Minimally Invasive Lumbar Discectomy Had Worse Outcome than Conventional Open Microdiscectomy. A Randomized Controlled Trial

JAMA. 2009;302(2):149-158.

Context Conventional microdiskectomy is the most frequently performed surgery for patients with sciatica due to lumbar disk herniation. Transmuscular tubular diskectomy has been introduced to increase the rate of recovery, although evidence is lacking of its efficacy.

Objective To determine outcomes and time to recovery in patients treated with tubular diskectomy compared with conventional microdiskectomy.

Design, Setting, and Patients The Sciatica Micro-Endoscopic Diskectomy randomized controlled trial was conducted among 328 patients aged 18 to 70 years who had persistent leg pain (>8 weeks) due to lumbar disk herniations at 7 general hospitals in the Netherlands from January 2005 to October 2006. Patients and observers were blinded during the follow-up, which ended 1 year after final enrollment.

Interventions Tubular diskectomy (n = 167) vs conventional microdiskectomy (n = 161).

Main Outcome Measures The primary outcome was functional assessment on the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RDQ) for sciatica (score range: 0-23, with higher scores indicating worse functional status) at 8 weeks and 1 year after randomization. Secondary outcomes were scores on the visual analog scale for leg pain and back pain (score range: 0-100 mm) and patient’s self-report of recovery (measured on a Likert 7-point scale).

Results Based on intention-to-treat analysis, the mean RDQ score during the first year after surgery was 6.2 (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.6 to 6.8) for tubular diskectomy and 5.4 (95% CI, 4.6 to 6.2) for conventional microdiskectomy (between-group mean difference, 0.8; 95% CI, –0.2 to 1.7). At 8 weeks after surgery, the RDQ mean (SE) score was 5.8 (0.4) for tubular diskectomy and 4.9 (0.5) for conventional microdiskectomy (between-group mean difference, 0.8; 95% CI, –0.4 to 2.1). At 1 year, the RDQ mean (SE) score was 4.7 (0.5) for tubular diskectomy and 3.4 (0.5) for conventional microdiskectomy (between-group mean difference, 1.3; 95% CI, 0.03 to 2.6) in favor of conventional microdiskectomy. On the visual analog scale, the 1-year between-group mean difference in improvement was 4.2 mm (95% CI, 0.9 to 7.5 mm) for leg pain and 3.5 mm (95% CI, 0.1 to 6.9 mm) for back pain in favor of conventional microdiskectomy. At 1 year, 107 of 156 patients (69%) assigned to tubular diskectomy reported a good recovery vs 120 of 151 patients (79%) assigned to conventional microdiskectomy (odds ratio, 0.59 [95% CI, 0.35 to 0.99]; P = .05).

Conclusions Use of tubular diskectomy compared with conventional microdiskectomy did not result in a statistically significant improvement in the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire score. Tubular diskectomy resulted in less favorable results for patient self-reported leg pain, back pain, and recovery.

A Randomized, Double-blinded Comparison of Ondansetron, Granisetron, and Placebo for Prevention of Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting After Supratentorial Craniotomy

Journal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology: July 2009 – Volume 21 – Issue 3 – pp 226-230. doi: 10.1097/ANA.0b013e3181a7beaa

Postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) are frequent and distressing complications after neurosurgical procedures. We evaluated the efficacy of ondansetron and granisetron to prevent PONV after supratentorial craniotomy. In a randomized double-blind, placebo controlled trial, 90 adult American Society of Anesthesiologists I, II patients were included in the study. A standard anesthesia technique was followed. Patients were divided into 3 groups to receive either placebo (saline), ondansetron 4 mg, or granisetron 1 mg intravenously at the time of dural closure. After extubation, episodes of nausea and vomiting were noted for 24 hours postoperatively. Statistical analysis was performed using χ2 test and 1-way analysis of variance. Demographic data, duration of surgery, intraoperative fluids and analgesic requirement, and postoperative pain (visual analog scale) scores were comparable in all 3 groups. It was observed that the incidence of vomiting in 24 hours, severe emetic episodes, and requirement of rescue antiemetics were less in ondansetron and granisetron groups as compared with placebo (P<0.001). Both the study drugs had comparable effect on vomiting. However, the incidence of nausea was comparable in all 3 groups (P=0.46). A favorable influence on the patient satisfaction scores, and number needed to prevent emesis was seen in the 2 drug groups. No significant correlation was found between neurosurgical factors (presence of midline shift, mass effect, pathologic diagnosis of tumor, site of tumor) and the occurrence of PONV. We conclude that ondansetron 4 mg and granisetron 1 mg are comparably effective at preventing emesis after supratentorial craniotomy. However, neither drugs prevented nausea effectively.

