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Tie Fang, Rong Yan and Fang Fang

The authors describe the case of a spontaneous out-of-body experience (OBE) in a 15-year-old right-handed boy with intractable epilepsy in whom psychosis had been misdiagnosed. After successful resection of a right temporoparietal focal cortical dysplasia, the OBE and seizures resolved. The authors analyzed the underlying causes of the OBE and discussed the mechanism of the OBE caused by an epileptic lesion.

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Tianhao Wang, Yongfei Zhao, Yan Liang, Haocong Zhang, Zheng Wang and Yan Wang

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this paper was to analyze the incidence and risk factors of proximal junctional kyphosis (PJK) in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) who underwent pedicle subtraction osteotomy.

METHODS

The records of 83 patients with AS and thoracolumbar kyphosis who underwent surgery at the authors’ institution between 2007 and 2013 were reviewed. The patients were divided into 2 groups based on the presence or absence of PJK. The radiographic measurements, including proximal junctional angle (PJA), sagittal parameters, and pelvic parameters of these 2 groups, were compared at different time points: before surgery and 2 weeks, 12 months, and 2 years after surgery. Oswestry Disability Index scores were also evaluated.

RESULTS

Overall, 14.5% of patients developed PJK. Before surgery, the mean PJAs in the 2 groups were 13.6° and 8.5°, respectively (p = 0.008). There were no significant differences in age, sex, and body mass index between groups. Patients with PJK had a larger thoracolumbar kyphotic angle (50.8° ± 12.6°) and a greater sagittal vertical axis (21.7 ± 4.3 cm) preoperatively than those without PJK. The proportion of patients with PJK whose fusion extended to the sacrum was 41.2% (7/17), which is significantly greater than the proportion of patients with PJK whose lowest instrumented vertebra was above the sacrum. Oswestry Disability Index scores did not significantly increase in the PJK group compared with the non-PJK group.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors found that PJK occurs postoperatively in patients with AS with an incidence of 14.5%. Risk factors of PJK include larger preoperative sagittal vertical axis, PJA, and osteotomy angle. Reducing the osteotomy angle in some severe cases and extending fusion to a higher, flatter level would be also beneficial in decreasing the risk of PJK.

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Yan Michael Li, Dima Suki, Kenneth Hess and Raymond Sawaya

OBJECT

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and deadliest primary brain tumor. The value of extent of resection (EOR) in improving survival in patients with GBM has been repeatedly confirmed, with more extensive resections providing added advantages. The authors reviewed the survival of patients with significant EORs and assessed the relative benefit/risk of resecting 100% of the MRI region showing contrast-enhancement with or without additional resection of the surrounding FLAIR abnormality region, and they assessed the relative benefit/risk of performing this additional resection.

METHODS

The study cohort included 1229 patients with histologically verified GBM in whom ≥ 78% resection was achieved at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center between June 1993 and December 2012. Patients with > 1 tumor and those 80 years old or older were excluded. The survival of patients having 100% removal of the contrast-enhancing tumor, with or without additional resection of the surrounding FLAIR abnormality region, was compared with that of patients undergoing 78% to < 100% EOR of the enhancing mass. Within the first subgroup, the survival durations of patients with and without resection of the surrounding FLAIR abnormality were subsequently compared. The data on patients and their tumor characteristics were collected prospectively. The incidence of 30-day postoperative complications (overall and neurological) was noted.

