Neurosurgery Blog


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

Limitations of the endonasal endoscopic approach in treating olfactory groove meningiomas

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:1875–1885

To review current management strategies for olfactory groove meningioma (OGM)s and the recent literature comparing endoscopic endonasal (EEA) with traditional transcranial (TCA) approaches.

Methods A PubMed search of the recent literature (2011– 2016) was performed to examine outcomes following EEA and TCA for OGM. The extent of resection, visual outcome, postoperative complications and recurrence rates were analyzed using percentages and proportions, the Fischer exact test and the Student’s t-test using Graphpad PRISM 7.0Aa (San Diego, CA) software.

Results There were 444 patients in the TCA group with a mean diameter of 4.61 (±1.17) cm and 101 patients in the EEA group with a mean diameter of 3.55 (± 0.58) cm (p = 0.0589). GTR was achieved in 90.9% (404/444) in the TCA group and 70.2% (71/101) in the EEA group (p < 0.0001). Of the patients with preoperative visual disturbances, 80.7% (21/26) of patients in the EEA cohort had an improvement in vision compared to 12.83%(29/226) in the TCA group (p < 0.0001). Olfaction was lost in 61% of TCA and in 100% of EEA patients. CSF leaks and meningitis occurred in 25.7% and 4.95% of EEA patients and 6.3% and 1.12% of TCA patients, respectively (p < 0.0001; p = 0.023).

Conclusions Our updated literature review demonstrates that despite more experience with endoscopic resection and skull base reconstruction, the literature still supports TCA over EEA with respect to the extent of resection and complications. EEA may be an option in selected cases where visual improvement is the main goal of surgery and postoperative anosmia is acceptable to the patient or in medium-sized tumors with existing preoperative anosmia. Nevertheless, based on our results, it seems more prudent at this time to use TCA for the majority of OGMs.

Endoscopic endonasal transclival resection of a ventral pontine cavernous malformation

J Neurosurg 127:553–558, 2017

Brainstem cavernous malformations are challenging due to the critical anatomy and potential surgical risks. Anterolateral, lateral, and dorsal surgical approaches provide limited ventral exposure of the brainstem.

The authors present a case of a midline ventral pontine cavernous malformation resected through an endoscopic endonasal transclival approach based on minimal brainstem transection, negligible cranial nerve manipulation, and a straightforward trajectory.

Technical and reconstruction technique advances in endoscopic endonasal skull base surgery provide a direct, safe, and effective corridor to the brainstem.

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.

A checklist for endonasal transsphenoidal anterior skull base surgery

Intraoperative MRI for transsphenoidal pituitary surgery

J Neurosurg 124:1634–1639, 2016

Approximately 250 million surgical procedures are performed annually worldwide, and data suggest that major complications occur in 3%–17% of them. Many of these complications can be classified as avoidable, and previous studies have demonstrated that preoperative checklists improve operating room teamwork and decrease complication rates. Although the authors’ institution has instituted a general preoperative “time-out” designed to streamline communication, flatten vertical authority gradients, and decrease procedural errors, there is no specific checklist for transnasal transsphenoidal anterior skull base surgery, with or without endoscopy. Such minimally invasive cranial surgery uses a completely different conceptual approach, set-up, instrumentation, and operative procedure. Therefore, it can be associated with different types of complications as compared with open cranial surgery. The authors hypothesized that a detailed, procedure-specific, preoperative checklist would be useful to reduce errors, improve outcomes, decrease delays, and maximize both teambuilding and operational efficiency. Thus, the object of this study was to develop such a checklist for endonasal transsphenoidal anterior skull base surgery.

Methods An expert panel was convened that consisted of all members of the typical surgical team for transsphenoidal endoscopic cases: neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists, circulating nurses, scrub technicians, surgical operations managers, and technical assistants. Beginning with a general checklist, procedure-specific items were added and categorized into 4 pauses: Anesthesia Pause, Surgical Pause, Equipment Pause, and Closure Pause.

