Neurosurgery Blog


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

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.


Is less always better? Keyhole and standard subtemporal approaches

J Neurosurg 127:157–164, 2017

The subtemporal approach is one of the surgical routes used to reach the interpeduncular fossa. Keyhole subtemporal approaches and zygomatic arch osteotomy have been proposed in an effort to decrease the amount of temporal lobe retraction. However, the effects of these modified subtemporal approaches on temporal lobe retraction have never been objectively validated.

METHODS A keyhole and a classic subtemporal craniotomy were executed in 4 fresh-frozen silicone-injected cadaver heads. The target was defined as the area bordered by the superior cerebellar artery, the anterior clinoid process, supraclinoid internal carotid artery, and the posterior cerebral artery. Once the target was fully visualized, the authors evaluated the amount of temporal lobe retraction by measuring the distance between the base of the middle fossa and the temporal lobe. In addition, the volume of the surgical and anatomical corridors was assessed as well as the surgical maneuverability using navigation and 3D moldings. The same evaluation was conducted after a zygomatic osteotomy was added to the two approaches.

RESULTS Temporal lobe retraction was the same in the two approaches evaluated while the surgical corridor and the maneuverability were all greater in the classic subtemporal approach.

CONCLUSIONS The zygomatic arch osteotomy facilitates the maneuverability and the surgical volume in both approaches, but the temporal lobe retraction benefit is confined to the lateral part of the middle fossa skull base and does not result in the retraction necessary to expose the selected target.

The force pyramid: a spatial analysis of force application during virtual reality brain tumor resection

J Neurosurg 127:171–181, 2017

Virtual reality simulators allow development of novel methods to analyze neurosurgical performance. The concept of a force pyramid is introduced as a Tier 3 metric with the ability to provide visual and spatial analysis of 3D force application by any instrument used during simulated tumor resection. This study was designed to answer 3 questions: 1) Do study groups have distinct force pyramids? 2) Do handedness and ergonomics influence force pyramid structure? 3) Are force pyramids dependent on the visual and haptic characteristics of simulated tumors?

METHODS Using a virtual reality simulator, NeuroVR (formerly NeuroTouch), ultrasonic aspirator force application was continually assessed during resection of simulated brain tumors by neurosurgeons, residents, and medical students. The participants performed simulated resections of 18 simulated brain tumors with different visual and haptic characteristics. The raw data, namely, coordinates of the instrument tip as well as contact force values, were collected by the simulator. To provide a visual and qualitative spatial analysis of forces, the authors created a graph, called a force pyramid, representing force sum along the z-coordinate for different xy coordinates of the tool tip.

RESULTS Sixteen neurosurgeons, 15 residents, and 84 medical students participated in the study. Neurosurgeon, resident and medical student groups displayed easily distinguishable 3D “force pyramid fingerprints.” Neurosurgeons had the lowest force pyramids, indicating application of the lowest forces, followed by resident and medical student groups. Handedness, ergonomics, and visual and haptic tumor characteristics resulted in distinct well-defined 3D force pyramid patterns.

CONCLUSIONS Force pyramid fingerprints provide 3D spatial assessment displays of instrument force application during simulated tumor resection. Neurosurgeon force utilization and ergonomic data form a basis for understanding and modulating resident force application and improving patient safety during tumor resection.


Novel method for dynamic control of intracranial pressure

J Neurosurg 126:1629–1640, 2017

Intracranial pressure (ICP) pulsations are generally considered a passive result of the pulsatility of blood flow. Active experimental modification of ICP pulsations would allow investigation of potential active effects on blood and CSF flow and potentially create a new platform for the treatment of acute and chronic low blood flow states as well as a method of CSF substance clearance and delivery. This study presents a novel method and device for altering the ICP waveform via cardiac-gated volume changes.

METHODS The novel device used in this experiment (named Cadence) consists of a small air-filled inelastic balloon (approximately 1.0 ml) implanted into the intracranial space and connected to an external programmable pump, triggered by an R-wave detector. Balloons were implanted into the epidural space above 1 of the hemispheres of 19 canines for up to 10 hours. When activated, the balloons were programed to cyclically inflate with the cardiac cycle with variable delay, phase, and volume. The ICP response was measured in both hemispheres. Additionally, cerebral blood flow (heat diffusion and laser Doppler) was studied in 16 canines.

