A new classification of parasagittal bridging veins based on their configurations and drainage routes pertinent to interhemispheric approaches: a surgical anatomical study

J Neurosurg 140:271–281, 2024

OBJECTIVE Opening the roof of the interhemispheric microsurgical corridor to access various neurooncological or neurovascular lesions can be demanding because of the multiple bridging veins that drain into the sinus with their highly variable, location-specific anatomy. The objective of this study was to propose a new classification system for these parasagittal bridging veins, which are herein described as being arranged in 3 configurations with 4 drainage routes.

METHODS Twenty adult cadaveric heads (40 hemispheres) were examined. From this examination, the authors describe 3 types of configurations of the parasagittal bridging veins relative to specific anatomical landmarks (coronal suture, postcentral sulcus) and their drainage routes into the superior sagittal sinus, convexity dura, lacunae, and falx. They also quantify the relative incidence and extension of these anatomical variations and provide several preoperative, postoperative, and microneurosurgical clinical case study examples.

RESULTS The authors describe 3 anatomical configurations for venous drainage, which improves on the 2 types that have been previously described. In type 1, a single vein joins; in type 2, 2 or more contiguous veins join; and in type 3, a venous complex joins at the same point. Anterior to the coronal suture, the most common configuration was type 1 dural drainage, occurring in 57% of hemispheres. Between the coronal suture and the postcentral sulcus, most veins (including 73% of superior anastomotic veins of Trolard) drain first into a venous lacuna, which are larger and more numerous in this region. Posterior to the postcentral sulcus, the most common drainage route was through the falx.

CONCLUSIONS The authors propose a systematic classification for the parasagittal venous network. Using anatomical landmarks, they define 3 venous configurations and 4 drainage routes. Analysis of these configurations with respect to surgical routes indicates 2 highly risky interhemispheric surgical fissure routes. The risks are attributable to the presence of large lacunae that receive multiple veins (type 2) or venous complex (type 3) configurations that negatively impact a surgeon’s working space and degree of movement and thus are predisposed to inadvertent avulsions, bleeding, and venous thrombosis.

 

The sub‑occipital transtentorial approach for pineal region tumors

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Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:3461–3465

Two major approaches exist for the surgical removal of pineal region tumors: the supracebellar infratentorial and the sub-occipital transtentorial.

Methods We present the Lyon’s technique of the sub-occipital transtentorial approach for pineal region tumors and our tricks to avoid complications. The principle is to expose the pineal region under the occipital lobe and not through the interhemispheric fissure.

Conclusions The sub-occipital transtentorial approach is a direct, extra cerebral, safe, and effective way to access tumors of the pineal region.

Audiovestibular symptoms and facial nerve function comparing microsurgery versus SRS for vestibular schwannomas

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:3221–3233

Surgery and radiosurgery represent the most common treatment options forcvestibular schwannoma. A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted to compare the outcomes of surgery versus stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS).

Methods The Cochrane library, PubMed, Embase, and clinicaltrials.gov were searched through 01/2021 to find all studies on surgical and stereotactic procedures performed to treat vestibular schwannoma. Using a random-effects model, pooled odds ratios (OR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) comparing post- to pre-intervention were derived for pre-post studies, and pooled incidence of adverse events post-intervention were calculated for case series and stratified by intervention type.

Results Twenty-one studies (18 pre-post design; three case series) with 987 patients were included in the final analysis. Comparing post- to pre-intervention, both surgery (OR: 3.52, 95%CI 2.13, 5.81) and SRS (OR: 3.30, 95%CI 1.39, 7.80) resulted in greater odds of hearing loss, lower odds of dizziness (surgery OR: 0.10; 95%CI 0.02, 0.47 vs. SRS OR: 0.22; 95%CI 0.05, 0.99), and tinnitus (surgery OR: 0.23; 95%CI 0.00, 37.9; two studies vs. SRS OR: 0.11; 95%CI 0.01, 1.07; one study). Pooled incidence of facial symmetry loss was larger post-surgery (14.3%, 95%CI 6.8%, 22.7%) than post-SRS (7%, 95%CI 1%, 36%). Tumor control was larger in the surgery (94%, 95%CI 83%, 98%) than the SRS group (80%, 95%CI 31%, 97%) for small-to-medium size tumors.

