Neurocirugia (Asturias, Spain)

Online ISSN: 1130-1473
Publications
Article
Cespace is a cervical implant designed to obtain intervertebral fusion without bone grafting. The implant is built in titanium and coated with plasmapore (a sort of pure titanium powder). Bone growing through titanium microstructure is induced by the plasmapore, and fusion is progressively obtained once this boneinduction is completed. From January 2002 to December 2008 we operated upon 104 patients employing this implant at one or two cervical spine levels. The more frequent condition was radiculopathy caused by disc herniation or spondilosis (N= 85; 81.7%), followed by mielopathy (N=13; 12.5%). Six cases (5.7%) corresponded to cervical fractures or dislocations. In these latter ones Cespace was implanted as a method of spinal stabilization combined with Caspar plates, avoiding bone grafting. The total number of Cespace implants placed was 120. Clinical results were good in 85.5% of patients. Primary stability was obtained in all cases. Secondary stability (fusion) was evident after 1 to 2 years in all cases, confirming the bone-induction capability of plasmapore without bone grafting. No specific implant complications (pseudoartroses, settling, instability, etc) were registered. We conclude that radical microdiscectomy and Cespace box implant constitutes a good procedure for the treatment of cervical radiculopathy or mielopathy caused by disc herniation or spondylosis, avoiding bone grafting and providing high rates of vertebral fusion. In some cervical fractures associated to instability, Cespace can be used as a reliable substitute of intervertebral bone grafting in combination with anterior plate fixation.
 
Article
Authors present a male patient with Spinal Extradural Lipomatosis, previously treated of a cerebral astrocytoma with surgery and radiotherapy, after which he received ACTH for a long period of time. Clinical manifestations were rachialgia, paraparesia with pain and dysestesias in both lower extremities. Diagnosis was carried out by Magnetic Resonance imaging. After a progressive withdrawal of the treatment with ACTH, the patient achieved a complete recovery and neuroimaging studies showed the dissappearance of the compression caused by the lipomatosis. We carry out a revision of the literature showing data we consider of interest derived from the wide series subjected to study.
 
Article
INTRODUCTION Esthesioneuroblastoma (ENB) is a very uncommon malignant tumor with a neuroectodermal origin that usually involves the anterior cranial fossa and nasal cavity. OBJECTIVES To review our experience in the management of ENB and assess the validity of the histopathological diagnosis, modality of treatment and prognostic factors of the disease comparing our findings with the literature. METHODS A retrospective study of 11 cases with the diagnosis of esthesioneuroblastoma treated in our hospital between 2000 and 2008. Statistical analysis was performed in search for prognostic factors. The bibliography about ENB published between 1990 and 2009 was reviewed RESULTS. There were 3 women and 8 men, with a mean age of 42 years old (range 20-71y). Their symptoms upon admission were nasal obstruction (81%), epistaxis (27%), visual loss (18%), headache and others. According to the Kadish Stage, 2 were stage B and 9 were stage C. Dulguerov and Calcaterra Classification was also used: 2 were T2, 3 were T3 and 6 were T4. The hystopathological result according to the Hyams classification was: 2 cases in stage I, 4 in stage II, 3 in stage III and 2 in stage IV. The two cases classified in stage IV changed the diagnosis to undifferenciate tumor in the second biopsy. A subcranial approach was performed in 8 cases combined with endonasal endoscopy to confirm the total removal, followed by radiotherapy in all and chemotherapy in one case, resulting on 62% (5 patients) being alive without disease, 12,5% (1 p) alive with disease, and 25% (2 p) dead of disease. Another patient was operated by a single endonasal endoscopic approach and a subtotal removal was achieved. This patient is alive without disease. The other 2 patients were treated by biopsy plus radiotherapy and chemotherapy, because they were considered unresectable, and one of them is alive with disease and the other one is dead of disease. Radiotherapy was performed in all cases and chemotherapy in 5 cases. The hystopathological grading system of Hyams was considered statistically significant as a prognostic factor of disease-free survival. CONCLUSIONS When the hystopathological diagnosis of ENB is considered, the Hyams classification can be valid considering grade IV as an advanced stage that is sometimes difficult to differentiate from other undiferentiated tumors. The subcranial approach or craneofacial resection in advanced stages (Kadish C and some B) should be considered as the first treatment of choice. Radiotherapy is indicated in all cases and chemotherapy in selected cases. Hyams' classification was the only staging system that proved useful as a prognostic factor in our series.
 
Article
Despite the scientific and technical advances of recent years, aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) continues to present a high morbidity and mortality. This fact, together with the impressive results of the primary decompressive craniotomy (PDC) in the malignant infarction of the middle cerebral artery suggests a possible beneficial effect of decompressive technique in aSAH. We present our experience of a pilot study that PDC was used in patients with poorgrade aSAH with associated intracerebral hematoma. Between March 1st, 2002 and 31st April, 2008, 342 patients with aneurysmatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) were treated at our hospital. Of these, 64 had a poor neurological grade (scores of 4 or 5 of the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies) at the time of admission. The present study examines 11 of those patients who underwent PDC, which is performed in the same clipping and / or evacuation of an associated hematoma. In three patients PDC was performed after endovascular aneurysm treatment because of the need to evacuate an associated hematoma. In the eight remaining patients, PDC was performed in the same clipping and evacuation of the associated hematoma. Outcome evaluation of these eleven patients was conducted 1 year after the operation assessed by the Glasgow Outcome Scale. Six patients survived, and four of them with good results. The PDC was effective in controlling intracranial pressure in all six surviving patients. However, two of these six patients had unfavorable outcomes. Of the five who didn't survive, one patient died from a delayed epidural-subgaleal hematoma as a complication of the decompressive technique, and the other four patients died because of refractory intracranial hypertension. Primary DC may be beneficial in selected subgroups of patients with poor-grade aSAH. However, there is a lack of definitive evidence to support a clear recommendation for its use.
 
Article
The authors present the results of a series of 121 cases of posterior vertebral fixation carried out from Sept 2008 to Sept 2010 using Flouro 2D-TC assisted Vector Vision o Kolibri navigator. ( Brain LAB, Feldkirchen, Germany). The sample included 68 males and 53 females. Age range was 24-75 with an average of 50.35., all with indication for instrumentation by different pathologies. Patients presenting vertebral lesions of varying ethiology and lesion level with vertebral posterior fixation indication were included in the study. All underwent a CT before surgery, according to navigation protocol, and the images obtained were merged in the navigator with those obtained in the operating room with a Flouro 2D, which allowed a high quality 3D reconstruction to be performed and thus the capacity to navigate in a real-virtual manner. To evaluate the results of the implant a post-op CT was performed and the position of the implant was defined according to the Heary scale. The calabration time of the material was also evaluated, number of shots with the Flouro-2D, and for clinical evaluation VAS scales were employed, Oswestry and JOA (L), as well as the degree of satisfaction and acceptance of the procedure. A total of 580 screws were implanted, distributed in 62 cervicals of which 24 were in C1-C2, 38 dorsals, 370 lumbar and 110 sacral. Open surgery was performed in 42 cases, MIS in 28 and percutaneous in 51. The presision of the implant was 98.45% with a global deviation of 1.55%, that according to the Heary scale was distributed in grade ll: 2 (1 cervical, 1 lumbar) grade lll: 4 (1 cervical, 2 dorsal, 1 lumbar), grade IV: 3 (1 cervical, 2 lumbar). General average time of calibration per procedure was 2 min. 49 seconds and the mean flouroscopic exposure was one shot at cervical and dorsal and two shots at lumbar level. The clinical evaluation at one month of 121 patients was 8.6/3.0 in the VAS, 68.0% / 23.0% in Oswestry and 6.4/13.1 in JOA (L), with those parameters remaining stable at 3 months in 100 and at 6 months in 87 patients respectively, and the degree of satisfaction between being completely and very satisfied with the procedure was 94.9%, and those who would submit to another treatment was more than 94%. Navigation with Flouro-2D-CT is a high precision technique that reduces complications of varying severity according to the level operated well as number of reinterventions, radiation exposure and surgical time.
 
