Neurosurgery Blog


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

Ultrasonographic features of focal cortical dysplasia and their relevance for epilepsy surgery

Neurosurg Focus 45 (3):E5, 2018

Surgery has proven to be the best therapeutic option for drug-refractory cases of focal cortical dysplasia (FCD)–associated epilepsy. Seizure outcome primarily depends on the completeness of resection, rendering the intraoperative FCD identification and delineation particularly important. This study aims to assess the diagnostic yield of intraoperative ultrasound (IOUS) in surgery for FCD-associated drug-refractory epilepsy.

METHODS The authors prospectively enrolled 15 consecutive patients with drug-refractory epilepsy who underwent an IOUS-assisted microsurgical resection of a radiologically suspected FCD between January 2013 and July 2016. The findings of IOUS were compared with those of presurgical MRI postprocessing and the sonographic characteristics were analyzed in relation to the histopathological findings. The authors investigated the added value of IOUS in achieving completeness of resection and improving postsurgical seizure outcome.

RESULTS The neurosurgeon was able to identify the dysplastic tissue by IOUS in all cases. The visualization of FCD type I was more challenging compared to FCD II and the demarcation of its borders was less clear. Postsurgical MRI showed residual dysplasia in 2 of the 3 patients with FCD type I. In all FCD type II cases, IOUS allowed for a clear intraoperative visualization and demarcation, strongly correlating with presurgical MRI postprocessing. Postsurgical MRI confirmed complete resection in all FCD type II cases. Sonographic features correlated with the histopathological classification of dysplasia (sonographic abnormalities increase continuously in the following order: FCD IA/IB, FCD IC, FCD IIA, FCD IIB). In 1 patient with IOUS features atypical for FCD, histopathological investigation showed nonspecific gliosis.

CONCLUSIONS Morphological features of FCD, as identified by IOUS, correlate well with advanced presurgical imaging. The resolution of IOUS was superior to MRI in all FCD types. The appreciation of distinct sonographic features on IOUS allows the intraoperative differentiation between FCD and non-FCD lesions as well as the discrimination of different histological subtypes of FCD. Sonographic demarcation depends on the underlying degree of dysplasia. IOUS allows for more tailored resections by facilitating the delineation of the dysplastic tissue.

Unruptured intracranial aneurysms in patients over 80 years

Acta Neurochirurgica (2018) 160:1773–1777

Patients over the age of 80 years when diagnosed with an unruptured intracranial aneurysm (UIA) pose unique decisionmaking challenges due to shortened life-expectancy and increased risk of treatment. Thus, we investigated the risk of rupture and survival of a consecutive series of patients who were diagnosed with an UIA after the age of 80 years.

Methods Data of consecutive patients with an UIA were reviewed, and patients were included in our study if they were first evaluated for a UIA by the senior author during their ninth decade of life. Outcomes were aneurysm rupture and overall survival after diagnosis. Survival was estimated from a Kaplan-Meier survival curve. Incidence of risk factors was compared to a population of patients less than 65 years who were seen by the senior author over the same time period.

Results Eighty-three patients who were over 80 years when diagnosed with a UIA were included in this study. In our population, there is a risk of rupture of 3.2% per patient-year. One-, three-, and five-year survival rates for our population were estimated to be 92, 64, and 35%, respectively. When compared to patients under 65 years diagnosed with a UIA, Bover 80^ patients had a significantly higher incidence of hypertension, and a significantly lower incidence of smoking history and familial aneurysm history.

Conclusions In our study population, UIAs greater than 7 mm carry a non-negligible risk of rupture of 3.2% per patient-year, and further studies investigating the risk-to-benefit ratio of treatment in this population are warranted.

Effect of body mass index on outcome after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage treated with clipping versus coiling

J Neurosurg 129:658–669, 2018

It has been suggested that increased body mass index (BMI) may confer a protective effect on patients who suffer from aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). Whether the modality of aneurysm occlusion influences the effect of BMI on patient outcomes is not well understood. The authors aimed to compare the effect of BMI on outcomes for patients with aSAH treated with surgical clipping versus endovascular coiling.

