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Jeffrey G. Ojemann

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Robert A. McGovern, Elia Pestana Knight, Ajay Gupta, Ahsan N. V. Moosa, Elaine Wyllie, William E. Bingaman and Jorge Gonzalez-Martinez

OBJECTIVE

The goal in the study was to describe the clinical outcomes associated with robot-assisted stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) in children.

METHODS

The authors performed a retrospective, single-center study in consecutive children with medically refractory epilepsy who were undergoing robot-assisted SEEG. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was used to calculate the probability of seizure freedom. Both univariate and multivariate methods were used to analyze the preoperative and operative factors associated with seizure freedom.

RESULTS

Fifty-seven children underwent a total of 64 robot-assisted procedures. The patients’ mean age was 12 years, an average of 6.4 antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) per patient had failed prior to implantation, and in 56% of the patients the disease was considered nonlesional. On average, children had 12.4 electrodes placed per implantation, with an implantation time of 9.6 minutes per electrode and a 10-day postoperative stay. SEEG analysis yielded a definable epileptogenic zone in 51 (89%) patients; 42 (74%) patients underwent surgery, half of whom were seizure free at last follow-up, 19.6 months from resection. In a multivariate generalized linear model, resective surgery, older age, and shorter SEEG-related hospital length of stay were associated with seizure freedom. In a Cox proportional hazards model including only the children who underwent resective surgery, older age was the only significant factor associated with seizure freedom. Complications related to bleeding were the major contributors to morbidity. One patient (1.5%) had a symptomatic hemorrhage resulting in a permanent neurological deficit.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors report one of the largest pediatric-specific SEEG series demonstrating that the modern surgical management of medically refractory epilepsy in children can lead to seizure freedom in many patients, while also highlighting the challenges posed by this difficult patient population.

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Elias Dakwar, Tien V. Le, Ali A. Baaj, Anh X. Le, William D. Smith, Behrooz A. Akbarnia and Juan S. Uribe

Object

The minimally invasive lateral transpsoas approach for interbody fusion has been increasingly employed to treat various spinal pathological entities. Gaining access to the retroperitoneal space and traversing the abdominal wall poses a risk of injury to the major nervous structures. Nerve injury of the abdominal wall can potentially lead to paresis of the abdominal musculature and bulging of the abdominal wall. Abdominal wall nerve injury resulting from the minimally invasive lateral retroperitoneal transpsoas approach has not been previously reported. The authors describe a case series of patients presenting with paresis and bulging of the abdominal wall after undergoing a minimally invasive lateral retroperitoneal approach.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed all patients who underwent a minimally invasive lateral transpsoas approach for interbody fusion and in whom development of abdominal paresis developed; the patients were treated at 4 institutions between 2006 and 2010. All data were recorded including demographics, diagnosis, operative procedure, positioning, hospital course, follow-up, and complications. The onset, as well as resolution of the abdominal paresis, was reviewed.

Results

The authors identified 10 consecutive patients in whom abdominal paresis developed after minimally invasive lateral transpsoas spine surgery out of a total of 568 patients. Twenty-nine interbody levels were fused (range 1–4 levels/patient). There were 4 men and 6 women whose mean age was 54.1 years (range 37–66 years). All patients presented with abdominal paresis 2–6 weeks postoperatively. In 8 of the 10 patients, abdominal wall paresis had resolved by the 6-month follow-up visit. Two patients only had 1 and 4 months of follow-up. No long-term sequelae were identified.

Conclusions

Abdominal wall paresis is a rare but known potential complication of abdominal surgery. The authors report the first case series associated with the minimally invasive lateral transpsoas approach.

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Jung H. Kim, Elias E. Manuelidis, William W. L. Glenn, Yoshitaka Fukuda, Douglas S. Cole and James F. Hogan

✓ Light and electron microscopic evaluations were carried out on canine phrenic nerves subjected to long-term electrical stimulation. A total of 34 stimulated and 19 control nerves were studied by light microscopy, and 10 stimulated and five control nerves were evaluated by electron microscopy. Except in a few cases in which a higher current was used, the current used for stimulation was between 1 and 2 mA. The pulse width was 150 µsec. The typical charge per pulse was 0.22 µC and charge density per pulse 1.125 µC/sq cm of real area. The total number of days of electrical stimulation in individual phrenic nerves ranged from 4 to 374. No morphological changes in the phrenic nerve that could be attributed to the electrical stimulation were observed by light or electron microscopic study. There were, however, two phrenic nerves cuffed with bipolar electrodes which showed focal demyelination at the electrode level, but these changes were caused by factors other than the electrical stimulation. The results of the studies have direct clinical implications to long-term stimulation of phrenic nerves.

