Neurosurgery Blog


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

Frontal Sinus Breach During Routine Frontal Craniotomy

Neurosurgery 81:504–511, 2017

Frontotemporal craniotomies are commonly performed for a variety of neurosurgical pathologies. Infections related to craniotomies cause significant morbidity. We hypothesized that the risk of cranial surgical site infections (SSIs) may be increased in patients whose frontal sinuses are breached during craniotomy.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the rate of cranial SSIs in patients undergoing frontotemporal craniotomies with and without frontal sinus breach (FSB).

METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of all patients undergoing frontotemporal craniotomies for the management of cerebral aneurysms from 2005 to 2014. This study included 862 patients undergoing 910 craniotomies. Primary outcomeof interest was occurrence of a cranial SSI. Standard statistical methods were utilized to explore associations between a variety of variables including FSB, cranial SSI, and infections requiring reoperation.

RESULTS: Of the 910 craniotomies, 141 (15.5%) involved FSB. Of those involving FSB, 22 (15.6%) developed a cranial SSI, compared to only 56 of the 769 without FSB (7.3%; P = .001). Cranial SSI requiring reoperation wasmuch more likely in patients with FSB compared to those without a breach (7.8% vs 1.6%; P < .001). In those presenting with cranial SSIs, epidural abscess formation was more common with FSB compared to no FSB (27.3% vs 5.4%; P = .006). In multivariate analysis, breach of the frontal sinus was significantly associated with cranial SSI (OR 2.16; 95% CI 1.24-3.78; P = .01) and reoperation (OR 4.20; 95% CI 1.66-10.65; P = .003).

CONCLUSION: Patients undergoing frontotemporal craniotomies are at significantly greater risk of serious cranial SSIs if the frontal sinus has been breached.

Complications of ventricular entry during craniotomy for brain tumor resection

J Neurosurg 127:426–432, 2017

Recent studies have demonstrated that periventricular tumor location is associated with poorer survival and that tumor location near the ventricle limits the extent of resection. This finding may relate to the perception that ventricular entry leads to further complications and thus surgeons may choose to perform less aggressive resection in these areas. However, there is little support for this view in the literature. This study seeks to determine whether ventricular entry is associated with more complications during craniotomy for brain tumor resection.

METHODS A retrospective analysis of patients who underwent craniotomy for tumor resection at Henry Ford Hospital between January 2010 and November 2012 was conducted. A total of 183 cases were reviewed with attention to operative entry into the ventricular system, postoperative use of an external ventricular drain (EVD), subdural hematoma, hydrocephalus, and symptomatic intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH).

RESULTS Patients in whom the ventricles were entered had significantly higher rates of any complication (46% vs 21%). Complications included development of subdural hygroma, subdural hematoma, intraventricular hemorrhage, subgaleal collection, wound infection, urinary tract infection/deep venous thrombosis, hydrocephalus, and ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt placement. Specifically, these patients had significantly higher rates of EVD placement (23% vs 1%, p < 0.001), hydrocephalus (6% vs 0%, p = 0.03), IVH (14% vs 0%, p < 0.001), infection (15% vs 5%, p = 0.04), and subgaleal collection (20% vs 4%, p < 0.001). It was also observed that VP shunt placement was only seen in cases of ventricular entry (11% vs 0%, p = 0.001) with 3 of 4 of these patients having a large ventricular entry (defined here as entry greater than a pinhole [< 3 mm] entry). Furthermore, in a subset of glioblastoma patients with and without ventricular entry, Kaplan- Meier estimates for survival demonstrated a median survival time of 329 days for ventricular entry compared with 522 days for patients with no ventricular entry (HR 1.13, 95% CI 0.65–1.96; p = 0.67).

CONCLUSIONS There are more complications associated with ventricular entry during brain tumor resection than in nonviolated ventricular systems. Better strategies for management of periventricular tumor resection should be actively sought to improve resection and survival for these patients.


Contralateral supraorbital keyhole approach to medial optic nerve

J Neurosurg 126:940–944, 2017

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

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

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

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


Craniotomy for perisellar meningiomas: comparison of simple (appropriate for endoscopic approach) versus complex anatomy and surgical outcomes

J Neurosurg 126:1191–1200, 2017

Microsurgical resection of perisellar meningiomas has remained the gold standard for treatment, with extended endoscopic endonasal surgery emerging as a viable alternative. Historical microsurgical series do not distinguish based on tumor anatomy, but are being used as a comparison against endonasal surgery. In this study, the authors retrospectively reviewed and compared the anatomy of perisellar meningiomas seen at their institution. The tumors were separated into 2 groups based on whether they would be appropriate for endoscopic resection, and the authors compared the surgical outcomes.