METHODS The authors retrospectively reviewed the outcomes for patients admitted to their institution for the management of aSAH treated with either clipping or coiling. BMI at the time of admission was recorded and used to assign patients to a group according to low or high BMI. Cutoff values for BMI were determined by classification and regression tree analysis. Predictors of poor functional outcome (defined as modified Rankin Scale score > 2 measured ≥ 90 days after the ictus) and posttreatment cerebral hypodensities detected during admission were then determined separately for patients treated with clipping or coiling using stepwise multivariate logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS Of the 469 patients admitted to the authors’ institution with aSAH who met the study’s inclusion criteria, 144 were treated with clipping and 325 were treated with coiling. In the clipping group, the frequency of poor functional outcome was higher in patients with BMI ≥ 32.3 kg/m2 (47.6% vs 19.0%; p = 0.007). In contrast, in the coiling group, patients with BMI ≥ 32.3 kg/m2 had a lower frequency of poor functional outcome at ≥ 90 days (5.8% vs 30.9%; p < 0.001). On multivariate analysis, high BMI was independently associated with an increased (OR 3.92, 95% CI 1.20–13.41; p = 0.024) and decreased (OR 0.13, 95% CI 0.03–0.40; p < 0.001) likelihood of poor functional outcome for patients treated with clipping and coiling, respectively. For patients in the surgical group, BMI ≥ 28.4 kg/m2 was independently associated with incidence of cerebral hypodensities during admission (OR 2.44, 95% CI 1.16–5.25; p = 0.018) on multivariate analysis. For patients treated with coiling, BMI ≥ 33.2 kg/m2 was independently associated with reduced odds of hypodensities (OR 0.45, 95% CI 0.21–0.89; p = 0.021).

CONCLUSIONS The results of this study suggest that BMI may differentially affect functional outcomes after aSAH, depending on treatment modality. These findings may aid in treatment selection for patients with aSAH.


Surgical management and long-term outcome of intracranial subependymoma

Acta Neurochirurgica (2018) 160:1793–1799

Intracranial subependymomas account for 0.2–0.7% of central nervous system tumours and are classified as World Health Organization (WHO) grade 1 tumours. They are typically located within the ventricular system and are detected incidentally or with symptoms of hydrocephalus. Due to paucity of studies exploring this tumour type, the objective was to determine the medium- to long-term outcome of intracranial subependymoma treated by surgical resection.

Methods Retrospective case note review of adults with intracranial WHO grade 1 subependymoma diagnosed between 1990 and 2015 at the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust was undertaken. Tumour location, extent of resection (defined as gross total resection (GTR), sub-total resection (STR) or biopsy) and the WHO performance status at presentation and through follow-up were recorded.

Results Thirteen patients (7 males; 6 females) with a mean age of 47.6 years (range 33–58 years) and a median follow-up of 46 months (range 25–220 months) were studied. Eight patients had symptomatic tumours (headache, visual disturbance); five had incidental finding. Tumours were most commonly located in the fourth ventricle (n = 8). The performance status scores at diagnosis were 0 (n = 8) and 1 (n = 5). The early post-operative performance status scores at 6 months were 0 (n = 5) and 1 (n = 8) and at last follow-up were 0 (n = 11) and 1 (n = 2). There was no evidence of tumour re-growth following GTR or STR. The commonest complication was hydrocephalus (n = 3).

Conclusion Subependymoma are indolent tumours. No patients exhibited a worsening of performance status at medium- to longterm follow-up and there were no tumour recurrence suggesting a shorter follow-up time may be sufficient. Surgical resection is indicated for symptomatic tumours or those without a clear imaging diagnosis. Incidental intraventricular subependymoma can be managed conservatively through MRI surveillance.

Radiation-Induced Changes After Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Brain Arteriovenous Malformations

Neurosurgery 83:365–376, 2018

Radiation-induced changes (RICs) are the most common complication of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), and they appear as perinidal T2-weighted hyperintensities on magnetic resonance imaging, with or without associated neurological symptoms.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the rates of RIC after AVM SRS and identify risk factors.

METHODS: A literature review was performed using PubMed and MEDLINE to identify studies reporting RIC in AVM patients treated with SRS. RICs were classified as radiologic (any neuroimaging evidence), symptomatic (any associated neurological deterioration, regardless of duration), and permanent (neurological decline without recovery). Baseline, treatment, and outcomes data were extracted for statistical analysis.

RESULTS: Based on pooled data from 51 studies, the overall rates of radiologic, symptomatic, and permanent RIC after AVMSRS were 35.5% (1143/3222 patients, 32 studies), 9.2% (499/5447 patients, 46 studies), and 3.8% (202/5272 patients, 39 studies), respectively. Radiologic RIC was significantly associated with lack of prior AVM rupture (odds ratio [OR] = 0.57; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.47-0.69; P < .001) and treatment with repeat SRS (OR = 6.19; 95% CI: 2.42-15.85; P < .001). Symptomatic RIC was significantly associated with deep AVM location (OR = 0.38; 95% CI: 0.21-0.67; P< .001).

