinal pathology necessitating surgical intervention. Intervertebral device subsidence is a postoperative clinical risk that can lead to recurrence of symptomatic pathology and the need for surgical reintervention. The current study was designed to investigate static versus expandable lateral intervertebral spacers in indirect decompression for preserving vertebral body endplate strength.


Using a cadaveric biomechanical study and a foam-block vertebral body model, researchers compared vertebral body endplate strength and distraction potential. Fourteen lumbar motion segments (7 L2–3 and 7 L4–5 specimens) were distributed evenly between static and expandable spacer groups. In each specimen discectomy was followed by trialing and spacer impaction. Motion segments were axially sectioned through the disc, and a metal stamp was used to apply a compressive load to superior and inferior vertebral bodies to quantify endplate strength. A paired, 2-sample for means t-test was performed to determine statistically significant differences between groups (p ≤ 0.05). A foam-block endplate model was used to control simulated disc tension when a spacer with 2- and 3-mm desired distraction was inserted. One-way ANOVA and a post hoc Student Newman-Keuls test were performed (p ≤ 0.05) to determine differences in distraction.


Both static and expandable spacers restored intact neural foramen and disc heights after device implantation (p > 0.05). Maximum peak loads at endplate failure for static and expandable spacers were 1764 N (± 966 N) and 2284 N (± 949 N), respectively (p ≤ 0.05). The expandable spacer consistently produced greater desired distraction than was created by the static spacer in the foam-block model (p ≤ 0.05). Distraction created by fully expanding the spacer was significantly greater than the predetermined goals of 2 mm and 3 mm (p ≤ 0.05).


The current investigation shows that increased trialing required for a static spacer may lead to additional iatrogenic endplate damage, resulting in less distraction and increased propensity for postoperative implant subsidence secondary to endplate disruption.

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Jakub Godzik, George M. Mastorakos, Gautam Nayar, William D. Hunter and Luis M. Tumialán


The level of radiation awareness by surgeons and residents in spinal surgery does not match the ubiquity of fluoroscopy in operating rooms in the United States. The present method of monitoring radiation exposure may contribute to the current deficiency in radiation awareness. Current dosimeters involve a considerable lag from the time that the surgical team is exposed to radiation to the time that they are provided with that exposure data. The objective of the current study was to assess the feasibility of monitoring radiation exposure in operating room personnel during lateral transpsoas lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) and minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MI-TLIF) procedures by using a wearable personal device with real-time feedback.


Operating room staff participating in minimally invasive surgical procedures under a single surgeon during a 6-month period were prospectively enrolled in this study. All radiation dose exposures were recorded for each member of the surgical team (surgeon, assistant surgeon, scrub nurse, and circulating nurse) using a personal dosimeter (DoseAware). Radiation doses were recorded in microsieverts (μSv). Comparisons between groups were made using ANOVA with the Tukey post hoc test and Student t-test.


Thirty-nine patients underwent interbody fusions: 25 underwent LLIF procedures (14 LLIF alone, 11 LLIF with percutaneous screw placement [PSP]) and 14 underwent MI-TLIF. For each operative scenario per spinal level, the surgeon experienced significantly higher (p < 0.035) average radiation exposure (LLIF: 167.9 μSv, LLIF+PSP: 424.2 μSv, MI-TLIF: 397.9 μSv) than other members of the team, followed by the assistant surgeon (LLIF: 149.7 μSv, LLIF+PSP: 242.3 μSv, MI-TLIF: 274.9 μSv). The scrub nurse (LLIF: 15.4 μSv, LLIF+PSP: 125.7 μSv, MI-TLIF: 183.0 μSv) and circulating nurse (LLIF: 1.2 μSv, LLIF+PSP: 9.2 μSv, MI-TLIF: 102.3 μSv) experienced significantly lower exposures. Radiation exposure was not correlated with the patient’s body mass index (p ≥ 0.233); however, it was positively correlated with increasing patient age (p ≤ 0.004).