Results The final endonasal transsphenoidal anterior skull base surgery checklist is composed of the following 4 pauses. The Anesthesia Pause consists of patient identification, diagnosis, pertinent laboratory studies, medications, surgical preparation, patient positioning, intravenous/arterial access, fluid management, monitoring, and other special considerations (e.g., Valsalva, jugular compression, lumbar drain, and so on). The Surgical Pause is composed of personnel introductions, planned procedural elements, estimation of duration of surgery, anticipated blood loss and fluid management, imaging, specimen collection, and questions of a surgical nature. The Equipment Pause assures proper function and availability of the microscope, endoscope, cameras and recorders, guidance systems, special instruments, ultrasonic microdoppler, microdebrider, drills, and other adjunctive supplies (e.g., Avitene, cotton balls, nasal packs, and so on). The Closure Pause is dedicated to issues of immediate postoperative patient disposition, orders, and management.

Conclusions Surgical complications are a considerable cause of death and disability worldwide. Checklists have been shown to be an effective tool for reducing preventable errors surrounding surgery and decreasing associated complications. Although general checklists are already in place in most institutions, a specific checklist for endonasal transsphenoidal anterior skull base surgery was developed to help safeguard patients, improve outcomes, and enhance teambuilding.

Comparative analysis of outcomes following craniotomy and expanded endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal resection of craniopharyngioma and related tumors

Endoscopic endonasal surgery for craniopharyngiomas

J Neurosurg 124:627–638, 2016

Craniopharyngiomas and similar midline suprasellar tumors have traditionally been resected via transcranial approaches. More recently, expanded endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal approaches have gained interest. Surgeons have advocated for both approaches, and at present there is no consensus whether one approach is superior to the other. The authors therefore compared surgical outcomes between craniotomy and endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery (EETS) for suprasellar tumors treated at their institution.

Methods: A retrospective review of patients undergoing resection of suprasellar lesions at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center between 2000 and 2013 was performed. Patients harboring suspected craniopharyngioma were selected for extensive review. Other pathologies or predominantly intrasellar masses were excluded. Cases were separated into 2 groups, based on the surgical approach taken. One group underwent EETS and the other cohort underwent craniotomy. Patient demographic data, presenting symptoms, and previous therapies were tabulated. Preoperative and postoperative tumor volume was calculated for each case based on MRI. Student t-test and the chi-square test were used to evaluate differences in patient demographics, tumor characteristics, and outcomes between the 2 cohorts. To assess for selection bias, 3 neurosurgeons who did not perform the surgeries reviewed the preoperative imaging studies and clinical data for each patient in blinded fashion and indicated his/her preferred approach. These data were subject to concordance analysis using Cohen’s kappa test to determine if factors other than surgeon preference influenced the choice of surgical approach.

Results: Complete data were available for 53 surgeries; 19 cases were treated via EETS, and 34 were treated via craniotomy. Patient demographic data, preoperative symptoms, and tumor characteristics were similar between the 2 cohorts, except that fewer operations for recurrent tumor were observed in the craniotomy cohort compared with EETS (17.6% vs 42.1%, p = 0.05). The extent of resection was similar between the 2 groups (85.6% EETS vs 90.7% craniotomy, p = 0.77). An increased rate of cranial nerve injury was noted in the craniotomy group (0% EETS vs 23.5% craniotomy, p = 0.04). Postoperative CSF leak rate was higher in the EETS group (26.3% EETS vs 0% craniotomy, p = 0.004). The progression-free survival curves (log-rank p = 0.99) and recurrence rates (21.1% EETS vs 23.5% craniotomy, p = 1.00) were similar between the 2 groups. Concordance analysis of cases reviewed by 3 neurosurgeons indicated that individual surgeon preference was the only factor that determined surgical approach (kappa coefficient -0.039, p = 0.762)

Conclusions: Surgical outcomes were similar for tumors resected via craniotomy or EETS, except that more CSF leaks occurred in the EETS cohort, whereas more neurological injuries occurred in the craniotomy cohort. Surgical approach appears to mostly reflect surgeon preference rather than specific tumor characteristics. These data support the view that EETS is a viable alternative to craniotomy, providing a similar extent of resection with less neurological injury.

Endoscopic endonasal clip ligation of cerebral aneurysms

Endoscopic endonasal clip ligation of cerebral aneurysms

J Neurosurg 124:463–468, 2016

The expansion of endovascular procedures for obliteration of cerebral aneurysms highlights one of the drawbacks of clip ligation through the transcranial route, namely brain retraction or brain transgression. Sporadic case reports have emerged over the past 10 years describing endonasal endoscopic clip ligation of cerebral aneurysms. The authors present a detailed anatomical study to evaluate the feasibility of an endoscopic endonasal approach for application of aneurysm clips.

