Neurosurgery Blog


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

Guidelines for the Clinical Management of Cerebral Cavernous Malformations

Neurosurgery 80:665–680, 2017

Despite many publications about cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs), controversy remains regarding diagnostic and management strategies.

OBJECTIVE: To develop guidelines for CCM management.

METHODS: The Angioma Alliance (, the patient support group in the United States advocating on behalf of patients and research in CCM, convened a multidisciplinary writing group comprising expert CCM clinicians to help summarize the existing literature related to the clinical care of CCM, focusing on 5 topics: (1) epidemiology and natural history, (2) genetic testing and counseling, (3) diagnostic criteria and radiology standards, (4) neurosurgical considerations, and (5) neurological considerations. The group reviewed literature, rated evidence, developed recommendations, and established consensus, controversies, and knowledge gaps according to a prespecified protocol.

RESULTS: Of 1270 publications published between January 1, 1983 and September 31, 2014, we selected 98 based on methodological criteria, and identified 38 additional recent or relevant publications. Topic authors used these publications to summarize current knowledge and arrive at 23 consensus management recommendations, which we rated by class (size of effect) and level (estimate of certainty) according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association criteria. No recommendation was level A (because of the absence of randomized controlled trials), 11 (48%)were level B, and 12 (52%) were level C. Recommendations were class I in 8 (35%), class II in 10 (43%), and class III in 5 (22%).

CONCLUSION: Current evidence supports recommendations for the management of CCM, but their generally low levels and classes mandate further research to better inform clinical practice and update these recommendations. The complete recommendations document, including the criteria for selecting reference citations, a more detailed justification of the respective recommendations, and a summary of controversies and knowledge gaps, was similarly peer reviewed and is available on line

Consensus guidelines for postoperative spine SBRT

J Neurosurg Spine 26:299–306, 2017

Although postoperative stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) for spinal metastases is increasingly performed, few guidelines exist for this application. The purpose of this study is to develop consensus guidelines to promote safe and effective treatment for patients with spinal metastases.

METHODS Fifteen radiation oncologists and 5 neurosurgeons, representing 19 centers in 4 countries and having a collective experience of more than 1300 postoperative spine SBRT cases, completed a 19-question survey about postoperative spine SBRT practice. Responses were defined as follows: 1) consensus: selected by ≥ 75% of respondents; 2) predominant: selected by 50% of respondents or more; and 3) controversial: no single response selected by a majority of respondents.

RESULTS Consensus treatment indications included: radioresistant primary, 1–2 levels of adjacent disease, and previous radiation therapy. Contraindications included: involvement of more than 3 contiguous vertebral bodies, ASIA Grade A status (complete spinal cord injury without preservation of motor or sensory function), and postoperative Bilsky Grade 3 residual (cord compression without any CSF around the cord). For treatment planning, co-registration of the preoperative MRI and postoperative T1-weighted MRI (with or without gadolinium) and delineation of the cord on the T2-weighted MRI (and/or CT myelogram in cases of significant hardware artifact) were predominant. Consensus GTV (gross tumor volume) was the postoperative residual tumor based on MRI. Predominant CTV (clinical tumor volume) practice was to include the postoperative bed defined as the entire extent of preoperative tumor, the relevant anatomical compartment and any residual disease. Consensus was achieved with respect to not including the surgical hardware and incision in the CTV. PTV (planning tumor volume) expansion was controversial, ranging from 0 to 2 mm. The spinal cord avoidance structure was predominantly the true cord. Circumferential treatment of the epidural space and margin for paraspinal extension was controversial. Prescription doses and spinal cord tolerances based on clinical scenario, neurological compromise, and prior overlapping treatments were controversial, but reasonable ranges are presented. Fifty percent of those surveyed practiced an integrated boost to areas of residual tumor and density override for hardware within the beam path. Acceptable PTV coverage was controversial, but consensus was achieved with respect to compromising coverage to meet cord constraint and fractionation to improve coverage while meeting cord constraint.

CONCLUSIONS The consensus by spinal radiosurgery experts suggests that postoperative SBRT is indicated for radioresistant primary lesions, disease confined to 1–2 vertebral levels, and/or prior overlapping radiotherapy. The GTV is the postoperative residual tumor, and the CTV is the postoperative bed defined as the entire extent of preoperative tumor and anatomical compartment plus residual disease. Hardware and scar do not need to be included in CTV. While predominant agreement was reached about treatment planning and definition of organs at risk, future investigation will be critical in better understanding areas of controversy, including whether circumferential treatment of the epidural space is necessary, management of paraspinal extension, and the optimal dose fractionation schedules.

