Cavernous venous malformations in and around the central nervous system. Part 1: Dural and extradural

J Neurosurg 140:735–745, 2024

Cavernous-type malformations are venous lesions that occur in multiple locations throughout the body, and when present in the CNS, they have canonically been referred to as cavernomas, cavernous angiomas, and cerebral cavernous malformations. Herein all these lesions are referred to as “cavernous venous malformations” (CavVMs), which is congruent with the current International Society for the Study of Vascular Anomalies classification system.

Even though histologically similar, depending on their location relative to the dura mater, these malformations can have different features. In Part 1 of this review, the authors discuss and review pertinent clinical knowledge with regard to CavVMs as influenced by anatomical location, starting with the dural and extradural malformations. They particularly emphasize dural CavVMs (including those in the cavernous sinus), orbital CavVMs, and spinal CavVMs. The genetic and histopathological features of CavVMs in these locations are reviewed, and commonalities in their presumed mechanisms of pathogenesis support the authors’ conceptualization of a spectrum of a single disease entity. Illustrative cases for each subtype are presented, and the pathophysiological and genetic features linking dural and extradural to intradural CavVMs are examined.

A new classification is proposed to segregate CavVMs based on the location from which they arise, which guides their natural history and treatment.

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

J Neurosurg 139:1613–1618, 2023

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

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

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

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

Comparative Analysis of Surgical Working Corridors for Meckel Cave Trigeminal Schwannomas: A Quantitative Anatomic Study

Operative Neurosurgery 25:E251–E266, 2023

Volumetric analysis of the working corridors of the interdural approach to the Meckel cave may lead to a selection of routes which are anatomically more advantageous for trigeminal schwannoma resection. The herein-reported anatomic study quantitively compares the infratrochlear (IT) transcavernous, anteromedial (AM), and anterolateral (AL) corridors, highlighting their feasibility, indications, advantages, and limitations.

METHODS: Anatomic boundaries and depth of Meckel cave, porus trigeminus, IT transcavernous, AM, and AL corridors were identified in 20 formalin-fixed latex-injected cadaveric heads and were subsequently measured. The corridor areas and volumes were derived accordingly. Each opening angle was also calculated. Angles and volumes were compared using analysis of variance. Statistical significance was set at a P-value <.05.

RESULTS: The IT transcavernous corridor volume was greater than that of the AM and AL. The opening angle of the AM middle fossa triangle was wider than the other 2.

CONCLUSION: The IT corridor can be advantageous for Meckel cave schwannomas invading the cavernous sinus and those with a notable extension into the posterior fossa because the transcavernous approach maximizes the working space into the retrosellar area. The AM middle fossa corridor is strategic in schwannomas confined to the Meckel cave with a minor extension into the posterior fossa. It raises the chance of total resection with a single approach involving the porus trigeminus opening.

The “candy wrapper” of the pituitary gland: a road map to the parasellar ligaments and the medial wall of the cavernous sinus

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:3431–3444

The anatomy of the medial wall of the cavernous sinus (MWCS) and parasellar ligaments (PLs) has acquired increasing importance in endoscopic endonasal (EE) surgery of the cavernous sinus (CS), including resection of the MWCS in functioning pituitary adenomas (FPAs). Although anatomical studies have been published, it represents a debated topic due to their complex morphology. The aim is to offer a description of the PLs that originate from the MWCS and reach the lateral wall of the cavernous sinus (LWCS), proposing the “candy wrapper” model. The relationships between the neurovascular structures and histomorphological aspects were investigated.

Methods Forty-two CSs from twenty-one human heads were studied. Eleven specimens were used for EE dissection; five underwent a microscopic dissection. Five specimens were used for histomorphological analysis.

Results Two groups of PLs with a fan-shaped appearance were encountered. The anterior group included the periosteal ligament (55% sides) and the carotico-clinoid complex (100% sides), formed by the anterior horizontal and the carotico-clinoid ligaments. The posterior group was formed by the posterior horizontal (78% sides), and the inferior hypophyseal ligament (34% sides). The periosteal ligament originated inferiorly from the MWCS, reaching the periosteal dura. The anterior horizontal ligament was divided in a superior and inferior branch. The superior one continued as the carotid-oculomotor membrane, and the inferior branch reached the CN VI. The carotico-clinoid ligament between the middle and anterior clinoid was ossified in 3 sides. The posterior horizontal ligament was related to the posterior genu and ended at the LWCS. The inferior hypophyseal ligament followed the homonym artery. The ligaments related to the ICA form part of the adventitia. Conclusion The “candy wrapper” model adds further details to the previous descriptions of the PLs. Understanding this complex anatomy is essential for safe CS surgery, including MWCS resection for FPAs.