RESULTS

Complete resection of the T1 contrast-enhancing tumor volume was achieved in 876 patients (71%). The median survival time for these patients (15.2 months) was significantly longer than that for patients undergoing less than complete resection (9.8 months; p < 0.001). This survival advantage was achieved without an increase in the risk of overall or neurological postoperative deficits and after correcting for established prognostic factors including age, Karnofsky Performance Scale score, preoperative contrast-enhancing tumor volume, presence of cyst, and prior treatment status (HR 1.53, 95% CI 1.33–1.77, p < 0.001). The effect remained essentially unchanged when data from previously treated and previously untreated groups of patients were analyzed separately. Additional analyses showed that the resection of ≥ 53.21% of the surrounding FLAIR abnormality beyond the 100% contrast-enhancing resection was associated with a significant prolongation of survival compared with that following less extensive resections (median survival times 20.7 and 15.5 months, respectively; p < 0.001). In the multivariate analysis, the previously treated group with < 53.21% resection had significantly shorter survival than the 3 other groups (that is, previously treated patients who underwent FLAIR resection ≥ 53.21%, previously untreated patients who underwent FLAIR resection < 53.21%, and previously untreated patients who underwent FLAIR resection ≥ 53.21%); the previously untreated group with ≥ 53.21% resection had the longest survival.

CONCLUSIONS

What is believed to be the largest single-center series of GBM patients with extensive tumor resections, this study supports the established association between EOR and survival and presents additional data that pushing the boundary of a conventional 100% resection by the additional removal of a significant portion of the FLAIR abnormality region, when safely feasible, may result in the prolongation of survival without significant increases in overall or neurological postoperative morbidity. Additional supportive evidence is warranted.

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Letter to the Editor

Apolipoprotein E and myelopathy

Hong-liang Zhang, Ping Liu and Shuai Yan

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Robert Hoepner and Christian Brandt

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Yong Xia, Yan Ju, Jing Chen and Chao You

OBJECT

The authors retrospectively analyzed the clinical characteristics, existing problems, and treatment experiences in recently diagnosed cerebral paragonimiasis (CP) cases and sought to raise awareness of CP and to supply reference data for early diagnosis and treatment.

METHODS

Twenty-seven patients (22 male and 5 female; median age 20.3 years, range 4–47 years) with CP were diagnosed between September 2008 and September 2013. These diagnoses were confirmed by IgG enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Follow-up was performed in 24 cases for a period of 6–56 months.

RESULTS

Cerebral paragonimiasis accounted for 21.6% of paragonimiasis cases (27 of 125). The average duration from onset to praziquantel treatment was 69 days. All patients resided in rural areas. Twenty patients had positive lung results, which included visible lung lesions in 14 cases. The lesions were surgically removed in 8 of these cases. Twenty-four patients had high eosinophil counts (≥ 0.08 × 109/L), and eosinophilic meningitis was noted in 17 cases. The rate of misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis was 30.4%. Most symptoms were markedly improved after treatment, but mild movement disorders combined with impaired memory and personality changes remained in a small number of patients.

CONCLUSIONS

Clinicians should be alert to the possibility of CP in young patients (4–16 years) with the primary symptoms of epilepsy and hemorrhage. Early diagnosis and timely treatment can reduce the need for surgery and further impairments to brain function. Liquid-based cytological examination of CSF and peripheral blood eosinophil counts can aid in differentiating CP from similar lesions.

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Si Zhang, Xiang Wang, Xuesong Liu, Yan Ju and Xuhui Hui

Object

The authors retrospectively analyzed data on brainstem gangliogliomas treated in their department and reviewed the pertinent literature to foster understanding of the preoperative characteristics, management, and clinical outcomes of this disease.

Methods

In 2006, the authors established a database of treated lesions of the posterior fossa. The epidemiology findings, clinical presentations, radiological investigations, pathological diagnoses, management, and prognosis for brainstem gangliogliomas were retrospectively analyzed.

Results

Between 2006 and 2012, 7 patients suffering from brainstem ganglioglioma were treated at the West China Hospital of Sichuan University. The mean age of the patients, mean duration of symptoms prior to diagnosis, and mean duration of follow-up were 28.6 years, 19.4 months, and 38.1 months, respectively. The main presentations were progressive cranial nerve deficits and cerebellar signs. Subtotal resection was achieved in 2 patients, and partial resection in 5. All tumors were pathologically diagnosed as WHO Grade I or II ganglioglioma. Radiotherapy and adjuvant chemotherapy were not administered. After 21–69 months of follow-up, patient symptoms were resolved or stable without aggravation, and MRI showed that the size of residual lesions was unchanged without progression or recurrence.

