Neurosurgery Blog


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

Which Cerebral Cavernous Malformations are Most Difficult to Dissect From Surrounding Eloquent Brain Tissue?

Neurosurgery 81:498–503, 2017

Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM) may lead to repetitive intracerebral hemorrhage. In selected cases, a surgical resection is indicated.

OBJECTIVE: To identify magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features of CCM that correlate with the difficulty of dissection and postoperative outcome.

METHODS: This study prospectively analyzed pre- and postoperative MRI features, intraoperative findings (surgical questionnaire), and postoperative outcome of 41 patients with eloquent CCM. Based on the results of the surgeon’s questionnaire and postoperative MRI findings, all surgical procedureswere dichotomized in a “difficult”(groupA) or “not difficult” (group B) lesion dissection. Based on the correlation of preoperative MRI features with groups A and B, a 3-tiered classification was established and tested for sensitivity and specificity.

RESULTS: In 22 patients, dissection of the lesion was rated difficult. This was significantly correlated with amount of postoperative diffusion restriction on MRI (P=.001) and postoperative outcome(P=.05). Various preoperative MRI featureswere tested for correlation and combined in a 3-tiered classification. Receiver operating characteristics revealed excellent and good results for predicting difficulty of dissection for the different classification types.

CONCLUSION: We provide a meticulous analysis and new classification of preoperative MRI features that seem to be involved in the microsurgical resection of CCM.

Spinal epidural hematomas: personal experience and literature review of more than 1000 cases

J Neurosurg Spine 27:198–208, 2017

The goal of this study was to identify factors that contribute to the formation of acute spinal epidural hematoma (SEH) by correlating etiology, age, site, clinical status, and treatment with immediate results and long-term outcomes.

METHODS The authors reviewed their series of 15 patients who had been treated for SEH between 1996 and 2012. In addition, the authors reviewed the relevant international literature from 1869 (when SEH was first described) to 2012, collecting a total of 1010 cases. Statistical analysis was performed in 959 (95%) cases that were considered valid for assessing the incidence of age, sex, site, and clinical status at admission, correlating each of these parameters with the treatment results. Statistical analysis was also performed in 720 (71.3%) cases to study the incidence of etiological factors that favor SEH formation: coagulopathy, trauma, spinal puncture, pregnancy, and multifactorial disorders. The clinical status at admission and long-term outcome were studied for each group. Clinical status was assessed using the Neuro-Grade (NG) scale.

RESULTS The mean patient age was 47.97 years (range 0–91 years), and a significant proportion of patients were male (60%, p < 0.001). A bimodal distribution has been reported for age at onset with peaks in the 2nd and 6th decades of life. The cause of the SEH was not reported in 42% of cases. The etiology concerned mainly iatrogenic factors (18%), such as coagulopathy or spinal puncture, rather than noniatrogenic factors (29%), such as genetic or metabolic coagulopathy, trauma, and pregnancy. The etiology was multifactorial in 11.1% of cases. The most common sites for SEH were C-6 (n = 293, 31%) and T-12 (n = 208, 22%), with maximum extension of 6 vertebral bodies in 720 cases (75%). At admission, 806 (84%) cases had moderate neurological impairment (NG 2 or 3), and only lumbar hematoma was associated with a good initial clinical neurological status (NG 0 or 1). Surgery was performed in 767 (80%) cases. Mortality was greater in patients older than 40 years of age (9%; p < 0.01). Sex did not influence any of these data (p > 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS Factors that contribute to the formation of acute SEH are iatrogenic, not iatrogenic, or multifactorial. The treatment of choice is surgery, and the results of treatment are influenced by the patient’s clinical and neurological status at admission, age, and the craniocaudal site.

Causes of poor outcome in patients admitted with good-grade subarachnoid haemorrhage

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:559–565

Surgical risk in patients with unruptured aneurysms is well known. The relative impact of surgery and natural history of subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) on patients in good clinical condition (World Federation of Neurological Surgeons [WFNS] grades 1 and 2) is less well quantified. The aim of this study was to determine causes of poor outcome in patients admitted in good grade SAH.

Methods A retrospective study of prospectively collected data among WFNS-1 and -2 patients: demographics, SAH and aneurysm-related data, surgical complications and outcome as assesed by the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS). Causes of poor outcome (GOS 1–3) were determined.