METHODS Between 2001 and 2013, 53 patients (73.6% women) with perisellar meningiomas underwent open microsurgical resection at Vancouver General Hospital performed by the senior author (R.A.). These tumors were separated into 2 groups based on their anatomy, and the authors analyzed the resection rates, surgical results, patient quality of life, and complications.

RESULTS Among the 53 patients who presented with perisellar meningiomas, the authors were able to identify 18 lesions with “simple” anatomy suitable for endoscopic resection and 35 lesions with “complex” anatomy suitable for craniotomy resection. The mean age of patients in the study cohort was 57.4 years (range 33–91 years), and most patients presented with visual loss (68.0%) and visual field restriction (64.2%). There were no major differences in patient demographic data between the 2 groups. Patients with simple anatomy had smaller lesions (2.1 vs 3.5 cm; p = 0.004), no optic canal invasion (89% vs 26%; p < 0.0001), minimal vascular encasement (cortical cuff 83% vs 9%; p < 0.0001), and a rounded tumor shape (100% vs 31.8%; p = 0.0001) when compared with those with complex anatomy. The majority of lesions originated from the tuberculum sellae and planum sphenoidale. A greater degree of resection was achieved in the favorable anatomy group (99% vs 87.1%; p < 0.0001). Vision was improved or normalized in 96.6% of patients. Patients in the cohort with complex anatomy had more transient complications; there were no incidents of surgical-site infection, meningitis, or death in this series. One patient who underwent removal of a recurrent lesion experienced a CSF leak that required endoscopic repair. The overall persisting complications rate was higher in the group with complex anatomy (11.1% vs 37.1%; p = 0.0498); overall, 28.3% of patients experienced disabling complications. Patient-perceived quality of life improved in the simple anatomy group following surgery (DSF-36 +16.6 vs -8.4; p = 0.0045).

CONCLUSIONS Extended endoscopic surgery is emerging as a viable alternative to microsurgical resection of perisellar meningiomas. The authors identified 2 patient groups based on tumor anatomy, with distinctly separate surgical outcomes. In the future, patients considered for endoscopic resection should be compared against the surgical group with simple anatomy that includes smaller tumors, no vascular encasement, and limited optic canal invasion.



Outcomes in craniotomy vs endoscopic craniopharyngioma resection

Neurosurg Focus 41 (6):E6, 2016

Craniopharyngiomas have historically been resected via transcranial microsurgery (TCM). In the last 2 decades, the extended endoscopic endonasal (transtuberculum) approach to these tumors has become more widely accepted, yet there remains controversy over which approach leads to better outcomes. The purpose of this study is to determine whether differences in outcomes were identified between TCM and extended endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEEAs) in adult patients undergoing primary resection of suprasellar craniopharyngiomas at a single institution.

Methods A retrospective review of all patients who underwent resection of their histopathologically confirmed craniopharyngiomas at the authors’ institution between 2005 and 2015 was performed. Pediatric patients, revision cases, and patients with tumors greater than 2 standard deviations above the mean volume were excluded. The patients were divided into 2 groups: those undergoing primary TCM and those undergoing a primary EEEA. Preoperative patient demographics, presenting symptoms, and preoperative tumor volumes were determined. Extent of resection, tumor histological subtype, postoperative complications, and additional outcome data were obtained. Statistical significance between variables was determined utilizing Student t-tests, chi-square tests, and Fisher exact tests when applicable.

Results After exclusions, 21 patients satisfied the aforementioned inclusion criteria, 12 underwent TCM for resection while 9 benefitted from the EEEA. There were no significant differences in patient demographics, presenting symptoms, tumor subtype, or preoperative tumor volumes, no tumors had significant lateral or prechiasmatic extension. The extent of resection was similar between these 2 groups, as was the necessity for additional surgery or adjuvant therapy. CSF leakage was encountered only in the EEEA group (2 patients). Importantly, the rate of postoperative visual improvement was significantly higher in the EEEA group than in the TCM group (88.9% vs 25.0%, p = 0.0075). Postoperative visual deterioration only occurred in the TCM group (3 patients). Recurrence was uncommon, with similar rates between the groups. Other complication rates, overall complication risk, and additional outcome measures were similar between these groups as well.

