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

Robot-assisted multi-level anterior lumbar interbody fusion: an anatomical study

Acta Neurochirurgica (2018) 160:1891–189

Minimally invasive surgical approaches still provide limited exposure. Access to the L2–L5 intervertebral discs during a single procedure is challenging and often requires repositioning of the patient and adopting an alternative approach.

Objectives Investigate the windows to the L2–L5 intervertebral discs to assess the dimensions of the interbody implants suitable for the procedure and evaluate the feasibility of multi-level lumbar intervertebral disc surgery in robot-assisted surgery (RAS)

Methods Sixteen fresh-frozen cadaveric specimens underwent a retroperitoneal approach to access the L2–L5 intervertebral discs. The L2–L3 to L4–L5 windows were defined as the distance between the left lateral border of the aorta (or nearest common iliac vessel) and the medial border of the psoas, measured in a static state and after gentle medial retraction of the vascular structures. Two living porcine specimens and one cadaveric specimen underwent da Vinci robot-assisted transperitoneal approach to expose the L2–L3 to L4–L5 intervertebral discs and perform multi-level discectomy and interbody implant placement.

Results The L2–L3 to L4–L5 intervertebral disc windows significantly increased from a static to a retracted state (p < 0.05). The mean L2–L3, L3–L4, and L4–L5 windows measured respectively 20.1, 21.6, and 19.6 mm in the static state, and 27.2, 30.9, and 30.3 mm after gentle vascular retraction. The intervertebral windows from L2–L3 to L4–L5 were successfully exposed through an anterior transperitoneal approach with the da Vinci robot on the cadaveric and living porcine specimens, and interbody implants were inserted.

Conclusion RAS appears to be feasible for a mini-invasive multi-level lumbar intervertebral disc surgery. The RAS procedure, longer and more expensive than conventional MIS approaches, should be reserved for elective patients.

 

Veins of the Cerebellopontine Angle and Specific Complications of Sacrifice, with Special Emphasis on Microvascular Decompression Surgery

World Neurosurg. (2018) 117:422-432

Good knowledge of the anatomy of veins is of crucial importance for the functional surgery of cranial nerve (CN) disorders, especially microvascular decompression for trigeminal neuralgia (TN), hemifacial spasm (HFS), and vagoglossopharyngeal neuralgia (VGPN). Although controversial, veins may be involved in neurovascular conflicts and may constitute dangerous obstacles to access to the CNs. With the aim of estimating the implications of veins in those diseases and evaluating the linked surgical difficulties, we carried out a review of the literature from 2000 to the end of February 2018.

For this review, articles found on PubMed that gave enough precision about veins were retained (39 articles on TN, 38 on HFS, 8 on VGPN, and 26 on complications related to venous sacrifices). Before this review, we described a simplified anatomic classification of veins, amenable to easing the surgical approach to CNs.

Access to the trigeminal nerve, via the infratentorial-supracerebellar route, is almost always affected by the superficial superior petrosal venous system, whereas access to the facial and cochleovestibular complex as well as to the lower CNs, through the infrafloccular trajectory, is almost always exempt of important venous obstacles. Respective incidences of venous compression at the origin of hyperactive CN syndromes are given. The percentages of a venous conflict alone were calculated at 10.8% for TN, 0.1% for HFS, and 2.9% for VGPN.

We review the complications considered in relation with venous sacrifices. Precautions to minimize these complications are given.

Microsurgical anatomy and approaches around the lateral recess with special reference to entry into the pons

J Neurosurg 129:740–751, 2018

The lateral recess is a unique structure communicating between the ventricle and cistern, which is exposed when treating lesions involving the fourth ventricle and the brainstem with surgical approaches such as the transcerebellomedullary fissure approach. In this study, the authors examined the microsurgical anatomy around the lateral recess, including the fiber tracts, and analyzed their findings with respect to surgical exposure of the lateral recess and entry into the lower pons.

