Gamma Knife Central Lateral Thalamotomy for Chronic Neuropathic Pain

Neurosurgery 92:363–369, 2023

Chronic neuropathic pain can be severely disabling and is difficult to treat. The medial thalamus is believed to be involved in the processing of the affectivemotivational dimension of pain, and lesioning of the medial thalamus has been used as a potential treatment for neuropathic pain. Within the medial thalamus, the central lateral nucleus has been considered as a target for stereotactic lesioning.

OBJECTIVE: To study the safety and efficacy of central lateral thalamotomy using Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) for the treatment of neuropathic pain.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed all patients with neuropathic pain who underwent central lateral thalamotomy using GKRS. We report on patient outcomes, including changes in pain scores using the Numeric Pain Rating Scale and Barrow Neurological Institute pain intensity score, and adverse events.

RESULTS: Twenty-one patients underwent central lateral thalamotomy using GKRS between 2014 and 2021. Meaningful pain reduction occurred in 12 patients (57%) after a median period of 3 months and persisted in 7 patients (33%) at the last follow-up (the median follow-up was 28 months). Rates of pain reduction at 1, 2, 3, and 5 years were 48%, 48%, 19%, and 19%, respectively. Meaningful pain reduction occurred more frequently in patients with trigeminal deafferentation pain compared with all other patients (P = .009). No patient had treatment-related adverse events.

CONCLUSION: Central lateral thalamotomy using GKRS is remarkably safe. Pain reduction after this procedure occurs in a subset of patients and is more frequent in those with trigeminal deafferentation pain; however, pain recurs frequently over time.

 

First Experience With Postoperative Transcranial Ultrasound Through Sonolucent Burr Hole Covers in Adult Hydrocephalus Patients

Neurosurgery 92:382–390, 2023

Managing patients with hydrocephalus and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) disorders requires repeated head imaging. In adults, it is typically computed tomography (CT) or less commonly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, CT poses cumulative radiation risks and MRI is costly. Ultrasound is a radiation-free, relatively inexpensive, and optionally point-of-care alternative, but is prohibited by very limited windows through an intact skull.

OBJECTIVE: To describe our initial experience with transcutaneous transcranial ultrasound through sonolucent burr hole covers in postoperative hydrocephalus and CSF disorder patients.

METHODS: Using cohort study design, infection and revision rates were compared between patients who underwent sonolucent burr hole cover placement during new ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement and endoscopic third ventriculostomy over the 1-year study time period and controls from the period 1 year before. Postoperatively, trans-burr hole ultrasound was performed in the clinic, at bedside inpatient, and in the radiology suite to assess ventricular anatomy.

RESULTS: Thirty-seven patients with sonolucent burr hole cover were compared with 57 historical control patients. There was no statistically significant difference in infection rates between the sonolucent burr hole cover group (1/37, 2.7%) and the control group (0/57, P = .394). Revision rates were 13.5% vs 15.8% (P = 1.000), but no revisions were related to the burr hole or cranial hardware.

CONCLUSION: Trans-burr hole ultrasound is feasible for gross evaluation of ventricular caliber postoperatively in patients with sonolucent burr hole covers. There was no increase in infection rate or revision rate. This imaging technique may serve as an alternative to CT and MRI in the management of select patients with hydrocephalus and CSF disorders.

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.

Percutaneous Direct Pars Repair in Young Athletes

Neurosurgery 92:263–270, 2023

Lumbar pars defects are common in adolescent athletes and are often due to recurrent axial loading and traumatic stressors.

OBJECTIVE: To present an updated case series of young athletes who underwent percutaneous direct pars repair after failure of conservative management.

METHODS: A single-center, nonrandomized, retrospective observation study of athletes who were referred for minimally invasive direct pars repair after failure of at least 6 months of conservative management was performed. Summary demographic information, clinical features of presentation, perioperative and intraoperative radiographic imaging, and visual analog scale back pain scores were collected and analyzed.

RESULTS: A total of 21 patients were included (mean age [± SD] 17.47 ± 3.02 years, range 14-25 years), 6 of whom were female (29%). All patients presented with bilateral pars fractures, with L5 being the most frequent level involved (n = 13). The average follow-up time was 31.52 ± 9.38 months (range 3-110 months). The visual analog scale score for back pain was significantly reduced from 7.62 ± 1.83 preoperatively to 0.28 ± 0.56 at the final postoperative examination (P < .01). Fusion was noted in 20 of the 21 patients on final follow-up (95%).

