Extended endoscopic transsphenoidal approach for suprasellar craniopharyngiomas

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:677–683

Craniopharyngiomas are benign sellar lesions. Surgical excision of craniopharyngiomas is difficult because of the surrounding important neurovascular structures. The choice of surgery depends on the histological type, location, hormonal status, and size of the craniopharyngioma, surrounding neurovascular structures, and invasion of the brain parenchyma.

Methods We describe the resection of an adamantinomatous craniopharyngioma using an extended endoscopic endonasal approach and discuss the relevant surgical anatomy, indications, limitations, and possible complications.

Conclusions The extended endoscopic endonasal approach allows successful removal of the craniopharyngioma and poses little risk to surrounding neurovascular structures.

Extra-axial endoscopic third ventriculostomy: preliminary experience with a technique to circumvent conventional endoscopic third ventriculostomy complications

J Neurosurg 138:503–513, 2023

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is mostly safe but may have serious complications. Most of the complications are inherent to the procedure’s intra-axial nature. This study aimed to explore an alternative route to overcome inherent issues with conventional ETV. The authors performed supraorbital, subfrontal extra-axial ETV (EAETV) via the lamina terminalis.

METHODS This prospective study began in October 2021 and included patients with obstructive triventricular hydrocephalus with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 8 or more and a minimum follow-up of 3 months. Patients with multiloculated hydrocephalus and those younger than 1 year of age were excluded. The preoperative parameters etiology, symptoms, Evans’ Index, frontal occipital horn ratio (FOHR), and third ventricle index were recorded. The surgical procedure is described. Postoperative evaluation included clinical (modified Rankin Scale [mRS]) and radiological assessment with CT and cine phase-contrast MRI. Preoperative and postoperative parameters were compared statistically.

RESULTS Ten patients were included in this study. Six patients had acute hydrocephalus, and 4 had chronic hydrocephalus. After EAETV, all patients showed clinical improvement. An mRS score of 0 or 1 was achieved in 9 patients, but the mRS score remained at 4 in a patient with tectal tuberculoma. There was a significant reduction in Evans’ Index, FOHR, and third ventricle index after EAETV (p < 0.05). The mean percent reduction in Evans’ Index was 20.80% ± 13.89%, the mean percent reduction in FOHR was 20.79% ± 12.98%, and the mean percent reduction in the third ventricle index was 37.45% ± 14.74%. CSF flow voids were seen in all cases. The results of CSF flow quantification parameters were as follows: mean peak velocity 3.82 ± 0.93 cm/sec, mean average velocity 0.10 ± 0.05 cm/sec, mean average flow rate 46.60 ± 28.58 μL/sec, mean forward volume 39.90 ± 23.29 μL, mean reverse volume 34.10 ± 15.98 μL, mean overall flow amplitude 74.00 ± 27.61 μL, and mean stroke volume 37.00 ± 13.80 μL. One patient developed a minor frontal lobe contusion. The frontal air sinus was breached in 5 patients, but none had CSF rhinorrhea. Transient supraorbital hypesthesia was seen in 3 patients. No patient had electrolyte disturbance or change in thirst or fluid intake habits.

CONCLUSIONS EAETV is a feasible, safe, and effective surgical alternative to conventional ETV.

Endoscopic endonasal approach for infradiaphragmatic craniopharyngiomas: a multicentric Italian study

J Neurosurg 138:522–532, 2023

Infradiaphragmatic craniopharyngiomas (ICs) represent a distinct subtype, harboring a sellar-suprasellar origin and generally growing in the extra-arachnoidal space contained by the diaphragma sellae. They have been considered ideal for surgical removal through the transsphenoidal approach since the 1960s. The authors present a multicentric national study, intending to selectively analyze IC behavior and the impact of the transsphenoidal endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) on surgical outcomes.

METHODS Craniopharyngiomas that were intraoperatively recognized as infradiaphragmatic and removed with standard EEA between 2000 and 2021 at 6 Italian neurosurgical departments were included in the study. Clinical, radiological, and surgical findings and outcomes were evaluated and reviewed.