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

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:2951–2956

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

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

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

The endonasal midline inferior intercavernous approach to the cavernous sinus

Acta Neurochirurgica

Traditional endoscopic endonasal approaches to the cavernous sinus (CS) open the anterior CS wall just medial to the internal carotid artery (ICA), posing risk of vascular injury. This work describes a potentially safer midline sellar entry point for accessing the CS utilizing its connection with the inferior intercavernous sinus (IICS) when anatomically present.

Methods The technique for the midline intercavernous dural access is described and depicted with cadaveric dissections and a clinical case.

Results An endoscopic endonasal approach exposed the periosteal dural layer of anterior sella and CS. The IICS was opened sharply in midline through its periosteal layer. The feather knife was inserted and advanced laterally within the IICS toward the anterior CS wall, thereby gradually incising the periosteal layer of the IICS. The knife was turned superiorly then inferiorly in a vertical direction to open the anterior CS wall. This provided excellent access to the CS compartments, maintained the meningeal layer of the IICS and the medial CS wall, and avoided an initial dural incision immediately adjacent to the ICA.

Conclusion The midline intercavernous dural access to the CS assisted by a 90° dissector-blade is an effective modification to previously described techniques, with potentially lower risk to the ICA.

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

Neurosurgical Review (2022) 45:2087–2093

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

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

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

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

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

Management of cavernous sinus meningiomas: Consensus statement on behalf of the EANS skull base section

Brain and Spine 2 (2022) 100864

The evolution of cavernous sinus meningiomas (CSMs) might be unpredictable and the efficacy of their treatments is challenging due to their indolent evolution, variations and fluctuations of symptoms, heterogeneity of classifications and lack of randomized controlled trials. Here, a dedicated task force provides a consensus statement on the overall management of CSMs. Research question: To determine the best overall management of CSMs, depending on their clinical presentation, size, and evolution as well as patient characteristics.

Material and methods: Using the PRISMA 2020 guidelines, we included literature from January 2000 to December 2020. A total of 400 abstracts and 77 titles were kept for full-paper screening.

Results: The task force formulated 8 recommendations (Level C evidence). CSMs should be managed by a highly specialized multidisciplinary team. The initial evaluation of patients includes clinical, ophthalmological, endocrinological and radiological assessment. Treatment of CSM should involve experienced skull-base neurosurgeons or neuro-radiosurgeons, radiation oncologists, radiologists, ophthalmologists, and endocrinologists.

Discussion and conclusion: Radiosurgery is preferred as first-line treatment in small, enclosed, pauci-symptomatic lesions/in elderly patients, while large CSMs not amenable to resection or WHO grade II-III are candidates for radiotherapy. Microsurgery is an option in aggressive/rapidly progressing lesions in young patients presenting with oculomotor/visual/endocrinological impairment. Whenever surgery is offered, open cranial approaches are the current standard. There is limited experience reported about endoscopic endonasal approach for CSMs and the main indication is decompression of the cavernous sinus to improve symptoms. Whenever surgery is indicated, the current trend is to offer decompression followed by radiosurgery.

Tailoring the surgical corridor to the basilar apex in the pretemporal transcavernous approach

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:2731–2741

The pretemporal transcavernous approach (PTA) provides optimal exposure and access to the basilar artery (BA); however, the PTA can be invasive when vital neurovascular structures are mobilized. The goal of this study was to evaluate mobilization strategies to tailor approaches to the BA.

Methods After an orbitozygomatic craniotomy, 10 sides of 5 cadaveric heads were used to assess the surgical access to the BA via the opticocarotid triangle (OCT), carotid-oculomotor triangle (COT), and oculomotor-tentorial triangle (OTT). Measurements were obtained, and morphometric analyses were performed for natural neurovascular positions and after each stepwise expansion maneuver. An imaginary line connecting the midpoints of the limbus sphenoidale and dorsum sellae was used as a reference to normalize the measurements of BA exposure and to facilitate the clinical applicability of this technique.

