Far lateral approach for dumbbell‑shaped C1 schwannomas

Acta Neurochirurgica (2024) 166:78

Dumbbell-shaped C1 schwannomas are rare lesions that involve both intra- and extradural compartments. Because of the intimate relationships these lesions develop with the third and fourth segments of the vertebral artery, surgical removal of these lesions remains a challenge.

Method We describe the key steps of the far lateral approach for dumbbell-shaped C1 schwannomas with a video illustration. The surgical anatomy is described along with the techniques for protecting the vertebral artery.

Conclusion Dumbbell-shaped C1 schwannomas can be safely removed by using the far lateral approach, surgical anatomy expertise, and intraoperative microvascular Doppler.

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.


Microsurgical management of midbrain gliomas: surgical results and long-term outcome in a large, single-surgeon, consecutive series

J Neurosurg 140:104–115, 2024

The authors report on a large, consecutive, single-surgeon series of patients undergoing microsurgical removal of midbrain gliomas. Emphasis is put on surgical indications, technique, and results as well as long-term oncological follow-up.

METHODS A retrospective analysis was performed of prospectively collected data from a consecutive series of patients undergoing microneurosurgery for midbrain gliomas from March 2006 through June 2022 at the authors’ institution. According to the growth pattern and location of the lesion in the midbrain (tegmentum, central mesencephalic structures, and tectum), one of the following approaches was chosen: transsylvian (TS), extreme anterior interhemispheric transcallosal (eAIT), posterior interhemispheric transtentorial subsplenial (PITS), paramedian supracerebellar transtentorial (PST), perimedian supracerebellar (PeS), perimedian contralateral supracerebellar (PeCS), and transuvulotonsillar fissure (TUTF). Clinical and radiological data were gathered according to a standard protocol and reported according to common descriptive statistics. The main outcomes were rate of gross-total resection; extent of resection; occurrence of any complications; variation in Karnofsky Performance Status score at discharge, 3 months, and last follow-up; progression-free survival (PFS); and overall survival (OS).

RESULTS Fifty-four patients (28 of them pediatric) met the inclusion criteria (6 with high-grade and 48 with low-grade gliomas [LGGs]). Twenty-two tumors were in the tegmentum, 7 in the central mesencephalic structures, and 25 in the tectum. In no instance did the glioma originate in the cerebral peduncle. TS was performed in 2 patients, eAIT in 6, PITS in 23, PST in 16, PeS in 4, PeCS in 1, and TUTF in 2 patients. Gross-total resection was achieved in 39 patients (72%). The average extent of resection was 98.0% (median 100%, range 82%–100%). There were no deaths due to surgery. Nine patients experienced transient and 2 patients experienced permanent new neurological deficits. At a mean follow-up of 72 months (median 62, range 3–193 months), 49 of the 54 patients were still alive. All patients with LGGs (48/54) were alive with no decrease in their KPS score, whereas 42 showed improvement compared with their preoperative status.

CONCLUSIONS Microneurosurgical removal of midbrain gliomas is feasible with good surgical results and long-term clinical outcomes, particularly in patients with LGGs. As such, microneurosurgery should be considered as the first therapeutic option. Adequate microsurgical technique and anesthesiological management, along with an accurate preoperative understanding of the tumor’s exact topographic origin and growth pattern, is crucial for a good surgical outcome.

Does tumoral cavernous carotid stenosis predict an increased risk of future stroke in skull base meningiomas?

J Neurosurg 139:1613–1618, 2023

Skull base meningiomas (SBMs) involving the cavernous sinus encase the internal carotid artery (ICA) and may lead to stenosis of the vessel. Although ischemic stroke has been reported in the literature, there are to the authors’ knowledge no reported studies quantifying the risk of stroke in these patients. The authors aimed to determine the frequency of arterial stenosis in patients with SBMs that encase the cavernous ICA and to estimate the risk of ischemic stroke in these patients.