RESULTS In total, 84 patients were included, with 45.23% identified as pediatric cases and 39.28% as having recurrent tumors. The most common presenting symptoms were endocrine (75%), visual (59.52%), and hypothalamic (26.19%) disorders. ICs were classified as extending below (6 intrasellar and 41 occupying the suprasellar cistern) or above (26 obliterating the anterior recesses of the third ventricle and 11 extending up to the foramina of Monro) the chiasmatic cistern. Gross-total resection (GTR) was achieved in 54 cases (64.28%). Tumor extension above the chiasmatic cistern and calcifications were associated with lower likelihood of GTR. The cumulative rate of postoperative complications was 34.53%, with CSF leak being the most common (14.28%). Endocrine, visual, and hypothalamic functions deteriorated postoperatively in 41/78 patients (52.56%), 5/84 (5.95%), and 14/84 (16.67%), respectively. Twenty-eight patients (33.33%) had recurrence during follow-up (mean 63.51 months), with a mean 5-year progression-free survival (PFS) rate of 58%. PFS was greater in patients who achieved GTR than patients with other extent of resection.

CONCLUSIONS This is the largest series in the literature to describe ICs removed with standard EEA, without the need for additional bone and dural opening over the planum sphenoidale. EEA provides a direct route to ICs, the opportunity to manage lesions extending up to the third ventricle without breaching the diaphragma, and high rates of GTR and satisfactory clinical outcomes. Increased surgical complexity and morbidity should be expected in patients with extensive suprasellar extension and involvement of the surrounding vital neurovascular structures.

Long-term functional independence after minimally invasive endoscopic intracerebral hemorrhage evacuation

J Neurosurg 138:154–164, 2023

Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is a devastating form of stroke with no proven treatment. However, minimally invasive endoscopic evacuation is a promising potential therapeutic option for ICH. Herein, the authors examine factors associated with long-term functional independence (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score ≤ 2) in patients with spontaneous ICH who underwent minimally invasive endoscopic evacuation.

METHODS Patients with spontaneous supratentorial ICH who had presented to a large urban healthcare system from December 2015 to October 2018 were triaged to a central hospital for minimally invasive endoscopic evacuation. Inclusion criteria for this study included age ≥ 18 years, hematoma volume ≥ 15 ml, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score ≥ 6, premorbid mRS score ≤ 3, and time from ictus ≤ 72 hours. Demographic, clinical, and radiographic factors previously shown to impact functional outcome in ICH were included in a retrospective univariate analysis with patients dichotomized into independent (mRS score ≤ 2) and dependent (mRS score ≥ 3) outcome groups, according to 6-month mRS scores. Factors that reached a threshold of p < 0.05 in a univariate analysis were included in a multivariate logistic regression.

RESULTS A total of 90 patients met the study inclusion criteria. The median preoperative hematoma volume was 41 (IQR 27–65) ml and the median postoperative volume was 1.2 (0.3–7.5) ml, resulting in a median evacuation percentage of 97% (85%–99%). The median hospital length of stay was 17 (IQR 9–25) days, and 8 (9%) patients died within 30 days of surgery. Twenty-four (27%) patients had attained functional independence by 6 months. Factors independently associated with long-term functional independence included lower NIHSS score at presentation (OR per point 0.78, 95% CI 0.67–0.91, p = 0.002), lack of intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH; OR 0.20, 95% CI 0.05–0.77, p = 0.02), and shorter time to evacuation (OR per hour 0.95, 95% CI 0.91–0.99, p = 0.007). Specifically, patients who had undergone evacuation within 24 hours of ictus demonstrated an mRS score ≤ 2 rate of 36% and were associated with an increased likelihood of long-term independence (OR 17.7, 95% CI 1.90–164, p = 0.01) as compared to those who had undergone evacuation after 48 hours.

CONCLUSIONS In a single-center minimally invasive endoscopic ICH evacuation cohort, NIHSS score on presentation, lack of IVH, and shorter time to evacuation were independently associated with functional independence at 6 months. Factors associated with functional independence may help to better predict populations suitable for minimally invasive endoscopic evacuation and guide protocols for future clinical trials.

Expanded endoscopic endonasal approach for the resection of midline craniopharyngiomas with hypothalamic involvement

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:3291–3296

With relevant surrounding neurological structures and potential involvement of the hypothalamus, the surgical management of craniopharyngiomas is complex. Compared to the transcranial approach, the expanded endoscopic endonasal approach provides direct access to the supradiaphragmatic and retrochiasmatic areas without crossing nerves and arteries.

Method Based on our substantial experience of 68 patients operated on between 2008 and 2022 by endoscopic surgery, our strategy has evolved such that all of our midline infundibular craniopharyngiomas with hypothalamic involvement are currently treated with an expanded endonasal route, except for tumours isolated to the third ventricle. Vascularized mucosal nasoseptal flaps are required for closure. Fine details of the related anatomy and surgical technique are described.