METHODS Ten cadaveric heads were examined with microsurgical techniques, and 2 heads were examined with fiber dissection to clarify the anatomy between the lateral recess and adjacent structures. The lateral and medial routes directed to the lateral recess in the transcerebellomedullary fissure approach were demonstrated. A morphometric study was conducted in the 10 cadaveric heads (20 sides).

RESULTS The lateral recess was classified into medullary and cisternal segments. The medial and lateral routes in the transcerebellomedullary fissure approach provided access to approximately 140°–150° of the posteroinferior circumference of the lateral recess. The floccular peduncle ran rostral to the lateral recess, and this region was considered to be a potential safe entry zone to the lower pons. By appropriately selecting either route, medial-to-lateral or lateral-to-medial entry axis is possible, and combining both routes provided wide exposure of the lower pons around the lateral recess.

CONCLUSIONS The medial and lateral routes of the transcerebellomedullary fissure approach provided wide exposure of the lateral recess, and incision around the floccular peduncle is a potential new safe entry zone to the lower pons.

 

The Surgical White Matter Chassis: A Practical 3-Dimensional Atlas for Planning Subcortical Surgical Trajectories

Operative Neurosurgery 14:469–482, 2018

The imperative role of white matter preservation in improving surgical functional outcomes is now recognized. Understanding the fundamental white matter framework is essential for translating the anatomic and functional literature into practical strategies for surgical planning and neuronavigation.

OBJECTIVE: To present a 3-dimensional (3-D) atlas of the structural and functional scaffolding of human white matter—ie, a “Surgical White Matter Chassis (SWMC)”—that can be used as an organizational tool in designing precise and individualized trajectorybased neurosurgical corridors.

METHODS: Preoperative diffusion tensor imaging magnetic resonance images were obtained prior to each of our last 100 awake subcortical resections, using a clinically available 3.0 Tesla system. Tractography was generated using a semiautomated deterministic global seeding algorithm. Tract data were conceptualized as a 3-D modular chassis based on the 3 major fiber types, organized along median and paramedian planes, with special attention to limbic and neocortical association tracts and their interconnections.

RESULTS: We discuss practical implementation of the SWMC concept, and highlight its use in planning select illustrative cases. Emphasis has been given to developing practical understanding of the arcuate fasciculus, uncinate fasciculus, and vertical rami of the superior longitudinal fasciculus, which are often-neglected fibers in surgical planning.

CONCLUSION: A working knowledge of white matter anatomy, as embodied in the SWMC, is of paramount importance to the planning of parafascicular surgical trajectories, and can serve as a basis for developing reliable safe corridors, or modules, toward the goal of “zerofootprint” transsulcal access to the subcortical space.

 

 

Symmetry of the arcuate fasciculus and its impact on language performance of patients with brain tumors in the language-dominant hemisphere

J Neurosurg 127:1407–1416, 2017

Cerebral damage in frontal, parietal, and temporal brain areas and, probably more importantly, their interconnections can lead to deficits in language. However, neural plasticity and repair allow the brain to partly compensate for neural injury, mediated by both functional and structural changes. In this study, the authors sought to systematically investigate the relationship between language performance in brain tumor patients and structural perisylvian pathways (i.e., the arcuate fasciculus [AF]) using probabilistic fiber tracking on diffusion tensor imaging. The authors used a previously proposed model in which the AF is divided into anterior, long, and posterior segments. The authors hypothesized that right-handed patients with gliomas in the language-dominant (left) hemisphere would benefit from a more symmetrical or right-lateralized language pathway in terms of better preservation of language abilities. Furthermore, they investigated to what extent specific tumor characteristics, including proximity to the AF, affect language outcome in such patients.