METHODS Records of all patients with SBM encasing the ICA whose cases were managed by the skull base multidisciplinary team at Salford Royal Hospital between 2011 and 2017 were reviewed using a two-stage approach: 1) clinical and radiological strokes were identified from electronic patient records, and 2) cases were reviewed to examine the correlation between ICA stenosis associated with SBM encasement and anatomically related stroke. Strokes that were caused by another pathology or did not occur in the perfusion territory were excluded.

RESULTS In the review of patient records the authors identified 118 patients with SBMs encasing the ICA. Of these, 62 SBMs caused stenosis. The median age at diagnosis was 70 (IQR 24) years, and 70% of the patients were female. The median follow-up was 97 (IQR 101) months. A total of 13 strokes were identified in these patients; however, only 1 case of stroke was associated with SBM encasement, which occurred in the perfusion territory of a patient without stenosis. Risk of acute stroke during the follow-up period for the entire cohort was 0.85%.

CONCLUSIONS Acute stroke in patients with ICA encasement by SBMs is rare despite the propensity of these tumors to stenose the ICA. Patients with ICA stenosis secondary to their SBM did not have a higher incidence of stroke than those with ICA encasement without stenosis. The results of this study demonstrate that prophylactic intervention to prevent stroke is not necessary in ICA stenosis secondary to SBM.

International Tuberculum Sellae Meningioma Study: Preoperative Grading Scale to Predict Outcomes and Propensity-Matched Outcomes by Endonasal Versus Transcranial Approach

Neurosurgery 93:1271–1284, 2023

Tuberculum sellae meningiomas are resected via an expanded endonasal (EEA) or transcranial approach (TCA). Which approach provides superior outcomes is debated. The Magill–McDermott (M-M) grading scale evaluating tumor size, optic canal invasion, and arterial involvement remains to be validated for outcome prediction. The objective of this study was to validate the M-M scale for predicting visual outcome, extent of resection (EOR), and recurrence, and to use propensity matching by M-M scale to determine whether visual outcome, EOR, or recurrence differ between EEA and TCA.

METHODS: Forty-site retrospective study of 947 patients undergoing tuberculum sellae meningiomas resection. Standard statistical methods and propensity matching were used.

RESULTS: The M-M scale predicted visual worsening (odds ratio [OR]/point: 1.22, 95% CI: 1.02-1.46, P = .0271) and gross total resection (GTR) (OR/point: 0.71, 95% CI: 0.62-0.81, P < .0001), but not recurrence (P = .4695). The scale was simplified and validated in an independent cohort for predicting visual worsening (OR/point: 2.34, 95% CI: 1.33-4.14, P = .0032) and GTR (OR/point: 0.73, 95% CI: 0.57-0.93, P = .0127), but not recurrence (P = .2572). In propensity-matched samples, there was no difference in visual worsening (P = .8757) or recurrence (P = .5678) between TCA and EEA, but GTR was more likely with TCA (OR: 1.49, 95% CI: 1.02-2.18, P = .0409). Matched patients with preoperative visual deficits who had an EEA were more likely to have visual improvement than those undergoing TCA (72.9% vs 58.4%, P = .0010) with equal rates of visual worsening (EEA 8.0% vs TCA 8.6%, P = .8018).

CONCLUSION: The refined M-M scale predicts visual worsening and EOR preoperatively. Preoperative visual deficits are more likely to improve after EEA; however, individual tumor features must be considered during nuanced approach selection by experienced neurosurgeons.

Endoscopic Endonasal Transpterygoid Approach

Operative Neurosurgery 25:E272, 2023

INDICATIONS: CORRIDOR AND LIMITS OF EXPOSURE: The endoscopic endonasal transpterygoid approach (EETPA) provides direct access to the petrous apex, lateral clivus, inferior cavernous sinus compartment, jugular foramen, and infratemporal fossa. In the coronal plane, it provides exposure far beyond a traditional sphenoidotomy.

