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1/1639. Postoperative gas bubble foot drop. A case report.

    STUDY DESIGN: An unusual case of foot drop occurring 10 days after disc surgery is reported. Imaging studies identified a gas bubble compressing the nerve root. OBJECTIVE: To describe the origin and management of a radiculopathy caused by an intraspinal gas bubble. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: A recurrent lumbar disc herniation was diagnosed by clinical and imaging studies. A vacuum disc also was noted at the same level. These are common and not considered to be of pathologic significance. methods: The patient underwent a microdiscectomy for a lumbar disc extrusion. The postoperative course was excellent, with relief of symptoms and no neurologic deficit. Ten days later, the awoke with a foot drop and pain in the leg. Imaging studies showed a 4-mm gas bubble compressing the nerve root. Oral steroids were given for 10 days. RESULTS: Progressive improvement occurred, and the patient was asymptomatic 6 weeks later. Although in some instances it may be necessary to evacuate intraspinal gas, an initial period of observation is warranted, because the gas and its resulting symptoms may disappear spontaneously. CONCLUSION: Intradiscal gas accumulation, better known as vacuum disc, is considered to be a benign indication of degenerative disc disease. On occasion it can be a cause of symptoms. A case is reported in which gas leaked after surgery into the spinal canal, causing a foot drop. The symptoms and gas disappeared spontaneously without further treatment. ( info)

2/1639. Lumbar intraspinal synovial cysts of different etiologies: diagnosis by CT and MR imaging.

    Intraspinal synovial cysts arises from a facet joint and may cause radicular symptoms due to nerve root compression. In the present study, three surgically and histologically proved cases of synovial cyst of the lumbar spine with different etiology are described. The purpose of this report is to illustrate the imaging features of various etiologies of intraspinal synovial cysts allowing a correct preoperative diagnosis. review of the literature enables us to say that to our knowledge, there is no reported article collecting the imaging findings of intraspinal synovial cysts with different etiologies. Only single cases with rheumatoid arthritic or traumatic origin have been reported to date. We believe that computed tomography and particularly magnetic resonance imaging are the methods of choice which provide the most valuable diagnostic information. ( info)

3/1639. Hyperactive rhizopathy of the vagus nerve and microvascular decompression. Case report.

    A 37-year-old woman underwent microvascular decompression of the superior vestibular nerve for disabling positional vertigo. Immediately following the operation, she noted severe and spontaneous gagging and dysphagia. Multiple magnetic resonance images were obtained but failed to demonstrate a brainstem lesion and attempts at medical management failed. Two years later she underwent exploration of the posterior fossa. At the second operation, the vertebral artery as well as the posterior inferior cerebellar artery were noted to be compressing the vagus nerve. The vessels were mobilized and held away from the nerve with Teflon felt. The patient's symptoms resolved immediately after the second operation and she has remained symptom free. The authors hypothesize that at least one artery was shifted at the time of her first operation, or immediately thereafter, which resulted in vascular compression of the vagus nerve. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first reported case of a hyperactive gagging response treated with microvascular decompression. The case also illustrates the occurrence of a possibly iatrogenic neurovascular compression syndrome. ( info)

4/1639. Intraoperative loss of auditory function relieved by microvascular decompression of the cochlear nerve.

    BACKGROUND: Brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEP) are useful indicators of auditory function during posterior fossa surgery. Several potential mechanisms of injury may affect the cochlear nerve, and complete loss of BAEP is often associated with postoperative hearing loss. We report two cases of intraoperative auditory loss related to vascular compression upon the cochlear nerve. methods: Intra-operative BAEP were monitored in a consecutive series of over 300 microvascular decompressions (MVD) performed in a recent twelve-month period. In two patients undergoing treatment for trigeminal neuralgia, BAEP waveforms suddenly disappeared completely during closure of the dura. RESULTS: The cerebello-pontine angle was immediately re-explored and there was no evidence of hemorrhage or cerebellar swelling. The cochlear nerve and brainstem were inspected, and prominent vascular compression was identified in both patients. A cochlear nerve MVD resulted in immediate restoration of BAEP, and both patients recovered without hearing loss. CONCLUSION: These cases illustrate that vascular compression upon the cochlear nerve may disrupt function, and is reversible with MVD. awareness of this event and recognition of BAEP changes alert the neurosurgeon to a potential reversible cause of hearing loss during posterior fossa surgery. ( info)

5/1639. Cervical foraminotomy: an effective treatment for cervical spondylotic radiculopathy.

    Between 1983 and 1994, posterior cervical foraminotomy as described by Frykholm was performed on 89 patients with exclusively radicular symptoms caused by cervical osteophytes. The main presenting feature was arm pain. Objective neurological signs were present in 50% of the patients. At mean postoperative follow-up of 8.6 months, 95.5% of patients reported excellent or good results, while 4.5% were not improved. No patient was rendered worse following the procedure. There were no deaths and the complication rate was 2.2%. Further surgery for recurrent root symptoms was required by 6.7% of patients. Our findings are in keeping with the good results and low complication rate of this procedure as described in other studies. Informal inquiries suggest that this procedure is not widely used, at any rate in the United Kingdom, and we present this series in order to emphasize the efficacy and safety of this procedure. ( info)

6/1639. Laser-assisted diskectomy performed by an internist resulting in cauda equina syndrome.

