Neurosurgery Blog

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

The superior fovea triangle approach: a novel safe entry zone to the brainstem

J Neurosurg 127:1134–1138, 2017

The authors describe a safe entry zone, the superior fovea triangle, on the floor of the fourth ventricle for resection of deep dorsal pontine lesions at the level of the facial colliculus.

Clinical data from a patient undergoing a suboccipital telovelar transsuperior fovea triangle approach to a deep pontine cavernous malformation were reviewed and supplemented with 6 formalin-fixed adult human brainstem and 2 silicone-injected adult human cadaveric heads using the fiber dissection technique to illustrate the utility of this novel safe entry zone.

The superior fovea has a triangular shape that is an important landmark for the motor nucleus of the trigeminal, abducens, and facial nerves. The inferior half of the superior fovea triangle may be incised to remove deep dorsal pontine lesions through the floor of the fourth ventricle.

The superior fovea triangle may be used as a safe entry zone for dorsally located lesions at the level of the facial colliculus.

Quantitative anatomical analysis and clinical experience with mini-pterional and mini-orbitozygomatic approaches for intracranial aneurysm surgery

J Neurosurg 127:646–659, 2017

The aim of this investigation was to modify the mini-pterional and mini-orbitozygomatic (mini-OZ) approaches in order to reduce the amount of tissue traumatization caused and to compare the use of the 2 approaches in the removal of circle of Willis aneurysms based on the authors’ clinical experience and quantitative analysis.

METHODS Three formalin-fixed adult cadaveric heads injected with colored silicone were examined. Surgical freedom and angle of attack of the mini-pterional and mini-OZ approaches were measured at 9 anatomical points, and the measurements were compared. The authors also retrospectively reviewed the cases of 396 patients with ruptured and unruptured single aneurysms in the circle of Willis treated by microsurgical techniques at their institution between January 2006 and November 2014.

RESULTS A significant difference in surgical freedom was found in favor of the mini-pterional approach for access to the ipsilateral internal carotid artery (ICA) and middle cerebral artery (MCA) bifurcations, the most distal point of the ipsilateral posterior cerebral artery (PCA), and the basilar artery (BA) tip. No statistically significant differences were found between the mini-pterional and mini-OZ approaches for access to the posterior clinoid process, the most distal point of the superior cerebellar artery (SCA), the anterior communicating artery (ACoA), the contralateral ICA bifurcation, and the most distal point of the contralateral MCA. A trend toward increasing surgical freedom was found for the mini-OZ approach to the ACoA and the contralateral ICA bifurcation. The lengths exposed through the mini-OZ approach were longer than those exposed by the mini-pterional approach for the ipsilateral PCA segment (11.5 ± 1.9 mm) between the BA and the most distal point of the P2 segment of the PCA, for the ipsilateral SCA (10.5 ± 1.1 mm) between the BA and the most distal point of the SCA, and for the contralateral anterior cerebral artery (ACA) (21 ± 6.1 mm) between the ICA bifurcation and the most distal point of the A2 segment of the ACA. The exposed length of the contralateral MCA (24.2 ± 8.6 mm) between the contralateral ICA bifurcation and the most distal point of the MCA segment was longer through the mini-pterional approach. The vertical angle of attack (anteroposterior direction) was significantly greater with the minipterional approach than with the mini-OZ approach, except in the ACoA and contralateral ICA bifurcation. The horizontal angle of attack (mediolateral direction) was similar with both approaches, except in the ACoA, contralateral ICA bifurcation, and contralateral MCA bifurcation, where the angle was significantly increased in the mini-OZ approach.

CONCLUSIONS The mini-pterional and mini-OZ approaches, as currently performed in select patients, provide less tissue traumatization (i.e., less temporal muscle manipulation, less brain parenchyma retraction) from the skin to the aneurysm than standard approaches. Anatomical quantitative analysis showed that the mini-OZ approach provides better exposure to the contralateral side for controlling the contralateral parent arteries and multiple aneurysms. The mini-pterional approach has greater surgical freedom (maneuverability) for ipsilateral circle of Willis aneurysms.

