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

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:2825–2830

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

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

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

Frequency and risk factors for postoperative aneurysm residual after microsurgical clipping

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:131–138

Aneurysm residuals after clipping are a well-known problem, but the course of aneurysm remnants in follow-up is not well studied. No standards or follow-up guidelines exist for treatment of aneurysm remnants. The aim of this study was to evaluate the risk factors for postoperative aneurysm remnants and their changes during follow-up.

Methods We performed a retrospective analysis of 666 aneurysms treated via clipping in our hospital from 2006 to 2016. Postoperative and follow-up angiographic data were analyzed for aneurysm remnants and regrowth. Clinical parameters and aneurysm-specific characteristics were correlated with radiological results.

Results The frequency of aneurysm residuals was 12% (78/666). Aneurysms located in the middle cerebral artery (p = 0.02) showed a significantly lower risk for incomplete aneurysm occlusion. Larger aneurysms with a diameter of 11–25 mm (p = 0.005) showed a significantly higher risk for incomplete aneurysm occlusion. Five patients underwent re-clipping during the same hospital stay. Remnants were stratified based on morphological characteristics into “dog ears” (n = 60) and “broad based” (n = 13). The majority of the “dog ears” stayed stable, decreased in size, or vanished during follow-up. Broad-based remnants showed a higher risk of regrowth.

Conclusions A middle cerebral artery location seems to lower the risk for the incomplete clip occlusion of an aneurysm. Greater aneurysm size (11–25 mm) is associated with a postoperative aneurysm remnant. The majority of “dog-ear” remnants appear to remain stable during follow-up. In these cases, unnecessarily frequent angiographic checks could be avoided. By contrast, broadbased residuals show a higher risk of regrowth that requires close imaging controls if retreatment cannot be performed immediately.

Development and validation of the Skills Assessment in Microsurgery for Brain Aneurysms (SAMBA) instrument for predicting proficiency in aneurysm surgery

J Neurosurg 133:190–196, 2020

Surgical performance evaluation was first described with the OSATS (Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills) and modified for aneurysm microsurgery simulation with the OSAACS (Objective Structured Assessment of Aneurysm Clipping Skills). These methods rely on the subjective opinions of evaluators, however, and there is a lack of objective evaluation for proficiency in the microsurgical treatment of brain aneurysms.

The authors present a new instrument, the Skill Assessment in Microsurgery for Brain Aneurysms (SAMBA) scale, which can be used similarly in a simulation model and in the treatment of unruptured middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysms to predict surgical performance; the authors also report on its validation.

METHODS The SAMBA scale was created by consensus among 5 vascular neurosurgeons from 2 different neurosurgical departments. SAMBA results were analyzed using descriptive statistics, Cronbach’s alpha indexes, and multivariate ANOVA analyses (p < 0.05).

RESULTS Expert, intermediate-level, and novice surgeons scored, respectively, an average of 33.9, 27.1, and 16.4 points in the real surgery and 33.3, 27.3, and 19.4 points in the simulation. The SAMBA interrater reliability index was 0.995 for the real surgery and 0.996 for the simulated surgery; the intrarater reliability was 0.983 (Cronbach’s alpha). In both the simulation and the real surgery settings, the average scores achieved by members of each group (expert, intermediate level, and novice) were significantly different (p < 0.001). Scores among novice surgeons were more diverse (coefficient of variation = 12.4).

CONCLUSIONS Predictive validation of the placenta brain aneurysm model has been previously reported, but the SAMBA scale adds an objective scoring system to verify microsurgical ability in this complex operation, stratifying proficiency by points. The SAMBA scale can be used as an interface between learning and practicing, as it can be applied in a safe and controlled environment, such as is provided by a placenta model, with similar results obtained in real surgery, predicting real surgical performance.


