Anterior clinoid meningiomas: surgical results and proposed scoring system to predict visual outcomes

J Neurosurg 140:1295–1304, 2024

The authors report a single-surgeon experience with anterior clinoid meningiomas (ACMs) and propose a novel scoring system to predict visual outcomes based on preoperative risk factors.

METHODS A cohort study of all ACMs that were surgically treated by a single surgeon between 2003 and 2021 was performed. Visual function was assessed by an ophthalmologist pre- and postoperatively. Based on the combination of visual fields and visual acuity, 4 visual grades were described. Favorable visual outcomes were defined as mild visual deficit or intact vision postoperatively. Unfavorable visual outcomes were defined as a severe or moderate visual deficit. Predictors of unfavorable visual outcomes were identified using multivariable logistic regression analysis. A scoring system was then created using the resulting β coefficient. A receiver operating characteristic curve analysis was performed to identify a cutoff point on the grading score for stratifying patients at risk for unfavorable visual outcomes.

RESULTS Fifty-two patients met all inclusion criteria. Twenty-five (48%) patients presented with intact vision, and 27 (51%) presented with some visual dysfunction. Postoperative favorable visual outcomes were achieved in 39 patients (75%). Among the 27 patients presenting with visual dysfunction, 14 (52%) experienced improvement after surgery. No new visual deficits were observed among the 25 patients with intact vision at baseline. Nine patients (17%) had a reversible complication. Multivariable analysis showed that severe preoperative visual deficit (OR 13.03, 95% CI 2.64–64.39; p = 0.002), radiographic evidence of optic nerve (ON) encasement (OR 4.20, 95% CI 1.06–16.61; p = 0.04), intraoperative evidence of ON invasion (OR 17.31, 95% CI 2.91–102.86; p = 0.002), an average ganglion cell layer thickness of ≤ 70 µm (OR 21.54, 95% CI 2.94–159.04; p = 0.003), and an average retinal nerve fiber layer thickness of ≤ 80 µm (OR 13.68, 95% CI 1.91–98.00; p = 0.009) were associated with unfavorable visual outcome. The predictive score included the following factors: abnormal optical coherence tomography (OCT) findings, radiographic evidence of ON encasement by the tumor, and severe preoperative visual deficit. A score ≥ 4 of 6 points was demonstrated to be the cutoff associated with unfavorable visual outcome, with a sensitivity of 80%, specificity of 88%, positive predictive value of 80%, negative predictive value of 88%, and area under the curve of 0.847 (95% CI 0.674–1.0; p = 0.003).

CONCLUSIONS The authors have designed a practical and novel scoring system to predict visual outcomes in patients with ACMs. This scoring system may guide preoperative discussions with patients and timely surgical intervention to yield optimal visual function outcomes. Although most patients have excellent neurosurgical outcomes, severe baseline visual deficits, ON encasement, and characteristic OCT abnormalities are associated with unfavorable visual function after ACM resection.

Pain alleviation and functional improvement: ultra-early patient-reported outcome measures after full endoscopic spine surgery

J Neurosurg Spine 40:465–474, 2024

Questions regarding anticipated pain improvement and functional recovery postsurgery are frequently posed in preoperative consultations. However, a lack of data characterizing outcomes for the first postoperative days only allows for anecdotal answers. Hence, the assessment of ultra-early patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) is essential for patient-provider communication and patient satisfaction. The aim of this study was to elucidate this research gap by assessing and characterizing PROMs for the first days after full endoscopic spine surgery (FESS).

METHODS This multicenter study included patients undergoing lumbar FESS from March 2021 to July 2023. After informed consent was provided, data were collected prospectively through a smartphone application. Patients underwent either discectomy or decompression. Analyzed parameters included demographics, surgical details, visual analog scale scores for both back and leg pain, and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) score. Data were acquired daily for the 1st postoperative week, as well as after 2 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months.

RESULTS A total of 182 patients were included, of whom 102 underwent FESS discectomy and 80 underwent FESS decompression. Significant differences between the discectomy and decompression groups were found for age (mean 50.45 ± 15.28 years and 63.85 ± 13.25 years, p < 0.001; respectively), sex (p = 0.007), and surgery duration (73.45 ± 45.23 minutes vs 98.05 ± 46.47 minutes, p < 0.001; respectively). Patients in both groups reported a significant amelioration of leg pain on the 1st postoperative day (discectomy group VAS score: 6.2 ± 2.6 vs 2.4 ± 2.9, p < 0.001; decompression group: 5.3 ± 2.8 vs 1.9 ± 2.2, p < 0.001) and of back pain within the 1st postoperative week (discectomy group VAS score: 5.5 ± 2.8 vs 2.8 ± 2.2, p < 0.001; decompression group: 5.2 ± 2.7 vs 3.1 ± 2.4, p < 0.001). ODI score improvement was most pronounced at the 3-month time point (discectomy group: 21.7 ± 9.1 vs 9.3 ± 9.1, p < 0.001; decompression group: 19.3 ± 7.8 vs 9.9 ± 8.3, p < 0.001). For both groups, pain improvement within the 1st week after surgery was highly predictive of later benefits.