    An internist performed percutaneous laser-assisted diskectomies (PLADs) on a patient with a sequestrated disc and stenosis. Subspecialists who perform PLADs should be trained in patient selection and lumbar diskectomy techniques. chymopapain, percutaneous nucleotome-assisted diskectomy, and PLADs are alternatives to microdiskectomy for the management of lumbar disc herniations. PLADs were performed at the L4-5/L5-S1 levels in a 38-year-old woman with magnetic resonance (MR)-documented L4-5 stenosis and disc disease. After PLADs, she developed a subacute cauda equina syndrome. Two months later, a neurosurgeon performed an L4-5 coronal hemilaminectomy with diskectomy. Within 6 postoperative weeks, she was neurologically intact. Only specialists trained in the selection, neurodiagnostic, and surgical management of lumbar disc disease should perform PLADs. ( info)

7/1639. cauda equina syndrome complicating pneumococcal meningitis.

    A 14-month-old female with pneumococcal meningitis presented with flaccid paraplegia, saddle anesthesia, and bladder and bowel dysfunction. magnetic resonance imaging of the spine demonstrated intense gadolinium enhancement of the cauda equina, whereas the conus medullaris appeared normal. This finding indicated that lumbosacral polyradiculopathy caused her symptoms. ( info)

8/1639. An uncommon mechanism of brachial plexus injury. A case report.

    PURPOSE: To report a case of brachial plexus injury occurring on the contralateral side in a patient undergoing surgery for acoustic neuroma through translabrynthine approach. CLINICAL FEATURES: A 51-yr-old woman underwent surgery for acoustic neuroma through translabrynthine approach in the left retroauricular area. She had a short neck with a BMI of 32. Under anesthesia, she was placed in supine position with Sugita pins for head fixation. The head was turned 45 degrees to the right side and the neck was slightly flexed for access to the left retroauricular area, with both arms tucked by the side of the body. Postoperatively, she developed weakness in the right upper extremity comparable with palsy of the upper trunk of the brachial plexus. hematoma at the right internal jugular vein cannulation site was ruled out by CAT scan and MRI. The only remarkable finding was considerable swelling of the right sternocleidomastoid and scalene muscle group, with some retropharyngeal edema. An EMG confirmed neuropraxia of the upper trunk of brachial plexus. She made a complete recovery of sensory and motor power in the affected limb over the next three months with conservative treatment and physiotherapy. CONCLUSIONS: brachial plexus injury is still seen during anesthesia despite the awareness about its etiology. Malpositioning of the neck during prolonged surgery could lead to compression of scalene muscles and venous drainage impedance. The resultant swelling in the structures surrounding the brachial plexus may result in a severe compression. ( info)

9/1639. Meralgia paresthetica secondary to limb length discrepancy: case report.

    Meralgia paresthetica consists of pain and dysthesia in the lateral thigh caused by entrapment of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (L2-L3) underneath the inguinal ligament. Abdominal distension, tight clothing, and hip hyperextension are all described causes of this condition. To our knowledge this has never been attributed to a limb length discrepancy. We present a 51-year-old man with a long-standing history of right sided meralgia paresthetica. history and physical and radiological examination were unrewarding except that his left leg was shorter than the right by 2 cm. Nerve conduction studies of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve on the left had a normal latency and amplitude but were absent on the right. To prove the hpothesis that the limb length discrepancy was responsible for the condition, a single subject study was performed. The presence or absence of pain and dysesthesia in the right thigh was the observed behavior. Intervention consisted of wearing a 1.5-cm lift in the left or right shoe for 2 weeks each with an intervening 2-week lift-free period. Pain was recorded on a numeric scale and numbness as being present or absent. There was continuing pain without and with the lift in the right shoe but no pain or numbness with the lift in left shoe. It was concluded that the limb length discrepancy was responsible for the meralgia paresthetica. Pertinent literature and possible pathomechanics are discussed. ( info)

10/1639. Leg ulcers: a common problem with sometimes uncommon etiologies.

    In the U.S., leg ulcers present a significant clinical problem, occurring at a rate of approximately 600,000 new cases per year. In most cases, the cause of ulceration is venous or arterial in nature. One uncommon but significant cause of leg ulcers is sqaumous cell carcinoma (SCC). Although the incidence of SCC is higher in white than black populations, blacks with SCC typically exhibit involvement of areas of the skin that are not chronically sun-exposed, especially the lower extremeties. Predisposing factors include burn scars, chronic infection or ulceration, and chronic discoid lupus erythematosus. Leg ulcers of atypical presentation or those that fail to heal should alert the clinician to consider uncommon etiologies. ( info)
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