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Elia M. Pestana Knight, Tobias Loddenkemper, Deepak Lachhwani, Prakash Kotagal, Elaine Wyllie, William Bingaman and Ajay Gupta

Object

The aim of this study was to identify the reasons for and predictors of no resection of the epileptogenic zone in children with epilepsy who had undergone long-term invasive subdural grid electroencephalography (SDG-EEG) evaluation.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the consecutive medical records of children (< 19 years of age) who had undergone SDG-EEG evaluation over a 7-year period (1997–2004). To determine the predictors of no resection, the authors obtained the clinical characteristics and imaging and EEG findings of children who had no resection after long-term invasive SDG-EEG evaluation and compared these data with those in a group of children who did undergo resection. They describe the indications for SDG-EEG evaluation and the reasons for no resection in these patients.

Results

Of 66 children who underwent SDG-EEG evaluation, 9 (13.6%) did not undergo subsequent resection (no-resection group; 6 males). Of these 9 patients, 6 (66.7%) had normal neurological examinations and 5 (55.6%) had normal findings on brain MR imaging. Scalp video EEG localized epilepsy to the left hemisphere in 6 of the 9 patients and to the right hemisphere in 2; it was nonlocalizable in 1 of the 9 patients. Indications for SDG-EEG in the no-resection group were ictal onset zone (IOZ) localization (9 of 9 patients), motor cortex localization (5 of 9 patients), and language area localization (4 of 9 patients). Reasons for no resection after SDG-EEG evaluation were the lack of a well-defined IOZ in 5 of 9 patients (4 multifocal IOZs and 1 nonlocalizable IOZ) and anticipated new permanent postoperative neurological deficits in 7 of 9 patients (3 motor, 2 language, and 2 motor and language deficits). Comparison with the resection group (57 patients) demonstrated that postictal Todd paralysis in the dominant hand was the only variable seen more commonly (χ2 = 4.781, p = 0.029) in the no-resection group (2 [22.2%] of 9 vs 2 [3.5%] of 57 patients). The no-resection group had a larger number of SDG electrode contacts (mean 126. 5 ± 26.98) as compared with the resection group (100.56 ± 25.52; p = 0.010). There were no significant differences in the demographic data, seizure characteristics, scalp and invasive EEG findings, and imaging variables between the resection and no-resection groups.

Conclusions

Children who did not undergo resection of the epileptogenic zone after SDG-EEG evaluation were likely to have normal neurological examinations without preexisting neurological deficits, a high probability of a new unacceptable permanent neurological deficit following resection, or multifocal or nonlocalizable IOZs. In comparison with the group that underwent resection after SDG-EEG, a history of Todd paralysis in the dominant hand and arm was the only predictor of no resection following SDG-EEG evaluation. Data in this study will help to better select pediatric patients for SDG-EEG and to counsel families prior to epilepsy surgery.

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Juan S. Uribe, William D. Smith, Luiz Pimenta, Roger Härtl, Elias Dakwar, Urvij M. Modhia, Glen A. Pollock, Vamsi Nagineni, Ryan Smith, Ginger Christian, Leonardo Oliveira, Luis Marchi and Vedat Deviren

Object

Symptomatic herniated thoracic discs remain a surgical challenge and historically have been associated with significant complications. While neurological outcomes have improved with the abandonment of decompressive laminectomy, the attempt to minimize surgical complications and associated morbidities continues through less invasive approaches. Many of these techniques, such as thoracoscopy, have not been widely adopted due to technical difficulties. The current study was performed to examine the safety and early results of a minimally invasive lateral approach for symptomatic thoracic herniated intervertebral discs.

Methods

Sixty patients from 5 institutions were treated using a mini-open lateral approach for 75 symptomatic thoracic herniated discs with or without calcification. The mean age was 57.9 years (range 23–80 years), and 53.3% of the patients were male. Treatment levels ranged from T4–5 to T11–12, with 1–3 levels being treated (mean 1.3 levels). The most common levels treated were T11–12 (14 cases [18.7%]), T7–8 (12 cases [16%]), and T8–9 (12 cases [16%]). Symptoms included myelopathy in 70% of cases, radiculopathy in 51.7%, axial back pain in 76.7%, and bladder and/or bowel dysfunction in 26.7%. Instrumentation included an interbody spacer in all but 6 cases (10%). Supplemental internal fixation included anterolateral plating in 33.3% of cases and pedicle screws in 10%; there was no supplemental internal fixation in 56.7% of cases. Follow-up ranged from 0.5 to 24 months (mean 11.0 months).

Results

The median operating time, estimated blood loss, and length of stay were 182 minutes, 290 ml, and 5.0 days, respectively. Four major complications occurred (6.7%): pneumonia in 1 patient (1.7%); extrapleural free air in 1 patient (1.7%), treated with chest tube placement; new lower-extremity weakness in 1 patient (1.7%); and wound infection in posterior instrumentation in 1 patient (1.7%). Reoperations occurred in 3 cases (5%): one for posterior reexploration, one for infection in posterior instrumentation, and one for removal of symptomatic residual disc material. Back pain, measured using the visual analog scale, improved 60% from the preoperative score to the last follow-up, that is, from 7.8 to 3.1. Excellent or good overall outcomes were achieved in 80% of the patients, a fair or unchanged outcome resulted in 15%, and a poor outcome occurred in 5%. Moreover, myelopathy, radiculopathy, axial back pain, and bladder and/or bowel dysfunction improved in 83.3%, 87.0%, 91.1%, and 87.5% of cases, respectively.

