Neurosurgery Blog


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

Optimal treatment of jugular foramen schwannomas

Acta Neurochir (2017) 159:1517–1527

The goal of treatment for jugular foramen schwannomas (JFSs) is to achieve complete tumor removal with cranial nerve preservation. However, achieving this goal remains a challenge despite the advances in microsurgical techniques. The aim of this study was to determine optimal treatment strategies for JFSs based on a review of a series of 29 surgical cases in our institute.

Materials and methods: Between 1997 and 2013, 29 patients with JFSs underwent surgical treatment by multidisciplinary otoneurosurgical approaches. We retrospectively evaluated various clinical outcomes including the extent of tumor resection, postoperative cranial nerve deficits, and the recurrence rate. Tumor extension was classified using the Kaye and Pellet classification (KPC) system, and the extent of tumor resection was graded as gross total resection (GTR), near total resection (NTR), and subtotal resection (STR). We utilized the House- Brackmann facial nerve grading system (HBFNGS), the average pure-tone audiometry and speech audiometry (PTA/SA) tests, and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association National Outcome Measurement System (ASHA NOMS) swallowing scale (ASHA level) for assessment of functional outcomes.

Results: The extent of tumor resection was not related to the degree of immediate postoperative cranial nerve deficits. However, the surgical approach was significantly related to postoperative hearing status and immediate postoperative facial function. Also, among the ten patients who were below the level of acceptable facial function immediately postoperatively, nine patients (90%) recovered to acceptable facial function by the last follow-up. Concerning postoperative swallowing status, all 21 patients recovered swallowing function by the last follow-up. Postoperative Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery (GKRS) was performed for three recurrent and seven residual tumors, and recurrence was not observed in the mean 36-month follow-up period.

Conclusions: A surgical strategy should be tailored to the individual case, and clinicians should consider the possibility of recurrence and further adjuvant treatment.

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.



Lateral Orbitotomy Approach for Lesions Involving the Middle Fossa

Neurosurgery 80:309–322, 2017

Classically used for treatment of orbital lesions,the lateral orbitotomy with cantholysis can be combined with a temporal craniectomy for lesions involving the middle cranial fossa.

OBJECTIVE: To present a single-center experience with the lateral orbitotomy approach for lesions involving the middle fossa.

METHODS: Twenty-five patients underwent lateral orbitotomies from April 2012 to July 2015. Excluding patients with solely intraorbital pathologies, 13 patients’clinical and radio- graphic records were retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS: Signs/symptoms in the 13 patients (ages 28-81) included proptosis (69%), decreased visual acuity (31%), diplopia (54%), and afferent pupillary defect (69%). Pathologies were meningioma (8), esthesioneuroblastoma, lymphoma, chordoma, Ewing’s sarcoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Surgical goals were maximal safe resection in 8 patients, palliative debulking in 3 patients, and cavernous sinus biopsy in 2 patients. In 8 patients for whom maximal resection was the goal, 2 had gross total resection, while 6 had near-total resection. All patients (3) for whom palliation was the goal had symptomatic improvement. Both cavernous sinus biopsies obtained diagnostic tissue without complications. All patients with proptosis (n = 9) and diplopia (n = 7), and 2 of 4 patients with decreased visual acuity had improvement in their symptoms. No patient reported worsening of their symptoms. Mean follow-up was 12 mo (2-30 mo). Complica- tions included oculorrhea (1), pseudomeningocele (2), transient ptosis (2), and forehead numbness (1).

CONCLUSION: The lateral orbitotomy is a promising approach for carefully selected lesions with involvement of both the lateral orbit and middle cranial fossa. It provides minimally invasive access for biopsy, decompression, or resection.

Occipitocervical Instability After Far-Lateral Transcondylar Surgery

Neurosurgery 80:140–145, 2017

After a far-lateral transcondylar approach, patients may maintain neutral alignment in the immediate postoperative period, but severe occipitoatlantal subluxation may occur gradually with cranial settling and possible neurological injury. Previous research is based on assumptions regarding the extent of condylar resection and the change in biomechanics that produces instability.