CONCLUSION: Approximately 1 in 3 patients with AVMs treated with SRS develop radiologically evident RIC, and of those with radiologic RIC, 1 in 4 develop neurological symptoms. Lack of prior AVM hemorrhage and repeat SRS are risk factors for radiologic RIC, and deep nidus location is a risk factor for symptomatic RIC.

Microsurgical anatomy of the central core of the brain

J Neurosurg 129:752–769, 2018

The purpose of this study was to describe in detail the cortical and subcortical anatomy of the central core of the brain, defining its limits, with particular attention to the topography and relationships of the thalamus, basal ganglia, and related white matter pathways and vessels.

METHODS The authors studied 19 cerebral hemispheres. The vascular systems of all of the specimens were injected with colored silicone, and the specimens were then frozen for at least 1 month to facilitate identification of individual fiber tracts. The dissections were performed in a stepwise manner, locating each gray matter nucleus and white matter pathway at different depths inside the central core. The course of fiber pathways was also noted in relation to the insular limiting sulci.

RESULTS The insular surface is the most superficial aspect of the central core and is divided by a central sulcus into an anterior portion, usually containing 3 short gyri, and a posterior portion, with 2 long gyri. It is bounded by the anterior limiting sulcus, the superior limiting sulcus, and the inferior limiting sulcus. The extreme capsule is directly underneath the insular surface and is composed of short association fibers that extend toward all the opercula. The claustrum lies deep to the extreme capsule, and the external capsule is found medial to it. Three fiber pathways contribute to form both the extreme and external capsules, and they lie in a sequential anteroposterior disposition: the uncinate fascicle, the inferior fronto-occipital fascicle, and claustrocortical fibers. The putamen and the globus pallidus are between the external capsule, laterally, and the internal capsule, medially. The internal capsule is present medial to almost all insular limiting sulci and most of the insular surface, but not to their most anteroinferior portions. This anteroinferior portion of the central core has a more complex anatomy and is distinguished in this paper as the “anterior perforated substance region.” The caudate nucleus and thalamus lie medial to the internal capsule, as the most medial structures of the central core. While the anterior half of the central core is related to the head of the caudate nucleus, the posterior half is related to the thalamus, and hence to each associated portion of the internal capsule between these structures and the insular surface. The central core stands on top of the brainstem. The brainstem and central core are connected by several white matter pathways and are not separated from each other by any natural division. The authors propose a subdivision of the central core into quadrants and describe each in detail. The functional importance of each structure is highlighted, and surgical approaches are suggested for each quadrant of the central core.

CONCLUSIONS As a general rule, the internal capsule and its vascularization should be seen as a parasagittal barrier with great functional importance. This is of particular importance in choosing surgical approaches within this region.

Is surgical resection useful in elderly newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients?

Acta Neurochirurgica (2018) 160:1779–1787

The incidence of glioblastoma among elderly patients is constantly increasing. The value of radiation therapy and concurrent/adjuvant chemotherapy has been widely assessed. So far, the role of surgery has not been thoroughly investigated. The study aimed to evaluate safety and impact of several entities of surgical resection on outcome of elderly patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma treated by a multimodal approach.

Methods Patients ≥ 65 years, underwent surgery were included. The extent of surgical resection (EOR) was defined as complete resection (CR = 100%), gross total resection (GTR = 90–99%), sub-total resection (STR = 78–90%), partial resection (PR = 30– 78%), and biopsy. After surgery, all patients received adjuvant radiotherapy (60/2 Gy fraction) with concomitant/adjuvant temozolomide chemotherapy.

Results From March 2004 to December 2015, 178 elderly with a median age of 71 years (range 65–83 years) were treated. CR was obtained in 8 (4.5%), GTR in 63 (35.4%), STR in 46 (25.8%), PR in 16 (9.0%), and biopsy in 45 (25.3%). RTwas started in all patients, concurrent/adjuvant CHTin 149 (83.7%) and 132 (74.2%). The median follow-up time was 12.2 months (range 0.4– 50.4 months). The median, 1- and 2-year progression-free survival was 8.9 months (95%CI 7.8–100 months), 32.0 ± 3.5%, and 12.9 ± 2.6%. The median, 1- and 2-year overall survival were 12.2 (95%CI 11.3–13.1 months), 51.1 ± 3.7%, and 16.3 ± 2.9%. Tumor location, extent of resection, and neurological status after surgery statistically affected survival (p ≪ 0.01).