Article
The results obtained with therapy of intracranial aneurysms, in terms of morbidity and mortality, are very important when the patient has to choose between microsurgical techniques or endovascular management. The aim of this paper is to review the information regarding current microsurgical treatment of intracranial aneurysms, and presenting our experience over the last five years. We studied 101 consecutive patients with 121 intracranial aneurysms admitted between 1996 and 2000 with the initial diagnosis of subarachnoid hemorrhage. We paid special attention to the day of admission from the onset of the symptomatic hemorrhage to the grade of Hunt&Hess scale and the possibility of early or delayed microsurgical treatment. The diagnosis was based on four vessels cerebral angiography and in a few cases with CT-angiography. All patients were treated by microsurgical technique and such treatment was completed by nimodipine, intensive care unit management and in some cases of postoperative suspected vasospasm, induced arterial hypertension was applied. Post surgical angiography was carried out in all patients to confirm the clipping of the cerebral aneurysm. The 12 months assessment was based on the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS). The 92.1% of the patients were admitted with a grade equal or below III in the Hunt&Hess scale. A 80% were operated within the 72 hours of admission and in the remaining cases, the surgical treatment was delayed due to a grade IV or V or to a medical contraindication. Four patients died (3.9%). At 12 months follow up, 88.9% presented a score I or II in the GOS. According to our results, there are a substantial improvements in the microsurgical treatment of cerebral aneurysms, specially in patients admitted early after the onset of the symptoms of their hemorrhage, who have a grade I to III in the Hunt&Hess scale and showed a good level of consciousness. We think that the improvement of our results are due to: l. the high percentage of patients admitted with grades I to III. 2. the high percentage of patients operated within the first 72 hours from the onset of their symptomatic hemorrhage. 3. surgery was always carried out by the same two experienced vascular neurosurgeons. 4. intraoperative measures taken to prevent the rupture of the aneurysm. 5. early administration of nimodipine, ICU management, doppler studies and in seldom cases, induced hypertension therapy to treat the vasospasm and postoperative hypotension.
 
Article
Complete surgical resection is considered to be the elective treatment for tentorial meningiomas. The objective of this work is to describe the clinical and radiological characteristics of these tumours, the best surgical approach, complications related to surgery and long term outcome of patients harbouring a meningioma at this location. A series of 14 patients with tentorial meningiomas consecutively operated at our department between 1977 and 1999 is analyzed. Twelve patients were studied with CT and the last 8 with MR. Arteriography or angio-MR were performed in some patients when dural sinuses involvement was suspected. Tumoral resection was evaluated by means of Simpson Scale and final outcome according to the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS). Nine patients were female and 5 male. Mean age was 64 years (41-82). The average duration of presenting symptoms was 17 months. Headache was the most frequent presenting symptom. The tumour was implanted at the tentorial free edge in 4 cases, at the lateral region in 9 and at the falcotentorial region in 1 case. Complete surgical resection (Simpson I-II) was achieved in 10 cases. Final outcome was good recovery in 9 cases, moderate disability in 1, severe disability in 2 and two patients died. Surgery is the elective treatment for tentorial meningiomas. In most cases, complete surgical resection should be the objective. Subtotal resection may be considered when the tumour invades a patent dural sinus or the cavernous sinus or when the tumour is closely adherent to the brain stem. In these cases a close follow up is needed and reoperation or radiosurgical treatment may be contemplated if residual tumour growth occurs.
 
Article
The goal of this study was to review our series of spinal epidural empyema diagnosed in the last 20 years and review the literature regarding the pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of these lesions. This is a retrospective study over 14 patients diagnosed of spinal epidural empyema. We review the epidemiological data, clinical symptoms, laboratory and imaging data, the treatment regimen and the results. Fourteen patients, 7 males and 7 females, with an age range from 8 to 76 years (mean 48.9) were identified. The first symptom was localized back/ neck pain in 12 patients and the mean duration of symptoms was 9.3 days. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) was elevated in all patients; peripheral leukocyte count was elevated in 13 cases (92.9%). Site of spinal epidural empyemas was distributed along the axis but in 11 cases the location was thoracic. Thirteen patients had surgery for debridement and spinal decompression and one patient was treated successfully with antibiotics alone. Patients with localized back pain and fever who are at risk for developing such empyemas with elevation of white blood cells and increased ESR, should have an immediate magnetic resonance imaging sean. Urgent surgical drainage and antibiotic use are the treatment of choice in order to prevent irreversible neurological deficits. Nonsurgical treatment should be reserved for poor surgical candidates and patients without neurological deficits.
 
Article
A case of meningitis caused by Streptococcus Equisimilis and cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea, in which the head trauma occurred 16 years before, is presented. To the best of the author's knowledge this is the first case reported with such characteristics. Several precipitating factors could be responsible for the unusually late reopening of the fistula Streptococci equisimilis is an uncommon cause of the bacteremia. An appropriate antimicrobrial therapy against S. Equisimilis followed by surgical dural repair were performed.
 
Article
We performed a retrospective analysis of complications and radiological results in 167 patients surgically treated, for discal or spondylotic disease of the cervical spine, with Cloward procedure. Using uni and multivariate analysis, we tried to identify risk factors that might be correlated with surgical complications or radiological results. Surgical treatment was indicated for cervical radiculopathy in 68% of the patients and for myelopathy or radiculomyelopathy in the remaining 32%. The pathologic disease responsible of the symptomatology was soft disk herniation in 59% of the cases and spondylotic changes in 41%. The patients that underwent surgery because of myelopathy were one decade older, had a longer symptomatic period and presented multi-segmentary spondylotic disease with higher frequency than patients affected of radiculopathy. The most common segments operated were CS-C6 (44.3%) and C6-C7 (30.5%). Surgical mortality was 0.6% and morbidity 29.3%. Most of the complications were transient, although 4.8% of the patients developed permanent neurological deterioration. Complications were most commonly seen in the group of the patients undergoing surgery because of long-lasting myelopathy with multi-segmentary spondylotic disease, in those with vascular risk factors and in those operated of more than one segment. Surgeon anatomic knowledge and experience are critical for diminishing such complications. Non-union rate was 9.6%, and another 9.6% of the patients developed post-surgical kyphosis. Both factors correlated with the need of re-operation.
 
Article
To analyze the epidemiological, clinical and neuropathological data of cases of cerebellopontine angle (CPA) tumors. The clinical records, neuroimaging and neuropathological studies of 50 patients with diagnosis of CPA tumor operated in different hospitals of Maracaibo, Venezuela, during the lapse January 1st, 1985-December 31, 1999 were reviewed. The variables age, gender, side of the lesion and neuropathological diagnosis were analyzed. A 2:1 female to male ratio was observed. Median age was 48 +/- 12.7 years. Acoustic neuromas (AN) represented 48% of the cases, whereas nonacoustic neuroma tumors (NANT) made up for the rest (52%). Meningiomas were the second more commonly diagnosed lesions, they constituted 32% of the cases. Meningiomas and AN were more frequent in women, their ratios being 7:1 and 1.6:1, respectively. In 60% of the cases the signs and symptoms became eloquent in patients of the fourth and fifth decades of life. The difference between our results and the ones previously reported in the medical literature are due in part to the predominance of female patients in our series. Endocrinologic, genetic and biochemical factors could also be responsible; nevertheless, this does not constitute the objective of the present study.
 
Article
We made a revision of 34 cases of intracerebral supurations (31 brain abscesses and 3 subdural empyemas) treated at our department of neurosurgery of "Mutua de Terrassa" during the period of 1989-2000. Treatment used was tapping of the abscess and aspiration in 28 cases and craneotomy and resection in only two cases. Three subdural empyemas were treated with burr-holes and aspiration. Results were evaluated using the Glasgow Outcome Scale at 6 months after discharge, resulting in 7 deaths (20.6%), 17 fully recovered patients (50%) and 10 with minor deficits (29.4%). Glasgow Coma Score at admission and the age were the unique variables significantly correlated with the final outcome. After analyzing the cost of treatment in our patients we suggest using antibiotic ambulatory treatment when the disease shows an adequate clinical and radiological response, thus permitting to shorten the usually long period of hospitalization of patients with intracerebral supurative diseases.
 