Efficacy, complications and cost of surgical interventions for idiopathic intracranial hypertension: a systematic review of the literature

Acta Neurochirurgica 2017 (159) 33–49

To define the efficacy, complication profile and cost of surgical options for treating idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) with respect to the following endpoints: vision and headache improvement, normal CSF pressure restoration, papilloedema resolution, relapse rate, operative complications, cost of intervention and quality of life.


A systematic review of the surgical treatment of IIH was carried out. Cochrane Library, MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were systematically searched from 1985 to 2014 to identify all relevant manuscripts written in English. Additional studies were identified by searching the references of retrieved papers and relative narrative reviews.


Forty-one (41) studies were included (36 case series and 5 case reports), totalling 728 patients. Three hundred forty-one patients were treated with optic nerve sheath fenestration (ONSF), 128 patients with lumboperitoneal shunting (LPS), 72 patients with ventriculoperitoneal shunting (VPS), 155 patients with venous sinus stenting and 32 patients with bariatric surgery. ONSF showed considerable efficacy in vision improvement, while CSF shunting had a superior headache response. Venous sinus stenting demonstrated satisfactory results in both vision and headache improvement along with the best complication profile and low relapse rate, but longer follow-up periods are needed. The complication rate of bariatric surgery was high when compared to other interventions and visual outcomes have not been reported adequately. ONSF had the lowest cost.


No surgical modality proved to be clearly superior to any other in IIH management. However, in certain contexts, a given approach appears more justified. Therefore, a treatment algorithm has been formulated, based on the extracted evidence of this review. The traditional treatment paradigm may need to be re-examined with sinus stenting as a first-line treatment modality.

Guideline on the Role of Cranial Molding Orthosis (Helmet) Therapy for Patients With Positional Plagiocephaly


Neurosurgery 79:E632–E633, 2016

No evidence-based guidelines exist on the role of cranial-molding orthosis (helmet) therapy for patients with positional plagiocephaly.

OBJECTIVE: To address the clinical question: “Does helmet therapy provide effective treatment for positional plagiocephaly?” and to make treatment recommendations based on the available evidence.

METHODS: The US National Library of Medicine Medline database and the Cochrane Library were queried by using MeSH headings and key words relevant to the objective of this systematic review. Abstracts were reviewed, after which studies meeting the inclusion criteria were selected and graded according to their quality of evidence (Classes I-III). Evidentiary tables were constructed that summarized pertinent study results, and, based on the quality of the literature, recommendations were made (Levels I-III).

RESULTS: Fifteen articles met criteria for inclusion into the evidence tables. There was 1 prospective randomized controlled trial (Class II), 5 prospective comparative studies (Class II), and 9 retrospective comparative studies (Class II).

CONCLUSION: There is a fairly substantive body of nonrandomized evidence that demonstrates more significant and faster improvement of cranial shape in infants with positional plagiocephaly treated with a helmet in comparison with conservative therapy, especially if the deformity is severe, provided that helmet therapy is applied during the appropriate period of infancy. Specific criteria regarding the measurement and quantification of deformity and the most appropriate time window in infancy for treatment of positional plagiocephaly with a helmet remains elusive. In general, infants with a more severe presenting deformity and infants who are helmeted early in infancy tend to have more significant correction (and even normalization) of head shape.

Guideline on Surgical Techniques and Technologies for the Management of Patients With Nonfunctioning Pituitary Adenomas

Invasion of the cavernous sinus space in pituitary adenomas- endoscopic verification and its correlation with an MRI-based classification

Neurosurgery 79:E536–E538, 2016

Numerous technological adjuncts are used during transsphenoidal surgery for nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs), including endoscopy, neuronavigation, intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) diversion, and dural closure techniques.

OBJECTIVE: To generate evidence-based guidelines for the use of NFPA surgical techniques and technologies.

METHODS: An extensive literature search spanning January 1, 1966, to October 1, 2014, was performed, and only articles pertaining to technological adjuncts for NFPA resection were included. The clinical assessment evidence-based classification was used to ascertain the class of evidence.

RESULTS: Fifty-six studies met the inclusion criteria, and evidence-based guidelines were formulated on the use of endoscopy, neuronavigation, intraoperative MRI, CSF diversion, and dural closure techniques.

CONCLUSION: Both endoscopic and microscopic transsphenoidal approaches are recommended for symptom relief in patients with NFPAs, with the extent of tumor resection improved by adequate bony exposure and endoscopic visualization. In select cases, combined transcranial and transsphenoidal approaches are recommended. Although intraoperative MRI can improve gross total resection, its use is associated with an increased false-positive rate and is thus not recommended. There is insufficient evidence to recommend the use of neuronavigation, CSF diversion, intrathecal injection, or specific dural closure techniques.