Determinants of postoperative visual recovery in suprasellar meningiomas

Acta Neurochirurgica DOI: 10.1007/s00701-009-0492-1

Suprasellar meningiomas usually present with visual deterioration, including decreased visual acuity and/or visual field defects. Suprasellar meningiomas have a close relationship with the optic apparatus, arteries of the anterior circulation, pituitary stalk and hypothalamus, which makes safe surgical resection a challenge especially with dissection around an already compromised optic apparatus. In this report 21 patients operated on for a suprasellar meningioma over a 4-year period are reviewed. Postoperative outcome and visual recovery are evaluated, including analysis of its determinants.
Methods Over a 4-year period (2002–2006), patients surgically treated for suprasellar meningiomas were included in this retrospective study. All tumors were located at the tuberculum sellae and diaphragma sellae dura. Clinical and neuro-ophthalmological examinations, imaging studies, endocrinological evaluation and follow-up data were reviewed retrospectively. The influence of patient age, sex, duration of symptoms, extent of visual impairment, tumor size , extent into optic canal, consistency, operative respectability were analyzed as potential prognostic factors for postoperative visual outcome.
Results Twenty-one patients were included in this retrospective study. Ages ranged from 25 to 65 years (mean: 43 years). All patients had visual acuity loss and visual field defects. Symptom duration ranged from 2 to 36 months (mean: 17 months). Tumor removal was complete in 17 patients, and subtotal resection was performed in four patients. There was one case of postoperative mortality. The follow-up duration ranged from 24 to 48 months (mean: 28 months). At the last follow-up 12 patients (60%) had achieved visual improvement, whereas vision was unchanged in eight patients (40%). None of the patients had visual deterioration during their follow-up. A univariate analysis of clinical and surgical parameters thought to be related to visual outcome showed that the duration of symptoms, preoperative visual status, tumor size and adherence to the internal carotid arteries and/or anterior cerebral artery had a significant impact on visual outcome.

Conclusion The extent and duration of visual symptoms, size of the tumor and vascular adherence were prognostic factors affecting visual recovery after microsurgical resection of suprasellar meningiomas.

Survival and prognostic factors in a series of adults with medulloblastomas

J Neurosurg 111 (Sept 2009) DOI: 10.3171/2009.1.JNS081004

In this article, the authors report their experience in the management of adult patients with medulloblastoma at their institution to identify prognostic factors important for survival and disease control.

Between 1977 and 2005, 27 patients who were ≥ 16 years old and had medulloblastoma were treated consecutively. There were 16 women and 11 men with a median age of 21 years (range 16–54 years). Gross-total resection was performed in 21 patients, subtotal (≥ 90%) in 2, incomplete in 1, and biopsy in 3 patients. Six patients had the desmoplastic variant, and 21 patients presented with classic medulloblastoma. Staging according to the Chang classification showed 4 patients with tumors invading the brainstem (2 with Stage T3b and 2 with Stage T4), 3 patients with metastases (2 with Stage M2 and 1 with Stage M3), and 1 patient in whom the stage was unknown (Stage MX) who died 10 days postoperatively. Twenty patients were assigned to the standard-risk group and 7 to the high-risk group. All patients except the one whose status was classified as Stage MX underwent craniospinal radiotherapy at our institution. Seven patients received chemotherapy before radiotherapy.

The 5- and 10-year overall survival rates for the present study were 81 and 62%, respectively. The median overall survival time was 17.7 years. The 5- and 10-year event-free survival rates were 72 and 57%, respectively. The median event-free survival time was 17.9 years. Univariate analysis showed that survival was significantly correlated with sex (women had a better prognosis than men) and M stage (patients without metastases had a better outcome). Patient age, duration of symptoms, Karnofsky Performance Scale score at presentation, hydrocephalus, tumor location, brainstem invasion, extent of resection, histological subtype, preradiotherapy chemotherapy, risk group, and period of presentation were not significant variables. Multivariate analysis identified sex and M stage as well as the period of presentation as independent prognostic factors for overall and event-free survival times. Eleven patients suffered tumor recurrence within a median time of 4.2 years. The posterior fossa was not the most common site of recurrence, and delayed recurrence was not rare. All patients in whom the tumor recurred have died despite aggressive treatments. The median survival time after diagnosis of recurrence was 2.5 years. Questionnaires on quality of life and cognition showed high scores in favor of limited negative effects in the perception of mental and physical health after treatment. The authors observed 1 supposed second malignancy (thyroid carcinoma) and no evidence of pituitary dysfunction.