METHODS Twenty-seven right-handed patients (12 males and 15 females; mean age 52 ± 16 years) with 11 low-grade and 16 high-grade gliomas of the left hemisphere underwent 3-T diffusion-weighted MRI (30 directions) and language assessment as part of presurgical planning. For a systematic quantitative evaluation of the AF, probabilistic fiber tracking with a 2 regions of interest approach was carried out. Volumes of the 3 segments of both hemispheric AFs were evaluated by quantifying normalized and thresholded pathways. Resulting values served to generate the laterality index of the AFs.

RESULTS Patients without language deficits tended to have an AF that was symmetric or lateralized to the right, whereas patients with deficits in language significantly more often demonstrated a left-lateralized posterior segment of the AF. Patients with high-grade gliomas had more severe language deficits than those with low-grade gliomas. Backward logistic regression revealed the laterality index of the posterior AF segment and tumor grade as the only independent statistically significant predictors for language deficits in this cohort.

CONCLUSIONS In addition to the well-known fact that tumor entity influences behavioral outcome, the authors’ findings suggest that the right homologs of structural language-associated pathways could be supportive for language function and facilitate compensation mechanisms after brain damage in functionally eloquent areas. This further indicates that knowledge about preoperative functional redistribution (identified by neurofunctional imaging) increases the chance for total or near-total resections of tumors in eloquent areas. In the future, longitudinal studies with larger groups are mandatory to overcome the methodological limitations of this cross-sectional study and to map neuroplastic changes associated with language performance and rehabilitation in brain tumor patients.

 

The superior fovea triangle approach: a novel safe entry zone to the brainstem

J Neurosurg 127:1134–1138, 2017

The authors describe a safe entry zone, the superior fovea triangle, on the floor of the fourth ventricle for resection of deep dorsal pontine lesions at the level of the facial colliculus.

Clinical data from a patient undergoing a suboccipital telovelar transsuperior fovea triangle approach to a deep pontine cavernous malformation were reviewed and supplemented with 6 formalin-fixed adult human brainstem and 2 silicone-injected adult human cadaveric heads using the fiber dissection technique to illustrate the utility of this novel safe entry zone.

The superior fovea has a triangular shape that is an important landmark for the motor nucleus of the trigeminal, abducens, and facial nerves. The inferior half of the superior fovea triangle may be incised to remove deep dorsal pontine lesions through the floor of the fourth ventricle.

The superior fovea triangle may be used as a safe entry zone for dorsally located lesions at the level of the facial colliculus.

Quantitative anatomical analysis and clinical experience with mini-pterional and mini-orbitozygomatic approaches for intracranial aneurysm surgery

J Neurosurg 127:646–659, 2017

The aim of this investigation was to modify the mini-pterional and mini-orbitozygomatic (mini-OZ) approaches in order to reduce the amount of tissue traumatization caused and to compare the use of the 2 approaches in the removal of circle of Willis aneurysms based on the authors’ clinical experience and quantitative analysis.

METHODS Three formalin-fixed adult cadaveric heads injected with colored silicone were examined. Surgical freedom and angle of attack of the mini-pterional and mini-OZ approaches were measured at 9 anatomical points, and the measurements were compared. The authors also retrospectively reviewed the cases of 396 patients with ruptured and unruptured single aneurysms in the circle of Willis treated by microsurgical techniques at their institution between January 2006 and November 2014.