CONCLUSIONS Ultra-early PROMs reveal an immediate pain improvement after FESS. While the benefits in pain reduction plateaued within the 1st postoperative week for both groups, functional improvements developed over a more extended period. These results illustrate a biphasic rehabilitation process wherein initial pain alleviation transitions into functional improvement over time.

Dorsum Sellae as Key Landmark in ETV With Disminished Prepontine Cistern

Operative Neurosurgery 26:188–195, 2024

One of the key aspects in the surgical technique of endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is the perforation of the floor of the third ventricle because of the high risk of injuring vital structures located in that region. According to the standard technique, this perforation should be performed in the midline halfway between mammillary bodies and the infundibular recess to avoid damage to the structures. This can be performed without excessive complications when the diameter of the prepontine cistern is wide. However, in situations where the diameter is reduced (defined in the literature as having a prepontine interval [PPI] ≤1 mm), the probability of complications increases exponentially. In this article, we propose using dorsum sellae as a key point to safely perform ETV in patients with a decreased PPI, guiding the trajectory and its marking using neuronavigation.

METHODS: A review was conducted on the latest 100 ETV procedures performed by our team in the past 5 years. The measurement of the PPI was conducted using archived preoperative MRI imaging studies, specifically between the dorsum sellae and the basilar artery. In cases where the PPI was ≤1 mm and, therefore, the use of the dorsum sellae was applied as a reference point, the technical results and procedural functions were documented.

RESULTS: In the cohort, 7 patients with a PPI ≤1 mm were identified. In all 7 cases, fenestration of the tuber cinereum was successfully performed without causing vascular damage or associated complications. ETV was successful in 6 patients, with only one experiencing ETV failure necessitating the placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt.

CONCLUSION: The utilization of the dorsum sellae as a reference point to perform ETV in reduced PPI constitutes a safe alternative to the classical technique.

Hospital cost differences between open and endoscopic lumbar spine decompression surgery

J Neurosurg Spine 40:77–83, 2024

In recent years, fully endoscopic decompression surgery for degenerative spine disease has become increasingly popular in the US. Although an endoscopic approach has demonstrated some benefits compared with open procedures in randomized controlled trials, the cost of advanced technologies remains contested. The authors evaluated the differences in costs and cost drivers between open and endoscopic decompression surgical procedures performed at a single institution.

METHODS Using associated Current Procedural Terminology codes, the authors identified all open and endoscopic decompression lumbar surgical procedures performed from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2022. Preoperative comorbidities, surgical characteristics, and postoperative outcomes were captured. The costs of index surgery–related readmission for revision, washout, or other complications were included in the index surgery expenses. Associated inhospital costs were collected; these were reported in comparative percentages with open surgical procedures as the baseline because of an institutional agreement. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed.

RESULTS The retrospective search identified 633 open surgical procedures and 195 endoscopic surgical procedures for inclusion. The two patient cohorts were similar, with clinically nonrelevant but statistically significant differences in mean age (open 55.7 years vs endoscopic 59.4 years, p = 0.01) and mean American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status class (open 2.3 vs endoscopic 2.4, p = 0.03). Postoperatively, patients who underwent open surgical procedures had significantly longer mean hospital stays (open 1.4 days vs endoscopic 0.7, p < 0.01) and more perioperative complications (open 7.9% of patients vs endoscopic 3.1%, p = 0.02), and they required washout surgical procedures in some cases (open 1.3% vs endoscopic 0%, p = 0.12). The largest cost difference between open and endoscopic surgical procedures was the significantly greater cost of disposable supplies for endoscopic cases (10.1% vs 31.7% of the total cost of open procedures, p < 0.01), and open surgical procedures were generally less costly in total (100.0% vs 115.1%, p < 0.01). In multivariate linear regression, endoscopic surgery was independently associated with greater total costs (standardized beta 15.9%, p < 0.01), although length of hospital stay (standardized beta 34.0%) and readmissions (standardized beta 30.0%, p < 0.01) had larger effects on cost.

CONCLUSIONS The endoscopic approach was associated with greater total in-hospital costs compared with open procedures. The findings of further cost evaluations, including those of patient-reported outcomes, social cost, and capital costs per procedure type, need to be included in operational and clinical decisions.

International Tuberculum Sellae Meningioma Study: Surgical Outcomes and Management Trends

Neurosurgery 93:1259–1270, 2023

Tuberculum sellae meningiomas (TSMs) can be resected through transcranial (TCA) or expanded endonasal approach (EEA). The objective of this study was to report TSM management trends and outcomes in a large multicenter cohort.

METHODS: This is a 40-site retrospective study using standard statistical methods.