Conclusions: Long-term survival is possible in adults treated for medulloblastoma. Although rare, metastasis seeding at presentation is a poor prognostic factor. The possibility of delayed recurrence necessitates close follow-up of all patients. Tumor recurrences should be treated with aggressive therapies as some patients may have sustained response. Adjuvant chemotherapy should be given to high-risk patients, but its role in reducing recurrences, particularly distant ones, remains unclear in the standard-risk group.

Vertebral artery ostial stent placement for atherosclerotic stenosis in 72 consecutive patients

Neuroradiology (2008) 51:531–539 DOI 10.1007/s00234-009-0531-x

The study’s purpose is to report the technical and clinical outcomes of a patient cohort that underwent vertebral artery ostium stent placement for atherosclerotic stenosis.

Methods  We retrospectively analyzed a prospectively collected database of neurointerventional procedures performed at a single center from 1999 to 2005. Outcome measures included recurrent transient neurological deficits (TNDs), stroke, and death. Kaplan–Meier analysis was used to estimate stroke- and/or death-free survival at 12 months. Cox proportional hazard was used to identify risk factors for recurrent vertebrobasilar ischemic events.

Results  Seventy-two patients with 77 treated vertebral ostial lesions were included. The 30-day stroke and/or death rate was 5.2% (n = 4), although no event was directly related to the vertebral ostium stent placement. Three procedure-related strokes were secondary to attempted stent placement at other sites (one carotid artery and two basilar arteries), and the one death was secondary to the presenting stroke severity. The mean clinical follow-up time available for 66 patients was 9 months. There were 14 TNDs (21%), two strokes (3%), and two deaths (3%) recorded in the follow-up. Recurrent vertebrobasilar ischemic events occurred in nine patients (seven TNDs and two strokes). No recurrent stroke and/or deaths were related to the treated vertebral ostium. Stroke- and/or death-free survival rate (including periprocedural stroke and/or death) was 89 ± 5% at 12 months. No vascular risk factor was significantly associated with recurrent vertebrobasilar ischemic events.

Conclusions  Vertebral artery ostium stent placement can be safely and effectively performed with a low rate of recurrent stroke in the territory of the treated vessel. Patients who also underwent attempted treatment of a tandem intracranial stenosis appeared to be at highest risk for periprocedure stroke.

The evolution of thoracolumbar injury classification systems

The Spine Journal 9, Issue 9, September 2009, Pages 780-788doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2009.04.003

An ideal classification system for thoracolumbar (TL) spine fractures should facilitate communication between treating physicians and guide treatment by means of outlining the natural history of injuries. The classification scheme should also be comprehensive, intuitive, and simple to implement. At the present time, no classification system fully meets these criteria. In this review, the authors attempt to describe the evolution of TL fracture classification systems from their inception to the present day.

The article reviews the salient classification systems that have addressed TL injuries since Boehler’s first attempt in 1929. This progression culminates in the Thoracolumbar Injury Severity Score/Thoracolumbar Injury Classification and Severity Score (TLISS/TLICS), a system which incorporates features from earlier scales and represents the most comprehensive grading scale to date.

Each successive system played an important role in advancing contemporary understanding of TL injuries. Most classifications were, however, based on a single individual’s, or a comparatively small group’s, retrospective review of a case series. In most instances, these grading systems were never validated or modified by their original developers, a shortcoming that prevented their continued evolution. Despite the many advantages of the TLISS/TLICS system, more work in terms of refining the classification and defining its validity remains to be performed.

The classification of TL injuries has evolved significantly over the course of the last 75 years. Most of these schemes were limited by their complexity, relevance, and/or poor reliability. The TLISS classification system represents the most recent evolution as it combines several important factors capable of guiding the management of TL injuries. Nonetheless, more research regarding this rating scale remains to be performed.