A standardized nomenclature for cervical spine soft-tissue release and osteotomy for deformity correction

Standardized nomenclature cervical osteotomies

J Neurosurg Spine 19:269–278, 2013

Cervical spine osteotomies are powerful techniques to correct rigid cervical spine deformity. Many variations exist, however, and there is no current standardized system with which to describe and classify cervical osteotomies. This complicates the ability to compare outcomes across procedures and studies. The authors’ objective was to establish a universal nomenclature for cervical spine osteotomies to provide a common language among spine surgeons.


A proposed nomenclature with 7 anatomical grades of increasing extent of bone/soft tissue resection and destabilization was designed. The highest grade of resection is termed the major osteotomy, and an approach modifier is used to denote the surgical approach(es), including anterior (A), posterior (P), anterior-posterior (AP), posterior-anterior (PA), anterior-posterior-anterior (APA), and posterior-anterior-posterior (PAP). For cases in which multiple grades of osteotomies were performed, the highest grade is termed the major osteotomy, and lower-grade osteotomies are termed minor osteotomies. The nomenclature was evaluated by 11 reviewers through 25 different radiographic clinical cases. The review was performed twice, separated by a minimum 1-week interval. Reliability was assessed using Fleiss kappa coefficients.


The average intrarater reliability was classified as “almost perfect agreement” for the major osteotomy (0.89 [range 0.60–1.00]) and approach modifier (0.99 [0.95–1.00]); it was classified as “moderate agreement” for the minor osteotomy (0.73 [range 0.41–1.00]). The average interrater reliability for the 2 readings was the following: major osteotomy, 0.87 (“almost perfect agreement”); approach modifier, 0.99 (“almost perfect agreement”); and minor osteotomy, 0.55 (“moderate agreement”). Analysis of only major osteotomy plus approach modifier yielded a classification that was “almost perfect” with an average intrarater reliability of 0.90 (0.63–1.00) and an interrater reliability of 0.88 and 0.86 for the two reviews.


The proposed cervical spine osteotomy nomenclature provides the surgeon with a simple, standard description of the various cervical osteotomies. The reliability analysis demonstrated that this system is consistent and directly applicable. Future work will evaluate the relationship between this system and health-related quality of life metrics.

Incidence of Neurosurgical Wrong-Site Surgery Before and After Implementation of the Universal Protocol

Wrong-site spinal surgery

Neurosurgery 72:590–595, 2013

Although exceedingly rare, wrong-site surgery (WSS) remains a persistent problem in the United States. The incidence is thought to be 2 to 3 per 10 000 craniotomies and about 6 to 14 per 10 000 spine surgeries. In July 2004, the Joint Commission mandated the Universal Protocol (UP) for all accredited hospitals.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the effect of UP implementation on the incidence of neurosurgical WSS at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria/Illinois Neurological Institute.

METHODS: The Morbidity and Mortality Database in the Department of Neurosurgery was reviewed to identify all recorded cases of WSS since 1999. This was compared with the total operative load (excluding endovascular procedures) of all attending neurosurgeons to determine the incidence of overall WSS. A comparison was then made between the incidences before and after UP implementation.

RESULTS: Fifteen WSS events were found with an overall incidence of 0.07% and Poisson 95% confidence interval of 8.4 to 25. All but one of these were wrong-level spine surgeries (14/15). There was only 1 recorded case of wrong-side surgery and this occurred after implementation of the UP. A statistically greater number of WSS events occurred before (n = 12) in comparison with after (n = 3) UP implementation (P < .001).

CONCLUSION: A statistically significant reduction in overall WSS was seen after implementation of the UP. This reduction can be attributed to less frequent wronglevel spine surgery. There was no case of wrong procedure or patient surgery and the 1 case of wrong-side surgery occurred after UP implementation.

A Simple and Quantitative Method to Predict Symptomatic Vasospasm After Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Based on Computed Tomography: Beyond the Fisher Scale

Neurosurgery 71:869–876, 2012

Although the Fisher scale is commonly used to grade vasospasm risk in aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) patients, it fails to account for increasing subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) thickness.

OBJECTIVE: We developed a simple quantitative scale based on maximal SAH thickness and compared its reproducibility and ability to predict symptomatic vasospasm against the Fisher scale.