OBJECTIVE: To quantify the extent of bone removal during a far-lateral transcondylar approach, determine the changes in range of motion (ROM) and stiffness that occur after condylar resection, and identify the threshold of condylar resection that predicts alterations in occipitocervical biomechanics.

METHODS: Nine human cadaveric specimens were biomechanically tested before and after far-lateral transcondylar resection extending into the hypoglossal canal (HC). The extent of condylar resection was quantified using volumetric comparison between pre- and postresection computed tomography scans. ROM and stiffness testing were performed in intact and resected states. The extent of resection that produced alterations in occipitocervical biomechanics was assessed with sensitivity analysis.

RESULTS: Bone removal during condylar resection into the HC was 15.4%-63.7% (mean 35.7%). Sensitivity analysis demonstrated that changes in biomechanics may occur when just 29% of the occipital condyle was resected (area under the curve 0.80-1.00).

CONCLUSION: Changes in occipitocervical biomechanics may be observed if one-third of the occipital condyle is resected. During surgery, the HC may not be a reliable landmark to guide the extent of resection. Patients who undergo condylar resections extending into or beyond the HC require close surveillance for occipitocervical instability.

A 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.

Endo ICG videoangiography: localizing the carotid artery in skull-base endonasal approaches

Endo ICG videoangiography- localizing the carotid artery in skull-base endonasal approaches

Acta Neurochir (2016) 158:1351–1353

In this work, the applicability of ICG-VA to skull base endoscopic surgery and its capacity to locate the internal carotid artery are shown.

Methods: An adapted optical module to perform ICG-VA was used to perform endoscopic procedures. There were two intraoperative phases of interest that were used to evaluate the ICA: upon exposure of the skull base and during the intradural exploration.

This new tool for obtaining ICA images in real time (as opposed to with navigation), and it is demonstrated that this tool provides a superior ability to detect the margins of the ICA compared with the Doppler technique. On the other hand, the present technique also provides enhancement of the artery through the bone of the skull base without the need for drilling.

Conclusions: ICG-VA is a safe and effective technique for locating the ICA in skull-base expanded endonasal surgery. Furthermore, this technique can provide real-time guidance for the surgeon and increase safety for the patient.

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.

Surgical management of medium and large petroclival meningiomas: a single institution’s experience of 199 cases with long-term follow-up

Surgical management of medium and large petroclival meningiomas

Acta Neurochir (2016) 158:409–425

Petroclival meningiomas (PCMs) were once regarded as ‘inoperable’ due to their complex anatomy and limited surgical exposure. This study aimed to evaluate the long-term outcomes of surgically treated PCMs larger than 2 cm.

Methods A series of 199 consecutive patients (137 females, 68.8 %) with PCMs larger than 2 cm from between 1993 and 2003 were included. The clinical charts, radiographs, and follow-ups were evaluated.

Results Gross total resection (GTR) was achieved in 111 (55.8 %) patients, subtotal resection (STR) in 65, and partial resection (PR) in 23. Cranial nerve dysfunctions were the most common complications and occurred in 133 (66.8 %) cases. The surgical mortality was 2.0 %. The Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) scores significantly decreased 1 month after the operations (preoperative KPS=76.8 and postoperative KPS = 64.8; p = 0.011, Paired-samples t test). Long-term follow-ups were obtained in 142 patients, the follow-up duration was 171.6 months, and the most recent KPS was 83.2. Permanent morbidities remained in 24 patients (18.9 %). Multivariate analysis revealed that brainstem edema and tumors larger than 4 cm in diameter were independent risk factors in terms of outcomes (KPS < 80). The recurrence/ progression rates were 14.5, 31.8, and 53.3 % for the GTR, STR, and PR cases, respectively (p =0.002, Pearson χ2 test). Gamma Knife radiosurgery for the remnants exhibited good tumor control.

Conclusions Favorable outcomes and low mortality were achieved with the microsurgical management of medium and large PCMs; however, the rates of cranial nerves dysfunction remained high. Radically aggressive resection might not be judicious in terms of postoperative morbidity. The preoperative evaluations and intraoperative findings were informative regarding the outcomes. The low follow-up rate likely compromised our findings, and additional consecutive studies were required.