RESULTS: In 947 cases, TCA was used 66.4% and EEA 33.6%. The median maximum diameter was 2.5 cm for TCA and 2.1 cm for EEA (P < .0001). The median follow-up was 26 months. Gross total resection (GTR) was achieved in 70.2% and did not differ between EEA and TCA (P = .5395). Vision was the same or better in 87.5%. Vision improved in 73.0% of EEA patients with preoperative visual deficits compared with 57.1% of TCA patients (P < .0001). On multivariate analysis, a TCA (odds ratio [OR] 1.78, P = .0258) was associated with vision worsening, while GTR was protective (OR 0.37, P < .0001). GTR decreased with increased diameter (OR: 0.80 per cm, P = .0036) and preoperative visual deficits (OR 0.56, P = .0075). Mortality was 0.5%. Complications occurred in 23.9%. New unilateral or bilateral blindness occurred in 3.3% and 0.4%, respectively. The cerebrospinal fluid leak rate was 17.3% for EEA and 2.2% for TCA (OR 9.1, P < .0001). The recurrence rate was 10.9% (n= 103). Longer follow-up (OR 1.01 per month, P < .0001), World Health Organization II/III (OR 2.20, P = .0262), and GTR (OR: 0.33, P < .0001) were associated with recurrence. The recurrence rate after GTR was lower after EEA compared with TCA (OR 0.33, P = .0027).

CONCLUSION: EEA for appropriately selected TSM may lead to better visual outcomes and decreased recurrence rates after GTR, but cerebrospinal fluid leak rates are high, and longer follow-up is needed. Tumors were smaller in the EEA group, and follow-up was shorter, reflecting selection, and observation bias. Nevertheless, EEA may be superior to TCA for appropriately selected TSM.

Prognostic significance of perihematomal edema in basal ganglia hemorrhage after minimally invasive endoscopic evacuation

J Neurosurg 139:1784–1791, 2023

Spontaneous basal ganglia hemorrhage is a common type of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) with no definitive treatment. Minimally invasive endoscopic evacuation is a promising therapeutic approach for ICH. In this study the authors examined prognostic factors associated with long-term functional dependence (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score ≥ 4) in patients who had undergone endoscopic evacuation of basal ganglia hemorrhage.

METHODS In total, 222 consecutive patients who underwent endoscopic evacuation between July 2019 and April 2022 at four neurosurgical centers were enrolled prospectively. Patients were dichotomized into functionally independent (mRS score ≤ 3) and functionally dependent (mRS score ≥ 4) groups. Hematoma and perihematomal edema (PHE) volumes were calculated using 3D Slicer software. Predictors of functional dependence were assessed using logistic regression models.

RESULTS Among the enrolled patients, the functional dependence rate was 45.50%. Factors independently associated with long-term functional dependence included female sex, older age (≥ 60 years), Glasgow Coma Scale score ≤ 8, larger preoperative hematoma volume (OR 1.02), and larger postoperative PHE volume (OR 1.03, 95% CI 1.01–1.05). A subsequent analysis evaluated the effect of stratified postoperative PHE volume on functional dependence. Specifically, patients with large (≥ 50 to < 75 ml) and extra-large (≥ 75 to 100 ml) postoperative PHE volumes had 4.61 (95% CI 0.99–21.53) and 6.75 (95% CI 1.20–37.85) times greater likelihood of long-term dependence, respectively, than patients with a small postoperative PHE volume (≥ 10 to < 25 ml).

CONCLUSIONS A large postoperative PHE volume is an independent risk factor for functional dependence among basal ganglia hemorrhage patients after endoscopic evacuation, especially with postoperative PHE volume ≥ 50 ml.

Utility of minimally invasive endoscopic skull base approaches for the treatment of drug-resistant mesial temporal lobe epilepsy

J Neurosurg 139:1604–1612, 2023

Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE) is an important cause of drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE) in adults and children. Traditionally, the surgical option of choice for mTLE includes a frontotemporal craniotomy and open resection of the anterior temporal cortex and mesial temporal structures. Although this technique is effective and durable, the neuropsychological morbidity resulting from temporal neocortical resections has resulted in the investigation of alternative approaches to resect the mesial temporal structures to achieve seizure freedom while minimizing postoperative cognitive deficits. Outcomes supporting the use of selective temporal resections have resulted in alternative approaches to directly access the mesial temporal structures via endoscopic approaches whose direct trajectory to the epileptogenic zone minimizes retraction, resection, and manipulation of surrounding cortex.

The authors reviewed the utility of the endoscopic transmaxillary, endoscopic endonasal, endoscopic transorbital, and endoscopic supracerebellar transtentorial approaches for the treatment of drug-resistant mesial temporal lobe epilepsy. First, a review of the literature demonstrated the anatomical feasibility of each approach, including the limits of exposure provided by each trajectory. Next, clinical data assessing the safety and effectiveness of these techniques in the treatment of DRE were analyzed. An outline of the surgical techniques is provided to highlight the technical nuances of each approach.

