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Flashcards in Neurosurgery Deck (82):
1

How do brain tumors cause increased ICP?

occupying space
producing cerebral edema
interfering with normal CSF flow
impairing venous drainage

2

How do pts w brain tumors typically present?

progressive neuro defects dt rising ICP, tumor invasion, or brain compression
headaches
seizures

3

How are intracranial tumors classified?

Intracerebral
Extracerebral

4

What are the intracerebral tumors?

glial cell tumors
metastatic tumors
pineal gland tumors
papillomas of the choroid plexus

5

What are the glial cell tumors?

astrocytomas
anaplastic astrocytomas
GBM- glioblastoma multiforme
oligodendrogliomas
ependymomas
primitive neuroectodermal tumors

6

Where do metastatic tumors typically come from?

Lung
Breast
Melanoma
Kidney
Colon

7

What are the extracerebral tumors?

These arise from extracerebral structures:
meningiomas (from meninges)
acoustic neuromas
pituitary adenomas (from pit gland)
craniopharyngiomas (from pit gland)

8

What are the most common CNS tumors seen in adults?

Glial cell tumors and mets tumors (both of which are intracerebral)
Glial cell tumors are 50% of adult CNS tumors!

9

T/F Children have more posterior fossa tumors

True

10

What does glioma usually refer to?

Astrocyte tumor.
Can actually refer to any glial tumor, but usu used for astrocytic tumors.

11

Grades/aggressiveness of astrocytic tumors

Slow-growing astrocytomas are least malignant- grades I and II
In kids, astrocytomas in the post fossa usu have cystic morphology- pilocystic astrocytoma
Anaplastic astrocytomas are more aggressive- grade III
Most common and most malignant is GBM- grade IV

12

What is a butterfly glioma?

GBM tumor which has tracked through the white matter and crossed the midline via the corpus callosum- looks like a butterfly on CT.
Very poor pgx.

13

What is an oligodendroglioma?

Slow-growing calcified tumor
Often in frontal lobes
Adults> kids
often a/w seizures

14

What are ependymomas?

Arise from cells that line the ventricular walls and central canal.
Px w elevated ICP
Mostly in children
Usually arise in 4th ventricle

15

What kinds of tumors to children usually have?

Infratentoral posterior fossa tumors-
cystic cerebellar astrocytomas
ependymomas
medulloblastomas- highly malignant ones are see in the vermis of young children, but in the cerebellar hemispheres of young adults

16

Where are most metastatic lesions to the brain located?

Supratentorial, at the cortical-white matter jn

17

Rx for metastatic braint tumors

If it's a single, approachable lesion- surgical removal + radiation
If multiple lesions- stereotactic radiosurgery

18

What is a meningioma?

Slow-growing tumor that arises from meninges lining brain and SC.

19

Pt px for meningioma

neuro signs and sx from cerebral compression dt expanding tumor mass
seizures
headaches, nausea, vom, mental status chgs- dt elevated ICP
Diffuse headache that is worse in morning after laying down all night

20

Phys Ex for meningioma

Personality chgs (later to stupor, coma)
Speech deficits, confusion
Bilateral papilledema (optic disc swelling from increased ICP)
Eye deviation (frontal lobe involved)
Ataxia if cerebellar
Motor or sensory defects if tumor is around central sulcus or deep structures

21

DD for pt w central neurologic deficits and sx

IC hemorrhage
neurodegenerative dz
abscess
vascular malformation
meningitis
encephalitis
communicating hydrocephalus
toxic state
(and of course, meningioma)

22

Dx eval for meningioma

CT or MRI- dx and localize tumor
MRI w gadolinium- visualize high grade gliomas, meningiomas, schwanomas, pit adenomas
T2 MRI for low-grade gliomas

23

Goal of rx for brain tumors

total tumor removal (when feasible)
but subtotal resection is nec if brain fn will be compromised by full resection

24

If subtotal resection is performed, what should follow?

post-op radiation therapy
also chemo for some cancer types

25

Rx for metastatic brain tumors

Whole-brain radiation
(sometimes single lesions that are easy to remove are removed first)

26

What kind of drugs are used for perioperative mgmt of increased ICP from cerebral edema?