METHODS: The incidence of radiographic and symptomatic vasospasm among 250 aSAH patients treated at our institution was investigated. Admission head computed tomography scans were graded according to the Fisher scale and the proposed scale, which assigns a score from 1 to 5 based on a single measurement of maximum SAH thickness. We calculated vasospasm risk per grade for the Fisher scale and the proposed scale, and compared inter- and intraobserver variability for both scales.

RESULTS: Forty-five patients (20.6%) developed symptomatic vasospasm. On the proposed scale, grade 5 patients were at highest risk, with an odds ratio for symptomatic vasospasm of 11 (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.27-53.37). Odds ratios for proposed grades 4 and 3 were 4.63 (95% CI 1.10-19.59) and 3.04 (95% CI 0.85-10.90), respectively. The odds ratio for Fisher grade 3 was 3.3 (0.96-11.30). Mean inter- and intraobserver agreement was greater for the proposed scale in comparison with the Fisher scale (k0.65 and k0.81 vs k0.51 and k0.35, respectively).

CONCLUSION: The new scale accounted for increasing SAH thickness and was superior to the Fisher scale in inter- and intraobserver agreement and in predicting symptomatic vasospasm, particularly among the highest-risk patients.

Intracranial hypotension producing reversible coma

J Neurosurg 117:615–628, 2012

Intracranial hypotension is a disorder of CSF hypovolemia due to iatrogenic or spontaneous spinal CSF leakage. Rarely, positional headaches may progress to coma, with frequent misdiagnosis. The authors review reported cases of verified intracranial hypotension–associated coma, including 3 previously unpublished cases, totaling 29. Most patients presented with headache prior to neurological deterioration, with positional symptoms elicited in almost half. Eight patients had recently undergone a spinal procedure such as lumbar drainage. Diagnostic workup almost always began with a head CT scan. Subdural collections were present in 86%; however, intracranial hypotension was frequently unrecognized as the underlying cause. Twelve patients underwent one or more procedures to evacuate the collections, sometimes with transiently improved mental status. However, no patient experienced lasting neurological improvement after subdural fluid evacuation alone, and some deteriorated further. Intracranial hypotension was diagnosed in most patients via MRI studies, which were often obtained due to failure to improve after subdural hematoma (SDH) evacuation. Once the diagnosis of intracranial hypotension was made, placement of epidural blood patches was curative in 85% of patients. Twenty-seven patients (93%) experienced favorable outcomes after diagnosis and treatment; 1 patient died, and 1 patient had a morbid outcome secondary to duret hemorrhages. The literature review revealed that numerous additional patients with clinical histories consistent with intracranial hypotension but no radiological confirmation developed SDH following a spinal procedure. Several such patients experienced poor outcomes, and there were multiple deaths. To facilitate recognition of this treatable but potentially life-threatening condition, the authors propose criteria that should prompt intracranial hypotension workup in the comatose patient and present a stepwise management algorithm to guide the appropriate diagnosis and treatment of these patients.


Clinical presentation and prognostic factors of spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas

Neurosurg Focus 32 (5):E17, 2012. (

Spinal dural arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs), the most common type of spinal cord vascular malformation, can be a challenge to diagnose and treat promptly. The disorder is rare, and the presenting clinical symptoms and signs are nonspecific and insidious at onset.

Spinal dural AVFs preferentially affect middle-aged men, and patients most commonly present with gait abnormality or lower-extremity weakness and sensory disturbances. Symptoms gradually progress or decline in a stepwise manner and are commonly associated with pain and sphincter disturbances. Surgical or endovascular disconnection of the fistula has a high success rate with a low rate of morbidity. Motor symptoms are most likely to improve after treatment, followed by sensory disturbances, and lastly sphincter disturbances.

Patients with severe neurological deficits at presentation tend to have worse posttreatment functional outcomes than those with mild or moderate pretreatment disability. However, improvement or stabilization of symptoms is seen in the vast majority of treated patients, and thus treatment is justified even in patients with substantial neurological deficits.

The extent of intramedullary spinal cord T2 signal abnormality does not correlate with outcomes and should not be used as a prognostic factor.

A standardized protocol to reduce cerebrospinal fluid shunt infection: The Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network Quality Improvement Initiative

J Neurosurg Pediatrics 8:22–29, 2011. DOI: 10.3171/2011.4.PEDS10551

Quality improvement techniques are being implemented in many areas of medicine. In an effort to reduce the ventriculoperitoneal shunt infection rate, a standardized protocol was developed and implemented at 4 centers of the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network (HCRN).

