Neurosurgery Blog


Daily bibliographic review of the Neurosurgery Department. La Fe University Hospital. Valencia, Spain

Bilateral chronic subdural hematoma: unilateral or bilateral drainage?

J Neurosurg 126:1905–1911, 2017

Bilateral chronic subdural hematoma (bCSDH) is a common neurosurgical condition frequently associated with the need for retreatment. The reason for the high rate of retreatment has not been thoroughly investigated. Thus, the authors focused on determining which independent predictors are associated with the retreatment of bCSDH with a focus on surgical laterality.

METHODS In a national database of CSDHs (Danish Chronic Subdural Hematoma Study) the authors retrospectively identified all bCSDHs treated in the 4 Danish neurosurgical departments over the 3-year period from 2010 to 2012. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to determine the relationship between retreatment of bCSDH and clinical, radiological, and surgical variables.

RESULTS Two hundred ninety-one patients with bCSDH were identified, and 264 of them underwent unilateral (136 patients) or bilateral (128 patients) surgery. The overall retreatment rate was 21.6% (57 of 264 patients). Cases treated with unilateral surgery had twice the risk of retreatment compared with cases undergoing bilateral surgery (28.7% vs 14.1%, respectively, p = 0.002). In accordance with previous studies, the data also showed that a separated hematoma density and the absence of postoperative drainage were independent predictors of retreatment.

CONCLUSIONS In bCSDHs bilateral surgical intervention significantly lowers the risk of retreatment compared with unilateral intervention and should be considered when choosing a surgical procedure.


A prospective randomized trial of the optimal dose of mannitol for intraoperative brain relaxation in patients undergoing craniotomy for supratentorial brain tumor resection

J Neurosurg 126:1839–1846, 2017

Mannitol is used intraoperatively to induce brain relaxation in patients undergoing supratentorial brain tumor resection. The authors sought to determine the dose of mannitol that provides adequate brain relaxation with the fewest adverse effects.

METHODS A total of 124 patients were randomized to receive mannitol at 0.25 g/kg (Group A), 0.5 g/kg (Group B), 1.0 g/kg (Group C), and 1.5 g/kg (Group D). The degree of brain relaxation was classified according to a 4-point scale (1, bulging; 2, firm; 3, adequate; and 4, perfectly relaxed) by neurosurgeons; Classes 3 and 4 were considered to indicate satisfactory brain relaxation. The osmolality gap (OG) and serum electrolytes were measured before and after mannitol administration.

RESULTS The brain relaxation score showed an increasing trend in patients receiving higher doses of mannitol (p = 0.005). The incidence of satisfactory brain relaxation was higher in Groups C and D than in Group A (67.7% and 64.5% vs 32.2%, p = 0.011 and 0.022, respectively). The incidence of OG greater than 10 mOsm/kg was also higher in Groups C and D than in Group A (100.0% in both groups vs 77.4%, p = 0.011 for both). The incidence of moderate hyponatremia (125 mmol/L ≤ Na+ < 130 mmol/L) was significantly higher in Group D than in other groups (38.7% vs 0.0%, 9.7%, and 12.9% in Groups A, B, and C; p < 0.001, p = 0.008, and p = 0.020, respectively). Hyperkalemia (K+ > 5.0 mmol/L) was observed in 12.9% of patients in Group D only.

CONCLUSIONS The higher doses of mannitol provided better brain relaxation but were associated with more adverse effects. Considering the balance between the benefits and risks of mannitol, the authors suggest the use of 1.0 g/kg of intraoperative mannitol for satisfactory brain relaxation with the fewest adverse effects.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT02168075 (

Cyst Fluid From Cystic, Malignant Brain Tumors: A Reservoir of Nutrients, Including Growth Factor-Like Nutrients, for Tumor Cells

Neurosurgery 80:917–924, 2017

Brain tumors may have cysts, whose content of nutrients could influence tumor cell microenvironment and growth.

OBJECTIVE: To measure nutrients in cyst fluid from glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and metastatic brain tumors.

METHODS: Quantification of nutrients in cyst fluid from 12 to 18 GBMs and 4 to 10 metastatic brain tumors.