Conclusion Both surgery and SRS resulted in similar odds of hearing loss and similar improvements in dizziness and tinnitus among patients with vestibular schwannoma; however, facial symmetry loss appeared higher post-surgery.

Overview of the microanatomy of the human brainstem in relation to the safe entry zones

J Neurosurg 137:1524–1534, 2022

The primary objective of this anatomical study was to apply innovative imaging techniques to increase understanding of the microanatomical structures of the brainstem related to safe entry zones. The authors hypothesized that such a high-detail overview would enhance neurosurgeons’ abilities to approach and define anatomical safe entry zones for use with microsurgical resection techniques for intrinsic brainstem lesions.

METHODS The brainstems of 13 cadavers were studied with polarized light imaging (PLI) and 11.7-T MRI. The brainstem was divided into 3 compartments—mesencephalon, pons, and medulla—for evaluation with MRI. Tissue was further sectioned to 100 μm with a microtome. MATLAB was used for further data processing. Segmentation of the internal structures of the brainstem was performed with the BigBrain database.

RESULTS Thirteen entry zones were reported and assessed for their safety, including the anterior mesencephalic zone, lateral mesencephalic sulcus, interpeduncular zone, intercollicular region, supratrigeminal zone, peritrigeminal zone, lateral pontine zone, median sulcus, infracollicular zone, supracollicular zone, olivary zone, lateral medullary zone, and anterolateral sulcus. The microanatomy, safety, and approaches are discussed.

CONCLUSIONS PLI and 11.7-T MRI data show that a neurosurgeon possibly does not need to consider the microanatomical structures that would not be visible on conventional MRI and tractography when entering the mentioned safe entry zones. However, the detailed anatomical images may help neurosurgeons increase their understanding of the internal architecture of the human brainstem, which in turn could lead to safer neurosurgical intervention.

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.

Dural arteriovenous fistulas without cortical venous drainage

J Neurosurg 136:942–950, 2022

Current evidence suggests that intracranial dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) without cortical venous drainage (CVD) have a benign clinical course. However, no large study has evaluated the safety and efficacy of current treatments and their impact over the natural history of dAVFs without CVD.

METHODS The authors conducted an analysis of the retrospectively collected multicenter Consortium for Dural Arteriovenous Fistula Outcomes Research (CONDOR) database. Patient demographics and presenting symptoms, angiographic features of the dAVFs, and treatment outcomes of patients with Borden type I dAVFs were reviewed. Clinical and radiological follow-up information was assessed to determine rates of new intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) or nonhemorrhagic neurological deficit (NHND), worsening of venous hyperdynamic symptoms (VHSs), angiographic recurrence, and progression or spontaneous regression of dAVFs over time.

RESULTS A total of 342 patients/Borden type I dAVFs were identified. The mean patient age was 58.1 ± 15.6 years, and 62% were women. The mean follow-up time was 37.7 ± 54.3 months. Of 230 (67.3%) treated dAVFs, 178 (77%) underwent mainly endovascular embolization, 11 (4.7%) radiosurgery alone, and 4 (1.7%) open surgery as the primary modality. After the first embolization, most dAVFs (47.2%) achieved only partial reduction in early venous filling. Multiple complementary interventions increased complete obliteration rates from 37.9% after first embolization to 46.7% after two or more embolizations, and 55.2% after combined radiosurgery and open surgery. Immediate postprocedural complications occurred in 35 dAVFs (15.2%) and 6 (2.6%) with permanent sequelae. Of 127 completely obliterated dAVFs by any therapeutic modality, 2 (1.6%) showed angiographic recurrence/recanalization at a mean of 34.2 months after treatment. Progression to Borden-Shucart type II or III was documented in 2.2% of patients and subsequent development of a new dAVF in 1.6%. Partial spontaneous regression was found in 22 (21.4%) of 103 nontreated dAVFs. Multivariate Cox regression analysis demonstrated that older age, NHND, or severe venous-hyperdynamic symptoms at presentation and infratentorial location were associated with worse prognosis. Kaplan-Meier curves showed no significant difference for stable/improved symptoms survival probability in treated versus nontreated dAVFs. However, estimated survival times showed better trends for treated dAVFs compared with nontreated dAVFs (288.1 months vs 151.1 months, log-rank p = 0.28). This difference was statistically significant for treated dAVFs with 100% occlusion (394 months, log-rank p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS Current therapeutic modalities for management of dAVFs without CVD may provide better symptom control when complete angiographic occlusion is achieved.