Results In the OCT, the exposed BA segment ranged from − 1 ± 3.9 to + 6 ± 2.0 mm in length in its natural position. In the COT, the accessible BA segment ranged from − 4 ± 2.3 to − 2 ± 3.0mmin length in its natural position. Via the OTT, the accessible BA segment ranged from − 7 ± 2.6 to − 5 ± 2.8 mm in length in its natural position. In the OCT, COT, and OTT, a posterior clinoidectomy extended the exposure down to − 6 ± 2.7, − 8 ± 2.5, and − 9 ± 2.9 mm, respectively.

Conclusions This study quantitatively evaluated the need for the expansion maneuvers in the PTA to reach BA aneurysms according to the patient’s anatomical characteristics.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Cavernous Sinus Versus Noncavernous Sinus Dural Arteriovenous Fistulas: Outcomes and Outcome Predictors

Neurosurgery 86:676–684, 2020

Dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) can be categorized based on location.

OBJECTIVE: To compare stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) outcomes between cavernous sinus (CS) and non-CS DAVFs and to identify respective outcome predictors.

METHODS: This is a retrospective study of DAVFs treated with SRS between 1988 and 2016 at 10 institutions. Patients’ variables, DAVF characters, and SRS parameters were included for analyses. Favorable clinical outcome was defined as angiography-confirmed obliterationwithout radiological radiation-induced changes (RIC) or post-SRS hemorrhage.Other outcomes were DAVFs obliteration and adverse events (including RIC, symptomatic RIC, and post-SRS hemorrhage).

RESULTS: The overall study cohort comprised 131 patients, including 20 patients with CS DAVFs (15%) and 111 patients with non-CS DAVFs (85%). Rates of favorable clinical outcome were comparable between the 2 groups (45% vs 37%, P = .824). Obliteration rate after SRS was higher in the CS DAVFs group, even adjusted for baseline difference (OR = 4.189, P = .044). Predictors of favorable clinical outcome included higher maximum dose (P = .014) for CS DAVFs. Symptomatic improvement was associated with obliteration in non-CS DAVFs (P = .005), but symptoms improved regardless of whether obliteration was confirmed in CS DAVFs. Non-CS DAVFs patients with adverse events after SRS were more likely to be male (P = .020), multiple arterial feeding fistulas (P = .018), and lower maximum dose (P = .041).

CONCLUSION: After SRS, CSDAVFs are more likely to obliterate than non-CS ones. Because these 2 groups have different total predictors for clinical and radiologic outcomes after SRS, they should be considered as different entities.

The endoscopic transpterional port approach: anatomy, technique, and initial clinical experience

J Neurosurg 132:884–894, 2020

The evolution of microsurgical and endoscopic techniques has allowed the development of less invasive transcranial approaches. The authors describe a purely endoscopic transpterional port craniotomy to access lesions involving the cavernous sinus and the anterolateral skull base.

METHODS Through single- or dual-port incisions and with direct endoscopic visualization, the authors performed an endoscopic transpterional port approach (ETPA) using a 4-mm straight endoscope in 8 sides of 4 formalin-fixed cadaveric heads injected with colored latex. A main working port incision is made just below the superior temporal line and behind the hairline. An optional 0.5- to 1-cm second skin port incision is made on the lateral supraorbital region, allowing multiangle endoscopic visualization and maneuverability. A 1.5- to 2-cm craniotomy centered over the pterion is done through the main port, which allows an extradural exposure of the cavernous sinus region and extra/intradural exposure of the frontal and temporal cranial fossae. The authors present a pilot surgical series of 17 ETPA procedures and analyze the surgical indications and clinical outcomes retrospectively.

RESULTS The initial stage of this work on cadavers provided familiarity with the technique, standardized its steps, and showed its anatomical limits. The clinical ETPA was applied to gain access into the cavernous sinus, as well as for aneurysm clipping and meningioma resection. Overall, perioperative complications occurred in 1 patient (6%), there was no mortality, and at last follow-up all patients had a modified Rankin Scale score of 0 or 1.

CONCLUSIONS The ETPA provides a less invasive, focused, and direct route to the cavernous sinus, and to the frontal and temporal cranial fossae, and it is feasible in clinical practice for selected indications with good results.