 

Probabilistic versus deterministic tractography for delineation of the cortico-subthalamic hyperdirect pathway in patients with Parkinson disease selected for deep brain stimulation

J Neurosurg 126:1657–1668, 2017

Diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI) and tractography allows noninvasive mapping of the structural connections of the brain, and may provide important information for neurosurgical planning. The hyperdirect pathway, connecting the subthalamic nucleus (STN) with the motor cortex, is assumed to play a key role in mediating the effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS), which is an effective but poorly understood treatment for Parkinson disease. This study aimed to apply recent methodological advances in DWI acquisition and analysis to the delineation of the hyperdirect pathway in patients with Parkinson disease selected for surgery.

METHODS High spatial and angular resolution DWI data were acquired preoperatively from 5 patients with Parkinson disease undergoing DBS. The authors compared the delineated hyperdirect pathways and associated STN target maps generated by 2 different tractography methods: a tensor-based deterministic method, typically available in clinical settings, and an advanced probabilistic method based on constrained spherical deconvolution. In addition, 10 highresolution data sets with the same scanning parameters were acquired from a healthy control participant to assess the robustness of the tractography results.

RESULTS Both tractography approaches identified connections between the ipsilateral motor cortex and the STN. However, the 2 methods provided substantially different target regions in the STN, with the target center of gravity differing by > 1.4 mm on average. The probabilistic method (based on constrained spherical deconvolution) plausibly reconstructed a continuous set of connections from the motor cortex, terminating in the dorsolateral region of the STN. In contrast, the tensor-based method reconstructed a comparatively sparser and more variable subset of connections. Furthermore, across the control scans, the probabilistic method identified considerably more consistent targeting regions within the STN compared with the deterministic tensor-based method, which demonstrated a 1.9–2.4 times higher variation.

CONCLUSIONS These data provide a strong impetus for the use of a robust probabilistic tractography framework based on constrained spherical deconvolution, or similar advanced DWI models, in clinical settings. The inherent limitations and demonstrated inaccuracy of the tensor-based method leave it questionable for use in high-precision stereotactic DBS surgery. The authors have also described a straightforward method for importing tractography-derived information into any clinical neuronavigation system, based on the generation of track-density images.

Surgical Approaches to the Temporal Horn: An Anatomic Analysis of White Matter Tract Interruption

Operative Neurosurgery 13:258–270, 2017

Surgical access to the temporal horn is necessary to treat tumors and vascular lesions, but is used mainly in patients with mediobasal temporal epilepsy. The surgical approaches to this cavity fall into 3 primary categories: lateral, inferior, and transsylvian. The current neurosurgical literature has underestimated the interruption of involved fiber bundles and the correlated clinical manifestations.

OBJECTIVE: To delineate the interruption of fiber bundles during the different approaches to the temporal horn.

METHODS:We simulated the lateral (trans-middle temporal gyrus), inferior (transparahippocampal gyrus), and transsylvian approaches in 20 previously frozen, formalin-fixed human brains (40 hemispheres). Fiber dissection was then done along the lateral and inferior aspects under the operating microscope. Each stage of dissection and its respective fiber tract interruption were defined.

RESULTS: The lateral (trans-middle temporal gyrus) approach interrupted “U” fibers, the superior longitudinal fasciculus (inferior arm), occipitofrontal fasciculus (ventral segment), uncinate fasciculus (dorsolateral segment), anterior commissure (posterior segment), temporopontine, inferior thalamic peduncle (posterior fibers), posterior thalamic peduncle (anterior portion), and tapetum fibers. The inferior (transparahippocampal gyrus) approach interrupted “U” fibers, the cingulum (inferior arm), and fimbria, and transected the hippocampal formation. The transsylvian approach interrupted “U”fibers (anterobasal region of the extreme capsule), the uncinate fasciculus (ventromedial segment), and anterior commissure (anterior segment), and transected the anterosuperior aspect of the amygdala.

CONCLUSION: White matter dissection improves our knowledge of the complex anatomy surrounding the temporal horn. Identifying the fiber bundles at risk during each surgical approach adds important information for choosing the appropriate surgical strategy.

 

Three-Dimensional Printed Modeling of Diffuse Low-Grade Gliomas and Associated White Matter Tract Anatomy

Neurosurgery 80:635–645, 2017

Diffuse low-grade gliomas (DLGGs) represent several pathological entities that infiltrate and invade cortical and subcortical structures in the brain.