Treatment of Medulloblastoma with Hedgehog Pathway Inhibitor GDC-0449

Published at www.nejm.org September 2, 2009 (10.1056/NEJMoa0902903)

Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor in children. Aberrant activation of the hedgehog signaling pathway is strongly implicated in the development of some cases of medulloblastoma. A 26-year-old man with metastatic medulloblastoma that was refractory to multiple therapies was treated with a novel hedgehog pathwayinhibitor, GDC-0449; treatment resulted in rapid (although transient) regression of the tumor and reduction of symptoms. Molecular analyses of tumor specimens obtained before treatment suggested that there was activation of the hedgehog pathway, with loss of heterozygosity and somatic mutation of the gene encoding patched homologue 1 (PTCH1), a key negative regulator of hedgehog signaling.

Gamma knife radiosurgery for the treatment of glomus jugulare tumors

Journal of Neuro-Oncology. doi:10.1007/s11060-009-0002-6

The treatment of glomus jugulare tumors represents a challenge for the neurosurgeon, since they invade major vessels and compress critical cranial nerves, resulting in significant morbidity from tumor resection. Among alternative and complementary treatment options, gamma knife radiosurgery is a less invasive procedure and may provide better protection of vital structures. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy and long-term outcomes of gamma knife surgery in the treatment of these tumors in a large series with the longest follow-up period compared with previous reports. A total of 18 patients with glomus jugulare tumors that underwent gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS) were included. Eleven patients had a history of previous microsurgical treatment. The mean marginal radiation dose was 15.6 Gy (median 15 Gy, range 13–20 Gy). Patients were followed for a mean period of 52.7 months (median 41.5 months); the effect of gamma knife radiosurgery was evaluated using magnetic resonance (MR) images. Based on the last MR images, tumor control could be achieved in 17 out of 18 patients (94.4%). No complications such as radiation-induced peritumoral edema or radiation necrosis occurred. Neurological follow-up examinations revealed improved clinical status in ten patients (55.6%), stable neurological status in seven (38.9%), and deterioration in one patient (5.5%). At the last visit, 17 out of 18 patients were alive. Our results indicate that stereotactic radiosurgery is an effective and safe treatment modality in the management of glomus jugulare tumors, particularly for residual or previously untreated small tumors.

Glioma vascularity correlates with reduced patient survival and increased malignancy

Surgical Neurology Volume 72, Issue 3, September 2009, Pages 242-246. doi:10.1016/j.surneu.2008.11.012

The objective of this study was 2-fold: (1) document the presence and degree of vascularity in gliomas of different pathologic grades and (2) determine whether the presence of abnormal vascularity, determined by catheter angiography, correlates with a shortened survival.

Methods As part of a protocol for radiographic data acquisition that was used in a computer-assisted, stereotactic system, all patients who underwent biopsy or resection of a newly diagnosed glioma between 1994 and 2000 at our institution routinely underwent preoperative catheter angiography. The presence and degree of tumor vascularity were recorded and then correlated with survival and pathologic grade. The confounding effects of age, KPS, adjuvant treatment, and extent of resection on survival were considered.

Results Two hundred thirty-one patients were included in this study. The mean follow-up of survivors was 7.8 years. Tumor vascularity correlated with a shortened survival (proportional hazards RR for survival, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.58-0.82). This correlation persisted after correction for age, KPS score, adjuvant therapy, and extent of resection (RR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.68-0.97). Abnormal vascularity was present in 25 (30%) of 82 low-grade (WHO grade 2) gliomas. Overall, the extent of vascularity (none [120 patients, 52%], blush [63 patients, 27%], neovessels [25 patients, 11%], and arteriovenous shunting [23 patients, 10%]) correlated with worse WHO tumor grade (P < .0001).

Conclusions The presence of abnormal vascularity correlates with both a shortened survival and higher grade of malignancy. These findings underscore the importance of antiangiogenesis factor investigation and drug development for the treatment of gliomas, regardless of their pathologic grade.

Cell phones and brain tumors: a review including the long-term epidemiologic data

Vini G. Khurana, PhD, FRACS, Charles Teo, MBBS, FRACS, Michael Kundi, PhD, Lennart Hardell, MD, PhD, Michael Carlberg, MSc.

Surgical Neurology Volume 72, Issue 3, Pages 205-214 (September 2009) doi:10.1016/j.surneu.2009.01.019


The debate regarding the health effects of low-intensity electromagnetic radiation from sources such as power lines, base stations, and cell phones has recently been reignited. In the present review, the authors attempt to address the following question: is there epidemiologic evidence for an association between long-term cell phone usage and the risk of developing a brain tumor? Included with this meta-analysis of the long-term epidemiologic data are a brief overview of cell phone technology and discussion of laboratory data, biological mechanisms, and brain tumor incidence.