RESULTS A significant difference in surgical freedom was found in favor of the mini-pterional approach for access to the ipsilateral internal carotid artery (ICA) and middle cerebral artery (MCA) bifurcations, the most distal point of the ipsilateral posterior cerebral artery (PCA), and the basilar artery (BA) tip. No statistically significant differences were found between the mini-pterional and mini-OZ approaches for access to the posterior clinoid process, the most distal point of the superior cerebellar artery (SCA), the anterior communicating artery (ACoA), the contralateral ICA bifurcation, and the most distal point of the contralateral MCA. A trend toward increasing surgical freedom was found for the mini-OZ approach to the ACoA and the contralateral ICA bifurcation. The lengths exposed through the mini-OZ approach were longer than those exposed by the mini-pterional approach for the ipsilateral PCA segment (11.5 ± 1.9 mm) between the BA and the most distal point of the P2 segment of the PCA, for the ipsilateral SCA (10.5 ± 1.1 mm) between the BA and the most distal point of the SCA, and for the contralateral anterior cerebral artery (ACA) (21 ± 6.1 mm) between the ICA bifurcation and the most distal point of the A2 segment of the ACA. The exposed length of the contralateral MCA (24.2 ± 8.6 mm) between the contralateral ICA bifurcation and the most distal point of the MCA segment was longer through the mini-pterional approach. The vertical angle of attack (anteroposterior direction) was significantly greater with the minipterional approach than with the mini-OZ approach, except in the ACoA and contralateral ICA bifurcation. The horizontal angle of attack (mediolateral direction) was similar with both approaches, except in the ACoA, contralateral ICA bifurcation, and contralateral MCA bifurcation, where the angle was significantly increased in the mini-OZ approach.

CONCLUSIONS The mini-pterional and mini-OZ approaches, as currently performed in select patients, provide less tissue traumatization (i.e., less temporal muscle manipulation, less brain parenchyma retraction) from the skin to the aneurysm than standard approaches. Anatomical quantitative analysis showed that the mini-OZ approach provides better exposure to the contralateral side for controlling the contralateral parent arteries and multiple aneurysms. The mini-pterional approach has greater surgical freedom (maneuverability) for ipsilateral circle of Willis aneurysms.

 

Probabilistic versus deterministic tractography for delineation of the cortico-subthalamic hyperdirect pathway in patients with Parkinson disease selected for deep brain stimulation

J Neurosurg 126:1657–1668, 2017

Diffusion-weighted MRI (DWI) and tractography allows noninvasive mapping of the structural connections of the brain, and may provide important information for neurosurgical planning. The hyperdirect pathway, connecting the subthalamic nucleus (STN) with the motor cortex, is assumed to play a key role in mediating the effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS), which is an effective but poorly understood treatment for Parkinson disease. This study aimed to apply recent methodological advances in DWI acquisition and analysis to the delineation of the hyperdirect pathway in patients with Parkinson disease selected for surgery.

METHODS High spatial and angular resolution DWI data were acquired preoperatively from 5 patients with Parkinson disease undergoing DBS. The authors compared the delineated hyperdirect pathways and associated STN target maps generated by 2 different tractography methods: a tensor-based deterministic method, typically available in clinical settings, and an advanced probabilistic method based on constrained spherical deconvolution. In addition, 10 highresolution data sets with the same scanning parameters were acquired from a healthy control participant to assess the robustness of the tractography results.

RESULTS Both tractography approaches identified connections between the ipsilateral motor cortex and the STN. However, the 2 methods provided substantially different target regions in the STN, with the target center of gravity differing by > 1.4 mm on average. The probabilistic method (based on constrained spherical deconvolution) plausibly reconstructed a continuous set of connections from the motor cortex, terminating in the dorsolateral region of the STN. In contrast, the tensor-based method reconstructed a comparatively sparser and more variable subset of connections. Furthermore, across the control scans, the probabilistic method identified considerably more consistent targeting regions within the STN compared with the deterministic tensor-based method, which demonstrated a 1.9–2.4 times higher variation.

CONCLUSIONS These data provide a strong impetus for the use of a robust probabilistic tractography framework based on constrained spherical deconvolution, or similar advanced DWI models, in clinical settings. The inherent limitations and demonstrated inaccuracy of the tensor-based method leave it questionable for use in high-precision stereotactic DBS surgery. The authors have also described a straightforward method for importing tractography-derived information into any clinical neuronavigation system, based on the generation of track-density images.

