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Yu-quan Shi and Xian-cheng Chen

✓ Sixteen patients with arteriovenous malformations (AVM's) located in the striatothalamocapsular region were treated microsurgically at the Hau Shan Hospital, Shanghai. These AVM's had a tendency to bleed intracerebrally and typically presented with hemiplegia, hemianesthesia, and hemianopsia. Angiographically the lesions were primarily located in the triangle of Reil. Postoperative outcome was not as good as that of AVM's in other locations, but the operation may have prevented the risk of further hemorrhage. This report details the operative technique used and the clinical course in this group of patients.

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Yu-quan Shi and Xian-cheng Chen

✓ A four-grade classification scheme for intracranial arteriovenous malformations (AVM's) is proposed. Grading is based on 1) the size of the AVM; 2) its location and depth; 3) its arterial supply; and 4) its venous drainage. Each of these aspects is divided into four grades with respect to the difficulty it poses for surgical excision. A description of the grading system and its application is given. This grading scale has been correlated with the operative morbidity and mortality in 100 cases of excised intracranial AVM's. The results show that the higher the grade of AVM, the greater the risk of surgical morbidity and mortality. This grading scale is simple and easy to apply. It can guide neurosurgeons in selecting AVM patients suitable for operation, in determining the best type of operation to perform, and in predicting operative difficulties as well as postoperative results.

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Yu Chen, Ruoxian Song, Weimin Huang and Zhengqi Chang

OBJECTIVE

The authors sought to investigate the efficiency of percutaneous endoscopic discectomy (PED) in adolescent patients with lumbar disc herniation (LDH), compare PED outcomes in adolescent patients with those in young adult LDH patients as controls, and discuss relevant technical notes.

METHODS

This was a retrospective study involving 19 adolescent LDH patients (age > 13 and < 18 years, 20 discectomies) and 38 young adults (age < 40 years, 38 discectomies) who also had LDH and were matched to the adolescent group for sex and body mass index. The combined cohort included 51 male patients (89.5%) and 6 female patients (10.5%), with an average age of 26.7 years (range 14–39 years). The operated levels included L3–4 in 1 patient (1.7%), L4–5 in 22 patients (37.9%), and L5–S1 in 35 patients (60.4%). Two adolescents (10.5%) exhibited apophyseal ring separation and one (5.3%) had had previous PED. All patients underwent PED under local anesthesia. Outcomes were evaluated through a visual analog scale (VAS), the Japanese Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scoring system, and the modified MacNab grading system.

RESULTS

The mean duration of follow-up was 41.7 months (range 36–65 months). The outcomes in adolescents were satisfactory and comparable with previously reported outcomes of microsurgical discectomy (MD) and conventional open discectomy (COD). The adolescent patients had a faster and better recovery course than the adult patients (p < 0.01). One adolescent patient (5.3%) exhibited recurrence and 2 adults (5.3%) experienced transient dysesthesia; the complication rates were comparable in the 2 age groups (p = 0.47). Prolonged duration of symptoms (p < 0.01) and disc degeneration (p = 0.01) were correlated with lower postoperative JOA values; patients with extrusions had higher postoperative JOA values than those with protrusions (p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS

PED may yield favorable results in the treatment of adolescent LDH in terms of short- to medium-term follow-up; restricted discectomy and a conservative rehabilitation program might be advisable. Further long-term studies are warranted to address this rare disease entity.

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Yu-Duan Tsai, Pao-Chu Yu, Tao-Chen Lee, Han-Shiang Chen, Shih-Ho Wang and Yeh-Lin Kuo

✓ Traumatic injury of the aorta, inferior vena cava, and iliac vessels due to penetration of the anterior anulus fibrosus and anterior longitudinal ligament is a recognized complication of lumbar disc surgery. The authors report, to the best of their knowledge, the first case of discectomy-related superior rectal artery injury treated by endovascular intervention.

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Yi-gang Huang, Liang Chen, Yu-dong Gu and Guang-rong Yu

Object

In Erb palsy, the C-7 spinal nerve has been found to be more subject to avulsion than the C-5 and C-6 spinal nerves. This study investigated the morphological and biomechanical characteristics of the semiconic posterosuperior ligaments (SPLs) at the C-5, C-6, and C-7 spinal nerves in neonates.

Methods

Twenty-four brachial plexuses from 12 fresh neonate cadavers were used in this study. In 12 brachial plexuses from 6 cadavers, the following studies were performed with respect to the SPLs at the C-5, C-6, and C-7 spinal nerves: gross observation of morphological and histological characteristics; measurement of length, thickness, and width; and a semiquantitative analysis of collagen. In the other 6 cadavers, biomechanical tension testing was performed bilaterally on the C5–7 SPLs to assess the tensile strength of the ligaments.