 

Cost-effectiveness analysis in patients with an unruptured cerebral aneurysm treated with observation or surgery

J Neurosurg 135:1608–1616, 2021

The main goal of preventive treatment of unruptured intracranial aneurysms (UIAs) is to avoid the morbidity and mortality associated with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. A comparison between the conservative approach and the surgical approach combining endovascular treatment and microsurgical clipping is currently lacking. This study aimed to conduct an updated evaluation of cost-effectiveness comparing the two approaches in patients with UIA.

METHODS A decision tree with a Markov model was developed. Quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) associated with living with UIA before and after treatment were prospectively collected from a cohort of patients with UIA at a tertiary center. Other inputs were obtained from published literature. Using Monte Carlo simulation for patients aged 55, 65, and 75 years, the authors modeled the conservative management in comparison with preventive treatment. Different proportions of endovascular and microsurgical treatment were modeled to reflect existing practice variations between treatment centers. Outcomes were assessed in terms of QALYs. Sensitivity analyses to assess the model’s robustness and completed threshold analyses to examine the influence of input parameters were performed.

RESULTS Preventive treatment of UIAs consistently led to higher utility. Models using a higher proportion of endovascular therapy were more cost-effective. Models with older cohorts were less cost-effective than those with younger cohorts. Treatment was cost-effective (willingness to pay < 100,000 USD/QALY) if the annual rupture risk exceeded a threshold between 0.8% and 1.9% in various models based on the proportion of endovascular treatment and cohort age. A higher proportion of endovascular treatments and younger age lowered this threshold, making the treatment of aneurysms with a lower risk of rupture more cost-effective.

CONCLUSIONS Preventive treatment of aneurysms led to higher utility compared with conservative management. Models with a higher proportion of endovascular treatment and younger patient age were most cost-effective.

The trans‑laminar, facet‑joint sparing minimal invasive approach for ventral dural repair in spontaneous intracranial hypotension

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:3015–3020

We describe the minimally invasive, facet-sparing postero-lateral approach to the thoracic spine for a ventral dural repair in a patient with intracranial hypotension secondary to a spontaneous dural breach.

Methods We performed a minimally invasive approach using a short paramedian posterior skin incision followed by a 10 × 10 mm targeted trans-laminar approach, to achieve a microsurgical repair of a symptomatic ventral dural defect causing severe disability.

Conclusion The facet-sparing postero-lateral approach is safe and effective in the surgical management of thoracic dural tears, even in the most anterior ones, and avoids the traditional costotransversectomy.

Microsurgical training: vascular control and intraoperative vessel rupture in the human placenta infusion model

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:2525–2532

Microsurgery is a challenging discipline. Regular lab training under the operating microscope has been the environment where most surgeons have mastered the skills and techniques inherent to most microneurosurgical procedures. However, some critical scenarios remain difficult to master or simulate. We describe a step-by-step method for how to build a low-cost, feasible, and widely available model that allows residents to familiarize themselves with demanding critical situations such as intraoperative rupture of major vessels.

Methods After delivery, nine fresh human placentas were transferred to the lab. The umbilical vein was cannulated for normal saline infusion. Several hands-on procedures were performed under direct microscope vision. Operating microscope setup, allantoic membrane splitting, vascular dissection and vessel injury, and repair exercises were simulated and video recorded. Indocyanine green was administered to simulate intraoperative angiography.

Results The model can be setup in less than 15 min, with minimal cost and infrastructure requirements. All the exercises described above can be conducted with a single placenta. Umbilical vein cannulation adds realism and allows quantification of the volume of saline required to complete the exercise. The final check with indocyanine green simulates intraoperative angiography and allows the assessment of distal vessel patency.

Conclusions Minimal infrastructure requirements, simplicity, and easy setup models provide a suitable environment for regular training. The human placenta is inexpensive and widely available, making it a feasible model for residents training. Neurosurgery residents may benefit from this model to familiarize with microsurgery and critical scenarios in a risk-free environment without time or resource constraints.