Real-time monitoring of radiation exposure is currently feasible and shortens the time between exposure and the availability of information regarding that exposure. A shortened feedback loop that offers more reliable and immediate data would conceivably raise the level of concern for radiation exposure in spinal surgeries and could alter patterns of behavior, leading to decreased exposures. Further studies are ongoing to determine the effect of real-time dosimetry in spinal surgery.

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Christopher Kenney, Richard Simpson, Christine Hunter, William Ondo, Michael Almaguer, Anthony Davidson and Joseph Jankovic


The object of this study was to assess the long-term safety of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in a large population of patients with a variety of movement disorders.


All patients treated with DBS at the authors' center between 1995 and 2005 were assessed for intraoperative, perioperative, and long-term adverse events (AEs).

A total of 319 patients underwent DBS device implantation. Of these 319, 182 suffered from medically refractory Parkinson disease; the other patients had essential tremor (112 patients), dystonia (19 patients), and other hyperkinetic movement disorders (six patients). Intraoperative AEs were rare and included vasovagal response in eight patients (2.5%), syncope in four (1.2%), severe cough in three (0.9%), transient ischemic attack in one (0.3%), arrhythmia in one (0.3%), and confusion in one (0.3%). Perioperative AEs included headache in 48 patients (15.0%), confusion in 16 (5.0%), and hallucinations in nine (2.8%). Serious intraoperative/perioperative AEs included isolated seizure in four patients (1.2%), intracerebral hemorrhage in two patients (0.6%), intraventricular hemorrhage in two patients (0.6%), and a large subdural hematoma in one patient (0.3%). Persistent long-term complications of DBS surgery included dysarthria (4.0%), worsening gait (3.8%), cognitive dysfunction (4.0%), and infection (4.4%). Revisions were completed in 25 patients (7.8%) for the following reasons: loss of effect, lack of efficacy, infection, lead fracture, and lead migration. Hardware-related complications included 12 lead fractuxres and 10 lead migrations.


The authors conclude that in their 10-year experience, DBS has proven to be safe for the treatment of medically refractory movement disorders.

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Nimodipine treatment in poor-grade aneurysm patients

Results of a multicenter double-blind placebo-controlled trial

Kenneth C. Petruk, Michael West, Gerard Mohr, Bryce K. A. Weir, Brien G. Benoit, Fred Gentili, Lew B. Disney, Moe I. Khan, Michael Grace, Renn O. Holness, Melinda S. Karwon, Robert M. Ford, G. Stuart Cameron, William S. Tucker, G. Barrie Purves, Jack D. R. Miller, K. Michael Hunter, Michael T. Richard, Felix A. Durity, Richard Chan, Lawrence J. Clein, Falah B. Maroun and Alain Godon

✓ A multicenter, randomized placebo-controlled double-blind trial of nimodipine in poor-grade aneurysm patients was carried out in 17 Canadian hospitals. Of 188 patients enrolled in the trial, 32 were excluded for protocol violations and two were excluded due to statistical considerations, leaving 154 patients for valid outcome analysis. Nimodipine treatment was associated with a significantly better outcome (p < 0.001): 21 (29.2%) of 72 nimodipine-treated patients had a good outcome at 3 months after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) compared to eight (9.8%) of 82 placebo-treated patients. Delayed ischemic deficits from vasospasm alone were significantly less frequent in the nimodipine group (p < 0.05) with permanent deficits occurring in five nimodipine-treated patients (6.9%) and in 22 placebo-treated patients (26.8%). Improvement in the good outcome rate and reduction in delayed ischemic deficits from vasospasm alone occurred in both Grade 3 and 4 patients, with no difference between nimodipine- and placebo-treated patients being found in Grade 5 patients.

Repeat angiography after Day 4 was carried out in 124 patients. There was no significant difference in the incidence of moderate or severe diffuse spasm, which was seen in 64.3% of nimodipine-treated patients and 66.2% of placebo-treated patients. The authors conclude that nimodipine treatment in poor-grade patients with SAH results in an increase in the number of good outcomes and a reduction in the incidence of delayed neurological deterioration due to vasospasm. This effect occurs by a mechanism other than prevention of large-vessel spasm as visualized on angiography.