Endoscopic transorbital surgery for Meckel’s cave and middle cranial fossa tumors

J Neurosurg 131:1126–1135, 2019

Tumors involving Meckel’s cave remain extremely challenging because of the surrounding complex neurovascular structures and deep-seated location. The authors investigated a new minimal-access technique using the endoscopic transorbital approach (eTOA) through the superior eyelid crease to Meckel’s cave and middle cranial fossa lesions and reviewed the most useful surgical procedures and pitfalls of this approach.

METHODS Between September 2016 and January 2018, the authors performed eTOA in 9 patients with tumors involving Meckel’s cave and the middle cranial fossa. The lesions included trigeminal schwannoma in 4 patients, meningioma in 2 patients, metastatic brain tumor in 1 patient, chondrosarcoma in 1 patient, and dermoid cyst in 1 patient. In 7 of the 9 patients, eTOA alone was performed, while the other 2 patients underwent a combined eTOA and endoscopic endonasal approach or retrosigmoid craniotomy. Data including details of surgical techniques and clinical outcomes were recorded.

RESULTS Gross-total resection was performed in 7 of the 9 patients (77.8%). Four patients underwent extended eTOA (with lateral orbital rim osteotomy). Drilling of the trapezoid sphenoid floor, a middle fossa “peeling” technique, and full visualization of Meckel’s cave were applied to approach the lesions. Tumors were exposed and removed extradurally in 3 patients and intradurally in 6 patients. There was no postoperative CSF leak.

CONCLUSIONS The eTOA affords a direct route to access Meckel’s cave and middle cranial fossa lesions. With experience, this novel approach can be successfully applied to selected skull base lesions. To achieve successful removal of the tumor, emphasis should be placed on the importance of adequately removing the greater sphenoid wing and vertical crest. However, because of limited working space eTOA may not be an ideal approach for posterior fossa lesions.

Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery for cavernous sinus meningioma: long-term follow-up in 200 patients

J Neurosurg 130:1799–1808, 2019

The authors of this study evaluate the long-term outcomes of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for cavernous sinus meningioma (CSM).

METHODS The authors retrospectively assessed treatment outcomes 5–18 years after SRS in 200 patients with CSM. The median patient age was 57 years (range 22–83 years). In total, 120 (60%) patients underwent Gamma Knife SRS as primary management, 46 (23%) for residual tumors, and 34 (17%) for recurrent tumors after one or more surgical procedures. The median tumor target volume was 7.5 cm3 (range 0.1–37.3 cm3), and the median margin dose was 13.0 Gy (range 10–20 Gy).

RESULTS Tumor volume regressed in 121 (61%) patients, was unchanged in 49 (25%), and increased over time in 30 (15%) during a median imaging follow-up of 101 months. Actuarial tumor control rates at the 5-, 10-, and 15-year followups were 92%, 84%, and 75%, respectively. Of the 120 patients who had undergone SRS as a primary treatment (primary SRS), tumor progression was observed in 14 (11.7%) patients at a median of 48.9 months (range 4.8–120.0 months) after SRS, and actuarial tumor control rates were 98%, 93%, 85%, and 85% at the 1-, 5-, 10-, and 15-year follow-ups post-SRS. A history of tumor progression after microsurgery was an independent predictor of an unfavorable response to radiosurgery (p = 0.009, HR = 4.161, 95% CI 1.438–12.045). Forty-four (26%) of 170 patients who had presented with at least one cranial nerve (CN) deficit improved after SRS. Development of new CN deficits after initial microsurgical resection was an unfavorable factor for improvement after SRS (p = 0.014, HR = 0.169, 95% CI 0.041–0.702). Fifteen (7.5%) patients experienced permanent CN deficits without evidence of tumor progression at a median onset of 9 months (range 2.3–85 months) after SRS. Patients with larger tumor volumes (≥ 10 cm3) were more likely to develop permanent CN complications (p = 0.046, HR = 3.629, 95% CI 1.026–12.838). Three patients (1.5%) developed delayed pituitary dysfunction after SRS.

CONCLUSIONS This long-term study showed that Gamma Knife radiosurgery provided long-term tumor control for most patients with CSM. Patients who underwent SRS for progressive tumors after prior microsurgery had a greater chance of tumor growth than the patients without prior surgery or those with residual tumor treated after microsurgery.