Resection of vestibular schwannomas after stereotactic radiosurgery

J Neurosurg 135:881–889, 2021

Multiple short series have evaluated the efficacy of salvage microsurgery (MS) after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for treatment of vestibular schwannomas (VSs); however, there is a lack of a large volume of patient data available for interpretation and clinical adaptation. The goal of this study was to provide a comprehensive review of tumor characteristics, management, and surgical outcomes of salvage of MS after SRS for VS.

METHODS The Medline/PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, and Google Scholar databases were queried according to PRISMA guidelines. All English-language and translated publications were included. Studies lacking adequate study characteristics and outcomes were excluded. Cases involving neurofibromatosis type 2, previous MS, or malignant transformation were excluded when possible.

RESULTS Twenty studies containing 297 cases met inclusion criteria. Three additional cases from Rush University Medical Center were added for 300 total cases. Tumor growth with or without symptoms was the primary indication for salvage surgery (92.3% of cases), followed by worsening of symptoms without growth (4.6%) and cystic enlargement (3.1%). The average time to MS after SRS was 39.4 months. The average size and volume of tumor at surgery were 2.44 cm and 5.92 cm3, respectively. The surgical approach was retrosigmoid (42.8%) and translabyrinthine (57.2%); 59.5% of patients had a House-Brackmann (HB) grade of I or II. The facial nerve was preserved in 91.5% of cases. Facial nerve preservation and HB grades were lower for the translabyrinthine versus retrosigmoid approach (p = 0.31 and p = 0.18, respectively); however, fewer complications were noted in the translabyrinthine approach (p = 0.29). Gross-total resection (GTR) was completed in 55.7% of surgeries. Studies that predominantly used subtotal resection (STR) were associated with a lower rate of facial nerve injury (5.3% vs 11.3%, p = 0.07) and higher rate of HB grade I or II (72.9% vs 48.0%, p = 0.00003) versus those using predominantly GTR. However, majority STR was associated with a recurrence rate of 3.6% as compared to 1.4% for majority GTR (p = 0.29).

CONCLUSIONS This study showed that the leading cause of MS after SRS was tumor growth at an average of 39.4 months after radiation. There were no significant differences in outcomes of facial nerve preservation, postoperative HB grade, or complication rate based on surgical approach. Patients who underwent STR showed statistically significant better HB outcomes compared with GTR. MS after SRS was considered by most authors to be more difficult than primary MS. These data support the notion that the surgical goals of salvage surgery are debulking of tumor mass, decreasing compression of the brainstem, and not necessarily pursuing GTR.

Large and small vestibular schwannomas: same, yet different tumors

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:2199–2207

Vestibular schwannomas (VS) present at variable size with heterogeneous symptomatology. Modern treatment paradigms for large VS include gross total resection, subtotal resection (STR) in combination with observation, and/or radiation to achieve optimal function preservation, whereas treatment is felt to be both easier and safer for small VS. The objective is to better characterize the presentation and surgical outcomes of large and small VS.

Methods We collected data of patients who had surgically treated VS with a posterior fossa diameter of 4.0 cm or larger (large tumor group, LTG) and smaller than 1.0 cm in cisternal diameter (small tumor group, STG). Statistical significance was defined as p < 0.05.

Results LTG included 48 patients (average tumor size: 44.9 mm) and STG 38 (7.9 mm). Patients in STG presented more frequently with tinnitus and sudden hearing loss. Patients in LTG underwent more STR than STG (50.0% vs. 2.6%, p < 0.0001). LTG had more complications (31.3% vs. 13.2%, p = 0.049). Postoperative facial nerve function in STG was significantly better than LTG. STG had better hearing preoperatively (p < 0.0001) and postoperatively than LTG (p = 0.0002). Postoperative headache was more common in STG (13.2% vs. 2.1%, p = 0.045). The rate of recurrence/progression needing treatment was not statistically different between the groups (12.5% in LTG vs. 7.9% in STG, p = 0.49). Those patients who required periprocedural cerebrospinal fluid diversion had higher risk of infection (20.8% vs 4.8%, p = 0.022).

Conclusion Large and small VS present differently. LTG showed more unsatisfactory outcomes in facial nerve function and postoperative hearing despite maximal efforts undertaken toward function-preservation strategy; however, similar tumor control was achieved.