Corticosteroids- dexamethasone
(also may need shunting of CSF if there is hydrocephalus)

27

What is an intracranial aneurysm?

Saccular, berry-shaped aneurysm found at branch points in circle of Willis

28

What happens when intracranial aneurysms rupture and bleed?

Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH)
this is rare.

29

HPE of SAH

sudden onset of worst headache ever
ICP transiently rises w each contraction of the heart--> pulsating headache
Progressive neuro deficits dt blood clot mass effect, vasospasm, or hydrocephalus
Coma and death

30

How are SAH's classified?

Hunt-Hess grade 1- (good) to 5 (almost dead)

31

Dx Eval for SAH

CT
If highly susp but CT is neg, do an LP
If SAH is found, do a four-vessel cerebral angiography to define aneurysm neck and relation w surrounding vessels.

32

Medical rx for SAH

control of HTN
phenytoin for prophylactic seizure control
mannitol for edema
nimodipine to reduce risk of delayed neuro deficits dt vasospasm

33

Non-medical rx for SAH

emergency external ventricular drainage- to lower ICP
if progressive deterioration- emergency craniotomy and evac blood clot
definitive Rx = obliteration by microsurgical clipping or endovascular coiling of the aneurysm.

34

In what pts do epidural hematomas occur?

Head trauma pts w a skull fracture across a MMA, causing arterial laceration (and expanding hematoma)

35

What is an epidural hematoma?

arterial bleeding from MMA which strips dura from inner skull and creates lens-shaped mass which causes brain compression and herniation

36

Hx of pt w epidural hematoma

head trauma w LOC, but no perisistent neuro deficit
after honeymoon, progressive deterioration of consciousness

37

Phys Ex for epidural hematoma

Assess consciousness! Use GCS
GCS <8 = severe head injury
8-12 - moderate
12+ - mild

38

If a pt has a GCS of <8, what should be done?

immediate intubation for airway protection
rapid neurosurgical eval

39

What does unilateral dilated pupil indicate in setting of head trauma?

Brainstem herniation

40

What does bilateral fixed and dilated pupils indicate in setting of head trauma?

impending respi failure and death

41

Dx eval for epidural hematoma

CT

42

Rx for epidural hematoma

airway control and emergency cranial decompression- Burr holes, turn a flap, decompress clot.
Control MMA bleed and fix dura to bone to prevent reaccumulation

43

What is a subdural hematoma?

hemorrhage dt ruptured bridging veins (they drain blood from the brain into the superior sagittal sinus)

44

T/F subdural hemotomas are high-pressure bleeds dt rupture of bridging veins

False
They are low-pressure. (But it's true that they are secondary to venous hemorrhage).
They can be spontaneous or traumatic.

45

Which pts most often get spontaneous subdural hematomas?

Elderly pts w brain atrophy who are on anticoagulants

46

HPE of subdural hematoma

headache, drowsiness, hemiparesis

47

Rx for subdural hematoma

If significant neuro deficits dt mass effect, do urgent burr hole decompression or craniotomy

48

How are spinal tumors characterized?

By anatomic location-
extradural
intradural
intramedullary

49

What are the extradural spinal tumors?

Usu mets from lung, breast, prostate
Can also be multiple myeloma of the spine, lymphoma

50

What is the usual presenting complaint for extradural spinal tumors?

Back pain or neuro deficit from cord compression

51

What are the intradural spinal tumors?

meningioma
schwannoma
neurofibroma
ependymoma
dumbell tumor- nerve root tumor that transverses the intervertebral foramen.

52

Px for intradural spinal tumors

numbness progressing to weakness

53

What are the intermedullary tumors of the spine?

astrocytomas
ependymomas
cavernous malformations

54

How can you differentiate cystic spinal tumors from syringomyelia?

Gadolinium-enhanced MRI
(both may px w sensory loss, so do MRI to differentiate them)

55

DD for pts w spinal cord pathology

Tumor
cervical spondylitic myelopathy
acute cervical disc protrusion
spinal angioma
acute transverse myelits

56

Dx Eval for spinal tumors

Plain XR- show bony erosion
MRI- best. shows anatomy
CT myelogram if MRI unavailable

57

Goal of spinal tumor Rx

relieve cord compression
maintain spinal stability

58

What are the two columns of the spine?