RESULTS: GBM cysts contained glucose at 2.2 mmol/L (median value; range <0.8-3.5) and glutamine at 1.04 mmol/L (0.17-4.2). Lactate was 7.1 mmol/L (2.4-12.5) and correlated inversely with glucose level (r = –0.77; P < .001). Amino acids, including glutamate, varied greatly, but median values were similar to previously published serum values. Ammonia was 75 μmol/L (11-241). B vitamins were present at previously published serum values, and riboflavin, nicotinamide, pyridoxal 5 -phosphate, and cobalamin were higher in cyst fluid than in cerebrospinal fluid. Inorganic phosphate was 1.25 mmol/L (0.34-3.44), which was >3 times higher than in ventricular cerebrospinal fluid: 0.35 mmol/L (0.22-0.66; P < .001). Tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates were in the low micromolar range, except for citrate, which was 240 μmol/L (140-590). In cystic metastatic malignant melanomas and lung tumors values were similar to those in GBMs.

CONCLUSION: Tumor cysts may be a nutrient reservoir for brain tumors, securing tumor energy metabolism and synthesis of cell constituents. Serum is one likely source of cyst fluid nutrients. Nutrient levels in tumor cyst fluid are highly variable, which could differentially stimulate tumor growth. Cyst fluid glutamate, lactate, and phosphate may act as tumor growth factors; these compounds have previously been shown to stimulate tumor growth at concentrations found in tumor cyst fluid.


A method for safely resecting anterior butterfly gliomas

J Neurosurg 126:1795–1811, 2017

Gliomas invading the anterior corpus callosum are commonly deemed unresectable due to an unacceptable risk/benefit ratio, including the risk of abulia. In this study, the authors investigated the anatomy of the cingulum and its connectivity within the default mode network (DMN). A technique is described involving awake subcortical mapping with higher attention tasks to preserve the cingulum and reduce the incidence of postoperative abulia for patients with so-called butterfly gliomas.

METHODS The authors reviewed clinical data on all patients undergoing glioma surgery performed by the senior author during a 4-year period at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Forty patients were identified who underwent surgery for butterfly gliomas. Each patient was designated as having undergone surgery either with or without the use of awake subcortical mapping and preservation of the cingulum. Data recorded on these patients included the incidence of abulia/akinetic mutism. In the context of the study findings, the authors conducted a detailed anatomical study of the cingulum and its role within the DMN using postmortem fiber tract dissections of 10 cerebral hemispheres and in vivo diffusion tractography of 10 healthy subjects.

RESULTS Forty patients with butterfly gliomas were treated, 25 (62%) with standard surgical methods and 15 (38%) with awake subcortical mapping and preservation of the cingulum. One patient (1/15, 7%) experienced postoperative abulia following surgery with the cingulum-sparing technique. Greater than 90% resection was achieved in 13/15 (87%) of these patients.

CONCLUSIONS This study presents evidence that anterior butterfly gliomas can be safely removed using a novel, attention-task based, awake brain surgery technique that focuses on preserving the anatomical connectivity of the cingulum and relevant aspects of the cingulate gyrus.


Degree of Vascular Encasement in Sphenoid Wing Meningiomas Predicts Postoperative Ischemic Complications

Neurosurgery 80:957–966, 2017

Sphenoid wing meningiomas (SWMs) can encase arteries of the circle of Willis, increasing their susceptibility to intraoperative vascular injury and severe ischemic complications.

OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate the effect of circumferential vascular encasement in SWM on postoperative ischemia.

METHODS: A retrospective review of 75 patients surgically treated for SWM from 2009 to 2015 was undertaken to determine the degree of circumferential vascular encasement (0◦-360◦) as assessed by preoperativemagnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A novel grading system describing “maximum”and “total” arterial encasement scores was created. Postoperative MRIs were reviewed for total ischemia volume measured on sequential diffusionweighted images.

RESULTS: Of the 75 patients, 89.3% had some degree of vascular involvement with a median maximum encasement score of 3.0 (2.0-3.0) in the internal carotid artery (ICA), M1, M2, and A1 segments; 76% of patients had some degree of ischemia with median infarct volume of 3.75 cm3 (0.81-9.3 cm3). Univariate analysis determined risk factors associated with larger infarction volume, which were encasement of the supraclinoid ICA (P < .001), M1 segment (P < .001), A1 segment (P = .015), and diabetes (P = .019). As the maximum encasement score increased from 1 to 5 in each of the significant arterial segments, so did mean and median infarction volume (P < .001). Risk for devastating ischemic injury >62 cm3 was found when the ICA, M1, and A1 vessels all had ≥360◦ involvement (P = .001). Residual tumorwas associated with smaller infarct volumes (P=.022). As infarction volume increased, so did modified Rankin Score at discharge (P = .025).