Article
With the aim of identifying the factors related to sentences against neurosurgeons, we have analyzed all the sentences issued in the second court of justice in Spain against neurosurgeons in the period from 1995 to 2007. Of a total of 1899 sentences of the second or last appeal, during the period from 1995 to 2007 issued in Spain, 61 were chosen which fulfill the criteria to be included in our study. 25 variables were included on the record of compiled data. A complete descriptive and comparative study was elaborated, as well as an analysis of the type of suits, circumstances, and professionals involved. In a third of the cases, complete malpraxis was identified. In regards to the sentences, they were absolved in approximately half the cases, resolved with one fifth of the cases being penal, and four fifths with compensation. Indemnity quantities range from 60,000 to 600,000euro. Deficiency of information or consent was noted in 17% of lawsuits. 62.5% of operations in our sample were on the anatomic region of the vertebral column followed in frequency by the cranial region with 28.6%. Consequences of surgical procedure included major permanent sequelae in 40% of the cases and death in 22%. It is wise to invest time to deal with patients, including the verbal informed consent, which must be confirmed by the written informed consent form. It is also important to leave a written proof of medical praxis, both related to surgical records and to diagnosis and follow-up of the patient. Procedures with a lower life-threatening risk should not be underestimated, since they comprise the greatest demanded group. The greatest amount of demands is related to economic reimbursement, especially in private practice.
 
Article
To analyze in cerebral tumors of neuroepithelial tissue 1p/19q codeletions by study of loss of heterozygosity (LOH). A first implied objective was to get ready this molecular thecnique. We aimed to determine several deletions mapping 1p and 19q chromosomes, three allelic loss of 1p and two allelic loss of 19q, in patients with cerebral tumors which were operated in our Department from October 2004 until March 2006. We have detected in blood and tumoral DNA loss of heterozygosity assay for molecular detection using PCR and capillary array electrophoresis of five markers (D1S508, D1S2734, D1S199, D19S412 y D19S219). Were included in the first part of this study 45 sample of neuroepithelial tissue supratentorial tumors: 29 glioblastoma, 1 gliosarcoma, 7 diffuse astrocytoma grade II, 1 oligoastrocytoma, 3 oligodendroglioma, 1 anaplastic oligodendroglioma, 1 xanthoastrocytoma, 1 dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumour and 1 pilocytic astrocytoma. We considered deleted regions identified when allelic ratio (T1/T2)/( N1/N2) was lower than 0.8. 80% of oligodendroglial tumors, 14% glioblastoma and 14% of diffuse astrocytoma grade II. Evaluation of 1p/19q allelic status by LOH analysis may provide useful information for guiding clinical and therapeutical decisions with high succes ratio. These results shown why patients with 1p/19q codeletion survive longer, because adjuvant alkylants adds further improvements to standard, surgery and radiotherapy, treatments.
 
Article
Health system planning requires the precise knowledge of the activity performed. We present the neuroanesthesic activity results in Catalonia during 2003. A prospective and cross-sectional survey was performed for 14 randomised days during 2003. All hospitals practicing anaesthesia in Catalonia took part in the survey. Data on characteristics of patients, anaesthetic techniques and type of procedure were included. 6909 neuroanesthetic procedures performed in Catalonia in 2003 (95% IC 6022-7847), a 1.28% of total surgical activity. A 74% of procedures were done in the public hospitals and a 26% in private hospitals. Patients mean age was 48 years old (95% IC 45.5-50.6). Scheduled procedures were 79.7%. The most frequent interventions were: Spine surgery 40.1 %; craniotomies for tumour resection 24.1%, for haemorrhage o trauma 7.2% and for aneurysms or AVM surgery 2.3%; ventricular shunts 2.6%. Mean duration of craneotomies for tumour resection was 287 -/+95 min. All patients were distributed postoperatively in a conventional recovery room (55.8 %), in a monitored care unit (19.2%) or in an intensive care unit (24.9 %). Craniotomy patients were admitted to an intensive care unit (41.6%), a monitored care unit (33.7%) or a conventional recovery room (24.7%). About seven thousand Neurosurgical procedures were performed in Catalonia in 2003, in public (73.6%) and private (26.4%) hospitals. Spine surgery and craniotomies for tumour resection were the most frequently performed interventions. Craniotomy patients were mainly submitted to an ICU or a Monitored care unit.
 
Article
INTRODUCTION: In 2009 the Spanish Ministry of Health (SMH) published the report of supply and demand of medical specialists in Spain (2008-2025), in which our specialty was considered as presenting a moderate deficit of consultants. However, Spanish neurosurgery is currently in a situation of having a surplus of neurosurgeons. OBJECTIVES: To determine whether it was possible to predict the current excess of neurosurgeons in 2009 and to forecast the most likely perspective of supply and demand in 2017. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Raw data extracted from the SMH report, information on the ages of the Spanish neurosurgeons obtained from the study performed by our Board of Directors in 2001, and annual mortality rates for different age ranges provided by the National Institute of Statistics, were used to predict the evolution of supply and demand of neurosurgeons for the periods 2008-2012 and 2013-2017. RESULTS: The current situation of an excess of specialists was predictable in 2009, and if appropriate measures are not taken, a surplus of more than 100 neurosurgeons is likely in 2017, with an unemployment rate above 26% in the worst scenario. CONCLUSIONS: In order to match the actual and future demand of specialists, it is necessary and urgent to reduce the number of neurosurgical in-training positions. To achieve this goal, it is essential to obtain periodical and up-to-date structural information of the different Neurosurgery Departments and Units, and to revisit the accreditation terms of the more than fifty current teaching units.
 
Article
Lactate and the lactate-pyruvate index (LPI) are two hypoxia markers widely used to detect brain tissue hypoxia in patients with acute traumatic brain injury. These two markers have a more complex behavior than expected as they can be abnormally high in circumstances with no detectable brain hypoxia. This condition must be considered in the differential diagnosis because it also reflects an alteration of brain energy metabolism. 1. To describe cerebral energy metabolism characteristics observed in the acute phase of traumatic brain injury (TBI) based on two traditional indicators of anaerobic metabolism: lactate and LPI, 2. To determine the concordance between these two biomarkers in order to classify the incidence of anaerobic metabolism and 3. To classify the different types of metabolic abnormalities found in patients with moderate and severe TBI using both lactate and LPI. Twenty-one patients were randomly selected from a cohort of moderate or severe TBI patients admitted to the neurotraumatology intensive care unit. All of them who underwent both cerebral microdialysis and brain tissue oxygen monitoring (PtiO(2)). We analyzed the levels of lactate and the LPI for every microvial within the first 96 hours after head trauma. These data were correlated with PtiO(2) values. Lactate levels and the LPI were respectively increased during 49.5% and 38.4% of the monitoring time. The incidence and behavior of high levels of both markers were extremely heterogeneous. The concordance between these two biomarkers to determine episodes of dysfunctional metabolism was very weak (Kappa Index=0.29; IC 95%: 0.24-0.34). Based on the levels of lactate and the LPI, we defined four metabolic patterns: I: L>2.5 mmol/L and LPR>25; II: L>2.5 mmol/L and LPR< or = 25; III: L< or = 2.5 mmol/L and LPR< or = 25; IV: L< or = 2.5 mmol/L and LPR>25). In more than 80% of cases in which lactate or LPI were increased, PtiO(2) values were within the normal range (PtiO(2)> 15 mmHg). Increased lactate and LPI were frequent findings after acute TBI and in most cases they were not related to episodes of brain tissue hypoxia. Furthermore, the concordance between both biomarkers to classify metabolic dysfunction was weak. LPI and lactate should not be used indistinctly in everyday clinical practice because of the weak correlation between these two markers, the difficulty in their interpretation and the heterogeneous and complex nature of the pathophysiology. Other differential diagnoses apart from tissue hypoxia should always be considered when high lactate and/or LPI are detected in the acute injured brain.
 
Article
The management of lower cervical spine injuries with a dislocation of one or both facet joints and a displacement of a vertebra over the adjacent stills generates considerable controversy. We describe our experience in surgical approach of these injuries. We present 21 cases treated between 2003-2010. Neurological status was evaluated with Frankel scale. Diagnosis was done by radiograph (XR), computed tomography (CT) and/or magnetic resonance image (MRI). Cervical traction was placed in 10 cases before surgery. Posterior and/or anterior approach was used for reduction and stabilization. The 21 cases presented were treated by surgery. Posterior approach was initially used in 17 cases and complete reduction was achieved in 13 of them. The 4 cases where we only got a partial reduction, surgery had to be delayed for different reasons. Anterior approach was initially used in 4 of the 21 cases. In 3 of them, reduction was previously obtained by traction and the fourth case anterior approach was used initially due to an important spinal cord compression. Permanent stabilization was achieved in 19 of the 21 cases. In 1 of the other 2 cases an important deformity was detected after the anterior approach. The other case had a minimal progression after a posterior approach with no increase in successive check-ups. In the first 10 cases, we used traction before surgery but reduction was achieved only in 3 of them. As the number of cases increased we rather used posterior approach in the first place, without even trying a preoperative traction. There was no case of neurological deterioration after surgery. Translation/rotation injuries of the lower cervical spine are unstable and surgical treatment must be indicated. It is our impression that posterior approach allows a better reduction and stabilization of this injuries and should be used initially without even trying a preoperative traction.
 