Morphometric analysis of the medial opticocarotid recess and its anatomical relations relevant to the transsphenoidal endoscopic endonasal approaches

Morphometric analysis of the medial opticocarotid recess

Acta Neurochir (2016) 158:319–324

The medial opticocarotid recess (MOCR) is located in the posterior wall of the sphenoid sinus, medial to the junction of the optic canal (OC) and the carotid prominence (CP). There is controversy in the literature in relation to the presence of the MOCR and its constancy, which is relevant when approaching the skull base through an endoscopic route.

Methods The morphometric relations of the MOCR with the surrounding structures were studied in 18 cadaveric specimens after endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA).

Results The distance between both MOCR was 11.06± 1.14 mm; the distance between the MOCR and the lateral opticocarotid (LOCR) recess was 5.56 ± 0.85 mm; the distance between the MOCR and the suprasellar recess was 3.72±0.49 mm; the angle between the MOCR plane and the OC 13.32±2.30°; the angle between the MOCR plane and the CP 13.50±2.68° and; the angle between the OC and the CP 26.81±4.26°. All measurements showed low variability, with low standard deviation and interquartile range. No relations were found between any of the measurements.

Conclusions The MOCR may be used as a reference point for precise location of structures during EEA. Objective measurements may be especially useful in cases with distorted sphenoid bone anatomy.

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

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

J Neurosurg 123:9–13, 2015

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

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

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

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

Quantitative analysis of the Kawase versus the modified Dolenc-Kawase approach for middle cranial fossa lesions with variable anteroposterior extension


J Neurosurg 123(1):14-22

The surgical corridor to the upper third of the clivus and ventral brainstem is hindered by critical neurovascular structures, such as the cavernous sinus, petrous apex, and tentorium. The traditional Kawase approach provides a 10 × 5–mm fenestration at the petrous apex of the temporal bone be tween the 5th cranial nerve and internal auditory canal. Due to interindividual variability, sometimes this area proves to be insufficient as a corridor to the posterior cranial fossa. The authors describe a modification to the technique of the extradural anterior petrosectomy consisting of additional transcavernous exploration and medial mobilization of the cisternal component of the trigeminal nerve. This approach is termed the modified Dolenc-Kawase (MDK) approach.

The authors describe a volumetric analysis of temporal bones with 3D laser scanning of dry and drilled bones for respective triangles and rhomboid areas, and they compare the difference of exposure with traditional versus modified approaches on cadaver dissection. Twelve dry temporal bones were laser scanned, and mesh-based volumetric analysis was done followed by drilling of the Kawase triangle and MDK rhomboid. Five cadaveric heads were drilled on alternate sides with both approaches for evaluation of the area exposed, surgical freedom, and angle of approach.

The MDK approach provides an approximately 1.5 times larger area and 2.0 times greater volume of bone at the anterior petrous apex compared with the Kawase’s approach. Cadaver dissection objectified the technical feasibility of the MDK approach, providing nearly 1.5–2 times larger fenestration with improved view and angulation to the posterior cranial fossa. Practical application in 6 patients with different lesions proves clinical applicability of the MDK approach.

The larger fenestration at the petrous apex achieved with the MDK approach provides greater surgical freedom at the Dorello canal, gasserian ganglion, and prepontine area and better anteroposterior angulation than the traditional Kawase approach. Additional anterior clinoidectomy and transcavernous exposure helps in dealing with basilar artery aneurysms.

Keywords: Kawase,Dolenc,petrous,cadaver,quantitative,petrosectomy,skull base

Endoscopic endonasal resection of skull base chondrosarcomas

Endoscopic endonasal resection of skull base chondrosarcomas- technique and early results

J Neurosurg 122:735–742, 2015

The authors of this study sought to report the technique and early clinical outcomes of a purely endonasal endoscopic approach for resection of petroclival chondrosarcomas.