OBJECTIVE: To describe methods for rapid prototyping of DLGGs and surgically relevant anatomy.

METHODS: Using high-definition imaging data and rapid prototyping technologies, we were able to generate 3 patient DLGGs to scale and represent the associated whitematter tracts in 3 dimensions using advanced diffusion tensor imaging techniques.

RESULTS: This report represents a novel application of 3-dimensional (3-D) printing in neurosurgery and a means to model individualized tumors in 3-D space with respect to subcorticalwhite matter tract anatomy. Faculty and resident evaluations of this technology were favorable at our institution.

CONCLUSION: Developing an understanding of the anatomic relationships existing within individuals is fundamental to successful neurosurgical therapy. Imaging-based rapid prototyping may improve on our ability to plan for and treat complex neuro-oncologic pathology.

Occipitocervical Instability After Far-Lateral Transcondylar Surgery

Neurosurgery 80:140–145, 2017

After a far-lateral transcondylar approach, patients may maintain neutral alignment in the immediate postoperative period, but severe occipitoatlantal subluxation may occur gradually with cranial settling and possible neurological injury. Previous research is based on assumptions regarding the extent of condylar resection and the change in biomechanics that produces instability.

OBJECTIVE: To quantify the extent of bone removal during a far-lateral transcondylar approach, determine the changes in range of motion (ROM) and stiffness that occur after condylar resection, and identify the threshold of condylar resection that predicts alterations in occipitocervical biomechanics.

METHODS: Nine human cadaveric specimens were biomechanically tested before and after far-lateral transcondylar resection extending into the hypoglossal canal (HC). The extent of condylar resection was quantified using volumetric comparison between pre- and postresection computed tomography scans. ROM and stiffness testing were performed in intact and resected states. The extent of resection that produced alterations in occipitocervical biomechanics was assessed with sensitivity analysis.

RESULTS: Bone removal during condylar resection into the HC was 15.4%-63.7% (mean 35.7%). Sensitivity analysis demonstrated that changes in biomechanics may occur when just 29% of the occipital condyle was resected (area under the curve 0.80-1.00).

CONCLUSION: Changes in occipitocervical biomechanics may be observed if one-third of the occipital condyle is resected. During surgery, the HC may not be a reliable landmark to guide the extent of resection. Patients who undergo condylar resections extending into or beyond the HC require close surveillance for occipitocervical instability.

The paramedian supracerebellar transtentorial approach to the posterior fusiform gyrus

the-paramedian-supracerebellar-transtentorial-approach-to-the-posterior-fusiform-gyrus

Acta Neurochir (2016) 158:2149–2154

The posterior fusiform gyrus lies in a surgically challenging region. Several approaches have been described to access this anatomical area. The paramedian supracerebellar transtentorial (SCTT) approach benefits from minimal disruption of normal neurovascular tissue. The aim of this study was to demonstrate its application to access the posterior fusiform gyrus.

Methods Three brains and six cadaveric heads were examined. A stepwise dissection of the SCTT approach to the posterior fusiform gyrus was performed. Local cortical anatomy was studied. The operability score was applied for comparative analysis on surgical anatomy.

Results The major posterior landmark used to identify the fusiform gyrus with respect to the medial occipitotemporal gyrus was the collateral sulcus, which commonly bifurcated at its caudal extent. Compared with other surgical approaches addressed to access the region, SCTT demonstrated the best operability in terms of maneuverability arc. Favorable tentorial anatomy is the only limiting factor.

Conclusions The supracerebellar transtentorial approach is able to provide access to the posterior fusiform gyrus via a minimally disruptive, anatomic, microsurgical corridor.

Virtual and stereoscopic anatomy: when virtual reality meets medical education

virtual-and-stereoscopic-anatomy-when-virtual-reality-meets-medical-education

J Neurosurg 125:1105–1111, 2016

The authors sought to construct, implement, and evaluate an interactive and stereoscopic resource for teaching neuroanatomy, accessible from personal computers.