Conclusions Based on this study, most outcome variables appear to be similar between TCM and EEEA routes for similarly sized tumors in adults. The multidisciplinary EEEA to craniopharyngioma resection represents a safe and compelling alternative to TCM. The authors’ data demonstrate that postoperative visual improvement is statistically more likely in the EEEA despite the increased risk of CSF leakage. These results add to the growing evidence that the EEEA may be considered the approach of choice for resection of select confined primary craniopharyngiomas without significant lateral extension in centers with experienced surgeons. Further prospective, multiinstitutional collaboration is needed to power studies capable of fully evaluating indications and appropriate approaches for craniopharyngiomas.

Laser interstitial thermal therapy followed by minimal-access transsulcal resection for the treatment of large and dif cult to access brain tumors


Neurosurg Focus 41 (4):E14, 2016

Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT), sometimes referred to as “stereotactic laser ablation,” has demonstrated utility in a subset of high-risk surgical patients with dificult to access (DTA) intracranial neoplasms. However, the treatment of tumors larger than 10 cm3 is associated with suboptimal outcomes and morbidity. This may limit the utility of LITT in dealing with precisely those large or deep tumors that are most dif cult to treat with conventional approaches. Recently, several groups have reported on minimally invasive transsulcal approaches utilizing tubular retracting systems. However, these approaches have been primarily used for intraventricular or paraventricular lesions, and subtotal resections have been reported for intraparenchymal lesions. Here, the authors describe a combined approach of LITT followed by minimally invasive transsulcal resection for large and DTA tumors.

Methoss The authors retrospectively reviewed the results of LITT immediately followed by minimally invasive, trans-sulcal, transportal resection in 10 consecutive patients with unilateral, DTA malignant tumors > 10 cm3. The patients, 5 males and 5 females, had a median age of 65 years. Eight patients had glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), 1 had a previously treated GBM with radiation necrosis, and 1 had a melanoma brain metastasis. The median tumor volume treated was 38.0 cm3.

Results The median tumor volume treated to the yellow thermal dose threshold (TDT) line was 83% (range 76%– 92%), the median tumor volume treated to the blue TDT line was 73% (range 60%–87%), and the median extent of resection was 93% (range 84%–100%). Two patients suffered mild postoperative neurological de cits, one transiently. Four patients have died since this analysis and 6 remain alive. Median progression-free survival was 280 days, and median overall survival was 482 days.

Conclusions Laser interstitial thermal therapy followed by minimally invasive transsulcal resection, reported here for the first time, is a novel option for patients with large, DTA, malignant brain neoplasms. There were no unexpected neurological complications in this series, and operative characteristics improved as surgeon experience increased. Further studies are needed to elucidate any differences in survival or quality of life metrics.

Opening the Internal Hematoma Membrane Does Not Alter the Recurrence Rate of Chronic Subdural Hematomas: A Prospective Randomized Trial

Is systematic post-operative CT scan indicated after chronic subdural hematoma surgery?


Factors determining the recurrence of chronic subdural hematomas (CSDHs) are not clear. Whether opening the so-called internal hematoma membrane is useful has not been investigated.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether splitting the inner hematoma membrane influences the recurrence rate in patients undergoing burr-hole craniotomy for CSDH.

METHODS: Fifty-two awake patients undergoing surgery for 57 CSDHs were prospectively randomized to either partial opening of the inner hematoma membrane (group A) or not (group B) after enlarged burr-hole craniotomy and hematoma evacuation. Drainage was left in situ for several days postoperatively. Groups were comparable with regard to demographic, clinical, and imaging variables. Outcome was assessed after 3e6 weeks for the combined outcome variable of reoperation or residual hematoma of one third or more of the original hematoma thickness.

RESULTS: Fourteen patients underwent reoperation for clinical deterioration or residual hematoma during follow- up (n = 6 in group A, 21%; n = 8 in group B, 28 %) (P = 0.537). Residual hematoma of ≥ one third not requiring surgery was present in 7 patients in group A (25%) and 10 patients in group B (36%) (P = 0.383). The overall cumulative failure rate (reoperation or hematoma thickness ≥ one third) was 13/28 (46%) in group A and 18/28 in group B (P = 0.178; relative risk, 0.722 [95% confidence interval, 0.445-1.172]; absolute risk reduction -16% =95% confidence interval, -38% to 8%]).

CONCLUSIONS: Opening the internal hematoma membrane does not alter the rate of patients requiring revision surgery and the number of patients showing a marked residual hematoma 6 weeks after evacuation of a CSDH.