Results During a 7-year period (2009–15), 56 patients with SAH WFNS-1 (39 patients) or WFNS-2 (17 patients) were treated surgically (21 men, 35 women; mean age, 52.4 years). According to the Fisher scale, 19 patients were grade 1 or 2; 37 patients were grade 3 or 4. Most aneurysms were located at anterior communicating (26) or middle cerebral (15) artery.

Altogether, 11 patients (19.6%) achieved GOS 1–3. This was attributed to SAH-related complications in six patients (rebleeding, vasospasm), surgery in four patients (postopera-tive ischaemia in two, haematoma and ventriculitis in one patient each), grand-mal seizure with aspiration in one patient. Age over 60 years (p = 0.017) and presence of hydrocephalus (p < 0.001) were statistically significant predictors of poor GOS; other variables (e.g. sex, Fisher grade, aneurysm size or location, use of temporary clips, intraoperative rupture, vasospasm) were not significant.

Conclusions Patients admitted in good-grade SAH achieve favourable outcome following surgical aneurysm repair in the majority of cases. Negative factors include age over 60 years and presence of hydrocephalus. Aneurysm surgery following good-grade SAH still carries a small but significant risk similar to that shown in large multi-institutional trials.

Outcome and prognostic factors after delayed second subarachnoid haemorrhage

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:307–315

Data of patients suffering from delayed second subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) after aneurysm treatment are still missing. Patients become clearly older than before. Thus, the risk suffering from a second delayed SAH rises. The aim of this study was to analyse clinical outcome and prognostic factors in patients after delayed second SAH.

Method From 1999 to 2013, 18 of 1,493 patients (1.2%) suffered from a second SAH. Clinical and radiological character- istics were entered into a prospective conducted database. Outcome was assessed according to modified Rankin Scale 6 months after second SAH. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results Eighteen patients were admitted to our department with a second SAH. The second SAH occurred at a mean interval of 144 months after surgical treatment and 78 months after endovascular treatment (P < 0.05), with an overall mean interval of 125 months. The earliest event of second SAH was after 35 months. In 11 (61%) patients, a de novo aneurysm was detected; in one patient (6%), no cause of second SAH was detected. In six (33%) cases, re-rupture of the formerly secured aneurysm was found. Half of the rebleedings occurred from a basilar aneurysm, 33% from an aneurysm of anterior communicating artery and in one patient from a median cere- bral artery aneurysm. At second SAH, 8 of 18 patients pre- sented WFNS grade I-III at time of admission (44%). Overall, favourable outcome was achieved in seven patients (39%). Four patients died (22%), one of them before treatment. Favourable outcome seems to be associated with younger age. In our patients, 39% achieved a favourable outcome after second SAH.

Conclusions A delayed second SAH is a rare entity. After delayed second SAH, age seems to be a prognostic factor for patients’ outcome and patients seem to have a worse prognosis. Nonetheless, up to 40% of patients can achieve a favourable outcome.

Trigeminal neuralgia due to venous neurovascular conflicts

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159: 237

Implication of veins as neurovascular conflict (NVC) in the genesis of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) remains a matter of debate. Few reports dealing with venous NVC have been published. The objective of this study is to describe the outcome in a historical cohort of consecutive patients with classical TN due to venous compression.

Methods: All patients with TN treated by microvascular decompression (MVD) from 2005 to 2013 were included if a marked venous compression was found at the surgery either alone or accompanied by an artery. Patients were evaluated for clinical presentation, operative findings and the long-term outcome. Outcome was considered favourable if patients were classed as BNI I or II (i.e. not requiring any medication). Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to determine probability of a favourable outcome at 10 years of follow-up.

Results:  Out of the overall series of 313 patients having been treated by MVD and considered for the study, in 55 (17.5 %) a vein was the main compressive vessel; in 26 (8.3 %) it was the only compressive vessel. Probability of relief with no need for medication at 10 years was 70.6 %. The patients with focal arachnoiditis had a poor long-term outcome, i.e. BNI III-V, in 85.7 % compared with 20.8 % without arachnoiditis (p = 0.0037 Fisher’s exact test). No differences in outcome were found between patients presenting with purely venous compression and patients with mixed compression. Outcome was similarly good for patients with atypical neuralgia when compared to patients with typical clinical presentation.

Conclusions: Venous NVC as a cause of TN is far from rare. MVD with complete liberation of the entire root in cases with clear-cut venous compression on imaging studies gives a good probability of long-term pain relief, thus encouraging to propose surgery for such patients.