Conclusion Expanded endoscopic endonasal approach is a safe and effective route for resection of midline suprasellar craniopharyngiomas with hypothalamic involvement in centres of expertise.

Anterior transtemporal endoscopic selective amygdalohippocampectomy

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:2841–2849

Selective amygdalohippocampectomy (SelAH) is one of the most common surgical treatments for mesial temporal sclerosis. Microsurgical approaches are associated with the risk of cognitive and visual deficits due to damage to the cortex and white matter (WM) pathways. Our objective is to test the feasibility of an endoscopic approach through the anterior middle temporal gyrus (aMTG) to perform a SelAH.

Methods Virtual simulation with MRI scans of ten patients (20 hemispheres) was used to identify the endoscopic trajectory through the aMTG. A cadaveric study was performed on 22 specimens using a temporal craniotomy. The anterior part of the temporal horn was accessed using a tubular retractor through the aMTG after performing a 1.5 cm corticectomy at 1.5 cm posterior to the temporal pole. Then, an endoscope was introduced. SeIAH was performed in each specimen. The specimens underwent neuronavigation-assisted endoscopic SeIAH to confirm our surgical trajectory. WM dissection using Klingler’s technique was performed on five specimens to assess WM integrity.

Results This approach allowed the identification of collateral eminence, lateral ventricular sulcus, choroid plexus, inferior choroidal point, amygdala, hippocampus, and fimbria. SelAH was successfully performed on all specimens, and CT neuronavigation confirmed the planned trajectory. WM dissection confirmed the integrity of language pathways and optic radiations.

Conclusions Endoscopic SelAH through the aMTG can be successfully performed with a corticectomy of 15 mm, presenting a reduced risk of vascular injury and damage to WM pathways. This could potentially help to reduce cognitive and visual deficits associated with SelAH.

Fully Endoscopic Microvascular Decompression for Trigeminal Neuralgia

World Neurosurg. (2022) 166:159-167

Microscopic microvascular decompression (MVD) of the trigeminal nerve is the gold standard surgical treatment for medically refractory classical trigeminal neuralgia. Endoscopy has significantly advanced surgery and provides enhanced visualization of the cerebellopontine angle and its critical neurovascular structures. We present our initial experience of fully endoscopic microvascular decompression (e-MVD).

METHODS: This retrospective case series investigated e-MVD performed from September 2016 to February 2020 at a single institution. Clinical data including presenting symptoms, medications, operative findings, postoperative complications, and outcomes were recorded. The 5-point Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) pain intensity score was used to quantify patients’ pain relief.

RESULTS: During the study period, 25 patients with trigeminal neuralgia (10 males, 15 females; mean [SD] age [ 63 [10.4] years) underwent e-MVD. All patients had a preoperative BNI score of V. The left side was affected in 15 patients. Complications occurred in 2 patients: both experienced hearing loss, and one experienced transient facial weakness 7 days after surgery. The facial weakness had resolved by the last follow-up. All patients were completely pain-free (BNI score I) immediately postoperatively. On latest follow-up, 22 patients have remained pain-free, and 3 patients have recurrent pain that is being controlled with medication (BNI score III).

CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrated that e-MVD is a safe, possibly effective method of performing MVD with the added benefit of improved visualization of the operative field for the operating surgeon and the surgical team. Larger prospective studies are required to evaluate whether performing e-MVD confers any additional benefits in long-term clinical outcome of patients with trigeminal neuralgia.

Management of severe intraoperative hemorrhage during intraventricular neuroendoscopic procedures: the dry field technique

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:2551–2557

Neuroendoscopic procedures inside the ventricular system always bear the risk for an unexpected intraoperative hemorrhage with potentially devastating consequences. The authors present here their experience, and a stage-to-stage guide for the endoscopic management of intraoperative hemorrhages.

Methods A step-by-step guide for the management to gain control of and stop the bleeding is described including a grading system. More advanced techniques are presented in cases examples.

Conclusion Most of intraoperative hemorrhages can be controlled by constant irrigation and coagulation. More advanced techniques can be applied quickly and easily to ensure control of the hemorrhages and avoid the need for a microsurgical conversion.