Methods Between 2010 and 2014, 8 patients (4 men and 4 women) underwent endonasal endoscopic operations to resect petroclival chondrosarcomas at 2 institutions. The patients’ mean age was 44.8 years (range 30–64 years). One of the patients had previously undergone radiation therapy and another a staged craniotomy. Using volumetric software, an independent neuroradiologist assessed the extent of the resections on MRI scans taken immediately after surgery and at the 3-month follow-up. Immediate complications and control of symptoms were also recorded. In addition, the authors reviewed the current literature on surgical treatment of chondrosarcoma.

Results The mean preoperative tumor diameter and volume were 3.4 cm and 9.8 cm3, respectively. Six patients presented with cranial neuropathies. Endonasal endoscopic surgery achieved > 95% resection in 5 of the 8 patients and < 95% resection in the remaining 3 patients. One of the 6 neuropathies resolved, and the remaining 5 partially improved. One instance of postoperative CSF leakage required a reoperation for repair; no other complications associated with these operations were observed. All of the patients underwent adjuvant radiotherapy.

Conclusions According to the authors’ experience, the endoscopic endonasal route is a safe and effective approach for the resection of appropriately selected petroclival chondrosarcomas.

An Experimental Feasibility Study on Robotic Endonasal Telesurgery

Robotic teleneurosurgery

Neurosurgery 76:479–484, 2015

Novel robots have recently been developed specifically for endonasal surgery. They can deliver several thin, tentacle-like surgical instruments through a single nostril. Among the many potential advantages of such a robotic system is the prospect of telesurgery over long distances.

OBJECTIVE: To describe a phantom pituitary tumor removal done by a surgeon in Nashville, Tennessee, controlling a robot located approximately 800 km away in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the first remote telesurgery experiment involving tentacle-like concentric tube manipulators.

METHODS: A phantom pituitary tumor removal experiment was conducted twice, once locally and once remotely, with the robotic system. Robot commands and video were transmitted across the Internet. The latency of the system was evaluated quantitatively in both local and remote cases to determine the effect of the 800-km distance between the surgeon and robot.

RESULTS: We measured a control and video latency of ,100 milliseconds in the remote case. Qualitatively, the surgeon was able to carry out the experiment easily and observed no discernable difference between the remote and local cases.

CONCLUSION: Telesurgery over long distances is feasible with this robotic system. In the longer term, this may enable expert skull base surgeons to help many more patients by performing surgeries remotely over long distances.

Solitary lesions of the clivus: what else besides chordomas?

Clivus lesions

Solitary non-chordomatous lesions of the clivus are rare pathologies, which represent a diagnostic challenge. This study provides an overview of the clinical, radiological and prognostic characteristics of non-chordomatous clival lesions, highlighting current therapeutic options.

Methods Twenty-two non-chordomatous lesions of the clivus were collected. A retrospective analysis of clinical and radiological patterns as well as survival data was conducted.

Results Clinical presentation was a result of local mass effect. Imaging features, although mainly specific, were not always diagnostic. Extent of surgery was gross total in 45.5 % of cases. Depending on the histology, biological behaviour and presence of seeding, adjuvant treatment was performed, tailoring the treatment strategy to the single patient.

Conclusions Solitary non-chordomatous lesions of the clival bone are more prevalent than expected. They should be approached with a correct differential diagnosis, considering specific epidemiological, radiological, and histopathological characteristics, to minimise diagnostic bias and allow the planning of the best treatment strategy.

Extended endoscopic transsphenoidal approach infrachiasmatic corridor

EE transsphenoidal approach infrachiasmatic corridor

Neurosurg Rev (2015) 38:137–147

An extended endoscopic transsphenoidal approach is required for skull base lesions extending to the suprasellar area. Inferior approach using the infrachiasmatic corridor allows access to the lesions through the tumor growth that is favorable for the extended transsphenoidal approaches. Infrachiasmatic corridor is a safer route for the inferior approaches that is made up by basal arachnoid membrane and Liliequist’s membrane with its leaves (diencephalic and mesencephalic leaf). This area extends from the optic canal and tuberculum sella to the corpus mamillare.