Hemorrhage Following Complete Arteriovenous Malformation ResectionWith No Detectable Recurrence

Neurosurgery 89:212–219, 2021

Although recurrence and de novo formation of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) have been reported following complete resection, the occurrence of hemorrhage in the same location of an AVM with no detectable lesion (lesion-negative hemorrhage) has not been described after microsurgery.

OBJECTIVE: To characterize the incidence and properties of lesion-negative hemorrhage following complete microsurgical resection

METHODS: A prospectively maintained registry of AVM patients seen at our institution between 1990 and 2017 was used. Microsurgically treated patients were selected, and the incidence of a lesion-negative hemorrhage was calculated and described with a Kaplan- Meier curve. Baseline characteristics as well as functional outcome at last follow-up were compared between patients with and without a lesion-negative hemorrhage.

RESULTS: From a total of 789 AVM patients, 619 (79%) were treated, and 210 out of 619 patients (34%) underwent microsurgery with or without preoperative embolization or radiosurgery. The microsurgically treated cohort was followed up for a mean of 6.1 ± 3.0 yr after surgery with 5 (2.4%) patients experiencing postresection lesion-negative hemorrhage (3.9 per 1000 person-years) at an average of 8.6 ± 9.0 yr following surgery. Follow-up angiograms after hemorrhage (up to 2 mo posthemorrhage) confirmed the absence of a recurrent or de novo AVM in all cases. All patients with a lesion-negative hemorrhage initially presented with rupture before resection (Fisher P = .066; log-rank P = .057). The occurrence of a lesion-negative hemorrhage was significantly associated with worse modified Rankin scale scores at last follow-up (P = .031).

CONCLUSION: A lesion-negative hemorrhage can occur following complete microsurgical resection in up to 2.4% of patients. Exploration of possible underlying causes is warranted.

Spetzler-Martin Grade III Arteriovenous Malformations: A Comparison of Modified and Supplemented Spetzler-Martin Grading Systems

Neurosurgery 88:1103–1110, 2021

The modified Spetzler-Martin (SM) grading system proposes that grade III arteriovenous malformation (AVM) subtypes are associated with variable microsurgical risks, with small AVMs (III−) having lower risk and medium/eloquent AVMs (III+) having higher risk. Adding patient age and AVM bleeding status and compactness to the SM grade produces a score – the supplemented SM (Supp-SM) grade – to more accurately assess preoperative risk.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the predictive power of the modified SMand Supp-SM grades for risk assessment in patients with grade III AVMs.

METHODS: Patients with SM grade III AVMs treated between 2011 and 2018were retrospectively reviewed. Good outcomes were defined as modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores ≤ 2 or unchanged/improved mRS scores (pre- vs postsurgery).

RESULTS: Of 102 patients with SM grade III AVMs, 59% had grade III− and 24% had grade III+ AVMs. Supp SM grade 6 and grade 7 AVMs accounted for 44% and 24%, respectively. Overall, 33% of patients worsened but outcomes did not significantly differ by SM III subtype. Neurological outcomes were associated with Supp-SM grade, with proportions of patients with worsening increasing from 0% with Supp-SM grade 4 AVMs to 54% with Supp-SM grade 7 AVMs. Analyses of factors associated with neurological worsening identified age > 60 yr and Supp-SM grade 7 as significant.

CONCLUSION: Supp-SM grades were more predictive of microsurgical outcomes than modified SM grades for grade III AVMs, with a hard cutoff for acceptable surgical risk at Supp-SM grade 6. Supp-SM grading is a better decision-making tool than subtyping with the modified SM scale.

 

Lateral transorbital approach: an alternative microsurgical route for supratentorial cerebral aneurysms

J Neurosurg 134:72–83, 2021

Transorbital approaches for neurosurgery have recently attracted attention and several anatomical studies have aimed to improve these techniques, but significant deficiencies in clinical practice remain, especially for aneurysm surgery. The authors present an alternative microsurgical route and the results of an analysis of patients with intracranial aneurysms who underwent a lateral transorbital approach (LTOA) using lateral orbito-zygoma-sphenotomy (LOZYGS).