Conclusion Maximal surgical resection is safe and feasible in elderly patients with influence on survival. A preoperative evaluation has to be carried out.

Favorable clinical outcome following surgical evacuation of deep-seated and lobar supratentorial intracerebral hemorrhage

Acta Neurochirurgica (2018) 160:1737–1747

In spontaneous supratentorial intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), the role of surgical treatment remains controversial, particularly in deep-seated ICHs. We hypothesized that early mortality and long-term functional outcome differ between patients with surgically treated lobar and deep-seated ICH.

Method Patients who underwent craniotomy for ICH evacuation from 2009 to 2015 were retrospectively evaluated and categorized into two subgroups: lobar and deep-seated ICH. The modified Rankin Scale (mRS) was used to evaluate long-term functional outcome.

Result Of the 123 patients operated for ICH, 49.6%(n = 61) had lobar and 50.4%(n = 62) deep-seated ICH. At long-term followup (mean 4.2 years), 25 patients (20.3%) were dead, while 51.0% of survivors had a favorable outcome (mRS score ≤ 3). Overall mortality was 13.0% at 30 days and 17.9% at 6 months post-ictus, not influenced by ICH location. Mortality was higher in patients ≥ 65 years old (p = 0.020). The deep-seated group had higher incidence and extent of intraventricular extension, younger age (52.6 ± 9.0 years vs. 58.5 ± 9.8 years; p < 0.05), more frequently pupillary abnormalities, and longer neurocritical care stay (p < 0.05). The proportion of patients with good outcome was 48.0% in deep-seated vs. 54.1% in lobar ICH (p = 0.552). In lobar ICH, independent predictors of long-term outcome were age, hemorrhage volume, preoperative level of consciousness, and pupillary reaction. In deep-seated ICHs, only high age correlated significantly with poor outcome.

Conclusions At long-term follow-up, most ICH survivors had a favorable clinical outcome. Neither mortality nor long-term functional outcome differed between patients operated for lobar or deep-seated ICH. A combination of surgery and neurocritical care can result in favorable clinical outcome, regardless of ICH location.


Resection of gliomas deemed inoperable by neurosurgeons based on preoperative imaging studies

J Neurosurg 129:567–575, 2018

Maximal safe resection is a primary objective in the management of gliomas. Despite this objective, surgeons and referring physicians may, on the basis of radiological studies alone, assume a glioma to be unresectable. Because imaging studies, including functional MRI, may not localize brain functions (such as language) with high fidelity, this simplistic approach may exclude some patients from what could be a safe resection. Intraoperative direct electrical stimulation (DES) allows for the accurate localization of functional areas, thereby enabling maximal resection of tumors, including those that may appear inoperable based solely on radiological studies. In this paper the authors describe the extent of resection (EOR) and functional outcomes following resections of tumors deemed inoperable by referring physicians and neurosurgeons.

METHODS The authors retrospectively examined the cases of 58 adult patients who underwent glioma resection within 6 months of undergoing a brain biopsy of the same lesion at an outside hospital. All patients exhibited unifocal supratentorial disease and preoperative Karnofsky Performance Scale scores ≥ 70. The EOR and 6-month functional outcomes for this population were characterized.

RESULTS Intraoperative DES mapping was performed on 96.6% (56 of 58) of patients. Nearly half of the patients (46.6%, 27 of 58) underwent an awake surgical procedure with DES. Overall, the mean EOR was 87.6% ± 13.6% (range 39.0%–100%). Gross-total resection (resection of more than 99% of the preoperative tumor volume) was achieved in 29.3% (17 of 58) of patients. Subtotal resection (95%–99% resection) and partial resection (PR; < 95% resection) were achieved in 12.1% (7 of 58) and 58.6% (34 of 58) of patients, respectively. Of the cases that involved PR, the mean EOR was 79.4% ± 12.2%. Six months after surgery, no patient was found to have a new postoperative neurological deficit. The majority of patients (89.7%, 52 of 58) were free of neurological deficits both pre- and postoperatively. The remainder of patients exhibited either residual but stable deficits (5.2%, 3 of 58) or complete correction of preoperative deficits (5.2%, 3 of 58).

CONCLUSIONS The use of DES enabled maximal safe resections of gliomas deemed inoperable by referring neurosurgeons. With rare exceptions, tumor resectability cannot be determined solely by radiological studies.