CONCLUSION: Subtotal resection should be considered in SWM with significant vascular encasement of proximal arteries to limit postoperative ischemic complications.


Clinical Outcomes of Cervical Laminoplasty

Neurosurgery 80:934–941, 2017

Laminoplasty is an established treatment for cervical myelopathy. Multiple variations have emerged, many advocating the use of allograft, but controversy persists.

OBJECTIVE: To assess medium-term clinical outcomes in patientswho underwent laminoplasty with autograft at our institution.

METHODS: Thirty-two consecutive patients (19 male, 13 female, average age 66 yr) from our prospective outcome registry that underwent cervical laminoplasty between 2009 and 2013 were reviewed. Computed tomography (CT) scan was performed immediately postoperatively and at 6-mo follow-up. Parameters included patient perception of outcome, Nurick score, Neck Disability Index (NDI), visual analog scale for neck pain, and SF-36.

RESULTS: On retrospective analysis, all patients felt improved at 3 mo postoperatively; at 2 yr, this rate was 91%. Improvements were seen in Nurick scores, from 3.16 ± 0.9 preoperatively to 1.94 ± 0.8 at 2 yr; NDI score from 28.7% ± 9% preoperatively to 20.8% ± 9.6% at 2 yr; visual analog scale from2.8 ± 1.2 preoperatively to 1.7 ± 0.9 at 2 yr; and SF-36 physical component summary from 27.9±10 preoperatively to 37.8±11.9 at 2 yr. All values reached significance at all follow-up points (P < .05) with the exception of 6-mo NDI values (P = .062). No C5 palsy, graft complications, or reclosure was observed in any patient during the follow-up period.

CONCLUSION: Laminoplasty with autograft is a safe and effective method to treat cervical myelopathy,with good medium-term clinical outcome. No reclosures were observed. Bony fusion was seen in all cases on CT scan. Our study found good outcomes in the performance of open-door laminoplasty without hardware, in the treatment of cervical stenosis.


Two distinct populations of Chiari I malformation based on presence or absence of posterior fossa crowdedness on magnetic resonance imaging

J Neurosurg 126:1934–1940, 2017

A subset of patients with Chiari I malformation demonstrate patent subarachnoid spaces around the cerebellum, indicating that reduced posterior fossa volume alone does not account for tonsillar descent. The authors distinguish two subsets of Chiari I malformation patients based on the degree of “posterior fossa crowdedness” on MRI.

METHODS Two of the coauthors independently reviewed the preoperative MR images of 49 patients with Chiari I malformation and categorized the posterior fossa as “spacious” or “crowded.” Volumetric analysis of posterior fossa structures was then performed using open-source DICOM software. The preoperative clinical and imaging features of the two groups were compared.

RESULTS The posterior fossae of 25 patients were classified as spacious and 20 as crowded by both readers; 4 were incongruent. The volumes of the posterior fossa compartment, posterior fossa tissue, and hindbrain (posterior fossa tissue including herniated tonsils) were statistically similar between the patients with spacious and crowed subtypes (p = 0.33, p = 0.17, p = 0.20, respectively). However, patients in the spacious and crowded subtypes demonstrated significant differences in the ratios of posterior fossa tissue to compartment volumes as well as hindbrain to compartment volumes (p = 0.001 and p = 0.0004, respectively). The average age at surgery was 29.2 ± 19.3 years (mean ± SD) and 21.9 ± 14.9 years for spacious and crowded subtypes, respectively (p = 0.08). Syringomyelia was more prevalent in the crowded subtype (50% vs 28%, p = 0.11).

CONCLUSIONS The authors’ study identifies two subtypes of Chiari I malformation, crowded and spacious, that can be distinguished by MRI appearance without volumetric analysis. Earlier age at surgery and presence of syringomyelia are more common in the crowded subtype. The presence of the spacious subtype suggests that crowdedness alone cannot explain the pathogenesis of Chiari I malformation in many patients, supporting the need for further investigation.