Methods Forty fresh brains (80 hemispheres) were dissected. Images of areas of interest were captured using a manual turntable and processed and stored in a 5337-image database. Pedagogic evaluation was performed in 84 graduate medical students, divided into 3 groups: 1 (conventional method), 2 (interactive nonstereoscopic), and 3 (interactive and stereoscopic). The method was evaluated through a written theory test and a lab practicum.

Results Groups 2 and 3 showed the highest mean scores in pedagogic evaluations and differed significantly from Group 1 (p < 0.05). Group 2 did not differ statistically from Group 3 (p > 0.05). Size effects, measured as differences in scores before and after lectures, indicate the effectiveness of the method. ANOVA results showed significant difference (p < 0.05) between groups, and the Tukey test showed statistical differences between Group 1 and the other 2 groups (p < 0.05). No statistical differences between Groups 2 and 3 were found in the practicum. However, there were significant differences when Groups 2 and 3 were compared with Group 1 (p < 0.05).

Conclusions The authors conclude that this method promoted further improvement in knowledge for students and fostered significantly higher learning when compared with traditional teaching resources.

Human Connectome-Based Tractographic Atlas of the Brainstem Connections and Surgical Approaches

Human Connectome-Based Tractographic Atlas of the Brainstem Connections and Surgical Approaches

Neurosurgery 79:437–455, 2016

The brainstem is one of the most challenging areas for the neurosurgeon because of the limited space between gray matter nuclei and white matter pathways. Diffusion tensor imaging–based tractography has been used to study the brainstem structure, but the angular and spatial resolution could be improved further with advanced diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

OBJECTIVE: To construct a high–angular/spatial resolution, wide-population–based, comprehensive tractography atlas that presents an anatomical review of the surgical approaches to the brainstem.

METHODS: We applied advanced diffusion MRI fiber tractography to a population-based atlas constructed with data from a total of 488 subjects from the Human Connectome Project-488. Five formalin-fixed brains were studied for surgical landmarks. Luxol Fast Blue–stained histological sections were used to validate the results of tractography.

RESULTS: We acquired the tractography of the major brainstem pathways and validated them with histological analysis. The pathways included the cerebellar peduncles, corticospinal tract, corticopontine tracts, medial lemniscus, lateral lemniscus, spinothalamic tract, rubrospinal tract, central tegmental tract, medial longitudinal fasciculus, and dorsal longitudinal fasciculus. Then, the reconstructed 3-dimensional brainstem structure was sectioned at the level of classic surgical approaches, namely supracollicular, infracollicular, lateral mesencephalic, perioculomotor, peritrigeminal, anterolateral (to the medulla), and retro-olivary approaches.

CONCLUSION: The advanced diffusion MRI fiber tracking is a powerful tool to explore the brainstem neuroanatomy and to achieve a better understanding of surgical approaches.

Microsurgical anatomy and internal architecture of the brainstem

Microsurgical anatomy and internal architecture of the brainstem in 3D images

J Neurosurg 124:1377–1395, 2016

Brainstem surgery remains a challenge for the neurosurgeon despite recent improvements in neuroimaging, microsurgical techniques, and electrophysiological monitoring. A detailed knowledge of the microsurgical anatomy of the brainstem surface and its internal architecture is mandatory to plan appropriate approaches to the brainstem, to choose the safest point of entry, and to avoid potential surgical complications.

Methods: An extensive review of the literature was performed regarding the brainstem surgical approaches, and their correlations with the pertinent anatomy were studied and illustrated through dissection of human brainstems properly fixed with 10% formalin. The specimens were dissected using the fiber dissection technique, under ×6 to ×40 magnification. 3D stereoscopic photographs were obtained (anaglyphic 3D) for better illustration of this study.

Results: The main surgical landmarks and their relationship with the cerebellum and vascular structures were identified on the surface of the brainstem. The arrangements of the white matter (ascending and descending pathways as well as the cerebellar peduncles) were demonstrated on each part of the brainstem (midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata), with emphasis on their relationships with the surface. The gray matter, constituted mainly by nuclei of the cranial nerves, was also studied and illustrated.

Conclusions: The objective of this article is to review the microsurgical anatomy and the surgical approaches pertinent to the brainstem, providing a framework of its external and internal architecture to guide the neurosurgeon during its related surgical procedures.