Methods Nine human cadaveric head specimens were used to evaluate operative exposures for clip ligation of aneurysms in feasible anterior and posterior circulation locations. Measurements of trajectories were completed using a navigation system to calculate skull base craniectomy size, corridor space, and the surgeon’s ability to gain proximal and distal control of parent vessels.

Results In each of the 9 cadaveric heads, excellent exposure of the target vessels was achieved. The transplanum, transtuberculum, and transcavernous approaches were used to explore the feasibility of anterior circulation access. Application of aneurysm clips was readily possible to the ophthalmic artery, A1 and A2 segments of the anterior cerebral artery, anterior communicating artery complex, and the paraclinoid and paraclival internal carotid artery. The transclival approach was explored, and clips were successfully deployed along the proximal branches of the vertebrobasilar system and basilar trunk and bifurcation. The median sizes of skull base craniectomy necessary for exposure of the anterior communicating artery complex and basilar tip were 3.24 cm2 and 4.62 cm2, respectively. The mean angles of surgical corridors to the anterior communicating artery complex and basilar tip were 11.4° and 14°, respectively. Although clip placement was feasible on the basilar artery and its branches, the associated perforating arteries were difficult to visualize, posing unexpected difficulty for safe clip application, with the exception of ventrolateral-pointing aneurysms.

Conclusions The authors characterize the feasibility of endonasal endoscopic clip ligation of aneurysms involving the paraclinoid, anterior communicating, and basilar arteries and proximal control of the paraclival internal carotid artery. The endoscopic approach should be initially considered for nonruptured aneurysms involving the paraclinoid and anterior communicating arteries, as well as ventrolateral basilar trunk aneurysms. Clinical experience will be mandatory to determine the applicability of this approach in practice.

Extended endoscopic endonasal transclival clipping of posterior circulation aneurysms

Extended endoscopic endonasal transclival clipping of posterior circulation aneurysms

Acta Neurochir (2015) 157:2077–2085

Transcranial clipping of most posterior circulation aneurysms is one of the most difficult procedures, with high morbidity, and endovascular coiling is an alternative with less risk, but is not devoid of complications and not suitable for all aneurysms. Here we describe four cases of posterior circulation aneurysms clipped via the extended endoscopic endonasal transclival route. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of basilar top and posterior cerebral artery aneurysms being clipped endonasally.

Methods and results Four patients with posterior circulation aneurysms underwent extended endoscopic endonasal transclival clipping of the aneurysm. The age range was 35– 70 years. There were two males and two females. Three of the four patients presented after the rupture of aneurysms, and the other patient presented with sudden-onset left hemiparesis probably due to thromboembolism from a large unruptured left posterior cerebral artery (PCA) aneurysm. On evaluation with four-vessel digital subtraction angiography (DSA), two patients had a basilar apex aneurysm, one had a basilar trunk aneurysm, and the other had a PCA (P1) aneurysm. Postoperatively, two patients had good recovery. One patient with a PCA aneurysm and another with a basilar apex aneurysm had fresh postoperative deficits. One patient developed postoperative CSF rhinorrhea.

Conclusion Endoscopic extended transnasal surgery is an expanding field in neurosurgery with a steep learning curve. With improvement in techniques and instrumentation the use of this approach for clipping posterior circulation aneurysms can become an effective alternative in the treatment of aneurysms.

Endoscopic Removal of Third Ventricular Colloid Cyst: Experience of 90 Cases

Endoscopic Removal of Third Ventricular Colloid Cyst- Experience of 90 Cases-1

Neurosurg Q 2015;25:46–50

Third ventricular colloid cysts are benign lesions originating in the roof of the anterior third ventricle. They constitute around 1% of all intracranial tumors. The optimal surgical management of colloid cysts continues to be a matter of debate.

Objective: This study was perfomed to assess the efficacy and safety of the endoscopic technique in treatment of 90 patients with colloid cysts.