A 5- to 8-year randomized study on the treatment of cervical radiculopathy: anterior cervical decompression and fusion plus physiotherapy versus physiotherapy alone

Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine 26(1):19-27

The aim of this study was to evaluate the 5- to 8-year outcome of anterior cervical decompression and fusion (ACDF) combined with a structured physiotherapy program as compared with that following the same physiotherapy program alone in patients with cervical radiculopathy. No previous prospective randomized studies with a follow-up of more than 2 years have compared outcomes of surgical versus nonsurgical intervention for cervical radiculopathy.

METHODS: Fifty-nine patients were randomized to ACDF surgery with postoperative physiotherapy (30 patients) or to structured physiotherapy alone (29 patients). The physiotherapy program included general and specific exercises as well as pain coping strategies. Outcome measures included neck disability (Neck Disability Index [NDI]), neck and arm pain intensity (visual analog scale [VAS]), health state (EQ-5D questionnaire), and a patient global assessment. Patients were followed up for 5–8 years.

RESULTS: After 5–8 years, the NDI was reduced by a mean score% of 21 (95% CI 14–28) in the surgical group and 11% (95% CI 4%–18%) in the nonsurgical group (p = 0.03). Neck pain was reduced by a mean score of 39 mm (95% CI 26–53 mm) compared with 19 mm (95% CI 7–30 mm; p = 0.01), and arm pain was reduced by a mean score of 33 mm (95% CI 18–49 mm) compared with 19 mm (95% CI 7–32 mm; p = 0.1), respectively. The EQ-5D had a mean respective increase of 0.29 (95% CI 0.13–0.45) compared with 0.14 (95% CI 0.01–0.27; p = 0.12). Ninety-three percent of patients in the surgical group rated their symptoms as “better” or “much better” compared with 62% in the nonsurgical group (p = 0.005). Both treatment groups experienced significant improvement over baseline for all outcome measures.

CONCLUSIONS: In this prospective randomized study of 5- to 8-year outcomes of surgical versus nonsurgical treatment in patients with cervical radiculopathy, ACDF combined with physiotherapy reduced neck disability and neck pain more effectively than physiotherapy alone. Self-rating by patients as regards treatment outcome was also superior in the surgery group. No significant differences were seen between the 2 patient groups as regards arm pain and health outcome.


Diffusion Tensor Imaging: A Possible Biomarker in Severe Traumatic Brain Injury and Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage?


Neurosurgery 79:786–793, 2016

A great need exists in traumatic brain injury (TBI) and aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) for objective biomarkers to better characterize the disease process and to serve as early endpoints in clinical studies. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has shown promise in TBI, but much less is known about aSAH.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the use of whole-brain DTI tractography in TBI and aSAH as a biomarker and early endpoint.

METHODS: Of a cohort of 43 patients with severe TBI (n = 20) or aSAH (n = 23) enrolled in a prospective, observational, multimodality monitoring study, DTI data were acquired at approximately day 12 (median, 12 days; interquartile range, 12-14 days) after injury in 22 patients (TBI, n = 12; aSAH, n = 10). Whole-brain DTI tractography was performed, and the following parameters quantified: average fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity, tract length, and the total number of reconstructed fiber tracts. These were compared between TBI and aSAH patients and correlated with mortality and functional outcome assessed at 6 months by the Glasgow Outcome Scale Extended.

RESULTS: Significant differences were found for fractional anisotropy values (P = .01), total number of tracts (P = .03), and average tract length (P = .002) between survivors and nonsurvivors. A sensitivity analysis showed consistency of results between the TBI and aSAH patients for the various DTI measures.

CONCLUSION: DTI parameters, assessed at approximately day 12 after injury, correlated with mortality at 6 months in patients with severe TBI or aSAH. Similar patterns were found for both TBI and aSAH patients. This supports a potential role of DTI as early endpoint for clinical studies and a predictor of late mortality.

Predictive outcome factors in the young patient treated with lumbar disc herniation surgery

Surgical technique and effectiveness of microendoscopic discectomy for large uncontained lumbar disc herniations

J Neurosurg Spine 25:448–455, 2016

The aim of this study was to evaluate predictive factors for outcome after lumbar disc herniation surgery in young patients.