Article
Giant intracranial aneurysms represent 2 to 5% of all aneurysms. They are well characterized from the anatomical and clinical point of view. Their natural history shows its potential lethality. Surgical treatment of giant aneurysms is a challenge for neurosurgeons. Twenty-two patients were operated on through pterional craniotomy, specialized neuroanesthesia and microneurosurgical technics. Auxiliary methods like transitory clipping and retrograde decompression-suction technique were applied. Patients were followed at intensive care units and they were evaluated three months after the operation. Nineteen patients were in the fourth and sixth decade of life. Seventeen were females. Aneurysms were located at middle cerebral artery bifurcation; paraclinoidal carotid artery; proximal anterior cerebral artery and carotid bifurcation. Ninety one percent of aneurysms were clipped. Retrograde decompression-suction technique was performed in thirteen cases. Seventeen patients had good outcome and one patient died (4.5%). There were 6 postoperative complications and in four disappeared three months later. Giant aneurysms were operated on following main neurosurgical rules helped by auxiliar procedures to reduce aneurysms size and wall, aneurysms tension. New knowledge about giants aneurysms and the development of new techniques will permit better results.
 
Article
Subarachnoid hemorrhage secondary to aneurysms rupture is still a devastating disease, in spite of advances of medical and surgical management. Mortality remains about 50% at the initial event, and less of 30% of survivors recover their previous level. The authors present a series of 22 patients with grade "0", aneurysms that had not bled, operated on during a six year period, with no mortality and a very low morbidity (less than 5%). An analysis of the cases and a bibliographic revision is made, concluding that most of those aneurysms should be treated, for the surgical risks are lower than those of the disease itself, and also lower than those of the endovascular therapy. lt is believed that the advances in the diagnosis and treatment of unruptured aneurysms will reduce the high morbimortality they cause after the bleeding.
 
Article
Spontaneous and non-spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma (SEH) is a rare condition in neurosurgical practice. It presents as an acute spinal cord compression and usually requires emergent surgical decompression. Recently non-surgical treatment (corticoid therapy) has been proposed in selected cases of SEH with good neurological recovery. To identify the prognostic factors of this condition. A treatment management based upon our results is proposed. Between 1985 and 2001, 22 patients suffering SEH were treated at our Department. Age, sex, initial neurological condition (evaluated using the Frankel grading scale), surgical timing, radiological data such as location, extension and degree of radiological cord compression, anticoagulation or antiplatelet therapy, epidural anesthesia and previous spinal surgery were analyzed in order to find prognostic factors. Finally, conservative or surgical treatment as well as final neurological condition were also considered for the analysis. The average age was 69 years with a male preponderance (72.7%). Surgical decompression was done in 17 cases, most of them (11 cases) presenting with high neurological deficit (Frankel A-B). Conservative treatment was used on 5 patients. Operated patients showed a larger degree of neurological recovery. The incidence of post-operative complications was of 13%. This study shows the efficiency of SEH surgical evacuation performed within the first 24 hours, particularly when the patient presents a severe neurological deficit (Frankel A-B). Patients presenting minimal neurological involvement (Frankel D-E) can be managed successfully with conservative treatment.
 
Analysis of age at presentation among the different SAH groups. 
Variables that show significant influence on ISAH patients' outcome by univariate analysis. (Bad outcome groups the GOS dead and severely disabled patients) 
Comparison of WFNS admission grades among the different types of SAH. 
Article
BACKGROUND. The Spanish neurosurgical society created a multicentre data base on spontaneous SAH to analyze the real problematic of this disease in our country. This paper focuses on the group of patients with idiopathic SAH (ISAH). METHODS. 16 participant hospitals collect their spontaneous SAH cases in a common data base shared in the internet through a secured web page, considering clinical, radiological, evolution and outcome variables. The 220 ISAH cases collected from November 2004 to November 2007 were statistically analyzed as a whole and divided into 3 subgroups depending on the CT blood pattern (aneurysmal, perimesencephalic, or normal). RESULTS. The 220 ISAH patients constitute 19% of all 1149 spontaneous SAH collected in the study period. In 46,8% of ISAH the blood CT pattern was aneurysmal, which was related to older age, worse clinical condition, higher Fisher grade, more hydrocephalus and worse outcome, compared to perimesencephalic (42.7%) or normal CT (10.4%) pattern. Once surpassed the acute phase, outcome of ISAH patients is similarly good in all 3 ISAH subgroups, significantly better as a whole compared to aneurysmal SAH patients. The only variable related to outcome in ISAH after a logistic regression analysis was the admission clinical grade. CONCLUSIONS. ISAH percentage of spontaneous SAH is diminishing in Spain. Classification of ISAH cases depending on the blood CT pattern is important to differentiate higher risk groups although complications are not negligible in any of the ISAH subgroups. Neurological status on admission is the single most valuable prognostic factor for outcome in ISAH patients.
 
Tumoración que empieza a sobrepasar la tangente medial (grado 2) 
Tumoración grado 4 con exéresis completa. 
Article
To evaluate our experience regarding the treatment of pituitary macroadenomas with cavernous sinus invasion in a series of 23 cases of transphenoidal resection. Twenty two patients, fifteen males and seven females, with ages ranging from 27 to 75 (mean of 48), were operated under protocol by a single surgeon between May of 2002 and December of 2004. Preoperatively all lesions were diagnosed by MRI and staged according to the Knosp classification. All tumors had extension to one or both cavernous sinuses. Four patients were considered to be grade 1, two grade 2, one grade 3 and sixteen grade 4. Twenty three operations were performed on twenty-two patients. Twenty cases were the standard transsphenoidal approach, and three were endoscopic. Postoperatively, the excision was classified as Complete or Total, Subtotal or Partial. Mean follow up was 15 months. The variables considered for analysis include invasion and resection grades. All six patients with graded 1 and 2 lesions and two patients with grade 4 lesions underwent a complete resection. Subtotal (greater than 80%) excision was achieved in one patient with a grade 3 tumor and six patients with grade 4 tumors. The remaining seven patients with grade 4 adenomas had a Partial (less than 80%) excision. We compare de resection grade versus invasion grade with exact Fisher test. And there is not estadistical difference (p=0.12). The Knosp classification alone cannot predict the behavior of these tumors. In our experience, despite tumor extension to the cavernous sinus, pituitary macroadenomas can be safely resected with low morbidity and mortality.
 
Article
Subarachnoidal hemorrhage (SAH) is a medical emergency in all the patients. There are some known risk factors and, some complications associated to subarachnoid hemorrhage due to aneurysm rupture, being the rebleeding the main cause of mortality. We performed a retrospective study of 234 patients with non traumatic SAH treated in the Hospital Clínic i Provincial of Barcelona from January 1993 to December 1999. Diagnosis of SAH was done by CT, and ethiological diagnosis by brain angiography. We pay attention to previous pathological history, Hunt-Hess, WFNS and Fisher scales, and we divided our population in two groups depending on the treatment (surgery or embolization). We analyzed SAH complications and GOS at discharge and in a year. Population main age was 53.67 years-old (16-88 years-old). The relationship between male:female was 1:1.4. Almost out of 37% of the patients had previous history of high blood pressure, out of 25.9% were smokers. We saw a bleeding predominance within active hours (from 8:00 to 22:00), mostly during the morning (from 8:00 to 14:00). Between the complications associated to SAH, 45 patients (out of 19.2%) suffered clinical vasospasm, 24 patients (out of 10.25%) rebleeded, 61 patients (out of 26%) had some degree of hydrocephallus post-SAH, and 38 patients (out of 16.23%) had seizures. In 31 cases the bleeding pattern in CT scan was non-perimesencephalic (out of 62% of the 50 patients with negative angiography) and, in 19 cases (out of 38%) was perimesencephalic one. Patients with angiography had 150 aneurysms from anterior circulation and, 12 from posterior circulation. We performed surgery in ninety eight patients, and embolization in 38. We found among embolized patients a worse clinical status and massive hemorrhages than in surgery ones, and, those patients had higher mortality rates and severe sequelae. We noticed that sex, pathological history and bleeding timing rates similar than previously published, either than SAH complications. We deeply analyzed those patients with negative angiography and their bleeding pattern, finding that a perimesencephalic bleeding pattern could be caused by an aneurysm, as nowadays publications point out. Due to the above reason we tried to perform a second angiography to every patient with a negative first one. We want to highlight among treated patients, those embolized had a most severe clinical status and then their prognosis and mortality rate was higher. Finally, surgical group, had a high rate of ischemic complications, and most part of this patients group didn't get a control angiography, thus lead us to change our policy, seeing the final results. This study has been specially self-helpful in order to analyze our medical policy in front of this entity, and in this way, to elaborate a protocol of treatment taking account nowadays tendencies and our experience.
 
