Subclassification of Koos grade 4 vestibular schwannoma: insights into tumor morphology for predicting postoperative facial nerve function

J Neurosurg 140:127–137, 2024

OBJECTIVE Koos grade 4 vestibular schwannoma (KG4VS) is a large tumor that causes brainstem displacement and is generally considered a candidate for surgery. Few studies have examined the relationship between morphological differences in KG4VS other than tumor size and postoperative facial nerve function. The authors have developed a landmark-based subclassification of KG4VS that provides insights into the morphology of this tumor and can predict the risk of facial nerve injury during microsurgery. The aims of this study were to morphologically verify the validity of this subclassification and to clarify the relationship of the position of the center of the vestibular schwannoma within the cerebellopontine angle (CPA) cistern on preoperative MR images to postoperative facial nerve function in patients who underwent microsurgical resection of a vestibular schwannoma.

METHODS In this paper, the authors classified KG4VSs into two subtypes according to the position of the center of the KG4VS within the CPA cistern relative to the perpendicular bisector of the porus acusticus internus, which was the landmark for the subclassification. KG4VSs with ventral centers to the landmark were classified as type 4V, and those with dorsal centers as type 4D. The clinical impact of this subclassification on short- and long-term postoperative facial nerve function was analyzed.

RESULTS In this study, the authors retrospectively reviewed patients with vestibular schwannoma who were treated surgically via a retrosigmoid approach between January 2010 and March 2020. Of the 107 patients with KG4VS who met the inclusion criteria, 45 (42.1%) were classified as having type 4V (KG4VSs with centers ventral to the perpendicular bisector of the porous acusticus internus) and 62 (57.9%) as having type 4D (those with centers dorsal to the perpendicular bisector). Ventral extension to the perpendicular bisector of the porus acusticus internus was significantly greater in the type 4V group than in the type 4D group (p < 0.001), although there was no significant difference in the maximal ventrodorsal diameter. The rate of preservation of favorable facial nerve function (House-Brackmann grades I and II) was significantly lower in the type 4V group than in the type 4D group in terms of both short-term (46.7% vs 85.5%, p < 0.001) and long-term (82.9% vs 96.7%, p = 0.001) outcomes. Type 4V had a significantly negative impact on short-term (OR 7.67, 95% CI 2.90–20.3; p < 0.001) and long-term (OR 6.05, 95% CI 1.04–35.0; p = 0.045) facial nerve function after surgery when age, tumor size, and presence of a fundal fluid cap were taken into account.

CONCLUSIONS The authors have delineated two different morphological subtypes of KG4VS. This subclassification could predict short- and long-term facial nerve function after microsurgical resection of KG4VS via the retrosigmoid approach. The risk of postoperative facial palsy when attempting total resection is greater for type 4V than for type 4D. This classification into types 4V and 4D could help to predict the risk of facial nerve injury and generate more individualized surgical strategies for KG4VSs with better facial nerve outcomes.


Preemptive strategies and lessons learned from complications encountered with microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm

J Neurosurg 140:248–259, 2024

OBJECTIVE Microvascular decompression (MVD) is the only curative treatment modality for hemifacial spasm (HFS). Although generally considered to be safe, this surgical procedure is surrounded by many risks and possible complications. The authors present the spectrum of complications that they met in their case series, the possible causes, and the strategies recommended to minimize them.

METHODS The authors reviewed a prospectively maintained database for MVDs performed from 2005 until 2021 and extracted relevant data including patient demographics, offending vessel(s), operative technique, outcome, and different complications. Descriptive statistics with uni- and multivariable analyses for the factors that may influence the seventh, eighth, and lower cranial nerves were performed.

RESULTS Data from 420 patients were obtained. Three hundred seventeen of 344 patients (92.2%) with a minimum follow-up of 12 months had a favorable outcome. The mean follow-up (standard deviation) was 51.3 ± 38.7 months. Immediate complications reached 18.8% (79/420). Complications persisted in only 7.14% of patients (30/420) including persistent hearing deficits (5.95%) and residual facial palsy (0.95%). Temporary complications included CSF leakage (3.10%), lower cranial nerve deficits (3.57%), meningitis (0.71%), and brainstem ischemia (0.24%). One patient died because of herpes encephalitis. Statistical analyses showed that the immediate postoperative disappearance of spasms and male gender are correlated with postoperative facial palsy, whereas combined vessel compressions involving the vertebral artery (VA) and anterior inferior cerebellar artery can predict postoperative hearing deterioration. VA compressions could predict postoperative lower cranial nerve deficits.