Endoscopic endonasal transoculomotor triangle approach for adenomas invading the parapeduncular space

J Neurosurg 130:1304–1314, 2019

Pituitary adenomas may extend into the parapeduncular space by invading through the roof of the cavernous sinus. Currently, a transcranial approach is the preferred choice, with or without the combination of an endonasal approach. In this paper the authors present a novel surgical approach that takes advantage of the natural corridor provided by the tumor to further open the oculomotor triangle and resect tumor extension into the parapeduncular space.

METHODS Six injected specimens were used to demonstrate in detail the surgical anatomy related to the approach. Four cases in which the proposed approach was used were retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS From a technical perspective, the first step involves accessing the superior compartment of the cavernous sinus. The interclinoid ligament should be identified and the dura forming the oculomotor triangle exposed. The oculomotor dural opening may be then extended posteriorly toward the posterior petroclinoidal ligament and inferolaterally toward the anterior petroclinoidal ligament. The oculomotor nerve should then be identified; in this series it was displaced superomedially in all 4 cases. The posterior communicating artery should also be identified to avoid its injury. In all 4 cases, the tumor invading the parapeduncular space was completely removed. There were no vascular injuries and only 1 patient had a partial oculomotor nerve palsy that completely resolved in 2 weeks.

CONCLUSIONS The endoscopic endonasal transoculomotor approach is an original alternative for removal of tumor extension into the parapeduncular space in a single procedure. The surgical corridor is increased by opening the dura of the oculomotor triangle and by working below and lateral to the cisternal segment of the oculomotor nerve.


Lateral Orbitotomy Approach for Lesions Involving the Middle Fossa

Neurosurgery 80:309–322, 2017

Classically used for treatment of orbital lesions,the lateral orbitotomy with cantholysis can be combined with a temporal craniectomy for lesions involving the middle cranial fossa.

OBJECTIVE: To present a single-center experience with the lateral orbitotomy approach for lesions involving the middle fossa.

METHODS: Twenty-five patients underwent lateral orbitotomies from April 2012 to July 2015. Excluding patients with solely intraorbital pathologies, 13 patients’clinical and radio- graphic records were retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS: Signs/symptoms in the 13 patients (ages 28-81) included proptosis (69%), decreased visual acuity (31%), diplopia (54%), and afferent pupillary defect (69%). Pathologies were meningioma (8), esthesioneuroblastoma, lymphoma, chordoma, Ewing’s sarcoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Surgical goals were maximal safe resection in 8 patients, palliative debulking in 3 patients, and cavernous sinus biopsy in 2 patients. In 8 patients for whom maximal resection was the goal, 2 had gross total resection, while 6 had near-total resection. All patients (3) for whom palliation was the goal had symptomatic improvement. Both cavernous sinus biopsies obtained diagnostic tissue without complications. All patients with proptosis (n = 9) and diplopia (n = 7), and 2 of 4 patients with decreased visual acuity had improvement in their symptoms. No patient reported worsening of their symptoms. Mean follow-up was 12 mo (2-30 mo). Complica- tions included oculorrhea (1), pseudomeningocele (2), transient ptosis (2), and forehead numbness (1).

CONCLUSION: The lateral orbitotomy is a promising approach for carefully selected lesions with involvement of both the lateral orbit and middle cranial fossa. It provides minimally invasive access for biopsy, decompression, or resection.

A Road Map to the Internal Carotid Artery in Expanded Endoscopic Endonasal Approaches to the Ventral Cranial Base

A Road Map to the Internal Carotid Artery in Expanded Endoscopic Endonasal Approaches to the Ventral Cranial Base

Operative Neurosurgery 10:448–471, 2014

Injuring the internal carotid artery (ICA) is a feared complication of endoscopic endonasal approaches.

OBJECTIVE: To introduce a comprehensive ICA classification scheme pertinent to safe endoscopic endonasal cranial base surgery.

METHODS: Anatomic dissections were performed in 33 cadaveric specimens (bilateral). Anatomic correlations were analyzed.