Radiosurgery for Unruptured Brain Arteriovenous Malformations: An International Multicenter Retrospective Cohort Study

Neurosurgery 80:888–898, 2017

The role of intervention in the management of unruptured brain arteriovenous malformations (AVM) is controversial.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze in a multicenter, retrospective cohort study, the outcomes following radiosurgery for unruptured AVMs and determine predictive factors.

METHODS: We evaluated and pooled AVM radiosurgery data from 8 institutions participating in the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Patients with unruptured AVMs and ≥12 mo of follow-up were included in the study cohort. Favorable outcome was defined as AVM obliteration, no postradiosurgical hemorrhage, and no permanently symptomatic radiation-induced changes.

RESULTS: The unruptured AVM cohort comprised 938 patients with a median age of 35 yr. The median nidus volume was 2.4 cm3, 71% of AVMs were located in eloquent brain areas, and the Spetzler-Martin grade was III or higher in 57%. The median radiosurgical margin dose was 21 Gy and follow-up was 71 mo. AVM obliteration was achieved in 65%. The annual postradiosurgery hemorrhage rate was 1.4%. Symptomatic and permanent radiation-induced changes occurred in 9% and 3%, respectively. Favorable outcome was achieved in 61%. In the multivariate logistic regression analysis, smaller AVM maximum diameter (P = .001), the absence of AVM-associated arterial aneurysms (P = .001), and higher margin dose (P = .002) were found to be independent predictors of a favorable outcome. A margin dose ≥ 20 Gy yielded a significantly higher rate of favorable outcome (70% vs 36%; P < .001)

CONCLUSION: Radiosurgery affords an acceptable risk to benefit profile for patients harboring unruptured AVMs. These findings justify further prospective studies comparing radiosurgical intervention to conservative management for unruptured AVMs.


Safety of Superior Petrosal Vein Sacrifice During Microvascular Decompression of the Trigeminal Nerve

WORLD NEUROSURGERY 103: 84-87, 2017

Microvascular decompression (MVD) is a safe and effective treatment for trigeminal neuralgia. Cerebellar venous infarction is a complication associated with surgical sacrifice of the superior petrosal vein (SPV). The SPV intervenes between the trigeminal nerve and the surgeon. Optimal exposure of the cisternal trigeminal nerve, particularly at the brainstem, can be achieved by sacrificing the SPV. We analyzed a cohort of 224 patients to determine the frequency of cerebellar venous infarction.

METHODS: Retrospective analysis of records and neuroradiology for patients undergoing trigeminal MVD at the Manchester Skull Base Unit between August 1st 2008 and July 31st 2015.

RESULTS: A total of 184 of 224 (82%) patients had coagulation and division of the main stem of the SPV. There were no cases of venous infarction. There was one case of mild, transient, cerebellar symptoms and signs, with no radiologic evidence of venous infarction. This patient had SPV sacrifice at surgery but also had postoperative thrombosis of the transverse sinus. Venous sinus thrombosis affected 5 of 184 (2.7%) patients. A total of 208 of 224 (93%) patients had a good outcome with improvement or resolution of their trigeminal neuralgia at 3 months.

CONCLUSIONS: The overall rate of venous complications in this study was 2.7%; however, we had no cases of venous infarction in 184 patients who had sacrifice of the SPV. The incidence of venous infarction associated with SPV obliteration during MVD surgery is therefore <0.5%. SPV sacrifice may be used where necessary to optimize visualization of the root entry zone and maximize the chance of effective decompression of the trigeminal nerve.

The Influence of Pelvic Incidence and Lumbar Lordosis Mismatch on Development of Symptomatic Adjacent Level Disease Following Single-Level Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Neurosurgery 80:880–886, 2017

Annual incidence of symptomatic adjacent level disease (ALD) following lumbar fusion surgery ranges from 0.6% to 3.9% per year. Sagittal malalignment may contribute to the development of ALD.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the relationship between pelvic incidence-lumbar lordosis (PI-LL) mismatch and the development of symptomatic ALD requiring revision surgery following single-level transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion for degenerative lumbar spondylosis and/or low-grade spondylolisthesis.

METHODS: All patients who underwent a single-level transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion at either L4/5 or L5/S1 between July 2006 and December 2012 were analyzed for pre- and postoperative spinopelvic parameters. Using univariate and logistic regression analysis,we compared the spinopelvic parameters of those patients who required revision surgery against those patients who did not develop symptomatic ALD. We calculated the predictive value of PI-LL mismatch.