CONCLUSION: Percutaneous direct pars repair is a safe and effective means in treating young adolescents who have failed conservative management. The advantages included minimized muscle and soft tissue dissection, reduced blood loss, and early mobilization and recovery. In young athletes who desire return to high-level physical activity, this surgical technique is of particular benefit and should be considered in this patient population.

Rod fractures in thoracolumbar fusions to the sacrum/pelvis for adult symptomatic lumbar scoliosis

J Neurosurg Spine 38:217–229, 2023

Previous reports of rod fracture (RF) in adult spinal deformity are limited by heterogeneous cohorts, low follow-up rates, and relatively short follow-up durations. Since the majority of RFs present > 2 years after surgery, true occurrence and revision rates remain unclear. The objectives of this study were to better understand the risk factors for RF and assess its occurrence and revision rates following primary thoracolumbar fusions to the sacrum/pelvis for adult symptomatic lumbar scoliosis (ASLS) in a prospective series with long-term follow-up.

METHODS Patient records were obtained from the Adult Symptomatic Lumbar Scoliosis–1 (ASLS-1) database, an NIH-sponsored multicenter, prospective study. Inclusion criteria were as follows: patients aged 40–80 years undergoing primary surgeries for ASLS (Cobb angle ≥ 30° and Oswestry Disability Index ≥ 20 or Scoliosis Research Society-22r ≤ 4.0 in pain, function, and/or self-image) with instrumented fusion of ≥ 7 levels that included the sacrum/pelvis. Patients with and without RF were compared to assess risk factors for RF and revision surgery.

RESULTS Inclusion criteria were met by 160 patients (median age 62 years, IQR 55.7–67.9 years). At a median followup of 5.1 years (IQR 3.8–6.6 years), there were 92 RFs in 62 patients (38.8%). The median time to RF was 3.0 years (IQR 1.9–4.54 years), and 73% occurred > 2 years following surgery. Based on Kaplan-Meier analyses, estimated RF rates at 2, 4, 5, and 8 years after surgery were 11%, 24%, 35%, and 49%, respectively. Baseline radiographic, clinical, and demographic characteristics were similar between patients with and without RF. In Cox regression models, greater postoperative pelvic tilt (HR 1.895, 95% CI 1.196–3.002, p = 0.0065) and greater estimated blood loss (HR 1.02, 95% CI 1.005–1.036, p = 0.0088) were associated with increased risk of RF. Thirty-eight patients (61% of all RFs) underwent revision surgery. Bilateral RF was predictive of revision surgery (HR 3.52, 95% CI 1.8–6.9, p = 0.0002), while patients with unilateral nondisplaced RFs were less likely to require revision (HR 0.39, 95% CI 0.18–0.84, p = 0.016).

CONCLUSIONS This study provides what is to the authors’ knowledge the highest-quality data to date on RF rates following ASLS surgery. At a median follow-up of 5.1 years, 38.8% of patients had at least one RF. Estimated RF rates at 2, 4, 5, and 8 years after surgery were 11%, 24%, 35%, and 49%, respectively. Greater estimated blood loss and postoperative pelvic tilt were significant risk factors for RF. These findings emphasize the importance of long-term follow-up to realize the true prevalence and cumulative incidence of RF.

Helsinki style mini‑pterional craniotomy for clipping of middle cerebral artery bifurcation aneurysms

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:489–493

Different versions of the mini-pterional (MPT) approach have been described often with the idea the smaller the better. Attempts to reduce incision and craniotomy size for better cosmetic results should not be performed at the expense of safety.

Method We present our take on the MPT as a balance between size and safety which can be adopted by vascular neurosurgeons in training. The craniotomy stays within the confines of the superior temporal line and is completely covered by temporal muscle after closure.

Conclusion This approach is cosmetically superior while still offering anatomical familiarity and sufficient instrument maneuverability.

Radiological Differentiation Between Intracranial Meningioma and Solitary Fibrous Tumor/Hemangiopericytoma

World Neurosurg. (2023) 170:68-83

Intracranial solitary fibrous tumor (SFT) is characterized by aggressive local behavior and high post-resection recurrence rates. It is difficult to distinguish between SFT and meningiomas, which are typically benign. The goal of this study was to systematically review radiological features that differentiate meningioma and SFT.