Conclusions

The authors' early experience with a large multicenter series suggested that the minimally invasive lateral approach is a safe, reproducible, and efficacious procedure for achieving adequate decompression in thoracic disc herniations in a less invasive manner than conventional surgical techniques and without the use of endoscopes. Symptom resolution was achieved at similar rates using this approach as compared with the most efficacious techniques in the literature, and with fewer complications in most circumstances.

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Nicolas Kon Kam King, Vibhor Krishna, Diellor Basha, Gavin Elias, Francesco Sammartino, Mojgan Hodaie, Andres M. Lozano and William D. Hutchison

OBJECTIVE

The ventral intermediate nucleus (VIM) of the thalamus is not visible on structural MRI. Therefore, direct VIM targeting methods for stereotactic tremor surgery are desirable. The authors previously described a direct targeting method for visualizing the VIM and its structural connectivity using deterministic tractography. In this combined electrophysiology and imaging study, the authors investigated the electrophysiology within this tractography-defined VIM (T-VIM).

METHODS

Thalamic neurons were classified based on their relative location to the T-VIM: dorsal, within, and ventral to the T-VIM. The authors identified the movement-responsive cells (kinesthetic and tremor cells), performed spike analysis (firing rate and burst index), and local field potential analysis (area under the curve for 13–30 Hz). Tremor efficacy in response to microstimulation along the electrode trajectory was also assessed in relation to the T-VIM.

RESULTS

Seventy-three cells from a total of 9 microelectrode tracks were included for this analysis. Movement-responsive cells (20 kinesthetic cells and 26 tremor cells) were identified throughout the electrode trajectories. The mean firing rate and burst index of cells (n = 27) within the T-VIM are 18.8 ± 9.8 Hz and 4.5 ± 5.4, respectively. Significant local field potential beta power was identified within the T-VIM (area under the curve for 13–30 Hz = 6.6 ± 7.7) with a trend toward higher beta power in the dorsal T-VIM. The most significant reduction in tremor was also observed in the dorsal T-VIM.

CONCLUSIONS

The electrophysiological findings within the VIM thalamus defined by tractography, or T-VIM, correspond with the known microelectrode recording characteristics of the VIM in patients with tremor.

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Darrin J. Lee, Luka Milosevic, Robert Gramer, Sanskriti Sasikumar, Tameem M. Al-Ozzi, Philippe De Vloo, Robert F. Dallapiazza, Gavin J. B. Elias, Melanie Cohn, Suneil K. Kalia, William D. Hutchison, Alfonso Fasano and Andres M. Lozano

OBJECTIVE

Neuronal loss within the cholinergic nucleus basalis of Meynert (nbM) correlates with cognitive decline in dementing disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease (PD). In nonhuman primates, the nbM firing pattern (5–40 Hz) has also been correlated with working memory and sustained attention. In this study, authors performed microelectrode recordings of the globus pallidus pars interna (GPi) and the nbM immediately prior to the implantation of bilateral deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrodes in PD patients to treat motor symptoms and cognitive impairment, respectively. Here, the authors evaluate the electrophysiological properties of the nbM in patients with PD.

METHODS

Five patients (4 male, mean age 66 ± 4 years) with PD and mild cognitive impairment underwent bilateral GPi and nbM DBS lead implantation. Microelectrode recordings were performed through the GPi and nbM along a single trajectory. Firing rates and burst indices were characterized for each neuronal population with the patient at rest and performing a sustained-attention auditory oddball task. Action potential (AP) depolarization and repolarization widths were measured for each neuronal population at rest.

RESULTS

In PD patients off medication, the authors identified neuronal discharge rates that were specific to each area populated by GPi cells (92.6 ± 46.1 Hz), border cells (34 ± 21 Hz), and nbM cells (13 ± 10 Hz). During the oddball task, firing rates of nbM cells decreased (2.9 ± 0.9 to 2.0 ± 1.1 Hz, p < 0.05). During baseline recordings, the burst index for nbM cells (1.7 ± 0.6) was significantly greater than those for GPi cells (1.2 ± 0.2, p < 0.05) and border cells (1.1 ± 0.1, p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in the nbM burst index during the oddball task relative to baseline (3.4 ± 1.7, p = 0.20). With the patient at rest, the width of the depolarization phase of APs did not differ among the GPi cells, border cells, and nbM cells (p = 0.60); however, during the repolarization phase, the nbM spikes were significantly longer than those for GPi high-frequency discharge cells (p < 0.05) but not the border cells (p = 0.20).

CONCLUSIONS

Neurons along the trajectory through the GPi and nbM have distinct firing patterns. The profile of nbM activity is similar to that observed in nonhuman primates and is altered during a cognitive task associated with cholinergic activation. These findings will serve to identify these targets intraoperatively and form the basis for further research to characterize the role of the nbM in cognition.