ANATOMIC ESSENTIALS: NEED FOR PREOPERATIVE PLANNING AND ASSESSMENT: The pterygoid process of the sphenoid bone forms the junction between the body and greater sphenoid wing before bifurcating because it descends into medial and lateral plates. The key to this exposure lies in the region’s bony foramina: the palatovaginal canal, vidian canal, and foramen rotundum.

ESSENTIALS STEPS OF THE PROCEDURE: After performing a maxillary antrostomy, stepwise exposure of these foramina leads to the pterygopalatine fossa. The sphenopalatine artery is cauterized as it becomes the posterior septal artery at the sphenopalatine foramen, and the maxillary sinus’ posterior wall is opened to expose the pterygopalatine fossa. After mobilizing and retracting the contents of the pterygopalatine fossa, the pterygoid process is removed, improving access in the coronal plane.

PITFALLS/AVOIDANCE OF COMPLICATIONS: Vidian neurectomy causes decreased or absent lacrimation. Injury to the maxillary nerve or its branches results in facial, palatal, or odontogenic anesthesia or neuralgia. In addition, the EEPTA precludes the ability to raise an ipsilateral nasal septal flap, making it crucial to plan reconstruction preoperatively.

VARIANTS AND INDICATIONS FOR THEIR USE: There are 5 variants of the EEPTA: extended pterygopalatine fossa, lateral recess of the sphenoid sinus, petrous apex, infratemporal fossa and petrous carotid artery, and middle and posterior skull base. The patient consented to the procedure.


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.

Extradural disconnection of the cavernous sinus with preservation of the internal carotid artery: indication and technique

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:2951–2956

Extradural disconnection of the cavernous sinus (CS) with preservation of the internal carotid artery (ICA) is indicated for aggressive and recurrent tumors, in patients presenting loss of oculomotor function and non-functional circle of Willis.

Method Extradural resection of the anterior clinoid process disconnects the CS anteriorly. The ICA is dissected in the foramen lacerum via extradural subtemporal approach. The intracavernous tumor is split and removed following the ICA. Bleeding control of the inferior and superior petrosal and intercavernous sinuses completes posterior CS disconnection.

Conclusion This technique can be proposed for recurrent CS tumors and need of ICA preservation.

A proposed classification system for presigmoid approaches: a scoping review

J Neurosurg 139:965–971, 2023

The “presigmoid corridor” covers a spectrum of approaches using the petrous temporal bone either as a target in treating intracanalicular lesions or as a route to access the internal auditory canal (IAC), jugular foramen, or brainstem. Complex presigmoid approaches have been continuously developed and refined over the years, leading to great heterogeneity in their definitions and descriptions. Owing to the common use of the presigmoid corridor in lateral skull base surgery, a simple anatomy-based and self-explanatory classification is needed to delineate the operative perspective of the different variants of the presigmoid route. Herein, the authors conducted a scoping review of the literature with the aim of proposing a classification system for presigmoid approaches.

METHODS The PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, and Web of Science databases were searched from inception to December 9, 2022, following the PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews guidelines to include clinical studies reporting the use of “stand-alone” presigmoid approaches. Findings were summarized based on the anatomical corridor, trajectory, and target lesions to classify the different variants of the presigmoid approach.

RESULTS Ninety-nine clinical studies were included for analysis, and the most common target lesions were vestibular schwannomas (60/99, 60.6%) and petroclival meningiomas (12/99, 12.1%). All approaches had a common entry pathway (i.e., mastoidectomy) but were differentiated into two main categories based on their relationship to the labyrinth: translabyrinthine or anterior corridor (80/99, 80.8%) and retrolabyrinthine or posterior corridor (20/99, 20.2%). The anterior corridor comprised 5 variations based on the extent of bone resection: 1) partial translabyrinthine (5/99, 5.1%), 2) transcrusal (2/99, 2.0%), 3) translabyrinthine proper (61/99, 61.6%), 4) transotic (5/99, 5.1%), and 5) transcochlear (17/99, 17.2%). The posterior corridor consisted of 4 variations based on the target area and trajectory in relation to the IAC: 6) retrolabyrinthine inframeatal (6/99, 6.1%), 7) retrolabyrinthine transmeatal (19/99, 19.2%), 8) retrolabyrinthine suprameatal (1/99, 1.0%), and 9) retrolabyrinthine trans-Trautman’s triangle (2/99, 2.0%).