CONCLUSIONS MVD is safe and effective for treating HFS with a low rate of permanent morbidity. Proper patient positioning, sharp arachnoid dissection, and endoscopic visualization under facial and auditory neurophysiological monitoring are the key points to minimize the rate of complications in MVD for HFS.


Bilateral Low-Frequency Hearing Impairment After Microvascular Decompression Surgery

Neurosurgery 93:662–669, 2023

Hearing impairment is an important complication of microvascular decompression (MVD). In patients after MVD, we have occasionally noted slight to moderate hearing deterioration at low frequencies that is difficult to detect using pure tone average.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the incidence and features of low-frequency hearing impairment (LF-HI) after MVD and evaluate its associated factors.

METHODS: This single-center, retrospective observational study assessed the audiometric outcome of 270 patients who underwent MVD between January 2015 and December 2020. Preoperative and postoperative hearing levels were compared for each frequency. LF-HI was defined as a hearing deterioration of ≥15 dB at 125, 250, or 500 Hz. The incidence, symptoms, and associated factors of LF-HI were analyzed.

RESULTS: Statistical analysis of the patients overall demonstrated slight but significant decreases in the hearing level after MVD at lower frequencies on both the operative and contralateral sides. Eighty-one patients (30.0%) had LF-HI: 49 on the operative side, 24 on the contralateral side, and 8 on both sides, while pure tone average was worsened in 5 patients (1.8%). Subjective symptoms, including hearing deterioration, ear fullness, tinnitus, and dizziness, developed in 10.4% of the patients with LF-HI but improved subsequently within several weeks. “Older age” and “operative side” were associated with LF-HI.

CONCLUSION: Decreases in lower-frequency hearing levels in both the ipsilateral and contralateral (nonoperative) ears were observed after trigeminal neuralgia and hemifacial spasm surgery. LF-HI does not cause permanent symptoms but may be a noteworthy phenomenon, possibly involved in the contralateral hearing loss encountered occasionally after other types of posterior cranial fossa surgery.

Ocular Optical Coherence Tomography in the Evaluation of Sellar and Parasellar Masses

Neurosurgery 92:42–67, 2023

Compression of the anterior visual pathways by sellar and parasellar masses can produce irreversible and devastating visual loss.

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a noninvasive high-resolution ocular imaging modality routinely used in ophthalmology clinics for qualitative and quantitative analysis of optic nerve and retinal structures, including the retinal ganglion cells.

By demonstrating structural loss of the retinal ganglion cells whose axons form the optic nerve before decussating in the optic chiasm, OCT imaging of the optic nerve and retina provides an excellent tool for detection and monitoring of compressive optic neuropathies and chiasmopathies due to sellar and parasellar masses.

Recent studies have highlighted the role of OCT imaging in the diagnosis, follow-up, and prognostication of the visual outcomes in patients with chiasmal compression. OCT parameters of optic nerve and macular scans such as peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer thickness and macular ganglion cell thickness are correlated with the degree of visual loss; additionally, OCT can detect clinically significant optic nerve and chiasmal compression before visual field loss is revealed on automated perimetry. Preoperative values of OCT optic nerve and macular parameters represent a prognostic tool for postoperative visual outcome.

This review provides a qualitative analysis of the current applications of OCT imaging of the retina and optic nerve in patients with anterior visual pathway compression from sellar and parasellar masses. We also review the role of new technologies such as OCT-angiography, which could improve the prognostic ability of OCT to predict postoperative visual function.

Indication for a skull base approach in microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:3235–3246

A thorough observation of the root exit zone (REZ) and secure transposition of the offending arteries is crucial for a successful microvascular decompression (MVD) for hemifacial spasm (HFS). Decompression procedures are not always feasible in a narrow operative field through a retrosigmoid approach. In such instances, extending the craniectomy laterally is useful in accomplishing the procedure safely. This study aims to introduce the benefits of a skull base approach in MVD for HFS.

Methods The skull base approach was performed in twenty-eight patients among 335 consecutive MVDs for HFS. The site of the neurovascular compression (NVC), the size of the flocculus, and the location of the sigmoid sinus are measured factors in the imaging studies. The indication for a skull base approach is evaluated and verified retrospectively in comparison with the conventional retrosigmoid approach. Operative outcomes and long-term results were analyzed retrospectively.