Routine early CT scanning after craniotomy: is it effective for the early detection of postoperative intracranial hematoma?

postoperative intracranial hematoma

Acta Neurochir (2016) 158:1447–1452

Postoperative intracranial hematoma (POIH) is a frequent sequela secondary to cranial surgery. The role of routine early postoperative computed tomography (CT) scanning in the detection of POIH remains controversial. The study was aimed at analyzing the effect of routine early CT scanning after craniotomy for the early detection of POIH.

Methods Routine early postoperative CT scanning was performed at our institute, and a retrospective study was conducted to analyze the data. POIH was defined as an intra- cranial hematoma requiring surgical management.

Results A total of 1,148 patients undergoing craniotomy were included in this study; 28 of these patients developed POIH. The majority of POIH cases (15/28, 54 %) were detected during the first 6 h following craniotomy. A routine CT scan was per- formed on all included patients but two; however, CT scans detected only 16 POIH cases. During the first 6 h, the rate at which CT scans detected POIH was 1.9 % (15/786); subse- quently, the rate decreased to only 0.3 % (1/360; p<0.05, compared with the rate during the first 6h). Among patients without clinical manifestations, the rate at which the routine post-craniotomy CT scan detected POIH was only 0.7 % (5/721) (p<0.05, compared with the incidence of POIH). Finally, among high-risk POIH patients, the POIH-positive rate of routine CT scanning was elevated.

Conclusions It appears that routine early CT scan is ineffective for the detection of POIH in patients undergoing craniotomy. However, if the strategy for routine scanning can be improved, its effect may be beneficial.

Predictive factors for decompressive hemicraniectomy in malignant middle cerebral artery infarction

Predictive factors for decompressive hemicraniectomy in malignant middle cerebral artery infarction

Acta Neurochir (2016) 158:865–873

The mortality rate of patients with brain oedema after malignant middle cerebral artery (MCA) infarction approaches 80 % without surgical intervention. Surgical treatment with ipsilateral decompressive hemicraniectomy (DHC) has been shown to dramatically improve survival rates. DHC currently lacks established inclusion criteria and additional research is needed to assess the impact of prognostic factors on functional outcome. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of prognostic factors on functional outcome.

Method A retrospective cohort study was carried out including 46 patients who underwent DHC at the Karolinska University Hospital between 2004 and 2014. The maximum time to surgery was 5 days after symptom debut. The primary endpoint was a dichotomised score on the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) 3 months after surgery, with favourable outcome defined as mRS ≤ 4.

Results When the study population was dichotomised according to the primary endpoint, a significant difference between the groups was seen in preoperative Glasgow Coma Score (GCS), blood glucose levels and the infarction’s involvement of the basal ganglia (p <0.05). In a logistic regression model, preoperative GCS contributed significantly with a 59.6 % increase in the probability of favourable outcome for each point gained in preoperative GCS (p=0.035).

Conclusions The results indicate that preoperative GCS, blood glucose and the infarction’s involvement of the basal ganglia are strong predictors of clinical outcome. These factors should be considered when assessing the probable outcome of DHC, and additional research based on these factors may contribute to improved inclusion criteria for DHC.

Height of aneurysm neck and estimated extent of brain retraction: powerful predictors of olfactory dysfunction after surgery for unruptured anterior communicating artery aneurysms

Height of aneurysm neck and estimated extent of brain retraction- powerful predictors of olfactory dysfunction after surgery for unruptured anterior communicating artery aneurysms

J Neurosurg 124:720–725, 2016

The highest incidence of olfactory dysfunction following a pterional approach and its modifications for an intracranial aneurysm has been reported in cases of anterior communicating artery (ACoA) aneurysms. The radiological characteristics of unruptured ACoA aneurysms affecting the extent of retraction of the frontal lobe and olfactory nerve were investigated as risk factors for postoperative olfactory dysfunction.

Methods A total of 102 patients who underwent a pterional or superciliary keyhole approach to clip an unruptured ACoA aneurysm from 2006 to 2013 were included in this study. Those patients who complained of permanent olfactory dysfunction after their aneurysm surgery, during a postoperative office visit or a telephone interview, were invited to undergo an olfactory test, the Korean version of the Sniffin’ Sticks test. In addition, the angiographic characteristics of ACoA aneurysms, including the maximum diameter, the projecting direction of the aneurysm, and the height of the neck of the aneurysm, were all recorded based on digital subtraction angiography and sagittal brain images reconstructed using CT angiography. Furthermore, the extent of the brain retraction was estimated based on the height of the ACoA aneurysm neck.

