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Yue-Qi Du, Teng Li, Chao Ma, Guang-Yu Qiao, Yi-Heng Yin and Xin-Guang Yu

OBJECTIVE

The authors conducted a study to investigate the biomechanical feasibility and stability of C1 lateral mass–C2 bicortical translaminar screw (C1LM-C2TL) fixation, C1 lateral mass–C2/3 transarticular screw (C1LM-C2/3TA) fixation, and C1LM-C2/3TA fixation with transverse cross-links (C1LM-C2/3TACL) as alternative techniques to the Goel-Harms technique (C1 lateral mass–C2 pedicle screw [C1LM-C2PS] fixation) for atlantoaxial fixation.

METHODS

Eight human cadaveric cervical spines (occiput–C7) were tested using an industrial robot. Pure moments that were a maximum of 1.5 Nm were applied in flexion-extension (FE), lateral bending (LB), and axial rotation (AR). The specimens were first tested in the intact state and followed by destabilization (a type II odontoid fracture) and fixation as follows: C1LM-C2PS, C1LM-C2TL, C1LM-C2/3TA, and C1LM-C2/3TACL. For each condition, the authors evaluated the range of motion and neutral zone across C1 and C2 in all directions.

RESULTS

Compared with the intact spine, each instrumented spine significantly increased in stability at the C1–2 segment. C1LM-C2TL fixation demonstrated similar stability in FE and LB and greater stability in AR than C1LM-C2PS fixation. C1LM-C2/3TA fixation was equivalent in LB and superior in FE to those of C1LM-C2PS and C1LM-C2TL fixation. During AR, the C1LM-C2/3TA–instrumented spine failed to maintain segmental stability. After adding a cross-link, the rotational stability was significantly increased in the C1LM-C2/3TACL–instrumented spine compared with the C1LM-C2/3TA–instrumented spine. Although inferior to C1LM-C2TL fixation, the C1LM-C2/3TACL–instrumented spine showed equivalent rotational stability to the C1LM-C2PS–instrumented spine.

CONCLUSIONS

On the basis of our biomechanical study, C1LM-C2TL and C1LM-C2/3TACL fixation resulted in satisfactory atlantoaxial stabilization compared with C1LM-C2PS. Therefore, the authors believe that the C1LM-C2TL and C1LM-C2/3TACL fixation may serve as alternative procedures when the Goel-Harms technique (C1LM-C2PS) is not feasible due to anatomical constraints.

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Qi Yue, Yang Yu, Zhifeng Shi, Yongfei Wang, Wei Zhu, Zunguo Du, Zhenwei Yao, Liang Chen and Ying Mao

OBJECTIVE

Treatment with a BRAF mutation inhibitor might shrink otherwise refractory craniopharyngiomas and is a promising preoperative treatment to facilitate tumor resection. The aim of this study was to investigate the noninvasive diagnosis of BRAF-mutated craniopharyngiomas based on MRI characteristics.

METHODS

Fifty-two patients with pathologically diagnosed craniopharyngioma were included in this study. Polymerase chain reaction was performed on tumor tissue specimens to detect BRAF and CTNNB1 mutations. MRI manifestations—including tumor location, size, shape, and composition; signal intensity of cysts; enhancement pattern; pituitary stalk morphology; and encasement of the internal carotid artery—were analyzed by 2 neuroradiologists blinded to patient identity and clinical characteristics, including BRAF mutation status. Results were compared between the BRAF-mutated and wild-type (WT) groups. Characteristics that were significantly more prevalent (p < 0.05) in the BRAF-mutated craniopharyngiomas were defined as diagnostic features. The minimum number of diagnostic features needed to make a diagnosis was determined by analyzing the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve.

RESULTS

Eight of the 52 patients had BRAF-mutated craniopharyngiomas, and the remaining 44 had BRAF WT tumors. The clinical characteristics did not differ significantly between the 2 groups. Interobserver agreement for MRI data analysis was relatively reliable, with values of Cohen κ ranging from 0.65 to 0.97 (p < 0.001). A comparison of findings in the 2 patient groups showed that BRAF-mutated craniopharyngiomas tended to be suprasellar (p < 0.001), spherical (p = 0.005), predominantly solid (p = 0.003), and homogeneously enhancing (p < 0.001), and that patients with these tumors tended to have a thickened pituitary stalk (p = 0.014). When at least 3 of these 5 features were present, a tumor might be identified as BRAF mutated with a sensitivity of 1.00 and a specificity of 0.91. The area under the ROC curve for the sum of all 5 diagnostic criteria was 0.989 (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS

The BRAF mutation status of craniopharyngiomas might be predicted using certain MRI features with relatively high sensitivity and specificity, thus offering potential guidance for the preoperative administration of BRAF mutation inhibitors.