The direct access to mesial temporal structures and avoidance of lateral temporal manipulation makes endoscopic approaches promising alternatives to traditional methods for the treatment of DRE arising from the temporal pole and mesial temporal lobe. A dearth of literature outlining clinical outcomes, a need for qualified cosurgeons, and a lack of experience with endoscopic approaches remain major barriers to widespread application of the aforementioned techniques. Future studies are warranted to define the utility of these approaches moving forward.

Neuroendoscopic transventricular transchoroidal approach for access to the posterior zone of the third ventricle or pineal region

Neurosurgical Review (2023) 46:323

The endoscopic transventricular transchoroidal approach facilitates entry into the posterior part of the third ventricle, allowing a visualization field from the foramen of Monro to the pineal region through this anatomical corridor. Combined surgery to treat the target lesion and possible endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) can be performed through a single burr hole.

A detailed description of this surgical technique is given, and a series of cases from our center is presented. This retrospective study included patients with lesions in the pineal region or posterior zone of the third ventricle who underwent surgery between 2004 and 2022 in our center for tumor biopsy or endoscopic cyst fenestration. In nine cases, the transchoroidal approach was performed. Demographic and clinical variables were collected: sex, age at diagnosis, clinical presentation, characteristics of the lesion, pathological diagnosis, characteristics of the procedure, complications, subsequent treatments, evolution, follow-up time, and degree of success of the endoscopic procedure. The mean and range of the quantitative variables and frequency of the qualitative variables were analyzed, together with the statistical significance (p < 0.05). Surgical planning was carried out by performing a preoperative MRI, calculating the ideal entry point and trajectory for each case. The preoperative planning of the surgical technique is described in detail.

Of our sample, 55.6% were women, with a mean age of 35 years (7–78). The most common clinical presentation was intracranial hypertension (55.6%), with or without a focus. Eight patients presented hydrocephalus at diagnosis. The most frequent procedure was endoscopic biopsy with ETV (66.7%). The pathological diagnosis varied widely. Procedure-related complications included one case of self-limited bleeding of the choroidal fissure at its opening and one intraventricular hemorrhage due to tumor bleeding in the postoperative period. Non-procedure-related complications comprised two ETV failures and one case of systemic infection, while late complications included one case of disease progression and one case of radionecrosis. Four patients died, one due to poor neurological evolution after post-surgical tumor bleeding and three due to causes unrelated to the procedure. The rest of the patients had a favorable evolution and were asymptomatic or stable.

The transchoroidal approach through a single burr hole is a feasible and safe option for access to the posterior part of the third ventricle. Proper planning of each case is necessary to avoid complications.

A Novel Method for Angioscopic Imaging and Visualizing the Skull Base Using Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor Cameras

Neurosurgery 93:1432–1436, 2023

Complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) electrode arrays are a novel technology for miniaturized endoscopes; however, its use for neurointervention is yet to be investigated. In this proof-of-concept study, we aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of CMOS endoscopes in a canine model by providing direct visualization of the endothelial surface, deploying stents and coils, and accessing the spinal subdural space and skull base.

METHODS: Using 3 canine models, standard guide catheters were introduced into the internal carotid and vertebral arteries through the transfemoral route using fluoroscopy. A 1.2-mm CMOS camera was delivered through the guide catheter to inspect the endothelium. Next, the camera was introduced alongside standard neuroendovascular devices including coils and stents to provide direct visualization of their deployment within the endothelium during fluoroscopy. One canine was used for skull base and extravascular visualization. A lumbar laminectomy was performed, and the camera was navigated within the spinal subdural space until the posterior circulation intracranial vasculature was visualized.

RESULTS: We successfully visualized the endothelial surface and performed several endovascular procedures such as deployment of coils and stents under direct endovascular, angioscopic vision. We also demonstrated a proof of concept for accessing the skull base and posterior cerebral vasculature using CMOS cameras through the spinal subdural space.

CONCLUSION: This proof-of-concept study demonstrates the feasibility of CMOS camera technology to directly visualize endothelium, perform common neuroendovascular procedures, and access the base of the skull in a canine model.

The “candy wrapper” of the pituitary gland: a road map to the parasellar ligaments and the medial wall of the cavernous sinus

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:3431–3444

The anatomy of the medial wall of the cavernous sinus (MWCS) and parasellar ligaments (PLs) has acquired increasing importance in endoscopic endonasal (EE) surgery of the cavernous sinus (CS), including resection of the MWCS in functioning pituitary adenomas (FPAs). Although anatomical studies have been published, it represents a debated topic due to their complex morphology. The aim is to offer a description of the PLs that originate from the MWCS and reach the lateral wall of the cavernous sinus (LWCS), proposing the “candy wrapper” model. The relationships between the neurovascular structures and histomorphological aspects were investigated.

Methods Forty-two CSs from twenty-one human heads were studied. Eleven specimens were used for EE dissection; five underwent a microscopic dissection. Five specimens were used for histomorphological analysis.

