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Cover Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine

Clinical outcomes following resection of paraspinal ganglioneuromas: a case series of 15 patients

Jacob L. Goldberg, Ibrahim Hussain, Joseph A. Carnevale, Alexandra Giantini-Larsen, Ori Barzilai, and Mark H. Bilsky

OBJECTIVE

Paraspinal ganglioneuromas are rare tumors that arise from neural crest tissue and can cause morbidity via compression of adjacent organs and neurovascular structures. The authors investigated a case series of these tumors treated at their institution to determine clinical outcomes following resection.

METHODS

A retrospective review of a prospectively collected cohort of consecutive, pathology-confirmed, surgically treated paraspinal ganglioneuromas from 2001 to 2019 was performed at a tertiary cancer center.

RESULTS

Fifteen cases of paraspinal ganglioneuroma were identified: 47% were female and the median age at the time of surgery was 30 years (range 10–67 years). Resected tumors included 9 thoracic, 1 lumbar, and 5 sacral, with an average maximum tumor dimension of 6.8 cm (range 1–13.5 cm). Two patients had treated neuroblastomas that matured into ganglioneuromas. One patient had a secretory tumor causing systemic symptoms. Surgical approaches were anterior (n = 11), posterior (n = 2), or combined (n = 2). Seven (47%) and 5 (33%) patients underwent gross-total resection (GTR) or subtotal resection with minimal residual tumor, respectively. The complication rate was 20%, with no permanent neurological deficits or deaths. No patient had evidence of tumor recurrence or progression after a median follow-up of 68 months.

CONCLUSIONS

Surgical approaches and extent of resection for paraspinal ganglioneuromas must be heavily weighed against the advantages of aggressive debulking and decompression given the complication risk of these procedures. GTR can be curative, but even patients without complete tumor removal can show evidence of excellent long-term local control and clinical outcomes.

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Cover Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine

Cervicothoracic junction instrumentation strategies following separation surgery for spinal metastases

Vikram B. Chakravarthy, Ibrahim Hussain, Ilya Laufer, Jacob L. Goldberg, Anne S. Reiner, Jemma Villavieja, William Christopher Newman, Ori Barzilai, and Mark Bilsky

OBJECTIVE

The cervicothoracic junction (CTJ) is a challenging region to stabilize after tumor resection for metastatic spine disease. The objective of this study was to describe the outcomes of patients who underwent posterolateral decompression and instrumented fusion (i.e., separation surgery across the CTJ for instability due to metastatic disease).

METHODS

The authors performed a single-institution retrospective study of a prospectively collected cohort of patients who underwent single-approach posterior decompression and instrumented fusion across the CTJ for metastatic spine disease between 2011 and 2018. Adult patients (≥ 18 years old) who presented with mechanical instability, myelopathy, and radiculopathy secondary to metastatic epidural spinal cord compression (MESCC) of the CTJ (C7–T1) from 2011 to 2018 were included.

RESULTS

Seventy-nine patients were included, with a mean age of 62.1 years. The most common primary malignancies were non–small cell lung (n = 17), renal cell (11), and prostate (8) carcinoma. The median number of levels decompressed and construct length were 3 and 7, respectively. The average operative time, blood loss, and length of stay were 179.2 minutes, 600.5 ml, and 7.7 days, respectively. Overall, 58 patients received adjuvant radiation, and median dose, fractions, and time from surgery were 27 Gy, 3 fractions, and 20 days, respectively. All patients underwent lateral mass and pedicle screw instrumentation. Forty-nine patients had tapered rods (4.0/5.5 mm or 3.5/5.5 mm), 29 had fixed-diameter rods (3.5 mm or 4.0 mm), and 1 had both. Ten patients required anterior reconstruction with poly-methyl-methacrylate. The overall complication rate was 18.8% (6 patients with wound-related complications, 7 with hardware-related complications, 1 with both, and 1 with other). For the 8 patients (10%) with hardware failure, 7 had tapered rods, all 8 had cervical screw pullout, and 1 patient also experienced rod/screw fracture. The average time to hardware failure was 146.8 days. The 2-year cumulative incidence rate of hardware failure was 11.1% (95% CI 3.7%–18.5%). There were 55 deceased patients, and the median (95% CI) overall survival period was 7.97 (5.79–12.60) months. For survivors, the median (range) follow-up was 12.94 (1.94–71.80) months.

CONCLUSIONS

Instrumented fusion across the CTJ demonstrated an 18.8% rate of postoperative complications and an 11% overall 2-year rate of hardware failure in patients who underwent metastatic epidural tumor decompression and stabilization.