RESULTS: One hundred fifty-nine patients met the inclusion criteria. The results noted that, for a 1◦ increase in PI-LL mismatch (preop and postop), the odds of developing ALD requiring surgery increased by 1.3 and 1.4 fold, respectively, which were statistically significant increases. Based on our analysis, a PI-LL mismatch of >11◦ had a positive predictive value of 75% for the development of symptomatic ALD requiring revision surgery.

CONCLUSIONS: A high PI-LL mismatch is strongly associated with the development of symptomatic ALD requiring revision lumbar spine surgery. The development of ALD may represent a global disease process as opposed to a focal condition. Spine surgeons may wish to consider assessment of spinopelvic parameters in the evaluation of degenerative lumbar spine pathology.


Contralateral supraorbital keyhole approach to medial optic nerve

J Neurosurg 126:940–944, 2017

The authors describe the supraorbital keyhole approach to the contralateral medial optic nerve and tract, both in a series of cadaveric dissections and in 2 patients. They also discuss the indications and contraindications for this procedure.

METHODS In 3 cadaver heads, bilateral supraorbital keyhole minicraniotomies were performed to expose the ipsilateral and contralateral optic nerves. The extent of exposure of the medial optic nerve was assessed. In 2 patients, a contralateral supraorbital keyhole approach was used to remove pathology of the contralateral medial optic nerve and tract.

RESULTS The supraorbital keyhole craniotomy provided better exposure of the contralateral superomedial nerve than it did of the same portion of the ipsilateral nerve. In both patients gross-total resections of the pathology was achieved.

CONCLUSIONS The authors demonstrate the suitability of the contralateral supraorbital keyhole approach for lesions involving the superomedial optic nerve.


The Superior Cerebellar Artery Aneurysm: A Posterior Circulation Aneurysm with Favorable Microsurgical Outcomes

Neurosurgery 80:908–916, 2017

Superior cerebellar artery (SCA) aneurysms are usually grouped with aneurysms that arise from the upper basilar artery or more broadly, the posterior circulation. However, the SCA aneurysm has distinctive anatomy that facilitates safe surgical management, notably few associated perforating arteries, and excellent exposure in the carotid-oculomotor triangle.

OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate the outcomes of patients treated with microsurgery in a continuous surgical series.

METHODS: Sixty-two patients harboring 63 SCA aneurysmswere retrospectively reviewed from a prospectively maintained database, focusing on clinical characteristics, surgical techniques, and clinical outcomes.

RESULTS: Of 31 patients (49%) presenting with subarachnoid hemorrhage, the SCA aneurysm was the source in 16 (25%). Thirty-three aneurysms were complex (52%) and 43 patients (59%) had multiple aneurysms. Fifty-seven SCA aneurysms (90.5%) were clipped and 5 were bypassed/trapped or wrapped. Complete angiographic occlusion was achieved in 91.7%. Permanent neurological morbidity occurred in 3 patients and 3 patients that presented in coma after subarachnoid hemorrhage died. All patients with “simple” aneurysms and without subarachnoid hemorrhage had improved or unchangedmodified Rankin scale scores. Overall, outcomes were stable or improved in 82.5% of patients.

CONCLUSION: SCA aneurysms are favorable for microsurgical clipping with low rates of permanent morbidity and mortality. Microsurgery should be considered alongside endovascular techniques as a treatment option in many patients.

Putamen involvement and survival outcomes in patients with insular low-grade gliomas

J Neurosurg 126:1788–1794, 2017

Insular glioma has a unique origin and biological behavior; however, the associations between its anatomical features and prognosis have not been well established. The object of this study was to propose a classification system of insular low-grade gliomas based on preoperative MRI findings and to assess the system’s association with survival outcome.

METHODS A total of 211 consecutively collected patients diagnosed with low-grade insular gliomas was analyzed. All patients were classified according to whether tumor involved the putamen on MR images. The prognostic role of this novel putaminal classification, as well as that of Yaşargil’s classification, was examined using multivariate analyses.