METHODS: We performed a systematic review in accordance with PRISMA guidelines to identify studies that used imaging techniques to identify radiological differentiators of SFT and meningioma.

RESULTS: Eighteen studies with 1565 patients (SFT: 662; meningiomas: 903) were included. The most commonly used imaging modality was diffusion weighted imaging, which was reported in 11 studies. Eight studies used a combination of diffusion weighted imaging and T1- and T2-weighted sequences to distinguish between SFT and meningioma. Compared to all grades/subtypes of meningioma, SFT is associated with higher apparent diffusion coefficient, presence of narrow-based dural attachments, lack of dural tail, less peritumoral brain edema, extensive serpentine flow voids, and younger age at initial diagnosis. Tumor volume was a poor differentiator of SFT and meningioma, and overall, there were less consensus findings in studies exclusively comparing angiomatous meningiomas and SFT.

CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians can differentiate SFT from meningiomas on preoperative imaging by looking for higher apparent diffusion coefficient, lack of dural tail/narrow-based dural attachment, less peritumoral brain edema, and vascular flow voids on neuroimaging, in addition to younger age at diagnosis. Distinguishing between angiomatous meningioma and SFT is much more challenging, as both are highly vascular pathologies. Tumor volume has limited utility in differentiating between SFT and various grades/subtypes of meningioma.

 

OLIF versus ALIF: Which is the better surgical approach for degenerative lumbar disease?

European Spine Journal (2023) 32:689–699

The aim of this study was to compare the clinical and radiographical outcomes between OLIF and ALIF in treating lumbar degenerative diseases.

Methods We searched PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library for relevant studies. Changes in disc height (DH), segmental lordosis angle (SLA), lumbar lordosis (LL), visual analogue scale (VAS) score, and Oswestry disability index (ODI) between baseline and final follow-up, along with other important surgical outcomes, were assessed and analysed. Data on the global fusion rate and main complications were collected and compared.

Results Approximately, 2041 patients from 36 studies were included, consisting of 1057 patients who underwent OLIF and 984 patients who underwent ALIF. The results reveal no significant difference in DH, SLA, VAS score, and ODI between the two groups (all P > 0.05). The operation time, estimated blood loss, and length of hospital stay were also comparable between the two groups. Over 90% of the fusion rate was achieved in both groups. The OLIF group showed a higher complication rate than the ALIF group (OLIF 18.83% vs ALIF 7.32%).

Conclusions OLIF leads to a higher complication rate, with the most notable complication being cage subsidence. Both OLIF and ALIF are effective treatments for degenerative lumbar diseases and have similar therapeutic effects. ALIF was expected to be more expensive for patients because of the necessity of involving vascular surgeons.

Association of Preoperative Vascular Wall Imaging Patterns and Surgical Outcomes in Patients With Unruptured Intracranial Saccular Aneurysms

Neurosurgery 92:421–430, 2023

MR vascular wall imaging (VWI) may have prognostic value in patients with unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs).

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the value of VWI as a predictor of surgical outcome in patients with UIAs.

METHODS: This prospective cohort study evaluated surgical outcomes in consecutive patients with UIAs who underwent surgical clipping at a single center. All participants underwent high-resolution VWI and were followed for at least 6 months. The primary clinical outcome was modified Rankin scale (mRS) score 6 months after surgery.

RESULTS: The number of patients in the no wall enhancement, uniformwall enhancement (UWE), and focal wall enhancement (FWE) groups was 37, 145, and 154, respectively. Incidence of postoperative complications was 15.5% in the FWE group, 12.4% in the UWE group, and 5.4% in the no wall enhancement group. The proportion of patients with mRS score >2 at the 6-month follow-up was significantly higher in the FWE group than in the UWE group (14.3% vs 6.9%; P = .0389). In the multivariate analysis, FWE (odds ratio, 2.573; 95% CI 1.001-6.612) and positive proximal artery remodeling (odds ratio, 10.56; 95% CI 2.237-49.83) were independent predictors of mRS score >2 at the 6-month follow-up.

CONCLUSION: Preoperative VWI can improve the surgeon’s understanding of aneurysm pathological structure. Type of aneurysmal wall enhancement on VWI is associated with clinical outcome and incidence of salvage anastomosis and surgical complications.

