Outcomes of stereotactic radiosurgery for foramen magnum meningiomas: an international multicenter study

J Neurosurg 129:383–389, 2018

Meningiomas are the most common benign extramedullary lesions of the foramen magnum; however, their optimal management remains undefined. Given their location, foramen magnum meningiomas (FMMs) can cause significant morbidity, and complete microsurgical removal can be challenging. Anterior and anterolateral FMMs carry greater risks with surgery, but they comprise the majority of these lesions. As an alternative to resection, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has been used to treat FMMs in small case series. To more clearly define the outcomes of SRS and to delineate a rational management paradigm for these lesions, the authors analyzed the safety and efficacy of SRS for FMM in an international multicenter trial.

METHODS Seven medical centers participating in the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation (IGKRF) provided data for this retrospective cohort study. Patients who were treated with Gamma Knife radiosurgery and whose clinical and radiological follow-up was longer than 6 months were eligible for study inclusion. Data from pre- and post- SRS radiological and clinical evaluations were analyzed. Stereotactic radiosurgery treatment variables were recorded.

RESULTS Fifty-seven patients (39 females and 18 males, with a median age of 64 years) met the study inclusion criteria. Thirty-two percent had undergone prior microsurgical resection. Patients most frequently presented with cranial neuropathy (39%), headache (35%), numbness (32%), and ataxia (30%). Median pre-SRS tumor volume was 2.9 cm3. Median SRS margin dose was 12.5 Gy (range 10–16 Gy). At the last follow-up after SRS, 49% of tumors were stable, 44% had regressed, and 7% had progressed. Progression-free survival rates at 5 and 10 years were each 92%. A greater margin dose was associated with a significantly increased likelihood of tumor regression, with 53% of tumors treated with > 12 Gy regressing. Fifty-two percent of symptomatic patients noted some clinical improvement. Adverse radiation effects were limited to hearing loss and numbness in 1 patient (2%).

CONCLUSIONS Stereotactic radiosurgery for FMM frequently results in tumor control or tumor regression, as well as symptom improvement. Margin doses > 12 Gy were associated with increased rates of tumor regression. Stereotactic radiosurgery was generally safe and well tolerated. Given its risk-benefit profile, SRS may be particularly useful in the management of small- to moderate-volume anterior and anterolateral FMMs.


Foramen magnum meningiomas: surgical results and risks predicting poor outcomes based on a modified classification

J Neurosurg 126:661–676, 2017

This study aimed to evaluate neurological function and progression/recurrence (P/R) outcome of foramen magnum meningioma (FMM) based on a modified classification.

METHODS This study included 185 consecutive patients harboring FMMs (mean age 49.4 years; 124 females). The authors classified the FMMs into 4 types according to the previous classification of Bruneau and George as follows: Type A (n = 49, 26.5%), the dural attachment of the lesion grows below the vertebral artery (VA); Type B (n = 39, 21.1%), the dural attachment of the lesion grows above the VA; Type C1 (n = 84, 45.4%), the VA courses across the lesion with or without VA encasement or large lesions grow both above and below the bilateral VA; and Type C2 (n = 13, 7.0%), Type C1 plus partial/total encasement of the VA and extradural growth.

RESULTS The median preoperative Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS) score was 80. Gross-total resection (GTR) was achieved in 154 patients (83.2%). Lower cranial nerve morbidity was lowest in Type A lesions (16.3%). Type C2 lesions were inherently larger (p = 0.001), had a greater percentage of ventrolateral location (p = 0.009) and VA encase-ment (p < 0.001), lower GTR rate (p < 0.001), longer surgical duration (p = 0.015), higher morbidity (38.5%), higher P/R rate (30.8%, p = 0.009), and poorer recent KPS score compared with other types. After a mean follow-up duration of 110.3 months, the most recent follow-up data were obtained in 163 patients (88.1%). P/R was observed in 13 patients (7.2%). The median follow-up KPS score was 90. Compared with preoperative status, recent neurological status was improved in 91 (49.2%), stabilized in 76 (41.1%), and worsened in 18 (9.7%) patients. The multivariate Cox proportional hazard regression model demonstrated Type C2 (HR 3.94, 95% CI 1.04–15.0, p = 0.044), nontotal resection (HR 6.30, 95% CI 1.91–20.8, p = 0.003), and pathological mitosis (HR 7.11, 95% CI 1.96–25.8, p = 0.003) as independent adverse predictors for tumor P/R. Multivariate logistic regression analysis identified nontotal resection (OR 4.06, 95% CI 1.16–14.2, p = 0.029) and pathological mitosis (OR 6.29, 95% CI 1.47–27.0, p = 0.013) as independent risks for poor outcome (KPS score < 80).