Intraoperative computed tomography as reliable navigation registration device in 200 cranial procedures

Acta Neurochirurgica (2018) 160:1681–1689

Registration accuracy is a main factor influencing overall navigation accuracy. Standard fiducial- or landmark-based patient registration is user dependent and error-prone. Intraoperative imaging offers the possibility for user-independent patient registration. The aim of this paper is to evaluate our initial experience applying intraoperative computed tomography (CT) for navigation registration in cranial neurosurgery, with a special focus on registration accuracy and effective radiation dose.

Methods A total of 200 patients (141 craniotomy, 19 transsphenoidal, and 40 stereotactic burr hole procedures) were investigated by intraoperative Craneotomía applying a 32-slice movable CTscanner, which was used for automatic navigation registration. Registration accuracy was measured by at least three skin fiducials that were not part of the registration process.

Results Automatic registration resulted in high registration accuracy (mean registration error: 0.93 ± 0.41 mm). Implementation of low-dose scanning protocols did not impede registration accuracy (registration error applying the full dose head protocol: 0.87 ± 0.36mmvs. the low dose sinus protocol 0.72 ± 0.43mm) while a reduction of the effective radiation dose by a factor of 8 could be achieved (mean effective radiation dose head protocol: 2.73 mSv vs. sinus protocol: 0.34 mSv).

Conclusion Intraoperative CT allows highly reliable navigation registration with low radiation exposure.

Shunt-Dependent Hydrocephalus After Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: Predictors and Long-Term Functional Outcomes

Neurosurgery 83:393–402, 2018

Although chronic hydrocephalus requiring shunt placement is a known sequela of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH), its effect on long-term functional outcomes is incompletely understood.

OBJECTIVE: To identify predictors of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus and shunt complications after aSAH and determine the effect of shunt dependence on functional outcomes in aSAH patients.

METHODS: We evaluated a database of patients treated for aSAH at a single center from 2000 to 2015. Favorable and unfavorable outcomes were defined as modified Rankin Scale grades 0 to 2 and 3 to 6, respectively. We performed statistical analyses to identify variables associated with shunt-dependent hydrocephalus, unfavorable outcome, and shunt complication.

RESULTS: Of the 888 aSAH patients, 116 had shunt-dependent hydrocephalus (13%). Older age (P = .001), intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) (P = .004), higher World Federation of Neurological Surgeons (WFNS) grade (P < .001), surgical aneurysm treatment (P = .002), and angiographic vasospasm (P=.005) were independent predictors of shunt-dependent hydrocephalus in multivariable analysis. Functional outcome was evaluable in 527 aSAH patients (mean follow-up 18.6 mo), with an unfavorable outcome rate of 17%. Shunt placement (P < .001), shunt infection (P = .041), older age (P < .001), and higher WFNS grade (P = .043) were independently associated with an unfavorable outcome in multivariable analysis. Of the shunt-dependent patients, 18% had a shunt-related complication. Higher WFNS grade (P= .011), posterior circulation aneurysm (P= .018), and angiographic vasospasm (P=.008)were independent predictors of shunt complications inmultivariable analysis.

CONCLUSION: aSAH patients with shunt-dependent hydrocephalus have significantly poorer long-term functional outcomes. Patients with risk factors for post-aSAH shunt dependence may benefit from increased surveillance, although the effect of such measures is not defined in this study.

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension: 120-day clinical, radiological, and manometric outcomes after stent insertion into the dural venous sinus

J Neurosurg 129:723–731, 2018

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is commonly associated with venous sinus stenosis. In recent years, transvenous dural venous sinus stent (DVSS) insertion has emerged as a potential therapy for resistant cases. However, there remains considerable uncertainty over the safety and efficacy of this procedure, in particular the incidence of intraprocedural and delayed complications and in the longevity of sinus patency, pressure gradient obliteration, and therapeutic clinical outcome. The aim of this study was to determine clinical, radiological, and manometric outcomes at 3–4 months after DVSS in this treated IIH cohort.

METHODS Clinical, radiographic, and manometric data before and 3–4 months after DVSS were reviewed in this single-center case series. All venographic and manometric procedures were performed under local anesthesia with the patient supine.

RESULTS Forty-one patients underwent DVSS venography/manometry within 120 days. Sinus pressure reduction of between 11 and 15 mm Hg was achieved 3–4 months after DVSS compared with pre-stent baseline, regardless of whether the procedure was primary or secondary (after shunt surgery). Radiographic obliteration of anatomical stenosis correlating with reduction in pressure gradients was observed. The complication rate after DVSS was 4.9% and stent survival was 87.8% at 120 days. At least 20% of patients developed restenosis following DVSS and only 63.3% demonstrated an improvement or resolution of papilledema.