CONCLUSIONS Presigmoid approaches are becoming increasingly complex with the expansion of minimally invasive techniques. Descriptions of these approaches using the existing nomenclature can be imprecise or confusing. Therefore, the authors propose a comprehensive classification based on the operative anatomy that unequivocally describes presigmoid approaches simply, precisely, and efficiently.

Simplified anterior transpetrosal approach without superior petrosal sinus and tentorial incision for lesions centered in Meckel’s cave

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:1833–1839

The anterior transpetrosal approach (ATPA) is an effective method to reach lesions in the petroclival region. This approach involves many steps, including superior petrosal sinus (SPS) ligation and tentorial cutting. It is sometimes unnecessary to perform all procedures in the ATPA for certain lesions, especially those centered in the Meckel’s cave. Here, we present a simplified anterior transpetrosal approach (SATPA) without superior petrosal sinus and tentorial incision for lesions centered in the Meckel’s cave as a modified ATPA.

Methods This study included 13 patients treated with SATPA. The initial steps of SATPA are similar to ATPA, excluding a middle cranial fossa dural incision, SPS dissection, or tentorial incision. Histological examination was performed to understand the membrane structure of the trigeminal nerve, which runs through the Meckel’s cave.

Results Pathology revealed trigeminal schwannoma (n=11), extraventricular central neurocytoma (n=1), and a metastatic tumor (n=1). The average tumor size was 2.4 cm. The total removal rate was 76.9% (10/13). Permanent complications included trigeminal neuropathy in four cases and cerebrospinal fluid leakage in one case. Histological examination revealed the trigeminal nerve traverses the subarachnoid space from the posterior fossa subdural space to the Meckel’s cave and is covered with the epineurium in the inner reticular layer.

Conclusions We used SATPA for lesions located in the Meckel’s cave identified using histological examination. This approach may be considered for small- to medium-sized lesions centered in the Meckel space.

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.

Surgical management of large cerebellopontine angle meningiomas: long-term results of a less aggressive resection strategy

J Neurosurg 138:1630–1639, 2023

Cerebellopontine angle (CPA) meningiomas present many surgical challenges depending on their volume, site of dural attachment, and connection to surrounding neurovascular structures. Assuming that systematic radical resection of large CPA meningiomas carries a high risk of permanent morbidity, the authors adopted an alternative strategy of optimal resection followed by radiosurgery or careful observation of the residual tumor and assessed the efficiency and safety of this approach to meningioma treatment management.

METHODS This single-center retrospective cohort study included 50 consecutive patients who underwent surgery for meningioma between January 2003 and February 2020.

RESULTS The most common main dural attachments of the meningiomas were posterior (42%) and superior (26%) to the internal auditory meatus. The suboccipital retrosigmoid route was the most routinely used (92%). At the last follow-up examination, 93% of the patients with normal preoperative facial nerve (FN) function retained good House-Brackmann (HB) grades of I and II, whereas 3 patients (7%) displayed intermediate HB grade III FN function. Hearing preservation was achieved in 86% of the patients who presented with preoperative serviceable hearing, and recovery after surgery was achieved in 19% of the patients experiencing preoperative hearing loss. In order to preserve all cranial nerve function, gross-total resection was obtained in 26% of patients. Of the 35 patients who had undergone subtotal resection, 20 (57%) had been allocated into a wait-and-rescan treatment approach and 15 (43%) underwent upfront Gamma Knife surgery (GKS). The mean postoperative tumor volume was 1.20 cm 3 in the upfront GKS group and 0.73 cm 3 in the waitand-rescan group (p = 0.08). Tumor control was achieved in 87% and 55% of cases (p < 0.001), with a mean follow-up of 85 and 69 months in the GKS and wait-and-rescan groups, respectively. The 1-, 5-, and 7-year tumor progression-free survival rates were 100%, 100%, and 89% in the GKS group and 95%, 59%, and 47% in the wait-and-rescan group, respectively (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS Optimal nonradical resection of large CPA meningiomas provides favorable long-term tumor control and functional preservation. Adjuvant GKS does not carry additional morbidity and appears to be an efficient adjuvant treatment.