In order to be included in the present meta-analysis, studies were required to have met all of the following criteria: (i) publication in a peer-reviewed journal; (ii) inclusion of participants using cell phones for ≥10 years (ie, minimum 10-year “latency”); and (iii) incorporation of a “laterality” analysis of long-term users (ie, analysis of the side of the brain tumor relative to the side of the head preferred for cell phone usage). This is a meta-analysis incorporating all 11 long-term epidemiologic studies in this field.

The results indicate that using a cell phone for ≥10 years approximately doubles the risk of being diagnosed with a brain tumor on the same (“ipsilateral”) side of the head as that preferred for cell phone use. The data achieve statistical significance for glioma and acoustic neuroma but not for meningioma.

Conclusion

The authors conclude that there is adequate epidemiologic evidence to suggest a link between prolonged cell phone usage and the development of an ipsilateral brain tumor.

Fronto-basal interhemispheric approach for tuberculum sellae meningiomas; long-term visual outcome

Ganna, Ahmed, Dehdashti, Amir R., Karabatsou, Konstantina and Gentili, Fred. British Journal of Neurosurgery,23:4,422-430, (2009).

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02688690902968836

We report our experience with the treatment of tuberculum sellae meningiomas using the fronto-basal interhemispheric approach. A retrospective analysis was performed on a series of 24 patients with tuberculum sellae meningiomas who were operated between March 2000 and January 2007. Patients’ presenting symptoms, radiological images, operative reports, and clinical follow-up data were reviewed with special consideration for visual outcome. Visual deterioration was the presenting symptom in all patients, followed by headache in 9 patients (37.5%). The average duration of visual symptoms was 17.6 months. The average tumor diameter was 2.63 cm; encasement of the carotid artery was identified in 7 patients (29%). Complete tumor removal was achieved in 21 patients (87.5%). Mean follow-up period was 52 months. Vision improved in 19 patients (79%), remained stable in 4 (17%) and deteriorated in 1 patient (4%). The degree of tumor removal or visual outcome were both unrelated to the tumor size (p=0.2 and p=0.6 respectively). While the degree of preoperative visual deficit did not affect the visual improvement rate in the whole group (p=0.9), those patients with improvement to good functional vision (>20/40) after the surgery, had a less severe preoperative deficit (p<0.001). The most common complication was anosmia (29.1%) and there was no mortality. The frontobasal interhemispheric approach is safe and provides a direct anatomical approach to tuberculum sellae meningiomas with relatively low incidence of complications. Patients with improved vision to good functional level had a better preoperative visual status.

A comparison between surgical resection in combination with WBRT or hypofractionated stereotactic irradiation in the treatment of solitary brain metastases

Peter Lindvall & Per Bergström & Per-Olov Löfroth &A. Tommy Bergenheim

Acta Neurochir (2009) 151:1053-1059

The standard treatment of solitary brain metastases previously has been tumour resection in combination with whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT). Stereotactic radiotherapy has emerged as a non-invasive treatment option especially for small brain metastases. We now report our results on resection + WBRT or hypofractionated stereotactic irradiation (HCSRT) in the treatment of solitary brain metastases.

Between 1993 and 2004 patients with metastatic cancer and solitary brain metastases were selected for surgical resection + WBRT or HCSRT alone at the Umeå University Hospital. Fifty-nine patients were treated with surgical resection + WBRT (34 male, 25 female, mean age 63.3 years). Forty-seven patients were treated with HCSRT alone (15 male, 32 female, mean age 64.9 years). Findings In patients followed radiologically, 28% treated with resection + WBRT showed a local recurrence after a median time of 8.0 months, whereas there was a lack of local control in 16% in the HCSRT group after a median time of 3.0 months. There was a significantly longer survival time for patients treated with resection + WBRT (median 7.9, mean 12.9 months) compared to HCSRT (median 5.0, mean 7.6 months). Even in patients with a tumour volume <10 cc, there was a significantly longer survival in favour of resection + WBRT (median 8.4, mean 17.4 months) compared to HCSRT (median 5.0, mean 7.9 months).

Conclusion This retrospective and non-randomised study indicates that surgical resection in combination with WBRT may be an option even for small brain metastases suitable for treatment with HCSRT. Since survival and local control following resection + WBRT was at least as favourable as compared to HCSRT alone, tumour location and expected neurological outcome may be the strongest aspect when selecting treatment modality.

Lessons learned by personal failures in aneurysm surgery: what went wrong, and why?