RESULTS This system, depending on the inflation pattern of the balloon, allowed a flattening of the ICP waveform, increase in the ICP waveform amplitude, or phase shift of the wave. This occurred with small mean ICP changes, typically around ± 2 mm Hg (15%). Bilateral ICP effects were observed with activation of the device: balloon inflation at each systole increased the systolic ICP pulse (up to 16 mm Hg, 1200%) and deflation at systole decreased or even inverted the systolic ICP pulse (-0.5 to -19 mm Hg, -5% to -1600%) in a dose-(balloon volume) dependent fashion. No aphysiological or deleterious effects on systemic pressure (≤ ±10 mm Hg; 13% change in mean pressure) or cardiac rate (≤ ± 17 beats per minute; 16% change) were observed during up to 4 hours of balloon activity.

CONCLUSIONS The results of these initial studies using an intracranially implanted, cardiac-gated, volume-oscillating balloon suggest the Cadence device can be used to modify ICP pulsations, without physiologically deleterious effects on mean ICP, systemic vascular effects, or brain injury. This device and technique may be used to study the role of ICP pulsatility in intracranial hemo- and hydrodynamic processes and introduces the creation of a potential platform of a cardiac-gated system for treatment of acute and chronic low blood flow states, and diseases requiring augmentation of CSF substance clearance or delivery.

Transtentorial transcollateral sulcus approach to the ventricular atrium

J Neurosurg 126:1246–1252, 2017

Conventional approaches to the atrium of the lateral ventricle may be associated with complications related to direct cortical injury or brain retraction. The authors describe a novel approach to the atrium through a retrosigmoid transtentorial transcollateral sulcus corridor.

METHODS: Bilateral retrosigmoid craniotomies were performed on 4 formalin-fixed, colored latex–injected human cadaver heads (a total of 8 approaches). Microsurgical dissections were performed under 3× to 24× magnification, and endoscopic visualization was provided by 0° and 30° rigid endoscope lens systems. Image guidance was provided by coupling an electromagnetic tracking system with an open source software platform. Objective measurements on cortical thickness traversed and total depth of exposure were recorded. Additionally, the basal occipitotemporal surfaces of 10 separate cerebral hemisphere specimens were examined to define the surface topography of sulci and gyri, with attention to the appearance and anatomical patterns and variations of the collateral sulcus and the surrounding gyri.

RESULTS: The retrosigmoid approach allowed for clear visualization of the basal occipitotemporal surface. The collateral sulcus was identified and permitted easy endoscopic access to the ventricular atrium. The conical corridor thus obtained provided an average base working area of 3.9 cm2 at an average depth of 4.5 cm. The mean cortical thickness traversed to enter the ventricle was 1.4 cm. The intraventricular anatomy of the ipsilateral ventricle was defined clearly in all 8 exposures in this manner. The anatomy of the basal occipitotemporal surface, observed in a total of 18 hemispheres, showed a consistent pattern, with the collateral sulcus abutted by the parahippocampal gyrus medially, and the fusiform and lingual gyrus laterally. The collateral sulcus was found to be caudally bifurcated in 14 of the 18 specimens.

CONCLUSIONS: The retrosigmoid supracerebellar transtentorial transcollateral sulcus approach is technically feasible. This approach has the potential advantage of providing a short and direct path to the atrium, hence avoiding violation of deep neurovascular structures and preserving eloquent areas. Although this approach appears unconventional, it may provide a minimally invasive option for the surgical management of selected lesions within the atrium of the lateral ventricle.


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.

A prospective randomized multicenter phase I/II clinical trial to evaluate safety and efficacy of NOVOCART disk plus autologous disk chondrocyte transplantation in the treatment of nucleotomized and degenerative lumbar disks to avoid secondary disease

Neurosurg Rev (2017) 40:155–162

NOVOCART ® Disk plus, an autologous cell compound for autologous disk chondrocyte transplantation, was developed to reduce the degenerative sequel after lumbar disk surgery or to prophylactically avoid degeneration in adjacent disks, if present. The NDisc trial is an on-going multi-center, randomized study with a sequential phase I study within the combined phase I/II trial with close monitoring of tolerability and safety.