Surgical Approaches to the Temporal Horn: An Anatomic Analysis of White Matter Tract Interruption

Operative Neurosurgery 13:258–270, 2017

Surgical access to the temporal horn is necessary to treat tumors and vascular lesions, but is used mainly in patients with mediobasal temporal epilepsy. The surgical approaches to this cavity fall into 3 primary categories: lateral, inferior, and transsylvian. The current neurosurgical literature has underestimated the interruption of involved fiber bundles and the correlated clinical manifestations.

OBJECTIVE: To delineate the interruption of fiber bundles during the different approaches to the temporal horn.

METHODS:We simulated the lateral (trans-middle temporal gyrus), inferior (transparahippocampal gyrus), and transsylvian approaches in 20 previously frozen, formalin-fixed human brains (40 hemispheres). Fiber dissection was then done along the lateral and inferior aspects under the operating microscope. Each stage of dissection and its respective fiber tract interruption were defined.

RESULTS: The lateral (trans-middle temporal gyrus) approach interrupted “U” fibers, the superior longitudinal fasciculus (inferior arm), occipitofrontal fasciculus (ventral segment), uncinate fasciculus (dorsolateral segment), anterior commissure (posterior segment), temporopontine, inferior thalamic peduncle (posterior fibers), posterior thalamic peduncle (anterior portion), and tapetum fibers. The inferior (transparahippocampal gyrus) approach interrupted “U” fibers, the cingulum (inferior arm), and fimbria, and transected the hippocampal formation. The transsylvian approach interrupted “U”fibers (anterobasal region of the extreme capsule), the uncinate fasciculus (ventromedial segment), and anterior commissure (anterior segment), and transected the anterosuperior aspect of the amygdala.

CONCLUSION: White matter dissection improves our knowledge of the complex anatomy surrounding the temporal horn. Identifying the fiber bundles at risk during each surgical approach adds important information for choosing the appropriate surgical strategy.

 

Three-Dimensional Printed Modeling of Diffuse Low-Grade Gliomas and Associated White Matter Tract Anatomy

Neurosurgery 80:635–645, 2017

Diffuse low-grade gliomas (DLGGs) represent several pathological entities that infiltrate and invade cortical and subcortical structures in the brain.

OBJECTIVE: To describe methods for rapid prototyping of DLGGs and surgically relevant anatomy.

METHODS: Using high-definition imaging data and rapid prototyping technologies, we were able to generate 3 patient DLGGs to scale and represent the associated whitematter tracts in 3 dimensions using advanced diffusion tensor imaging techniques.

RESULTS: This report represents a novel application of 3-dimensional (3-D) printing in neurosurgery and a means to model individualized tumors in 3-D space with respect to subcorticalwhite matter tract anatomy. Faculty and resident evaluations of this technology were favorable at our institution.

CONCLUSION: Developing an understanding of the anatomic relationships existing within individuals is fundamental to successful neurosurgical therapy. Imaging-based rapid prototyping may improve on our ability to plan for and treat complex neuro-oncologic pathology.

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.

The paramedian supracerebellar transtentorial approach to the posterior fusiform gyrus

the-paramedian-supracerebellar-transtentorial-approach-to-the-posterior-fusiform-gyrus

Acta Neurochir (2016) 158:2149–2154

The posterior fusiform gyrus lies in a surgically challenging region. Several approaches have been described to access this anatomical area. The paramedian supracerebellar transtentorial (SCTT) approach benefits from minimal disruption of normal neurovascular tissue. The aim of this study was to demonstrate its application to access the posterior fusiform gyrus.

Methods Three brains and six cadaveric heads were examined. A stepwise dissection of the SCTT approach to the posterior fusiform gyrus was performed. Local cortical anatomy was studied. The operability score was applied for comparative analysis on surgical anatomy.

Results The major posterior landmark used to identify the fusiform gyrus with respect to the medial occipitotemporal gyrus was the collateral sulcus, which commonly bifurcated at its caudal extent. Compared with other surgical approaches addressed to access the region, SCTT demonstrated the best operability in terms of maneuverability arc. Favorable tentorial anatomy is the only limiting factor.