Results Two groups of PLs with a fan-shaped appearance were encountered. The anterior group included the periosteal ligament (55% sides) and the carotico-clinoid complex (100% sides), formed by the anterior horizontal and the carotico-clinoid ligaments. The posterior group was formed by the posterior horizontal (78% sides), and the inferior hypophyseal ligament (34% sides). The periosteal ligament originated inferiorly from the MWCS, reaching the periosteal dura. The anterior horizontal ligament was divided in a superior and inferior branch. The superior one continued as the carotid-oculomotor membrane, and the inferior branch reached the CN VI. The carotico-clinoid ligament between the middle and anterior clinoid was ossified in 3 sides. The posterior horizontal ligament was related to the posterior genu and ended at the LWCS. The inferior hypophyseal ligament followed the homonym artery. The ligaments related to the ICA form part of the adventitia. Conclusion The “candy wrapper” model adds further details to the previous descriptions of the PLs. Understanding this complex anatomy is essential for safe CS surgery, including MWCS resection for FPAs.

Neuronavigated foraminoplasty, shunt removal, and endoscopic third ventriculostomy in a 54‑year‑old patient with third shunt malfunction episode

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:3289–3296

The application of endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) for the treatment of obstructive hydrocephalus in shunt malfunction represents a paradigm shift, as it allows hydrocephalus to be transformed from a chronic condition treated with an artificial device to a curable disease.

Methods We present a 54-year-old male with a diagnosis of idiopathic Sylvian aqueduct stenosis treated with shunt. The patient presented to our institution with symptoms of shunt malfunction and an increase in ventricular size on imaging, which was his third episode throughout his life. Through a right precoronal approach, with prior informed consent from the patient, we performed foraminoplasty, endoscopic third ventriculostomy, and finally removal of the shunt system.

Conclusion ETV shows promise as a viable treatment option for shunt malfunction in noncommunicating obstructive hydrocephalic patients. Its potential to avoid VPS-related complications, preserve physiological CSF circulation, and provide an alternative drainage pathway warrants further investigation.

Predictors of extent of resection and recurrence following endoscopic endonasal resection of craniopharyngioma

J Neurosurg 139:1235–1246, 2023

Craniopharyngioma is a benign but surgically challenging brain tumor. Controversies exist regarding its ideal treatment strategy, goals of surgery, efficacy of radiation, and the long-term outcomes of these decisions. The authors of this study performed a detailed analysis of factors predictive of the extent of resection and recurrence in large series of craniopharyngiomas removed via an endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) with long-term follow-up.

METHODS From a prospective database of all EEAs done at Weill Cornell Medical College by the senior author from 2004 to 2022, a consecutive series of histologically proven craniopharyngiomas were identified. Gross-total resection (GTR) was generally the goal of surgery. Radiation was often given if GTR had not been achieved. The stalk was preserved if not infiltrated with tumor but was sacrificed to achieve GTR. Intentional subtotal resection (STR) was performed in select cases to avoid hypothalamic injury.

RESULTS Among the 111 identified cases were 88 adults and 23 children. Newly diagnosed cases comprised 58.6% of the series. GTR was attempted in 77.5% of the patients and among those cases was achieved in 89.5% of treatmentnaive tumors and 72.4% of recurrent tumors. An inability to achieve GTR was predicted by prior surgical treatment (OR 0.13, 95% CI 0.03–0.6, p = 0.009), tumor diameter ≥ 3.5 cm (OR 0.11, 95% CI 0.02–0.53, p = 0.006), and encasement of the optic nerve or a major artery (OR 0.11, 95% CI 0.01–0.8, p = 0.03). GTR with stalk preservation maintained some anterior pituitary function in 64.5% of cases and prevented diabetes insipidus in 25.8%. After a median follow-up of 51 months (IQR 17–80 months), the recurrence rate after GTR was 12.5% compared with 38.5% after non-GTR. The median recurrence-free survival was 5.5 years after STR, 8.3 years after near-total resection (≥ 98%), and not reached after GTR (p = 0.004, log-rank test). GTR was the strongest predictor of recurrence-free survival (OR 0.09, 95% CI 0.02–0.42, p = 0.002), whereas radiation did not show a statistically significant impact (OR 1.17, 95% CI 0.45–3.08). In GTR cases, the recurrence rate was higher if the stalk had been preserved (22.6%) as opposed to a sacrificed stalk (4.9%; OR 5.69, 95% CI 1.09–29.67).

CONCLUSIONS The study data show that GTR should be the goal of surgery in craniopharyngiomas if it can be achieved safely. Although stalk preservation can maintain some endocrine function, the risk of recurrence is higher in such cases. Radiation may not be as effective as previously reported.