Results

The C5–7 spinal nerves are fixed to the transverse process through the SPL, a structure not observed at the C-8 and T-1 spinal nerves. Except for the width of the SPL insertion on the spinal nerve, which was found to increase gradually from C-5 to C-7, there was no statistically significant difference in the dimensions of the C-5, C-6, and C-7 SPLs. The sectional area percentage of collagen was 51% ± 10% in SPLs for C-5, 51% ± 11% for C-6, and 41% ± 10% for C-7; and this percentage was significantly lower in SPLs for C-7 than for C-5 or C-6 (1-way ANOVA, F = 4.3, p = 0.02; Tukey honestly significant difference test, p = 0.04 and 0.04, respectively). Sharpey fibers were observed at the transverse process origin of the SPL at C-5 and C-6 but not at C-7. Biomechanical tension testing showed that the mean failure load was 6.6 ± 0.9 N for the C-5 SPL, 6.4 ± 1.0 N for the C-6 SPL, and 5.4 ± 0.9 N for the C-7 SPL, and the failure load was significantly lower in SPLs at C-7 than in those at C-5 or C-6 (1-way ANOVA, F = 5.1, p = 0.01; Tukey honestly significant difference, p = 0.01 and 0.048, respectively). Nine of 12 C-7 SPLs failed at their origin from the transverse process, while only 4 of 12 C-5 SPLs and 3 of 12 C-6 SPLs failed at the origin site.

Conclusions

These findings suggest that the lower density of collagen and absence of Sharpey fibers decrease the biomechanical properties of the C-7 SPL, and this may account for the higher frequency of avulsion of the C-7 spinal nerve (in comparison with the C-5 or C-6 nerve) in Erb palsy.

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Fujun Liu, Wei Chen and Jing Chen

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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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Yu-Hua Huang, Tao-Chen Lee, Tsung-Han Lee, Chen-Chieh Liao, Jason Sheehan and Aij-Lie Kwan

Object

Decompressive craniectomy is a life-saving measure for patients who have sustained traumatic brain injury (TBI), but patients undergoing this procedure may still die during an early phase of head injury. The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence, causes, and risk factors of 30-day mortality in traumatically brain-injured patients undergoing decompressive craniectomy.

Methods

The authors included 201 head-injured patients undergoing decompressive craniectomy in this 3-year retrospective study. The main outcome evaluated was 30-day mortality in patients who had undergone craniectomy after TBI. Demographic and clinical data, including information on death, were obtained for subsequent analysis. The authors identified differences between survivors and nonsurvivors in terms of clinical parameters; multivariate logistic regression was used to adjust for independent risk factors of short-term death.

Results

The 30-day mortality rate was 26.4% in traumatically brain-injured patients undergoing decompressive craniectomy. The majority of deaths following decompression resulted from uncontrollable brain swelling and extensive brain infarction, which accounted for 79.2% of mortality. In the multivariate logistic regression mode, the 2 independent risk factors for 30-day mortality were age (OR 1.035 [95% CI 1.006–1.064]; p = 0.018) and Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score before decompressive craniectomy (OR 0.769 [95% CI 0.597–0.990]; p = 0.041).

Conclusions

There is a high 30-day mortality rate in traumatically brain-injured patients undergoing decompressive craniectomy. Most of the deaths are attributed to ongoing brain damage, even after decompression. Risk factors of short-term death, including age and preoperative GCS score, are important in patient selection for decompressive craniectomy, and these factors should be considered together to ensure the highest chance of surviving TBI.

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Yu-Huei Li, Chia-Hsiang Yu, Tsuei-Jung Chien, Ruei-Chang Huang, Pin-Hsuan Tan, Yu-Shiang Cheng, Chi-An Chen and Dueng-Yuan Hueng

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Xian-xin Qiu, Chen-hong Wang, Zhi-xiong Lin, Na You, Xing-fu Wang, Yu-peng Chen, Long Chen, Shui-yuan Liu and De-zhi Kang

OBJECT

Peritumoral brain edema (PTBE) is a common phenomenon associated with high-grade gliomas (HGGs). In this study, the authors investigated the expression of Notch delta-like ligand 4 (DLL4) and its correlation with PTBE and prognosis in patients with an HGG.

METHODS

Tumors from 99 patients with HGG were analyzed for DLL4 expression using immunohistochemistry. PTBE on preoperative MR images and the relationship between PTBE and DLL4 expression were evaluated. The effect of DLL4 on patient prognosis was assessed by using Kaplan-Meier survival and Cox proportional hazard models.

RESULTS

Immunohistochemistry results revealed that the expression of DLL4 was distributed primarily within the cytoplasm of tumor vascular endothelial cells and seldom detected in tumor cells. DLL4 expression was correlated positively with the degree of edema (r = 0.845 and p < 0.001, Spearman’s test). In addition, DLL4 was an independent predictor of prognosis in patients with HGGs (p = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

DLL4 expression was correlated positively with the degree of PTBE and was an independent unfavorable prognostic indicator in patients with HGG.