Conclusions

The diagnosis of brainstem ganglioglioma is of great importance given its favorable prognosis. The authors recommend the maximal safe resection followed by close observation without adjuvant therapy as the optimal treatment for this disease.

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Nicolas W. Villelli, Hong Yan, Jian Zou and Nicholas M. Barbaro

OBJECTIVE

Several similarities exist between the Massachusetts health care reform law of 2006 and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The authors’ prior neurosurgical research showed a decrease in uninsured surgeries without a significant change in surgical volume after the Massachusetts reform. An analysis of the payer-mix status and the age of spine surgery patients, before and after the policy, should provide insight into the future impact of the ACA on spine surgery in the US.

METHODS

Using the Massachusetts State Inpatient Database and spine ICD-9-CM procedure codes, the authors obtained demographic information on patients undergoing spine surgery between 2001 and 2012. Payer-mix status was assigned as Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, uninsured, or other, which included government-funded programs and workers’ compensation. A comparison of the payer-mix status and patient age, both before and after the policy, was performed. The New York State data were used as a control.

RESULTS

The authors analyzed 81,821 spine surgeries performed in Massachusetts and 248,757 in New York. After 2008, there was a decrease in uninsured and private insurance spine surgeries, with a subsequent increase in the Medicare and “other” categories for Massachusetts. Medicaid case numbers did not change. This correlated to an increase in surgeries performed in the age group of patients 65–84 years old, with a decrease in surgeries for those 18–44 years old. New York showed an increase in all insurance categories and all adult age groups.

CONCLUSIONS

After the Massachusetts reform, spine surgery decreased in private insurance and uninsured categories, with the majority of these surgeries transitioning to Medicare. Moreover, individuals who were younger than 65 years did not show an increase in spine surgeries, despite having greater access to health insurance. In a health care system that requires insurance, the decrease in private insurance is primarily due to an increasing elderly population. The Massachusetts model continues to show that this type of policy is not causing extreme shifts in the payer mix, and suggests that spine surgery will continue to thrive in the current US health care system.

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Chao Lin, Yan Dong, Liquan Lv, Mingkun Yu and Lijun Hou

Object

The aim of this study was to provide information about long-term functional outcome in patients with isolated oculomotor nerve palsy following minor head injury and to discuss surgical treatment of these patients, especially those with accompanying sphenoid fracture.

Methods

A retrospective analysis was made of 26 patients with traumatic isolated oculomotor nerve palsy. The severity of oculomotor nerve palsy and the functional recovery were evaluated based on extraocular muscle movement, eyelid movement, and pupil size. On average, patients were evaluated 3.6 days after the initial injury, and the average follow-up period was 14.2 months (range 3 months–2 years).

Results

Twenty men and six women were enrolled in this study. The most common cause of trauma was motor vehicle accident in 17 (65.4%) of 26. Among all the recorded symptoms, internal ophthalmoplegia was most frequently seen. The recovery rates of ptosis, external ophthalmoplegia, and internal ophthalmoplegia were 95% (19 of 20 patients), 83.3% (15 of 18 patients), and 50% (13 of 26 patients), respectively. The 6 patients with sphenoid fracture underwent surgical decompression of the superior orbital fissure, after which all patients experienced recovery from ptosis and external ophthalmoplegia and 66.7% (4 of 6 patients) recovered from internal ophthalmoplegia.

Conclusions

Limited eye movement may be a major factor that negatively affects functional recovery after mild head injury. Sphenoid fracture might be one of the potential mechanisms involved in traumatic isolated oculomotor nerve palsy after mild head injury. Surgical decompression should be considered when there is evidence of bone compression of the superior orbital fissure.