Anatomical study of the thoracolumbar radiculomedullary arteries, including the Adamkiewicz artery and supporting radiculomedullary arteries

J Neurosurg Spine 38:233–241, 2023

OBJECTIVE The aim of this paper was to identify and characterize all the segmental radiculomedullary arteries (RMAs) that supply the thoracic and lumbar spinal cord.

METHODS All RMAs from T4 to L5 were studied systematically in 25 cadaveric specimens. The RMA with the greatest diameter in each specimen was termed the artery of Adamkiewicz (AKA). Other supporting RMAs were also identified and characterized.

RESULTS A total of 27 AKAs were found in 25 specimens. Twenty-two AKAs (81%) originated from a left thoracic or a left lumbar radicular branch, and 5 (19%) arose from the right. Two specimens (8%) had two AKAs each: one specimen with two AKAs on the left side and the other specimen with one AKA on each side. Eight cadaveric specimens (32%) had 10 additional RMAs; among those, a single additional RMA was found in 6 specimens (75%), and 2 additional RMAs were found in each of the remaining 2 specimens (25%). Of those specimens with a single additional RMA, the supporting RMA was ipsilateral to the AKA in 5 specimens (83%) and contralateral in only 1 specimen (17%). The specimens containing 2 additional RMAs were all (100%) ipsilateral to their respective AKAs.

CONCLUSIONS The segmental RMAs supplying the thoracic and lumbar spinal cord can be unilateral, bilateral, or multiple. Multiple AKAs or additional RMAs supplying a single anterior spinal artery are common and should be considered when dealing with the spinal cord at the thoracolumbar level.

Laser interstitial thermal therapy using the Leksell Stereotactic System and a diagnostic MRI suite

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:549–554

Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) is a stereotactic neurosurgical procedure used to treat neoplastic and epileptogenic lesions in the brain. A variety of advanced technological instruments such as frameless navigation systems, robotics, and intraoperative MRI are often described in this context, although the surgical procedure can also be performed using a standard stereotactic setup and a diagnostic MRI suite.

Methods We report on our experience and a surgical technique using a Leksell stereotactic frame and a diagnostic MRI suite to perform LITT.

Conclusion LITT can be safely performed using the Leksell frame and a diagnostic MRI suite, making the technique available even to neuro-oncology centers without advanced technological setup.

The risk factors of postoperative infarction after surgical clipping of unruptured anterior communicating artery aneurysms

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:501–515

An anterior communicating artery is a common location for both ruptured and unruptured intracranial aneurysms, and microsurgery is sometimes necessary for their successful treatment. However, postoperative infarction should be considered during clipping due to the complex surrounding structures of anterior communicating artery aneurysms. This study aimed to evaluate the risk factors of postoperative infarction after surgical clipping of unruptured anterior communicating artery aneurysms and its clinical outcomes.

Methods The data of patients who underwent microsurgical clipping of an unruptured anterior communicating artery aneurysm in our hospital between January 2008 and December 2020 were retrospectively analyzed. The patients’ demographic data, anatomical features of the anterior communicating artery complex and aneurysm, surgical technique, characteristics of postoperative infarction, and its clinical course were evaluated.

Results Notably, among 848 patients, 66 (7.8%) and 34 (4%) patients had radiologic and symptomatic infarctions, respectively. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that hypertension (odds ratio (OR), 1.99; p = 0.022), previous stroke (OR, 3.89; p = 0.009), posterior projection (OR, 5.58; p < 0.001), aneurysm size (OR, 1.17; optimal cut-off value, 6.14 mm; p = 0.002), and skull base-to-aneurysm distance (OR, 1.15; optimal cut-off value, 11.09 mm; p < 0.001) were associated with postoperative infarction. In the pterional approach, a closed A2 plane was an additional risk factor (OR, 1.88; p = 0.041). Infarction of the subcallosal and hypothalamic branches was significantly associated with symptomatic infarction ( p = 0.001).

Conclusion Hypertension, previous stroke, posteriorly projecting aneurysms, aneurysm size, and highly positioned aneurysms are independent risk factors for postoperative infarction during surgical clipping of an unruptured anterior communicating artery aneurysm. Additionally, a closed A2 plane is an additional risk factor of postoperative infarction in patients undergoing clipping via the pterional approach.

Invention of an Online Interactive Virtual Neurosurgery Simulator With Audiovisual Capture for Tactile Feedback

Operative Neurosurgery 24:194–200, 2023

BACKGROUND: Present neurosurgical simulators are not portable.

OBJECTIVE: To maximize portability of a virtual surgical simulator by providing online learning and to validate a unique psychometric method (“audiovisual capture”) to provide tactile information without force feedback probes.

METHODS: An online interactive neurosurgical simulator of a posterior petrosectomy was developed. The difference in the hardness of compact vs cancellous bone was presented with audiovisual effects as inclinations of the drilling speed and sound based on engineering perspectives. Three training methods (the developed simulator, lectures and review of slides, and dissection of a 3-dimensional printed temporal bone model [D3DPM]) were evaluated by 10 neurosurgical residents. They all first attended a lecture and were randomly allocated to 2 groups by the training D3DPM (A: simulator; B: review of slides, no simulator). In D3DPM, objective measures (required time, quality of completion, injury scores of important structures, and the number of instructions provided) were compared between groups. Finally, the residents answered questionnaires.

RESULTS: The objective measures were not significantly different between groups despite a younger tendency in group A (graduate year À2.4 years, 95% confidence interval À5.3 to 0.5, P = .081). The mean perceived hardness of cancellous bone on the simulator was 70% of that of compact bone, matching the intended profile. The simulator was superior to lectures and review of slides in feedback and repeated practices and to D3DPM in adaptability to multiple learning environments.

CONCLUSION: A novel online interactive neurosurgical simulator was developed, and satisfactory validity was shown. Audiovisual capture successfully transmitted the tactile information.

Vascular risk profiles for predicting outcome and long-term mortality in patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus: comparison of clinical decision support tools

J Neurosurg 138:476–482, 2023

Vascular risk factors (VRFs) may act synergistically, and clinical decision support tools (CDSTs) have been developed that present vascular risk as a summarized score. Because VRFs are a major issue in patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (INPH), a CDST may be useful in the diagnostic workup. The objective was to compare 4 CDSTs to determine which one most accurately predicts short-term outcome and 10-year mortality after CSF shunt surgery in INPH patients.

METHODS One-hundred forty INPH patients who underwent CSF shunt surgery were included. For each patient, 4 CDST scores (Systematic Coronary Risk Evaluation–Older Persons [SCORE-OP], Framingham Risk Score [FRS], Revised Framingham Stroke Risk Profile, and Kiefer’s Comorbidity Index [KCI]) were estimated. Short-term outcome (3 months after CSF shunt surgery) was defined on the basis of improvements in gait, Mini-Mental State Examination score, and modified Rankin Scale score. The 10-year mortality rate after surgery was noted. The CDSTs were compared by using Cox regression analysis, receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, and the chi-square test.

RESULTS For 3 CDSTs, increased score was associated with increased risk of 10-year mortality. A 1-point increase in the FRS indicated a 2% higher risk of death within 10 years (HR 1.02, 95% CI 1.003–1.035, p = 0.021); SCORE-OP, 5% (HR 1.05, 95% CI 1.019–1.087, p = 0.002); and KCI, 12% (HR 1.12, 95% CI 1.03–1.219, p = 0.008). FRS predicted short-term outcome of surgery (p = 0.024). When the cutoff value was set to 32.5%, the positive predictive value was 80% and the negative predictive value was 48% (p = 0.012).

CONCLUSIONS The authors recommend using FRS to predict short-term outcome and 10-year risk of mortality in INPH patients. The study indicated that extensive treatment of the risk factors of INPH may decrease risk of mortality.

Practical Technique for Transcortical / Transventricular Colloid Cyst Removal Independent of Ventricular Size

Operative Neurosurgery 24:E61–E67, 2023

In the presence of a dilated foramen of Monro, a transcortical, transforaminal approach is considered the safest and simplest approach for resection of colloid cysts. However, in the presence of small or normal frontal horns, numerous microsurgical approaches and, often complicated, variations have been described, invariably employing forms of stereotactic navigation.

OBJECTIVE: To report an alternative, accurate, microsurgical stereotactic low-profile technique.

METHODS: The small frontal horn is stereotactically targeted as previously described. Routine equipment is used to accurately create a novel, rigid, atraumatic surgical corridor.

RESULTS: After a 7-mm corticotomy, a peel-away catheter carrying the AxiEM stylet engages the target set as the frontal horn. All joints of the endoscope holder are locked, allowing only catheter advancement (y axis) while lateral (x axis) or anteroposterior (z axis) movements are secure. Two, 7-mm retractor blades are inserted. The extremely consistent anatomy of the foramen of Monro allows en bloc microsurgical removal without unnecessary coagulation of cyst wall or choroid plexus.

CONCLUSION: Despite a plethora of approaches to the rostral third ventricle, in the presence of normal or small frontal horns, including creation of transcallosal/ interforniceal, suprachoroidal (or transchoroidal), and sub-choroidal, colloid cyst resection does not necessarily need to be convoluted. Technical nuances of an accurate, practical, minimally invasive technique are described.

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.

Sacrifice or preserve the superior petrosal vein in microvascular decompression surgery

J Neurosurg 138:390–398, 2023

In microvascular decompression (MVD) surgery through the retrosigmoid approach, the surgeon may have to sacrifice the superior petrosal vein (SPV). However, this is a controversial maneuver. To date, high-level evidence comparing the operative outcomes of patients who underwent MVD with and without SPV sacrifice is lacking. Therefore, this study sought to bridge this gap.

METHODS The authors searched the Medline and PubMed databases with appropriate Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) terms and keywords. The primary outcome was vascular-related complications; secondary outcomes were new neurological deficit, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak, and neuralgia relief. The pooled proportions of outcomes and OR (95% CI) for categorical data were calculated by using the logit transformation and Mantel-Haenszel methods, respectively.

RESULTS Six studies yielding 1143 patients were included, of which 618 patients had their SPV sacrificed. The pooled proportion (95% CI) values were 3.82 (0.87–15.17) for vascular-related complications, 3.64 (1.0–12.42) for new neurological deficits, 2.85 (1.21–6.58) for CSF leaks, and 88.90 (84.90–91.94) for neuralgia relief. The meta-analysis concluded that, whether the surgeon sacrificed or preserved the SPV, the odds were similar for vascular-related complications (2.5% vs 1.5%, OR [95% CI] 1.01 [0.33–3.09], p = 0.99), new neurological deficits (1.2% vs 2.8%, OR [95% CI] 0.55 [0.18–1.66], p = 0.29), CSF leak (3.1% vs 2.1%, OR [95% CI] 1.16 [0.46–2.94], p = 0.75), and neuralgia relief (86.6% vs 87%, OR [95% CI] 0.96 [0.62–1.49], p = 0.84).

CONCLUSIONS SPV sacrifice is as safe as SPV preservation. The authors recommend intentional SPV sacrifice when gentle retraction fails to enhance surgical field visualization and if the surgeon encounters SPV-related neurovascular conflict and/or anticipates impeding SPV-related bleeding.

 

Nucleus accumbens: a systematic review of neural circuitry and clinical studies in healthy and pathological states

J Neurosurg 138:337–346, 2023

The nucleus accumbens (NAcc) of the ventral striatum is critically involved in goal- and reward-based behavior. Structural and functional abnormalities of the NAcc or its associated neural systems are involved in neurological and psychiatric disorders. Studies of neural circuitry have shed light on the subtleties of the structural and functional derangements of the NAcc across various diseases. In this systematic review, the authors sought to identify human studies involving the NAcc and provide a synthesis of the literature on the known circuity of the NAcc in healthy and diseased states, as well as the clinical outcomes following neuromodulation.

METHODS A systematic review was conducted using the PubMed, Embase, and Scopus databases. Neuroimaging studies that reported on neural circuitry related to the human NAcc with sample sizes greater than 5 patients were included. Demographic data, aim, design and duration, participants, and clinical and neurocircuitry details and outcomes of the studies were extracted.

RESULTS Of 3591 resultant articles, 123 were included. The NAcc and its corticolimbic connections to other brain regions, such as the prefrontal cortex, are largely involved in reward and pain processes, with distinct functional circuitry between the shell and core in healthy patients. There is heterogeneity between clinical studies with regard to the NAcc indirect targeting coordinates, methods for postoperative confirmation, and blinded trial design. Neuromodulation studies provided promising clinical results in the context of addiction and substance misuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and mood disorders. The most common complications were impaired memory or concentration, and a notable serious complication was hypomania.

CONCLUSIONS The functional diversity of the NAcc highlights the importance of studying the NAcc in healthy and pathological states. The results of this review suggest that NAcc neuromodulation has been attempted in the management of diverse psychiatric indications. There is promising, emerging evidence that the NAcc may be an effective target for specific reward- or pain-based pathologies with a reasonable risk profile.

Dual Dural Patch Graft With AlloDerm and DuraGen Underlay for Duraplasty in Chiari Malformation Results in Significantly Decreased Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak Complications

Operative Neurosurgery 24:162–167, 2023

Grafts available for posterior fossa dural reconstruction after Chiari decompression surgery include synthetic, xenograft, allograft, and autograft materials. The reported rates of postoperative pseudomeningocele and cerebrospinal fluid leak vary, but so far, no dural patch material or technique has sufficiently eliminated these problems.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the incidence of graft-related complications after posterior fossa surgery using AlloDerm alone vs AlloDerm with a DuraGen underlay.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective single-center study of a cohort of 106 patients who underwent Chiari decompression surgery by a single surgeon from 2014 through 2021. Age, sex, body mass index, tonsillar descent, syrinx formation, type of dural graft, and follow-up data were analyzed using univariate and χ2 statistical tests.

RESULTS: The AlloDerm-only group had a percutaneous cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak rate of 8.6% vs a 0% rate in the dual graft group (P = .037). At initial follow-up, there was a 15.5% combined rate of pseudomeningocele formation plus CSF leak in the AlloDerm-only group vs 18.8% in the AlloDerm + DuraGen group (P = .659). However, the pseudomeningoceles were larger in the AlloDerm-only cohort (45.5 vs 22.4 mm anteroposterior plane, P = .004), and 5 patients in this group required operative repair (56%). All pseudomeningoceles resolved without reoperation in the AlloDerm + DuraGen group (P = .003).

CONCLUSION: The use of a DuraGen underlay with a sutured AlloDerm dural patch resulted in significantly fewer CSF-related complications and eliminated the need for reoperation compared with AlloDerm alone. This single-center study provides evidence that buttressing posterior fossa dural grafts with a DuraGen underlay may decrease the risk of postoperative complications.

Increase in Trigeminal Nerve Cross-Sectional Area on Immediate Postoperative MRI Predicts Favorable Outcome After Microvascular Decompression for Classical Trigeminal Neuralgia

Neurosurgery 92:283–292, 2023

Although distortion or indentation of a trigeminal nerve due to neurovascular compression (NVC) is associated with classical trigeminal neuralgia, whether morphological change in the trigeminal nerve is relieved by eliminating NVC has not been studied.

OBJECTIVE: To estimate morphological change in the trigeminal nerve after microvascular decompression (MVD).

METHODS: Fifty patients with classical trigeminal neuralgia who underwent MVD were included. Using coronal images in both preoperative and postoperative MRI, the trigeminal nerve cross-sectional area (CSA) was measured at 4 mm anterior to the nerve entry into the pons. Clinical outcomes were assessed using the Barrow Neurological Institute Pain Intensity Scale (BNI-PS) at the patient’s latest follow-up.

RESULTS: Forty-one patients achieved favorable outcomes without medication (BNI-PS I or II), and 9 patients had residual pain (BNI-PS ≥ 3A). The mean symptomatic trigeminal nerve CSA was increased by 51.47% after MVD in the favorable outcome group (pre-operative: 4.37 ± 1.64 mm 2 vs postoperative: 6.26 ± 1.76 mm2 , P < .01), whereas it was not significantly changed in the unfavorable outcome group (preoperative: 4.20 ± 1.19 mm2 vs postoperative: 4.43 ± 1.24 mm2 , P = .69). Kaplan–Meier survival analysis showed that the 3-year probability of maintaining a favorable outcome was 92.3 ± 7.4% and 56.1 ± 11.9%, for those whose symptomatic trigeminal nerve CSA was increased by over 20% and less than 20%, respectively (P < .01).

CONCLUSION: Morphological changes in the trigeminal nerve due to NVC could be recovered by MVD, and increases in the trigeminal nerve CSA predicted favorable outcomes.