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Yu-Cheng Ren, Bin-Jie Zhao, Zhi-Yi Xie, Guang-Yu Ying, Fang Shen, and Yong-Jian Zhu

Bead-like schwannomas at the cauda equina are rare but benign intraspinal tumors. They can involve multiple nerve roots and spread within the spinal canal, and open resection would cause significant trauma. The authors have successfully applied a novel minimally invasive technique for the total removal of such schwannomas. A 68-year-old woman presented with a 1-month history of left waist and leg pain. MRI demonstrated multiple intraspinal lesions located from L1 to S1. The diagnosis was bead-like schwannomas at the cauda equina. Two incisions were made at the T12 and L5 levels. A flexible endoscope was introduced into the spinal canal following hemisemilaminectomy under a microscope to identify the relationship between the tumors and the carrying nerves. After dissecting both cranial and caudal ends of the carrying nerve, the string of bead-like tumors was gently pulled out from the caudal end as a whole. The endoscope was reintroduced into the spinal canal to ensure complete tumor removal. The patient recovered quickly, and no tumor residual was found at postoperative MRI. Flexible endoscope–assisted visualization plus microscopic hemisemilaminectomy via 2 incisions is a feasible minimally invasive approach for selected patients with bead-like schwannomas at the cauda equina.

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Lin-Feng Wang, Ying-Ze Zhang, Yong Shen, Yan-Ling Su, Jia-Xin Xu, Wen-Yuan Ding, and Ying-Hua Zhang

Object

The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical significance of both the signal intensity ratio obtained from MR imaging and clinical manifestations on the prognosis of patients with cervical ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament.

Methods

The authors retrospectively reviewed the records of 58 patients with cervical ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament who underwent cervical laminoplasty from February 1999 to July 2007. Magnetic resonance imaging (1.5-T) was performed in all patients before surgery. Sagittal T2-weighted images of the cervical spinal cord compressed by the ossified posterior longitudinal ligament showed increased intramedullary signal intensity, whereas the sagittal images obtained at the C7–T1 disc levels were of normal intensity. The signal intensity ratio between regions of intramedullary increased signal intensity and the normal C7–T1 disc level was calculated based on the signal intensity values generated from the MR imaging workstation. Patients were divided into 3 groups according to their signal intensity ratio (high, intermediate, and low signal intensity groups).

Results

There were significant differences between the 3 groups regarding recovery rate (p < 0.001), age (p = 0.022), duration of disease (p = 0.001), Babinski sign (p < 0.001), ankle clonus (p < 0.001), and both pre- and postoperative Japanese Orthopaedic Association score (p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in sex among the 3 groups (p = 0.391).

Conclusions

Patients with low signal intensity ratios that changed on T2-weighted imaging experienced a good surgical outcome. Low increased signal intensity might reflect mild neuropathological alteration in the spinal cord and greater recuperative potential. An increased signal intensity ratio with positive pyramidal signs indicates less recuperative potential of the spinal cord and a poor surgical outcome.

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Yong-Jian Zhu, Guang-Yu Ying, Ai-Qin Chen, Lin-Lin Wang, Dan-Feng Yu, Liang-Liang Zhu, Yu-Cheng Ren, Chen Wang, Peng-Cheng Wu, Ying Yao, Fang Shen, and Jian-Min Zhang

OBJECT

Posterior midline laminectomy or hemilaminectomy has been successfully applied as the standard microsurgical technique for the treatment of spinal intradural pathologies. However, the associated risks of postoperative spinal instability increase the need for subsequent fusion surgery to prevent potential long-term spinal deformity. Continuous efforts have been made to minimize injuries to the surrounding tissue resulting from surgical manipulations. The authors report here their experiences with a novel minimally invasive surgical approach, namely the interlaminar approach, for the treatment of lumbar intraspinal tumors.

METHODS

A retrospective review was conducted of patients at the Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine who underwent minimally invasive resection of lumbar intradural-extramedullary tumors. By using an operative microscope, in addition to an endoscope when necessary, the authors were able to treat all patients with a unilateral, paramedian, bone-sparing interlaminar technique. Data including preoperative neurological status, tumor location, size, pathological diagnosis, extension of resections, intraoperative blood loss, length of hospital stay, and clinical outcomes were obtained through clinical and radiological examinations.

RESULTS

Eighteen patients diagnosed with lumbar intradural-extramedullary tumors were treated from October 2013 to March 2015 by this interlaminar technique. A microscope was used in 15 cases, and the remaining 3 cases were treated using a microscope as well as an endoscope. There were 14 schwannomas, 2 ependymomas, 1 epidermoid cyst, and 1 enterogenous cyst. Postoperative radiological follow-up revealed complete removal of all the lesions and no signs of bone defects in the lamina. At clinical follow-up, 14 of the 18 patients had less pain, and patients' motor/sensory functions improved or remained normal in all cases except 1.