Results Eleven patients (10.8%) exhibited objective olfactory dysfunction in the Sniffin’ Sticks test, among whom 9 were anosmic and 2 were hyposmic. Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed that the direction of the ACoA aneurysm, ACoA aneurysm neck height, and estimated extent of brain retraction were statistically significant risk factors for postoperative olfactory dysfunction. Based on a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis, an ACoA aneurysm neck height > 9 mm and estimated brain retraction > 12 mm were chosen as the optimal cutoff values for differentiating anosmic/hyposmic from normosmic patients. The values for the area under the ROC curves were 0.939 and 0.961, respectively.

Conclusions In cases of unruptured ACoA aneurysm surgery, the height of the aneurysm neck and the estimated extent of brain retraction were both found to be powerful predictors of the occurrence of postoperative olfactory dysfunction.

Stereoelectroencephalography-guided radiofrequency thermocoagulation in the epileptogenic zone

Reducing surgical site infections following craniotomy- examination of the use of topical vancomycin

J Neurosurg 123:1600–1604, 2015

Although the use of topical vancomycin has been shown to be safe and effective for reducing postoperative infection rates in patients after spine surgery, its use in cranial wounds has not been studied systematically. The authors hypothesized that topical vancomycin, applied in powder form directly to the subgaleal space during closure, would reduce cranial wound infection rates.

Methods A cohort of 150 consecutive patients who underwent craniotomy was studied retrospectively. Seventy-five patients received 1 g of vancomycin powder applied in the subgaleal space at the time of closure. This group was compared with 75 matched-control patients who were accrued over the same time interval and did not receive vancomycin. The primary outcome measure was the presence of surgical site infection within 3 months. Secondary outcome measures included tissue pH from a subgaleal drain and vancomycin levels from the subgaleal space and serum.

Results Vancomycin was associated with significantly fewer surgical site infections (1 of 75) than was standard antibiotic prophylaxis alone (5 of 75; p < 0.05). Cultures were positive for typical skin flora species. As expected, local measured vancomycin concentrations peaked immediately after surgery (mean ± SD 499 ± 37 μg/ml) and gradually decreased over 12 hours. Vancomycin in the circulating serum remained undetectable. Subgaleal topical vancomycin was associated with a lower incidence of surgical site infections after craniotomy. The authors attribute this reduction in the infection rate to local vancomycin concentrations well above the minimum inhibitory concentration for antimicrobial efficacy.

Conclusions Topical vancomycin is safe and effective for reducing surgical site infections after craniotomy. These data support the need for a prospective randomized examination of topical vancomycin in the setting of cranial surgery.

Clinical factors associated with venous thromboembolism risk in patients undergoing craniotomy

Awake craniotomy for gliomas in a high-field intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging suite

J Neurosurg 122:1004–1011, 2015

Patients undergoing craniotomy are at risk for developing venous thromboembolism (VTE). The safety of anticoagulation in these patients is not clear. The authors sought to identify risk factors predictive of VTE in patients undergoing craniotomy.

METHODS The authors reviewed a national surgical quality database, the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program. Craniotomy patients were identified by current procedural terminology code. Clinical factors were analyzed to identify associations with VTE.

RESULTS Four thousand eight hundred forty-four adult patients who underwent craniotomy were identified. The rate of VTE in the cohort was 3.5%, including pulmonary embolism in 1.4% and deep venous thrombosis in 2.6%. A number of factors were found to be statistically significant in multivariate binary logistic regression analysis, including craniotomy for tumor, transfer from acute care hospital, age ≥ 60 years, dependent functional status, tumor involving the CNS, sepsis, emergency surgery, surgery time ≥ 4 hours, postoperative urinary tract infection, postoperative pneumonia, on ventilator ≥ 48 hours postoperatively, and return to the operating room. Patients were assigned a score based on how many of these factors they had (minimum score 0, maximum score 12). Increasing score was predictive of increased VTE incidence, as well as risk of mortality, and time from surgery to discharge.

CONCLUSIONS Patients undergoing craniotomy are at low risk of developing VTE, but this risk is increased by preoperative medical comorbidities and postoperative complications. The presence of more of these clinical factors is associated with progressively increased VTE risk; patients possessing a VTE Risk Score of ≥ 5 had a greater than 20-fold increased risk of VTE compared with patients with a VTE score of 0.