Combined subtarsal contralateral transmaxillary retroeustachian and endoscopic endonasal approaches to the infrapetrous region

J Neurosurg 139:992–1001, 2023

The eustachian tube (ET) limits endoscopic endonasal access to the infrapetrous region. Transecting or mobilizing the ET may result in morbidities. This study presents a novel approach in which a subtarsal contralateral transmaxillary (ST-CTM) corridor is coupled with the standard endonasal approach to facilitate access behind the intact ET.

METHODS Eight cadaveric head specimens were dissected. Endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs) (i.e., transpterygoid and inferior transclival) were performed on one side, followed by ST-CTM and sublabial contralateral transmaxillary (SL-CTM) approaches on the opposite side, along with different ET mobilization techniques on the original side. Seven comparative groups were generated. The length of the cranial nerves, areas of exposure, and volume of surgical freedom (VSF) in the infrapetrous regions were measured and compared.

RESULTS Without ET mobilization, the combined ST-CTM/EEA approach provided greater exposure than EEA alone (mean ± SD 288.9 ± 40.66 mm 2 vs 91.7 ± 49.9 mm 2 ; p = 0.001). The VSFs at the ventral jugular foramen (JF), entrance to the petrous internal carotid artery (ICA), and lateral to the parapharyngeal ICA were also greater in ST-CTM/EEA than in EEA alone (p = 0.002, p = 0.002, and p < 0.001, respectively). EEA alone, however, provided greater VSF at the hypoglossal canal (HGC) than did ST-CTM/EEA (p = 0.01). The SL-CTM approach did not increase the EEA exposure (p = 0.48). The ST-CTM/EEA approach provided greater exposure than EEA with extended inferolateral (EIL) or anterolateral (AL) ET mobilization (p = 0.001 and p = 0.02, respectively). The ST-CTM/EEA also increased the VSF lateral to the parapharyngeal ICA in comparison with EEA/EIL ET mobilization (p < 0.001) but not with EEA/AL ET mobilization (p = 0.36). Finally, the VSFs at the HGC and JF were greater in EEA/AL ET mobilization than in ST-CTM/EEA without ET mobilization (p = 0.002 and p = 0.004, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS Combining the EEA with the more laterally and superiorly originating ST-CTM approach allows greater exposure of the infrapetrous and ventral JF regions while obviating the need for mobilizing the ET. The surgical freedom afforded by the combined approaches is greater than that obtained by EEA alone.

Endoscopic odontoidectomy for brainstem compression in association with posterior fossa decompression and occipitocervical fusion

J Neurosurg 139:1152–1159, 2023

Endonasal endoscopic odontoidectomy (EEO) is an alternative to transoral surgery for symptomatic ventral compression of the anterior cervicomedullary junction (CMJ), allowing for earlier extubation and feeding. Because the procedure destabilizes the C1–2 ligamentous complex, posterior cervical fusion is often performed concomitantly. The authors’ institutional experience was reviewed to describe the indications, outcomes, and complications in a large series of EEO surgical procedures in which EEO was combined with posterior decompression and fusion.

METHODS A consecutive, prospective series of patients who underwent EEO between 2011 and 2021 was studied. Demographic and outcome metrics, radiographic parameters, extent of ventral compression, extent of dens removal, and increase in CSF space ventral to the brainstem were measured on the preoperative and postoperative scans (first and most recent scans).

RESULTS Forty-two patients (26.2% pediatric) underwent EEO: 78.6% had basilar invagination, and 76.2% had Chiari type I malformation. The mean ± SD age was 33.6 ± 3.0 years, with a mean follow-up of 32.3 ± 4.0 months. The majority of patients (95.2%) underwent posterior decompression and fusion immediately before EEO. Two patients underwent prior fusion. There were 7 intraoperative CSF leaks but no postoperative CSF leaks. The inferior limit of decompression fell between the nasoaxial and rhinopalatine lines. The mean ± SD vertical height of dens resection was 11.98 ± 0.45 mm, equivalent to a mean ± SD resection of 74.18% ± 2.56%. The mean increase in ventral CSF space immediately postoperatively was 1.68 ± 0.17 mm (p < 0.0001), which increased to 2.75 ± 0.23 mm (p < 0.0001) at the most recent follow-up (p < 0.0001). The median (range) length of stay was 5 (2–33) days. The median time to extubation was 0 (0–3) days. The median time to oral feeding (defined as, at minimum, toleration of a clear liquid diet) was 1 (0–3) day. Symptoms improved in 97.6% of patients. Complications were rare and mostly associated with the cervical fusion portion of the combined surgical procedures.

CONCLUSIONS EEO is safe and effective for achieving anterior CMJ decompression and is often accompanied by posterior cervical stabilization. Ventral decompression improves over time. EEO should be considered for patients with appropriate indications.

Endoscopic endonasal transclival approach for clipping of the ruptured vertebral artery aneurysm

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:2825–2830

Vertebral artery aneurysms account for less than 5% of all cerebral aneurysms. They have a high risk of rupture and are associated with threatening clinical outcomes compared with anterior circulation aneurysms.