RESULTS: Based on anatomic correlations, the ICA may be described as 6 distinct segments: (1) parapharyngeal (common carotid bifurcation to ICA foramen); (2) petrous (carotid canal to posterolateral aspect of foramen lacerum); (3) paraclival (posterolateral foramen lacerum to the superomedial aspect of the petrous apex); (4) parasellar (superomedial petrous apex to the proximal dural ring); (5) paraclinoid (from the proximal to the distal dural rings); and (6) intradural (distal ring to ICA bifurcation). Corresponding surgical landmarks included the Eustachian tube, the fossa of Rosenmü ller, and levator veli palatini for the parapharyngeal segment; the vidian canal and V3 for the petrous segment; the fibrocartilage of foramen lacerum, foramen rotundum, maxillary strut, lingular process of the sphenoid bone, and paraclival protuberance for the paraclival segment; the sellar floor and petrous apex for the parasellar segment; and the medial and lateral opticocarotid and lateral tubercular recesses, as well as the distal osseous arch of the carotid sulcus for the paraclinoid segment.

CONCLUSION: The proposed endoscopic classification outlines key anatomic reference points independent of the vessel’s geometry or the sinonasal pneumatization, thus serving as (1) a practical guide to navigate the ventral cranial base while avoiding injury to the ICA and (2) further foundation for a modular access system.

Endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal approach to large and giant pituitary adenomas

Endoscopic resection of giant pituitary adenomas

J Neurosurg 121:75–83, 2014

While the use of endoscopic approaches has become increasingly accepted in the resection of pituitary adenomas, limited evidence exists regarding the success of this technique for patients with large and giant pituitary adenomas. This study reviews the outcomes of a large cohort of patients with large and giant pituitary adenomas who underwent endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery at the authors’ institution and focuses on identifying factors that can predict extent of resection and hence aid in developing guidelines and indications for the use of endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery versus open craniotomy approaches to large and giant pituitary adenomas.

Methods. The authors reviewed 487 patients who underwent endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal resection of sellar masses. From this group, 73 consecutive patients with large and giant pituitary adenomas (defined as maximum diameter ≥ 3 cm and tumor volume ≥ 10 cm3) who underwent endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery between January 1, 2006, and June 6, 2012, were included in the study. Clinical presentation, radiological studies, laboratory investigations, tumor pathology data, clinical outcomes, extent of resection measured by volumetric analysis, and complications were analyzed.

Results. The mean preoperative tumor diameter in this series was 4.1 cm and the volume was 18 cm3. The average resection rate was 82.9%, corresponding with a mean residual volume of 3 cm3. Gross-total resection was achieved in 16 patients (24%), near-total in 11 (17%), subtotal in 24 (36%), and partial in 15 (23%). Seventy-three percent of patients experienced improvement in visual acuity, while 24% were unchanged. Visual fields were improved in 61.8% and unchanged in 5.5%. Overall, 27 patients (37%) experienced a total of 32 complications. The most common complications were sinusitis (14%) and CSF leak (10%). Six patients underwent subsequent radiation therapy because of aggressive tumor histopathology. No deaths occurred in this cohort of patients. Statistically significant predictors of extent of resection included highest Knosp grade (p = 0.001), preoperative tumor volume (p = 0.025), preoperative maximum tumor diameter (p = 0.002), hemorrhagic component (p = 0.027), posterior extension (p = 0.001), and sphenoid sinus invasion (p = 0.005).

Conclusions. Endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery is an effective treatment method for patients with large and giant pituitary adenomas, which results in high (> 80%) rates of resection and improvement in visual function. It is not associated with high rates of major complications and is safe when performed by experienced surgeons. The preoperative Knosp grade, tumor volume, tumor diameter, hemorrhagic components on MRI, posterior extension, and sphenoid sinus invasion may allow a prediction of extent of resection and in these patients a staged operation may be required to maximize extent of resection.

Endoscopic endonasal transcavernous posterior clinoidectomy

Interdural pituitary transposition

J Neurosurg 121:91–99, 2014

The object of this paper was to describe the surgical anatomy and technical nuances of the endonasal transcavernous posterior clinoidectomy approach with interdural pituitary transposition and to report the clinical outcome of this technical modification.

Methods. The surgical anatomy of the proposed approach was studied in 10 colored silicon-injected anatomical specimens. The medical records of 12 patients that underwent removal of the posterior clinoid(s) with this technique were reviewed.