The nondecussating pathway of the dentatorubrothalamic tract in humans

The nondecussating pathway of the dentatorubrothalamic tract in humans

J Neurosurg 124:1406–1412, 2016

The dentatorubrothalamic tract (DRTT) is the major efferent cerebellar pathway arising from the dentate nucleus (DN) and decussating to the contralateral red nucleus (RN) and thalamus. Surprisingly, hemispheric cerebellar output influences bilateral limb movements. In animals, uncrossed projections from the DN to the ipsilateral RN and thalamus may explain this phenomenon. The aim of this study was to clarify the anatomy of the dentatorubrothalamic connections in humans.

Methods The authors applied advanced deterministic fiber tractography to a template of 488 subjects from the Human Connectome Project (Q1–Q3 release, WU-Minn HCP consortium) and validated the results with microsurgical dissection of cadaveric brains prepared according to Klingler’s method.

Results The authors identified the “classic” decussating DRTT and a corresponding nondecussating path (the nondecussating DRTT, nd-DRTT). Within each of these 2 tracts some fibers stop at the level of the RN, forming the dentatorubro tract and the nondecussating dentatorubro tract. The left nd-DRTT encompasses 21.7% of the tracts and 24.9% of the volume of the left superior cerebellar peduncle, and the right nd-DRTT encompasses 20.2% of the tracts and 28.4% of the volume of the right superior cerebellar peduncle.

Conclusions The connections of the DN with the RN and thalamus are bilateral, not ipsilateral only. This affords a potential anatomical substrate for bilateral limb motor effects originating in a single cerebellar hemisphere under physiological conditions, and for bilateral limb motor impairment in hemispheric cerebellar lesions such as ischemic stroke and hemorrhage, and after resection of hemispheric tumors and arteriovenous malformations. Furthermore, when a lesion is located on the course of the dentatorubrothalamic system, a careful preoperative tractographic analysis of the relationship of the DRTT, nd-DRTT, and the lesion should be performed in order to tailor the surgical approach properly and spare all bundles.

Venous preservation in the anterior transpetrosal approach

Venous preservation in the anterior transpetrosal approach

J Neurosurg 124:432–439, 2016

The drainage of the superficial middle cerebral vein (SMCV) has previously been classified into 4 subtypes. Extradural procedures and dural incisions during the anterior transpetrosal approach (ATPA) may interrupt the route of drainage from the SMCV. In this study, the authors examined the relationship between anatomical variations in the SMCV and the corresponding surgical modifications to the ATPA that are necessary for venous preservation.

Methods This study included 48 patients treated via the ATPA in whom the SMCV was examined using 3D CT venography. The drainage patterns of the SMCV were classified into 3 types: cavernous or absent (Type 1), sphenobasal (Type 2), and sphenopetrosal (Type 3). Type 2 was subdivided into medial (Type 2a) and lateral (Type 2b), and Type 3 was subdivided into vein (Type 3a), vein and sinus (Type 3b), and sinus (Type 3c). The authors performed 3 ATPA modifications to preserve the SMCV: epidural anterior petrosectomy with subdural visualization of the sphenobasal vein (SBV), modification of the dural incision, and subdural anterior petrosectomy. Standard ATPA can be performed with Type 1, Type 2a, and Type 3a drainage. With Type 2b drainage, an epidural anterior petrosectomy with subdural SBV visualization is appropriate. The dural incision should be modified in Type 3b. With Type 3c, a subdural anterior petrosectomy is required.

Results The frequency of each type was 68.7% (33/48) in Type 1, 8.3% (4/48) in Type 2a, 4.2% (2/48) in Type 2b, 14.6% (7/48) in Type 3a, 2.1% (1/48) in Type 3b, and 2.1% (1/48) in Type 3c. No venous complications were found.

Conclusions The authors propose an SMCV modified classification based on ATPA modifications required for venous preservation.

