For severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients, no effective treatment method replacing hypothermia therapy has emerged, and hypothermia therapy still plays the major role. To increase its efficacy, first, early introduction is important. Since there are diverse pathologies of severe TBI, it is necessary to appropriately control the temperature in the hypothermia maintenance and rewarming phases by monitoring relative to the pathology. Currently, hypothermia is considered appropriate for severe TBI patients requiring craniotomy for removal of hematoma, while induced normothermia is appropriate for severe TBI patients with diffuse brain injury. Induced normothermia is expected to exhibit a cerebroprotective effect equivalent to hypothermia, as well as reduce the complexity of whole-body management and systemic complications. According to the Japan Neurotrauma Data Bank of the Japan Society of Neurotraumatology, the brain temperature was controlled in 43.9% of severe TBI patients (induced normothermia: 32.2%, hypothermia: 11.7%) in Japan. Brain temperature management was performed mainly in young patients, and the outcome on discharge was favorable in patients who received brain temperature management. Particularly, patients who need craniotomy for removal of hematoma were a good indication of therapeutic hypothermia. Improvement of therapeutic outcomes with widespread temperature management in TBI patients is expected.
Intracranial pressure (ICP) measurements are fundamental in the present protocols for intensive care of patients during the acute stage of severe traumatic brain injury. However, the latest report of a large scale randomized clinical trial indicated no association of ICP monitoring with any significant improvement in neurological outcome in severely head injured patients. Aggressive treatment of patients with therapeutic hypothermia during the acute stage of traumatic brain injury also failed to show any significant beneficial effects on clinical outcome. This lack of significant results in clinical trials has limited the therapeutic strategies available for treatment of severe traumatic brain injury. However, combined application of different types of neuromonitoring, including ICP measurement, may have potential benefits for understanding the pathophysiology of damaged brains. The combination of monitoring techniques is expected to increase the precision of the data and aid in prevention of secondary brain damage, as well as assist in determining appropriate time periods for therapeutic interventions. In this study, we have characterized the techniques used to monitor patients during the acute severe traumatic brain injury stage, in order to establish the beneficial effects on outcome observed in clinical studies conducted in the past and to follow up any valuable clues that point to additional strategies for aggressive management of these patients.
We review the current topic in sports-related head injuries including acute subdural hematoma (ASDH), concussion, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Sports-related ASDH is a leading cause of death and severe morbidity in popular contact sports like American football in the USA and judo in Japan. It is thought that rotational acceleration is most likely to produce not only cerebral concussion but also ASDH due to the rupture of a parasagittal bridging vein, depending on the severity of the rotational acceleration injury. Repeated sports head injuries increase the risk for future concussion, cerebral swelling, ASDH or CTE. To avoid fatal consequences or CTE resulting from repeated concussions, an understanding of the criteria for a safe post-concussion return to play (RTP) is essential. Once diagnosed with a concussion, the athlete must not be allowed to RTP the same day and should not resume play before the concussion symptoms have completely resolved. If brain damage has been confirmed or a subdural hematoma is present, the athlete should not be allowed to participate in any contact sports. As much remains unknown regarding the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of sports-related concussion, ASDH, and CTE, basic and clinical studies are necessary to elucidate the crucial issues in sports-related head injuries.
Traumatic acute subdural hematoma (ASDH) is a major clinical entity in traumatic brain injury (TBI). It acts as a space occupying lesion to increase intracranial pressure, and is often complicated by co-existing lesions, and is modified by cerebral blood flow (CBF) changes, coagulopathy, and delayed hematomas. Because of its complicated pathophysiology, the mortality of ASDH is still remaining high. In this review article, its epidemiology, pathophyiology, surgical treatment, and salvage ability are described. With regard to epidemiology, as the population ages, growing number of elderly patients with ASDH, especially patients with prehospital anticoagulant and antiplatelets, increase. Concerning pathophysiology, in addition to well-known initial intracranial hypertension and subsequent ischemia, delayed hyperemia/hyperperfusion, or delayed hematoma is being recognized frequently in recent years. However, optimal treatments for these delayed phenomenons have not been established yet. With regard to surgical procedures, all of craniotomy, decompressive craniectomy, and initial trephination strategies seem to be effective, but superiority of each procedure have not been established yet. Since Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) scores, age, papillary reaction, and computed tomographic findings are strongly correlated to outcome, each factor has been investigated as an indicator of salvage ability. None of them, however, has been defined as such one. In future studies, epidemiological changes as population ages, management of delayed pathophysiology, superiority of each surgical procedures, and salvage ability should be addressed.