Method The endoscopic endonasal transclival approach (EETA) was used. During the temporary clipping, the neck of the aneurysm was dissected, and a permanent clip was applied. The repair of the skull base defect was carried out with the nasoseptal mucoperiosteal flap on the vascular pedicle.

Conclusion The EETA is a feasible alternative for the clipping of the medially located ruptured vertebral artery aneurysm. EETA can be recommended for centers with a large volume of cerebrovascular and endoscopic neurosurgical procedures.

Endoscopic far‑lateral supracerebellar infratentorial approach for resection of dumbbell‑shaped trigeminal schwannoma

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:2913–2921

Trigeminal schwannomas (TSs) are mostly benign tumors. However, dumbbell-shaped TSs are most challenging for surgeons and pose a high surgical risk.

Objective We describe the technique of the purely endoscopic far-lateral supracerebellar infratentorial approach (EFLSCITA) for removing dumbbell-shaped TSs and further discuss the feasibility of this approach and our experience. Methods EFL-SCITA was performed for resection of 5 TSs between January 2020 and March 2023. The entire procedure was performed endoscopically with the goal of total tumor resection. During the operation, the tumor was exposed in close proximity and multiple angles under the endoscope, and the peri-tumor nerves were carefully identified and protected, especially the normal trigeminal fiber bundles around the tumor.

Results All the tumors of 5 patients involved the middle and posterior cranial fossa, of which total removal was achieved in 2 patients and near-total removal in 3 patients. The most common preoperative symptoms were relieved after surgery. Two patients had postoperative mild facial paralysis (House-Brackmann grade II), and 1 patient had abducens palsy; both recovered during the follow-up period. Two patients experienced new postoperative facial hypesthesia, and 1 experienced mastication weakness, which did not recover. There was no tumor recurrence or residual tumor growth during the follow-up period in any of the patients.

Conclusion EFL-SCITA is a new and effective alternative for the surgical treatment of TSs. For dumbbell-shaped TSs, this approach provides sufficient surgical field exposure and freedom of operation.

Endoscopic Placement of Intracystic Catheters

Operative Neurosurgery 25:E1–E5, 2023

Intraventricular neuroendoscopic surgery for tumor resection, biopsy, or cyst fenestration frequently requires precise placement of an intraventricular or intracystic catheter. Placement under direct visualization is not feasible because of small bore of working channel of the standard small ventriculoscope. Various techniques have been reported using a separate transcortical trajectory, endoluminal endoscope, or endovascular guide wire.

OBJECTIVE: To describe a technique allowing precise placement of intraventricular/intracystic catheter using a small bore working ventriculoscope, without need for additional equipment.

METHODS: Description of the technique including intraoperative photographs, video, and illustrative cases are provided.

RESULTS: The peel-away sheath is peeled off approximately 1 to 2 cm to allow for the shaft of the endoscope to pass past its tip. Ventricular access is gained using the peel-away sheath. After the stylet is removed, the peel-away sheath is not peeled further or stapled to the skin. The endoscope is introduced into the ventricle through the peel-away sheath. After the required intraventricular work is performed, the endoscope is maneuvered into the location of the desired catheter position. The peel-away sheath is slowly advanced over the stationary endoscope past its tip. While the peelaway sheath is being held in place, the endoscope is removed. After the catheter has been introduced into the peel-away sheath to a premeasured depth, the peel-away sheath is peeled and removed. The catheter is then connected to collection system, reservoir or shunt system.

CONCLUSION: The current technique allows for the precise placement of intraventricular/intracystic catheters without the need for additional equipment or a separate transcortical trajectory.


From white to blue light: evolution of endoscope-assisted intracranial tumor neurosurgery and expansion to intraaxial tumors

J Neurosurg 139:59–64, 2023

Intraoperative use of the endoscope to assist in visualization of intracranial tumor pathology has expanded with increasing surgeon experience and improved instrumentation. The authors aimed to study how advancements in endoscopic technology have affected the evolution of endoscope use, with particular focus on blue light–filter modification allowing for discrimination of fluorescent tumor tissue following 5-ALA administration.

METHODS A retrospective analysis of patients undergoing craniotomy for tumor resection at a single institution between February 2012 and July 2021 was performed. Patients were included if the endoscope was used for diagnostic tumor cavity inspection or therapeutic assistance with tumor resection following standard craniotomy and microsurgical tumor resection, with emphasis on those cases in which blue light endoscopy was used. Medical records were queried for patient demographics, operative reports describing the use of the endoscope and extent of resection, associations with tumor pathology, and postoperative outcomes. Preoperative and postoperative MR images were reviewed for radiographic extent of resection.