CONCLUSIONS The modified classification helped to predict surgical outcome and P/R in addition to the position of the lower cranial nerves. Preoperative imaging studies and neurological function should be reviewed carefully to establish an individualized management strategy to improve long-term outcome.

Foramen magnum meningiomas: To drill or not to drill the occipital condyle?


Surg Neurol Int 2013;4:73

Despite the development of microsurgery and cranial base techniques, the surgical management of Foramen Magnum Meningiomas (FMM) continues to be a technical challenge to neurosurgeons. Controversy concerning the utility of systematic condyle drilling for approaching FMM has been raised. Our aim was to describe the surgical technique, analyze its safety, and the postoperative outcome in 12 consecutive FMM patients.

Methods: From 1986 to 2011,12 patients with FMM underwent operations in the Department of Neurosurgery at Servidores do Estado Hospital and in a private clinic. All patients were operated using a standard suboccipital craniectomy, preserving the occipital condyle, opening of the Foramen Magnum, and ipsilateral removal of the posterior arch of C1.

Results: There was no operative mortality, nine patients achieved Glasgow Outcome Scale 4 or 5. Condylar resection was not deemed necessary in any case. Gross total resection was achieved in nine patients. After surgery, four patients developed lower cranial nerve weakness. There was no significant postoperative complication in the remaining patients. The average follow-up is 8.2 years.

Conclusion: The vast majority of FMM can be safely removed with a retrocondylar lateral suboccipital approach without condylar resection, using meticulous microsurgical techniques.

Surgical management of ventral and ventrolateral foramen magnum meningiomas

Neurosurg Rev (2012) 35:359–368

Foramen magnum meningioma poses a challenge for neurosurgeons. Prognosis has generally improved with diagnostic and surgical advances over the past two decades; however, it may ultimately depend more on the surgeon’s ability to tailor the approach and interpret intraoperative risks in single cases.

The series comprised 64 patients operated on for ventral and ventrolateral foramen magnum meningioma. All patients underwent preoperative magnetic resonance imaging and received surgery via the dorsolateral route, rendering the series homogeneous in neuroradiological workup and surgical treatment. Particular to this series was that the majority of patients were of advanced age (n=29; age, >65 years), had serious functional impairment (n=30, Karnofski score <70), and large tumors (mean diameter, 3.5 cm).

Total tumor removal was achieved in 52 (81 %) patients; operative mortality was nil. Early outcome varied depending on difficulties encountered at surgery (cranial nerve position and type of involvement in particular) and type of preoperative dysfunction. Long-tract signs and cerebellar deficits improved in 74 and 77 % of cases, respectively, but only 27 % of cranial nerve deficits did so. Surgical complications most often involved the cranial nerves: cranial nerve impairment, especially of the 9th through the 12th cranial nerves, due to stretching or encasement was noted in 44 cases. At final outcome assessment, two thirds of the cranial nerve deficits cleared, and all but two patients returned to a normal productive life. One patient was reoperated on during the follow-up period.

Foramen magnum meningiomas behave like clival or spinal tumors depending on their prevalent extension. A dorsolateral approach tailored to tumor position and extension and meticulous surgical technique allow for definitive control of surgical complications. Scrupulous postoperative care may prevent dysphagia, a major persistent complication of surgery. Long-term observation of indolent tumor behavior at follow-up suggests that incomplete resection may be a viable surgical treatment option.

Management of Anterolateral Foramen Magnum Meningiomas: Surgical Vs Conservative Decision Making

Neurosurgery 67[ONS Suppl 1]:ons00-ons00, 2010. DOI: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000382971.63877.DD