Methods In the national Swedish spine register, the authors identified 180 patients age 20 years or younger, in whom preoperative and 1-year postoperative data were available. The cohort was treated with primary open surgery due to lumbar disc herniation between 2000 and 2010. Before and 1 year after surgery, the patients graded their back and leg pain on a visual analog scale, quality of life by the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey and EuroQol–5 Dimensions, and disability by the Oswestry Disability Index. Subjective satisfaction rate was registered on a Likert scale (satisfied, undecided, or dissatisfied). The authors evaluated if age, sex, preoperative level of leg and back pain, duration of leg pain, pain distribution, quality of life, mental status, and/or disability were associated with the outcome. The primary end point variable was the grade of patient satisfaction.

Results Lumbar disc herniation surgery in young patients normalizes quality of life according to the 36-Item Short- Form Health Survey, and only 4.5% of the patients were unsatisfied with the surgical outcome. Predictive factors for inferior postoperative patient-reported outcome measures (PROM) scores were severe preoperative leg or back pain, low preoperative mental health, and pronounced preoperative disability, but only low preoperative mental health was associated with inferiority in the subjective grade of satisfaction. No associations were found between preoperative duration of leg pain, distribution of pain, or health-related quality of life and the postoperative PROM scores or the subjective grade of satisfaction.

Conclusions Lumbar disc herniation surgery in young patients generally yields a satisfactory outcome. Severe preoperative pain, low mental health, and severe disability increase the risk of reaching low postoperative PROM scores, but are only of relevance clinically (low subjective satisfaction) for patients with low preoperative mental health.

Occipitocervical Fixation: A Single Surgeon’s Experience With 120 Patients


Neurosurgery 79:549–560, 2016

Occipitocervical junction instability can lead to serious neurological injury or death. Open surgical fixation is often necessary to provide definitive stabilization. However, long-term results are limited to small case series.

OBJECTIVE: To review the causes of occipitocervical instability, discuss the indications for surgical intervention, and evaluate long-term surgical outcomes after occipitocervical fixation.

METHODS: The charts of all patients undergoing posterior surgical fixation of the occipitocervical junction by the senior author were retrospectively reviewed. A total of 120 consecutive patients were identified for analysis. Patient demographic characteristics, occipitocervical junction pathology, surgical indications, and clinical and radiographic outcomes are reported.

RESULTS: The study population consisted of 64 male and 56 female patients with a mean age of 39.9 years (range, 7 months to 88 years). Trauma was the most common cause of instability, occurring in 56 patients (47%). Ninety patients (75%) were treated with screw/rod constructs; wiring was used in 30 patients (25%). The median number of fixated segments was 5 (O-C4). Structural bone grafts were implanted in all patients (100%). Preoperative neurological deficits were present in 83 patients (69%); 91% of those patients improved with surgery. Mean follow-up was 35.1 6 27.4 months (range, 0-123 months). Two patients died, and 10 were lost to follow-up before the end of the 6-month follow-up period. Fusion was confirmed in 107 patients (89.1%). The overall complication rate was 10%, including 3 patients with vertebral artery injuries and 2 patients who required revision surgery.

CONCLUSION: Occipitocervical fixation is a durable treatment option with acceptable morbidity for patients with occipitocervical instability.

Rates and Predictors of Seizure Freedom With Vagus Nerve Stimulation for Intractable Epilepsy


Neurosurgery 79:345–353, 2016

Neuromodulation-based treatments have become increasingly important in epilepsy treatment. Most patients with epilepsy treated with neuromodulation do not achieve complete seizure freedom, and, therefore, previous studies of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) therapy have focused instead on reduction of seizure frequency as a measure of treatment response.

OBJECTIVE: To elucidate rates and predictors of seizure freedom with VNS.

METHODS: We examined 5554 patients from the VNS therapy Patient Outcome Registry, and also performed a systematic review of the literature including 2869 patients across 78 studies.

RESULTS: Registry data revealed a progressive increase over time in seizure freedom after VNS therapy. Overall, 49% of patients responded to VNS therapy 0 to 4 months after implantation ($50% reduction seizure frequency), with 5.1% of patients becoming seizure-free, while 63% of patients were responders at 24 to 48 months, with 8.2% achieving seizure freedom. On multivariate analysis, seizure freedom was predicted by age of epilepsy onset .12 years (odds ratio [OR], 1.89; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.38- 2.58), and predominantly generalized seizure type (OR, 1.36; 95% CI, 1.01-1.82), while overall response to VNS was predicted by nonlesional epilepsy (OR, 1.38; 95% CI, 1.06- 1.81). Systematic literature review results were consistent with the registry analysis: At 0 to 4 months, 40.0% of patients had responded to VNS, with 2.6% becoming seizurefree, while at last follow-up, 60.1% of individuals were responders, with 8.0% achieving seizure freedom.