Results The extended retrosigmoid approach was used for 27 patients and the retrolabyrinthine presigmoid approach was used in one patient. The measurement value including the site of NVC, the size of the flocculus, and the location of the sigmoid sinus represents well the indication of the skull base approach, which is significantly different from the conventional retrosigmoid approach. The skull base approach is useful for patients with medially located NVC, a large flocculus, or repeat MVD cases. The long-term result demonstrated favorable outcomes in patients with the skull base approach applied. Conclusions Preoperative evaluation for lateral expansion of the craniectomy contributes to a safe and secure MVD.

Prognostic factors for long-term outcomes of microvascular decompression in the treatment of glossopharyngeal neuralgia: a retrospective analysis of 97 patients

J Neurosurg 137:820–827, 2022

The authors aimed to investigate predictors of postoperative outcomes of microvascular decompression (MVD) for the treatment of glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN).

METHODS A cohort of 97 patients with medically refractory GPN who underwent MVD at the authors’ institution between January 2010 and July 2019 was retrospectively reviewed. Univariate and multivariate regression models were used to identify predictors of long-term outcome in patients after MVD.

RESULTS Eighty-nine patients (91.8%) reported immediate and complete relief of pain after the procedure. Of the remaining 8 patients (8.2%), 6 achieved partial pain relief and pain gradually diminished within 2 weeks after surgery, and 2 did not experience postoperative pain relief. In univariate Cox regression analysis, venous compression of the glossopharyngeal nerve root entry zone (HR 3.591, 95% CI 1.660–7.767, p = 0.001) and lower degree of neurovascular conflict (HR 2.449, 95% CI 1.177–5.096, p = 0.017) were significantly associated with worse pain-free survival. In multivariate Cox regression analysis, venous compression (HR 8.192, 95% CI 2.960–22.669, p < 0.001) and lower degree of neurovascular conflict (HR 5.450, 95% CI 2.069–14.356, p = 0.001) remained independently associated with worse pain-free survival.

CONCLUSIONS Venous compression of the glossopharyngeal nerve root entry zone and lower degree of neurovascular conflict were significantly correlated with shorter pain-free survival in patients who underwent MVD for GPN. Microvascular decompression is a safe, feasible, and durable approach with a low complication rate for the treatment of GPN.

Surgical management of cerebellopontine angle epidermoid cysts: an institutional experience of 10 years


Cerebellopontine angle (CPA) epidermoids, although of benign nature, are of considerable neurosurgical interest because of their close proximity and adherence to the cranial nerves and brain stem. In this paper, we describe our experience and attempt to correlate the final outcomes with the extent of surgical removal. The main objectives were to study various modes of surgical management of CPA epidermoids with regard to removal and preservation of the cranial nerves and also to evaluate the role of endoscopic assisted microsurgical excision thereby minimizing recurrences. This case series is one of the largest series reported so far worldwide.

Materials and methods: From 2006 to 2016, 139 patients with CPA epidermoids were operated at Grant Medical College and J. J. Hospital, Mumbai. All patients underwent detailed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of brain. Lesions were classified according Rogelio Revuelta-Gutierrez et al. with respect to their anatomic extent: grade I- within the boundaries of the CPA, grade II- extension to the suprasellar and perimesencephalic cisterns, and grade III-parasellar and temporomesial region involvement. Retrosigmoidal and subtemporal approaches were taken to excise the lesions. Endoscopic assisted microsurgical excision was done in cases with extensions beyond the CPA. Patient follow-up was based on outpatient repeated brain MRI studies.

Results: The mean duration of symptoms before surgery was 42 months (range, 2 months to 6 years). The mean follow-up period was 27 months (range, 2–60 months). The main presenting symptom was headache in 69% (96/139) of the cases and trigeminal neuralgia in 30% cases was the second most common cause of consultation. Seventy-five percent of patients had some degree of cranial nerve (CN) involvement. Retrosigmoid approach was taken in 92% patients and 7 patients with supratentorial extension were operated by combined retrosigmoidal and subtemporal approach. Endoscopic assisted microsurgical excision was done in 40% cases. Use of angled views by an endoscope helped to excise residual tumor in 47 (83%) patients. Complete excision was achieved in 67% of cases. In 33% patients, small capsular remnants could not be removed completely because of their adherence to vessels, brainstem and cranial nerves. Compared with their preoperative clinical status, 74% improved and 20% had persistent cranial nerve deficits in the first year of follow up.