Surgical management of colloid cysts of the third ventricle: a single-institution comparison of endoscopic and microsurgical resection

J Neurosurg 137:905–913, 2022

Colloid cysts of the third ventricle are histologically benign lesions that can cause obstructive hydrocephalus and death. Historically, colloid cysts have been removed by open microsurgical approaches. More recently, minimally invasive endoscopic and port-based techniques have offered decreased complications and length of stay, with improved patient satisfaction.

METHODS A single-center retrospective analysis of patients with colloid cysts who underwent surgery at a large tertiary care hospital was performed. The cohort was assessed based on the surgical approach, comparing endoscopic resection to open microsurgical resection. The primary endpoint was rate of perioperative complications. Univariate analysis was used to assess several procedure-related variables and the cost of treatment. Multivariate analysis was used to assess predictors of perioperative complications. Total inpatient cost for each case was extracted from the health system financial database.

RESULTS The study included 78 patients with colloid cysts who underwent resection either via an endoscopic approach (n = 33) or through a craniotomy (n = 45) with an interhemispheric-transcallosal or transcortical-transventricular approach. Nearly all patients were symptomatic, and half had obstructive hydrocephalus. Endoscopic resection was associated with reduced operative time (3.2 vs 4.9 hours, p < 0.001); lower complication rate (6.1% vs 33.1%, p = 0.009); reduced length of stay (4.1 vs 8.9 days, p < 0.001); and improved discharge to home (100% vs 75.6%, p = 0.008) compared to microsurgical resection. Coagulated residual cyst wall remnants were more common after endoscopic resection (63.6% vs 19.0%, p < 0.001) although this was not associated with a significantly increased rate of reoperation for recurrence. The mean follow-up was longer in the microsurgical resection group (3.1 vs 4.9 years, p = 0.016). The total inpatient cost of endoscopic resection was, on average, one-half (47%) that of microsurgical resection. When complications were encountered, the total inpatient cost of microsurgical resection was 4 times greater than that of endoscopic resection where no major complications were observed. The increased cost-effectiveness of endoscopic resection remained during reoperation.

CONCLUSIONS Endoscopic resection of colloid cysts of the third ventricle offers a significant reduction in perioperative complications when compared to microsurgical resection. Endoscopic resection optimizes nearly all procedure-related variables compared to microsurgical resection, and reduces total inpatient cost by > 50%. However, endoscopic resection is associated with a significantly increased likelihood of residual coagulated cyst wall remnants that could increase the rate of reoperation for recurrence. Taken together, endoscopic resection represents a safe and effective minimally invasive approach for removal of colloid cysts.

Combined endoscopic endonasal transpterygoid and sublabial transmaxillary approaches for a large infratemporal fossa trigeminal schwannoma

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:2525–2531

Trigeminal schwannomas (TSs) with solitary extracranial location are rare, and surgical excision is challenging. In recent years, the endoscopic endonasal transmaxillary transpterygoid approach (EETPA) has been advocated as an effective strategy for TSs in the infratemporal fossa (ITF).

Method We describe the steps of the EETPA combined with the sublabial transmaxillary approach for the surgical excision of a giant mandibular schwannoma of the ITF. Indications, advantages, and approach-specific complications are also discussed. The main surgical steps are shown in an operative video.

Conclusion A combined EETPA and sublabial transmaxillary approach represents a safe and effective option for the surgical excision of extracranial TSs.

Transseptal interforniceal endoscopic removal of superiorly recessed colloid cysts

J Neurosurg 137:813–819, 2022

Transforaminal endoscopic colloid cyst resection is well described. However, some anatomical colloid cyst variants may warrant a modified approach. Rarely, colloid cysts separate the forniceal columns and grow superiorly within the leaflets of the septum pellucidum. Thus, the authors’ goal was to characterize the imaging features, clinical presentation, surgical strategy, and outcomes of patients with this superiorly recessed colloid cyst variant.

METHODS A retrospective evaluation of patients who underwent endoscopic resection of colloid cysts from 1999 to 2020 was performed. The patients were dichotomized depending on whether the cyst was located predominately below the forniceal columns or was superiorly recessed (forniceal column separation with variable intraseptal extension). This comparative cohort study focused on clinical presentation, imaging features, operative technique, and patient outcome.

RESULTS In total, 182 patients were identified. Seventeen patients had colloid cysts that were defined as superiorly recessed and underwent transseptal interforniceal removal, and 165 patients underwent a standard transforaminal approach. Patients had similar demographic characteristics. However, transseptal cysts were on average larger (17.8 mm vs 11.4 mm, p < 0.0001), and these patients had a greater frontal-occipital horn ratio (0.45 vs 0.41, p = 0.012). They were also more likely to have undergone a previous resection (p = 0.02). The two cohorts had similar surgical outcomes, with no differences in extent of resection, recurrence, or complications.