Knut Wester

Acta Neurochir (2009) 151:1013–1024


Purpose To analyse the intraoperative complications of a single neurosurgeon, with emphasis on devastating intraoperative incidents, and how they possibly could have been avoided.
Methods All the patients operated upon by the author between 1986 and 2002, i.e. 252 patients with 270 craniotomies for 294 aneurysms, were included. All intraoperative events that possibly could have influenced the clinical outcome were recorded prospectively.
Results A total of 16 cases (6.3% of all the patients) with serious intraoperative incidents were identified. In 11 cases (3.6% of all aneurysms), an intraoperative rupture occurred that was judged to have had mild to severe consequences for the patient. In another four patients (1.6% of all patients), all with unruptured, large aneurysms (>15 mm) of the carotid or middle cerebral arteries, a major vessel occlusion occurred inadvertently. In one patient with a large, unruptured MCA aneurysm, a clip slipped after the closure of the wound, causing a fatal intracerebral haemorrhage. These events had a severe impact on the clinical outcome. In retrospect, most of these incidents could, and should have, been avoided.

Conclusions It is recommended to start the training of new aneurysm surgeons on patients with small, supratentorial, unruptured aneurysms, followed by ruptured aneurysms in all other supratentorial locations than the anterior communicating artery (ACOM), which is the supratentorial location that should be the last step in the training of independent aneurysm surgeons.

Functional outcome after language mapping for insular WHO Grade II gliomas in the dominant hemisphere: experience with 24 patients

Neurosurg Focus 27 (2):E7, 2009
Despite the report of recent experiences of insular surgery in the past decade, there has been no series specifically dedicated to studying functional outcome following resection of insular WHO Grade II gliomas involving the dominant hemisphere, in patients with no or only mild preoperative language deficit. In this article, the authors analyze the contribution of awake mapping for preservation of brain function, especially language, in a homogeneous series of 24 patients who underwent surgery for insular Grade II gliomas within the dominant insular lobe.

Methods
Twenty-four patients underwent surgery for an insular Grade II glioma involving the dominant hemisphere (22 left, 2 right), revealed by seizures in all but 1 case. The preoperative neurological examination result was normal in 17 patients (71%), whereas 7 patients presented with language disorders detected using an accurate language assessment performed by a speech therapist. All surgeries were performed on awake patients utilizing intra-operative language mapping involving cortical and subcortical stimulation.

Results
There were no intrasurgical complications or postsurgical sensorimotor deficits. Despite an immediate postoperative language worsening in 12 cases (50%), all patients recovered to a normal status within 3 months, and 6 cases even improved in comparison with their preoperative examination results. The 24 patients returned to normal social and professional lives. Moreover, the surgery had a favorable impact on epilepsy in all but 4 cases (83%). On control MR imaging, 62.5% of resections were total or subtotal. Three patients underwent a second or third awake surgery, with no additional deficit. All but 2 patients (92%) are alive after a mean follow-up of 3 years (range 3–133 months).

Conclusions
Although insular surgery was long believed to be too risky, the present results show that the rate of permanent deficit, especially dysphasia, following resection of Grade II gliomas involving the dominant insula has been dramatically reduced (none in this patient series), thanks to the systematic use of intraoperative awake mapping, even in cases of repeated operations. Furthermore, patient quality of life may be improved due to a decrease of epilepsy after surgery. Thus, the authors suggest systematically considering resection when an insular Grade II glioma is diagnosed after seizures in a patient with no or mild deficit, even a glioma invading the dominant hemisphere.

Neurosurgical management of intracranial epidermoid tumors in children

J Neurosurg Pediatrics 4:91-96, 2009

Epidermoid tumors are benign lesions representing 1% of all intracranial tumors. There have been few pediatric series of intracranial epidermoid tumors reported previously. The authors present their experience in the management of these lesions.

The neurosurgical database at the Hospital for Sick Children was searched for children with surgically managed intracranial epidermoid tumors. The patients’ charts were reviewed for demographic data, details of clinical presentation, surgical therapy, and follow-up. Ethics board approval was obtained for this study.