CONCLUSION: Response and seizure freedom rates increase over time with VNS therapy, although complete seizure freedom is achieved in a small percentage of patients.

Optic nerve mobilization to enhance the exposure of the pituitary stalk during craniopharyngioma resection


J Neurosurg 125:683–688, 2016

Preservation of the pituitary stalk and its vasculature is a key step in good postoperative endocrinological outcome in patients with craniopharyngiomas. In this article, the authors describe the surgical technique of medial optic nerve mobilization for better inspection and preservation of the pituitary stalk.

Methods This operative technique has been applied in 3 patients. Following tumor exposure via a frontolateral approach, the pituitary stalk could be seen partially hidden under the optic nerve and the optic chiasm. The subchiasmatic and opticocarotid spaces were narrow, and tumor dissection from the pituitary stalk under direct vision was not possible. The optic canal was therefore unroofed, the falciform ligament was incised, and the lateral part of the tuberculum sellae was drilled medial to the optic nerve. The optic nerve could be mobilized medially to widen the opticocarotid triangle, which enhanced visualization of and access to the pituitary stalk.

Results By using the optic nerve mobilization technique, the tumor could be removed completely, and the pituitary stalk and its vasculature were preserved in all patients. In 2 patients, vision improved after surgery, while in 1 patient it remained normal, as it was before surgery. The hormonal status remained normal after surgery in 2 patients. In the patient with preoperative hormonal deficiencies, improvement occurred early after surgery and hormonal levels were normal after 3 months. No approach-related complications occurred.

Conclusions This early experience shows that this technique is safe and could be used as a complementary step during microsurgery of craniopharyngiomas. It allows for tumor dissection from the pituitary stalk under direct vision. The pituitary stalk can thus be preserved without jeopardizing the optic nerve.

Origin of craniopharyngiomas: implications for growth pattern, clinical characteristics, and outcomes of tumor recurrence

Origin of craniopharyngiomas

J Neurosurg 125:24–32, 2016

Craniopharyngiomas are associated with a high rate of recurrence. The surgical management of recurrent lesions has been among the most challenging neurosurgical procedures because of the craniopharyngioma’s complex topographical relationship with surrounding structures. The aim of this study was to define the determinative role of the site of origin on the growth pattern and clinical features of recurrent craniopharyngiomas.

Methods The authors performed a retrospective analysis of 52 patients who had undergone uniform treatment by a single surgeon. For each patient, data concerning symptoms and signs, imaging features, hypothalamic-pituitary function, and recurrence-free survival rate were collected.

Results For children, delayed puberty was more frequent in the group with Type I (infradiaphragmatic) craniopharyngioma than in the group with Type TS (tuberoinfundibular and suprasellar extraventricular) lesions (p < 0.05). For adults, blindness was more frequent in the Type I group than in the Type TS group (p < 0.05). Nausea or vomiting, delayed puberty, and growth retardation were more frequent in children than in adults (p < 0.05). Overall clinical outcome was good in 48.07% of the patients and poor in 51.92%. Patients with Type TS recurrent tumors had significantly worse functional outcomes and hypothalamic function than patients with the Type I recurrent tumors but better pituitary function especially in children.

Conclusions The origin of recurrent craniopharyngiomas significantly affected the symptoms, signs, functional outcomes, and hypothalamic-pituitary functions of patients undergoing repeated surgery. Differences in tumor growth patterns and site of origin should be considered when one is comparing outcomes and survival across treatment paradigms in patients with recurrent craniopharyngiomas.

Low-grade Glioma Surgery in Intraoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Hypnosis for Awake Surgery of Low-grade Gliomas

Neurosurgery 78:775–786, 2016

The ideal treatment strategy for low-grade gliomas (LGGs) is a controversial topic. Additionally, only smaller single-center series dealing with the concept of intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (iMRI) have been published.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate determinants for patient outcome and progression-freesurvival (PFS) after iMRI-guided surgery for LGGs in a multicenter retrospective study initiated by the German Study Group for Intraoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

METHODS: A retrospective consecutive assessment of patients treated for LGGs (World Health Organization grade II) with iMRI-guided resection at 6 neurosurgical centers was performed. Eloquent location, extent of resection, first-line adjuvant treatment, neurophysiological monitoring, awake brain surgery, intraoperative ultrasound, and fieldstrength of iMRI were analyzed, as well as progression-free survival (PFS), new permanent neurological deficits, and complications. Multivariate binary logistic and Cox regression models were calculated to evaluate determinants of PFS, gross total resection (GTR), and adjuvant treatment.