CONCLUSIONS Superiorly recessed intraseptal colloid cysts are larger and tend to splay the bodies of the fornix, thus requiring a parasagittal transseptal interforniceal endoscopic approach. This achieves complete removal with comparatively negligible morbidity or rare recurrence (5.9%).

Dumbbell-shaped pituitary adenomas: prognostic factors for prediction of tumor nondescent of the supradiaphragmal component from a multicenter series

J Neurosurg 137:609–617, 2022

Dumbbell-shaped pituitary adenomas (DSPAs) are a subgroup of macroadenomas with suprasellar extension that are characterized by a smaller diameter at the level of the diaphragma sellae opening compared with the supradiaphragmal tumor component (SDTC). Hence, DSPAs may be particularly prone to a nondescending suprasellar tumor component and risk for residual tumor or postoperative bleeding.

METHODS A multicenter retrospective cohort analysis of 99 patients with DSPA operated on via direct endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal approach between 2011 and 2020 was conducted. Patient recruitment was performed at two tertiary care centers (Medical University of Vienna and University of Southern California) with expertise in endoscopic skull base surgery. DSPA was defined as having a smaller diameter at the level of the diaphragma sellae compared with the SDTC.

RESULTS On preoperative MRI, all DSPAs were macroadenomas (maximum diameter range 17–71 mm, volume range 2–88 cm 3 ). Tumor descent was found in 73 (74%) of 99 patients (group A), and nondescent in 26 (26%) of 99 patients (group B) intraoperatively. DSPAs in group A had a significantly smaller diameter (30 vs 42 mm, p < 0.001) and significantly smaller volume (10 vs 22 cm 3 , p < 0.001) than those in group B. The ratio of the minimum area at the level of the diaphragmal opening in comparison with the maximum area of the suprasellar tumor component (“neck-to-dome area”) was significantly lower in group A than in group B (1.7 vs 2.7, p < 0.001). Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis revealed an area under the curve of 0.75 (95% CI 0.63–0.87). At a cutoff ratio of 1.9, the sensitivity and specificity for a nondescending suprasellar tumor component were 77% and 34%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS In the present study, the neck-to-dome area ratio was of prognostic value for prediction of intraoperative tumor nondescent in DSPAs operated on via a direct endonasal endoscopic approach. Pituitary adenoma SDTC nondescent carried the inherent risk of hemorrhagic transformation in all cases.

Endoscope‐assisted resection of brainstem cavernous malformations

Neurosurgical Review (2022) 45:2823–2836

Targeted surgical precision and minimally invasive techniques are of utmost importance for resectioning cavernous malformations involving the brainstem region. Minimisation of the surgical corridor is desirable but should not compromise the extent of resection.

This study provides detailed information on the role of endoscopy in this challenging surgical task. A retrospective analysis of medical documentation, radiologic studies and detailed intraoperative video documentation was performed for all consecutive patients who underwent surgical resection of brainstem cavernous malformations between 2010 and 2020 at the authors’ institution.

A case-based volumetry of the corticotomy was performed and compared to cavernoma dimensions. A total of 20 procedures have been performed in 19 patients. Neuroendoscopy was implemented in all cases. The mean size of the lesion was 5.4 (± 5) mm3. The average size of the brainstem corticotomy was 4.5 × 3.7 (± 1.0 × 1.1) mm, with a median relation to the cavernoma’s dimension of 9.99% (1.2–31.39%). Endoscopic 360° inspection of the resection cavity was feasible in all cases. There were no endoscopy-related complications. Mean follow-up was 27.8 (12–89) months.

Gross-total resection was achieved in all but one case (95%). Sixteen procedures (80%) resulted in an improved or stable medical condition. Eleven patients (61.1%) showed further improvement 12 months after the initial surgery. With the experience provided, endoscopic techniques can be safely implemented in surgery for BSCM. A combination of neuroendoscopic visualisation and neuronavigation might enable a targeted size of brainstem corticotomy.

Endoscopy can currently be considered a valuable additive tool to facilitate the preparation and resection of BSCM.