Seven children, all girls, were identified who met the inclusion criteria between 1980 and 2007. The average age at surgery was 11.2 years (range 8–15 years), and the mean maximal tumor diameter was 2.1 cm. Headache was the most common presenting symptom, and 1 tumor was found incidentally. Most patients had normal neurological examinations, but meningism was found in 2 cases. There were 3 cerebellopontine angle lesions, 1 pontomedullary lesion, and 3 supratentorial tumors. Hydrocephalus developed in 1 patient after aseptic meningitis, and she underwent shunt placement. There were no operative deaths. Complete resection could be performed in 2 patients. One patient experienced a small recurrence that did not require a repeated operation, while 1 subtotally resected lesion recurred and the patient underwent a second operation.

Conclusions: Intracranial epidermoid tumors are rare in the pediatric population. Total resection is desirable to minimize the risk of postoperative aseptic meningitis, hydrocephalus, and tumor recurrence. Aggressive neurosurgical resection may be associated with cranial nerve or ischemic deficits, however. In these cases, neurosurgical judgment at the time of surgery is warranted to ensure maximum resection while minimizing postoperative neurological deficits.

Long-Term Outcome of Patients With Multiple Cerebral Cavernous Malformations

Neurosurgery: September 2009 – Volume 65 – Issue 3 – p 450-455

Multiple cerebral cavernous malformations (MCCMs) typically occur in patients with a family history of these lesions. Literature on MCCMs is scarce, and little is known about their natural history.

Of 264 consecutive patients with cerebral cavernomas treated at the Department of Neurosurgery, Helsinki University Central Hospital, in the past 27 years, 33 patients had MCCMs. Lesions were categorized according to the Zabramski classification scale. Follow-up questionnaires were sent to all patients. Outcome was assessed using the Glasgow Outcome Scale, and amelioration of epilepsy was assessed using the Engel scale. All clinical data were analyzed retrospectively.

The mean age of patients at diagnosis was 44 years. Sex presentation was almost equal. Nine percent of all patients had a family history of the disease. Patients presented with epilepsy, acute headache, and focal neurological deficits. MCCMs were incidental findings in 2 patients. Altogether, 416 cavernomas were found: 70% supratentorial and 30% infratentorial. Fifteen patients had symptomatic hemorrhage before admission to our department. Surgery was performed on 18 patients. In most cases, the largest cavernoma was removed. Postoperatively, 1 patient experienced temporary hemiparesis, and another developed permanent motor dysphasia. No mortalities occurred. The mean follow-up time was 7.7 years. Twenty-six patients (79%) were in good condition. Among patients with epilepsy who underwent lesionectomy, 70% had an Engel class I outcome. On follow-up magnetic resonance imaging, 52 de novo cavernomas were found.

Surgical treatment of patients with MCCMs is safe. An extirpation of the clinically active cavernoma prevents further bleedings and improves outcome of epilepsy.

Management of disc herniations with bi-radicular symptoms via combined lateral and interlaminar approach

Neurosurg Review

Large lumbosacral disc herniations causing bi-radicular symptoms are very rare clinical entities and may present a surgical challenge. This study was undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of the simply modified combined lateral and interlaminar approach for the treatment of these unique disc herniations. Between 2000 and 2005, 18 patients with bi-radicular symptoms secondary to large disc herniations of the lumbar spine underwent surgery. There were 13 men and five women, ranging in age between 25 and 64 years (mean 54.3 years). In this three-step operation, the osseous areas that are not essential for the facet joint were removed and both upper and lower nerve roots were decompressed. There were no intraoperative or postoperative complications, except transient dysesthesia in one (5.5%) patient. The mean follow-up period was 62.6 months (range 36–96 months). At the latest follow-up examination, outcomes using the Macnab classification were excellent in 13 patients (72.2 %), good in four (22.2%) and fair in one (5.5%). Recurrent disc herniations and/or instability, either symptomatic or radiographic, have not occurred as a result of the procedure during the follow-up period. The combined approach described here is a safe and effective procedure in the surgical treatment of this subtype of disc herniations with bi-radicular involvement. It permits optimum decompression of both nerve roots, avoiding the risk of secondary spinal instability.

Risk of Retreatment for Aneurysm Recurrence or Residual After Initial Treatment By Endovascular Coiling

Neurosurgery: August 2009 – Volume 65 – Issue 2 – p 311-315

Endovascular treatment of intracranial aneurysms is less invasive than surgical repair but poses a higher risk for aneurysm recurrence, which may necessitate retreatment, thus adding to the long-term risk. Cerebrovascular neurosurgeons from 8 institutions in the United States and Puerto Rico collaborated to assess the risk of retreatment for residual or recurrent aneurysms after the initial endovascular coiling.