Conclusions The supracerebellar transtentorial approach is able to provide access to the posterior fusiform gyrus via a minimally disruptive, anatomic, microsurgical corridor.

Virtual and stereoscopic anatomy: when virtual reality meets medical education

virtual-and-stereoscopic-anatomy-when-virtual-reality-meets-medical-education

J Neurosurg 125:1105–1111, 2016

The authors sought to construct, implement, and evaluate an interactive and stereoscopic resource for teaching neuroanatomy, accessible from personal computers.

Methods Forty fresh brains (80 hemispheres) were dissected. Images of areas of interest were captured using a manual turntable and processed and stored in a 5337-image database. Pedagogic evaluation was performed in 84 graduate medical students, divided into 3 groups: 1 (conventional method), 2 (interactive nonstereoscopic), and 3 (interactive and stereoscopic). The method was evaluated through a written theory test and a lab practicum.

Results Groups 2 and 3 showed the highest mean scores in pedagogic evaluations and differed significantly from Group 1 (p < 0.05). Group 2 did not differ statistically from Group 3 (p > 0.05). Size effects, measured as differences in scores before and after lectures, indicate the effectiveness of the method. ANOVA results showed significant difference (p < 0.05) between groups, and the Tukey test showed statistical differences between Group 1 and the other 2 groups (p < 0.05). No statistical differences between Groups 2 and 3 were found in the practicum. However, there were significant differences when Groups 2 and 3 were compared with Group 1 (p < 0.05).

Conclusions The authors conclude that this method promoted further improvement in knowledge for students and fostered significantly higher learning when compared with traditional teaching resources.

Human Connectome-Based Tractographic Atlas of the Brainstem Connections and Surgical Approaches

Human Connectome-Based Tractographic Atlas of the Brainstem Connections and Surgical Approaches

Neurosurgery 79:437–455, 2016

The brainstem is one of the most challenging areas for the neurosurgeon because of the limited space between gray matter nuclei and white matter pathways. Diffusion tensor imaging–based tractography has been used to study the brainstem structure, but the angular and spatial resolution could be improved further with advanced diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

OBJECTIVE: To construct a high–angular/spatial resolution, wide-population–based, comprehensive tractography atlas that presents an anatomical review of the surgical approaches to the brainstem.

METHODS: We applied advanced diffusion MRI fiber tractography to a population-based atlas constructed with data from a total of 488 subjects from the Human Connectome Project-488. Five formalin-fixed brains were studied for surgical landmarks. Luxol Fast Blue–stained histological sections were used to validate the results of tractography.

RESULTS: We acquired the tractography of the major brainstem pathways and validated them with histological analysis. The pathways included the cerebellar peduncles, corticospinal tract, corticopontine tracts, medial lemniscus, lateral lemniscus, spinothalamic tract, rubrospinal tract, central tegmental tract, medial longitudinal fasciculus, and dorsal longitudinal fasciculus. Then, the reconstructed 3-dimensional brainstem structure was sectioned at the level of classic surgical approaches, namely supracollicular, infracollicular, lateral mesencephalic, perioculomotor, peritrigeminal, anterolateral (to the medulla), and retro-olivary approaches.

CONCLUSION: The advanced diffusion MRI fiber tracking is a powerful tool to explore the brainstem neuroanatomy and to achieve a better understanding of surgical approaches.

Microsurgical anatomy and internal architecture of the brainstem

Microsurgical anatomy and internal architecture of the brainstem in 3D images

J Neurosurg 124:1377–1395, 2016

Brainstem surgery remains a challenge for the neurosurgeon despite recent improvements in neuroimaging, microsurgical techniques, and electrophysiological monitoring. A detailed knowledge of the microsurgical anatomy of the brainstem surface and its internal architecture is mandatory to plan appropriate approaches to the brainstem, to choose the safest point of entry, and to avoid potential surgical complications.