METHODS The clinical and surgical results of a series of 54 consecutive patients with 1 or more aneurysms who underwent surgery via LTOA are reported. A lateral orbitotomy was performed after making a 3-cm skin incision parallel to the lateral orbital rim. A second bone flap, which included the zygoma and sphenoid bones that form the lateral orbital wall, was removed. The lesser sphenoid wing, including the anterior clinoid process, was fully drilled, except in cases of middle cerebral artery (MCA) aneurysms. Cisternal dissection was performed using the classic microsurgical technique starting from the proximal Sylvian fissure and carotid cistern. After the aneurysm was clipped following microsurgical principles, the dura mater was closed in a watertight fashion and 2-piece bone reconstruction was achieved.

RESULTS Sixty aneurysms in 54 patients were clipped using the LOZYGS route. Twenty-one aneurysms were located on the MCA, 30 on the anterior communicating artery, 8 on the internal carotid artery, and 1 at the apex of the basilar artery. The unruptured-to-ruptured aneurysm ratio was 17:43. The operative field was moved to the orbit using the LTOA to avoid interference by bone and muscle tissues. Early proximal control was achieved using a short working distance and direct exposure of the base of the cerebrum, without any requirement for retraction. Because different view angles and surgical corridors were used, no segment of the aneurysm or the parent artery remained unexposed. Therefore, the introduction of additional tools was not required.

CONCLUSIONS The LTOA allowed enhanced broad-perspective exposure of the operative field, early proximal control, and satisfactory surgical freedom. This alternative surgical approach safely exposed the target area and the operative field. The LOZYGS route is safe and effective for the LTOA and microsurgical clipping of anterior circulation aneurysms. According to the authors’ surgical experience and clinical experience, the LTOA can be considered an alternative surgical route to supratentorial aneurysm surgery.

A high-definition 3D exoscope as an alternative to the operating microscope in spinal microsurgery

J Neurosurg Spine 33:705–714, 2020

Since the 1970s, the operating microscope (OM) has been a standard for visualization and illumination of the surgical field in spinal microsurgery. However, due to its limitations (e.g., size, costliness, and the limited movability of the binocular lenses, in addition to discomfort experienced by surgeons due to the posture required), there are efforts to replace the OM with exoscopic video telescopes. The authors evaluated the feasibility of a new 3D exoscope as an alternative to the OM in spine surgeries.

METHODS Patients with degenerative pathologies scheduled for single-level lumbar or cervical spinal surgery with use of a high-definition 3D exoscope were enrolled in a prospective cohort study between January 2019 and September 2019. Age-, sex-, body mass index–, and procedure-matched patients surgically treated with the assistance of the OM served as the control group. Operative baseline and postoperative outcome parameters were assessed. Periprocedural handling, visualization, and illumination by the exoscope, as well as surgeons’ comfort level in terms of posture, were scored using a questionnaire.

RESULTS A 3D exoscope was used in 40 patients undergoing lumbar posterior decompression (LPD) and 20 patients undergoing anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF); an equal number of controls in whom an OM was used were studied. Compared with controls, there were no significant differences for mean operative time (ACDF: 132 vs 116 minutes; LPD: 112 vs 113 minutes) and blood loss (ACDF: 97 vs 93 ml; LPD: 109 vs 55 ml) as well as postoperative improvement of symptoms (ACDF/Neck Disability Index: p = 0.43; LPD/Oswestry Disability Index: p = 0.76). No intraoperative complications occurred in either group. According to the attending surgeon, the intraoperative handling of instruments was rated to be comparable to that of the OM, while the comfort level of the surgeon’s posture intraoperatively (especially during “undercutting” procedures) was rated as superior. In cases of ACDF procedures and long approaches, depth perception, image quality, and illumination were rated as inferior when compared with the OM. By contrast, for operating room nursing staff participating in 3D exoscope procedures, the visualization of intraoperative process flow and surgical situs was rated to be superior to the OM, especially for ACDF procedures.

CONCLUSIONS A 3D exoscope seems to be a safe alternative for common spinal procedures with the unique advantage of excellent comfort for the surgical team, but the drawback is the still slightly inferior visualization/illumination quality compared with the OM.