Data were prospectively recorded for 311 patients with coiled intracranial aneurysms who underwent 352 retreatment procedures after angiographic or clinical recurrence (hemorrhage after initial coiling). Results analyzed included procedural complications and procedure-related morbidity. Morbidity was classified as major (modified Rankin scale score > 3) or minor, and temporary (<30 days) or permanent (>30 days).

Retreatment mortality was 0.85% per procedure and 0.96% per patient. Treatment-related rates were 0.32% per patient (0.28% per procedure) for permanent or temporary major disability; 1.29% for permanent minor disability (1.14% per procedure); and 1.61% for temporary minor disability (1.42% per procedure). Total risk for death or permanent major disability was 1.28% per patient and 1.13% per procedure.

Retreatment poses a low risk for patients with recurrences of intracranial aneurysms after initial coiling; this risk is smaller than that posed by the initial endovascular therapy. The risk of disability associated with retreatment for aneurysm recurrence after coiling must be considered prospectively in the choice of treatment but with the recognition that its effects are low in the overall management risk.

Endovascular treatment of brain arteriovenous malformations using onyx: Results of a prospective, multicenter study

Journal of Neuroradiology (36) 3: 147 152 (01/06/2009)

Background and purpose. – To evaluate the safety and efficacy of onyx for embolization of brain arteriovenous malformations (BAVM). Methods. – A prospective, multicenter study was conducted in France to evaluate embolization of BAVM with onyx. From May 2003 to March 2005, 50 patients (26 females, 24 mates; mean age: 34.8 years, range: 16-64 years) were included. Clinical. Presentation was haemorrhage in 22 patients (44.0%), seizures in 16 patients (32.0%), headaches in six patients (12.0%) and progressive neurological. Deficit in two cases (4.0%). Four patients were asymptomatic (8.0%). Results. – One hundred and forty-nine sessions of embolization were performed: one to eight sessions/patient with a mean of 3.0 sessions. One hundred and sixteen sessions (77.9%) were performed with onyx, 20 sessions (13.4%) with glue and 13 sessions (8.7%) with onyx and glue. Symptomatic acute postembolization haemorrhage (APEH) was observed in four cases (8.0% per patient). At 1 month, morbidity and mortality related to the treatment were of 8% and 2%, respectively. Complete BAVM occlusion was obtained in 8.3% of cases. In the remaining cases, occlusion rate was between 99 and 80% in 56.3% of patients, 79 and 60% in 16.7%, and less than 60 in 18.7%. In case of incomplete occlusion, complementary treatment was performed by radiosurgery. Conclusion. – Onyx is suitable for BAVM embolization with acceptable morbidity and mortality.

Infratentorial ependymomas: prognostic factors and outcome analysis in a multi-center retrospective series of 106 adult patients

Acta Neurochirurgica (151)8: 947 960. 01/08/2009

This study was undertaken to analyze outcomes and to assess the prognostic impact of age, location, surgery, radiotherapy (RT), and histopathology in a series of adult infratentorial ependymomas. This was a retrospective study of a population of 106 adult patients with infratentorial ependymomas diagnosed between 1990 and 2004. A central pathological review of all cases was performed. Grading was according to the WHO and Marseille’s neograding classifications. The series consisted of 58 males (54.7%) and 48 females (45.3%) in the age range of 18-82 years. Using the WHO classification, 88 patients (83.0%) had grade II and 18 patients (17.0%) grade III ependymomas. Using the Marseille’s neograding system, 91 patients were low-grade and 15 high-grade. Gross total resection was achieved in 66 patients (62.3%). Thirty-seven patients (35.0%) received adjuvant RT. The 5- and 10-year overall survival rates for the entire cohort were 86.1% and 80.5%, respectively. On multivariate analysis, a preoperative Karnofski performance status score > 80, no recessus lateral extension and a low histological grade (Marseille’s grading) were associated with a longer overall survival. The 5- and 10-year progression-free survival rates for the entire cohort were 70.8% and 57.7%, respectively. On multivariate analysis, no recessus lateral extension, gross total resection and a low histological grade (Marseille’s grading) were associated with a longer progression-free survival. Adjuvant RT was significantly associated with a better overall and progression-free survival in incompletely resected WHO grade II ependymomas. This study highlights the key role of histology in the clinical outcome and the fact that gross total resection is a main prognostic factor and the treatment of choice for posterior fossa ependymomas. The use of adjuvant RT in patients with incompletely resected WHO grade II ependymomas appears beneficial, but its effect on high-grade tumors remains to be determined.