Anatomical triangles defining routes to anterior communicating artery aneurysms: the junctional and precommunicating triangles and the role of dome projection

J Neurosurg 132:1517–1528, 2020

Anterior communicating artery (ACoA) aneurysms are common intracranial aneurysms. Despite advances in endovascular therapy, microsurgical clipping remains an important treatment for aneurysms with broad necks, large size, intraluminal thrombus, complex branches, or previous coiling. Anatomical triangles identify safe corridors for aneurysm access. The authors introduce the A1-A2 junctional triangle and the A1-A1 precommunicating triangle and examine relationships between dome projection, triangular corridors of access, and surgical outcomes.

METHODS Preoperative catheter and CT angiograms were evaluated to characterize aneurysm dome projection. Aneurysm projection was categorized into quadrants and octants. Preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative factors were correlated to aneurysm dome projection and patient outcomes using univariate and multivariate analyses.

RESULTS A total of 513 patients with microsurgically treated ACoA aneurysms were identified over a 13-year period, and 400 had adequate imaging and follow-up data for inclusion. Surgical clipping was performed on 271 ruptured and 129 unruptured aneurysms. Good outcomes were observed in 91% of patients with unruptured aneurysms and 86% of those with ruptured aneurysms, with a mortality rate < 1% among patients with unruptured aneurysms. Increasing age (p < 0.01), larger aneurysm size (p = 0.03), and worse preoperative modified Rankin Scale score (p < 0.01) affected outcomes adversely. Aneurysms projecting superiorly and posteriorly required dissection in the junctional triangle, and multivariate analysis demonstrated worse clinical outcomes in these patients (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS Anteriorly and inferiorly projecting aneurysms involve only the precommunicating triangle, are simpler to treat microsurgically, and have more favorable outcomes. Superior and posterior dome projections make ACoA aneurysms more difficult to visualize and require opening the junctional triangle. Added visualization through the junctional triangle is recommended for these aneurysms in order to facilitate dissection of efferent branch arteries, careful clip application, and perforator preservation. Dome projection can be determined preoperatively from images and can help anticipate dissection routes through the junctional triangle.

Endoscope- versus microscope-integrated near-infrared indocyanine green videoangiography in aneurysm surgery

J Neurosurg 131:1413–1422, 2019

The quality of surgical treatment of intracranial aneurysms is determined by complete aneurysm occlusion while preserving blood flow in the parent, branching, and perforating arteries. For a few years, there has been a nearly noninvasive and cost-effective technique for intraoperative flow evaluation: microscope-integrated indocyanine green videoangiography (mICG-VA). This method allows for real-time information about blood flow in the aneurysm and the involved vessels, but its limitations are seen in the evaluation of structures located in the depth of the surgical field, especially through small craniotomies. To compensate for these drawbacks, an endoscope-integrated ICG-VA (eICG-VA) was developed. The objective of the present study was to assess the use of eICG-VA in comparison with mICG-VA for intraoperative blood flow evaluation.

METHODS In the period between January 2011 and January 2015, 216 patients with a total of 248 intracranial saccular aneurysms were surgically treated in the Department of Neurosurgery of Saarland University Medical Center in Homburg/Saar, Germany. During 95 surgeries in 88 patients with a total of 108 aneurysms, intraoperative evaluation was performed with both eICG-VA and mICG-VA. After clipping, evaluation of complete aneurysm occlusion and flow in the parent, branching, and perforating arteries was performed using both methods. Intraoperative applicability of each technique was compared with the other and with postoperative digital subtraction angiography as a standard evaluation technique.

RESULTS Evaluation of completeness of aneurysm occlusion and of flow in the parent, branching, and perforating arteries was more successful with eICG-VA than with mICG-VA, especially for aneurysm neck assessment (88.9% vs 69.4%). For 63.9% of the aneurysms (n = 69), both methods were equivalent, but in 30.6% of the cases (n = 33), the eICG-VA provided better results for evaluating the post-clipping situation. In 4.6% of these aneurysms (n = 5), the information given by the additional endoscope considerably changed the surgical procedure. Thus, one residual aneurysm (0.9%), two neck remnants (1.9%), and two branch occlusions (1.9%) could be prevented. Nevertheless, two incomplete aneurysm occlusions (1.9%) and six neck remnants (5.6%) were revealed by postoperative digital subtraction angiography.