Exogenous fibrin glue (FG) is highly suitable for neurosurgical procedures, because of its viscosity and adhesive properties. Several FGs are commercially available, but only few reports detail their differences. In the present study, we investigated the viscosity and adhesive performance of two types of FG: one is derived from blood donated in Europe and the United States (CSL Behring’s Beriplast®, BP) and the other is derived from blood donated in Japan (the Chemo-Sero-Therapeutic Research Institute’s Bolheal®, BH). The viscosity test that measured fibrinogen viscosity revealed that BP had significantly higher viscosity than BH. Similarly, the dripping test showed that BP traveled a significantly shorter drip distance in the vertical direction than BH, although the transverse diameter of the coagulated FG did not differ statistically significantly. In the tensile strength test, BP showed superior adhesion performance over BH. The histological study of the hematoxylin-eosin-stained specimens in both groups showed favorable adhesion. Although further studies are required on its manufacturing and usage methods, FG shows differences in viscosity and adhesive performance according to the blood from which it is derived. We conclude that it is desirable to select the type and usage method of FG according to the characteristics of the surgical operation in question. Our findings suggest that FG produced from the blood donated in Europe and the United States might be more suitable for use in surgical procedures that demand an especially high degree of viscosity and rapid adhesive performance.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome (TTS) is an entrapment neuropathy of the posterior tibial nerve and its branches in the tarsal tunnel. We present our less invasive surgical treatment of TTS in 69 patients (116 feet) and their clinical outcomes. The mean follow-up period was 64.6 months. With the patient under local anesthesia we use a microscope to perform sharp dissection of the flexor retinaculum and remove the connective tissues surrounding the posterior tibial nerve and vessels. To prevent postoperative adhesion and delayed neuropathy, decompression is performed to achieve symptom improvement without excessive dissection. Decompression is considered complete when the patient reports intraoperative symptom abatement and arterial pulsation is sufficient. The sensation of numbness and/or pain and of foreign substance adhesion was reduced in 92% and 95% of our patients, respectively. In self-assessments, 47 patients (68%) reported the treatment outcome as satisfactory, 15 (22%) as acceptable, and 7 (10%) were dissatisfied. Of 116 feet, 4 (3%) required re-operation, initial decompression was insufficient in 2 feet and further decompression was performed; in the other 2 feet improvement was achieved by decompression of the distal tarsal tunnel. Our surgical method involves neurovascular bundle decompression to obtain sufficient arterial pulsation. As we use local anesthesia, we can confirm symptom improvement intraoperatively, thereby avoiding unnecessary excessive dissection. Our method is simple, safe, and without detailed nerve dissection and it prevents postoperative adhesion.
It is generally accepted that the first choice of treatment for spinal meningiomas is “radical” surgical removal. However, Simpson grade I removal is sometimes difficult, especially in cases with ventral dural attachment, because of the risk of spinal cord damage or the difficulty of dural repair after radical resection. In addition, there is no consensus on a surgical strategy for radicality, whether or not Simpson grade I resection should be performed in all cases of spinal meningioma. In this study, we retrospectively analyzed clinical and radiological data of surgically treated 14 patients with spinal meningioma, to assess the influence of the Simpson grade to tumor recurrences during long-term follow-up (median 8.2 years, 1.3–27.9). The number of patients in Simpson grades I, II, III, and IV were 2, 8, 0, and 3, respectively; Simpson grading was not applicable to one patient with non-dura-based meningioma. No postoperative permanent neurological worsening was encountered. The recurrence rate was 21.4% (3 out of 14 cases). Of these 3 recurrent cases, 1 was a case of non-dura-based meningioma and another was a case of neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2); both of them are known as risk factors for recurrence after surgical removal of spinal meningiomas. Considering this background of these two recurrences, the clinical results of the present study are consistent with previous results. Therefore, we propose that surgeons do not always have to achieve Simpson grade I removal if dural repair is complicated and postoperative cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage or neurological worsening are estimated after resection of dural attachment and repair of dural defect.