RESULTS: A total of 288 patients met the inclusion criteria. On multivariate analysis, GTR significantly increased PFS (hazard ratio, 0.44; P < .01), whereas “failed” GTR did not differ significantly from intended subtotal-resection. Combined radiochemotherapy as adjuvant therapy was a negative prognostic factor (hazard ratio: 2.84, P < .01). Field strength of iMRI was not associated with PFS. In the binary logistic regression model, use of high-field iMRI (odds ratio: 0.51, P < .01) was positively and eloquent location (odds ratio: 1.99, P < .01) was negatively associated with GTR. GTR was not associated with increased rates of new permanent neurological deficits.

CONCLUSION: GTR was an independent positive prognostic factor for PFS in LGG surgery. Patients with accidentally left tumor remnants showed a similar prognosis compared with patients harboring only partially resectable tumors. Use of high-field iMRI was significantly associated with GTR. However, the field strength of iMRI did not affect PFS.

Outcome of conservative and surgical treatment of pyogenic spondylodiscitis

pyogenic spondylodiscitis

Eur Spine J (2016) 25:983–999

Spondylodiscitis is a spinal infection affecting primarily the intervertebral disk and the adjacent vertebral bodies. Currently many aspects of the treatment of pyogenic spondylodiscitis are still a matter of debate.

Purpose The aim of this study was to review the currently available literature systematically to determine the outcome of patients with pyogenic spondylodiscitis for conservative and surgical treatment strategies.

Methods A systematic electronic search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Collaboration, and Web of Science regarding the treatment of pyogenic spondylodiscitis was performed. Included articles were assessed on risk of bias according the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions, and the quality of evidence and strength of recommendation was evaluated according the GRADE approach.

Results: 25 studies were included. Five studies had a high or moderate quality of evidence. One RCT suggest that 6 weeks of antibiotic treatment of pyogenic spondylodiscitis results in a similar outcome when compared to longer treatment duration. However, microorganism-specific studies suggest that at least 8 weeks of treatment is required for S. aureus and 8 weeks of Daptomycin for MRSA. The articles that described the outcome of surgical treatment strategies show that a large variety of surgical techniques can successfully treat spondylodiscitis. No additional long-term beneficial effect of surgical treatment could be shown in the studies comparing surgical versus antibiotic only treatment.

Conclusion There is a strong level of recommendation for 6 weeks of antibiotic treatment in pyogenic spondylodiscitis although this has only been shown by one recent RCT. If surgical treatment is indicated, it has been suggested by two prospective studies with strong level of recommendation that an isolated anterior approach could result in a better clinical outcome.

Is Intracranial Pressure Monitoring of Patients With Diffuse Traumatic Brain Injury Valuable?


Neurosurgery 78:361–369, 2016

Although intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring of patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is recommended by the Brain Trauma Foundation, any benefits remain controversial.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effects of ICP monitoring on the mortality of and functional outcomes in patients with severe diffuse TBI.

METHODS: Data were collected on patients with severe diffuse TBI (Glasgow Coma Scale [GCS] score on admission ,9 and Marshall Class II-IV) treated from January 2012 to December 2013 in 24 hospitals (17 level I trauma centers and 7 level II trauma centers) in 9 Chinese provinces. We evaluated the impact of ICP monitoring on 6-month mortality and favorable outcome using propensity score–matched analysis after controlling for independent predictors of these outcomes.

RESULTS: ICP monitors were inserted into 287 patients (59.5%). After propensity score matching, ICP monitoring significantly decreased 6-month mortality. ICP monitoring also had a greater impact on the most severely injured patients on the basis of head computed tomography data (Marshall computed tomography classification IV) and on patients with the lowest level of consciousness (GCS scores 3-5). After propensity score matching, monitoring remained nonassociated with a 6-month favorable outcome for the overall sample. However, monitoring had a significant impact on the 6-month favorable outcomes of patients with the lowest level of consciousness (GCS scores 3-5).

CONCLUSION: ICP monitor placement was associated with a significant decrease in 6-month mortality after adjustment for the baseline risk profile and the monitoring propensity of patients with diffuse severe TBI, especially those with GCS scores of 3 to 5 or of Marshall computed tomography classification IV.