CONCLUSIONS Reduced venous sinus pressures were observed at 120 days after the procedure. DVSS showed lower complication rates than shunts, but the clinical outcome data were less convincing. To definitively compare the outcomes between DVSS and shunts in IIH, a randomized prospective study is needed.

Microsurgical anatomy and approaches around the lateral recess with special reference to entry into the pons

J Neurosurg 129:740–751, 2018

The lateral recess is a unique structure communicating between the ventricle and cistern, which is exposed when treating lesions involving the fourth ventricle and the brainstem with surgical approaches such as the transcerebellomedullary fissure approach. In this study, the authors examined the microsurgical anatomy around the lateral recess, including the fiber tracts, and analyzed their findings with respect to surgical exposure of the lateral recess and entry into the lower pons.

METHODS Ten cadaveric heads were examined with microsurgical techniques, and 2 heads were examined with fiber dissection to clarify the anatomy between the lateral recess and adjacent structures. The lateral and medial routes directed to the lateral recess in the transcerebellomedullary fissure approach were demonstrated. A morphometric study was conducted in the 10 cadaveric heads (20 sides).

RESULTS The lateral recess was classified into medullary and cisternal segments. The medial and lateral routes in the transcerebellomedullary fissure approach provided access to approximately 140°–150° of the posteroinferior circumference of the lateral recess. The floccular peduncle ran rostral to the lateral recess, and this region was considered to be a potential safe entry zone to the lower pons. By appropriately selecting either route, medial-to-lateral or lateral-to-medial entry axis is possible, and combining both routes provided wide exposure of the lower pons around the lateral recess.

CONCLUSIONS The medial and lateral routes of the transcerebellomedullary fissure approach provided wide exposure of the lateral recess, and incision around the floccular peduncle is a potential new safe entry zone to the lower pons.


Cranial Chordoma: A New Preoperative Grading System

Neurosurgery 83:403–415, 2018

Chordomas are rare but challenging neoplasms involving the skull base. A preoperative grading system will be useful to identify both areas for treatment and risk factors, and correlate to the degree of resection, complications, and recurrence.

OBJECTIVE: To propose a new grading system for cranial chordomas designed by the senior author. Its purpose is to enable comparison of different tumors with a similar pathology to clivus chordoma, and statistically correlate with postoperative outcomes.

METHODS: The numerical grading system included tumor size, site of the tumor, vascular encasement, intradural extension, brainstem invasion, and recurrence of the tumor either after surgery or radiotherapy with a range of 2 to 25 points; it was used in 42 patients with cranial chordoma. The grading system was correlated with number of operations for resection, degree of resection, number and type of complications, recurrence, and survival.

RESULTS: We found 3 groups: low-risk 0 to 7 points, intermediate-risk 8 to 12 points, and high-risk≥13 points in the grading system. The 3 groupswere correlated with the following: extent of resection (partial, subtotal, or complete; P < .002); number of operative stages to achieve removal (P < .014); tumor recurrence (P = .03); postoperative Karnofsky Performance Status (P < .001); and with successful outcome (P = .005). The grading system itself correlated with the outcome (P = .005).

CONCLUSION: The proposed chordoma grading system can help surgeons to predict the difficulty of the case and know which areas of the skull base will need attention to plan further therapy.

Comparison of Multilevel Cervical Disc Replacement and Multilevel Anterior Discectomy and Fusion: A Systematic Review of Biomechanical and Clinical Evidence

World Neurosurg. (2018) 116:94-104

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to comprehensively compare the clinical and biomechanical efficiency of anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) with anterior cervical disc replacement (ACDR) for treatment of multilevel cervical disc disease using a meta-analysis and systematical review.

METHODS: A literature search was performed using PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library for articles published between January 1960 and December 2017. Both clinical and biomechanical parameters were analyzed. Statistical tests were conducted by Revman 5.3. Nineteen studies including 10 clinical studies and 9 biomechanical studies were filtered out.

RESULTS: The pooled results for clinical efficiency showed that no significant difference was observed in blood loss (P [ 0.09; mean difference [MD], 7.38; confidence interval [CI], e1.16 to 15.91), hospital stay (P[ 0.33; MD, L0.25; CI, L0.76 to 0.26), Japanese Orthopaedic Association scores (P [ 0.63; MD, L0.11; CI, L0.57 to 0.34), visual analog scale (P [ 0.08; MD, L0.50; CI, L1.06 to 0.05), and Neck Disability Index (P [ 0.33; MD, L0.55; CI, L1.65 to 0.56) between the 2 groups. Compared with ACDF, ACDR did show increased surgical time (P [ 0.03; MD, 31.42; CI, 2.71e60.14). On the other hand, ACDR showed increased index range of motion (ROM) (P < 0.00001; MD, 13.83; CI, 9.28e 18.39), lower rates of adjacent segment disease (ASD) (P [ 0.001; odds ratio [OR], 0.27; CI, 0.13e0.59), complications (P [ 0.006; OR, 0.62; CI, 0.45e0.87), and rate of subsequent surgery (P < 0.00001; OR, 0.25; CI, 0.14e0.44). As for biomechanical performance, ACDR maintained index ROM and avoided compensation in adjacent ROM and tissue pressure.

