A taxonomy for deep cerebral cavernous malformations: subtypes of thalamic lesions

J Neurosurg 139:1681–1696, 2023

Anatomical taxonomy is a practical tool to successfully guide clinical decision-making for patients with brain arteriovenous malformations and brainstem cavernous malformations (CMs). Deep cerebral CMs are complex, difficult to access, and highly variable in size, shape, and position. The authors propose a novel taxonomic system for deep CMs in the thalamus based on clinical presentation (syndromes) and anatomical location (identified on MRI).

METHODS The taxonomic system was developed and applied to an extensive 2-surgeon experience from 2001 through 2019. Deep CMs involving the thalamus were identified. These CMs were subtyped on the basis of the predominant surface presentation identified on preoperative MRI. Six subtypes among 75 thalamic CMs were defined: anterior (7/75, 9%), medial (22/75, 29%), lateral (10/75, 13%), choroidal (9/75, 12%), pulvinar (19/75, 25%), and geniculate (8/75, 11%). Neurological outcomes were assessed using modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores. A postoperative score ≤ 2 was defined as a favorable outcome and > 2 as a poor outcome. Clinical and surgical characteristics and neurological outcomes were compared among subtypes.

RESULTS Seventy-five patients underwent resection of thalamic CMs and had clinical and radiological data available. Their mean age was 40.9 (SD 15.2) years. Each thalamic CM subtype was associated with a recognizable constellation of neurological symptoms. The common symptoms were severe or worsening headaches (30/75, 40%), hemiparesis (27/75, 36%), hemianesthesia (21/75, 28%), blurred vision (14/75, 19%), and hydrocephalus (9/75, 12%). The thalamic CM subtype determined the selection of surgical approach. A single approach was associated with each subtype for most patients. The main exception to this paradigm was that in the surgeons’ early experience, pulvinar CMs were resected through a superior parietal lobule–transatrial approach (4/19, 21%), which later evolved to the paramedian supracerebellar-infratentorial approach (12/19, 63%). Relative outcomes implied by mRS scores were unchanged or improved in most patients (61/66, 92%) postoperatively.

CONCLUSIONS This study confirms the authors’ hypothesis that this taxonomy for thalamic CMs can meaningfully guide the selection of surgical approach and resection strategy. The proposed taxonomy can increase diagnostic acumen at the patient bedside, help identify optimal surgical approaches, enhance the clarity of clinical communications and publications, and improve patient outcomes.

The transfrontal isthmus approach for insular glioma surgery

J Neurosurg 139:20–28, 2023

The classic transopercular or transsylvian approach to insular gliomas removes the tumor laterally through the insular cortex. This study describes a new anteroposterior approach through the frontal isthmus for insular glioma surgery.

METHODS The authors detailed the surgical techniques for resection of insular gliomas through the transfrontal isthmus approach. Fifty-nine insular gliomas with at least Berger-Sanai zone I involvement were removed with the new approach, and extent of resection and postoperative neurological outcomes were assessed.

RESULTS Fifty-nine patients were enrolled in the study, including 35 men and 24 women, with a mean (range) age 44.3 (19–75) years. According to the Berger-Sanai classification system, the most common tumor was a giant glioma (67.8%), followed by involvement of zones I and IV (18.6%). Twenty-two cases were Yaşargil type 3A/B, and 37 cases were Yaşargil type 5A/B. The average angle between the lateral plane of the putamen and sagittal line was 33.53°, and the average width of the isthmus near the anterior insular point was 33.33 mm. The average angle between the lateral plane of the putamen and the sagittal line was positively correlated with the width of the isthmus near the anterior insular point (r = 0.935, p < 0.0001). The median (interquartile range [IQR]) preoperative tumor volume was 67.82 (57.64–92.19) cm 3 . Of 39 low-grade gliomas, 26 (66.67%) were totally resected; of 20 high-grade gliomas, 19 (95%) were totally resected. The median (IQR) extent of resection of the whole group was 100% (73.7%–100%). Intraoperative diffusion-weighted imaging showed no cases of middle cerebral artery– or lenticulostriate artery–related stroke. Extent of insular tumor resection was positively correlated with the angle of the lateral plane of the putamen and sagittal line (r = −0.329, p = 0.011) and the width of the isthmus near the anterior insular point (r = −0.267, p = 0.041). At 3 months postoperatively, muscle strength grade exceeded 4 in all cases, and all patients exhibited essentially normal speech. The median (IQR) Karnofsky performance score at 3 months after surgery was 90 (80–90).

CONCLUSIONS The transfrontal isthmus approach changes the working angle from lateral-medial to anterior-posterior, allowing for maximal safe removal of insular gliomas.

Is there a variance in complication types associated with ALIF approaches?

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:2991–3004

Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is a well-established alternative to posterior-based interbody fusion techniques, with approach variations, such as retroperitoneal, transperitoneal, open, and laparoscopic well described. Variable rates of complications for each approach have been enumerated in the literature. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the comparative rates of complications across approach type.

