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Ken Matsushima, Michihiro Kohno, Norio Ichimasu, Yujiro Tanaka, Nobuyuki Nakajima, and Masanori Yoshino

OBJECTIVE

Surgery for tumors around the jugular foramen has significant risks of dysphagia and vocal cord palsy due to possible damage to the lower cranial nerve functions. For its treatment, long-term tumor control by maximum resection while avoiding permanent neurological damage is required. To accomplish this challenging goal, the authors developed an intraoperative continuous vagus nerve monitoring system and herein report their experience with this novel neuromonitoring method.

METHODS

Fifty consecutive patients with tumors around the jugular foramen (34 jugular foramen schwannomas, 11 meningiomas, 3 hypoglossal schwannomas, and 2 others) who underwent microsurgical resection under continuous vagus nerve monitoring within an 11-year period were retrospectively investigated. Evoked vagus nerve electromyograms were continuously monitored by direct 1-Hz stimulation to the nerve throughout the microsurgical procedure.

RESULTS

The average resection rate was 96.2%, and no additional surgery was required in any of the patients during the follow-up period (average 65.0 months). Extubation immediately after surgery and oral feeding within 10 days postoperatively were each achieved in 49 patients (98.0%). In 7 patients (14.0%), dysphagia and/or hoarseness were mildly worsened postoperatively at the latest follow-up, but tracheostomy or gastrostomy was not required in any of them. Amplitude preservation ratios on intraoperative vagus nerve electromyograms were significantly smaller in patients with postoperative worsening of dysphagia and/or hoarseness (cutoff value 63%, sensitivity 86%, specificity 79%).

CONCLUSIONS

Intraoperative continuous vagus nerve monitoring enables real-time and quantitative assessment of vagus nerve function and is important for avoiding permanent vagus nerve palsy, while helping to achieve sufficient resection of tumors around the jugular foramen.

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Jiro Akimoto, Kenta Nagai, Daisuke Ogasawara, Yujiro Tanaka, Hitoshi Izawa, Michihiro Kohno, Keisuke Uchida, and Yoshinobu Eishi

Sarcoidosis is a systemic granulomatous disease with unknown cause, which very rarely occurs exclusively in the central nervous system. The authors performed biopsy sampling of a mass that developed in the left tentorium cerebelli that appeared to be a malignant tumor. The mass was diagnosed as a sarcoid granuloma, which was confirmed with the onset of antibody reaction product against Propionibacterium acnes. Findings suggesting sarcoidosis to be an immune response to P. acnes infection have recently been reported, and they give insight for diagnosis and treatment of this disease. The authors report the possible first case that was confirmed with P. acnes infection in a meningeal lesion in solitary neurosarcoidosis.

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Shuhei Murase, Yasushi Oshima, Yujiro Takeshita, Kota Miyoshi, Kazuhito Soma, Naohiro Kawamura, Junichi Kunogi, Takashi Yamazaki, Dai Ariyoshi, Shigeo Sano, Hirohiko Inanami, Katsushi Takeshita, and Sakae Tanaka

OBJECTIVE

Interbody fusion cages are widely used to achieve initial fixation and secure spinal fusion; however, there are certain technique-related complications. Although anterior cage dislodgement can cause major vascular injury, the incidence is extremely rare. Here, the authors performed a review of anterior cage dislodgement following posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) surgery.

METHODS

The authors retrospectively reviewed the cases of 4625 patients who had undergone PLIF at 6 institutions between December 2007 and March 2015. They investigated the incidence and causes of surgery-related anterior cage dislodgement, salvage mechanisms, and postoperative courses.

RESULTS

Anterior cage dislodgement occurred in 12 cases (0.26%), all of which were caused by technical errors. In 9 cases, excessive cage impaction resulted in dislodgement. In 2 cases, when the cage on the ipsilateral side was inserted, it interacted and pushed out the other cage on the opposite side. In 1 case, the cage was positioned in an extreme lateral and anterior part of the intervertebral disc space, and it postoperatively dislodged. In 3 cases, the cage was removed in the same operative field. In the remaining 9 cases, CT angiography was performed postoperatively to assess the relationship between the dislodged cage and large vessels. Dislodged cages were conservatively observed in 2 cases. In 7 cases, the cage was removed because it was touching or compressing large vessels, and an additional anterior approach was selected. In 2 patients, there was significant bleeding from an injured inferior vena cava. There were no further complications or sequelae associated with the dislodged cages during the follow-up period.

CONCLUSIONS

Although rare, iatrogenic anterior cage dislodgement following a PLIF can occur. The authors found that technical errors made by experienced spine surgeons were the main causes of this complication. To prevent dislodgement, the surgeon should be cautious when inserting the cage, avoiding excessive cage impaction and ensuring cage control. Once dislodgement occurs, the surgeons must immediately address this difficult complication. First, the possibility of a large vessel injury should be considered. If the patient’s vital signs are stable, the surgeon should continue with the surgery without cage removal and perform CT angiography postoperatively to assess the cage location. Blind maneuvers should be avoided when the surgical site cannot be clearly viewed. When the cage compresses or touches the aortic artery or vena cava, it is better to remove the cage to avoid late-onset injury to major vessels. When the cage does not compress or touch vessels, its removal is controversial. The risk factors associated with performing another surgery should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.