Anterior- vertebral bodies, discs, ligaments
Posterior- facet joints, neural arch, ligaments

59

Rx for anterior spinal tumors

If they involve the vertebral body- remove tumor via anterolateral approach.
Resect vertebral body, repair w bone graft and metal plate.

60

Rx for posterior spinal tumors

Remove by laminectomy (which usu does not cause spinal instability)

61

Rx for mets to spine

If unresectable, palliate and pain control w radiation therapy.

62

What are the two parts of intervertebral discs?

central- nucleus pulposus (cushion bt vertebrae)
surrounding- dense annulus fibrosis

63

Why does disc space narrowing occur?

Nucleus pulposus dehydrates

64

Disc space narrowing causes abn vertebral stresses and mvmt, which causes....

osteogenesis, with formation of osteophytes and bone spurs- these can traumatize nerve roots
aka spondylosis

65

What happens when there is structural failure of the IV disc?

nucleus pulposus herniates into spinal canal or the neural foramina thru a defect in the circumferential disc annulus

66

What does lateral disc herniation cause?

nerve root compression adn radicular sx

67

What does central disc herniation cause?

myelopathy

68

Which parts of the spine are most commonly affected by spine dz?

the most mobile parts- cervical and lumbar

69

Pt px of cervical spondylosis and disc dz

over 50yo
pain, paresthesia, weakness

70

If cervical spondylotic myelopathy is secondary to repetitive SC dmg by osteophytes, what is the px?

progressive numbness, weakness, paresthesia of the hands and forearms in a glovelike distribution

71

If pts have pain secondary to disc dz, what is the px?

radiculopathy- pain radiating down the arm in a nerve root distribution, worse with next extension

72

Phys Ex for spondylosis

limited neck motion
straightening of the normal cervical lordosis
sensory and motor deficits in a radicular pattern
diminished reflexes
hyperreflexia and Hoffman or Babinski sign show myelopathy

73

DD for spondylosis

Rheum arthritis
Ankylosing spondylitis
Brachial plexus compression from a first or cervical rib (for nerve root compression sx)
scalenus anticus syndrome (thoracic outlet)
In pts w arm pain but no neck pain: peripheral nerve entrapment (carpal tunnel, ulnar nerve palsy); pancoast tumor of pulmonary apex

74

Dx eval for spondylosis/disc problems

CXR- shows straightening of cervical lordosis, disc space narrowing, osteophyte formation, spinal canal narrowing. (if diameter is <10mm, high risk for compression)
CT myelography and MRI- look at SC and nerve roots
MRI for herniated discs, CT for bony stuff

75

Rx for spondylosis

medical therapy first! usu improve w/o surgery
cervical traction, analgesics, muscle relaxants.
anterior cervical fusion- remv disc, bone graft replacement, internal fixation.
this and other spine stabilizing procedures stabilize the spine so that osteophytes get reabsorbed.
Decompression laminectomy- for narrow spinal canal.

76

Px for lumbar disc prolapse

Pain radiating down lower extremity (sciatica)
Parasthesias, numbness, weakness
Pos straight leg test
No ankle or knee reflex
Weakness of foot dorsiflexion or plantar flexion
Weakness of knee extension

77

Which discs most commonly prolapse?

L4-5 and L5-S1
so get L5 and S1 nerve sx

78

Dx eval for lumbar disc prolapse

MRI- shows disc herniation at suspected level

79

Rx for lumbar disc prolapse

Most pts improve w/o surgery
only do surg if chronic disabling pain
Open laminectomy
Urgent surgery if progressive neuro deficits (foot drop) or acute onset of cauda equina syndrome

80

What is cauda equina syndrome?

Massive midline disc protrusion that compresses cauda equina- neurosurg emergency.

81

Px in cauda equina syndrome

urinary retention or overflow incontinence
bilateral sciatica
perineal numbess/tingling (saddle anesthesia)

82

Rx for cauda equina syndrome

Urgent bilateral laminectomy decompression w disc removal