Methods: An extensive review of the literature was performed regarding the brainstem surgical approaches, and their correlations with the pertinent anatomy were studied and illustrated through dissection of human brainstems properly fixed with 10% formalin. The specimens were dissected using the fiber dissection technique, under ×6 to ×40 magnification. 3D stereoscopic photographs were obtained (anaglyphic 3D) for better illustration of this study.

Results: The main surgical landmarks and their relationship with the cerebellum and vascular structures were identified on the surface of the brainstem. The arrangements of the white matter (ascending and descending pathways as well as the cerebellar peduncles) were demonstrated on each part of the brainstem (midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata), with emphasis on their relationships with the surface. The gray matter, constituted mainly by nuclei of the cranial nerves, was also studied and illustrated.

Conclusions: The objective of this article is to review the microsurgical anatomy and the surgical approaches pertinent to the brainstem, providing a framework of its external and internal architecture to guide the neurosurgeon during its related surgical procedures.

The nondecussating pathway of the dentatorubrothalamic tract in humans

The nondecussating pathway of the dentatorubrothalamic tract in humans

J Neurosurg 124:1406–1412, 2016

The dentatorubrothalamic tract (DRTT) is the major efferent cerebellar pathway arising from the dentate nucleus (DN) and decussating to the contralateral red nucleus (RN) and thalamus. Surprisingly, hemispheric cerebellar output influences bilateral limb movements. In animals, uncrossed projections from the DN to the ipsilateral RN and thalamus may explain this phenomenon. The aim of this study was to clarify the anatomy of the dentatorubrothalamic connections in humans.

Methods The authors applied advanced deterministic fiber tractography to a template of 488 subjects from the Human Connectome Project (Q1–Q3 release, WU-Minn HCP consortium) and validated the results with microsurgical dissection of cadaveric brains prepared according to Klingler’s method.

Results The authors identified the “classic” decussating DRTT and a corresponding nondecussating path (the nondecussating DRTT, nd-DRTT). Within each of these 2 tracts some fibers stop at the level of the RN, forming the dentatorubro tract and the nondecussating dentatorubro tract. The left nd-DRTT encompasses 21.7% of the tracts and 24.9% of the volume of the left superior cerebellar peduncle, and the right nd-DRTT encompasses 20.2% of the tracts and 28.4% of the volume of the right superior cerebellar peduncle.

Conclusions The connections of the DN with the RN and thalamus are bilateral, not ipsilateral only. This affords a potential anatomical substrate for bilateral limb motor effects originating in a single cerebellar hemisphere under physiological conditions, and for bilateral limb motor impairment in hemispheric cerebellar lesions such as ischemic stroke and hemorrhage, and after resection of hemispheric tumors and arteriovenous malformations. Furthermore, when a lesion is located on the course of the dentatorubrothalamic system, a careful preoperative tractographic analysis of the relationship of the DRTT, nd-DRTT, and the lesion should be performed in order to tailor the surgical approach properly and spare all bundles.

Venous preservation in the anterior transpetrosal approach

Venous preservation in the anterior transpetrosal approach

J Neurosurg 124:432–439, 2016

The drainage of the superficial middle cerebral vein (SMCV) has previously been classified into 4 subtypes. Extradural procedures and dural incisions during the anterior transpetrosal approach (ATPA) may interrupt the route of drainage from the SMCV. In this study, the authors examined the relationship between anatomical variations in the SMCV and the corresponding surgical modifications to the ATPA that are necessary for venous preservation.

