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Letter to the Editor. Entry site for ventriculoperitoneal shunt insertion and de novo post-shunt seizures

Ali A. Asadi-Pooya

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Translaminar screw fixation in the subaxial pediatric cervical spine

Technical note

Andrew Jea, Keyne K. Johnson, William E. Whitehead, and Thomas G. Luerssen

The use of spinal instrumentation to stabilize the occipitocervical junction in pediatric patients has increased and evolved in recent years. Wiring techniques have now given way to screw-rod or screw-plate techniques with or without postoperative external immobilization. Although C-2 translaminar screws have been used in these constructs, subaxial translaminar screws have not, to date, been described in either the pediatric or adult patient populations.

The authors describe the feasibility of translaminar screw placement in the C-3 lamina. Rigid fixation with translaminar screws offers an alternative to subaxial fixation with lateral mass screws, allowing for formation of biomechanically sound spinal constructs and minimizing potential neurovascular morbidity. Their use requires careful analysis of preoperative imaging studies, intact posterior elements, and avoidance of violation of the inner laminar wall.

Open access

Removal of a flanged ventricular catheter: illustrative case

M. Benjamin Larkin, Tyler T. Lazaro, Howard L. Weiner, and William E. Whitehead


Flanged ventricular catheters were created in the 1970s to decrease shunt failure by preventing the holes at the catheter tip from contacting the choroid plexus. However, the flanges on the catheter frequently scarred within and tether to the choroid plexus, resulting in higher rates of intraventricular hemorrhage when removed. Today, flanged catheters are rarely encountered.


The authors describe an illustrative case of a 7-year-old girl recently adopted from another country with a history of myelomeningocele and shunted hydrocephalus. She had been treated with a flanged catheter at birth. She presented with a shunt infection, which required removal of the flanged catheter tethered to the choroid.


The authors illustrate the safe removal of a posterior-entry flanged ventricular catheter tethered to the choroid plexus using monopolar flexible electrocautery. The removal was monitored with a flexible endoscope inserted from an ipsilateral anterior burr hole and was followed by an endoscopic third ventriculostomy.

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Letter to the Editor. Ventricular catheter tip proximity to choroid plexus is a key factor in shunt failure

Rob Dickerman and Ashley Reynolds

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Reconstruction of the anterior craniocervical junction using an expandable cage after resection of a C1 chordoma in a 5-year-old child: case report

Lourdes C. Eco, Alison Brayton, William E. Whitehead, and Andrew Jea

Chordomas are histologically benign tumors with local aggressive behavior. They arise from embryological remnants of the notochord at the clivus, mobile spine, and sacrum. Chordomas are rare tumors in the pediatric age group. Their surgical management is difficult, given their propensity for inaccessible anatomical regions, and proximity to critical neurovascular structures. While en bloc resection with surgical margins has been advocated as the preferred approach for chordomas, tumor characteristics and violation of adjacent anatomical boundaries may not allow for safe en bloc resection of the tumor. Here, the authors present the case of a C1 chordoma in a 5-year-old boy with epidural and prevertebral extension. The patient’s treatment consisted of a far-lateral approach for resection of the tumor and C1 arch, followed by circumferential reconstruction of the craniocervical junction with an expandable cage spanning the skull base to C2, and posterior occipitocervical spinal instrumentation. At 42 months after surgery, the patient remains neurologically intact with stable oncological status, and no evidence of craniocervical junction instrumentation failure.

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Shunt failure

James M. Drake

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Extracranial traumatic carotid artery dissections in children: a review of current diagnosis and treatment options

Roukoz B. Chamoun, Michel E. Mawad, William E. Whitehead, Thomas G. Luerssen, and Andrew Jea


Currently, no diagnostic or treatment standards exist for extracranial carotid artery dissection (CAD) in children after trauma. The purpose of this study was to review and describe the characteristics, diagnosis, and treatment of this rather uncommon sequelae of pediatric trauma.


A systematic review of the literature was performed to examine the pertinent studies of traumatic extracranial carotid artery (CA) injuries in children.


No randomized trials were identified; however, 19 case reports or small case series consisting of 34 pediatric patients were found in the literature. The diagnosis of CAD was made in 33 of 34 patients only after the onset of ischemic symptomatology. Twenty-four of 34 patients underwent cerebral angiography to confirm diagnosis; MR angiography affirmed the diagnosis in 6 of 34 patients. There was little published experience with CA ultrasonography or CT angiography for diagnosis. Thirty of 34 patients were treated with medical therapy or observation; 2 of 4 patients treated with observation alone died. There was little experience with open surgical treatment of CAD in the pediatric population, and there were no studies on the endovascular treatment of traumatic CAD in children. The literature does not support anticoagulation therapy over antiplatelet therapy.


As a result of this review of the literature, the authors propose the algorithms for the evaluation and treatment of traumatic extracranial CADs in children. These recommendations include utilizing MR angiography as a screening tool in cases in which the clinical suspicion of CAD is high, using conventional cerebral angiography to confirm the diagnosis, implementing antiplatelet therapy as initial medical management, and reserving endovascular stenting in cases of failed medical treatment.

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Extracranial traumatic carotid artery dissections in children

Robert H. Rosenwasser

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Pneumothorax complicating “in-out-in” thoracic pedicle screw placement for kyphotic deformity correction in a child

Case report

Ashwin Viswanathan, Katherine Relyea, William E. Whitehead, Daniel J. Curry, Thomas G. Luerssen, and Andrew Jea

The authors describe a rare case of pneumothorax as a complication of thoracic pedicle screw placement in an 11-year-old girl undergoing posterior segmental instrumentation for a kyphotic deformity. Spontaneous pneumothorax after posterior fusion for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis has been reported in the orthopedic literature; however, to the best of the authors' knowledge, pneumothorax directly related to pedicle screw placement for spinal deformity has not been previously described. The authors discuss the anatomical and technical aspects leading to this complication and the lessons learned from it.

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Routine imaging in patients with ventriculopleural shunts: lessons learned from a case of tension hydrothorax

Case illustration

Benjamin D. Fox, Vikram V. Nayar, Keyne K. Johnson, Andrew Jea, Daniel Curry, Thomas G. Luerssen, and William E. Whitehead