Infections in patients undergoing craniotomy: risk factors associated with post-craniotomy meningitis

awake craniotomy

J Neurosurg 122:1113–1119, 2015

The authors performed a prospective study to define the prevalence and microbiological characteristics of infections in patients undergoing craniotomy and to clarify the risk factors for post-craniotomy meningitis.

Methods Patients older than 18 years who underwent nonstereotactic craniotomies between January 2006 and December 2008 were included. Demographic, clinical, laboratory, and microbiological data were systemically recorded. Patient characteristics, craniotomy type, and pre- and postoperative variables were evaluated as risk factors for meningitis

Results Three hundred thirty-four procedures were analyzed (65.6% involving male patients). Traumatic brain injury was the most common reason for craniotomy. Almost 40% of the patients developed at least 1 infection. Ventilatorassociated pneumonia (VAP) was the most common infection recorded (22.5%) and Acinetobacter spp. were isolated in 44% of the cases. Meningitis was encountered in 16 procedures (4.8%), and CSF cultures were positive for microbial growth in 100% of these cases. Gram-negative pathogens (Acinetobacter spp., Klebsiella spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter cloaceae, Proteus mirabilis) represented 88% of the pathogens. Acinetobacter and Klebsiella spp. demonstrated a high percentage of resistance in several antibiotic classes. In multivariate analysis, the risk for meningitis was independently associated with perioperative steroid use (OR 11.55, p = 0.005), CSF leak (OR 48.03, p < 0.001), and ventricular drainage (OR 70.52, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Device-related postoperative communication between the CSF and the environment, CSF leak, and perioperative steroid use were defined as risk factors for meningitis in this study. Ventilator-associated pneumonia was the most common infection overall. The offending pathogens presented a high level of resistance to several antibiotics.

Anticonvulsant prophylaxis for brain tumor surgery

Seizures frequency

J Neurosurg 121:1139–1147, 2014

Patients who undergo craniotomy for brain tumor resection are prone to experiencing seizures, which can have debilitating medical, neurological, and psychosocial effects.

A controversial issue in neurosurgery is the common practice of administering perioperative anticonvulsant prophylaxis to these patients despite a paucity of supporting data in the literature. The foreseeable benefits of this strategy must be balanced against potential adverse effects and interactions with critical medications such as chemotherapeutic agents and corticosteroids. Multiple disparate metaanalyses have been published on this topic but have not been applied into clinical practice, and, instead, personal preference frequently determines practice patterns in this area of management.

Therefore, to select the current best available evidence to guide clinical decision making, the literature was evaluated to identify meta-analyses that investigated the efficacy and/or safety of anticonvulsant prophylaxis in this patient population. Six meta-analyses published between 1996 and 2011 were included in the present study.

The Quality of Reporting of Meta-analyses and Oxman-Guyatt methodological quality assessment tools were used to score these meta-analyses, and the Jadad decision algorithm was applied to determine the highest-quality meta-analysis. According to this analysis, 2 metaanalyses were deemed to be the current best available evidence, both of which conclude that prophylactic treatment does not improve seizure control in these patients.

Therefore, this management strategy should not be routinely used.

Relevance of early head CT scans following neurosurgical procedures

early CT postcranio

J Neurosurg 121:307–312, 2014

Early postoperative head CT scanning is routinely performed following intracranial procedures for detection of complications, but its real value remains uncertain: so-called abnormal results are frequently found, but active, emergency intervention based on these findings may be rare. The authors’ objective was to analyze whether early postoperative CT scans led to emergency surgical interventions and if the results of neurological examination predicted this occurrence.

Methods. The authors retrospectively analyzed 892 intracranial procedures followed by an early postoperative CT scan performed over a 1-year period at Rush University Medical Center and classified these cases according to postoperative neurological status: baseline, predicted neurological change, unexpected neurological change, and sedated or comatose. The interpretation of CT results was reviewed and unexpected CT findings were classified based on immediate action taken: Type I, additional observation and CT; Type II, active nonsurgical intervention; and Type III, surgical intervention. Results were compared between neurological examination groups with the Fisher exact test.

Results. Patients with unexpected neurological changes or in the sedated or comatose group had significantly more unexpected findings on the postoperative CT (p < 0.001; OR 19.2 and 2.3, respectively) and Type II/III interventions (p < 0.001) than patients at baseline. Patients at baseline or with expected neurological changes still had a rate of Type II/III changes in the 2.2%–2.4% range; however, no patient required an immediate return to the operating room.