CONCLUSIONS: Multilevel ACDR may be an effective and safe alternative to ACDF in terms of clinical and biomechanical performance. However, further multicenter and prospective studies should be conducted to obtain a stronger and more reliable conclusion.

NuNec™ Cervical Disc Arthroplasty Improves Quality of Life in Cervical Radiculopathy and Myelopathy: A 2-Year Follow-up

Neurosurgery 83:422–428, 2018

Anterior cervical disc replacement is an alternative to fusion for the treatment of selected cases of radiculopathy andmyelopathy. We report clinical and radiological outcomes after disc replacement with the NuNec™ artificial cervical disc (Pioneer (R)  Surgical Technology, Marquette, Michigan) with subgroup analysis.

OBJECTIVE: To review clinical and radiological outcomes after anterior cervical disc replacement with the NuNec™ artificial cervical disc.

METHODS: A consecutive case series of patients undergoing cervical disc replacement with the NuNec™ artificial disc was conducted. Clinical outcomes were assessed by questionnaires preoperatively and up to 2 yr postoperatively including neck and arm pain, Neck Disability Index, Euroqol 5-dimensions, and Short Form-36; x-rays from the same period were analyzed for range of movement and presence of heterotopic ossification.

RESULTS: A total of 44 NuNec™ discs were implanted in 33 patients. Clinical improvements were seen in all outcomes; significant improvements on the Neck Disability Index, Euroqol 5-dimensions, and physical domain of the Short Form-36 were maintained at 2 yr. There was a mean of 4◦ range of movement at the replacement disc level at 2 yr, a significant reduction from baseline; there was also progression in levels of heterotopic ossification. Complications included temporary dysphagia (10%) and progression of disease requiring foraminotomy (6%); no surgery for adjacent level disease was required. There was no significant difference in the outcomes of the radiculopathy and myelopathy groups.

CONCLUSION: Clinical outcomes using the NuNec™ disc replacement are comparable with other disc replacements. Although the range of movement is reduced, the reoperation rate is very low.

GAVCA Study: Randomized, Multicenter Trial to Evaluate the Quality of Ventricular Catheter Placement with a Mobile Health Assisted Guidance Technique

Neurosurgery 83:252–262, 2018

Freehand ventricular catheter placementmay represent limited accuracy for the surgeon’s intent to achieve primary optimal catheter position.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the accuracy of a ventricular catheter guide assisted by a simple mobile health application (mhealth app) in a multicenter, randomized, controlled, simple blinded study (GAVCA study).

METHODS: In total, 139 eligible patients were enrolled in 9 centers. Catheter placement was evaluated by 3 different components: number of ventricular cannulation attempts, a grading scale, and the anatomical position of the catheter tip. The primary endpoint was the rate of primary cannulation of grade I catheter position in the ipsilateral ventricle. The secondary endpoints were rate of intraventricular position of the catheter’s perforations, early ventricular catheter failure, and complications.

RESULTS: The primary endpoint was reached in 70% of the guided group vs 56.5% (freehand group; odds ratio 1.79, 95% confidence interval 0.89-3.61). The primary successful puncture rate was 100% vs 91.3% (P= .012). Catheter perforations were located completely inside the ventricle in 81.4% (guided group) and 65.2% (freehand group; odds ratio 2.34, 95% confidence interval 1.07-5.1). No differences occurred in early ventricular catheter failure, complication rate, duration of surgery, or hospital stay.

CONCLUSION: The guided ventricular catheter application proved to be a safe and simple method. The primary endpoint revealed a nonsignificant improvement of optimal catheter placement among the groups. Long-term follow-up is necessary in order to evaluate differences in catheter survival among shunted patients.

Contralateral anterior interhemispheric transcallosal- transrostral approach to the subcallosal region

J Neurosurg 129:508–514, 2018

The authors report a novel surgical route from a superior anatomical aspect—the contralateral anterior interhemispheric-transcallosal-transrostral approach—to a lesion located in the subcallosal region. The neurosurgical approach to the subcallosal region is challenging due to its deep location and close relationship with important vascular structures. Anterior and inferior routes to the subcallosal region have been described but risk damaging the branches of the anterior cerebral artery.