Conclusions: Epidermoid cysts are challenging entities in current neurosurgery practice due to tumor adhesions to neurovascular structures. Meticulous surgical technique with the aid of neurophysiological monitoring is crucial to achieve safe and effective total or subtotal removal of these lesions. A conservative approach is indicated for patients in whom the fragments of capsule is adhered closely to blood vessels, nerves, or the brainstem, in order to avoid risk of serious neurological deficits related to an inadvertent damage of these structures. Use of angled views by endoscope at the conclusion of the surgery may assure the surgeon of total removal of the tumor.

Resection of supplementary motor area gliomas: revisiting supplementary motor syndrome and the role of the frontal aslant tract

J Neurosurg 136:1278–1284, 2022

The supplementary motor area (SMA) is an eloquent region that is frequently a site for glioma, or the region is included in the resection trajectory to deeper lesions. Although the clinical relevance of SMA syndrome has been well described, it is still difficult to predict who will become symptomatic. The object of this study was to define which patients with SMA gliomas would go on to develop a postoperative SMA syndrome.

METHODS The University of California, San Francisco, tumor registry was searched for patients who, between 2010 and 2019, had undergone resection for newly diagnosed supratentorial diffuse glioma (WHO grades II–IV) performed by the senior author and who had at least 3 months of follow-up. Pre- and postoperative MRI studies were reviewed to confirm the tumor was located in the SMA region, and the extent of SMA resection was determined by volumetric assessment. Patient, tumor, and outcome data were collected retrospectively from documents available in the electronic medical record. Tumors were registered to a standard brain atlas to create a frequency heatmap of tumor volumes and resection cavities.

RESULTS During the study period, 56 patients (64.3% male, 35.7% female) underwent resection of a newly diagnosed glioma in the SMA region. Postoperatively, 60.7% developed an SMA syndrome. Although the volume of tumor within the SMA region did not correlate with the development of SMA syndrome, patients with the syndrome had larger resection cavities in the SMA region (25.4% vs 14.2% SMA resection, p = 0.039). The size of the resection cavity in the SMA region did not correlate with the severity of the SMA syndrome. Patients who developed the syndrome had cavities that were located more posteriorly in the SMA region and in the cingulate gyrus. When the frontal aslant tract (FAT) was preserved, 50% of patients developed the SMA syndrome postoperatively, whereas 100% of the patients with disruption of the FAT during surgery developed the SMA syndrome (p = 0.06). Patients with SMA syndrome had longer lengths of stay (5.6 vs 4.1 days, p = 0.027) and were more likely to be discharged to a rehabilitation facility (41.9% vs 0%, p < 0.001). There was no difference in overall survival for newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients with SMA syndrome compared to those without SMA syndrome (1.6 vs 3.0 years, p = 0.33).

CONCLUSIONS For patients with SMA glioma, more extensive resections and resections involving the posterior SMA region and posterior cingulate gyrus increased the likelihood of a postoperative SMA syndrome. Although SMA syndrome occurred in all cases in which the FAT was resected, FAT preservation does not reliably avoid SMA syndrome postoperatively.


Neurosurgical Causes of Pulsatile Tinnitus

Neurosurgery 90:161–169, 2022

Traditionally in the domain of the otolaryngologist, pulsatile tinnitus (PT) has become increasingly relevant to neurosurgeons.

PT may prove to be a harbinger of life-threatening pathology; however, often, it is a marker of a more benign process.

Irrespectively, the neurosurgeon should be familiar with the many potential etiologies of this unique and challenging patient population.

In this review, we discuss the myriad causes of PT, categorized by pulse-phase rhythmicity.

Awake CT-guided percutaneous stylomastoid foramen puncture and radiofrequency ablation of facial nerve for treatment of hemifacial spasm

J Neurosurg 135:1459–1465, 2021

Hemifacial spasm (HFS) is a debilitating neuromuscular disorder with limited treatment options. The current study describes a novel minimally invasive procedure that provided effective and sustained relief for patients with HFS. The authors provide a detailed description of the awake CT-guided percutaneous radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of the facial nerve for treatment of HFS, and they examine its clinical efficacy. This is the first time in the literature that this procedure has been applied and systematically analyzed for HFS.

METHODS Patients with a history of HFS were recruited between August 2018 and April 2020. Those with a history of cerebellopontine lesions, coagulopathy, ongoing pregnancy, cardiac pacemaker or defibrillator implants, or who declined the procedure were excluded from the study. Fifty-three patients who met the study criteria were included and underwent awake CT-guided RFA. Under minimal sedation, a radiofrequency (RF) needle was used to reach the stylomastoid foramen on the affected side under CT guidance, and the facial nerve was localized using a low-frequency stimulation current. Patients were instructed to engage facial muscles as a proxy for motor monitoring during RFA. Ablation stopped when the patients’ hemifacial contracture resolved. Patients were kept for inpatient monitoring for 24 hours postoperatively and were followed up monthly to monitor resolution of HFS and complications for up to 19 months.