Morphometric analysis of the medial opticocarotid recess and its anatomical relations relevant to the transsphenoidal endoscopic endonasal approaches

Morphometric analysis of the medial opticocarotid recess

Acta Neurochir (2016) 158:319–324

The medial opticocarotid recess (MOCR) is located in the posterior wall of the sphenoid sinus, medial to the junction of the optic canal (OC) and the carotid prominence (CP). There is controversy in the literature in relation to the presence of the MOCR and its constancy, which is relevant when approaching the skull base through an endoscopic route.

Methods The morphometric relations of the MOCR with the surrounding structures were studied in 18 cadaveric specimens after endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA).

Results The distance between both MOCR was 11.06± 1.14 mm; the distance between the MOCR and the lateral opticocarotid (LOCR) recess was 5.56 ± 0.85 mm; the distance between the MOCR and the suprasellar recess was 3.72±0.49 mm; the angle between the MOCR plane and the OC 13.32±2.30°; the angle between the MOCR plane and the CP 13.50±2.68° and; the angle between the OC and the CP 26.81±4.26°. All measurements showed low variability, with low standard deviation and interquartile range. No relations were found between any of the measurements.

Conclusions The MOCR may be used as a reference point for precise location of structures during EEA. Objective measurements may be especially useful in cases with distorted sphenoid bone anatomy.

Microvascular anatomy of the cerebellar parafloccular perforating space

Microvascular anatomy of parafloccular perforating space

J Neurosurg 124:440–449, 2016

The cerebellopontine angle is a common site for tumor growth and vascular pathologies requiring surgical manipulations that jeopardize cranial nerve integrity and cerebellar and brainstem perfusion. To date, a detailed study of vessels perforating the cisternal surface of the middle cerebellar peduncle—namely, the paraflocculus or parafloccular perforating space—has yet to be published. In this report, the perforating vessels of the anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA) in the parafloccular space, or on the cisternal surface of the middle cerebellar peduncle, are described to elucidate their relevance pertaining to microsurgery and the different pathologies that occur at the cerebellopontine angle.

Methods Fourteen cadaveric cerebellopontine cisterns (CPCs) were studied. Anatomical dissections and analysis of the perforating arteries of the AICA and posterior inferior cerebellar artery at the parafloccular space were recorded using direct visualization by surgical microscope, optical histology, and scanning electron microscope. A comprehensive review of the English-language and Spanish-language literature was also performed, and findings related to anatomy, histology, physiology, neurology, neuroradiology, microsurgery, and endovascular surgery pertaining to the cerebellar flocculus or parafloccular spaces are summarized.

Results A total of 298 perforating arteries were found in the dissected specimens, with a minimum of 15 to a maximum of 26 vessels per parafloccular perforating space. The average outer diameter of the cisternal portion of the perforating arteries was 0.11 ± 0.042 mm (mean ± SD) and the average length was 2.84 ± 1.2 mm. Detailed schematics and the surgical anatomy of the perforating vessels at the CPC and their clinical relevance are reported.

Conclusions The parafloccular space is a key entry point for many perforating vessels toward the middle cerebellar peduncle and lateral brainstem, and it must be respected and protected during surgical approaches to the cerebellopontine angle.

Deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus: histological verification and 9.4-T MRI correlation

Deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus- histological verification and 9

Acta Neurochir (2015) 157:2143–2147

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) using an MRI-guided and MRI-verified technique without microelectrode recording is an effective and safe surgical treatment for patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Objectives To assess the anatomical accuracy of lead placement after MRI-guided, MRI-verified STN DBS using postmortem histology and high-field MRI at 9.4 T.

Methods We conducted post-mortem analysis of a patient’s brain who had had MRI-guided, MRI-verified STN DBS for PD, using 9.4-TMRI and histology. After death, the brain was retrieved and a block including the electrode tracks down to the mesencephalon was examined with high-field MRI at 9.4 T and histological analysis.

Results High-field MRI images and corresponding histological examination showed that each electrode track ended within the intended target area, and that DBS did not cause significant neuroparenchymal tissue damage.

Conclusions This study supports the anatomical accuracy of the MRI-guided and MRI-verified method of STN DBS.