Methods: During the period from June 2001 to October 2011, 90 patients with third ventricular colloid cyst were operated by the endoscopic single burr hole approach. The age ranged between 16 and 67 years (mean 40.3 years). Fifty-eight were females. The cyst size ranged between 8 and 35 mm. In computed tomography (CT) scan, the cyst was hyperdense in 74 cases and isodense in 16 cases. The standard Kocher burr hole was used in 63 and a more both anterior and lateral burr hole was used in 27 cases. Total cyst removal was achieved in 79 patients. Cyst content evacuation and capsule coagulation was done in 10 cases; whereas partial cyst excision was made in 1 case. All patients were followed by a CT scan at 1 and 6 months time from the surgery and then at 2-year interval. The follow-up period ranged from 6 to 120 months with a mean of 62 months.

Results: The operative time ranged between 60 and 175 minutes with a mean of 84 minutes. Ventriculostomy tube and prophylactic antiepileptics were not used for any of the cases. One patient needed ventricular shunting 5 months after the procedure. There was no reported mortality related to the endoscopic colloid cyst removal. The reported morbidities were hemiparesis in 2 cases, transient memory deficit in 7 patients, superficial wound infection in 5 patients, and CSF leakage from the wound in 3 cases. No recurrence was found in our series.

Conclusions: Being a burr hole technique, endoscopy offers a real safe and effective minimally invasive tool for treating third ventricular colloids. It offers superior illumination, greater magnification, and enhanced visualizations of the ventricular anatomy. There is no doubt that the mortality, morbidity, and operative costs are less with endoscopy when compared with other combating therapeutic modalities. In our opinion, if the endless argument considering the point of tumor recurrence is brought apart, endoscopy should be the first-line treatment for third ventricular colloid cysts.

Key Words: colloid cyst, third ventricle, endoscopic, surgical removal.

Factors Predicting Recurrence After Resection of Clival Chordoma

Clivus chordomas

Neurosurgery 76:179–186, 2015

Clival chordomas frequently recur because of their location and invasiveness.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate clinical, operative, and anatomic factors associated with clival chordoma recurrence.

METHODS: Retrospective review of clival chordomas treated at our center from 1993 to 2013.

RESULTS: Fifty patients (56% male) with median age of 59 years (range, 8-76) were newly diagnosed with clival chordoma of mean diameter 3.3 cm (range, 1.5-6.7). Symptoms included headaches (38%), diplopia (36%), and dysphagia (14%). Procedures included transsphenoidal (n = 34), transoral (n = 4), craniotomy (n = 5), and staged approaches (n = 7). Gross total resection (GTR) rate was 52%, with 83%mean volumetric reduction, values that improved over time.While the lower third of the clivus was the least likely superoinferior zone to contain tumor (upper third = 72%/middle third = 82%/lower third = 42%), it most frequently contained residual tumor (upper third = 33%/middle third = 38%/lower third = 63%; P , .05). Symptom improvement rates were 61% (diplopia) and 53% (headache). Postoperative radiation included proton beam (n = 19), cyberknife (n = 7), intensity-modulated radiation therapy (n = 6), external beam (n = 10), and none (n = 4). At last follow-up of 47 patients, 23 (49%) remain disease-free or have stable residual tumor. Lower third of clivus progressed most after GTR (upper/mid/lower third = 32%/ 41%/75%). In a multivariate Cox proportional hazards model, male gender (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.2/P = .03), subtotal resection (HR = 5.0/P = .02), and the preoperative presence of tumor in the middle third (HR = 1.2/P = .02) and lower third (HR = 1.8/P = .02) of the clivus increased further growth or regrowth, while radiation modality did not.

CONCLUSION: Our findings underscore long-standing support for GTR as reducing chordoma recurrence. The lower third of the clivus frequently harbored residual or recurrent tumor, despite staged approaches providing mediolateral (transcranial 1 endonasal) or superoinferior (endonasal 1 transoral) breadth. There was no benefit of proton-based over photonbased radiation, contradicting conventional presumptions.

Long-term Results of Endonasal Endoscopic Transsphenoidal Resection of Nonfunctioning Pituitary Macroadenomas

Results non-functioning macroadenomas

Neurosurgery 76:42–53, 2015

Several studies report early results of endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery; however, none discuss long-term outcome measures such as tumor recurrence rates and the need for additional surgical procedures.

OBJECTIVE: To discuss the long-term outcomes after endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery for nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas.

METHODS: This is a retrospective study. Patients were included only if they had at least 5 years of clinical and imaging follow-up after surgery.