Methods. The protocol was developed sequentially by HCRN members using the current literature and prior institutional experience until consensus was obtained. The protocol was prospectively applied at each HCRN center to all children undergoing a shunt insertion or revision procedure. Infections were defined on the basis of CSF, wound, or pseudocyst cultures; wound breakdown; abdominal pseudocyst; or positive blood cultures in the presence of a ventriculoatrial shunt. Procedures and infections were measured before and after protocol implementation.

Results. Twenty-one surgeons at 4 centers performed 1571 procedures between June 1, 2007, and February 28, 2009. The minimum follow-up was 6 months. The Network infection rate decreased from 8.8% prior to the protocol to 5.7% while using the protocol (p = 0.0028, absolute risk reduction 3.15%, relative risk reduction 36%). Three of 4 centers lowered their infection rate. Shunt surgery after external ventricular drainage (with or without prior infection) had the highest infection rate. Overall protocol compliance was 74.5% and improved over the course of the observation period. Based on logistic regression analysis, the use of BioGlide catheters (odds ratio [OR] 1.91, 95% CI 1.19–3.05; p = 0.007) and the use of antiseptic cream by any members of the surgical team (instead of a formal surgical scrub by all members of the surgical team; OR 4.53, 95% CI 1.43–14.41; p = 0.01) were associated with an increased risk of infection.

Conclusions. The standardized protocol for shunt surgery significantly reduced shunt infection across the HCRN. Overall protocol compliance was good. The protocol has established a common baseline within the Network, which will facilitate assessment of new treatments. Identification of factors associated with infection will allow further protocol refinement in the future.

Rathke cleft cysts: a review of clinical and surgical management

Neurosurg Focus 31 (1):E1, 2011. DOI: 10.3171/2011.5.FOCUS1183

The aim of this paper is to provide a comprehensive review of clinical, imaging, and histopathological features, as well as operative and nonoperative management strategies in patients with Rathke cleft cysts (RCCs).

A literature review was performed to identify previous articles that reported surgical and nonsurgical management of RCCs.

Rathke cleft cysts are often incidental lesions found in the sellar and suprasellar regions and do not require surgical intervention in the majority of cases. In symptomatic RCCs, the typical clinical presentation includes headache, visual loss, and/or endocrine dysfunction. Visual field testing and endocrine laboratory studies may reveal more subtle deficiencies associated with RCCs. When indicated, the transsphenoidal approach typically offers the least invasive and safest method for treating these lesions.

Various surgical strategies including cyst wall resection, intralesional alcohol injection, and sellar floor reconstruction are discussed. Although headache and visual symptoms frequently improve after surgical drainage of RCCs, hypopituitarism and diabetes insipidus are less likely to do so.

A subset of more aggressive, atypical RCCs associated with pronounced clinical symptoms and higher recurrence rates is discussed, as well as the possible relationship of these lesions to craniopharyngiomas.

Rathke cleft cysts are typically benign, asymptomatic lesions that can be monitored. In selected patients, transsphenoidal surgery provides excellent rates of improvement in clinical symptoms and long-term cyst resolution. Complete cyst wall resection, intraoperative alcohol cauterization, and sellar floor reconstruction in the absence of a CSF leak are not routinely recommended.

Cauda equina syndrome: a review of the current clinical and medico-legal position

Eur Spine J (2011) 20:690–697. DOI 10.1007/s00586-010-1668-3

Cauda equina syndrome (CES) is a rare condition with a disproportionately high medico-legal profile. It occurs most frequently following a large central lumbar disc herniation, prolapse or sequestration.

Review of the literature indicates that around 50–70% of patients have urinary retention (CES-R) on presentation with 30–50% having an incomplete syndrome (CES-I). The latter group, especially if the history is less than a few days, usually requires emergency MRI to confirm the diagnosis followed by prompt decompression by a suitably experienced surgeon. Every effort should be made to avoid CES-I with its more favourable prognosis becoming CES-R while under medical supervision either before or after admission to hospital. The degree of urgency of early surgery in CES-R is still not in clear focus but it cannot be doubted that earliest decompression removes the mechanical and perhaps chemical factors which are the causes of progressive neurological damage.

A full explanation and consent procedure prior to surgery is essential in order to reduce the likelihood of misunderstanding and litigation in the event of a persistent neurological deficit.

Endocrinologic, neurologic, and visual morbidity after treatment for craniopharyngioma

J Neurooncol (2011) 101:463–476. DOI 10.1007/s11060-010-0265-y

Craniopharyngiomas are locally aggressive tumors which typically are focused in the sellar and suprasellar region near a number of critical neural and vascular structures mediating endocrinologic, behavioral, and visual functions. The present study aims to summarize and compare the published literature regarding morbidity resulting from treatment of craniopharyngioma.