RESULTS Ninety-nine cases (46.9%) of insular gliomas involved the putamen. Those tumors involving the putamen, as compared with nonputaminal tumors, were larger (p < 0.001), less likely to be associated with a history of seizures (p = 0.04), more likely to have wild-type IDH1 (p = 0.003), and less likely to be totally removed (p = 0.02). Significant favorable predictors of overall survival on univariate analysis included a high preoperative Karnofsky Performance Scale score (p = 0.02), a history of seizures (p = 0.04), gross-total resection (p = 0.006), nonputaminal tumors (p < 0.001), and an IDH1 mutation (p < 0.001). On multivariate analysis, extent of resection (p = 0.035), putamen classification (p = 0.014), and IDH1 mutation (p = 0.026) were independent predictors of overall survival. No prognostic role was found for Yaşargil’s classification.

CONCLUSIONS The current study’s findings suggest that the putamen classification is an independent predictor of survival outcome in patients with insular low-grade gliomas. This newly proposed classification allows preoperative survival prediction for patients with insular gliomas.

Cost-effectiveness analysis of shunt surgery for idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:995–1003

We showed that ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt and lumboperitoneal (LP) shunt surgeries are beneficial for patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) in the Study of Idiopathic Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus on Neurological Improvement (SINPHONI; a multicenter prospective cohort study) and in SINPHONI-2 (a multicenter randomized trial). Although therapeutic efficacy is important, cost-effectiveness analysis is equally valuable.

Methods Using both a set of assumptions and using the data from SINPHONI and SINPHONI-2, we estimated the total cost of treatment for iNPH, which consists of medical expenses (e.g., operation fees) and costs to the long-term care insurance system (LCIS) in Japan. Regarding the natural course of iNPH patients, 10% or 20% of patients on each modified Rankin Scale (mRS) show aggravation (aggravation rate: 10% or 20%) every 3 months if the patients do not undergo shunt surgery, as described in a previous report. We performed cost-effectiveness analyses for the various scenarios, calculating the quality-adjusted life year (QALY) and the incremental cost-effective ratio (ICER). Then, based on the definition provided by a previous report, we assessed the cost-effectiveness of shunt surgery for iNPH.

Results In the first year after shunt surgery, the ICER of VP shunt varies from 29,934 to 40,742 USD (aggravation rate 10% and 20%, respectively) and the ICER of LP shunt varies from 58,346 to 80,392 USD (aggravation rate 10% and 20%, respectively), which indicates that the shunt surgery for iNPH is a cost-effective treatment. In the 2nd postoperative year, the cost to the LCIS will continue to decrease because of the lasting improvement of the symptoms due to the surgery. The total cost for iNPH patients will show a positive return on investment in as soon as 18 months (VP) and 21 months (LP), indicating that shunt surgery for iNPH is a cost-effective treatment.

Conclusions Because the total cost for iNPH patients will show a positive return on investment within 2 years, shunt surgery for iNPH is a cost-effective treatment and therefore recommended. The SINPHONI-2 study was registered with the University Hospital Medical Information Network Clinical Trials registry: UMIN000002730) SINPHONI was registered with, no. NCT00221091.

Safety and Efficacy of TachoSil in Patients Undergoing Skull Base Surgery: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Neurosurgery 80:847–853, 2017

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage associated with incomplete sealing of the dura mater is a major complication of intradural procedures.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the efficacy and safety of adjunctive TachoSil (Takeda Pharma A/S, Roskilde, Denmark) with current practice for the prevention of postoperative CSF leaks in patients undergoing elective skull base surgery involving dura mater closure.

METHODS: Patients were intraoperatively randomized to TachoSil or current practice immediately before primary dura closure by suturing ± duraplasty. Choice of adjunctive treatment in the current practice group was at the surgeon’s discretion. Primary efficacy endpoint was occurrence of clinically evident verified postoperative CSF leak or clinically evident pseudomeningocele within 7 weeks after surgery or treatment failure (third application of trial treatment or use of other treatment).

RESULTS: A total of 726 patients were randomized to TachoSil (n = 361) or current practice (n = 365). More current practice patients had sutures plus duraplasty for primary dura closure compared with TachoSil (49.6% vs 35.7%) and fewer had sutures only (45.5% vs 63.2%). The primary endpoint of estimated leak rate favored TachoSil with events in 25 (6.9%) patients vs 30 (8.2%) current practice patients; however, this was not statistically significant (odds ratio: 0.82; 95% confidence interval: 0.47, 1.43; P = .485). Both treatments were well tolerated with similar frequency of adverse events.