RESULTS The average duration of the procedure was 32–34 minutes. Postoperatively, 91% of the patients (48/53) had complete resolution of HFS, whereas the remaining individuals had partial resolution. A total of 48 patients reported mild to moderate facial paralysis immediately post-RFA, but most resolved within 1 month. No other significant complication was observed during the study period. By the end of the study period, 5 patients had recurrence of mild HFS symptoms, whereas only 2 patients reported dissatisfaction with the treatment results.

CONCLUSIONS The authors report for the first time that awake CT-guided RFA of the facial nerve at the stylomastoid foramen is a minimally invasive procedure and can be an effective treatment option for HFS.

How I do it: minimizing muscle damage in microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:1045–1048

Key hole surgery was recruited for MVD surgery since the maneuver is through the small space between the cerebellum and temporal/occipital bone. However, even small wounds can cause severe postoperative pain if there is significant tissue damage. Attention has been given to the size of the craniotomy rather than to the skin incision or soft tissues such as muscles.

Method Suboccipital muscle dissection focusing on splitting the splenius capitis muscle was presented. The dura was reapproximated without additional dissection to harvest a fascia graft.

Conclusion Muscle injury should be minimized to alleviate postoperative pain.

Prognostic nomogram for microvascular decompression–treated trigeminal neuralgia

Neurosurgical Review (2021) 44:571–577

This study aimed to establish an effective prognostic nomogram for microvascular decompression (MVD)–treated trigeminal neuralgia (TN). The nomogram was based on a retrospective cohort study of 1054 patients with TN.

During the period 2005– 2014, 845 patients at our department treated TN with MVD and served as a development cohort. The predictive accuracy and discriminative ability of the nomogram were determined by concordance index (C-index) and calibration curve. The model was externally validated by 209 TN patients during 2014–2016.

Multivariate cox analysis suggested that the patient’s age, atypical pain, vascular type, number of offending vessels, and second MVD were significant factors influencing the prognosis of MVDtreated TN. The C index of nomogram in the development cohort was 0.767 (95%CI, 0.739–0.794), and 0.749 (95%CI, 0.688– 0.810) in the validation cohort.

We developed and validated a nomogram to predict 3-year overall remission rate after MVD treatment of TN. The nomogram can be used in clinical trials to determine the likelihood of pain recurrence in TN patients treated with MVD for 3 years to aid in the comprehensive treatment of TN.

Surgical management for large vestibular schwannomas: a systematic review, meta-analysis, and consensus statement on behalf of the EANS skull base section

Acta Neurochir (2020) 162:2595–2617

The optimal management of large vestibular schwannomas continues to be debated. We constituted a task force comprising the members of the EANS skull base committee along with international experts to derive recommendations for the management of this problem from a European perspective.

Material and methods A systematic review of MEDLINE database, in compliance with the PRISMA guidelines, was performed. A subgroup analysis screening all surgical series published within the last 20 years (January 2000 to March 2020) was performed. Weighted summary rates for tumor resection, oncological control, and facial nerve preservation were determined using metaanalysis models. This data along with contemporary practice patterns were discussed within the task force to generate consensual recommendations regarding preoperative evaluations, optimal surgical strategy, and follow-up management.

Results Tumor classification grades should be systematically used in the perioperative management of patients, with large vestibular schwannomas (VS) defined as > 30 mm in the largest extrameatal diameter. Grading scales for pre- and postoperative hearing (AAO-HNS or GR) and facial nerve function (HB) are to be used for reporting functional outcome. There is a lack of consensus to support the superiority of any surgical strategy with respect to extent of resection and use of adjuvant radiosurgery. Intraoperative neuromonitoring needs to be routinely used to preserve neural function. Recommendations for postoperative clinico-radiological evaluations have been elucidated based on the surgical strategy employed.

Conclusion The main goal of management of large vestibular schwannomas should focus on maintaining/improving quality of life (QoL), making every attempt at facial/cochlear nerve functional preservation while ensuring optimal oncological control, thereby allowing to meet patient expectations. Despite the fact that this analysis yielded only a few Class B evidences and mostly expert opinions, it will guide practitioners to manage these patients and form the basis for future clinical trials.