CONClUSIONS

When meeting certain selection criteria, intradural-extramedullary lumbar tumors, especially schwannomas, can be completely and safely resected through a less-invasive interlaminar approach using a microscope, or a microscope in addition to an endoscope when necessary. This approach was advantageous because it caused even less bone destruction, resulting in better postoperative spinal stability, no need for facetectomy and fusion, and quicker functional recovery for the patients. Individualized surgical planning according to preoperative radiological findings is key to a successful microsurgical resection of these lesions through the interlaminar space.

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Jichao Ye, Yi Qin, Yong Tang, Mengjun Ma, Peng Wang, Lin Huang, Rui Yang, Keng Chen, Chaopeng Chai, Yanfeng Wu, and Huiyong Shen

OBJECTIVE

The aim of this work was to investigate the effects of methylprednisolone on the proliferation of endogenous neural stem cells (ENSCs) in nonhuman primates with spinal cord injury (SCI).

METHODS

A total of 14 healthy cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) (4–5 years of age) were randomly divided into 3 groups: the control group (n = 6), SCI group (n = 6), and methylprednisolone therapy group (n = 2). Only laminectomy was performed in the control animals at T-10. SCI was induced in monkeys using Allen’s weight-drop method (50 mm × 50 g) to injure the posterior portion of the spinal cord at T-10. In the methylprednisolone therapy group, monkeys were intravenously infused with methylprednisolone (30 mg/kg) immediately after SCI. All animals were intravenously infused with 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) (50 mg/kg/day) for 3 days prior to study end point. The small intestine was dissected for immunohistochemical examination. After 3, 7, and 14 days, the spinal cord segments of the control and SCI groups were dissected to prepare frozen and paraffin sections. The proliferation of ENSCs was evaluated using BrdU and nestin immunofluorescence staining.

RESULTS

Histological examination showed that a larger number of mucosa epithelial cells in the small intestine of all groups were BrdU positive. Nestin-positive ependymal cells are increased around the central canal after SCI. After 3, 7, and 14 days of SCI, BrdU-positive ependymal cells in the SCI group were significantly increased compared with the control group, and the percentage of BrdU-positive cells in the left/right ventral horns and dorsal horn was significantly higher than that of the control group. Seven days after SCI, the percentages of both BrdU-positive ependymal cells around the central canal and BrdU– and nestin–double positive cells in the left/right ventral horns and dorsal horn were significantly lower in the methylprednisolone therapy group than in the SCI group.

CONCLUSIONS

While ENSCs proliferate significantly after SCI in nonhuman primates, methylprednisolone can inhibit the proliferation of ependymal cells after SCI.

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Scott L. Zuckerman, Christopher S. Lai, Yong Shen, Nathan J. Lee, Mena G. Kerolus, Alex S. Ha, Ian A. Buchanan, Eric Leung, Meghan Cerpa, Ronald A. Lehman, and Lawrence G. Lenke

OBJECTIVE

The authors’ objectives were: 1) to evaluate the incidence and risk factors of iatrogenic coronal malalignment (CM), and 2) to assess the outcomes of patients with all three types of postoperative CM (iatrogenic vs unchanged/worsened vs improved but persistent).

METHODS

A single-institution, retrospective cohort study was performed on adult spinal deformity (ASD) patients who underwent > 6-level fusion from 2015 to 2019. Iatrogenic CM was defined as immediate postoperative C7 coronal vertical axis (CVA) ≥ 3 cm in patients with preoperative CVA < 3 cm. Additional subcategories of postoperative CM were unchanged/worsened CM, which was defined as immediate postoperative CVA within 0.5 cm of or worse than preoperative CVA, and improved but persistent CM, which was defined as immediate postoperative CVA that was at least 0.5 cm better than preoperative CVA but still ≥ 3 cm; both groups included only patients with preoperative CM. Immediate postoperative radiographs were obtained when the patient was discharged from the hospital after surgery. Demographic, radiographic, and operative variables were collected. Outcomes included major complications, readmissions, reoperations, and patient-reported outcomes (PROs). The t-test, Kruskal-Wallis test, and univariate logistic regression were performed for statistical analysis.