CONCLUSIONS Endoscope-integrated ICG-VA seems to be an improvement that might increase the quality of aneurysm surgery by providing additional information. It offers higher illumination, magnification, and an extended viewing angle. Its main advantage is its ability to assess deep-seated aneurysms, especially through small craniotomies, but further studies are required.

Determining Surgical Approaches to Basilar Bifurcation Aneurysms

Determining Surgical Approaches to Basilar Bifurcation Aneurysms

Neurosurgery 78:181–191, 2016

The basilar bifurcation aneurysm (BBA) is still considered to be one of the most challenging aneurysms for micro- and endovascular surgery. Classic surgical approaches, such as subtemporal, lateral supraorbital (LSO), and modified presigmoid, are still reliable and effective.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the clinical and radiological factors that affect the selection of these classic surgical approaches and their outcomes.

METHODS: A retrospective analysis was conducted on the clinical and radiological data from computed tomographic angiography of BBA that have been clipped in the Department of Neurosurgery of Helsinki University Central Hospital between 2004 and 2014. Statistical analyses were performed using parametric and nonparametric tests where values were considered significant below P = .05.

RESULTS: One hundred four patients with BBA underwent surgical clipping in our department between 2004 and 2014. Eight patients were excluded from the study because of incomplete preoperative radiological evaluations, leaving 96 patients for further analysis. Multiple aneurysm clipping, mean basilar bifurcation angle, and aneurysm neck distance from posterior clinoid process were shown to be factors that determine the surgical approach. Unfavorable outcome is strongly associated with poor Hunt-Hess grade on admission, distance from aneurysm neck (the posterior clinoid process), thrombosis, and dome size.

CONCLUSION: Microsurgery for BBA clipping can be performed safely with simple surgical approaches: subtemporal and LSO. There are several factors determining the approach selected. Poor patient outcome in BBA was highly associated with poor preoperative clinical grade and large size of aneurysm dome.

Contrast-Enhanced Angiographic Computed Tomography for Detection of Aneurysm Remnants After Clipping


Neurosurgery 74:606–614, 2014 

For preclusion of remnants after aneurysm clipping, a reliable, noninvasive imaging technique is desirable.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the reliability of optimized angiographic computed tomography with intravenous contrast agent injection (ivACT) in detecting remnants after aneurysmal clipping compared with digital subtraction angiography (DSA), the gold standard.

METHODS: We included 84 patients with 112 clipped cerebral aneurysms of the anterior circulation. For treatment, 116 clips of cobalt and 57 clips of titanium alloy were used. In each patient, we performed an ivACT with dual rotational acquisition and a DSA. Data from ivACT were postprocessed with a dual-volume technique with newly implemented reconstructions modes. Aneurysm remnants were measured, classified, and correlated with DSA by 2 raters.

RESULTS: In total, 12 remnants were revealed by DSA, meaning a prevalence of 11%. IvACT demonstrated a sensitivity of 75% to 92% and a specificity of 99% in detecting remnants up to a minimal size of 0.7 · 0.3 mm. Classification of remnants by ivACT was identical to that by DSA, and assessment of size showed a significant correlation with DSA (P , .001). No significant differences between cobalt and titanium alloy were revealed concerning artifacts.

CONCLUSION: Optimized ivACT with enhanced postprocessing demonstrated high sensitivity and specificity in detecting remnants after aneurysm clipping in the anterior circulation. Classification and assessment of remnant size and detection of relevant parent artery stenosis showed high accuracy of ivACT compared with DSA. Our results indicate that ivACT might become a noninvasive alternative to DSA for postsurgical control.

Analysis of the relationship between different bleeding positions on intraoperative rupture anterior circulation aneurysm and surgical treatment outcome

Intraoperative rupture anterior circulation aneurrysms

Acta Neurochir (2014) 156:481–491

It is well recognized that intraoperative aneurysm rupture (IAR) is a serious event that is difficult to manage and has a relatively serious influence on a patient’s prognosis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prognostic value of different bleeding positions of IAR in patients, and to describe the technique that the authors have used to clip the ruptured aneurysms.