Article
We report the case of a 36 year old woman that was hurt in the head with a lost bullet while walking through the street when she was 9 years old. On admission, the patient was fully conscious with no neurological deficits. Skull radiography showed the intracranial bullet but she was dispatched after 24 hours of observation without neurological deterioration. Six months later she suddenly presented quadriplegia and after one year of rehabilitation she recovered the mobility and strength in all her limbs. 25 years latter she began with thoracic pain (dermatomal sensory changes), constipation, paresthesias and weakness in the lower extremities; the X-Ray showed a bullet caliber 9 mm in the thoracic canal at T4 level. The bullet was removed via posterior laminectomy and dorsal midline mielotomy. 12 hours after surgery, the patient presented signs of medullar shock. The post-operatory MRI showed the trajectory of the bullet through the brain to the spinal cord in FLAIR, and spinal cord edema as well. The patient received steroids as treatment for the spinal cord edema, and with the help of rehabilitation she recovered movement in the lower extremities 30 days after the surgery.
 
Article
To describe our experience with olfactory groove meningiomas, analysing their clinical and radiological form of presentation and their surgical treatment. The clinical records of 27 patients diagnosed of olfactory groove meningioma, extracted from the series of meningiomas operated on in our department since 1973, were retrospectively reviewed. Demographical data, the clinical presentation and duration of the symptoms before diagnosis were collected. Several radiological characteristics were also reviewed such as the tumour size, associated brain edema, type of contrast enhancement, presence of endostosis and invasion of the cranial base. The surgical resection grade, the histological type and the presence of recurrences in the follow-up were also analysed. The average age at presentation was 59 years. Average duration of symptoms prior to diagnosis was 39 months. The most frequent symptom at presentation was higher function impairment (52%), The average maximum tumoral diameter was 6.2 cm. 61% of the patients presented moderate or severe brain edema, which was quite frequently bilateral (74%). Radiological endostosis was present in 37% of the cases, but there were no signs of bone invasion in any case. The approach used was the basal frontal, uni or bilateral. In all cases the grade of resection was Simpson II. The majority of the cases presented a typical histology. Over 80% of the cases presented a good recovery at discharge. None of the patients presented with a tumoral recurrence after an average radiological follow-up of 74 months. The olfactory groove is an infrequent location for intracranial meningiomas, accounting for only 4.5% of all meningiomas in our experience. These tumours reach a big size due to the delay in diagnosis. Drilling of the cranial base does not seem necessary for preventing tumoral recurrence.
 
Article
Comments to Esparza et al's article "Surgical treatment of isolated and syndromic craniosynostosis. Results and complications in 283 consecutive cases"
 
Article
To review the results and complications of the surgical treatment of craniosynostosis in 283 consecutive patients treated between 1999 and 2007. Our series consisted of 330 procedures performed in 283 patients diagnosed with scaphocephaly (n=155), trigonocephaly (n=50), anterior plagiocephaly (n=28), occipital plagiocephaly (n=1), non-syndromic multi-suture synostosis (n=20), and with diverse craniofacial syndromes (n=32; 11 Crouzon, 11 Apert, 7 Pfeiffer, 2 Saethre-Chotzen, and 2 clover-leaf skull). We used the classification of Whitaker et al. to evaluate the surgical results. Complications of each technique and time of patients' hospitalization were also recorded. The surgeries were classified in 12 different types according to the techniques used. Type I comprised endoscopic assisted osteotomies for sagittal synostosis (42 cases). Type II included sagittal suturectomy and expanding osteotomies (46 cases). Type III encompassed procedures similar to type II but that included frontal dismantling or frontal osteotomies in scaphocephaly (59 cases). Type IV referred to complete cranial vault remodelling (holocranial dismantling) in scaphocephaly (13 cases). Type V belonged to fronto-orbital remodelling without fronto-orbital bandeau in trigonocephaly (50 cases). Type VI included fronto-orbital remodelling without fronto-orbital bandeau in plagiocephaly (14 cases). In Type VII cases of plagiocephaly with frontoorbital remodelling and fronto-orbital bandeau were comprised (14 cases). Type VIII consisted of occipital advancement in posterior plagiocephaly (1 case). Type IX included standard bilateral fronto-orbital advancement with expanding osteotomies (30 cases). Type X was used in multi-suture craniosynostosis (15 cases) and consisted of holocranial dismantling (complete cranial vault remodelling). Type XI included occipital and suboccipital craniectomies in multiple suture craniosynostosis (10 cases) and Type XII instances of fronto-orbital distraction (26 cases). The mortality rate of the series was 2 out of 283 cases (0.7%). These 2 patients died one year after surgery. All complications were resolved without permanent deficit. Mean age at surgery was 6.75 months. According to Whitaker et al's classification, 191 patients were classified into Category I (67.49%), 51 into Category II (18.02%), 30 into Category III (10.6%) and 14 into Category IV (4.90%). Regarding to craniofacial conformation, 85.5 % of patients were considered as a good result and 15.5% of patients as a poor result. Of the patients with poor results, 6.36% were craniofacial syndromes, 2.12% had anterior plagiocephaly and 1.76% belonged to non-syndromic craniosynostosis. The most frequent complication was postoperative hyperthermia of undetermined origin (13.43% of the cases), followed by infection (7.5%), subcutaneous haematoma (5.3%), dural tears (5%), and CSF leakage (2.5%). The number of complications was higher in the group of re-operated patients (12.8% of all). In this subset of reoperations, infection accounted for 62.5%, dural tears for 93% and CSF leaks for 75% of the total. In regard to the surgical procedures, endoscopic assisted osteotomies presented the lowest rate of complications, followed by standard fronto-orbital advancement in multiple synostosis, trigonocephaly and plagiocephaly. The highest number of complications occurred in complete cranial vault remodelling (holocranial dismantling) in scaphocephaly and multiple synostoses and after the use of internal osteogenic distractors. Of note, are two cases of iatrogenic basal encephalocele that occurred after combined fronto-facial distraction. The best results were obtained in patients with isolated craniosynostosis and the worst in cases with syndromic and multi-suture craniosynostosis. The rate and severity of complications were related to the type of surgical procedure and was higher among patients undergoing re-operations. The mean time of hospitalization was also modified by these factors. Finally, we report our considerations for the management of craniosynostosis taking into account each specific technique and the age at surgery, complication rates and the results of the whole series.
 
Article
Around 60% of all cervical fractures occur in the high cervical segment (C0-C1-C2); 4-15% occurs in C1, and between 15-25% in the axis. Nowadays, with high resolution imaging, we can see both anatomic and functional aspects of the fractures, as well as understand the mechanisms of injury. This can also allow us to study the evolution of the soft tissue lesions and fractures. The classification of traumatic injuries in C0-C1-C2 is basic in order to understand the mechanism of injury and natural history of these lesions. This also allow us to choose the correct or most adequate form of treatment. In the cases where surgery is indicated we must: a) release of the cord or nerves, using standard techniques such as laminectomy, discectomy or corpectomy; b) align vertebral segments using traction, halo vest or surgery; c) estabilize the vertebral segments, using anterior, posterior or 360 degrees surgical approaches; d) stop the natural history of disease and e) allow maximal functional recovery. Although there are good classifications that typify the fractures in the C0-C1-C2 segments, there are not clear or standard treatments for them. This paper shows the personal experience of the author in the management of this type of fractures. The 286 patients with lesions in the high cervical segment C0-C1-C2 have been treated according to the classifications and recommendations already established in the literature. Selection of this cases and appropiate surgical approach is still a challenge for surgeons who deal with this problems.
 