We performed extended endoscopic approach using the infrachiasmatic corridor in 52 cases, including tuberculum sella meningiomas (n:23), craniopharyngiomas (n:16), suprasellar Rathke’s cleft cyst (n:6), pituitary adenoma (n:2), fibrous dysplasia (n:1), infundibular granulosa cell tumor (n:2), and epidermoid tumor (n:2). Total resection was achieved in 17 of 23 (74 %) with tuberculum sellae meningioma using infrachiasmatic approach. Twenty patients presented with visual disorders and 14 of them improved. There were two postoperative cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakages and one transient diabetes insipidus and one permanent diabetes insipidus. Sixteen patients were operated on by the infrachiasmatic approach for craniopharyngiomas. Improvement was reached in seven of eight patients presented with visual disorders. Complete tumor resection was performed in 10 of 16 cases and cyst aspiration in 4 cases, and there were remnants in two cases. Postoperative CSF leakage was seen in two patients.

Infrachiasmatic corridor provides an easier and safer inferior route for the removal of middle midline skull base lesions in selected cases.

Endoscopic endonasal approach in the management of skull base chordomas

Endoscopic approach skull base chordomas

Neurosurg Rev (2014) 37:217–225

Skull base chordomas represent very interesting neoplasms, due to their rarity, biological behavior, and resistance to treatment. Their management is very challenging. Recently, the use of a natural corridor, through the nose and the sphenoid sinus, improved morbidity and mortality allowing also for excellent removal rates.

Prospective analysis of 54 patients harboring a skull base chordoma that were managed by extended endonasal endoscopic approach (EEA). Among the 54 patients treated (during a 72 months period), 21 were women and 33 men, undergoing 58 procedures. Twenty-two cases (40 %) were recurrent and 32 (60 %) newly diagnosed chordomas. Among the 32 newly diagnosed chordomas, a gross total resection was achieved in 28 cases (88%), a near total (>95%of tumor) in 2 cases (6%), a partial (>50 % of tumor) in 2 cases (6 %). Among the 22 recurrent chordomas, resection was complete in 7 cases (30 %), near total in 7 (30%), and partial in 8 (40 %). The global gross total resection rate was 65 % (35/54 cases). Four patients (11 %) recurred and 4 (11 %) progressed within a mean follow-up of 34 months (range 12–84 months). Four patients (11 %) were re-operated; one patient (1.8 %) died due to disease progression, one patient (1.8 %) died 2 weeks after surgery due to a massive bleeding from an ICA pseudo aneurysm. CSF leakage occurred in four patients (8 %), and meningitis in eight cases (14 %). No new permanent neurological deficit occurred.

The EEA management of skull base chordomas requires a long and gradual learning curve that once acquired offers the possibility of either similar or better resection rates as compared to traditional approaches while morbidity is improved.

Microsurgical resection of extensive craniopharyngiomas using a frontolateral approach

Microsurgical resection of extensive craniopharyngiomas using a frontolateral approach

J Neurosurg 120:559–570, 2014

An extensive craniopharyngioma is a tumor that extends into multiple compartments (subarachnoid spaces) and attains a size larger than 4 cm. A wide spectrum of approaches and strategies has been used for resection of such craniopharyngiomas. In this report the authors focused on the feasibility and efficacy of microsurgical resection of extensive craniopharyngiomas using a frontolateral approach.

Methods. A retrospective analysis was performed on 16 patients with extensive craniopharyngiomas who underwent operations using a frontolateral approach at one institution. The preoperative and postoperative clinical and radiological data, as well as the operative videos, were reviewed. The main focus of the review was the extent of radical tumor removal, early postoperative outcome, and approach-related complications.

Results. Gross-total resection of craniopharyngioma was achieved in 14 (87.5%) of 16 cases. Early after surgery (within 3 months), 1 patient showed improvement in hormonal status, while in the remaining 15 patients it worsened. No major neurological morbidity was observed. Two patients experienced temporary psychotic disorders. Visual function improved in 6 patients and remained unchanged in 9. One patient experienced a new bitemporal hemianopsia. Three patients with features of short-term memory disturbances at presentation did show improvement after surgery. There were no deaths or significant approach-related morbidity in this patient series. Only 1 patient required revision surgery for a CSF leak.