Surgical Clipping of Very Small Unruptured Intracranial Aneurysms

very small aneurysms

Neurosurgery 78:47–52, 2016

Treatment of very small unruptured intracranial aneurysms (VSUIAs, defined as ≤3 mm) can be indicated in selected circumstances. The feasibility and outcomes of endovascular therapy for VSUIAs have been recently published; however, the efficacy and complication rate of surgical clipping has not been reported in any large series to date.

OBJECTIVE: We conducted a multicenter study to examine surgical outcomes for VSUIAs.

METHODS: All consecutive patients undergoing surgery for a VSUIA in 4 neurosurgical centers between October 2001 and December 2012 were retrospectively analyzed.

RESULTS: In the study, 183 patients (128 women, mean age 51.3 years) were treated with 190 procedures for a total of 228 aneurysms. Most were anterior circulation aneurysms (n = 215). The majority were directly clipped (n = 222, 97.4%), with coagulation or wrapping in the remainder. After 1 reoperation for incomplete clipping, postoperative imaging of 225 aneurysms confirmed complete occlusion in 221 (98.2%), 1 neck remnant (0.44%), and 3 partial occlusions (1.3%). Mortality was 0%. Early postoperative neurological deficit developed in 12 patients (6.6%); posterior circulation location was a significant risk factor for early neurological deficit (P < .001). Middle cerebral artery aneurysms had the lowest rate of postoperative deficits at 1.5% (P = .023). After the initial 30-day perioperative period, all deficits related to treatment of posterior circulation aneurysms recovered; overall neurological morbidity decreased to 2.7% with no mortality.

CONCLUSION: VSUIA clipping is highly effective and is associated with a low morbidity rate. For VSUIAs selected for treatment, our data support surgical clipping as the modality of choice.


Prognostic Value of the Amount of Bleeding After Aneurysmal Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: A Quantitative Volumetric Study


Neurosurgery 77:898–907, 2015

Quantitative estimation of the hemorrhage volume associated with aneurysm rupture is a new tool of assessing prognosis.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the prognostic value of the quantitative estimation of the amount of bleeding after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, as well the relative importance of this factor related to other prognostic indicators, and to establish a possible cut-off value of volume of bleeding related to poor outcome.

METHODS: A prospective cohort of 206 patients consecutively admitted with the diagnosis of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage to Hospital 12 de Octubre were included in the study. Subarachnoid, intraventricular, intracerebral, and total bleeding volumes were calculated using analytic software. For assessing factors related to prognosis, univariate and multivariate analysis (logistic regression) were performed. The relative importance of factors in determining prognosis was established by calculating their proportion of explained variation. Maximum Youden index was calculated to determine the optimal cut point for subarachnoid and total bleeding volume.

RESULTS: Variables independently related to prognosis were clinical grade at admission, age, and the different bleeding volumes. The proportion of variance explained is higher for subarachnoid bleeding. The optimal cut point related to poor prognosis is a volume of 20 mL both for subarachnoid and total bleeding.

CONCLUSION: Volumetric measurement of subarachnoid or total bleeding volume are both independent prognostic factors in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. A volume of more than 20 mL of blood in the initial noncontrast computed tomography is related to a clear increase in poor outcome risk.

Intracranial meningioma surgery in the elderly (over 65 years): prognostic factors and outcome

Tuberculum Sellae Meningiomas

Acta Neurochir 157 (9): 1549-1557

Meningiomas are more prevalent in elderly individuals; however, the surgical outcome and prognostic factors in this age group are unclear. This retrospective study aimed to identify the prognostic factors of elderly patients with intracranial meningiomas who underwent surgical resection.


Eighty-six patients (aged ≥65) diagnosed with an intracranial meningioma were surgically treated at our department. The clinical, radiological, and follow-up data were retrospectively reviewed. Univariate and multivariate logistic analyses were performed to identify relationships between factors [age, sex, neurological condition, concomitant disease, American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA) classification, preoperative Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score, tumor location and size, peritumoral edema, and Simpson resection grade] and outcome.


One patient (1.2 %) died within 30 days of surgery. The morbidity rate was 37.2 %. Postoperative morbidities occurred more frequently in the patients with preoperative neurological deficits than in those without (p = 0.049). Univariate analysis identified significant relationships between a low KPS score (≤70) at discharge and preoperative neurological deficits, low preoperative KPS score (≤70), and critical tumor location (p < 0.001, p < 0.001, and p = 0.04, respectively). In the multivariate logistic analysis, only the preoperative KPS score remained significant for the KPS score at discharge (p = 0.005); there was no significant association with the most recent KPS score.