RESULTS: Eighty patients met the study criteria. Grossly complete resection was achieved in 71% of patients. Knosp grade 0 to 2 tumors and tumor with volumes ,10 cm3 were significantly more likely to have received a grossly complete resection. There were 7 recurrences (12%) in patients who had received grossly complete resections, with a mean time to recurrence of 53 months. Among the 23 patients who had subtotal resections, 11 (61%) progressed radiographically, and 3 (17%) had symptomatic progression. Knosp score, surgical and radiographic evidence of invasion, and preoperative visual deficits were predictive of recurrence in a univariate analysis, but Knosp grade was the only independent predictor in a multivariate analysis. Kaplan-Meier analysis projected a 10-year progression-free survival rate of 80% and 21% for patients with gross total resections and subtotal resections, respectively.

CONCLUSION: At the long-term follow-up, 12% of patients had recurrent tumors after grossly complete resection. Recurrent or residual tumors were treated with either repeat surgery or Gamma Knife radiosurgery. Rates of complete resection, postoperative surgical and endocrinological complications, and additional surgical procedures are similar to previously published reports after microscopic transsphenoidal surgery.

A Road Map to the Internal Carotid Artery in Expanded Endoscopic Endonasal Approaches to the Ventral Cranial Base

A Road Map to the Internal Carotid Artery in Expanded Endoscopic Endonasal Approaches to the Ventral Cranial Base

Operative Neurosurgery 10:448–471, 2014

Injuring the internal carotid artery (ICA) is a feared complication of endoscopic endonasal approaches.

OBJECTIVE: To introduce a comprehensive ICA classification scheme pertinent to safe endoscopic endonasal cranial base surgery.

METHODS: Anatomic dissections were performed in 33 cadaveric specimens (bilateral). Anatomic correlations were analyzed.

RESULTS: Based on anatomic correlations, the ICA may be described as 6 distinct segments: (1) parapharyngeal (common carotid bifurcation to ICA foramen); (2) petrous (carotid canal to posterolateral aspect of foramen lacerum); (3) paraclival (posterolateral foramen lacerum to the superomedial aspect of the petrous apex); (4) parasellar (superomedial petrous apex to the proximal dural ring); (5) paraclinoid (from the proximal to the distal dural rings); and (6) intradural (distal ring to ICA bifurcation). Corresponding surgical landmarks included the Eustachian tube, the fossa of Rosenmü ller, and levator veli palatini for the parapharyngeal segment; the vidian canal and V3 for the petrous segment; the fibrocartilage of foramen lacerum, foramen rotundum, maxillary strut, lingular process of the sphenoid bone, and paraclival protuberance for the paraclival segment; the sellar floor and petrous apex for the parasellar segment; and the medial and lateral opticocarotid and lateral tubercular recesses, as well as the distal osseous arch of the carotid sulcus for the paraclinoid segment.

CONCLUSION: The proposed endoscopic classification outlines key anatomic reference points independent of the vessel’s geometry or the sinonasal pneumatization, thus serving as (1) a practical guide to navigate the ventral cranial base while avoiding injury to the ICA and (2) further foundation for a modular access system.

Full endoscopic endonasal suprapetrous approach to Meckel’s cave

Full endoscopic endonasal suprapetrous approach to Meckel’s cave

Acta Neurochir (2014) 156:1623–1626

Meckel’s cave is an anatomically complex region that can be approached surgically via several routes, namely the posterolateral, lateral, anterolateral, and, due to recent advancements, anteromedial routes, with the latter being represented by the expanded endonasal approaches.

Method We describe in detail the surgical technique of the suprapetrous endonasal approach to Meckel’s cave and highlight the main anatomical key elements involved in this approach as well as the technical aspects for avoiding surgical complications.

Conclusion The suprapetrous endonasal approach to Meckel’s cave avoids the brain tissue retraction, and thereby prevents postoperative brain edema.

Endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal approach to large and giant pituitary adenomas

Endoscopic resection of giant pituitary adenomas

J Neurosurg 121:75–83, 2014

While the use of endoscopic approaches has become increasingly accepted in the resection of pituitary adenomas, limited evidence exists regarding the success of this technique for patients with large and giant pituitary adenomas. This study reviews the outcomes of a large cohort of patients with large and giant pituitary adenomas who underwent endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery at the authors’ institution and focuses on identifying factors that can predict extent of resection and hence aid in developing guidelines and indications for the use of endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery versus open craniotomy approaches to large and giant pituitary adenomas.