Twenty-four adult patients were randomized and treated with the investigational medicinal product NDisc plus or the carrier material only. Rates of adverse events in Phase I of this trial were comparable with those expected in the early time course after elective disk surgery. There was one reherniation 7 months after transplantation, which corresponds to an expected reherniation rate. Immunological markers like CRP and IL-6 were not significantly elevated and there were no im- aging abnormalities. No indications of harmful material extrusion or immunological consequences due to the investigational medicinal product NDplus were observed.

Therefore, the study appears to be safe and feasible. Safety analyses of Phase I of this trial indicate a relatively low risk considering the benefits that patients with debilitating degenerative disk disease may gain.


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.

Pulsatile Dynamics of the Optic Nerve Sheath and Intracranial Pressure


Neurosurgery 79:100–107, 2016

Raised intracranial pressure (ICP) may lead to increased stiffness of the optic nerve sheath (ONS).

OBJECTIVE: To develop a method for analyzing ONS dynamics from transorbital ultrasound and investigate a potential difference between patients with raised ICP vs normal ICP.

METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed data from 16 patients (#12 years old) for whom ultrasound image sequences of the ONS had been acquired from both eyes just before invasive measurement of ICP. Eight patients had an ICP $20 mm Hg. The transverse motion on each side of the ONS was estimated from ultrasound, and Fourier analysis was used to extract the magnitude of the displacement corresponding to the heart rate. By calculating the normalized absolute difference between the displacements on each side of the ONS, a measure of ONS deformation was obtained. This parameter was referred to as the deformability index. According to our hypothesis, because deformability is inversely related to stiffness, we expected this parameter to be lower for ICP $20 mm Hg compared with ICP ,20 mm Hg. The one-sided Mann-Whitney U test was used for statistical comparison.

RESULTS: The deformability index was significantly lower in the group with ICP $20 mm Hg (median value 0.11 vs 0.24; P = .002).

CONCLUSION: We present a method for assessment of ONS pulsatile dynamics using transorbital ultrasound imaging. A significant difference was noted between the patient groups, indicating that deformability of the ONS may be relevant as a noninvasive marker of raised ICP. The clinical implications are promising and should be investigated in future clinical studies.

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.

Fiber tracts of the dorsal language stream in the human brain

Fiber tracts of the dorsal language stream in the human brain

J Neurosurg 124:1396–1405, 2016

The aim of this study was to examine the arcuate (AF) and superior longitudinal fasciculi (SLF), which together form the dorsal language stream, using fiber dissection and diffusion imaging techniques in the human brain.

Methods Twenty-five formalin-fixed brains (50 hemispheres) and 3 adult cadaveric heads, prepared according to the Klingler method, were examined by the fiber dissection technique. The authors’ findings were supported with MR tractography provided by the Human Connectome Project, WU-Minn Consortium. The frequencies of gyral distributions were calculated in segments of the AF and SLF in the cadaveric specimens.

Results The AF has ventral and dorsal segments, and the SLF has 3 segments: SLF I (dorsal pathway), II (middle pathway), and III (ventral pathway). The AF ventral segment connects the middle (88%; all percentages represent the area of the named structure that is connected to the tract) and posterior (100%) parts of the superior temporal gyri and the middle part (92%) of the middle temporal gyrus to the posterior part of the inferior frontal gyrus (96% in pars opercularis, 40% in pars triangularis) and the ventral premotor cortex (84%) by passing deep to the lower part of the supramarginal gyrus (100%). The AF dorsal segment connects the posterior part of the middle (100%) and inferior temporal gyri (76%) to the posterior part of the inferior frontal gyrus (96% in pars opercularis), ventral premotor cortex (72%), and posterior part of the middle frontal gyrus (56%) by passing deep to the lower part of the angular gyrus (100%).

Conclusions This study depicts the distinct subdivision of the AF and SLF, based on cadaveric fiber dissection and diffusion imaging techniques, to clarify the complicated language processing pathways.

Parametric study of ventricular catheters for hydrocephalus

Parametric study of ventricular catheters for hydrocephalus

Acta Neurochir (2016) 158:109–116

To drain the excess of cerebrospinal fluid in a hydrocephalus patient, a catheter is inserted into one of the brain ventricles and then connected to a valve. This so-called ventricular catheter is a standard-size, flexible tubing with a number of holes placed symmetrically around several transversal sections or “drainage segments”. Three-dimensional computational dynamics shows that most of the fluid volume flows through the drainage segment closest to the valve. This fact raises the likelihood that those holes and then the lumen get clogged by the cells and macromolecules present in the cerebrospinal fluid, provoking malfunction of the whole system. In order to better understand the flow pattern, we have carried out a parametric study via numerical models of ventricular catheters.