Methods This study included 48 patients treated via the ATPA in whom the SMCV was examined using 3D CT venography. The drainage patterns of the SMCV were classified into 3 types: cavernous or absent (Type 1), sphenobasal (Type 2), and sphenopetrosal (Type 3). Type 2 was subdivided into medial (Type 2a) and lateral (Type 2b), and Type 3 was subdivided into vein (Type 3a), vein and sinus (Type 3b), and sinus (Type 3c). The authors performed 3 ATPA modifications to preserve the SMCV: epidural anterior petrosectomy with subdural visualization of the sphenobasal vein (SBV), modification of the dural incision, and subdural anterior petrosectomy. Standard ATPA can be performed with Type 1, Type 2a, and Type 3a drainage. With Type 2b drainage, an epidural anterior petrosectomy with subdural SBV visualization is appropriate. The dural incision should be modified in Type 3b. With Type 3c, a subdural anterior petrosectomy is required.

Results The frequency of each type was 68.7% (33/48) in Type 1, 8.3% (4/48) in Type 2a, 4.2% (2/48) in Type 2b, 14.6% (7/48) in Type 3a, 2.1% (1/48) in Type 3b, and 2.1% (1/48) in Type 3c. No venous complications were found.

Conclusions The authors propose an SMCV modified classification based on ATPA modifications required for venous preservation.

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.

Microvascular anatomy of the cerebellar parafloccular perforating space

Microvascular anatomy of parafloccular perforating space

J Neurosurg 124:440–449, 2016

The cerebellopontine angle is a common site for tumor growth and vascular pathologies requiring surgical manipulations that jeopardize cranial nerve integrity and cerebellar and brainstem perfusion. To date, a detailed study of vessels perforating the cisternal surface of the middle cerebellar peduncle—namely, the paraflocculus or parafloccular perforating space—has yet to be published. In this report, the perforating vessels of the anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA) in the parafloccular space, or on the cisternal surface of the middle cerebellar peduncle, are described to elucidate their relevance pertaining to microsurgery and the different pathologies that occur at the cerebellopontine angle.

Methods Fourteen cadaveric cerebellopontine cisterns (CPCs) were studied. Anatomical dissections and analysis of the perforating arteries of the AICA and posterior inferior cerebellar artery at the parafloccular space were recorded using direct visualization by surgical microscope, optical histology, and scanning electron microscope. A comprehensive review of the English-language and Spanish-language literature was also performed, and findings related to anatomy, histology, physiology, neurology, neuroradiology, microsurgery, and endovascular surgery pertaining to the cerebellar flocculus or parafloccular spaces are summarized.

Results A total of 298 perforating arteries were found in the dissected specimens, with a minimum of 15 to a maximum of 26 vessels per parafloccular perforating space. The average outer diameter of the cisternal portion of the perforating arteries was 0.11 ± 0.042 mm (mean ± SD) and the average length was 2.84 ± 1.2 mm. Detailed schematics and the surgical anatomy of the perforating vessels at the CPC and their clinical relevance are reported.

Conclusions The parafloccular space is a key entry point for many perforating vessels toward the middle cerebellar peduncle and lateral brainstem, and it must be respected and protected during surgical approaches to the cerebellopontine angle.

Deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus: histological verification and 9.4-T MRI correlation

Deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus- histological verification and 9

Acta Neurochir (2015) 157:2143–2147

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) using an MRI-guided and MRI-verified technique without microelectrode recording is an effective and safe surgical treatment for patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Objectives To assess the anatomical accuracy of lead placement after MRI-guided, MRI-verified STN DBS using postmortem histology and high-field MRI at 9.4 T.

Methods We conducted post-mortem analysis of a patient’s brain who had had MRI-guided, MRI-verified STN DBS for PD, using 9.4-TMRI and histology. After death, the brain was retrieved and a block including the electrode tracks down to the mesencephalon was examined with high-field MRI at 9.4 T and histological analysis.

Results High-field MRI images and corresponding histological examination showed that each electrode track ended within the intended target area, and that DBS did not cause significant neuroparenchymal tissue damage.

Conclusions This study supports the anatomical accuracy of the MRI-guided and MRI-verified method of STN DBS.

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

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