Methods From May 2009 to March 2012, a total of 148 aneurysms in 135 consecutive patients in our institution underwent clipping surgeries, and 31 IARs occurred in 30 patients. The clinical data of all patients were retrospectively analyzed. Statistics analysis was performed to analyze possible factors of different bleeding positions of IARs, to assist observation.

Results Outcome was estimated by Glasgow outcome scale via following up or calling back within 1, 3, and 6 months after surgery: 94 patients were 5’, 23 patients were 4’, nine patients were 3’, two patients were 2’ and eight patients were 1’. There was no significant difference between the outcome of IAR and that of no intraoperative aneurysm rupture (NIAR) in Hunt–Hess groups 0–III (P =0.802) and Hunt–Hess groups IV–V (P =0.229), and the different bleeding positions were shown to be an important factor that significantly influences the patients’ prognosis (P=0.001).

Conclusions Different bleeding positions of IAR have a significant impact on surgical outcome; IAR of the neck is the most devastating complication. If surgeons take appropriate measures according to different bleeding positions, the efficiency, accuracy and security of the operation will be improved

Intraoperative rerupture during surgical treatment of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage is not associated with an increased risk of vasospasm


J Neurosurg 120:409–414, 2014

Intraoperative rerupture during open surgical clipping of cerebral aneurysms in subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH)is a relatively frequent and potentially catastrophic occurrence. Patients who suffer rerupture have been shown to have worse outcomes at discharge compared with those who do not have rerupture. Perioperative injury likely plays a large part in the clinical worsening of these patients. However, due to the increased vessel manipulation and repeat exposure to acute hemorrhage, it is possible that secondary injury from increased incidence of vasospasm also contributes. Identifying an increased rate of vasospasm in these patients would justify early aggressive treatment with measures to prevent delayed cerebral ischemia. The authors investigated whether patients who suffer intraoperative rerupture during surgical treatment of ruptured cerebral aneurysms are at increased risk of developing vasospasm.

Methods. Five hundred consecutive patients treated with open surgical clipping for SAH were reviewed, and clinical and imaging data were collected. Angiographic vasospasm was defined as vessel narrowing believed to be consistent with vasospasm on angiography. Symptomatic vasospasm was defined as angiographic vasospasm in the setting of a clinical change attributable to vasospasm. Rates of angiographic and symptomatic vasospasm among patients with and without intraoperative rerupture were compared.

Results. There were no significant differences between the groups with and without rupture with respect to age, sex, modified Fisher grade, history of hypertension, or smoking. The group with intraoperative rupture had more patients with Hunt and Hess Grade I. Angiographic vasospasm was noted in 279 (66%) of the 425 patients without rerupture compared with 49 (65%) of the 75 patients with rerupture (p = 1.0, Fisher’s exact test). Symptomatic vasospasm was noted in 154 (36%) of the 425 patients without rerupture, compared with 31 (41%) of the 75 patients with rerupture (p = 0.44, Fisher’s exact test). In multivariate analysis, higher modified Fisher grade was significantly predictive of vasospasm, whereas older age and male sex were protective.

Conclusions. This study found no significant influence of intraoperative rerupture during open surgical clipping on the rate of angiographic or symptomatic vasospasm. Brief exposure to acute hemorrhage and vessel manipulation associated with rerupture events did not affect the rate of vasospasm. Risk of vasospasm was related to increased modified Fisher grade, and inversely related to age and male sex. These results do not justify early, targeted vasospasm therapy in patients with intraoperative rerupture.

Near-infrared indocyanine green videoangiography (ICGVA) and intraoperative computed tomography (iCT): are they complementary or competitive imaging techniques in aneurysm surgery?