RESULTS

In this study, 243 patients were included, and the mean ± SD age was 49.3 ± 18.3 years and the mean number of instrumented levels was 13.5 ± 3.9. The mean preoperative CVA was 2.9 ± 2.7 cm. Of 153/243 patients without preoperative CM (CVA < 3 cm), 13/153 (8.5%) had postoperative iatrogenic CM. In total, 43/243 patients (17.7%) had postoperative CM: iatrogenic CM (13/43 [30.2%]), unchanged/worsened CM (19/43 [44.2%]), and improved but persistent CM (11/43 [25.6%]). Significant risk factors associated with iatrogenic CM were anxiety/depression (OR 3.54, p = 0.04), greater preoperative sagittal vertical axis (SVA) (OR 1.13, p = 0.007), greater preoperative pelvic obliquity (OR 1.41, p = 0.019), lumbosacral fractional (LSF) curve concavity to the same side of the CVA (OR 11.67, p = 0.020), maximum Cobb concavity opposite the CVA (OR 3.85, p = 0.048), and three-column osteotomy (OR 4.34, p = 0.028). In total, 12/13 (92%) iatrogenic CM patients had an LSF curve concavity to the same side as the CVA. Among iatrogenic CM patients, mean pelvic obliquity was 3.1°, 4 (31%) patients had pelvic obliquity > 3°, mean preoperative absolute SVA was 8.0 cm, and 7 (54%) patients had preoperative sagittal malalignment. Patients with iatrogenic CM were more likely to sustain a major complication during the 2-year postoperative period than patients without iatrogenic CM (12% vs 33%, p = 0.046), yet readmission, reoperation, and PROs were similar.

CONCLUSIONS

Postoperative iatrogenic CM occurred in 9% of ASD patients with preoperative normal coronal alignment (CVA < 3 cm). ASD patients who were most at risk for iatrogenic CM included those with preoperative sagittal malalignment, increased pelvic obliquity, LSF curve concavity to the same side as the CVA, and maximum Cobb angle concavity opposite the CVA, as well as those who underwent a three-column osteotomy. Despite sustaining more major complications, iatrogenic CM patients did not have increased risk of readmission, reoperation, or worse PROs.

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Chen Wang, Chien-Min Chen, Fang Shen, Xiao-Dong Fang, Guang-Yu Ying, Yu-Cheng Ren, Dan-Feng Yu, Liang-Liang Zhu, Yong-Jian Zhu, and Jian-Min Zhang

Spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (SDAVFs) are the most common type of spinal arteriovenous malformations, and microsurgical ligation is the treatment modality most frequently used for these lesions. Developments in endoscopic techniques have made endoscopy an even less invasive alternative to routine microsurgical approaches in spine surgery, but endoscopic management of SDAVF or other intradural spinal lesions has not been reported to date.

The authors describe the use of a microscope-assisted endoscopic interlaminar approach for the ligation of the proximal draining vein of an L-1 SDAVF in a 58-year-old man. A complete cure was confirmed by postoperative angiography. The postoperative course was uneventful, and short-term follow-up showed improvements in the patient's neurological function. The authors conclude that the endoscopic interlaminar approach with microscope assistance is a safe, minimally invasive, innovative technique for the surgical management of SDAVFs in selected patients.

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Raymund L. Yong, Tianxia Wu, Nino Mihatov, Michael J. Shen, M. Anthony Brown, Kareem A. Zaghloul, Grace E. Park, and John K. Park

Object

Maximal safe tumor resection is part of the standard of care for patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma. The role of reoperation in the care of patients with recurrent glioblastoma is less clear, and less than a quarter of patients undergo a second surgery. Previous studies have identified preoperative variables associated with the improved survival of patients following reoperation, and guidelines for the selection of patients for reoperation have been devised and validated. In this study, the authors analyzed the relative survival benefit of maximal safe tumor removal in a series of patients with recurrent glioblastoma who all underwent reoperation.

Methods

In this longitudinal study, the clinical and radiological data of 97 consecutive patients who underwent reoperation for recurrent glioblastoma were prospectively collected. Multiple regression analyses and Kaplan-Meier plotting were performed to identify pre- and postoperative clinical and radiological variables associated with increased survival following reoperation.

Results

The median postoperative survival of all patients following reoperation was 12.4 months (95% confidence interval [CI] 9.0–15.6 months). Multiple Cox regression analysis revealed that patients with large (> 3 cm3) residual tumors following reoperation had significantly decreased survival relative to those with residual tumors that were small (> 0–3 cm3; hazard ratio [HR] = 3.10, 95% CI 1.69–5.70; p < 0.001) or radiologically absent (0 cm3; HR = 5.82, 95% CI 2.98–11.37; p < 0.001). Large residual tumors had faster rates of subsequent regrowth than small (odds ratio [OR] = 4.22, 95% CI 1.19–14.97; p = 0.026) or radiologically absent (OR = 11.00, 95% CI 2.79–43.43; p = 0.001) residual tumors, and a faster regrowth rate was significantly associated with decreased survival (HR = 4.01, 95% CI 2.26–7.14; p < 0.001).

Conclusions

The overall survival of patients with recurrent glioblastoma who underwent reoperations increased with decreasing postoperative residual tumor volumes. For patients meeting prognostic criteria for reoperation, the surgical goal should be to minimize residual tumor volume to maximize overall survival. Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00060541 (ClinicalTrials.gov).