Results. The natural anatomical corridor provided by the cavernous sinus is used to get access to the posterior clinoid by mobilizing the pituitary gland in an interdural fashion. The medial wall of the cavernous sinus is preserved intact and attached to the gland during its medial and superior mobilization. This provides protection to the gland, allowing for preservation of its venous drainage pathways. The inferior hypophyseal artery is transected to facilitate the manipulation of the medial wall of the cavernous sinus and pituitary gland. This approach was successfully performed in all patients, including 6 with chordomas, 5 with petroclival meningiomas, and 1 with an epidermoid tumor. No patient in this series had neurovascular injury related to the posterior clinoidectomy. There were no instances of permanent hypopituitarism or diabetes insipidus.

Conclusions. The authors introduce a surgical variant of the endoscopic endonasal posterior clinoidectomy approach that does not require intradural pituitary transposition and is more effective than the purely extradural approach. The endoscopic endonasal transcavernous approach facilitates the removal of prominent posterior clinoids increasing the working space at the lateral recess of the interpeduncular cistern, while preserving the pituitary function.

Operative management of trigeminal neuromas

trigeminal neuroma

Acta Neurochir (2014) 156:1105–1114

The trigeminal schwannoma is the second most common intracranial schwannoma. Their proximity to the critical skull base neural and vascular structures increases the complexity of surgical treatment. The aim of this study was to better understand the surgical approaches and the prognosis, as well as to assess the optimum therapeutic schedule.

Methods This was a retrospective study of 55 patients with trigeminal schwannomas who visited our department between Jan 2007 and Jan 2012. We analyzed the clinical and radiological presentation, tumor characteristics, surgical approaches, the prognosis.

Results The patients were 30 women and 25 men of mean age 36 years (range, 6–66 years) who received postoperative neurological and neuroradiological follow-up. The tumor was located in the middle fossa (type A) in 13 cases, in the posterior fossa (type B) in ten cases, in the middle and posterior fossae (type C) in 21 cases, and in the branches of the trigeminal nerve (type D) in 11 cases. The most common symptom was facial hypesthesia or numbness in 36 patients (65%) . Total and nearly total tumor resection was achieved in 51 cases (93 %). Three patients (5 %) had worsening of preexisting deficits and there was no perioperative mortality. With an average follow-up period of 35 months, facial hypesthesia persisted in 26 patients (72 %),and improved in ten patients (28 %). Facial pain was relieved in 11 patients (100 %). There has been a recurrence in one case (2%) and all patients resumed independent and social reintegration.

Conclusion This study demonstrates radical surgery with excellent neurological outcomes is the primary treatment of trigeminal schwannomas. Appropriate selection of surgical approach according to tumor types is highly important and necessary. The preoperative facial pain could be relieved, hypesthesia frequently remains or could even be worsened after surgery.

Identification of the internal carotid artery at the superior part of the cavernous sinus during endoscopic endonasal cavernous sinus tumor surgery

Identification of the internal carotid artery in cavernous sinus during endoscopic endonasal cavernous sinus tumor surgery

Acta Neurochir (2014) 156:475–479

Identification of the internal carotid artery (ICA) is essential for successful endoscopic endonasal cavernous sinus tumor surgery. This study aimed to develop a method for identifying the ICA in cavernous sinus tumors at the superior part of the cavernous sinus.

Methods Ten fresh cadavers were studied with a 4-mm 0° and 30° endoscope to identify surgical landmarks of the ICA in the cavernous sinus. Clinical cases of cavernous sinus tumors were surgically treated using an endoscopic transpterygoid approach.

Results Anatomical study indicated the ICA at the superior part of the cavernous sinus can be identified using three steps: 1) exposure of the optic nerve sheath by drilling the optic canal; 2) identification of the proximal orifice of the optic nerve sheath at the transition of the optic nerve sheath and dura mater of the tuberculum sellae; and 3) identification of the clinoid segment of the ICA at the distal dural ring just below the proximal orifice of the optic nerve sheath. Although the ICA was encased and transposed by tumors in preliminary surgical cases, the clinoid segment of the ICA was safely exposed at the superior part of the cavernous sinus using this method.

Conclusions Dural structures around the cavernous sinus are key to identifying the ICA at the superior part of the cavernous sinus. This method is expected to reduce the risk of ICA injury during endoscopic endonasal surgery for cavernous sinus tumors.