Acta Neurochir (2012) 154:1861–1868

In this pilot study we compared advantages and drawbacks of near-infrared indocyanine green videoangiography (ICGVA) and intraoperative computed tomography (iCT) to investigate if these are complementary or competitive methods to acquire immediate information about blood vessels and potential critical impairment of brain perfusion during vascular neurosurgery.
A small subset of patients (n = 10) were prospectively enrolled in this feasibility study and received ICGVA immediately after placement of the aneurysm clips. An intraoperative cranial CT angiography (iCTA) was followed by dynamic perfusion CT scan (iCTP) using a 40-slice, sliding-gantry, CT scanner. The vascular patency of major (aneurysm bearing) arteries, visualisation of arising perforating arteries and brain perfusion after clip application were analysed with both techniques.
The ICGVA was able to visualise blood flow and vascular patency of all major vessels and perforating arteries within the visual field of the microscope, but failed to display vessels located within deeper areas of the surgical field. Even small coverage with brain parenchyma impaired detection of vessels. With iCTA high image quality could be obtained in 7/10 cases of clipped aneurysms. Intraoperative CTA was not sufficiently evaluable in one PICA aneurysm and one case of a previously coiled recurrent aneurysm, due to extensive coil artefacts. Small, perforating arteries could not be detected with iCTA. Intraoperative CTP allowed the assessment of global blood flow and brain perfusion in sufficient quality in 5/10 cases, and enabled adequate intraoperative decision making.
A combination of ICGVA and iCT is feasible, with very good diagnostic imaging quality associated with short acquisition time and little interference with the surgical workflow. Both techniques are complementary rather than competing analysing tools and help to assess information about local (ICGVA/iCTA) as well as regional (iCTA/iCTP) blood flow and cerebral perfusion immediately after clipping of intracranial aneurysms.

Optimized angiographic computed tomography with intravenous contrast injection: an alternative to conventional angiography in the follow-up of clipped aneurysms?

J Neurosurg 117:29–36, 2012

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of an optimized angiographic CT (ACT) program with intravenous contrast agent injection (ivACT) in the assessment of potential aneurysm remnants after neurosurgical clipping compared with conventional digital subtraction angiography (DSA).

Methods. The authors report on 14 patients with 19 surgically clipped cerebral aneurysms who were scheduled to undergo angiographic follow-up. For each patient, the authors performed ivACT with dual rotational acquisition and conventional angiography including a 3D rotational run. The ivACT and 3D DSA data were reconstructed with different imaging modes, including a newly implemented subtraction mode with motion correction. Thereafter, the data sets were merged by the dual-volume technique, and freely rotatable 3D images were obtained for further analysis. Observed aneurysm remnants were electronically measured and classified for each modality by 2 experienced neuroradiologists.

Results. Digital subtraction angiography and ivACT both provided high-quality images without motion artifacts. Artifact disturbances from the aneurysm clips led to a compromised, but still sufficient, image quality in 1 case. The ivACT assessed all aneurysm remnants as true-positive up to a minimal size of 2.6 × 2.4 mm in accordance with the DSA findings. There was a tendency for ivACT to overestimate the size of the aneurysm remnants. All cases without aneurysm remnants on DSA were scored correctly as true-negative by ivACT.

Conclusions. By using an optimized image acquisition protocol as well as enhanced postprocessing algorithms, the noninvasive ivACT seems to achieve results comparable to those of conventional angiography in the follow-up of clipped cerebral aneurysms. The authors have shown that ivACT can provide reliable diagnostic information about potential aneurysm remnants after neurosurgical clipping with high sensitivity and specificity, sufficient for clinical decision making, at least for aneurysms in the anterior circulation located distal to the internal carotid artery. These preliminary results may be a promising step to replace conventional angiography by a noninvasive imaging technique in selected cases after aneurysm clipping.


Endoscopy in Aneurysm Surgery

Neurosurgery 70[ONS Suppl 2]:ons184–ons191, 2012. DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e3182376a36

Surgical clipping with complete occlusion of the aneurysm and preservation of parent, branching, and perforating vessels remains the most definitive treatment for intracranial aneurysms.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the benefit of endoscopic application during microsurgical procedures in a retrospective study.

METHODS: One hundred eighty aneurysms were microsurgically treated in 124 operations. Three different applications of endoscopic visualization were used, depending on the respective requirements: inspection before clipping, clipping under endoscopic view, and postclipping evaluation.