Anterolateral meningiomas of the foramen magnum (FMMs) represent a neurosurgical challenge because they grow in close contact with osteoarticular, nervous, and vascular structures that cannot be sacrificed or retracted. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate our strategy and results in 26 patients with FMMs and analyze factors affecting the decision-making process, resection, and outcome. METHODS: Among 26 consecutive symptomatic FMM (10 anterior, 16 lateral) patients (16 women, 10 men, ages 28-82 years), 4 older than 70 years of age were untreated. Twentytwo were operated on using a posterolateral approach, with the vertebral artery transposed in 19 and the occipital condyle drilled in 10. We analyzed the characteristics and outcome of untreated cases, the utility of THE occipital condyle drilled, the difficulties of microdissection, morbidity and total removal rates, the outcome of tumor residues, and the literature on radiosurgery. RESULTS: Three of 4 untreated patients remained clinically stable at 2 to 5 years. After systematic vertebral artery medial transposition and occipital condyle drilled in 6 cases, our technique evolved with experience in the next 16 (vertebral artery transposed in 13 of 16; occipital condyle drilled in 4 of 13) for dissecting anteriorly beyond midline (anterior FMMs). Retrocondylar access was sufficient for lateral FMMs. Tumors were totally removed in 16 of 22 (73%). One patient died, and 4 had permanent deficits. Follow-up of more than 5 years in 12 patients showed no C0-1 instability, and slight increase of tumor residue size 7 years after surgery. In the literature, 15 FMMs treated with radiosurgery are reported, 13 at diagnosis and 2 at recurrence, with short-term clinical and radiological safety and efficacy. CONCLUSION:We currently recommend (1) aiming for subtotal removal in difficult cases, (2) remaining conservative in asymptomatic or elderly patients with mild symptoms, and (3) considering radiosurgery at diagnosis for small (<30 mm) symptomatic FMMs or as an adjunct for evolving residues/recurrences in poor candidates for resection.

Mechanisms of cerebellar tonsil herniation in patients with Chiari malformations as guide to clinical management

Acta Neurochir (2010) 152:1117–1127.DOI 10.1007/s00701-010-0636-3

The pathogenesis of Chiari malformations is incompletely understood. We tested the hypothesis that different etiologies have different mechanisms of cerebellar tonsil herniation (CTH), as revealed by posterior cranial fossa (PCF) morphology.

Methods In 741 patients with Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) and 11 patients with Chiari malformation type II (CM-II), the size of the occipital enchondrium and volume of the PCF (PCFV) were measured on reconstructed 2D-CT and MR images of the skull. Measurements were compared with those in 80 age- and sex-matched healthy control individuals, and the results were correlated with clinical findings.

Results Significant reductions of PCF size and volume were present in 388 patients with classical CM-I, 11 patients with CM-II, and five patients with CM-I and craniosynostosis. Occipital bone size and PCFV were normal in 225 patients with CM-I and occipitoatlantoaxial joint instability, 55 patients with CM-I and tethered cord syndrome (TCS), 30 patients with CM-I and intracranial mass lesions, and 28 patients with CM-I and lumboperitoneal shunts. Ten patients had miscellaneous etiologies. The size and area of the foramen magnum were significantly smaller in patients with classical CM-I and CM-I occurring with craniosynostosis and significantly larger in patients with CM-II and CM-I occurring with TCS.

Conclusions Important clues concerning the pathogenesis of CTH were provided by morphometric measurements of the PCF. When these assessments were correlated with etiological factors, the following causal mechanisms were suggested: (1) cranial constriction; (2) cranial settling; (3) spinal cord tethering; (4) intracranial hypertension; and (5) intraspinal hypotension

Foramen magnum meningiomas: experiences in 114 patients

Surgical Neurology 72 (2009) 376–382. doi:10.1016/j.surneu.2009.05.006

Background: Although there has been great development in the anatomical understanding and operative techniques for skull base tumors, controversy still exists regarding the optimal surgical strategies for the FMMs. We report clinical and radiologic features as well as the surgical findings and outcome for patients with FMM treated at our institution over the last 15 years.
Methods: We reviewed 114 consecutive cases of FMM operated between May 1993 and June 2008 in the neurosurgery department at Beijing Tiantan Hospital.
Results: There were 68 female and 46 male patients (mean age, 52.3 years; range, 28-76 years). Foramen magnum meningiomas were classified as anterior (80 cases), anterolateral (24 cases), and posterolateral (10 cases). Mean duration of symptoms was 11.7 months (ranging from 1.5 to 240 months). Cervico-occipital pain (80.7%) and headache and dizziness (42.1%) were the most common presenting symptoms. The preoperative KPS was 72.5 ± 8.3. Mean maximum diameter of the tumors on MRI was 3.35 cm (range, 1.5-4.7 cm). Posterior midline approach was performed in 10 cases, far-lateral retrocondylar approach in 97 cases, and extended far-lateral approach in 7 cases. Gross total resection was achieved in 86.0% of patients and subtotal resection in 14.0%. Surgical mortality was 1.8%. Follow-up data were available for 93 patients, with a mean follow-up of 90.3 months (range, 1-180 months), of which 59 (63.4%) lived a normal life (KPS, 80-100).
Conclusion: Our experience suggests that most anterior and anterolateral FMMs can be completely resected by a far-lateral retrocondylar approach without resection of the occipital condyle. Complete resection of the tumor should be attempted at the first operation. Postoperative management of FMM is important for the prognosis.