Article
Background: An increase in the level of intracellular calcium activates the calcium-dependent neutral protease calpain, which in turn leads to cellular dysfunction and cell death after an insult to the central nervous system. In this study, we evaluated the effect of a calpain inhibitor, AK 295, on spinal cord structure, neurologic function, and apoptosis after spinal cord injury (SCI) in a murine model. Methods: Thirty albino Wistar rats were divided into 3 groups of 10 each: the sham-operated control group (group 1), the spinal cord trauma group (group 2), and the spinal cord trauma plus AK 295 treatment group (group 3). After having received a combination of ketamine 60 mg/kg and xylazine 9 mg/kg to induce anesthesia, the rats in groups 2 and 3 were subjected to thoracic trauma by the weight drop technique (40 g-cm). One hour after having been subjected to that trauma, the rats in groups 2 and 3 were treated with an intraperitoneal injection of either dimethyl sulfoxide 2 mg/kg or AK 295 2 mg/kg. The effects of the injury and the efficacy of AK 295 were determined by an assessment of the TUNEL technique and the results of examination with a light microscope. The neurologic performance of 5 rats from group 2 and 5 from group 3 was assessed by means of the inclined plane technique and the modified Tarlov's motor grading scale 1, 3, and 5 days after spinal cord trauma. Findings: Light-microscopic examination of spinal cord specimens from group 2 revealed hemorrhage, edema, necrosis, and vascular thrombi 24 hours after trauma. Similar (but less prominent) features were seen in specimens obtained from group 3 rats. Twenty-four hours after injury, the mean apoptotic cell numbers in groups 1 and 2 were zero and 4.57 +/- 0.37 cells, respectively. In group 3, the mean apoptotic cell number was 2.30 +/- 0.34 cells, a value significantly lower than that in group 2 (P < .05). Five days after trauma, the injured rats in group 2 demonstrated significant motor dysfunction (P < .05). In comparison, the motor scores exhibited by group 3 rats were markedly better (P < .05). Conclusions: AK 295 inhibited apoptosis via calpaindependent pathways and provided neuroprotection and improved neurologic function in a rat model of SCI. To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate the use of AK 295, a calpain inhibitor, after SCI. Our data suggest that AK 295 might be a novel therapeutic compound for the neuroprotection of tissue and the recovery of function in patients with a SCI.
 
Article
To establish some therapeutic criteria about the treatment of AVMs of III, IV and V grade of Spetzler and Martin and to analyse the results in the subgroup of preoperative embolization plus surgery. We perform a retrospective analysis of a group of 31 patients with arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) treated in our center between 1999 and 2004. There were 19 women and 12 men, with a mean age of 31.6 years old (range, 1-62a). Their symptoms upon admission were intracranial hemorrhage in 77.4%, seizures in 12.9%, headache, ischemic event and incidental finding in 3.2% each group. Diagnostic angiography was performed in 29 cases and anatomopathologic diagnostic in 2 cases. The malformations were classified with Spetzler and Martin Grading Scale, in 10.3% grade I, 24.1% grade II, 37.9% grade III, 24.1% grade IV and 3.4% grade V. Patients were classified in 6 subgroups of treatment (surgery, embolization, radiosurgery, embolization plus surgery, embolization plus radiosurgery and conservative treatment). AVMs grade III, IV and V (19 patients) were treated with surgery (6 cases), embolization plus surgery (5 cases), but also other kind of treatments (embolization alone, radiosurgery and conservative) were used. Functional results in these groups of patients were 36.8% (7 cases) with no symptoms or slights symptoms (modified Rankin 0-1), 52.6% (10 cases) minor disability (mRankin 2), 5.3% (1 case) moderate disability and 5.3% (1 case) mortality. We observe a high rate of postembolization hemorrhage in the group of patients in which the combination of preoperative embolization plus surgery was used. In these cases, early surgery was performed with a good functional recovery. There was one case of postoperative mortality. We should consider some factors like the natural history, clinical presentation (hemorrhage), angiographic features (deep arterial supply, aneurisms), Spetzler and Martin Grading and the clinical condition of the patient before treating a cerebral AVM. In the subgroup of treatment with embolization plus surgery, we recommend to achieve a subtotal preoperative embolization > 50%, not to obliterate more than 50% in one session, to perform staged embolization waiting from 4 to 6 weeks between procedures, and from 1 to 3 weeks between the last embolization and surgery.
 
Article
OBJECTIVE To describe our experience with the endoscopic management of intraventricular tumors, analyzing biopsy effectiveness, and to compare our results with those obtained from an extensive literature review. MATERIALS AND METHODS Between 2003 and 2010, 31 patients aged between 7 months and 77 years, diagnosed of solid and/or cystic intra and/or periventricular tumors, underwent neuroendoscopic biopsy. We analyze operative technique, pathological result, management of associated hydrocephalus, rate of complications and postoperative technique. RESULTS 32 endoscopic procedures were done and biopsy was successfully performed in 28 cases, with positive histological result in 25 of them (78% success rate per procedure and 89% success rate per biopsy). Most frequent pathological diagnosis was grade II astrocytoma. 30 patients had associated hydrocephalus that required endoscopic third ventriculostomy (19 cases, with 73.7% success rate) and/or septostomy (12 patients, 3 associated with ventriculostomy and 9 with ventriculo-peritoneal shunt). Frameless neuronavigation was used in three selected cases. During the surgery and the postoperative period the following complications appeared: intraventricular hemorrhage in four cases (two of them died), seizures in two patients, new neurological findings in three cases (Parinaud's sign, transient palsy of third cranial nerve and hemiparesis associated with palsy of third cranial nerve), and cerebrospinal fluid leak and infection in one case. 19 patients received subsequent treatment (microsurgical resection in 1, radiosurgery in 2, radiotherapy in 8, chemotherapy in 5 and chemo-radiotherapy in 3). CONCLUSIONS Endoscopic management of intraventricular and/or periventricular brain tumors is effective, and allow diagnostic biopsy and simultaneous treatment of the associated hydrocephalus in many cases. So, it could be the treatment of choice in those tumors that are not suitable for microsurgical resection. Although this technique is not exempt of serious complications, morbimortality could be lower than conventional microsurgical approach.
 
Article
The effectiveness of arthrodesis associated to laminectomy as a treatment for cervical myelopathy has been retrospectively evaluated analysing the clinical evolution of 36 patients as well as the change in cervical column saggittal curvature comparing a group of patients with a simple laminectomy to another in whom laminectomy was accompanied by posterior arthrodesis. 36 posterior approaches were performed to treat patients diagnosed of spondyloartrosic myelopathy between 1992 and 1999; 19 cases were treated with a simple laminectomy and other 17 also underwent arthrodesis with posterior instrumentation. The clinical evolution (using grades 0-5 on the Nurick scale) and cervical curvature have been evaluated for an average time interval of 40 months. Patients treated with laminectomy plus arthrodesis showed an average 1.24 point improvement on the Nurick scale in comparison to the 0.84 point improvement observed in patients treated with laminectomy alone. The cervical curvature attained a more physiological angulation in 53% of the patients with an arthrodesis and in 29% of the patients with simple laminectomy; curvature worsened in 7% of the patients with arthrodesis and in 24 degrees/a of those with laminectomy alone. Cervical myelopathy cases requiring a posterior approach for laminectomy obtain a better clinical evolution when an arthrodesis with posterior instrumentation is associated with the laminectomy. These patients also present improved cervical curvature as compared to the group without instrumentation.
 
Article
Objective: The stabilization of C1-C2 segment has evolved with the appearance of several techniques from sublaminar, transarticular or interarticular fixation and over recent years with the introduction of neuronavegation systems. The aim of the study was to review patients treated in our center with transarticular and interarticualr fixation and compare the results obtained with both techniques. Methods: Thirty six patients with C1-C2 instability that required a surgical fixation between 1995-2008 were retrostpectively analized. The causes of instability were principaly traumatic (18 cases) or degeneritive (16) and two cases of neoplasic lesions. In the first period (1995-2001) 20 patients were treated with transarticular fixation (Magerl's technique), and later (2002-2008) with interarticular fixation (Goel-Harms technique) in another 16 patients. Data was obtainned regarding complications, radiological evolution and clinical results (EVA pain score) and functionals (PROLO score) at 3, 6, 12 and >12 months post-op, as well as post-op cervical mobility and signs of bone fusion. A good result was considered if clinical improvement exi ted with decrease in EVA pain score > 5 points and funcional if a PROLO score > 4, regular if EVA decreased but <5 and PROLO <3 , and bad if there was no clinical or functional improvement. The results were statistically compared between both techniques. Results: Of the 20 patients treated with transarticular fixation, good results were obtained in 17 cases (85%) , regular in 2 (10%), and bad in 1 (5%). Complications included 1 case of vertebral artery lesion and 3 screw misplacements, one case in contact with vertebral artery. Regarding those treated with interarticualr fixation, in 14 (89%), good results were obtained, regular in 2 (12.5%) with 1 case of screw misplacement and another of postsurgical infection. No statistical significant differences were recorded between both techniques, although in those treated with interarticular fixation there was a higher rate of bone fusion and no cases of vertebral arterial lesions were recorded. Conclusions: Transarticular and interarticular C1- C2 fixation is safe and provides a high rate of good results with few complications. The introduction of neuronavigation systems can increase the efficacy and safety of these techniques.
 