Safe Electromyography Stimulation Thresholds Within Kambin’s Triangle During Endoscopic Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Neurosurgery 91:150–158, 2022

Transforaminal endoscopic approaches through Kambin’s triangle traditionally require surgery to be performed without general anesthesia to allow live patient feedback. No reliable intraoperative neuromonitoring method specific to the dorsal root ganglion (DRG), the structure most at risk during this approach, currently exists.

OBJECTIVE: To correlate evoked electromyography (EMG) thresholds within Kambin’s triangle with new postoperative pain or sensorimotor symptoms potentially resulting from DRG irritation.

METHODS: Data were prospectively collected for all patients undergoing endoscopic transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) under general anesthesia at a single institution. A stimulation probe was inserted into Kambin’s triangle under fluoroscopic and robotic guidance, before passage of endoscopic instruments. EMG thresholds required to elicit corresponding myotomal responses were measured. Postoperatively, any potential manifestations of DRG irritation were recorded.

RESULTS: Twenty-four patients underwent a total of 34 transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion levels during the study period, with symptoms of potential DRG irritation occurring in 5. The incidence of new onset symptoms increased with lower stimulation thresholds. Sensitivities for EMG thresholds of ≤4, ≤8, and ≤11 mA were 0.6, 0.8, and 1, respectively. Corresponding specificities were 0.90, 0.69, and 0.55, respectively.

CONCLUSION: We demonstrated for the first time the feasibility of direct intraoperative neuromonitoring within Kambin’s triangle in transforaminal endoscopic surgery. Eight milliampere seems to be a reasonable compromise between sensitivity and specificity for this monitoring technique. In the future, larger-scale studies are required to refine safe stimulation thresholds.

The endonasal midline inferior intercavernous approach to the cavernous sinus

Acta Neurochirurgica


Traditional endoscopic endonasal approaches to the cavernous sinus (CS) open the anterior CS wall just medial to the internal carotid artery (ICA), posing risk of vascular injury. This work describes a potentially safer midline sellar entry point for accessing the CS utilizing its connection with the inferior intercavernous sinus (IICS) when anatomically present.

Methods The technique for the midline intercavernous dural access is described and depicted with cadaveric dissections and a clinical case.

Results An endoscopic endonasal approach exposed the periosteal dural layer of anterior sella and CS. The IICS was opened sharply in midline through its periosteal layer. The feather knife was inserted and advanced laterally within the IICS toward the anterior CS wall, thereby gradually incising the periosteal layer of the IICS. The knife was turned superiorly then inferiorly in a vertical direction to open the anterior CS wall. This provided excellent access to the CS compartments, maintained the meningeal layer of the IICS and the medial CS wall, and avoided an initial dural incision immediately adjacent to the ICA.

Conclusion The midline intercavernous dural access to the CS assisted by a 90° dissector-blade is an effective modification to previously described techniques, with potentially lower risk to the ICA.

Evaluation of early postoperative day 1 discharge after endoscopic endonasal pituitary adenoma resection

J Neurosurg 136:1337–1346, 2022

While multiple studies have evaluated the length of stay after endonasal transsphenoidal surgery (ETS) for pituitary adenoma, the potential for early discharge on postoperative day 1 (POD 1) remains unclear. The authors compared patients discharged on POD 1 with patients discharged on POD > 1 to better characterize factors that facilitate early discharge after ETS.

METHODS A retrospective chart review was performed for patients undergoing ETS for pituitary adenoma at a single tertiary care academic center from February 2005 to February 2020. Discharge on POD 1 was defined as a discharge within 24 hours of surgery.

RESULTS A total of 726 patients (mean age 55 years, 52% male) were identified, of whom 178 (24.5%) patients were discharged on POD 1. These patients were more likely to have pituitary incidentaloma (p = 0.001), require dural substitutes and DuraSeal (p = 0.0001), have fewer intraoperative CSF leaks (p = 0.02), and have lower postoperative complication rates (p = 0.006) compared with patients discharged on POD > 1. POD 1 patients also showed higher rates of macroadenomas (96.1% vs 91.4%, p = 0.03) and lower rates of functional tumors (p = 0.02). POD > 1 patients were more likely to have readmission within 30 days (p = 0.002), readmission after 30 days (p = 0.0001), nasal synechiae on follow-up (p = 0.003), diabetes insipidus (DI; 1.7% vs 9.8%, p = 0.0001), postoperative hypocortisolism (21.8% vs 12.1%, p = 0.01), and postoperative steroid usage (44.6% vs 59.7%, p = 0.003). The number of patients discharged on POD 1 significantly increased during each subsequent time epoch: 2005–2010, 2011–2015, and 2016–2020 (p = 0.0001). On multivariate analysis, DI (OR 7.02, 95% CI 2.01–24.57; p = 0.002) and intraoperative leak (OR 2.02, 95% CI 1.25–3.28; p = 0.004) were associated with increased risk for POD > 1 discharge, while operation epoch (OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.3–0.71; p = 0.0001) was associated with POD 1 discharge.