Neurosurgical simulator for training aneurysm microsurgery

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:2313–2321

Due to its complexity and to existing treatment alternatives, exposure to intracranial aneurysm microsurgery at the time of neurosurgical residency is limited. The current state of the art includes training methods like assisting in surgeries, operating under supervision, and video training. These approaches are labor-intensive and difficult to fit into a timetable limited by the new work regulations. Existing virtual reality (VR)–based training modules lack patient-specific exercises and haptic properties and are thus inferior to hands-on training sessions and exposure to real surgical procedures.

Materials and methods We developed a physical simulator able to reproduce the experience of clipping an intracranial aneurysm based on a patient-specific 3D-printed model of the skull, brain, and arteries. The simulator is made of materials that not only imitate tissue properties including arterial wall patency, thickness, and elasticity but also able to recreate a pulsatile blood flow. A sample group of 25 neurosurgeons and residents (n = 16: early residency with less than 4 years of neurosurgical exposure; n = 9: late residency and board-certified neurosurgeons, 4–15 years of neurosurgical exposure) took part to the study. Participants evaluated the simulator and were asked to answer questions about surgical simulation anatomy, realism, haptics, tactility, and general usage, scored on a 5-point Likert scale. In order to evaluate the feasibility of a future validation study on the role of the simulator in neurosurgical postgraduate training, an expert neurosurgeon assessed participants’ clipping performance and a comparison between groups was done.

Results The proposed simulator is reliable and potentially useful for training neurosurgical residents and board-certified neurosurgeons. A large majority of participants (84%) found it a better alternative than conventional neurosurgical training methods.

Conclusion The integration of a new surgical simulator including blood circulation and pulsatility should be considered as part of the future armamentarium of postgraduate education aimed to ensure high training standards for current and future generations of neurosurgeons involved in intracranial aneurysm surgery. Resident training ,Surgical simulation,Surgical education ,Microsurgery , Intracranial aneurysm , Neurosurgery

Wide-neck aneurysms: systematic review of the neurosurgical literature with a focus on definition and clinical implications

J Neurosurg 133:159–165, 2020

Wide-necked aneurysms (WNAs) are a variably defined subset of cerebral aneurysms that require more advanced endovascular and microsurgical techniques than those required for narrow-necked aneurysms. The neurosurgical literature includes many definitions of WNAs, and a systematic review has not been performed to identify the most commonly used or optimal definition. The purpose of this systematic review was to highlight the most commonly used definition of WNAs.

METHODS The authors searched PubMed for the years 1998–2017, using the terms “wide neck aneurysm” and “broad neck aneurysm” to identify relevant articles. All results were screened for having a minimum of 30 patients and for clearly stating a definition of WNA. Reference lists for all articles meeting the inclusion criteria were also screened for eligibility.

RESULTS The search of the neurosurgical literature identified 809 records, of which 686 were excluded (626 with < 30 patients; 60 for lack of a WNA definition), leaving 123 articles for analysis. Twenty-seven unique definitions were identified and condensed into 14 definitions. The most common definition was neck size ≥ 4 mm or dome-to-neck ratio < 2, which was used in 49 articles (39.8%). The second most commonly used definition was neck size ≥ 4 mm, which was used in 26 articles (21.1%). The rest of the definitions included similar parameters with variable thresholds. There was inconsistent reporting of the precise dome measurements used to determine the dome-to-neck ratio. Digital subtraction angiography was the only imaging modality used to study the aneurysm morphology in 87 of 122 articles (71.3%).

CONCLUSIONS The literature has great variability regarding the definition of a WNA. The most prevalent definition is a neck diameter of ≥ 4 mm or a dome-to-neck ratio of < 2. Whether this is the most appropriate and clinically useful definition is an area for future study.

 

A clinical study of ocular motor nerve functions after petroclival meningioma resection

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:1249–1257

Ocular motor dysfunction is one of the most common postoperative complications of petroclival meningioma. However, its incidence, recovery rate, and independent risk factors remain poorly explored.

Methods: A prospective analysis of 31 petroclival meningiomas was performed. Operative approaches were selected by utilizing a new 6-region classification of petroclival meningiomas we proposed. Two scores were used to evaluate the functions of the oculomotor and abducens nerves. Pearson correlation analysis and binary logistic regression analysis were used to identify independent risk factors for intraoperative oculomotor and abducens nerve injury.