RESULTS: Of 1380 aneurysms, 292 procedures were done with application of the endoscope. Of these 292, a complete data set, including video recording of the procedures for retrospective evaluation, was available in 180 cases. In these, the endoscope provided a favorable enhancement of the visual field, particularly in complex or deepseated lesions. No adverse effects were observed. Before clipping, the endoscope was used to gain additional topographic information in 150 of 180 cases (83%). Clipping under endoscopic view was performed in 4 cases. After clipping, endoscopic inspection was performed in 130 of 180 procedures. Depending on the endoscopic findings, rearrangement of the applied clip or additional clipping was found to be necessary in 26 of 130 cases (20.0%).

CONCLUSION: Endoscopic enhancement of the visual field provided by the endoscope before, during, and after microsurgical aneurysm occlusion may be a safe and effective application to increase the quality of treatment. Although unexpected findings concerning completeness of aneurysm occlusion and compromise of involved vessels could be diminished by endoscopic assessment, total prevention was not accomplished.

Cotton-Clipping Technique to Repair Intraoperative Aneurysm Neck Tear: A Technical Note

Neurosurgery 68[ONS Suppl 2]:ons294–ons299, 2011 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31821343c6

Intraoperative rupture of an intracranial aneurysm is a potentially devastating but avoidable and manageable complication of aneurysm surgery.

OBJECTIVE: To describe a surgical technique that the authors have used successfully to repair a tear at the neck of an intracranial aneurysm, as well as alternative options for managing this intraoperative complication.

METHODS: The tear on the neck of the aneurysm is covered with a small piece of free cotton and held in place with a suction device to clear the field of blood. The cotton is then clipped onto the tear with an aneurysm clip, using the cotton as a bolster to obliterate the tear. The cotton increases the surface area, allowing the clip to be placed more distally on the neck to preserve patency of the parent artery. Case examples are used to illustrate the technique.

RESULTS: Both authors independently have used this technique on several occasions to successfully repair tears at the neck of an aneurysm.

CONCLUSION: Intraoperative rupture of an intracranial aneurysm is a potentially devastating complication, particularly if a tear occurs at the neck. This simple yet effective method has been very useful in repairing a partial avulsion or tear of the neck of an aneurysm.

Near-infrared indocyanine green videoangiography versus microvascular Doppler sonography in aneurysm surgery

Acta Neurochir (2010) 152:1519–1525.DOI 10.1007/s00701-010-0723-5

The quality of surgical treatment of intracranial aneurysms is determined by complete aneurysm occlusion and restoration of flow in the parent, branching and perforating vessels. In postoperative digital subtraction angiography (DSA), unexpected aneurysm residuals and vessel occlusions are frequently detected. Here, the value of two nearly noninvasive and cost-effective techniques for intraoperative flow evaluation (near-infrared indocyanine green video angiography (ICG-VA) and microvascular Doppler sonography (mDs)) is investigated in a prospective study.

Patients and methods Over a period of 10months, the authors surgically clipped 50 aneurysms under intraoperative pre- and post-clipping evaluation of flow in the parent, branching and perforating vessels and the aneurysm sack by the two techniques. Intraoperative applicability of each technique was compared to each other and to postoperative digital subtraction angiography as standard evaluation technique.

Results Forty-five aneurysms were totally occluded without vessel compromise (90%). Intraoperatively, ICG-VA was considered useful in 43 cases (86%) and mDs in 44 cases (88%), respectively. Both techniques could compensate each other’s weak points to a certain degree; but two branch occlusions (4%) and three neck remnants (6%) were revealed by postoperative DSA.

Conclusion Both techniques have specific drawbacks that could be compensated by each other, to a certain extent. Intraoperatively, ICG-VA and mDs should not be considered competitive, but complementary. This study implicates that the combination of both applications on a routine basis assures the quality of aneurysm surgery by nearly noninvasive and cost-effective techniques. However, DSA remains the gold standard for evaluation of aneurysm occlusion.