METHODS Three formalin-fixed and silicone-injected adult cadaveric heads were studied to demonstrate the relationships between the transventricular surgical approach and the subcallosal region. The surgical, clinical, and radiological history of a 39-year-old man with a subcallosal cavernous malformation was retrospectively used to document the neurological examination and radiographic parameters of such a case.

RESULTS The contralateral anterior interhemispheric-transcallosal-transrostral approach provides access to the subcallosal area that also includes the inferior portion of the pericallosal cistern, lamina terminalis cistern, the paraterminal and paraolfactory gyri, and the anterior surface of the optic chiasm. The approach avoids the neurocritical perforating branches of the anterior communicating artery.

CONCLUSIONS The contralateral anterior interhemispheric-transcallosal-transrostral approach may be an alternative route to subcallosal area lesions, with less risk to the branches of the anterior cerebral artery, particularly the anterior communicating artery perforators.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage after surgical treatment of unruptured intracranial aneurysms

J Neurosurg 129:490–497, 2018

Only a few previous studies have investigated subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) after surgical treatment in patients with unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs). Given the improvement in long-term outcomes of embolization, more extensive data are needed concerning the true rupture rates after microsurgery in order to provide reliable information for treatment decisions. The purpose of this study was to investigate the incidence of and risk factors for postoperative SAH in patients with surgically treated UIAs.

METHODS Data from 702 consecutive patients harboring 852 surgically treated UIAs were evaluated. Surgical treatments included neck clipping (complete or incomplete), coating/wrapping, trapping, proximal occlusion, and bypass surgery. Clippable UIAs were defined as UIAs treated by complete neck clipping. The annual incidence of postoperative SAH and risk factors for SAH were studied using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and Cox proportional hazards regression models.

RESULTS The patients’ median age was 64 years (interquartile range [IQR] 56–71 years). Of 852 UIAs, 767 were clippable and 85 were not. The mean duration of follow-up was 731 days (SD 380 days). During 1708 aneurysm years, there were 4 episodes of SAH, giving an overall average annual incidence rate of 0.23% (95% CI 0.12%–0.59%) and an average annual incidence rate of 0.065% (95% CI 0.0017%–0.37%) for clippable UIAs (1 episode of SAH, 1552 aneurysmyears). Basilar artery location (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] 23, 95% CI 2.0–255, p = 0.0012) and unclippable UIA status (adjusted HR 15, 95% CI 1.1–215, p = 0.046) were significantly related to postoperative SAH. An excellent outcome (modified Rankin Scale score of 0 or 1) was achieved in 816 (95.7%) of 852 cases overall and in 748 (98%) of 767 clippable UIAs at 12 months.

CONCLUSIONS In this large case series, microsurgical treatment of UIAs was found to be safe and effective. Aneurysm location and unclippable morphologies were related to postoperative SAH in patients with surgically treated UIAs.


Fast gray matter acquisition T1 inversion recovery MRI to delineate the mammillothalamic tract for preoperative direct targeting of the anterior nucleus of the thalamus for deep brain stimulation in epilepsy

Neurosurg Focus 45 (2):E6, 2018

When medically intractable epilepsy is multifocal or focal but poorly localized, neuromodulation can be useful therapy. One such technique is deep brain stimulation (DBS) targeting the anterior nucleus of the thalamus (ANT). Unfortunately, the ANT is difficult to visualize in standard MRI sequences and its indirect targeting is difficult because of thalamic variability and atrophy in patients with epilepsy.

The following study describes the novel use of the fast gray matter acquisition T1 inversion recovery (FGATIR) MRI sequence to delineate the mammillothalamic tract for direct targeting of the ANT through visualizing the termination of the mammillothalamic tract in the ANT. The day prior to surgery in a 19-year-old, right-handed woman with a 5-year history of epilepsy, MRI was performed on a 3-T Siemens Prisma scanner (Siemens AG, Healthcare Sector) using a 64-channel head and neck coil. As part of the imaging protocol, noncontrast magnetization-prepared rapid gradient echo (MP-RAGE) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) sequences were obtained for targeting purposes.

The ANT was directly targeted using the FGATIR sequence, and bilateral Medtronic 3389 leads were placed.

At the last follow-up (2 months), the patient reported an approximate 75% decrease in seizure frequency, as well as a decrease in seizure severity.

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


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