Conclusions. The safe and simple frontolateral approach provides adequate access even to extensive craniopharyngiomas and enables their complete removal with a reasonable morbidity and approach-related complication rate.

True petroclival meningiomas

True petroclival meningiomas- results of surgical management

J Neurosurg 120:40–51, 2014

The relentless natural progression of petroclival meningiomas mandates their treatment. The management of these tumors, however, is challenging. Among the issues debated are goals of treatment, outcomes, and quality of life, appropriate extent of surgical removal, the role of skull base approaches, and the efficacy of combined decompressive surgery and radiosurgery. The authors report on the outcome in a series of patients treated with the goal of total removal.

Methods. The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of 64 cases of petroclival meningiomas operated on by the senior author (O.A.) from 1988 to 2012, strictly defined as those originating medial to the fifth cranial nerve on the upper two-thirds of the clivus. The patients’ average age was 49 years; the average tumor size (maximum diameter) was 35.48 ± 10.09 mm (with 59 tumors > 20 mm), and cavernous sinus extension was present in 39 patients. The mean duration of follow-up was 71.57 months (range 4–276 months).

Results. In 42 patients, the operative reports allowed the grading of resection. Grade I resection (tumor, dura, and bone) was achieved in 17 patients (40.4%); there was no recurrence in this group (p = 0.0045). Grade II (tumor, dura) was achieved in 15 patients (36%). There was a statistically significant difference in the rate of recurrence with respect to resection grade (Grades I and II vs other grades, p = 0.0052). In all patients, tumor removal was classified based on postoperative contrast-enhanced MRI, and gross-total resection (GTR) was considered to be achieved if there was no enhancement present; on this basis, GTR was achieved in 41 (64%) of 64 patients, with a significantly lower recurrence rate in these patients than in the group with residual enhancement (p = 0.00348). One patient died from pulmonary embolism after discharge. The mean Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) score was 85.31 preoperatively (median 90) and improved on follow-up to 88, with 30 patients (47%) having an improved KPS score on follow-up. Three patients suffered a permanent deficit that significantly affected their KPS. Cerebrospinal fluid leak occurred in 8 patients (12.5%), with 2 of them requiring exploration. Eighty-nine percent of the patients had cranial nerve deficits on presentation; of the 54 patients with more than 2 months of follow-up, 21 (32.8%) had persisting cranial nerve deficits. The overall odds of permanent cranial nerve deficit of treated petroclival meningioma was 6.2%. There was no difference with respect to immediate postoperative cranial nerve deficit in patients who had GTR compared with those who had subtotal resection.

Conclusions. Total removal (Grade I or II resection) of petroclival meningiomas is achievable in 76.4% of cases and is facilitated by the use of skull base approaches, with good outcome and functional status. In cases in which circumstances prevent total removal, residual tumors can be followed until progression is evident, at which point further intervention can be planned.

Transpetrosal approach for challenging craniopharyngiomas

Transpetrosal approach for challenging craniopharyngiomas

J Neurosurg 120:1–11, 2014

Retrochiasmatic craniopharyngiomas are surgically challenging tumors. Retrochiasmatic craniopharyngiomas with complicated conditions such as large diameter, major calcification, or significant extension to the third ventricle or posterior fossa present surgical challenges; moreover, recurrent retrochiasmatic craniopharyngiomas are particularly formidable challenges. Although the transpetrosal approach to retrochiasmatic craniopharyngiomas published by Hakuba in 1985 can provide unique advantageous exposure of the retrochiasmatic area to allow safe neurovascular dissection and facilitate radical tumor removal, the procedure is viewed as complicated and time consuming and has a high risk of damaging hearing functions. The authors have modified Hakuba’s technique to minimize petrosectomy and reduce surgical complications and have applied this modified approach to retrochiasmatic craniopharyngiomas with complicated conditions. In this study, the authors describe their technique and surgical outcomes to elucidate the role of this modified transpetrosal approach for retrochiasmatic craniopharyngiomas with complicated conditions. This is the first study to report surgical outcomes of the transpetrosal approach for retrochiasmatic craniopharyngiomas.