CONCLUSION: Very low rates of postoperative CSF leaks can be achieved in patients undergoing skull base surgery of various indications. Although the study did not meet its primary endpoint, TachoSil appears to be safe and effective for the prevention of CSF leaks and associated complications.


Shunting of the over 80s in normal pressure hydrocephalus

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:987–994

Idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus is predominantly a disease of the elderly. By its nature, many of those who present to clinic are in advanced old age with multiple comorbidities. Majority of patients treated are younger than 80 years old. We present the clinical outcomes and complication rates of patients over the age of 80 years at the time of operation, during the past 11 years at a single institution.

Methods Retrospective analysis of clinical records of all patients over the age of 80 years, who presented to our institution between 2006 and 2016.

Results were analysed for co-morbidities, immediate and delayed complications, change in mobility/cognitive function post shunting of hydrocephalus.

Results 39 patients (24 male, 15 female) met criteria. Mean [SD] age at the time of shunt insertion was 84 years (+/− 3.22) (range 80–94). No patients developed immediate CSF infection or sub-dural collection, or extended length of stay due to surgical or anaesthetic complications. There were no perioperative or anaesthetic complications. 4 patients required a delayed surgical revision to encourage greater CSF drainage. 3 patients went on to develop delayed subdural haematoma, 1 of which was associated with trauma, 2 through overdrainage. 1 patient experienced poor post-operative wound healing and subsequently underwent removal of shunt. Of the 34 patient followed up, 27 patients (79.4%) improved in their mobility. (64.7%) patients/families reported symptomatic improvement in their cognition and memory. 6 (17.7%) patients did not experience an improvement in either mobility or cognitive function.

Conclusions Our data supports the assertion that, with proper patient selection, shunting of the over 80s with iNPH is a safe and effective procedure.

Cervical disc arthroplasty with the Prestige LP disc versus anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, at 2 levels: results of a prospective, multicenter randomized controlled clinical trial at 24 months

J Neurosurg Spine 26:653–667, 2017

The authors compared the efficacy and safety of arthroplasty using the Prestige LP cervical disc with those of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) for the treatment of degenerative disc disease (DDD) at 2 adjacent levels.

METHODS Patients from 30 investigational sites were randomized to 1 of 2 groups: investigational patients (209) underwent arthroplasty using a Prestige LP artificial disc, and control patients (188) underwent ACDF with a cortical ring allograft and anterior cervical plate. Patients were evaluated preoperatively, intraoperatively, and at 1.5, 3, 6, 12, and 24 months postoperatively. Efficacy and safety outcomes were measured according to the Neck Disability Index (NDI), Numeric Rating Scales for neck and arm pain, 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), gait abnormality, disc height, range of motion (investigational) or fusion (control), adverse events (AEs), additional surgeries, and neurological status. Treatment was considered an overall success when all 4 of the following criteria were met: 1) NDI score improvement of ≥ 15 points over the preoperative score, 2) maintenance or improvement in neurological status compared with preoperatively, 3) no serious AE caused by the implant or by the implant and surgical procedure, and 4) no additional surgery (supplemental fixation, revision, or nonelective implant removal). Independent statisticians performed Bayesian statistical analyses.

RESULTS The 24-month rates of overall success were 81.4% for the investigational group and 69.4% for the control group. The posterior mean for overall success in the investigational group exceeded that in the control group by 0.112 (95% highest posterior density interval = 0.023 to 0.201) with a posterior probability of 1 for noninferiority and 0.993 for superiority, demonstrating the superiority of the investigational group for overall success. Noninferiority of the investigational group was demonstrated for all individual components of overall success and individual effectiveness end points, except for the SF-36 Mental Component Summary. The investigational group was superior to the control group for NDI success. The proportion of patients experiencing any AE was 93.3% (195/209) in the investigational group and 92.0% (173/188) in the control group, which were not statistically different. The rate of patients who reported any serious AE (Grade 3 or 4) was significantly higher in the control group (90 [47.9%] of 188) than in the investigational group (72 [34.4%] of 209) with a posterior probability of superiority of 0.996. Radiographic success was achieved in 51.0% (100/196) of the investigational patients (maintenance of motion without evidence of bridging bone) and 82.1% (119/145) of the control patients (fusion). At 24 months, heterotopic ossification was identified in 27.8% (55/198) of the superior levels and 36.4% (72/198) of the inferior levels of investigational patients.