Cavernous angioma (CA) is a rare hamartomatous vascular lesion, consisting of abnormal, dilated, and packed sinusoidal vascular channels without interposed nervous tissue. CAs of the cauda equina are exceedingly rare and have been previously reported in the literature as case reports. The aim of this study was to discuss the clinical presentation and the outcomes of microsurgery for these rare lesions. We retrospectively reviewed the records of 10 patients who underwent microsurgery for CAs of the cauda equina. All patients had performed pre- and postoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). CAs of the cauda equina generally exhibited mixed intensity on T1- and T2-weighted images. Contrast-enhanced T1-weighted images showed heterogeneous enhancement. The hemosiderin ring which surrounded the cauda equina CA was rare. Gross total resection was achieved in all cases. All patients were followed up, with a mean duration of 41.1 months. Long-term neurological function was improved in nine patients and remained stable in one patient. No recurrence was observed on MRI. CAs should be considered in the differential diagnosis of cauda equina tumors. Because of the excessive vascularity of CAs, en bloc resection is recommended. For symptomatic patients, early surgery should be performed before neurological deficits deteriorate.
Complete resection of spinal nerve sheath tumors (NSTs) does not always result in significant neurological deficit. The purpose of this retrospective case analysis was to discuss the optimal surgical strategy for spinal NST of the cervical spine. Twenty-four patients who underwent surgery for solitary cervical NST over the past decade were included in this retrospective study. Patients with neurofibromatosis or schwannomatosis were excluded. Seventeen of the 24 cases (70.8%) showed extradural dumbbell extension, most frequently at the C1 or C2 vertebral level. Neurological condition was assessed using the modified McCormick functional schema and sensory pain scale. Total removal of the tumor was achieved in 20 of 24 cases (83.3%). Staged surgery using combined anterior and posterior approaches was applied for 2 of 17 cases with extradural dumbbell extension. Tumor involvement with nerve root fibers critical for upper extremity function (C5–C8) was recognized in 6 of 24 cases (25.0%), with complete resection in all 6 cases. Final assessment of neurological function revealed satisfactory or acceptable recovery in all 6 patients. Spinal NSTs with extradural dumbbell extension are a common condition in the cervical spine. Complete removal of spinal NST of the cervical spine may carry a risk of permanent neurological deficit, but such sequelae appeared to be the exception in the present case analysis. A radical and safe surgical strategy, including staged surgery combining anterior and posterior approaches, should be tailored to the individual case.
The present case illustrates the unexpected occurrence of intradural chordomas that were simultaneously discovered in cranial and spinal locations. A 63-year-old female presented with weakness in the left upper extremity. The patient visited a local doctor and underwent brain computerized tomography (CT). CT revealed a brain tumor, and she was referred to our hospital. Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrated a midline intradural retroclival tumor in addition to an intradural extramedullary mass lesion at the level of C1–C2. The patient developed a spastic gait disturbance that forced her to use a cane. She underwent laminectomy at C1–C2 along with total removal of the tumor and showed no remarkable symptoms after surgery. Histopathological examination confirmed the diagnosis of chordoma. One month after the cervical surgery, the intracranial tumor was subtotally removed in intracranial surgery via the right subtemporal approach. Histopathological data were identical to that of the cervical tumor. The patient consulted another hospital and underwent gamma-knife surgery. Her neurological examination is relatively unchanged 20 months after the cervical surgery. This case suggests that neuroradiological evaluation should also be performed for an intradural spinal chordoma when an intracranial chordoma is detected. Careful determination of the tumor responsible for the symptoms is necessary if an intradural spinal chordoma is simultaneously detected with an intracranial chordoma.
Perimedullary arteriovenous fistula (AVF) shunts occur on the spinal cord surface and can be treated surgically or by endovascular embolization. In contrast, the nidus of an intramedullary arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is located in the spinal cord and is difficult to treat surgically or by endovascular techniques. The benefits of radiotherapy for treating intramedullary AVM have been published, but are anecdotal and consist largely of case reports. We present a case of combined cervical intramedullary AVM and perimedullary AVF which received surgical treatment within a hybrid operating room (OR) after 5 years of focus fractionated radiotherapy. A 37-year-old male presented with stepwise worsening myelopathy. Magnetic resonance imaging and spinal angiography revealed intramedullary AVM and perimedullary AVF at the C3 to C5 levels. In order to reduce nidus size and blood flow, we first performed focal fractionated radiotherapy. Five years later, the lesion volume was reduced. Following this, direct surgery was performed by an anterior approach using corpectomy in the hybrid OR. The spinal cord was monitored by motor-evoked potential throughout the surgery. Complete obliteration of the fistulous connection was confirmed by intraoperative indocyanine green video-angiography and intraoperative angiography, preserving the anterior spinal artery. We conclude that surgical treatment following focal fractionated radiotherapy may become one strategy for patients who are initially deemed ineligible for endovascular embolization and surgical treatment. Furthermore, the hybrid OR enables safe and precise treatment for spinal vascular disorders in the fields of endovascular treatment and neurosurgery.