Methods. Between 1999 and 2011, the minimum anterior and posterior combined (MAPC) transpetrosal approach, which is a modification of Hakuba’s transpetrosal approach, was applied in 16 cases of retrochiasmatic craniopharyngiomas with complicated conditions. Eight cases were recurrent tumors, 4 had previously received radiotherapy, 11 had a large diameter, 10 had large calcification, 15 had superior extension of the tumor into the third ventricle, and 10 had a posterior extension of the tumor that compressed the midbrain and pons. In all 16 patients, more than 2 of these complicated conditions were present. The follow-up duration ranged from 0.8 to 12.5 years (mean 5.3 years). Surgical outcomes assessed were the extent of resection, surgical complications, visual function, endocrinological status, and neuropsychological function. Five-year and 10-year recurrence-free survival rates were also calculated.

Results. Gross-total or near-total resection was achieved in 15 cases (93.8%). Facial nerve function was completely maintained in all 16 patients. Serviceable hearing was preserved in 15 cases (93.8%). Visual function improved in 13 out of 14 cases (92.9%) that had visual disturbance before surgery. None of the patients experienced deterioration of their visual function. Twelve cases had endocrinological deficit and received hormonal replacement before surgery. New endocrinological deficit occurred in 2 cases (12.5%). Neuropsychological function was maintained in 14 cases (87.5%) and improved in 1 case (6.3%). One case that had received previous conventional radiotherapy treatment showed a gradual decline in neuropsychological function. The 5-year and 10-year recurrence-free survival rates were both 86.5%.

Conclusions. The authors obtained good results by using the MAPC transpetrosal approach for the removal of retrochiasmatic craniopharyngiomas with complicated conditions. The MAPC transpetrosal approach should be considered as a therapeutic option for selected cases of retrochiasmatic craniopharyngiomas with complicated conditions.

Effect of dural detachment on long-term tumor control for meningiomas treated using Simpson Grade IV resection

Effect of dural detachment on long-term tumor control for meningiomas treated using Simpson Grade IV resection

J Neurosurg 119:1373–1379, 2013

Meningiomas treated by subtotal or partial resection are associated with significantly shorter recurrencefree survival than those treated by gross-total resection. The Simpson grading system classifies incomplete resections into a single category, namely Simpson Grade IV, with wide variations in the volume and location of residual tumors, making it complicated to evaluate the achievement of surgical goals and predict the prognosis of these tumors. Authors of the present study investigated the factors related to necessity of retreatment and tried to identify any surgical nuances achievable with the aid of modern neurosurgical techniques for meningiomas treated using Simpson Grade IV resection.

Methods. This retrospective analysis included patients with WHO Grade I meningiomas treated using Simpson Grade IV resection as the initial therapy at the University of Tokyo Hospital between January 1995 and April 2010. Retreatment was defined as reresection or stereotactic radiosurgery due to postoperative tumor growth.

Results. A total of 38 patients were included in this study. Regrowth of residual tumor was observed in 22 patients with a mean follow-up period of 6.1 years. Retreatment was performed for 20 of these 22 tumors with regrowth. Risk factors related to significantly shorter retreatment-free survival were age younger than 50 years (p = 0.006), postresection tumor volume of 4 cm3 or more (p = 0.016), no dural detachment (p = 0.001), and skull base location (p = 0.016). Multivariate analysis revealed that no dural detachment (hazard ratio [HR] 6.42, 95% CI 1.41–45.0; p = 0.02) and skull base location (HR 11.6, 95% CI 2.18–218; p = 0.002) were independent risk factors for the necessity of early retreatment, whereas postresection tumor volume of 4 cm3 or more was not a statistically significant risk factor.

Conclusions. Compared with Simpson Grade I, II, and III resections, Simpson Grade IV resection includes highly heterogeneous tumors in terms of resection rate and location of the residual mass. Despite the difficulty in analyzing such diverse data, these results draw attention to the favorable effect of dural detachment (instead of maximizing the resection rate) on long-term tumor control. Surgical strategy with an emphasis on detaching the tumor from the affected dura might be another important option in resection of high-risk meningiomas not amenable to gross-total resection.

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


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