Methods The parameters chosen are the number of drainage segments, the distances between them, the number and diameter of the holes on each segment, as well as their relative angular position.

Results These parameters were found to have a direct consequence on the flow distribution and shear stress of the catheter. As a consequence, we formulate general principles for ventricular catheter design.

Conclusions These principles can help develop new catheters with homogeneous flow patterns, thus possibly extending their lifetime.

The role of sacral slope in lumbosacral fusion: a biomechanical study

sacral slope in LS fusion

J Neurosurg Spine 23:754–762, 2015

Abnormal sacral slope (SS) has shown to increase progression of spondylolisthesis, yet there exists a paucity in biomechanical studies investigating its role in the correction of adult spinal deformity, its influence on lumbosacral shear, and its impact on the instrumentation selection process. This in vitro study investigates the effect of SS on 3 anterior lumbar interbody fusion constructs in a biomechanics laboratory.

Methods Nine healthy, fresh-frozen, intact human lumbosacral vertebral segments were tested by applying a 550- N axial load to specimens with an initial SS of 20° on an MTS Bionix test system. Testing was repeated as SS was increased to 50°, in 10° increments, through an angulated testing fixture. Specimens were instrumented using a standalone integrated spacer with self-contained screws (SA), an interbody spacer with posterior pedicle screws (PPS), and an interbody spacer with anterior tension band plate (ATB) in a randomized order. Stiffness was calculated from the linear portion of the load-deformation curve. Ultimate strength was also recorded on the final construct of all specimens (n = 3 per construct) with SS of 40°.

Results Axial stiffness (N/mm) of the L5–S1 motion segment was measured at various angles of SS: for SA 292.9 ± 142.8 (20°), 277.2 ± 113.7 (30°), 237.0 ± 108.7 (40°), 170.3 ± 74.1 (50°); for PPS 371.2 ± 237.5 (20°), 319.8 ± 167.2 (30°), 280.4 ± 151.7 (40°), 233.0 ± 117.6 (50°); and for ATB 323.9 ± 210.4 (20°), 307.8 ± 125.4 (30°), 249.4 ± 126.7 (40°), 217.7 ± 99.4 (50°). Axial compression across the disc space decreased with increasing SS, indicating that SS beyond 40° threshold shifted L5–S1 motion into pure shear, instead of compression-shear, defining a threshold. Trends in ultimate load and displacement differed from linear stiffness with SA > PPS > ATB.

Conclusions At larger SSs, bilateral pedicle screw constructs with spacers were the most stable; however, none of the constructs were significantly stiffer than intact segments. For load to failure, the integrated spacer performed the best; this may be due to angulations of integrated plate screws. Increasing SS significantly reduced stiffness, which indicates that surgeons need to consider using more aggressive fixation techniques.

“Live cadavers” for training in the management of intraoperative aneurysmal rupture

“Live cadavers” for training in the management of intraoperative aneurysmal rupture

J Neurosurg 123:1339–1346, 2015

Intraoperative rupture occurs in approximately 9.2% of all cranial aneurysm surgeries. This event is not merely a surgical complication, it is also a real surgical crisis that requires swift and decisive action. Neurosurgical residents may have little exposure to this event, but they may face it in their practice. Laboratory training would be invaluable for developing competency in addressing this crisis. In this study, the authors present the “live cadaver” model, which allows repetitive training under lifelike conditions for residents and other trainees to practice managing this crisis.

Methods The authors have used the live cadaver model in 13 training courses from 2009 to 2014 to train residents and neurosurgeons in the management of intraoperative aneurysmal rupture. Twenty-three cadaveric head specimens harboring 57 artificial and 2 real aneurysms were used in these courses. Specimens were specially prepared for this technique and connected to a pump that sent artificial blood into the vessels. This setting created a lifelike situation in the cadaver that simulates live surgery in terms of bleeding, pulsation, and softness of tissue.

