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Tunneled lumbar drain

Technical note

Michael Hahn, Raj Murali and William T. Couldwell

✓ The authors report a simple and rapid procedure for tunneling a lumbar drain subcutaneously to facilitate chronic cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drainage. A standard lumbar puncture (LP) is performed with a large-bore Tuohy needle (14- to 16-gauge), the drainage catheter is advanced into the subarachnoid space, and the needle is removed. The free Tuohy needle is then passed from a lateral position and brought out through the initial LP site. The free catheter is fed through the needle, and the needle is removed. The drain is attached to an external drainage bag in the usual manner. The authors have found this method particularly useful in some skull base and spinal surgical applications in which longer term continuous CSF drainage is desired.

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Samuel T. Chao, Taisei Kobayashi, Edward Benzel, Chandana A. Reddy, Glen H. J. Stevens, Richard A. Prayson, Iain Kalfas, Richard Schlenk, Ajit Krishnaney, Michael P. Steinmetz, William Bingaman, Joseph Hahn and John H. Suh


The goal in this study was to determine the role of radiation therapy (RT) in the treatment of spinal myxopapillary ependymomas (MPEs).


Thirty-seven patients with histologically verified spinal MPEs were reviewed. Kaplan-Meier analyses and Cox proportional hazard regression were used to determine what patient and treatment factors influenced overall survival (OS) and recurrence.


At the time of initial diagnosis, the median age was 33 years and the Karnofsky Performance Scale score was 80. In 86.5% of cases, the most common presenting symptom was pain. All patients received surgery as their initial treatment. Nine patients also received RT along with surgery, with a median total dose of 50.2 Gy. The mean survival time was 12.2 years; however, only 4 of 37 patients had died at the time of this study. None of the patient or treatment parameters significantly correlated with OS. Sixteen patients (43.2%) were found to have a recurrence, with a median time to recurrence of 7.7 years. None of the patient or treatment parameters correlated with recurrence-free survival for an initial recurrence. The median time to the second recurrence (recurrence following therapy for initial recurrence) was 1.6 years. Use of RT as salvage therapy after initial recurrence significantly correlated with longer times to a second recurrence. The median recurrence-free survival time before the second recurrence was 9.6 years for those who received RT versus 1.1 years for those who did not receive RT (p = 0.0093). None of the other parameters significantly correlated with a second recurrence.


Radiation therapy may have a role as salvage therapy in delaying recurrences of spinal MPEs.