Presigmoid approach preserving the superior petrosal sinus in a pontine cavernous malformation associated to abnormal venous drainage of the brainstem

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:1233–1240

The presigmoid approach classically includes the ligature and section of the superior petrosal sinus to get a wider visibility window to the antero-lateral brainstem surface. In some cases, the separation of this venous structure should not be performed.

Method We present our experience getting safely to a pontine cavernous malformation through a conventional mastoidectomy presigmoid approach preserving an ingurgitated superior petrosal sinus because the association with an abnormal venous drainage of the brainstem.

Conclusions When sectioning the superior petrosal sinus in classical presigmoid approaches is contraindicated, its preservation could also offer good surgical corridors to get to small-medium anterior and lateral brainstem cavernous malformations.

Clival Chordomas in the Endoscopic Endonasal Era: Comparison With Management With Open Skull Base Approaches

Neurosurgery 92:756–761, 2023

The most significant paradigm shift in surgical management of skull base chordomas has been the adoption of the endoscopic endonasal approach, but the impact on patient outcomes compared with open skull base approaches remains unclear.

OBJECTIVE: To compare a large series of patients treated by a single surgeon using primarily endoscopic endonasal approaches with previously published outcomes by the same surgeon using open skull base approaches.

METHODS: Between 2006 and 2020, 68 patients with skull base chordoma underwent resection using primarily endoscopic endonasal approaches. Outcomes and complications were compared with previously published results of resection of chordomas from 1991 to 2005 using open skull base approaches.

RESULTS: Compared with the prior cohort, the current principally endoscopic cohort demonstrated similar rates of OS (P = .86) and progression-free survival (P = .56), but patients undergoing first-time resection had significantly higher rates of radical resection (82.9% compared with 64.3%, P = .05) and required fewer staged surgeries (9.8% compared with 33.3%, P = .01).

CONCLUSION: There was no difference in survival rates for patients treated in the current era, primarily using endoscopic endonasal techniques, compared with previously published results using open skull-base approaches by the same surgeon. Although use of endoscopic endonasal approach resulted in higher rates of radical resection, patients undergoing first-time resection and fewer staged surgeries were required.

Clival Chordomas in the Endoscopic Endonasal Era: Clinical Management, Outcomes, and Complications

Neurosurgery 92:876–883, 2023

Surgical management of skull base chordomas has changed significantly in the past 2 decades, most notably with use of the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA), although high quality outcome data using these modern approaches remain scarce.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate outcomes in a large series of patients treated by a single surgeon, using primarily the EEA.

METHODS: Between 2006 and 2020, 68 patients with skull base chordoma underwent resection using mostly the EEA. Complications, outcomes, and potential contributing factors were evaluated using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and univariable and multivariable Cox proportional hazards models.