Posterior interhemispheric transfalcine transprecuneus approach for microsurgical resection of periatrial lesions

posterior interhemispheric transfalcine transprecuneus approach

J Neurosurg 123:1045–1054, 2015

Surgical exposure of the peritrigonal or periatrial region has been challenging due to the depth of the region and overlying important functional cortices and white matter tracts. The authors demonstrate the operative feasibility of a contralateral posterior interhemispheric transfalcine transprecuneus approach (PITTA) to this region and present a series of patients treated via this operative route. Methods Fourteen consecutive patients underwent the PITTA and were included in this study. Pre- and postoperative clinical and radiological data points were retrospectively collected. Complications and extent of resection were reviewed.

Results The mean age of patients at the time of surgery was 39 years (range 11–64 years). Six of the 14 patients were female. The mean duration of follow-up was 4.6 months (range 0.5–19.6 months). Pathology included 6 arteriovenous malformations, 4 gliomas, 2 meningiomas, 1 metastatic lesion, and 1 gray matter heterotopia. Based on the results shown on postoperative MRI, 1 lesion (7%) was intentionally subtotally resected, but ≥ 95% resection was achieved in all others (93%) and gross-total resection was accomplished in 7 (54%) of 13. One patient (7%) experienced a temporary approach-related complication. At last follow-up, 1 patient (7%) had died due to complications of his underlying malignancy unrelated to his cranial surgery, 2 (14%) demonstrated a Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score of 4, and 11 (79%) manifested a GOS score of 5.

Conclusions Based on this patient series, the contralateral PITTA potentially offers numerous advantages, including a wider, safer operative corridor, minimal need for ipsilateral brain manipulation, and better intraoperative navigation and working angles.

Subcortical anatomy as an anatomical and functional landmark in insulo-opercular gliomas

Subcortical anatomy as an anatomical and functional landmark in insulo-opercular gliomas

J Neurosurg 123:1081–1092, 2015

Little attention has been given to the functional challenges of the insular approach to the resection of gliomas, despite the potential damage of essential neural networks that underlie the insula. The object of this study is to analyze the subcortical anatomy of the insular region when infiltrated by gliomas, and compare it with the normal anatomy in nontumoral hemispheres.

Methods Ten postmortem human hemispheres were dissected, with isolation of the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFOF) and the uncinate fasciculus. Probabilistic diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tractography was used to analyze the subcortical anatomy of the insular region in 10 healthy volunteers and in 22 patients with insular Grade II and Grade III gliomas. The subcortical anatomy of the insular region in these 22 insular gliomas was compared with the normal anatomy in 20 nontumoral hemispheres.

Results In tumoral hemispheres, the distances between the peri-insular sulci and the lateral surface of the IFOF and uncinate fasciculus were enlarged (p < 0.05). Also in tumoral hemispheres, the IFOF was identified in 10 (90.9%) of 11 patients with an extent of resection less than 80%, and in 4 (36.4%) of 11 patients with an extent of resection equal to or greater than 80% (multivariate analysis: p = 0.03).

Conclusions Insular gliomas grow in the space between the lateral surface of the IFOF and uncinate fasciculus and the insular surface, displacing and compressing the tracts medially. Moreover, these tracts may be completely infiltrated by the tumor, with a total disruption of the bundles. In the current study, the identification of the IFOF with DTI tractography was significantly associated with the extent of tumor resection. If the IFOF is not identified preoperatively, there is a high probability of achieving a resection greater than 80%.

The 6 thalamic regions: surgical approaches to thalamic cavernous malformations, operative results, and clinical outcomes

The 6 thalamic regions- surgical approaches to thalamic cavernous malformations, operative results, and clinical outcomes

J Neurosurg 123:676–685, 2015

The ideal surgical approach to thalamic cavernous malformations (CMs) varies according to their location within the thalamus. To standardize surgical approaches, the authors have divided the thalamus into 6 different regions and matched them with the corresponding surgical approach.

Methods The regions were defined as Region 1 (anteroinferior), Region 2 (medial), Region 3 (lateral), Region 4 (posterosuperior), Region 5 (lateral posteroinferior), and Region 6 (medial posteroinferior). The senior author’s surgical experience with 46 thalamic CMs was reviewed according to this classification. An orbitozygomatic approach was used for Region 1; anterior ipsilateral transcallosal for Region 2; anterior contralateral transcallosal for Region 3; posterior transcallosal for Region 4; parietooccipital transventricular for Region 5; and supracerebellar-infratentorial for Region 6.