RESULTS A total of 52 patients who underwent endoscope-assisted craniotomy for tumor were included. Thirty patients (57.7%) were men and the average age was 52.6 ± 16.1 years. Standard white light endoscopes were used for assistance with tumor resection in 28 cases (53.8%) for tumors primarily located in the ventricular system, parasellar region, and cerebellopontine angle. A blue light endoscope for detection of 5-ALA fluorescence was introduced into our practice in 2014 and subsequently used for assistance with tumor resection in 24 cases (46.2%) (intraaxial: n = 22, extraaxial: n = 2). Beyond the use of the surgical microscope as the primary visualization source, the blue light endoscope was used to directly perform additional tumor resection in 19/21 cases as a result of improved fluorescence detection as compared to the surgical microscope. No complications were associated with the use of the endoscope or with additional resection performed under white or blue light visualization.

CONCLUSIONS Endoscopic assistance to visualize intracranial tumors had previously been limited to white light, assisting mostly in the visualization of extraaxial tumors confined to intraventricular and cisternal compartments. Blue light– equipped endoscopes provide improved versatility and visualization of 5-ALA fluorescing tissue beyond the capability of the surgical microscope, thereby expanding its use into the realm of intraaxial tumor resections.

Biportal endoscopic extraforaminal lumbar interbody fusion using a 3D‑printed porous titanium cage with large footprints: technical note and preliminary results

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:1435–1443

The aim of this study was to introduce biportal endoscopic extraforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (BE-EFLIF), which involves insertion of a cage through a more lateral side as compared to the conventional corridor of transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion. We described the advantages and surgical steps of 3D-printed porous titanium cage with large footprints insertion through multi-portal approach, and preliminary results of this technique.

Methods This retrospective study included 12 consecutive patients who underwent BE-EFLIF for symptomatic singlelevel lumbar degenerative disease. Clinical outcomes, including a visual analog scale (VAS) for back and leg pain and the Oswestry disability index (ODI), were collected at preoperative months 1 and 3, and 6 months postoperatively. In addition, perioperative data and radiographic parameters were analyzed.

Results The mean patient age, follow-up period, operation time, and volume of surgical drainage were 68.3 ± 8.4 years, 7.6 ± 2.8 months, 188.3 ± 42.4 min, 92.5 ± 49.6 mL, respectively. There were no transfusion cases. All patients showed significant improvement in VAS and ODI postoperatively, and these were maintained for 6 months after surgery (P < 0.001). The anterior and posterior disc heights significantly increased after surgery (P < 0.001), and the cage was ideally positioned in all patients. There were no incidences of early cage subsidence or other complications.

Conclusions BE-EFLIF using a 3D-printed porous titanium cage with large footprints is a feasible option for minimally invasive lumbar interbody fusion. This technique is expected to reduce the risk of cage subsidence and improve the fusion rate.

Management strategies in clival and craniovertebral junction chordomas: a 29-year experience

J Neurosurg 138:1640–1652, 2023

Chordomas represent one of the most challenging subsets of skull base and craniovertebral junction (CVJ) tumors to treat. Despite extensive resection followed by proton-beam radiation therapy, the recurrence rate remains high, highlighting the importance of developing efficient treatment strategies. In this study, the authors present their experience in treating clival and CVJ chordomas over a 29-year period.

METHODS The authors conducted a retrospective study of clival and CVJ chordomas that were surgically treated at their institution from 1991 to 2020. This study focuses on three aspects of the management of these tumors: the factors influencing the extent of resection (EOR), the predictors of survival, and the outcomes of the endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs) compared with open approaches (OAs).

RESULTS A total of 265 surgical procedures were performed in 210 patients, including 123 OAs (46.4%) and 142 EEAs (53.6%). Tumors that had an intradural extension (p = 0.03), brainstem contact (p = 0.005), cavernous sinus extension (p = 0.004), major artery encasement (p = 0.01), petrous apex extension (p = 0.003), or high volume (p = 0.0003) were significantly associated with a lower EOR. The 5-year progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) rates were 52.1% and 75.1%, respectively. Gross-total resection and Ki-67 labeling index < 6% were considered to be independent prognostic factors of longer PFS (p = 0.0005 and p = 0.003, respectively) and OS (p = 0.02 and p = 0.03, respectively). Postoperative radiation therapy correlated independently with a longer PFS (p = 0.006). Previous surgical treatment was associated with a lower EOR (p = 0.01) and a higher rate of CSF leakage after EEAs (p = 0.02) but did not have significantly lower PFS and OS compared with primary surgery. Previously radiation therapy correlated with a worse outcome, with lower PFS and OS (p = 0.001 and p = 0.007, respectively). EEAs were more frequently used in patients with upper and middle clival tumors (p = 0.002 and p < 0.0001, respectively), had a better rate of EOR (p = 0.003), and had a lower risk of de novo neurological deficit (p < 0.0001) compared with OAs. The overall rate of postoperative CSF leakage after EEAs was 14.8%.

CONCLUSIONS This large study showed that gross-total resection should be attempted in a multidisciplinary skull base center before providing radiation therapy. EEAs should be considered as the gold-standard approach for upper/middle clival lesions based on the satisfactory surgical outcome, but OAs remain important tools for large complex chordomas.