Utilization of 3D imaging reconstructions and assessment of symptom-free survival after microvascular decompression of the facial nerve in hemifacial spasm

J Neurosurg 133:425–432, 2020

Hemifacial spasm (HFS), largely caused by neurovascular compression (NVC) of the facial nerve, is a rare condition characterized by paroxysmal, unilateral, involuntary contraction of facial muscles. It has long been suggested that these symptoms are due to compression at the transition zone of the facial nerve. The aim of this study was to examine symptom-free survival and long-term quality of life (QOL) in HFS patients who underwent microvascular decompression (MVD). A secondary aim was to examine the benefit of utilizing fused MRI and MRA post hoc 3D reconstructions to better characterize compression location at the facial nerve root exit zone (fREZ).

METHODS The authors retrospectively analyzed patients with HFS who underwent MVD at a single institution, combined with a modified HFS-7 telephone questionnaire. Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to determine event-free survival, and the Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to compare pre- and postoperative HFS-7 scores.

RESULTS Thirty-five patients underwent MVD for HFS between 2002 and 2018 with subsequent 3D reconstructions of preoperative images. The telephone questionnaire response rate was 71% (25/35). If patients could not be reached by telephone, then the last clinic follow-up date was recorded and any recurrence noted. Twenty-four patients (69%) were symptom free at longest follow-up. The mean length of follow-up was 2.4 years (1 month to 8 years). The mean symptom- free survival time was 44.9 ± 5.8 months, and the average symptom-control survival was 69.1 ± 4.9 months. Four patients (11%) experienced full recurrence. Median HFS-7 scores were reduced by 18 points after surgery (Z = −4.013, p < 0.0001). Three-dimensional reconstructed images demonstrated that NVC most commonly occurred at the attached segment (74%, 26/35) of the facial nerve within the fREZ and least commonly occurred at the traditionally implicated transition zone (6%, 2/35).

CONCLUSIONS MVD is a safe and effective treatment that significantly improves QOL measures for patients with HFS. The vast majority of patients (31/35, 89%) were symptom free or reported only mild symptoms at longest follow-up. Symptom recurrence, if it occurred, was within the first 2 years of surgery, which has important implications for patient expectations and informed consent. Three-dimensional image reconstruction analysis determined that culprit compression most commonly occurs proximally along the brainstem at the attached segment. The success of this procedure is dependent on recognizing this pattern and decompressing appropriately. Three-dimensional reconstructions were found to provide much clearer characterization of this area than traditional preoperative imaging. Therefore, the authors suggest that use of these reconstructions in the preoperative setting has the potential to help identify appropriate surgical candidates, guide operative planning, and thus improve outcome in patients with HFS.

Petroclival meningiomas: long-term outcomes of multimodal treatments and management strategies based on 30 years of experience at a single institution

J Neurosurg 132:1675–1682, 2020

A thorough investigation of the long-term outcomes and chronological changes of multimodal treatments for petroclival meningiomas is required to establish optimal management strategies. The authors retrospectively reviewed the long-term clinical outcomes of patients with petroclival meningioma according to various treatments, including various surgical approaches, and they suggest treatment strategies based on 30 years of experience at a single institution.

METHODS Ninety-two patients with petroclival meningiomas were treated surgically at the authors’ institution from 1986 to 2015. Patient demographics, overall survival, local tumor control rates, and functional outcomes according to multimodal treatments, as well as chronological change in management strategies, were evaluated. The mean clinical and radiological follow-up periods were 121 months (range 1–368 months) and 105 months (range 1–348 months), respectively.

RESULTS A posterior transpetrosal approach was most frequently selected and was followed in 44 patients (48%); a simple retrosigmoid approach, undertaken in 30 patients, was the second most common. The initial extent of resection and following adjuvant treatment modality were classified into 3 subgroups: gross-total resection (GTR) only in 13 patients; non-GTR treatment followed by adjuvant radiosurgery or radiation therapy (non-GTR+RS/RT) in 56 patients; and non-GTR without adjuvant treatment (non-GTR only) in 23 patients. The overall progression-free survival rate was 85.8% at 5 years and 81.2% at 10 years. Progression or recurrence rates according to each subgroup were 7.7%, 12.5%, and 30.4%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS The authors’ preferred multimodal treatment strategy, that of planned incomplete resection and subsequent adjuvant radiosurgery, is a feasible option for the management of patients with large petroclival meningiomas, considering both local tumor control and postoperative quality of life.