Methods. The authors reviewed 487 patients who underwent endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal resection of sellar masses. From this group, 73 consecutive patients with large and giant pituitary adenomas (defined as maximum diameter ≥ 3 cm and tumor volume ≥ 10 cm3) who underwent endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery between January 1, 2006, and June 6, 2012, were included in the study. Clinical presentation, radiological studies, laboratory investigations, tumor pathology data, clinical outcomes, extent of resection measured by volumetric analysis, and complications were analyzed.

Results. The mean preoperative tumor diameter in this series was 4.1 cm and the volume was 18 cm3. The average resection rate was 82.9%, corresponding with a mean residual volume of 3 cm3. Gross-total resection was achieved in 16 patients (24%), near-total in 11 (17%), subtotal in 24 (36%), and partial in 15 (23%). Seventy-three percent of patients experienced improvement in visual acuity, while 24% were unchanged. Visual fields were improved in 61.8% and unchanged in 5.5%. Overall, 27 patients (37%) experienced a total of 32 complications. The most common complications were sinusitis (14%) and CSF leak (10%). Six patients underwent subsequent radiation therapy because of aggressive tumor histopathology. No deaths occurred in this cohort of patients. Statistically significant predictors of extent of resection included highest Knosp grade (p = 0.001), preoperative tumor volume (p = 0.025), preoperative maximum tumor diameter (p = 0.002), hemorrhagic component (p = 0.027), posterior extension (p = 0.001), and sphenoid sinus invasion (p = 0.005).

Conclusions. Endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery is an effective treatment method for patients with large and giant pituitary adenomas, which results in high (> 80%) rates of resection and improvement in visual function. It is not associated with high rates of major complications and is safe when performed by experienced surgeons. The preoperative Knosp grade, tumor volume, tumor diameter, hemorrhagic components on MRI, posterior extension, and sphenoid sinus invasion may allow a prediction of extent of resection and in these patients a staged operation may be required to maximize extent of resection.

Suboccipital endoscopic management of the entrapped fourth ventricle

Suboccipital endoscopic management of the entrapped fourth ventricle- technical note

Acta Neurochir (2013) 155:1957–1963

Entrapped fourth ventricle is the result of both inlet aqueduct and outlet fourth ventricular midline and lateral foraminae obstruction. It occurs as a sequalae of intracranial hemorrhagic or inflammatory disease condition. Usually it presents after previous shunting for communicating hydrocephalus with a period of improvement, after which manifestations of posterior fossa expanding process appear. The diagnosis of this rare condition is easy considering the patient past history and the recent clinical state, together with the midline CSF density of the dilated fourth ventricle in either the CT or MR images. The treatment options for this condition include open and endoscopic approaches together with the traditional ventricular to extracranial CSF diversionary procedures.

Objective The aim of the study was to adopt a procedure for treatment of entrapped fourth ventricle that carries the advantage of the minimally invasive technique thus avoiding the complications of the traditional opened and shunt surgeries as well as decreasing multiple procedures due to aqueduct restenosis or stent fall.

Methods Thirteen patients with symptomatic entrapped fourth ventricle underwent suboccipital endoscopic trans–fourth ventricular aqueductoplasty from May 2007 till November 2011. The Gabb endoscopic system was used and aqueductoplasty was performed using 3F Fogarty balloon followed by stent placement. Nine patients were females. The mean age was 3.6 years and the mean follow up period was 23 months. All cases had a previous one or two supratentorial VP shunt placement.

Results Short stent was used in eight patients. During the follow up, stent migration occurred in five of them. Three of these five patients developed posterior fossa compression manifestations due to aqueduct restenosis. Long stent from the aqueduct till the bur hole site for these three patients and the following five patients was used. All cases showed both clinical and radiologic improvement. Apart from the stent migration, no procedure-related complications were encountered.

Conclusion Endoscopic suboccipital paramedian aqueductoplasty with the use of a stent is a safe and effective surgical option that—in our opinion—should stand as the first line treatment for the entrapped fourth ventricle. Long stent is better used after aqueductoplasty to avoid the restenosis if no stent is used or stent fall after short stents. However, good case selection, familiarity with this fairly common endoscopic approach and longer follow-up is needed for obtaining an optimal result.