Results A total of 203 neurosurgical residents and 89 neurosurgeons and faculty members have practiced and experienced the live cadaver model. Clipping of the aneurysm and management of an intraoperative rupture was first demonstrated by an instructor. Then, trainees worked for 20- to 30-minute sessions each, during which they practiced clipping and reconstruction techniques and managed intraoperative ruptures. Ninety-one of the participants (27 faculty members and 64 participants) completed a questionnaire to rate their personal experience with the model. Most either agreed or strongly agreed that the model was a valid simulation of the conditions of live surgery on cerebral aneurysms and represents a realistic simulation of aneurysmal clipping and intraoperative rupture. Actual performance improvement with this model will require detailed measurement for validating its effectiveness. The model lends itself to evaluation using precise performance measurements.

Conclusions The live cadaver model presents a useful simulation of the conditions of live surgery for clipping cerebral aneurysms and managing intraoperative rupture. This model provides a means of practice and promotes team management of intraoperative cerebrovascular critical events. Precise metric measurement for evaluation of training performance improvement can be applied.

Comparative effectiveness and safety of image guidance systems in neurosurgery


J Neurosurg 123:307–313, 2015

Over the last decade, image guidance systems have been widely adopted in neurosurgery. Nonetheless, the evidence supporting the use of these systems in surgery remains limited. The aim of this study was to compare simultaneously the effectiveness and safety of various image guidance systems against that of standard surgery.

Methods In this preclinical, randomized study, 50 novice surgeons were allocated to one of the following groups: 1) no image guidance, 2) triplanar display, 3) always-on solid overlay, 4) always-on wire mesh overlay, and 5) on-demand inverse realism overlay. Each participant was asked to identify a basilar tip aneurysm in a validated model head. The primary outcomes were time to task completion (in seconds) and tool path length (in mm). The secondary outcomes were recognition of an unexpected finding (i.e., a surgical clip) and subjective depth perception using a Likert scale.

Results The time to task completion and tool path length were significantly lower when using any form of image guidance compared with no image guidance (p < 0.001 and p = 0.003, respectively). The tool path distance was also lower in groups using augmented reality compared with triplanar display (p = 0.010). Always-on solid overlay resulted in the greatest inattentional blindness (20% recognition of unexpected finding). Wire mesh and on-demand overlays mitigated, but did not negate, inattentional blindness and were comparable to triplanar display (40% recognition of unexpected finding in all groups). Wire mesh and inverse realism overlays also resulted in better subjective depth perception than always-on solid overlay (p = 0.031 and p = 0.008, respectively).

Conclusions New augmented reality platforms may improve performance in less-experienced surgeons. However, all image display modalities, including existing triplanar displays, carry a risk of inattentional blindness.

Cochlear line: a novel landmark for hearing preservation using the anterior petrosal approach

Cochlear line- a novel landmark for hearing preservation using the anterior petrosal approach

J Neurosurg 123:9–13, 2015

The goal of this study was to develop a practical landmark for the safe and easy identification of the cochlea when performing anterior petrosectomy based on cadaver dissection results.

Methods The cochlear line was defined as the line drawn from the crossing point between the greater superficial petrosal nerve (GSPN) and the petrous internal carotid artery to the line drawn over the apex of the superior circumference of the dura of the internal auditory canal at a right angle. The validity of the cochlear line marking the anteromedial perimeter of the cochlea at the angle of the GSPN and the internal acoustic canal as a practical landmark were evaluated using 5 cadaver heads.

Results The mean distance (± SD) measured from the cochlear line to the margin of the cochlear cavity was 2.25 ± 0.51 mm (range 1.50–3.00 mm).

Conclusions Anterior petrosectomy can be performed more efficiently by using the cochlear line as a key landmark to preserve the cochlea.

Viability of Anastomoses With Coupler in Extra-Intracranial Bypass

Viability of Anastomoses With Coupler in Extra-Intracranial Bypass- Cadaveric Study

Operative Neurosurgery 11:235–242, 2015

The time required to perform an anastomosis in extra-intracranial bypass is approximately 20 to 60 minutes. The search for alternative methods to reduce the ischemic time remains vital.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate Coupler anastomosis for extra-intracranial bypass in cadavers.

METHODS: In 8 fresh adult cadavers, the saphenous vein and radial artery were used as donor vessels. The superficial temporal and the extracranial internal and external carotid arteries were dissected. A wide craniotomy with a sylvian fissure opening was performed, exposing the middle cerebral and supraclinoid internal carotid arteries. The Coupler devices were tested in all 8 cadavers. The diameter of the donor and recipient vessels as well as the time required to perform the anastomosis were measured. Bypass permeability was evaluated by injecting saline solution under pressure, checking for leaks.