Conclusions. Over a 1-year period in an academic neurosurgery service, no patient who was neurologically intact or who had a predicted neurological change required an immediate return to the operating room based on early postoperative CT findings. Obtaining early CT scans should not be a priority in these patients and may even be cancelled in favor of MRI studies, if the latter have already been planned and can be performed safely and in a timely manner. Early postoperative CT scanning does not assure an uneventful course, nor should it replace accurate and frequent neurological checks, because operative interventions were always decided in conjunction with the neurological examination.

Re-exploration of the craniotomy after surgical treatment of unruptured intracranial aneurysms

Cranio re-exploration for aneu

Acta Neurochir (2014) 156:869–877

Unplanned re-exploration of the craniotomy after surgical treatment of unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs) is sometimes required, but the underlying causes and rates of these procedures are seldom reported. This study retrospectively analyzed the causes of such re-explorations to identify methods for decreasing their necessity.

Method From January 2000 to December 2011, 1,720 patients with a total of 1,938 UIAs underwent surgical treatment at our institution. Fromthis cohort, 26 patients (1.5 %) with 38 UIAs required re-exploration. Clinical data, aneurysm characteristics, treatment methods, and the incidence and causes of re-exploration of the craniotomy were analyzed for these 26 patients.

Results: Several causes of re-exploration were identified: compromised distal blood flow (eight patients, 0.47 %), hemorrhagic venous infarction (four patients, 0.23 %), brain retraction injury (three patients, 0.17 %), newly identified aneurysms (three patients, 0.17 %), bleeding from an incompletely clipped aneurysm (two patients, 0.12 %), epidural hematoma (two patients, 0.12%), failed aneurysm clipping (two patients, 0.12 %) and other causes (two patients, 0.12 %). Annual reexploration incidence rates ranged from 0 to 3.1 %. Annual incidence rates gradually decreased following the introduction of several intraoperative monitoring systems.

Conclusions Precise surgical planning and careful operative techniques can reduce the incidence of unplanned reexploration of the craniotomy. The introduction of various intraoperative monitoring systems can also contribute to a reduction in this incidence.

Endoscopic surgery for tuberculum sellae meningiomas: a systematic review and meta-analysis


Neurosurg Rev (2013) 36:349–359

Recent reports of surgical resection of tuberculum sellae meningiomas through an endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) have provided an alternative to transcranial approaches in selected cases. However, these published reports have been limited by small sample size from single institutions.We performed a systematic review and metaanalysis to gain insight into potential limitations and benefits of EEA for tuberculum sellae meningiomas.

We performed a systematic review of the literature and analyzed pooled data for descriptive statistics on short-term morbidity and outcomes. We compared EEA to transcranial approaches reported during the same time-frame. Six studies (49 patients) met inclusion criteria for EEA. A pooled analysis of transcranial results reported during a similar time period yielded 11 studies (412 patients).

There were no differences in rate of gross total resection or peri-operative complications between the two groups. Although the EEA group was associated with higher rates of CSF leak (p<0.05; OR 3.9; 95 % CI 1.15, 15.75), EEA were also associated with significantly higher rates of post-operative visual improvement compared to transcranial approaches (p<0.05; OR 1.5; 95 % CI 1.18, 1.82). A systematic review of the small series of EEA for tuberculum sellae meningiomas published to date revealed similar extent of resection and morbidity, but increased post-operative visual improvement compared to transcranial approaches during a similar time period.

Long-term follow-up will be needed to define recurrence rates of EEA as compared to transcranial approaches. Cautious use of EEA for the removal of smaller tuberculum sellae meningiomas after formal endoscopic training may be warranted.

Intraoperative Seizures During Awake Craniotomy: Incidence and Consequences: Analysis of 477 Patients

Awake cranio

Neurosurgery 73:135–140, 2013

Awake craniotomy (AC) for removal of intra-axial brain tumors is a well-established procedure. However, the occurrence and consequences of intraoperative seizures during AC have not been well characterized.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the incidence, risk factors, and consequences of seizures during AC.

METHODS: The database of AC at Tel Aviv Medical Center between 2003 to 2011 was reviewed. Occurrences of intraoperative seizures were analyzed with respect to medical history, medications, tumor characteristics, and postoperative outcome.