RESULTS: Overall 5-year survival was 76.3% (95%CI 61.5%-86.0%), and 5-year progressionfree survival was 55.9%(95% CI 40.0%-69.0%). Inmultivariable analysis, radical resection was associated with significant reduction in risk of death (hazard ratio [HR] 0.04, 95% CI 0.005- 0.33, P = .003) and disease progression (HR 0.05, 95% CI 0.01-0.18, P < .001). Better preoperative function status reduced risk of death (HR 0.42 per 10-point increase in Karnofsky Performance Scale, 95% CI 0.28-0.63, P < .001) and progression (HR 0.60 per 10-point increase in Karnofsky Performance Scale, 95% CI 0.45-0.78, P < .001). Localization at the clivus reduced risk of death (HR 0.02, 95% CI 0.002-0.15, P < .001) and progression (HR 0.24, 95% CI 0.09-0.68, P = .007) compared with tumors at the craniovertebral junction.

CONCLUSION: In multivariable analysis, overall survival and progression-free survival of chordoma resection was most positively affected by radical resection, better preoperative functional status, and tumor location at the clivus rather than craniovertebral junction.

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.

Basilar decompression via a far lateral transcondylar approach

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:2563–2572

Treatments for symptomatic or unstable basilar invagination (BI) include posterior decompression, distraction/ fusion, trans-nasal or trans-oral anterior decompression, and combined techniques, with the need for occipitocervical fusion based on the degree of craniocervical instability. Variations of the far lateral transcondylar approach are described in limited case series for BI, but have not been widely applied.

Methods A single-institution, retrospective review of consecutive patients undergoing a far lateral transcondylar approach for odontoidectomy (± resection of the inferior clivus) followed by occipitocervical fusion over a 6-year period (1/1/2016 to 12/31/2021) is performed. Detailed technical notes are combined with images from cadaveric dissections and patient surgeries to illustrate our technique using a lateral retroauricular incision.

Results Nine patients were identified (3 males, 6 females; mean age 40.2 ± 19.6 years). All patients had congenital or acquired BI causing neurologic deficits. There were no major neurologic or wound-healing complications. 9/9 patients (100%) experienced improvement in preoperative symptoms.

Conclusions The far lateral transcondylar approach provides a direct corridor for ventral brainstem decompression in patients with symptomatic BI. A comprehensive knowledge of craniovertebral junction anatomy is critical to the safe performance of this surgery, especially when using a lateral retroauricular incision.

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.

Surgery for clinoidal meningiomas with cavernous sinus extension: Near‑total excision and chiasmopexy

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:2511–2515

The main factors limiting the extent of resection for clinoidal meningiomas are cavernous sinus extension and vessel adventitia involvement. The proximity to the optic apparatus and the risk of radiation-induced optic neuropathy often prevents many surgeons from proposing adjuvant radiosurgery.

Method We describe a simple technical solution that is to place a fat graft between the optic apparatus and the residual tumor to maintain the distance gained at surgery and facilitates the identification of anatomic structures.

Conclusion This technique allows to deliver optimal therapeutic doses to the residue reduces the dose received by the optic nerve below 8 Gy.

Hakuba’s triangle: a cadaveric study detailing its anatomy and neurovascular contents with vascular and skull base implications

Neurosurgical Review (2022) 45:2087–2093

Hakuba’s triangle is a superior cavernous sinus triangle that allows for wide and relatively safe exposure of vascular and neoplastic lesions.

This study provides cadaveric measurements of the borders of Hakuba’s triangle and describes its neurovascular contents in order to enrich the available literature.

The anatomical borders of the Hakuba’s triangle (lateral, medial, and posterior borders) were defined based on Hakuba’s description and identified. Then the triangle was dissected to reveal its morphology and relationship with adjacent neurovascular structures in Embalmed Caucasian cadaveric specimens.

The oculomotor nerve occupied roughly one-third of the area of the triangle and the nerve was more or less parallel to its medial border. The mean lengths of the lateral border, posterior border, and medial border were 17 mm ± 0.5 mm, 12.2 mm ± 0.4 mm, and 10.6 mm ± 0.4 mm, respectively. The mean area of Hakuba’s triangle was 63.9 mm 2 ± 4.4 mm 2 .

In this study, we provided cadaveric measurements of the borders of Hakuba’s triangle along with descriptions of its neurovascular contents.