RESULTS: The anastomoses were successfully performed in all specimens. The size of the head of the fitting Coupler required the performance of a wide craniotomy (6 · 6 cm) and a wide opening of the sylvian fissure. The time required to perform each anastomosis ranged from 4 to 7 minutes, being easier with the radial artery than with the saphenous vein.

CONCLUSION: Coupler devices are helpful to perform the anastomoses, because they significantly reduce ischemia time. Their use is easier at the M1 segment, just before the bifurcation and after takeoff of the lenticulostriate arteries, and in the M2 segment. It would be advisable to have a smaller coupling system, allowing maneuverability in the deeper areas where space is limited.

The anatomy of Meyer’s loop revisited

The anatomy of Meyer’s loop revisited

J Neurosurg 122:1253–1262, 2015

The goal in this study was to explore and further refine comprehension of the anatomical features of the temporal loop, known as Meyer’s loop.

Methods The lateral and inferior aspects of 20 previously frozen, formalin-fixed human brains were dissected under the operating microscope by using fiber microdissection.

Results A loop of the fibers in the anterior temporal region was clearly demonstrated in all dissections. This temporal loop, or Meyer’s loop, is commonly known as the anterior portion of the optic radiation. Fiber microdissection in this study, however, revealed that various projection fibers that emerge from the sublentiform portion of the internal capsule (IC-SL), which are the temporopontine fibers, occipitopontine fibers, and the posterior thalamic peduncle (which includes the optic radiation), participate in this temporal loop and become a part of the sagittal stratum. No individual optic radiation fibers could be differentiated in the temporal loop. The dissections also disclosed that the anterior extension and angulation of the temporal loop vary significantly.

Conclusions The fiber microdissection technique provides clear evidence that a loop in the anterior temporal region exists, but that this temporal loop is not formed exclusively by the optic radiation. Various projection fibers of the IC-SL, of which the optic radiation is only one of the several components, display this common course. The inherent limitations of the fiber dissection technique preclude accurate differentiation among individual fibers of the temporal loop, such as the optic radiation fibers.

Convection-enhanced delivery to the central nervous system

Convection-enhanced delivery to the central nervous system

J Neurosurg 122:697–706, 2015

Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) is a bulk flow–driven process. Its properties permit direct, homogeneous, targeted perfusion of CNS regions with putative therapeutics while bypassing the blood-brain barrier. Development of surrogate imaging tracers that are co-infused during drug delivery now permit accurate, noninvasive real-time tracking of convective infusate flow in nervous system tissues.

The potential advantages of CED in the CNS over other currently available drug delivery techniques, including systemic delivery, intrathecal and/or intraventricular distribution, and polymer implantation, have led to its application in research studies and clinical trials.

The authors review the biophysical principles of convective flow and the technology, properties, and clinical applications of convective delivery in the CNS.

Effect of postural changes on ICP in healthy and ill subjects


Acta Neurochir (2015) 157:109–113

Reference values and physiological measurements of intracranial pressure (ICP) are primarily reported in the supine position, while reports of ICP in the vertical position are surprisingly rare considering that humans maintain the vertical position for the majority of the day. In order to distinguish normal human physiology from disease entities such as idiopathic intracranial hypertension and normal pressure hydrocephalus, we investigated ICP in different body postures in both normal and ill subjects.

Methods Thirty-one patients were included: four normal patients following complete removal of a solitary clearly demarcated small brain tumour and fitted with a telemetric ICP monitoring device for long-term ICP monitoring; 27 patients requiring invasive ICP monitoring as a part of their diagnostic work-up or monitoring of shunt treatment effect. ICP was recorded in the following body positions: upright standing, sitting in a chair, supine and right lateral lumbar puncture position.

Results Linear regression of median ICP based on patient posture, group, and purpose of monitoring presented a significant model (p<0.001), but could not distinguish between patient groups (p=0.88). Regression of differences in median ICP between body postures and supine ICP as the baseline, presented a highly significant model (p<0.001) and adjusted R2=0.86. Both body posture (p<0.001) and patient group (p<0.001) were highly significant factors.

Conclusions Differences in ICP between body postures enabled us to distinguish the normal group from patient groups. Normal patients appear able to more tightly regulate ICP when switching body postures.

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


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