We performed a comprehensive search of the published English language literature to identify studies publishing outcome data of patients undergoing surgery for craniopharyngioma. Comparisons of the rates of endocrine, vascular, neurological, and visual complications were performed using Pearson’s chi-squared test, and covariates of interest were fitted into a multivariate logistic regression model.

In our data set, 540 patients underwent surgical resection of their tumor. 138 patients received biopsy alone followed by some form of radiotherapy. Mean overall follow-up for all patients in these studies was 54 ± 1.8 months. The overall rate of new endocrinopathy for all patients undergoing surgical resection of their mass was 37% (95% CI = 33– 41). Patients receiving GTR had over 2.5 times the rate of developing at least one endocrinopathy compared to patients receiving STR alone or STR + XRT (52 vs. 19 vs. 20%, v2 P<0.00001). On multivariate analysis, GTR conferred a significant increase in the risk of endocrinopathy compared to STR + XRT (OR = 3.45, 95% CI = 2.05–5.81, P<0.00001), after controlling for study size and the presence of significant hypothalamic involvement. There was a statistical trend towards worse visual outcomes in patients receiving XRT after STR compared to GTR or STR alone (GTR = 3.5% vs. STR 2.1% vs. STR + XRT 6.4%, P = 0.11). Given the difficulty in obtaining class 1 data regarding the treatment of this tumor, this study can serve as an estimate of expected outcomes for these patients, and guide decision making until these data are available.

Investigating shunt function using continuous intracranial pressure monitoring in adults: single center experience

J Neurosurg 113:1326–1330, 2010. (DOI: 10.3171/2010.8.JNS1067)

Managing symptomatic ventriculoperitoneal shunts with no clear evidence of shunt malfunction either clinically or radiologically can be a difficult task. The aim of this study was to assess intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring as a method of investigating shunt function.

Methods. The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 38 continuous ICP monitoring procedures done in patients with ventriculoperitoneal shunts and suspected shunt malfunction.

Results. Thirty-eight procedures were performed in 31 patients between January 2005 and October 2008. Sixteen recordings were normal, 6 revealed overdrainage or low pressure, 11 indicated underdrainage or high pressure, and 5 showed variable shunt function. Based on the findings after 20 procedures (53%), patients were treated conservatively: 4 by readjusting the valve setting and 16 by referral to the headache neurologist for medical treatment. Forty-five percent of the conservatively treated patients improved. Surgical exploration was undertaken following 18 procedures (47%); 72% of the surgically treated patients improved.

Conclusions. Continuous ICP monitoring using an intraparenchymal probe is a safe and effective method of investigating adult hydrocephalus.

Guidelines for the Management of Spontaneous Intracerebral Hemorrhage

Stroke. 2010;41:2108-2129. DOI: 10.1161/STR.0b013e3181ec611b

Purpose—The aim of this guideline is to present current and comprehensive recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of acute spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage.

Methods—A formal literature search of MEDLINE was performed. Data were synthesized with the use of evidence tables. Writing committee members met by teleconference to discuss data-derived recommendations. The American Heart Association Stroke Council’s Levels of Evidence grading algorithm was used to grade each recommendation. Prerelease review of the draft guideline was performed by 6 expert peer reviewers and by the members of the Stroke Council Scientific Statements Oversight Committee and Stroke Council Leadership Committee. It is intended that this guideline be fully updated in 3 years’ time.

Results—Evidence-based guidelines are presented for the care of patients presenting with intracerebral hemorrhage. The focus was subdivided into diagnosis, hemostasis, blood pressure management, inpatient and nursing management, preventing medical comorbidities, surgical treatment, outcome prediction, rehabilitation, prevention of recurrence, and future considerations.

Conclusions—Intracerebral hemorrhage is a serious medical condition for which outcome can be impacted by early, aggressive care. The guidelines offer a framework for goal-directed treatment of the patient with intracerebral hemorrhage.