CONCLUSIONS Arthroplasty with the Prestige LP cervical disc is as effective and safe as ACDF for the treatment of cervical DDD at 2 contiguous levels and is an alternative treatment for intractable radiculopathy or myelopathy at 2 adjacent levels.

Clinical trial registration no.: NCT00637156 (


A Simple and Reliable Method for the Diagnosis of Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt Malfunction

OBJECTIVE: To provide a simple and reliable method for the diagnosis of ventriculoperitoneal shunt malfunction.

METHODS: A total of 14 participants were enrolled in this study, consisting of 7 patients with suspected shunt malfunction and 7 control cases with apparent normal drainage. In all cases, 0.1 mL of 5% glucose solution was injected into the reservoir and 0.1 mL of cerebrospinal fluid was withdrawn from the reservoir 20 minutes later to measure glucose concentration.

RESULTS: The glucose concentration in cerebrospinal fluid of the shunt malfunction group was greater than that of the control group (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: The proposed method is reliable, safe, and relatively simple for the diagnosis of ventriculoperitoneal shunt malfunction and provides a reference for treatment.

Comparison Between CTA and Digital Subtraction Angiography in the Diagnosis of Ruptured Aneurysms

Computerized tomography angiography (CTA) is commonly used to diagnose ruptured cerebral aneurysms with sensitivities reported as high as 97% to 100%. Studies validating CTA accuracy in the setting of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) are scarce and limited by small sample sizes.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of CTA in detecting intracranial aneurysms in the setting of SAH.

METHODS: A single-center, retrospective cohort of 643 patients was reviewed. A total of 401 patients were identified whose diagnostic workup included both CTA and confirmatory digital subtraction angiography (DSA). Aneurysms missed by CTA but diagnosed by DSA were further stratified by size and location.

RESULTS: Three hundred and thirty aneurysms were detected by CTA while DSA detected a total of 431 aneurysms. False positive CTA results were seen for 24 aneurysms. DSA identified 125 aneurysms that were missed by CTA and 83.2% of those were <5 mm in diameter. The sensitivity of CTA was 57.6% for aneurysms smaller than 5 mm in size, and 45% for aneurysms originating from the internal carotid artery. The overall sensitivity of CTA in the setting of SAH was 70.7%.

CONCLUSION: The accuracy of CTA in the diagnosis of ruptured intracranial aneurysm may be lower than previously reported. CTA has a low sensitivity for aneurysms less than 5 mm in size, in locations adjacent to bony structures, and for those arising from small caliber parent vessels. It is our recommendation that CTA should be used with caution when used alone in the diagnosis of ruptured intracranial aneurysms.

Underutilization of deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease?

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:771–778

Only 10% of the up to 15% of patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease (PD) eligible for deep brain stimulation (DBS) are referred to specialized centers. This survey evaluated the reasons for the reluctance of patients and referring physicians regarding DBS.

Methods: Two different questionnaires containing multiple choice and open verbalized questions were developed, one for neurologists and one for patients with PD. The first questionnaire was sent to 87 neurologists in private practice in the catchment area of the authors’ medical center, the second to patient support groups in the same region with the help of the German Parkinson Association.

Results: Of the addressed neurologists, 56.3% completed the questionnaire; 61.2% of themestimated the risk of intracerebral hemorrhage as the most severe complication at 4.3% on average; 30.6% were concerned about patients developing mood changes or depression after DBS. Only 16.3% felt unable to care for patients after DBS; 61.2% already had personal experience with patients after DBS and reported good clinical outcome in 90.0% of patients. Although 87.8% claimed to know the specific criteria for DBS, only 40.8% could actively describe them. Only 14.0% could state each of the three main criteria. Of the 46 patients, 88.1% completing the questionnaire had obtained information on DBS from regional patient organizations and 54.8% also from a physician; 44.7% assumed the risk of severe complications to be ≥5.0%. Not being satisfied with their medical treatment was reported by 22.2%, of whom more than 70% considered DBS a further treatment option.

Conclusions The latter numbers indicate that treating neurologists tend to overestimate the reluctance of their patients to undergo DBS. Therefore, education of patients and neurologists should be improved and give more realistic figures on the actual outcomes and frequencies of possible complications.

Neurosurgery Department. “La Fe” University Hospital. Valencia, Spain


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