RESULTS: Of the 549 ACs performed during the index period, 477 with complete records were identified. Sixty patients (12.6%) experienced intraoperative seizures. The AC procedure failed in 11 patients (2.3%) due to seizures. Patients with intraoperative seizures were significantly younger than nonseizing patients (45 6 14 years vs 52 6 16 years, P = .003), had a higher incidence of frontal lobe involvement (86% vs % 57%, P , .0001), and had higher prevalence of a history of seizures (P = .008). Short-term motor deterioration developed postoperatively in a higher percentage of patients with intraoperative seizures (20% vs 10.1%, P = .02) with a longer hospitalization period (4.0 6 3.0 days vs 3.0 6 3.0 days, P = .045).

CONCLUSION: Although in most cases intraoperative seizures will not result in AC failure, the surgical team should be prepared to treat them promptly to avoid intractable seizures. Intraoperative seizures are more common in younger patients with a tumor in the frontal lobe and those with a history of seizures. Moreover, they are associated with a higher incidence of transient postoperative motor deterioration and protracted length of hospital stay.

Surgical Management of Craniopharyngiomas in Children: Meta-analysis and Comparison of Transcranial and Transsphenoidal Approaches

Neurosurgery 69:630–643, 2011 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31821a872d

Controversy persists regarding the optimal treatment of pediatric craniopharyngiomas.

OBJECTIVE: We performed a meta-analysis of reported series of transcranial (TC) and transsphenoidal (TS) surgery for pediatric craniopharyngiomas to determine whether comparisons between the outcomes in TS and TC approaches are valid.

METHODS: Online databases were searched for English-language articles reporting quantifiable outcome data published between 1990 and 2010 pertaining to the surgical treatment of pediatric craniopharyngiomas. Forty-eight studies describing 2955 patients having TC surgery and 13 studies describing 373 patients having TS surgery met inclusion criteria.

RESULTS: Before surgery, patients who had TC surgery had less visual loss, more frequent hydrocephalus and increased intracranial pressure, larger tumors, and more suprasellar disease. After surgery, patients in the TC group had lower rates of gross total resection (GTR), more frequent recurrence after GTR, higher neurological morbidity, more frequent diabetes insipidus, less improvement, and greater deterioration in vision. There was no difference in operative mortality, obesity/hyperphagia, or overall survival percentages.

CONCLUSION: Directly comparing outcomes after TC and TS surgery for pediatric craniopharyngiomas does not appear to be valid. Baseline differences in patients who underwent each approach create selection bias that may explain the improved rates of disease control and lower morbidity of TS resection. Although TS approaches are becoming increasingly used for smaller tumors and those primarily intrasellar, tumors more amenable to TC surgery include large tumors with significant lateral extension, those that engulf vascular structures, and those with significant peripheral calcification.

The surgical management of chronic subdural hematoma

Neurosurg Rev DOI 10.1007/s10143-011-0349-y

Chronic subdural hematoma (cSDH) is an increasingly common neurological disease process. Despite the wide prevalence of cSDH, there remains a lack of consensus regarding numerous aspects of its clinical management. We provide an overview of the epidemiology and pathophysiology of cSDH and discuss several controversial management issues, including the timing of postoperative resumption of anticoagulant medications, the effectiveness of anti-epileptic prophylaxis, protocols for mobilization following evacuation of cSDH, as well as the comparative effectiveness of the various techniques of surgical evacuation.

A PubMed search was carried out through October 19, 2010 using the following keywords: “subdural hematoma”, “craniotomy”, “burr-hole”, “management”, “anticoagulation”, “seizure prophylaxis”, “antiplatelet”, “mobilization”, and “surgical evacuation”, alone and in combination. Relevant articles were identified and back-referenced to yield additional papers. A meta-analysis was then performed comparing the efficacy and complications associated with the various methods of cSDH evacuation.

There is general agreement that significant coagulopathy should be reversed expeditiously in patients presenting with cSDH. Although protocols for gradual resumption of anti-coagulation for prophylaxis of venous thrombosis may be derived from guidelines for other neurosurgical procedures, further prospective study is necessary to determine the optimal time to restart fulldose anti-coagulation in the setting of recently drained cSDH. There is also conflicting evidence to support seizure prophylaxis in patients with cSDH, although the existing literature supports prophylaxis in patients who are at a higher risk for seizures.

The published data regarding surgical technique for cSDH supports primary twist drill craniostomy (TDC) drainage at the bedside for patients who are high-risk surgical candidates with non-septated cSDH and craniotomy as a first-line evacuation technique for cSDH with significant membranes. Larger prospective studies addressing these aspects of cSDH management are necessary to establish definitive recommendations.

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


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