Retrosigmoid approach for glycerin rhizotomy in the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia without overt arterial compression

J Neurosurg 132:1227–1233, 2020

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is a neuropathic pain disorder characterized by severe, lancinating facial pain that is commonly treated with neuropathic medication, percutaneous rhizotomy, and/or microvascular decompression (MVD). Patients who are not found to have distinct arterial compression during MVD present a management challenge. In 2013, the authors reported on a small case series of such patients in whom glycerin was injected intraoperatively into the cisternal segment of the trigeminal nerve. The objective of the authors’ present study was to report their updated experience with this technique to further validate this novel approach.

METHODS The authors performed a retrospective analysis of data obtained in patients in whom glycerin was directly injected into the inferior third of the cisternal portion of the trigeminal nerve. Seventy-four patients, including 14 patients from the authors’ prior study, were identified, and demographic information, intraoperative findings, postoperative course, and complications were recorded. Fisher’s exact test, unpaired t-tests, and Kaplan-Meier survival curves using Mantel log-rank test were used to compare the 74 patients with a cohort of 476 patients who received standard MVD by the same surgeon.

RESULTS The 74 patients who underwent MVD and glycerin injection had an average follow-up of 19.1 ± 18.0 months, and the male/female ratio was 1:2.9. In 33 patients (44.6%), a previous intervention for TN had failed. On average, patients had an improvement in the Barrow Neurological Institute Pain Intensity score from 4.1 ± 0.4 before surgery to 2.1 ± 1.2 after surgery. Pain improvement after the surgery was documented in 95.9% of patients. Thirteen patients (17.6%) developed burning pain following surgery. Five patients developed complications (6.7%), including incisional infection, facial palsy, CSF leak, and hearing deficit, all of which were minor.

CONCLUSIONS Intraoperative injection of glycerin into the trigeminal nerve is a generally safe and potentially effective treatment for TN when no distinct site of arterial compression is identified during surgery or when decompression of the nerve is deemed to be inadequate.

Sex-dependent posterior fossa anatomical differences in trigeminal neuralgia patients with and without neurovascular compression: a volumetric MRI age- and sex-matched case-control study

J Neurosurg 132:631–638, 2020

The pathophysiology of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) in patients without neurovascular compression (NVC) is not completely understood. The objective of this retrospective study was to evaluate the hypothesis that TN patients without NVC differ from TN patient with NVC with respect to brain anatomy and demographic characteristics.

METHODS Six anatomical brain measurements from high-resolution brain MR images were tabulated; anterior-posterior (AP) prepontine cistern length, cerebellopontine angle (CPA) cistern volume, nerve-to-nerve distance, symptomatic nerve length, pons volume, and posterior fossa volume were assessed on OsiriX. Brain MRI anatomical measurements from 232 patients with either TN type 1 or TN type 2 (TN group) were compared with measurements obtained in 100 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (control group). Two-way ANOVA tests were conducted on the 6 measurements relative to group and NVC status. Bonferroni adjustments were used to correct for multiple comparisons. A nonhierarchical k-means cluster analysis was performed on the TN group using age and posterior fossa volume as independent variables.

RESULTS Within the TN group, females were found to be younger than males and less likely to have NVC. The odds ratio (OR) of females not having NVC compared to males was 2.7 (95% CI 1.3–5.5, p = 0.017). Patients younger than 30 years were much less likely to have NVC compared to older patients (OR 4.9, 95% CI 1.3–18.4, p = 0.017). The mean AP prepontine cistern length and symptomatic nerve length were smaller in the TN group than in the control group (5.3 vs 6.5 mm and 8.7 vs 9.7 mm, respectively; p < 0.001). The posterior fossa volume was significantly smaller in TN patients without NVC compared to those with NVC. A TN group cluster analysis suggested a sex-dependent difference that was not observed in those without NVC. Factorial ANOVA and post hoc testing found that findings in males without NVC were significantly different from those in controls or male TN patients with NVC and similar to those in females (female controls as well as female TN patients with or without NVC).

CONCLUSIONS Posterior fossa volume in males was larger than posterior fossa volume in females. This finding, along with the higher incidence of TN in females, suggests that smaller posterior fossa volume might be an independent factor in the pathophysiology of TN, which warrants further study.

Individual variations of the superior petrosal vein complex and their microsurgical relevance in 50 cases of trigeminal microvascular decompression

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:197–209

We investigated the understudied anatomical variations of the superior petrosal vein (SPV) complex (SPVC), which may play some role in dictating the individual complication risk following SPVC injury.