CONCLUSIONS This study demonstrates that discharge on POD 1 after ETS for pituitary adenomas was safe and feasible and without increased risk of 30-day readmission. On multivariate analysis, surgical epoch was associated with decreased risk of prolonged length of stay, while factors associated with increased risk of prolonged length of stay included DI and intraoperative CSF leak. These findings may help in selecting patients who are deemed reasonable for safe, early discharge after pituitary adenoma resection.

Experience and modification of skull base reconstruction results in lower complications rates

Objectives To investigate the efficacy of nasal septum bone flap combined with vascularized pedicle nasoseptal flap (VPNSF) in the treatment of high-flow cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage in the endonasal endoscopic skull base surgery.

Methods A total of 156 patients in group A used a multi-layer skull base reconstruction method of fat-absorbable artificial dura mater- fascia lata-VP-NSF, and were treated with drainage of the lumbar cistern after surgery, in addition, a total of 94 patients in group B used a multi-layer skull base reconstruction method of fat-absorbable artificial dura mater-nasal septal bone flap-VP-NSF, and no lumbar cistern drainage was performed after surgery. Analyzed and compared the differences of postoperative cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea, intracranial infection, re-repair, average bed rest time, pulmonary infection and deep venous thrombosis of lower extremities were analyzed and compared in the two groups.

Results In group A, 11 cases of cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea occurred after operation. In addition, 15 cases developed intracranial infection. During this period, there were 20 cases of pulmonary infection and 3 cases of deep venous thrombosis of lower extremities. In group B, there were 1 case of cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea (P < 0.05), 2 cases of intracranial infection (P < 0.05), 2 cases of pulmonary infection (P < 0.05), and 0 case of deep venous thrombosis of lower extremities (P > 0.05).

Conclusion Nasal septum bone flap combined with VP-NSF is effective in the treatment of high-flow CSF leaks in the endonasal endoscopic skull base surgery, which can avoid postoperative lumbar cistern drainage and is worth popularizing.

Complications after 1002 endoscopic endonasal approach procedures at a single center: lessons learned, 2010–2018


The endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) has evolved into a mainstay of skull base surgery over the last two decades, but publications examining the intraoperative and perioperative complications of this technique remain scarce. A prior landmark series of 800 patients reported complications during the first era of EEA (1998–2007), parallel to the development of many now-routine techniques and technologies. The authors examined a single-institution series of more than 1000 consecutive EEA neurosurgical procedures performed since 2010, to elucidate the safety and risk factors associated with surgical and postoperative complications in this modern era.

After obtaining institutional review board approval, the authors retrospectively reviewed intraoperative and postoperative complications and their outcomes in patients who underwent EEA between July 2010 and June 2018 at a single institution.

The authors identified 1002 EEA operations that met the inclusion criteria. Pituitary adenoma was the most common pathology (n = 392 [39%]), followed by meningioma (n = 109 [11%]). No patients died intraoperatively. Two (0.2%) patients had an intraoperative carotid artery injury: 1 had no neurological sequelae, and 1 had permanent hemiplegia. Sixty-one (6.1%) cases of postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leak occurred, of which 45 occurred during the original surgical hospitalization. Transient postoperative sodium dysregulation was noted after 87 (8.7%) operations. Six (0.6%) patients were treated for meningitis, and 1 (0.1%) patient died of a fungal skull base infection. Three (0.3%) patients died of medical complications, thereby yielding a perioperative 90-day mortality rate of 0.4% (4 deaths). High-grade (Clavien-Dindo grade III–V) complications were identified after 103 (10%) EEA procedures, and multivariate analysis was performed to determine the associations between factors and these more serious complications. Extradural EEA was significantly associated with decreased rates of these high-grade complications (OR [95% CI] 0.323 [0.153–0.698], p = 0.0039), whereas meningioma pathology (OR [95% CI] 2.39 [1.30–4.40], p = 0.0053), expanded-approach intradural surgery (OR [95% CI] 2.54 [1.46–4.42], p = 0.0009), and chordoma pathology (OR [95% CI] 9.31 [3.87–22.4], p < 0.0001) were independently associated with significantly increased rates of high-grade complications.