Results Region 3 was the most common location (17 [37%]). There were 5 CMs in Region 1 (11%), 9 in Region 2 (20%), 17 in Region 3 (37%), 3 in Region 4 (6%), 4 in Region 5 (9%), and 8 in Region 6 (17%). Complete resection was achieved in all patients except for 2, who required a second-stage operation. The mean follow-up period was 1.7 years (range 6 months–9 years). At the last clinical follow-up, 40 patients (87%) had an excellent or good outcome (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] scores 0–2) and 6 (13%) had poor outcome (mRS scores 3–4). Relative to their preoperative condition, 42 patients (91%) were unchanged or improved, and 4 (9%) were worse.

Conclusions The authors have presented the largest series reported to date of surgically treated thalamic CMs, achieving excellent results using this methodology. In the authors’ experience, conceptually dividing the thalamus into 6 different regions aids in the selection of the ideal surgical approach for a specific region.

Bifid Anterior and Posterior Arches of Atlas

Bifid Anterior and Posterior Arches of Atlas- Surgical Implication and Analysis of 70 Cases

Neurosurgery 77:296–306, 2015

On reviewing the database of patients with craniovertebral junction anomalies, the authors identified 70 patients with a bifid posterior arch of atlas.

OBJECTIVE: To speculate on the pathogenesis of spondyloschisis of both the anterior and posterior arches of atlas, particularly as it relates to atlantoaxial instability.

METHODS: Seventy patients with bifid anterior and posterior arches were identified by a retrospective review of the database from 2007 to 2013.

RESULTS: The ages of the patients ranged from 14 months to 50 years. The patients were divided into 3 groups. Group 1 (3 patients) had multiple additional spinal bony and neural abnormalities. Group 2 (34 patients) had mobile and partially (5) or completely (29) reducible atlantoaxial dislocation. Group 3 (33 patients) had atlantoaxial instability and related basilar invagination. The os odontoideum was identified in 21 patients, and C2-3 fusion was seen in 24 patients. Two of 3 patients in group 1 were treated conservatively and without any surgery. All patients in groups 2 and 3 were surgically treated. Surgery was done using lateral mass plate/rod and screw fixation techniques. The general observation during surgery included identification of discrete movements of both halves of the atlas, lateral positioning of the facets of atlas in relation to the facets of the axis and occipital condyle and closer approximation of the occipital bone, atlas, and axis resulting in “crumpling” of bone and neural elements.

CONCLUSION: Understanding of the pathogenesis and mechanical alterations in cases with a bifid arch of atlas can assist in evaluating the clinical implications and in conduct of surgery.

Venous organization in the transverse foramen

Venous organization in the transverse foramen

J Neurosurg 123:118–125, 2015

The anatomical arrangement of the venous system within the transverse foramen is controversial; there is disagreement whether the anatomy consists of a single vertebral vein or a confluence of venous plexus. Precise knowledge of this arrangement is necessary in imaging when vertebral artery dissection is suspected, as well as in surgical approaches for the cervical spine. This study aimed to better explain anatomical organization of the venous system within the transverse foramen according to the Trolard hypothesis of a transverse vertebral sinus.

Methods This was an anatomical and radiological study. For the anatomical study, 10 specimens were analyzed after vascular injection. After dissection, histological cuts were prepared. For the radiological study, a high-resolution MRI study with 2D time-of-flight segment MR venography sequences was performed on 10 healthy volunteers.

Results Vertebral veins are arranged in a plexiform manner within the transverse canal. This arrangement begins at the upper part of the transverse canal before the vertebral vein turns into a single vein along with the vertebral artery running from the transverse foramen of the C-6. This venous system runs somewhat ventrolaterally to the vertebral artery. In most cases, this arrangement is symmetrical and facilitates radiological readings. The anastomoses between vertebral veins and ventral longitudinal veins are uniform and arranged segmentally at each vertebra.

Conclusions These findings confirm recent or previous anatomical descriptions and invalidate others. It is hard to come up with a common description of the arrangement of vertebral veins. The authors suggest providing clinicians as well as anatomists with a well-detailed description of components essential to the understanding of this organization.

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

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