Methods A systematic review of search databases PubMed, Google Scholar, and OVID Medline was made to identify studies related to complication-associated ALIF. PRISMA guidelines were utilised for this review. Meta-analysis was used to compare intraoperative and postoperative complications with ALIF for each approach.

Results A total of 4575 studies were identified, with 5728 patients across 31 studies included for review following application of inclusion and exclusion criteria. Meta-analysis demonstrated the transperitoneal approach resulted in higher rates of retrograde ejaculation (RE) (p < 0.001; CI = 0.05–0.21) and overall rates of complications (p = 0.05; CI = 0.00–0.23). Rates of RE were higher at the L5/S1 intervertebral level. Rates of vessel injury were not significantly higher in either approach method (p = 0.89; CI = − 0.04–0.07). Rates of visceral injury did not appear to be related to approach method. Laparoscopic approaches resulted in shorter inpatient stays (p = 0.01).

Conclusion Despite the transperitoneal approach being comparatively underpowered, its use appears to result in a significantly higher rate of intraoperative and postoperative complications, although confounders including use of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) and spinal level should be considered. Laparoscopic approaches resulted in shorter hospital stays; however, its steep learning curve and longer operative time have deterred surgeons from its widespread adaptation.

Surgical treatment of pontine cavernous malformations via subtemporal transtentorial and intradural anterior transpetrosal approaches

Neurosurgical Review (2020) 43:1179–1189

The aim of this study was to report our surgical experience on resection of the pontine cavernous malformations (CMs) via subtemporal transtentorial approach (STTA) and intradural anterior transpetrosal approach (ATPA).

Clinical data were retrospectively reviewed in 61 patients with pontine CMs that were surgically treated by the STTA and the intradural ATPA. The surgical procedures, complications, and outcomes were analyzed.

The study consists of 61 patients with a total of 61 pontine CMs. Other than 4 lesions located medially in the pons, all CMs were in the lateral pons with a left or right lateral epicenter (the left/right ratio was 22/35). Totally, 11 patients (18.0%) with lesions located in the upper pons were treated by the STTA, and 50 patients (82.0%) with lesions involving the lower pons were treated by the intradural ATPA. Postoperatively, the complete resection was achieved in 58 patients (95.1%) and incomplete resection in 3 patients (4.9%). Twenty-seven patients (44.3%) suffered from a new or worsened neurological deficit in the immediate postoperative period, and 8 patients (13.1%) encountered a non-neural complication, including rebleeding, cerebrospinal fluid leak, intracranial infection, and pulmonary infection, and 3 patients had contusion of temporal lobe. With a mean follow-up of 54.2 months, the patients’ neurological condition had improved in 43 cases (71.6%), not changed in 10 cases (16.7%), and worsened in 7 cases (11.7%), respectively. The Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score evaluated at the last time for per patient was significantly better than their baseline status (t = 6.677, p < 0.001). However, 21 patients (35.0%) suffered from a new or worsened persistent postoperative deficit.

The lateral and anterolateral pons can be exposed well by the subtemporal transtentorial and intradural anterior transpetrosal approaches. Lesions of CMs located in the lateral pons, including ventrolateral and dorsolateral pons, could be totally removed by these two lateral approaches with an acceptable surgical morbidity.

Surgical Approaches to the Temporal Horn: An Anatomic Analysis of White Matter Tract Interruption

Operative Neurosurgery 13:258–270, 2017

Surgical access to the temporal horn is necessary to treat tumors and vascular lesions, but is used mainly in patients with mediobasal temporal epilepsy. The surgical approaches to this cavity fall into 3 primary categories: lateral, inferior, and transsylvian. The current neurosurgical literature has underestimated the interruption of involved fiber bundles and the correlated clinical manifestations.

OBJECTIVE: To delineate the interruption of fiber bundles during the different approaches to the temporal horn.

METHODS:We simulated the lateral (trans-middle temporal gyrus), inferior (transparahippocampal gyrus), and transsylvian approaches in 20 previously frozen, formalin-fixed human brains (40 hemispheres). Fiber dissection was then done along the lateral and inferior aspects under the operating microscope. Each stage of dissection and its respective fiber tract interruption were defined.

RESULTS: The lateral (trans-middle temporal gyrus) approach interrupted “U” fibers, the superior longitudinal fasciculus (inferior arm), occipitofrontal fasciculus (ventral segment), uncinate fasciculus (dorsolateral segment), anterior commissure (posterior segment), temporopontine, inferior thalamic peduncle (posterior fibers), posterior thalamic peduncle (anterior portion), and tapetum fibers. The inferior (transparahippocampal gyrus) approach interrupted “U” fibers, the cingulum (inferior arm), and fimbria, and transected the hippocampal formation. The transsylvian approach interrupted “U”fibers (anterobasal region of the extreme capsule), the uncinate fasciculus (ventromedial segment), and anterior commissure (anterior segment), and transected the anterosuperior aspect of the amygdala.

CONCLUSION: White matter dissection improves our knowledge of the complex anatomy surrounding the temporal horn. Identifying the fiber bundles at risk during each surgical approach adds important information for choosing the appropriate surgical strategy.