Results: Postoperative new-onset dysfunctions in the pupillary light reflex and eye/eyelid movements as well as abducens paralysis were detected in eight (25.8%), ten (32.3%) and twelve (38.7%) cases, respectively. Their corresponding recovery rates after 6 months of follow-up were 75% (6/8), 80% (8/10), and 83.3% (10/12), respectively, and their mean times to start recovery were 4.03, 2.43, and 2.5 months, respectively. Tumor invasion into the suprasellar region/sphenoid sinus was the only risk factor for dysfunctions in both the pupillary light reflex (p = 0.001) and eye/ eyelid movements (p = 0.002). Intraoperative utilization of the infratrigeminal interspace was the only risk factor for dysfunction in eyeball abduction movement (p = 0.004).

Conclusions: Dysfunctions of the oculomotor and abducens nerves recovered within 6 months postoperatively. Tumor extension into the suprasellar region/sphenoid sinus was the only risk factor for oculomotor nerve paralysis. Eye/eyelid movements were more sensitive than the pupillary light reflex in reflecting nerve dysfunctions. Intraoperative utilization of the infratrigeminal interspace was the only risk factor for abducens nerve paralysis.

Face-to-face four hand technique in vestibular schwannoma surgery: results from 256 Danish patients with larger tumors

Acta Neurochirurgica (2020) 162:61–69

The objective of this study was to investigate the clinical outcome after microsurgical treatment of vestibular schwannomas using face-to-face four hand technique in 256 Danish patients treated in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Copenhagen University Hospital from 2009 to 2018.

Methods Data were retrospectively collected from patient records.

Results The mean tumor size was 30.6 mm and approximately 46% of the patients had tumors >30 mm. In around 1/3 of the patients a retrosigmoid approach was used and in 2/3 a translabyrinthine. In 50% of the patients, the tumor was completely removed, and in 38%, only smaller remnants were left to preserve facial function. The median operative time was approximately 2.5 h for retrosigmoid approach, and for translabyrinthine approach, it was around 3.5 h. One year after surgery, 84% of the patients had a good facial nerve function (House-Brackmann grade 1–2). In tumors ≤ 30 mm approximately 89%preserved good facial function, whereas this was only the case for around 78% of the patients with tumors > 30 mm. In 60% of the patients who had poor facial nerve function at hospital discharge, the function improved to good facial function within the 1 year follow-up period. Four patients died within 30 days after surgery, and 6% underwent reoperation for cerebrospinal fluid leakage.

Conclusion Surgery for vestibular schwannomas using face-to-face four hand technique may reduce operative time and can be performed with lower risk and excellent facial nerve outcome. The risk of surgery increases with increasing tumor size.

Prospective validation of a molecular prognostication panel for clival chordoma

J Neurosurg 130:1528–1537, 2019

There are currently no reliable means to predict the wide variability in behavior of clival chordoma so as to guide clinical decision-making and patient education. Furthermore, there is no method of predicting a tumor’s response to radiation therapy.

METHODS A molecular prognostication panel, consisting of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) of the chromosomal loci 1p36 and 9p21, as well as immunohistochemistry for Ki-67, was prospectively evaluated in 105 clival chordoma samples from November 2007 to April 2016. The results were correlated with overall progression-free survival after surgery (PFSS), as well as progression-free survival after radiotherapy (PFSR).

RESULTS Although Ki-67 and the percentages of tumor cells with 1q25 hyperploidy, 1p36 deletions, and homozygous 9p21 deletions were all found to be predictive of PFSS and PFSR in univariate analyses, only 1p36 deletions and homozygous 9p21 deletions were shown to be independently predictive in a multivariate analysis. Using a prognostication calculator formulated by a separate multivariate Cox model, two 1p36 deletion strata (0%–15% and > 15% deleted tumor cells) and three 9p21 homozygous deletion strata (0%–3%, 4%–24%, and ≥ 25% deleted tumor cells) accounted for a range of cumulative hazard ratios of 1 to 56.1 for PFSS and 1 to 75.6 for PFSR.

CONCLUSIONS Homozygous 9p21 deletions and 1p36 deletions are independent prognostic factors in clival chordoma and can account for a wide spectrum of overall PFSS and PFSR. This panel can be used to guide management after resection of clival chordomas.