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.

Endoscopic transnasal odontoidectomy to treat basilar invagination with congenital osseous malformations

Basilar invagination

Eur Spine J (2013) 22:1127–1136

Transoral resection of the odontoid has been accepted as a standard procedure to decompress the cervicomedullary junction during the past several decades. The endoscopic transnasal odontoidectomy is emerging as a feasible surgical alternative to conventional microscopic transoral approach. In this article, we describe several operative nuances and pearls from our experience about this approach, which provided successful decompression.

Methods From September 2009 to April 2010, three consecutive patients with basilar invagination, of which the etiology was congenital osseous malformations, underwent endoscopic transnasal odontoidectomy. All patients presented with myelopathy. The last two cases also received occipitocervical fixation and bone fusion during the same surgical episode to ensure stability.

Results All the patients were extubated after recovery from anesthesia and allowed oral food intake the next day. Cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea was found in the second case and cured by continuous lumber drainage of cerebrospinal fluid. No infection was noted. The average follow- up time was more than 24 months. Remarkable neurological recovery was observed postoperative in all patients.

Conclusion The endoscopic transnasal odontoidectomy is a feasible approach for anterior decompression of pathology at the cervicomedullary junction. The advantages over the standard transoral odontoidectomy include elimination of risk of tongue swelling and teeth damaging, improvement of visualization, alleviation of prolonged intubation, reduction of need for enteral tube feeding and less risk of affecting phonation. The minimally invasive access and faster recovery associated with this technique make it a valid alternative for decompression of the ventral side of the cervicomedullary junction

Endoscopic Transsphenoidal Surgery for Cushing Disease

Endoscopic for Cushing Disease

Neurosurgery 72:240–247, 2013

The efficacy of endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery (ETS) for Cushing disease has not been clearly established.

OBJECTIVE: To assess efficacy of a pure endoscopic approach for treatment of Cushing disease and determine predictors of remission.

METHODS: A prospectively acquired database of 61 patients undergoing ETS was reviewed. Remission was defined as postoperative morning serum cortisol of ,5 mg/dL or normal or decreased 24-hour urine-free cortisol level in follow-up.

RESULTS: Overall, hypercortisolemia resolved in 58 of 61 patients (95%) by discharge. Tumor size did not predict resolution of hypercortisolemia at discharge (microadenomas [97%], magnetic resonance imaging-negative Cushing [100%], macroadenomas [87%]). At 2- to 3-month evaluations, 45 of 49 patients (91.8%) were in remission. Fifty patients were followed for at least 12 months (mean, 28 months; range, 12-72). Forty-two (84%) achieved remission from a single ETS. In these patients, there was no significant difference in remission rates between microadenomas (93%), magnetic resonance imaging-negative (70%), and macroadenomas (77%). Patients with history of previous surgery (n = 14, 23%) were 9 times less likely to achieve follow-up remission (P = .021). In-house cortisol level of ,5.7 mg/dL provided the best prediction of follow-up remission (sensitivity 88.6%, specificity 83.3%). Postoperative diabetes insipidus occurred transiently in 7 patients (9%) and permanently in 3 (5%). One patient experienced postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leak that resolved with further surgery.

CONCLUSION: ETS for Cushing disease provides high rates of remission with low rates of complications regardless of size. Although patients with a history of previous surgery are less likely to achieve remission, the majority can still achieve remission following treatment.


Endoscopic Endonasal Transclival Approach to the Jugular Tubercle

Neurosurgery 71[ONS Suppl 1]:ons146–ons159, 2012

The jugular tubercle is a rounded bony prominence that arises from the inferolateral margin of the clivus. In a previous publication, we described the surgical anatomy of the expanded endonasal approach to the jugular tubercle.

OBJECTIVE: To illustrate the translation of laboratory work to the operating room describing the anatomic and technical nuances of the endonasal approach to the jugular tubercle.

METHODS: We review the relevant surgical anatomy needed to perform an endonasal approach to the jugular tubercle, and we select 4 different lesions to illustrate the application of our laboratory findings.