Article
The intervertebral disc disease (IDD) is one of the most common muscle-skeletal disorders, causing both high work disability and elevated healthcare costs. There are two specific origins of disk disease that should be kept in mind: degenerative (DDD) and traumatic (TDD). Concerning the TDD, nowadays it has not been determined which patients could gradually improve and which ones will require surgery. Some studies indicate that about 85% of lumbar and 90% cervical acute disc herniation will get better in an average of 6 weeks. We conducted an observational, prospective study, over a group of 858 patients, with the following inclusion criteria: 1. MRI imaging indicating TDD, 2. No signs or symptoms requiring urgent surgical treatment (cauda equina syndrome, progressive or serious motor deficit or unbearable pain) and 3. Development of progressively spontaneous symptoms remission. All of the patients included in our study were treated in our Department of Neurosurgery from 2006 to 2007. Patients were tested for disc herniation regression with a second MRI study. A spontaneous regression of their hernia was appreciated as follow: 33 cases of lumbar hernia (29 male, 4 female), 3 cervical hernia (1 male, 2 female) and 1 dorsal hernia (male). Research about other reported series was done, and the different factors that could take place in disc spontaneous regression were analyzed: a) lodgement of the herniated disc back into the intervertebral space; b) disappearance of the herniated fragment due to dehydration and retraction mechanisms; c) gradual resorption of the herniated tissue by phagocytosis and enzymatic degradation induced by an inflammatory reaction that appeared as the disc (acting the extrusion itself as an foreign body) and, d) pulsion of cephaloarchidian liquid against the herniated portion. Disc herniation can regress, or even disappear, in a number of patients, rendering the radiological findings not to be taken as the only surgical indication criterium. We consider that the best treatment is the one relying on a good doctor-patient relationship, suspended in a balance between conservative and surgical treatment. According to clinical data, the first one (conservative) should not exceed the estimated time beyond which the surgical result would be unsatisfactory. The second one (operative), excepting "need-to operate" situations (such as cauda equina compression, progressive or serious motor déficit, or unbearable pain), should be prudently supedited to MRI regresión control, in particular in patients in which a clinical improvement is observed. Thus, the disc herniation conservative healing, both clinical as radiological, do exist, being a concept to widespread among clinicians and patients also.
 
– Lista de verificación quirúrgica propuesta por la OMS. Reproducida con permiso de la Organización Mundial de la Salud (http://www.who.int/patientsafety/safesurgery/en/index.html. © World Health Organization 2010).  
– Volcado de pantalla de la ventana de introducción de incidencias. El proceso para asignar a una cirugía uno o varios incidentes es similar al empleado para la lista de verificación quirúrgica.  
– Volcado de pantalla de la adaptación computarizada de la lista de verificación quirúrgica de la Organización Mundial de la Salud empleada en nuestro servicio. Su uso es sencillo, requiriendo un máximo de 24 pulsaciones de ratón para ser completada. Obsérvese en la esquina inferior derecha el botón que hace emerger la ventana de introducción de incidencias.  
Article
Adverse events during diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and medical errors associated with them are an important source of patient morbidity. In an attempt to reduce these, the WHO has proposed a series of measures applicable to medical and surgical patients. Within these last ones is the surgical safety checklist (SSC), a brief questionnaire that does not increase healthcare costs, is accessible to all surgical centres and can be adapted to each specific environment. To evaluate the effectiveness of establishing a modified WHO SSC on the safety and quality of care of the neurosurgical patient in a third-level university hospital. The SSC was applied to a series of 400 scheduled surgeries between May 2009 and May 2010. During the initial 6 months, 183 surgical procedures were performed (group 1). All adverse events detected in this period were studied with a root-cause analysis methodology (RCA) and, according to its results, corrective measures were introduced. After that, 217 procedures were performed (group 2). We recorded 51 events in 44 surgeries (11%). We were able to correct 88.23% of them before surgery was initiated, avoiding any consequence in the normal management of the case. In Group 1, incidents were noted in 15.3% of the procedures. The RCA suggested that 37.8% of the events had a human cause, followed by problems related to material resources and equipment in 29.7%, and organisational reasons in 21.6%. Incidence of events was reduced in group 2 to 7.4% (P=.01). Corrective measures prevented the appearance of perioperative events in 1 out of 13 procedures. The SSC is an effective tool for improving safety in neurosurgical patients, which can be established in surgical departments of any hospital without increasing healthcare costs or operative time.
 
Article
We perform a retrospective analysis of clinical results in 53 consecutive patients surgically treated for cervical myelopathy or myelo-radiculopathy with anterior cervical discectomy and interbody fusion by means of the Cloward procedure. 64.2% of the patients had good outcome as measured by the improvement in one or more grades in the Nurick's scale. No mortality related to the surgical procedure was noted, although 9.4% of the cases suffered neurological deterioration. Correct fusion was achieved in 92.5% of the patients, with a rate of post-surgical kyphosis of 9.4%. Multivariate analysis identified as factors related to the clinical outcome: age (p = 0.008), vascular risk factors (p = 0.031), duration of symptoms (p = 0.002), pre-surgical neurological status (p < 0.001), neuroradiological diagnosis (p = 0.014), intra-medullary high signal intensity changes in T2-weighted images (p = 0.008), prolongation of the central somato-sensory or motor conduction times (p = 0.004) and neurologic complications (p = 0.012) Treatment optimisation of the patient suffering cervical spondylotic myelopathy requires individualised evaluation. Prospective randomised studies are needed to answer the questions when and how to operate.
 
Article
Background and purpose: Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) constitute malformative lesions of the central nervous system vasculature and cause significant morbidity and mortality. Endovascular embolization with n-butyl cyanoacrylate is a well established modality of AVM treatment, usually combined with surgery or radiosurgery. The purpose of this study was to characterise the AVMs that were treated endovascularly with n-butyl cyanoacrylate and to evaluate the post-embolization results in the Cuban population. Materials and methods: From February 2006 to February 2011, a group of 58 consecutive patients with brain AVMs were embolized using n-butyl cyanoacrylate in the endovascular therapy unit of the Medical Surgical Research Centre in Havana (Cuba). In all, 91sessions were carried out with intranidal embolization and mainly partial devascularization, 25-30% per session, and closing 123 arterial pedicles. Safety times for n-butyl cyanoacrylate injection were established by calculating the polymerisation times for different dilutions, using post-embolisation hypotension systematically, as well as a superselective test with propofol to determine cerebral eloquence. Results: Haemorrhagic signs were the initial presentation in 68.8% of the patients, 24.1% presented with epileptic episodes and 1.7% with ischemic stroke. Of the AVMs, 93.2% were supratentorial; according to the Spetzler and Martin classification, 13.8% were grade II, 56.9% were grade III, 22.4% were grade IV and 6.8%, grade V. One hundred and twenty-eight selective tests with propofol were performed and 118 (92.2%) of those were negative. Partial devascularization (20-30%) prevailed; complete obliteration was achieved in 17.2% of the patients and 70%-99% in 27.5% of the patients. Safety times for n-butyl cyanoacrylate injection were established and the use of post-procedure hypotension was settled. Morbidity of 17.2%, with 6.9% haemorrhagic complications and mortality of 3.4% were registered in the whole series. Conclusions: The rates of total occlusion and of morbidity and mortality in the series are in the internationally described ranges. The implementation of intranidal closings with 20-30% devascularization per session and the use of post-embolization hypotension after the haemorrhage complications described resulted in the total absence of haemorrhagic complications.
 