The outcome of intracranial meningioma resection in elderly individuals is favorable if the preoperative KPS score is >70 and no neurological deficits are present. Treatment decisions should be patient-specific, and additional factors should be considered when operations are performed in patients with a low preoperative KPS score or neurological deficits.

Contralateral Approach to Internal Carotid Artery Ophthalmic Segment Aneurysms: Angiographic Analysis and Surgical Results for 30 Patients

oftalmic ICA an

Neurosurgery. 77(1):104-112, July 2015

Contralateral aneurysm clipping can be applied to bilateral intracranial aneurysms of the anterior circulation and to selected aneurysms on the medial wall of the internal carotid artery (ICA).

OBJECTIVE: To identify anatomic and radiological parameters that would favor a contralateral microsurgical approach to ICA–ophthalmic segment (ICA-opht) aneurysms.

METHODS: For the period January 1957 to December 2012, we retrospectively analyzed 268 patients with ICA-opht aneurysms treated in our institution. Of these patients, 30 underwent a contralateral approach; 15 patients (50%) had multiple intracranial aneurysms, and 15 patients had a single aneurysm on the contralateral side of the craniotomy.

RESULTS: Thirty saccular aneurysms located on the contralateral ICA were treated. Six aneurysms (20%) were present in patients with a subarachnoid hemorrhage due to associated aneurysms, whereas 24 aneurysms (80%) had no history of bleeding. Contralateral aneurysms were smaller than 14 mm and showed no wall irregularities, calcifications, or secondary pouches. Projections of the aneurysms were superomedial (n = 23, 77%), medial (n = 4, 13%), and superior (n = 3, 10%). The median prechiasmatic distance was 5.7 mm (range, 3.4-8.7 mm), the median interoptic distance was 10.5 mm (range, 7.6-15.9 mm), and the median distance between both ICAs was 14.7 mm (range, 10.4-21.4 mm).

CONCLUSION: The contralateral approach for ICA-opht aneurysms remains a treatment option for intracranial aneurysms. Its feasibility depends on specific anatomic parameters related to the aneurysm itself and to the prechiasmatic distance, interoptic distance, and relationship of the ICA with the anterior clinoid process.

Survival in patients treated for anaplastic meningioma

Anaplastic meningioma

J Neurosurg 123:23–30, 2015

While most meningiomas are benign, 1%–3% display anaplastic features, with little current understanding regarding the molecular mechanisms underlying their formation. In a large single-center cohort, the authors tested the hypothesis that two distinct subtypes of anaplastic meningiomas, those that arise de novo and those that progress from lower grade tumors, exist and exhibit different clinical behavior.

Methods Pathology reports and clinical data of 37 patients treated between 1999 and 2012 for anaplastic meningioma at Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) were retrospectively reviewed. Patients were divided into those whose tumors arose de novo and those whose tumors progressed from previously documented benign or atypical meningiomas.

Results Overall, the median age at diagnosis was 59 years and 57% of patients were female. Most patients (38%) underwent 2 craniotomies (range 1–5 surgeries) aimed at gross-total resection (GTR; 59%), which afforded better survival when compared with subtotal resection according to Kaplan-Meier estimates (median overall survival [OS] 3.2 vs 1.3 years, respectively; p = 0.04, log-rank test). Twenty-three patients (62%) presented with apparently de novo anaplastic meningiomas. Compared with patients whose tumors had progressed from a lower grade, those patients with de novo tumors were significantly more likely to be female (70% vs 36%, respectively; p = 0.04), experience better survival (median OS 3.0 vs 2.4 years, respectively; p = 0.03, log-rank test), and harbor cerebral hemispheric as opposed to skull base tumors (91% vs 43%, respectively; p = 0.002).

Conclusions Based on this single-center experience at MSKCC, anaplastic meningiomas, similar to glial tumors, can arise de novo or progress from lower grade tumors. These tumor groups appear to have distinct clinical behavior. De novo tumors may well be molecularly distinct, which is under further investigation. Aggressive GTR appears to confer an OS advantage in patients with anaplastic meningioma, and this is likely independent of tumor progression status. Similarly, those patients with de novo tumors experience a survival advantage likely independent of extent of resection.

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


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