RESULTS: In the first case, exposure and partial drilling of the jugular tubercle was critical to gain an adequate corridor to the meningioma, particularly to its inferolateral margin. This allowed for early devascularization, safe extracapsular dissection, and preservation of surrounding neurovascular structures. In addition, the jugular tubercle was hyperostotic and its resection, along with generous dural removal, provided a grade I Simpson tumor resection. In the second (chondrosarcoma) and third (chordoma) cases, the jugular tubercle was infiltrated by tumor, and consequently its complete resection was essential to achieve total tumor removal. In the last case, an unusual adrenocorticotropic hormone-secreting adenoma recurrence at the jugular tubercle region, the technical modification of the transclival approach presented here was successfully applied to achieve complete resection and Cushing disease remission.

CONCLUSION: The transjugular tubercle variant of the expanded endonasal transclival approach allows for direct access to ventrolateral lesions in the inferior clival/petroclival region with no cerebral or cerebellar retraction, or cranial nerve manipulation during the approach.


Endoscopic, Endonasal Resection of Craniopharyngiomas: Analysis of Outcome Including Extent of Resection, Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak, Return to Preoperative Productivity, and Body Mass Index

Neurosurgery 70:110–124, 2012 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31822e8ffc

The endoscopic, endonasal, extended transsphenoidal approach is a minimal-access technique for managing craniopharyngiomas. Outcome measures such as return to employment and body mass index (BMI) have not been reported and are necessary for comparison with open transcranial approaches. Most prior reports of the endoscopic, endonasal approach have reported unacceptably high cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak rates.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the outcome of endoscopic, endonasal surgery in a consecutive series of craniopharyngiomas with special attention to extent of resection, CSF leak, return to employment, and BMI.

METHODS: Twenty-six surgeries were performed on 24 patients at Weill Cornell Medical College-New York Presbyterian Hospital. Five patients had recurrent lesions. Gross-total resection (GTR) was attempted in 21 surgeries. Indications for intended subtotal resection were advanced age, medical comorbidities, preservation of pituitary function, and hypothalamic invasion.

RESULTS: Mean tumor diameter was 2.9 cm. GTR (18 surgeries) or near-total (.95%) resection (2 surgeries) was achieved in 95% when GTR was the goal. Seven patients received postoperative radiation therapy. Mean follow-up was 35 months with no recurrences in GTR cases and stable disease in all patients at last follow-up. Vision improved in 77%. Diabetes insipidus and panhypopituitarism developed in 42% and 38%, respectively. A more than 9% increase in BMI occurred in 39%; 69% returned to their preoperative profession/schooling. The postoperative CSF leak rate was 3.8%.

CONCLUSION: Minimal-access, endoscopic, endonasal surgery for craniopharyngioma can achieve high rates of GTR with low rates of CSF leak. Return to employment and obesity rates are comparable to microscope-assisted transcranial and transsphenoidal reports.

Endoscopic Endonasal Approach for Nonvestibular Schwannomas

Neurosurgery 69:1046–1057, 2011 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e3182287bb9

Nonvestibular schwannomas of the skull base often represent a challenge owing to their anatomic location. With improved techniques in endoscopic endonasal skull base surgery, resection of various ventral skull base tumors, including schwannomas, has become possible.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the outcomes of using endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) for nonvestibular schwannomas of the skull base.

METHODS: Seventeen patients operated on for skull base schwannomas by EEA at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center from 2003 to 2009 were reviewed.

RESULTS: Three patients underwent combined approaches with retromastoid craniectomy (n = 2) and orbitopterional craniotomy (n = 1). Three patients underwent multistage EEA. The rest received a single EEA operation. Data on degree of resection were found for 15 patients. Gross total resection (n = 9) and near-total (.90%) resection (n = 3) were achieved in 12 patients (80%). There were no tumor recurrences or postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leaks. In 3 of 7 patients with preoperative sensory deficits of trigeminal nerve distribution, there were partial improvements. Patients with preoperative reduced vision (n = 1) and cranial nerve VI or III palsies (n = 3) also showed improvement. Five patients had new postoperative trigeminal nerve deficits: 2 had sensory deficits only, 1 had motor deficit only, and 2 had both motor and sensory deficits. Three of these patients had partial improvement, but 3 developed corneal neurotrophic keratopathy.

CONCLUSION: An EEA provides adequate access for nonvestibular schwannomas invading the skull base, allowing a high degree of resection with a low rate of complications.

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


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