Best surgical practices: a stepwise approach to the University of Pennsylvania deep brain stimulation protocol

Neurosurg Focus 29 (2):E3, 2010. (DOI: 10.3171/2010.4.FOCUS10103)

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is the treatment of choice for otherwise healthy patients with advanced Parkinson disease who are suffering from disabling dyskinesias and motor fluctuations related to dopaminergic therapy. As DBS is an elective procedure, it is essential to minimize the risk of morbidity. Further, precision in targeting deep brain structures is critical to optimize efficacy in controlling motor features. The authors have already established an operational checklist in an effort to minimize errors made during DBS surgery. Here, they set out to standardize a strict, step-by-step approach to the DBS surgery used at their institution, including preoperative evaluation, the day of surgery, and the postoperative course. They provide careful instruction on Leksell frame assembly and placement as well as the determination of indirect coordinates derived from MR images used to target deep brain structures. Detailed descriptions of the operative procedure are provided, outlining placement of the stereotactic arc as well as determination of the appropriate bur hole location, lead placement using electrophysiology, and placement of the internal pulse generator. The authors also include their approach to preventing postoperative morbidity. They believe that a strategic, step-by-step approach to DBS surgery combined with a standardized checklist will help to minimize operating room mistakes that can compromise targeting and increase the risk of complication.

Selection of patients with idiopathic normal-pressure hydrocephalus for shunt placement: a single-institution experience

J Neurosurg 113:64–73, 2010. DOI: 10.3171/2010.1.JNS091296

The ability to predict outcome after shunt placement in patients with idiopathic normal-pressure hydrocephalus (NPH) represents a challenge. To date, no single diagnostic tool or combination of tools has proved capable of reliably predicting whether the condition of a patient with suspected NPH will improve after a shunting procedure. In this paper, the authors report their experience with 120 patients with the goal of identifying CSF hydrodynamics criteria capable of selecting patients with idiopathic NPH. Specifically, they focused on the comparison between CSF-outflow resistance (R-out) and intracranial elastance (IE).

Methods. Between January 1977 and December 2005, 120 patients in whom idiopathic NPH had been diagnosed (on the basis of clinical findings and imaging) underwent CSF hydrodynamics evaluation based on an intraventricular infusion test. Ninety-six patients underwent CSF shunt placement: 32 between 1977 and 1989 (Group I) on the basis of purely clinical and radiological criteria; 44 between 1990 and 2002 (Group II) on the basis of the same criteria as Group I and because they had an IE slope > 0.25; and 20 between 2003 and 2005 (Group III) on the basis of the same criteria as Group II but with an IE slope ≥ 0.30. Outcomes were evaluated by means of both Stein-Langfitt and Larsson scores. Patients’ conditions were considered improved when there was a stable decrease (at 6- and 12-month follow-up) of at least 1 point in the Stein-Langfitt score and 2 points in the Larsson score.

Results. Group I: while no statistically significant difference in mean R-out value between improved and unimproved cases was observed, a clear-cut IE slope value of 0.25 differentiated very sharply between unimproved and improved cases. Group II: R-out values in the 2 unimproved cases were 20 and 47 mm Hg/ml/min, respectively. The mean IE slope in the improved cases was 0.56 (range 0.30–1.4), while the IE slopes in the 2 unimproved cases were 0.26 and 0.27. Group III: the mean IE slope was 0.51 (range 0.31–0.7). The conditions of all patients improved after shunting. A significant reduction of the Evans ratio was observed in 34 (40.5%) of the 84 improved cases and in none of the unimproved cases.

Conclusions. Our strategy based on the analysis of CSF pulse pressure parameters seems to have a great accuracy in predicting surgical outcome in clinical practice.

Overview of disc arthroplasty—past, present and future

Acta Neurochir (2010) 152:393–404. DOI 10.1007/s00701-009-0529-5

Degenerative disc disease is one of the most frequent spinal disorders. The anatomy and the biomechanics of the intervertebral disc are very complex, and the pathomechanics of its degeneration are poorly understood. Despite this complexity and uncertainty, great advances have been made in the field of disc replacement technology, with promising results. Difficulties are continuously being encountered, but careful analysis of the results and intensive research and development will assist in countering these problems. There are approximately 40 clinical reports in the literature describing various aspects of randomised controlled trials involving intervertebral disc arthroplasty. However, the majority of these publications do not provide reliable information, in that they give only interim results and/or the results from just one of the many centres in multicentre studies. Such publications must be interpreted with caution, since they do not always represent the results of the whole study population and may hence be underpowered. We identified six randomised controlled trials that compared the final clinical outcomes of disc arthroplasty and spinal fusion. The present systematic review attempts to give an overview of the current status of disc arthroplasty.

Emergency reversal of anticoagulation and antiplatelet therapies in neurosurgical patients

DOI: 10.3171/2009.7.JNS0982

Intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) is a common problem encountered by neurosurgeons. Patient outcomes are influenced by hematoma size, growth, location, and the timing of evacuation, when indicated. Patients may have abnormal coagulation due to pharmacological anticoagulation or coagulopathy due to underlying systemic disease or blood transfusions. Strategies to reestablish the integrity of the clotting cascade and platelet function assume a familiarity with these processes. As patients are increasingly treated with anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents, it is essential that the physicians who care for patients with ICH understand these pathways and recognize how they can be manipulated to restore hemostasis.