The authors have reported a large 1002-operation cohort of EEA procedures and associated complications. Modern EEA surgery for skull base pathologies has an acceptable safety profile with low morbidity and mortality rates. Nevertheless, significant intraoperative and postoperative complications were correlated with complex intradural procedures and meningioma and chordoma pathologies.

Endoscopic endonasal versus transcranial surgery for primary resection of craniopharyngiomas based on a new QST classification system

J Neurosurg 135:1298–1309, 2021

An assessment of the transcranial approach (TCA) and the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) for craniopharyngiomas (CPs) according to tumor types has not been reported. The aim of this study was to evaluate both surgical approaches for different types of CPs.

METHODS A retrospective review of primary resected CPs was performed. A QST classification system based on tumor origin was used to classify tumors into 3 types as follows: infrasellar/subdiaphragmatic CPs (Q-CPs), subarachnoidal CPs (S-CPs), and pars tuberalis CPs (T-CPs). Within each tumor type, patients were further arranged into two groups: those treated via the TCA and those treated via the EEA. Patient and tumor characteristics, surgical outcomes, and postoperative complications were obtained. All variables were statistically analyzed between surgical groups for each tumor type.

RESULTS A total of 315 patients were included in this series, of whom 87 were identified with Q-CPs (49 treated via TCA and 38 via EEA); 56 with S-CPs (36 treated via TCA and 20 via EEA); and 172 with T-CPs (105 treated via TCA and 67 via EEA). Patient and tumor characteristics were equivalent between both surgical groups in each tumor type. The overall gross-total resection rate (90.5% TCA vs 91.2% EEA, p = 0.85) and recurrence rate (8.9% TCA vs 6.4% EEA, p = 0.35) were similar between surgical groups. The EEA group had a greater chance of visual improvement (61.6% vs 35.8%, p = 0.01) and a decreased risk of visual deterioration (1.6% vs 11.0%, p < 0.001). Of the patients with T-CPs, postoperative hypothalamic status was better in the TCA group than in the EEA group (p = 0.016). Postoperative CSF leaks and nasal complication rates occurred more frequently in the EEA group (12.0% vs 0.5%, and 9.6% vs 0.5%; both p < 0.001). For Q-CPs, EEA was associated with an increased gross-total resection rate (97.4% vs 85.7%, p = 0.017), decreased recurrence rate (2.6% vs 12.2%, p = 0.001), and lower new hypopituitarism rate (28.9% vs 57.1%, p = 0.008). The recurrence-free survival in patients with Q-CPs was also significantly different between surgical groups (log-rank test, p = 0.037). The EEA required longer surgical time for T-CPs (p = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS CPs could be effectively treated by radical surgery with favorable results. Both TCA and EEA have their advantages and limitations when used to manage different types of tumors. Individualized surgical strategies based on tumor growth patterns are mandatory to achieve optimal outcomes.

A novel endoscope-assisted technique for lateral lumbar interbody fusion

J Neurosurg Spine 35:292–298, 2021

The lateral approach to the spine is generally well tolerated, but reports of debilitating injury to the lumbar plexus, iliac vessels, ureter, and abdominal viscera are increasingly recognized, likely related to the lack of direct visualization of these nearby structures. To minimize this complication profile, the authors describe here a novel, minimally invasive, endoscope-assisted technique for the LLIF and evaluate its clinical feasibility.

Seven consecutive endoscope-assisted lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) procedures by the senior authors were reviewed for the incidence of approachrelated complications. One patient had a postoperative approach-related complication. This patient developed transient ipsilateral thigh hip flexion weakness that resolved spontaneously by the 3-month follow-up. No patient experienced visceral, urological, or vascular injury, and no patient sustained a permanent neurological injury related to the procedure.

The authors’ preliminary experience suggests that this endoscope-assisted LLIF technique may be clinically feasible to mitigate vascular, urological, and visceral injury, especially in patients with previous abdominal surgery, anomalous anatomy, and revision operations. It provides direct visualization of at-risk structures without significant additional operative time. A larger series is needed to determine whether it reduces the incidence of lumbar plexopathy or visceral injury compared with traditional lateral approaches.

%d bloggers like this: