Outcomes following anterior odontoid screw versus posterior arthrodesis for odontoid fractures

J Neurosurg Spine 39:196–205, 2023

Odontoid fractures can be managed surgically when indicated. The most common approaches are anterior dens screw (ADS) fixation and posterior C1–C2 arthrodesis (PA). Each approach has theoretical advantages, but the optimal surgical approach remains controversial. The goal in this study was to systematically review the literature and synthesize outcomes including fusion rates, technical failures, reoperation, and 30-day mortality associated with ADS versus PA for odontoid fractures.

METHODS A systematic literature review was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines by searching the PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases. A random-effects meta-analysis was performed and the I 2 statistic was used to assess heterogeneity.

RESULTS In total, 22 studies comprising 963 patients (ADS 527, PA 436) were included. The average age of the patients ranged from 28 to 81.2 years across the included studies. The majority of the odontoid fractures were type II based on the Anderson-D’Alonzo classification. The ADS group was associated with statistically significantly lower odds to achieve bony fusion at last follow-up compared to the PA group (ADS 84.1%; PA 92.3%; OR 0.46; 95% CI 0.23–0.91; I 2 42.6%). The ADS group was associated with statistically significantly higher odds of reoperation compared to the PA group (ADS 12.4%; PA 5.2%; OR 2.56; 95% CI 1.50–4.35; I 2 0%). The rates of technical failure (ADS 2.3%; PA 1.1%; OR 1.11; 95% CI 0.52–2.37; I 2 0%) and all-cause mortality (ADS 6%; PA 4.8%; OR 1.35; 95% CI 0.67–2.74; I 2 0%) were similar between the two groups. In the subgroup analysis of patients > 60 years old, the ADS was associated with statistically significantly lower odds of fusion compared to the PA group (ADS 72.4%; PA 89.9%; OR 0.24; 95% CI 0.06–0.91; I 2 58.7%).

CONCLUSIONS ADS fixation is associated with statistically significantly lower odds of fusion at last follow-up and higher odds of reoperation compared to PA. No differences were identified in the rates of technical failure and all-cause mortality. Patients receiving ADS fixation at > 60 years old had significantly higher and lower odds of reoperation and fusion, respectively, compared to the PA group. PA is preferred to ADS fixation for odontoid fractures, with a stronger effect size for patients > 60 years old.

Augmented Reality in Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery

World Neurosurg. (2023) 176:35-42

Spine surgery has undergone significant changes in approach and technique. With the adoption of intraoperative navigation, minimally invasive spinal surgery (MISS) has arguably become the gold standard. Augmented reality (AR) has now emerged as a front-runner in anatomical visualization and narrower operative corridors. In effect, AR is poised to revolutionize surgical training and operative outcomes. Our study examines the current literature on AR-assisted MISS, synthesizes findings, and creates a narrative highlighting the history and future of AR in spine surgery.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Relevant literature was gathered using the PubMed (Medline) database from 1975 to 2023. Pedicle screw placement models were the primary intervention in AR. These were compared to the outcomes of traditional MISS

RESULTS: We found that AR devices on the market show promising clinical outcomes in preoperative training and intraoperative use. Three prominent systems were as follows: XVision, HoloLens, and ImmersiveTouch. In the studies, surgeons, residents, and medical students had opportunities to operate AR systems, showcasing their educational potential across each phase of learning. Specifically, one facet described training with cadaver models to gauge accuracy in pedicle screw placement. AR-MISS exceeded free-hand methods without unique complications or contraindications.

CONCLUSIONS: While still in its infancy, AR has already proven beneficial for educational training and intraoperative MISS applications. We believe that with continued research and advancement of this technology, AR is poised to become a dominant player within the fundamentals of surgical education and MISS operative technique.

Postoperative Spinal Cerebrospinal Fluid-Venous Fistulas Associated With Dural Tears in Patients With Intracranial Hypotension or Superficial Siderosis

Neurosurgery 93:473–479, 2023

Postoperative spinal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks are common but rarely cause extensive CSF collections that require specialized imaging to detect the site of the dural breach.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the use of digital subtraction myelography (DSM) for patients with extensive extradural CSF collections after spine surgery.

METHODS: A retrospective review was performed to identify a consecutive group of patients with extensive postoperative spinal CSF leaks who underwent DSM.

RESULTS: Twenty-one patients (9 men and 12 women) were identified. The mean age was 46.7 years (range, 17-75 years). The mean duration of the postoperative CSF leak was 3.3 years (range, 3 months to 21 years). MRI showed superficial siderosis in 6 patients. DSM showed the exact location of the CSF leak in 19 (90%) of the 21 patients. These 19 patients all underwent surgery to repair the CSF leak, and the location of the CSF leak could be confirmed intraoperatively in all 19 patients. In 4 (19%) of the 21 patients, DSM also showed a CSF-venous fistula at the same location as the postoperative dural tear.

CONCLUSION: In this study, DSM had a 90% detection rate of visualizing the exact site of the dural breach in patients with extensive postoperative spinal CSF leaks. The coexistence of a CSF-venous fistula in addition to the primary dural tear was present in about one-fifth of patients. The presence of a CSF-venous fistula should be considered if CSF leak symptoms persist in spite of successful repair of a durotomy.

Robotic Instruments Inside the MRI Bore: Key Concepts and Evolving Paradigms in Imaging-enhanced Cranial Neurosurgery

World Neurosurg. (2023) 176:127-139

Intraoperative MRI has been increasingly used to robotically deliver electrodes and catheters into the human brain using a linear trajectory with great clinical success.

Current cranial MR guided robotics do not allow for continuous realtime imaging during the procedure because most surgical instruments are not MR-conditional. MRI guided robotic cranial surgery can achieve its full potential if all the traditional advantages of robotics (such as tremor-filtering, precision motion scaling, etc.) can be incorporated with the neurosurgeon physically present in the MRI bore or working remotely through controlled robotic arms.

The technological limitations of design optimization, choice of sensing, kinematic modeling, physical constraints, and real-time control had hampered early developments in this emerging field, but continued research and development in these areas over time has granted neurosurgeons far greater confidence in using cranial robotic techniques.

This article elucidates the role of MR-guided robotic procedures using clinical devices like NeuroBlate and Clearpoint that have several thousands of cases operated in a “linear cranial trajectory” and planned clinical trials, such as LAANTERN for MR guided robotics in cranial neurosurgery using LITT and MR-guided putaminal delivery of AAV2 GDNF in Parkinson’s disease. The next logical improvisation would be a steerable curvilinear trajectory in cranial robotics with added DOFs and distal tip dexterity to the neurosurgical tools. Similarly, the novel concept of robotic actuators that are powered, imaged, and controlled by the MRI itself is discussed in this article, with its potential for seamless cranial neurosurgery.

Cerebral Microbleeds—Long-Term Outcome After Cerebrospinal Fluid Shunting in Idiopathic Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Neurosurgery 93:300–308, 2023

Cerebral microbleeds (CMBs) are common in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (INPH) and have been suggested as radiological markers of a brain prone to bleeding. The presence of CMBs might be relevant when selecting patients for shunt surgery.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether CMBs increases long-term risk of hemorrhagic complications and mortality or affects outcomes after cerebrospinal fluid shunt surgery in a cohort of patients with INPH.

METHODS: One hundred and forty nine shunted patients with INPH (mean age, 73 years) were investigated with MRI (T2* or susceptibility-weighted imaging sequences) preoperatively. CMBs were scored with the Microbleed Anatomic Rating Scale. Patients were observed for a mean of 6.5 years (range 2 weeks to 13 years) after surgery. Hemorrhagic events and death were noted. Improvement in gait was evaluated 3 to 6 months after surgery.

RESULTS: At baseline, 74 patients (50%) had CMBs. During follow-up, 7 patients (5%) suffered a hemorrhagic stroke and 43 (29%) suffered a subdural hematoma/hygroma with a median time from surgery of 30.2 months (IQR 50). Overall, having CMBs was not associated with suffering a subdural hematoma/hygroma or hemorrhagic stroke during follow-up with 1 exception that an extensive degree of CMBs (≥50 CMB) was more common in patients suffering a hemorrhagic stroke (P = .03). CMBs were associated with increased mortality (P = .02, Kaplan-Meier, log-rank test). The presence of CMBs did not affect gait outcome (P = .28).

CONCLUSION: CMBs were associated with hemorrhagic stroke and mortality. CMBs do not seem to reduce the possibility of gait improvement after shunt surgery or contribute to the risk of hemorrhagic complications regarding subdural hematoma or hygroma.

Formation of internal carotid artery aneurysms following gamma knife radiosurgery for pituitary adenomas

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:2257–2265

Only two aneurysm formations in the internal carotid artery after gamma knife radiosurgery (GKRS) for pituitary adenomas are reported so far.

Here, out of the 482 patients who underwent GKRS for pituitary adenomas at our institute, at least five developed aneurysms within the area of high single-dose irradiation. Three patients presented with epistaxis due to aneurysmal rupture and one presented with abducens paralysis due to nerve compression, while one was asymptomatic.

The interval between irradiation and aneurysmal detection ranged from 14 to 21 years. Aneurysm formation in those conditions may be higher than previously thought.

Taming the exoscope: a one‑year prospective laboratory training study

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:2037–2044

Digital 3D exoscopes have been recently introduced as an alternative to a surgical microscope in microneurosurgery. We designed a laboratory training program to facilitate and measure the transition from microscope to exoscope. Our aim was to observe the effect of a one-year active training on microsurgical skills with the exoscope by repeating a standardized test task at several time points during the training program.

Methods Two board-certified neurosurgeons with no previous exoscope experience performed the same test tasks in February, July, and November during a 12-month period. In between the test tasks, both participants worked with the exoscope in the laboratory and assisted during clinical surgeries on daily basis. Each of the test segments consisted of repeating the same task 10 times during one week. Altogether, 60 test tasks were performed, 30 each. The test task consisted of dissecting and harvesting the ulnar and radial arteries of the second segment of a chicken wing using an exoscope (Aesculap AEOS). Each dissection was recorded on video and analyzed by two independent evaluators. We measured the time required to complete the task as well as several metrics for evaluating the manual skills of the dissection and handling of the exoscope system.

Result There was a clear reduction in dissection time between the first and the last session, mean 34 min (SD 5.96) vs. 26 min (SD 8.69), respectively. At the end of the training, both neurosurgeons used the exoscope more efficiently utilizing more available options of the device. There was correlation between the dissection time and several of the factors we used for evaluating the work flow: staying in focus, zoom control, reduction of unnecessary movements or repetitive manual motions, manipulation technique of the vessel under dissection, handling of the instruments, and using them for multiple dissection purposes (stretching, cutting, and splitting).

Conclusion Continuous, dedicated long-term training program is effective for microsurgical skill development when switching from a microscope to an exoscope. With practice, the micromotor movements become more efficient and the use of microinstruments more versatile.

Risk Factors for Adjacent Segment Disease in Short Segment Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Operative Neurosurgery 25:136–141, 2023

Adjacent segment disease (ASD) is a common problem after lumbar spinal fusions. Ways to reduce the rates of ASD are highly sought after to reduce the need for reoperation.

OBJECTIVE: To find predisposing factors of ASD after lumbar interbody fusions, especially in mismatch of pelvic incidence and lumbar lordosis (PI-LL).

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all patients undergoing lumbar interbody fusions of less than 4 levels from June 2015 to July 2020 with at least 1 year of follow-up and in those who had obtained postoperative standing X-rays.

RESULTS: We found 243 patients who fit inclusion and exclusion criteria. Fourteen patients (5.8%) developed ASD, at a median of 24 months. Postoperative lumbar lordosis was significantly higher in the non-ASD cohort (median 46.4°± 1.4°vs 36.9°± 3.6°, P < .001), pelvic tilt was significantly lower in the non-ASD cohort (16.0°± 0.66°vs 20.3°± 2.4°, P = .002), PI-LL mismatch was significantly lower in the non-ASD cohort (5.28°± 1.0°vs 17.1°± 2.0°, P < .001), and age-appropriate PI-LL mismatch was less common in the non-ASD cohort (34 patients [14.8%] vs 13 [92.9%] of patients with high mismatch, P < .001). Using multivariate analysis, greater PI-LL mismatch was predictive of ASD (95% odds ratio CI = 1.393-2.458, P < .001) and age-appropriate PI-LL mismatch was predictive of ASD (95% odds ratio CI = 10.8-970.4, P < .001).

CONCLUSION: Higher PI-LL mismatch, both age-independent and when adjusted for age, after lumbar interbody fusion was predictive for developing ASD. In lumbar degenerative disease, correction of spinopelvic parameters should be a main goal of surgical correction.

Percutaneous Rhizotomy of the Gasserian Ganglion in Patients With Mass Lesion–Associated Trigeminal Neuralgia

Operative Neurosurgery 25:142–149, 2023

Patients with trigeminal neuralgia (TN) secondary to mass lesions are typically treated by directly addressing the underlying pathology. In cases of TN not alleviated by treatment of the pathology, percutaneous balloon compression (PBC) and glycerol rhizotomy (Gly) are simple and effective ways to alleviate pain. However, there is limited literature on the use of these techniques for patients with TN caused by mass lesions.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the use of PBC/Gly to treat mass lesion–related TN.

METHODS: We report a retrospective, single-institution, descriptive case series of patients who presented with TN secondary to tumor or mass-like inflammatory lesion from 1999 to 2021. Patients with primary, idiopathic, or multiple sclerosis–related TN were excluded. Outcomes included Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) pain intensity and hypesthesia scores, pain persistence, and postoperative complications.

RESULTS: A total of 459 procedures were identified, of which 16 patients met the inclusion criterion (14 PBC and 2 Gly). Of the 15 patients with tumors, 12 had TN pain despite prior tumor-targeted radiation. Short-term (<3 months) BNI pain intensity improvement occurred in 15 (93.8%) patients. The mean follow-up was 54.4 months. Thirteen (81.3%) patients were pain-free (Barrow Neurological Institute pain intensity scale: IIIa–50%; I–25.0%; II–6.3%) for a mean of 23.8 (range 1137) months. Ten patients (62.5%) had pain relief for ≥6 months from first procedure. New facial numbness developed immediately postprocedure in 8 (50%) patients. Transient, partial abducens nerve palsy occurred in 1 patient.

CONCLUSION: PBC/Gly is an effective option for medically refractory TN in patients with mass-associated TN and is a viable option for repeat treatment.

Effects of Sacral Slope Changes on the Intervertebral Disc and Hip Joint: A Finite Element Analysis

World Neurosurg. (2023) 176:e32-e39

Spinopelvic parameters are vital components that must be considered when treating patients with spinal disease. Several finite element (FE) studies have explored spinopelvic parameters such as sacral slope (SS) and the impact on the lumbar spine, although no study has examined the effect on the hip and sacroiliac joint (SIJ) on varying SS angles. Therefore, it is necessary to have a biomechanical understanding of the impact on the spinopelvic complex.

METHODS: An FE lumbar, pelvis, and femur model was created from computed tomography scans of a 55-year-old female patient with no abnormalities. Three models were created: a normal model (SS [ 26  ), a model with high SS (SS [ 30  ), and a model with low SS (SS [ 20  ). These models underwent loading for flexion, extension, lateral bending, and axial rotation. Range of motion (ROM), intradiscal pressures, hip joint, and SIJ contact stresses were analyzed.

RESULTS: The high SS model (SS [ 30  ) indicated the highest ROM in the L5-S1 (slip angle) level and the highest intradiscal pressures. The highest average hip and SIJ contact stresses were present in this model, although the low SS model (SS [ 20  ) in extension had the largest stresses for the hip and SIJ.

CONCLUSIONS: The results provide evidence that patients with higher SS may be more prone to increased ROM at the slip angle (L5-S1). In addition, patients with higher SS were shown to have higher contact stresses on the hip joint and SIJ, potentially leading to SIJ dysfunction. Clinically, correcting lumbar lordosis including SS is important; however, a high SS may have a negative impact on the intervertebral disc, SIJ, and hip joint.

Analysis of Prognostic Factors and Surgical Management of Elderly Patients with Low-Grade Gliomas

World Neurosurg. (2023) 176:e20-e31

The number of elderly patients with low-grade glioma (LGG) is increasing, but their prognostic factors and surgical treatment are still controversial. This paper aims to investigate the prognostic factors of overall survival and cancer-specific survival in elderly patients with LGG and analyze the optimal surgical treatment strategy.

METHODS: Patients in the study were obtained from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database and patients were randomized into a training and a test set (7:3). Clinical variables were analyzed by univariate and multivariate Cox regression analysis to screen for significant prognostic factors, and nomograms visualized the prognosis. In addition, survival analysis of elderly patients regarding different surgical management was also analyzed by Kaplan-Meier curves.

RESULTS: Six prognostic factors were screened by univariate and multivariate Cox regression analysis on the training set: tumor site, laterality, histological type, the extent of surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, and all factors were visualized by nomogram. And we evaluated the accuracy of the nomogram model using consistency index, calibration plots, receiver operator characteristic curves, and decision curve analysis, showing that the nomogram has strong accuracy and applicability. We also found that gross total resection improved overall survival and cancer-specific survival in patients with LGG aged ‡65 years relative to those who did not undergo surgery (P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Based on the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database, we created and validated prognostic nomograms for elderly patients with LGG, which can help clinicians to provide personalized treatment services and clinical decisions for their patients. More importantly, we found that older age alone should not preclude aggressive surgery for LGGs.

Neuronavigated endoscopic aqueductoplasty with panventricular stent plus septostomy for isolated fourth ventricle in complex hydrocephalus and syringomyelia associated with myelomeningocele

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:2333–2338

Isolated fourth ventricle (IFV) is a challenging entity to manage. In recent years, endoscopic treatment for aqueductoplasty has been on the rise. However, in patients with complex hydrocephalus and distorted ventricular system, its implementation can be complex.

Methods We present a 3-year-old patient with myelomeningocele and postnatal hydrocephalus treated by ventriculoperitoneal shunt. In follow-up, a progressive IFV and isolated lateral ventricle with symptoms of the posterior fossa developed. An endoscopic aqueductoplasty (EA) with panventricular stent plus septostomy guided with neuronavigation was decided due to the complexity of the ventricular system.

Conclusion In IFV associated with complex hydrocephalus with distortion of the ventricular system, navigation can be of great help for planning and as a guide for performing EA

Far lateral lumbar interbody fusion with unilateral pedicle screw fixation and double traversing cages using a biportal endoscopic technique

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:2165–2169

Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) with a single cage and bilateral pedicle screw fixation results in decreased stability or increased risk of cage displacement Wang and Guo (Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Eng, 24(3):308–319, 6). We succeeded in inserting double traversing cages with unilateral pedicle screw fixation (UPSF) during far lateral TLIF using unilateral biportal endoscopy (UBE).

Method We attempted far lateral UBE-TLIF through two small incisions for degenerative lumbar spondylolisthesis with unilateral stenosis. With the help of novel instruments, far lateral UBE-TLIF with double traversing cages and UPSF was performed under tracheal intubation anaesthesia.

Conclusions We successfully performed far lateral UBE-TLIF with double traversing cages and UPSF. This procedure may be an alternative minimally invasive method for treating lumbar instability.

Transuncal Selective Amygdalohippocampectomy by an Inferolateral Preseptal Endoscopic Approach Through Inferior Eyelid Conjunctival Incision: An Anatomic Study

Operative Neurosurgery 25:199–208, 2023

Transorbital endoscopic approaches have been described for pathologies of anterior and middle fossae. Standard lateral orbitotomy gives access to mesial temporal lobe, but the axis of work is partially obscured by the temporal pole and working corridor is limited.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the usefulness of an inferolateral orbitotomy to provide a more direct corridor to perform a transuncal selective amygdalohippocampectomy.

METHODS: Three adult cadaveric specimens were used for a total of 6 dissections. A step-by-step description and illustration of the transuncal corridor for a selective amygdalohippocampectomy were performed using the inferolateral orbitotomy through an inferior eyelid conjunctival incision. The anatomic landmarks were demonstrated in detail. Orbitotomies and angles of work were measured from computed tomography scans, and the area of resection was illustrated by postdissection MRI.

RESULTS: Inferior eyelid conjunctival incision was made for exposure of the inferior orbital rim. Inferolateral transorbital approach was performed to access the transuncal corridor. Endoscopic selective amygdalohippocampectomy was performed through the entorhinal cortex without damage to the temporal neocortex or Meyer’s loop. The mean horizontal diameter of the osteotomy was 14.4 mm, and the vertical one was 13.6 mm. The mean angles of work were 65°and 35.5°in the axial and sagittal planes, respectively. Complete amygdalohippocampectomy was achieved in all 6 dissections.

CONCLUSION: Transuncal selective amygdalohippocampectomy was feasible in cadaveric specimens using the inferolateral transorbital endoscopic approach avoiding damage to the temporal neocortex and Meyer’s loop. The inferior eyelid conjunctival incision may result in an excellent cosmetic outcome.

The Impact of Extent of Ablation on Survival of Patients With Newly Diagnosed Glioblastoma Treated With Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy

Neurosurgery 93:427–435, 2023

Upfront laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) can be used as part of the treatment paradigm in difficult-to-access newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme (ndGBM) cases. The extent of ablation, though, is not routinely quantified; thus, its specific effect on patients’ oncological outcomes is unclear.

OBJECTIVE: To methodically measure the extent of ablation in the cohort of patients with ndGBM and its effect, and other treatment-related parameters, on patients’ progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS).

METHODS: A retrospective study was conducted on 56 isocitrate dehydrogenase 1/2 wild-type patients with ndGBM treated with upfront LITT between 2011 and 2021. Patient data including demographics, oncological course, and LITTassociated parameters were analyzed.

RESULTS: Patient median age was 62.3 years (31-84), and the median follow-up duration was 11.4 months. As expected, the subgroup of patients receiving full chemoradiation was found to have the most beneficial PFS and OS (n = 34). Further analysis showed that 10 of them underwent near-total ablation and had a significantly improved PFS (10.3 months) and OS (22.7 months). Notably, 84% excess ablation was detected which was not related to a higher rate of neurological deficits. Tumor volume was also found to influence PFS and OS, but it was not possible to further corroborate this finding because of low numbers.

CONCLUSION: This study presents data analysis of the largest series of ndGBM treated with upfront LITT. Near-total ablation was shown to significantly benefit patients’ PFS and OS. Importantly, it was shown to be safe, even in cases of excess ablation and therefore could be considered when using this modality to treat ndGBM.

One-Insertion Stereotactic Brain Biopsy Using In Vivo Optical Guidance

Operative Neurosurgery 25:176–182, 2023

Stereotactic neurosurgical brain biopsies are afflicted with risks of inconclusive results and hemorrhage. Such complications can necessitate repeated trajectories and prolong surgical time.

OBJECTIVE: To develop and introduce a 1-insertion stereotactic biopsy kit with direct intraoperative optical feedback and to evaluate its applicability in 3 clinical cases.

METHODS: An in-house forward-looking probe with optical fibers was designed to fit the outer cannula of a side-cutting biopsy kit. A small aperture was made at the tip of the outer cannula and the edges aligned with the optical probe inside. Stereotactic biopsies were performed using the Leksell Stereotactic System. Optical signals were measured in millimeter steps along the preplanned trajectory during the insertion. At the region with the highest 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA)induced fluorescence, the probe was replaced by the inner cannula, and tissue samples were taken. The waiting time for pathology diagnosis was noted.

RESULTS: Measurements took 5 to 10 minutes, and the surgeon received direct visual feedback of intraoperative 5-ALA fluorescence, microcirculation, and tissue gray-whiteness. The 5-ALA fluorescence corroborated with the pathological findings which had waiting times of 45, 50, and 75 minutes. Because only 1 trajectory was required and the patient could be prepared for the end of surgery immediately after sampling, this shortened the total surgical time. CONCLUSION: A 1-insertion stereotactic biopsy procedure with real-time optical guidance has been presented and successfully evaluated in 3 clinical cases. The method can be modified for frameless navigation and thus has great potential to improve safety and diagnostic yield for both frameless and frame-based neurosurgical biopsy procedures.

Minimally Invasive Dorsal Approach for the Treatment of Giant Presacral Schwannomas

Operative Neurosurgery 25:E66–E70, 2023

The treatment of giant presacral schwannomas is currently a grand challenge for neurosurgeons. Although these tumors are benign and do not infiltrate the surrounding tissues, it is difficult to choose the best surgical approach because they are surrounded by the pelvic organs and great vessels. There is no universally accepted approach to the surgical treatment because giant presacral schwannomas are rare in the population. The anterior approach through laparotomy is more often recommended in the literature. A dorsal approach that involves laminotomy and stabilization is also described in the literature. However, these approaches are rather traumatic for the patient and have both intraoperative and postoperative risks.

OBJECTIVE: To report a minimally invasive dorsal approach for the treatment of giant presacral schwannomas.

METHODS: We present a fundamentally new approach to the treatment of these tumors using a minimally invasive dorsal approach, based on the specific anatomy and growth of giant presacral schwannomas. This approach is using the potential of modern neurosurgery.

RESULTS: We describe 2 cases of successful total tumor resection using this novel surgical approach. No complications have been registered after the surgery.

CONCLUSION: A minimally invasive dorsal approach for the treatment of giant presacral schwannomas is sufficient for complete tumor removal, minimizes intraoperative and postoperative risks, is associated with good cosmetic effect, and can be successfully applied in surgical practice.

Dynamic Lateral Semisitting Position for Supracerebellar Approaches

Operative Neurosurgery 25:103–111, 2023

It has always been a matter of debate which position is ideal for the supracerebellar approach. The risk of venous air embolism (VAE) is the major deterrent for surgeons and anesthesiologists, despite the fact that sitting and semisitting positions are commonly used in these operations.

OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate a reduction on the risk of VAE and tension pneumocephalus throughout the operation period while taking advantages of the semisitting position.

METHODS: In this study, 11 patients with various diagnoses were operated in our department using the supracerebellar approach in the dynamic lateral semisitting position. We used end-tidal carbon dioxide and arterial blood pressure monitoring to detect venous air embolism.

RESULTS: None of the patients had clinically significant VAE in this study. No tension pneumocephalus or major complications were observed. All the patients were extubated safely after surgery.

CONCLUSION: The ideal position, with which to apply the supracerebellar approach, is still a challenge. In our study, we presented an alternative position that has advantages of the sitting and semisitting positions with a lower risk of venous air embolism.

Brain metastasis resection: the impact of fluorescence guidance (MetResect study)

Neurosurg Focus 55(2):E10, 2023

Maximal resection of brain metastases (BMs) improves both progression-free survival and overall survival (OS). Fluorescein sodium (FL) in combination with the YELLOW 560-nm filter is a safe and feasible method for visualizing residual tumor tissue during BM resection. The authors of this study aimed to show that use of FL would positively influence the volumetric extent of resection (EOR) and thus the survival outcome in patients undergoing BM resection.

METHODS Analyzing their institution’s prospective brain tumor registry, the authors identified 539 consecutive patients with BMs (247 women, mean age 62.8 years) by using preoperative high-quality MR images for volumetric analysis. BMs were resected under white light (WL) in 293 patients (54.4%; WL group) and under FL guidance in 246 patients (45.6%; FL group). Sex, age, presurgical Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS), recursive partitioning analysis class, and adjuvant treatment modalities were well balanced between the two groups. Volumetric analysis was performed in a blinded fashion by quantifying pre- and postoperative tumor volume based on gadolinium-enhanced T1-weighted sequences.

RESULTS In the FL group, the postoperative tumor volume was significantly smaller (p = 0.01), and hence the quantitative EOR was significantly larger (p = 0.024) and OS was significantly longer (p = 0.0001) (log-rank testing). Multivariate Cox regression modeling showed that age, presurgical KPS, metastasis status, and FL-guided resection are independent prognostic factors for survival.

CONCLUSIONS Compared with WL resection, FL-guided BM resection increased resection quality, significantly improved EOR, and prolonged OS.

Gamma Knife Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Trigeminal Neuralgia Secondary to Multiple Sclerosis

Neurosurgery 93:453–461, 2023

The efficacy of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for the relief of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is well established. Much less is known, however, about the benefit of SRS for multiple sclerosis (MS)–related TN (MS-TN). OBJECTIVE: To compare outcomes in patients who underwent SRS for MS-TN vs classical/idiopathic TN and identify relative risk factors for failure.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective, case-control study of patients who underwent Gamma Knife radiosurgery at our center for MS-TN between October 2004 and November 2017. Cases were matched 1:1 to controls using a propensity score predicting MS probability using pretreatment variables. The final cohort consisted of 154 patients (77 cases and 77 controls). Baseline demographics, pain characteristics, and MRI features were collected before treatment. Pain evolution and complications were obtained at follow-up. Outcomes were analyzed using the Kaplan-Meir estimator and Cox regressions.

RESULTS: There was no statistically significant difference between both groups with regards to initial pain relief (modified Barrow National Institute IIIa or less), which was achieved in 77% of patients with MS and 69% of controls. In responders, 78% of patients with MS and 52% of controls eventually had recurrence. Pain recurred earlier in patients with MS (29 months) than in controls (75 months). Complications were similarly distributed in each group and consisted, in the MS group, of 3% of new bothersome facial hypoesthesia and 1% of new dysesthesia.

CONCLUSION: SRS is a safe and effective modality to achieve pain freedom in MS-TN. However, pain relief is significantly less durable than in matched controls without MS.