Methods Microvascular decompressions of the trigeminal nerve between September 2012 and July 2016. All operations utilized an SPVC preserving technique. Preoperative balanced fast field echo (bFFE) magnetic resonance imaging, or equivalent sequences, and operative videos were studied for individual SPVC anatomical features.

Results Applied imaging and operative SPVC anatomy were described for fifty patients (mean age, 67.18 years; female sex and right-sided operations, 58% each). An SPVC component was sacrificed intentionally in 6 and unintentionally in only 7 cases. Twenty-nine different individual variations were observed; 80% of SPVCs had either 2 SPVs with 3 or 1 SPV with 2, 3, or 4 direct tributaries. Most SPVCs had 1 SPV (64%) and 2 SPVs (32%). The SPV drainage point into the superior petrosal sinus was predominantly between the internal auditory meatus and Meckel cave (85.7% of cases). The vein of the cerebellopontine fissure was the most frequent direct tributary (86%), followed by the pontotrigeminal vein in 80% of SPVCs. Petrosal-galenic anastomosis was detected in at least 38%of cases. At least 1 SPVin 54%of the cases and at least 1 direct tributary in 90%disturbed the operative field. The tributaries were more commonly sacrificed.

Conclusions The extensive anatomical variation of SPVC is depicted. Most SPVCs fall into 4 common general configurations and can usually be preserved. BFFE or equivalent sequences remarkably facilitated the intraoperative understanding of the individual SPVC in most cases.

Treatment Outcomes and Dose Rate Effects Following Gamma Knife Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Vestibular Schwannomas

Neurosurgery 85:E1084–E1094, 2019

Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS; Elekta AB) remains a well-established treatment modality for vestibular schwannomas. Despite highly effective tumor control, further research is needed toward optimizing long-term functional outcomes. Whereas dose-rate effects may impact post-treatment toxicities given tissue dose-response relationships, potential effects remain largely unexplored.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate treatment outcomes and potential dose-rate effects following definitive GKRS for vestibular schwannomas.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 419 patients treated at our institution between 1998 and 2015, characterizing baseline demographics, pretreatment symptoms, and GKRS parameters. The cohort was divided into 2 dose-rate groups based on the median value (2.675 Gy/min). Outcomes included clinical tumor control, radiographic progression-free survival, serviceable hearing preservation, hearing loss, and facial nerve dysfunction (FND). Prognostic factors were assessed using Cox regression.

RESULTS: The study cohort included 227 patientswith available follow-up. Following GKRS 2-yr and 4-yr clinical tumor control rates were 98% (95% CI: 95.6%-100%) and 96% (95% CI: 91.4%-99.6%), respectively. Among 177 patients with available radiographic follow-up, 2-yr and 4-yr radiographic progression-free survival rateswere 97% (95% CI: 94.0%-100.0%) and 88% (95% CI: 81.2%-95.0%). The serviceable hearing preservation rate was 72.2% among patients with baseline Gardner-Robertson class I/II hearing and post-treatment audiological evaluations. Most patients experienced effective relief from prior headaches (94.7%), tinnitus (83.7%), balance issues (62.7%), FND (90.0%), and trigeminal nerve dysfunction (79.2%), but not hearing loss (1.0%). Whereas GKRS provided effective tumor control independently of dose rate, GKRS patients exposed to lower dose rates experienced significantly better freedom from post-treatment hearing loss and FND (P = .044).

CONCLUSION:Whereas GKRS provides excellent tumor control and effective symptomatic relief for vestibular schwannomas, dose-rate effectsmay impact post-treatment functional outcomes. Further research remains warranted.

Hearing preservation in vestibular schwannoma surgery via retrosigmoid transmeatal approach

Acta Neurochirurgica (2019) 161:2265 –2269

Advances in various diagnostic and/or treatment modalities, including radiological imaging, neuromonitoring, and microsurgical techniques, have resulted in treatments of vestibular schwannomas being aimed at preserving facial and hearing functions while achieving optimal tumor control.

Method We describe our surgical technique for hearing preservation in vestibular schwannoma surgery.

Conclusion The retrosigmoid transmeatal approach under continuous neuromonitoring (auditory brainstem response, cochlear nerve action potentials, and continuous facial nerve monitoring) enables gross-total resection of vestibular schwannomas, while preserving hearing and facial functions. Radiological assessment and microsurgical techniques, such as meticulous tumor dissection, are also essential for functional preservation with sufficient tumor removal.