Article
Brain abscess is a focal suppurative process in the brain parenchyma that still carries high mortality rates. Outcome is closely related with a correct and early management. In order to evaluate this management we have reviewed the brain abscesses treated in our Department during the last 14 years. The authors present a retrospective series of 60 consecutive patients with pyogenic brain abscess treated between January of 1990 and February of 2004 paying attention to the epidemiology, etiology, clinical data, microbiology, treatment modalities and outcome. The male to female rate was 5.6 to 1. The average age was 47 years. Hematogenous spread was most frequent, followed by contiguous spread. In 22% of the cases, the origin was unknown. Regarding the causative pathogens, Gram positive cocci are the most frequent (44%), with a 40% incidence of anaerobics. A mixed infection occurred in 39% of the abscesses. Three modalities of treatment were used: non surgical, catheter drainage-aspiration and surgical excision. Outcome was excellent in 52 patients (86.7%) and 4 patients (6.7%) died. Although outcome was similar in both surgical modalities, drainage-aspiration required a second procedure in 20% of the cases while this was necessary in only 10% of the patients with abscess excision. Length of admission was shorter in the drainage-aspiration group than in the excision group (13 and 26 days respectively). Mortality was higher in patients with low level of consciousness and age over 70 years. The shorter admission time associated with drainage-aspiration of brain abscesses together with its high efficacy and low morbidity suggests that drainage-aspiration should be used as the first mode of treatment.
 
Article
Forty years after the 68 May revolt, we have thought of interest to retrieve part of the revolutionary ideology concerning the role of medical practice in the society they would to change. In essence they said: the current organization of health care, although masked by mysticism, provides political support to the dominant class and favours socio-economic exploitation. Relevant features of medical structures, the hospital, the traditional medical mentality, the biologistic paradigm, etc. reinforce the hierarchical order in the capitalist society.
 
Article
Chronic subdural hematoma (CSH) represents one of the most frequent types of intracranial hemorrhage. Most occur in elderly patients causing a variety of therapeutic problems associated to systemic diseases. A retrospective study of 90 patients older than 80 years of age with chronic subdural hematoma treated in the last 15 years was undertaken. For clinical evaluation on admission and at discharge we used the classification of Markwalder. Surgical treatment was performed in all patients and a burr hole craniostomy with closed drainage system was used. On admission, 73 patients (80%) were in satisfactory condition (grades 0-2); 17 (20%) were grade 3 or 4. Seven (7.7%) patients died but none due to surgery. In 6 (6.6%) of the patients, surgical reintervention was required to remove a recurring CSH. In 76.6% of the patients, the results achieved were graded 0 or 1. In our experience CSH in elderly patients should be treated with minimal surgery with a simple drainage of the subdural space. The good results suggest that the procedure could be considered as a first procedure in these patients and that age or concomitant diseases do not appear to be poor prognostic factors.
 
Article
Evaluate the efficacy of the stereotactic brain biopsies performed in the Neurosurgery Department of the São João Hospital in order to diagnose intracerebral damage and to determine the existence of post-biopsy haemorrhage. The authors evaluated 80 consecutive cases of patients submitted to a stereotactic brain biopsy. 63 of them had a control CT-scan from 4 to 6 hours after the proceeding. Stereotactic biopsy yield a conclusive diagnosis in 75 of the 80 patients which corresponds to 93.7% of the cases. Inconclusive results occurred in 5 patients (6.25%). Significant morbidity occurred in 4 cases (5%) and there was no mortality. Control CT-scan revealed no alterations in 25 patients and vestigial haemorrhage in 27. In the remaining 11 the haemorrhage was of little significance. Stereotactic biopsy is a safe and effective method to diagnose brain lesions. The realization of a control CT-scan within few hours after biopsy allows the identification of a sub-group of patients without intracerebral haemorrhage that may be discharged from hospital on the same day.
 
Article
Despite recent improvements in microsurgical and radiotherapy techniques, treatment of basal posterior fossa meningiomas still carries an elevated risk of morbidity. We present our results in a series of patients with this type of tumor and review the recent literature looking for the results obtained with different approaches and the new tendencies and algorithms proposed for managing these challenging lesions. We analyzed retrospectively the clinical presentation and outcome of 80 patients consecutively operated between 1979 and 2003 for basal posterior fossa meningioma (foramen magnum tumors excluded). All patients had preoperative CT scans and the majority MRI studies. A total of 114 operations were performed including two-stage operations, reoperation for recurrence, CSF diversion, and XII-VII anastomosis. The most commonly used approaches were lateral suboccipital retrosigmoid, subtemporal-transtentorial, frontotemporal pterional and supra-infratentorial presigmoid. Thirteen patients received postoperative radiotherapy. There were 59 (73.7%) women and 21 men (mean age = 51.5 years; range = 18-78 yrs). Most common presenting symptoms were cranial nerve dysfunction, gait disturbances and intracranial hypertension. The mean duration of symptoms was 2.9 years. 70% of the tumors were over 3 cm in size. Fifty patients (62.5%) had a complete resection, 22 (27.5%) subtotal resection (> 90% tumor volume removed), and 8 (10%) only partial resection. Postoperative complications included hematoma, CSF leak, and infection. Fifty four (67.5%) patients developed new or increased cranial nerve deficits and 12.5% somatomotor, somatosensory or cerebellar deficits immediately after surgery with subsequent improvement in most cases. Following initial surgery 67 patients made a good recovery, 10 developed variable degrees of disability and 3 died. Eleven patients died later in the course for tumor recurrence with or without reoperation, malignant meningioma or unrelated causes. There were 9 recurrences in the subgroup of patients having complete resection initially (mean follow-up = 8.6 years). The majority of patients having initial subtotal or partial resections have been managed without reoperation during a mean follow-up period of 6.5 years (radiosurgery and/or observation). Current microsurgical and radiotherapy techniques allow either a cure or an acceptable control of basal posterior fossa meningiomas. In patients with tumor invasion of the cavernous sinus, extracranial extension, violation of the arachnoidal membranes in front of the brainstem, or encasement and infiltration of major arteries, a subtotal excision seems preferable followed by observation and/ or radiosurgical treatment. Apart from the patients age and the clinical presentation (symptomatic or not), the size and secondary extensions of the tumor must be taken into account for planning treatment in the individual patient.
 
Distribución de los síntomas de presentación no agresivos. 
A: situación normal. B: un factor desencadenante produce la fístula, con drenaje anterógrado. C: los cambios hemodinámicos producen hiperplasia de la íntima del seno y trombosis, estenosando el drenaje anterógrado y favoreciendo el retrógrado. D: la trombosis conduce a la curación espontánea. E: la trombosis conduce a la oclusión distal, con drenaje retrógrado, y hacia una vena cortical. Se reclutan nuevas aferencias. F: la situación progresa hasta ocluir el seno y drenar únicamente por vía cortical. El seno puede permanecer ocluido o repermeabilizarse. 
Article
OBJECTIVES: To analyse the clinical, radiological and therapeutic variables of intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulae (DAVF) treated at our institution, and to assess the validity of the Borden and Cognard classifications and their correlation with the presenting symptoms. MATERIAL AND METHODS: The DAVF identified were retrospectively analysed. They were classified according to their location, drainage pattern and the Borden and Cognard classifications. We recorded the different treatments, their complications and efficacy. RESULTS: There were 81DAVF identified between 1975 and 2012. The cavernous sinus (CS) location was the most frequent one. The Borden and Cognard classifications showed an interobserver Kappa index of 0.72 and 0.76 respectively. The odds ratio of aggressive presentation in the presence of cortical venous drainage (CVD) was 19.3 (2.8-132.4). No location, once adjusted by venous drainage pattern, showed significant association with an aggressive presentation. Endovascular transarterial treatment of cavernous sinus DAVF achieved symptomatic improvement of 78%, with a complication rate of 5%. The DAVF of non-CS locations, with CVD, treated surgically were angiographically shown cured in 100% of the cases, with no treatment-related complications. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of CVD was significantly associated with aggressive presentations. The Borden and Cognard classifications showed little interobserver variability. Endovascular treatment for CS DAVF is safe and relatively effective. Surgical treatment of non-CS DAVF with CVD is safe, effective and the first choice treatment in our environment.
 
Top-cited authors
Alfonso Lagares
  • Hospital 12 de Octubre. Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Jose Fernandez Alen
  • Hospital 12 de Octubre
Pedro David Delgado López
  • Hospital Universitario de Burgos
Juan Sahuquillo
  • University Hospital Vall d'Hebron
Miguel Gelabert-González
  • Conselleria de Sanidade