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


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NeurosurgeryCNS: Endovascular-Surgical Approach to Cavernous dAVF

Neurosurgery CNS: Lateral Supraorbital Approach Applied to Anterior Clinoidal Meningiomas Video 4

Neurosurgery CNS: Lateral Supraorbital Approach Applied to Anterior Clinoidal Meningiomas Video 3

Neurosurgery CNS: Lateral Supraorbital Approach Applied to Anterior Clinoidal Meningiomas Video 2

Neurosurgery CNS: Lateral Supraorbital Approach Applied to Anterior Clinoidal Meningiomas Video 1

NeurosurgeryCNS: Surgery of AVMs in Motor Areas

NeurosurgeryCNS: The Fenestrated Yaşargil T-Bar Clip

NeurosurgeryCNS: Cotton-Clipping Technique to Repair Intraoperative Aneurysm Neck Tear Video 3

NeurosurgeryCNS: Cotton-Clipping Technique to Repair Intraoperative Aneurysm Neck Tear Video 2

NeurosurgeryCNS: Cotton-Clipping Technique to Repair Intraoperative Aneurysm Neck Tear Video 1

NeurosurgeryCNS. ‘Double-Stick Tape’ Technique for Offending Vessel Transposition in Microvascular Decompression

NeurosurgeryCNS: Advances in the Treatment and Outcome of Brain Stem Cavernous Malformation Surgery: 300 Patients

3T MRI Integrated Neuro Suite

NeurosurgeryCNS: 3D In Vivo Modeling of Vestibular Schwannomas and Surrounding Cranial Nerves Using DIT

NeurosurgeryCNS: Microsurgery for Previously Coiled Aneurysms: Experience on 81 Patients: Video 7

NeurosurgeryCNS: Microsurgery for Previously Coiled Aneurysms: Experience on 81 Patients: Video 6

NeurosurgeryCNS: Microsurgery for Previously Coiled Aneurysms: Experience on 81 Patients: Video 5

NeurosurgeryCNS: Microsurgery for Previously Coiled Aneurysms: Experience on 81 Patients: Video 4

NeurosurgeryCNS: Microsurgery for Previously Coiled Aneurysms: Experience on 81 Patients: Video 3

NeurosurgeryCNS: Microsurgery for Previously Coiled Aneurysms: Experience on 81 Patients: Video 2

NeurosurgeryCNS: Microsurgery for Previously Coiled Aneurysms: Experience on 81 Patients: Video 1

NeurosurgeryCNS: Corticotomy Closure Avoids Subdural Collections After Hemispherotomy

NeurosurgeryCNS: Operative Nuances of Side-to-Side in Situ PICA-PICA Bypass Procedure

NeurosurgeryCNS. Waterjet Dissection in Neurosurgery: An Update After 208 Procedures: Video 3

NeurosurgeryCNS. Waterjet Dissection in Neurosurgery: An Update After 208 Procedures: Video 2

NeurosurgeryCNS. Waterjet Dissection in Neurosurgery: An Update After 208 Procedures: Video 1

NeurosurgeryCNS: Fusiform Aneurysms of the Anterior Communicating Artery

NeurosurgeryCNS. Initial Clinical Experience with a High Definition Exoscope System for Microneurosurgery

NeurosurgeryCNS: Endoscopic Treatment of Arachnoid Cysts Video 2

NeurosurgeryCNS: Endoscopic Treatment of Arachnoid Cysts Video 1

NeurosurgeryCNS: Typical colloid cyst at the foramen of Monro.

NeurosurgeryCNS: Neuronavigation for Neuroendoscopic Surgery

NeurosurgeryCNS:New Aneurysm Clip System for Particularly Complex Aneurysm Surgery

NeurosurgeryCNS: AICA/PICA Anatomical Variants Penetrating the Subarcuate Fossa Dura

Craniopharyngioma Supra-Orbital Removal

NeurosurgeryCNS: Use of Flexible Hollow-Core CO2 Laser in Microsurgical Resection of CNS Lesions

NeurosurgeryCNS: Ulnar Nerve Decompression

NeurosurgeryCNS: Microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm

NeurosurgeryCNS: ICG Videoangiography

NeurosurgeryCNS: Inappropiate aneurysm clip applications

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