Optic nerve pial circulation in tuberculum meningioma surgery


J Neurosurg 125:565–569, 2016

Tuberculum sellae meningiomas frequently produce visual loss by direct compression from tumor, constriction of the optic nerve (ON) under the falciform ligament, and/or ON ischemia. The authors hypothesized that changes in visual function after tumor removal may be related to changes in blood supply to the ON that might be seen in the pial circulation at surgery. Indocyanine green (ICG) angiography was used to attempt to document these changes at surgery.

The first patient in whom the technique was used had a left-sided, 1.4-cm, tuberculum meningioma. Time-lapse comparison of images was done postsurgery, and the comparison of video images revealed both faster initial filling and earlier complete filling of the ON pial circulation, suggesting improved pial blood flow after surgical decompression. In follow-up the patient had significant improvements in both visual acuity and visual fields function. Intraoperative ICG angiography of the ON can demonstrate measurable changes in pial vascular flow that may be predictive of postoperative visual outcome.

The predictive value of this technique during neurosurgical procedures around the optic apparatus warrants further investigation in a larger cohort.

Impact of anterior clinoidectomy on visual function after resection of meningiomas in and around the optic canal


Acta Neurochir (2013) 155:1293–1299

Meningiomas of the anterior and middle skull base frequently involve the optic nerve and cause progressive visual impairment. Surgical decompression of the optic nerve is the only option to preserve visual function. Depending on the invaded structures, optic nerve decompression can be part of a complete tumor removal or the main surgical intention in terms of local debulking. However, bony decompression of the optic canal including anterior clinoidectomy for optic nerve decompression is still a surgical maneuver under discussion.

Methods From 2006 to 2011, 46 consecutive patients with skull base meningiomas in and around the optic canal were operated. The pterional approachwas tailored for each patient. Resection included bony decompression of the optic canal with or without anterior clinoidectomy. Visual acuity and fields were evaluated pre- and postoperatively.

Results Fifty-three percent of patients underwent anterior clinoidectomy, 23 % optic canal unroofing, and 24 % any bony decompression. In 21 patients (46 %), gross total resection (GTR, Simpson grade I or II) was achieved, while 25 patients (54 %) received subtotal resection (STR, Simpson grade III or IV). Sixty-three percent of patients presented with preoperative visual impairment. Postoperative visual changes were significantly related to preoperative visual function. While all patients with normal preoperative vision remained unchanged, in patients with impaired vision, surgery caused improvement in 70%and deterioration in 10 % of patients (p<0.0001). In patients with anterior clinoidectomy, vision improved more frequently than without anterior clinoidectomy (p<0.05).

Conclusions Anterior clinoidectomy is safe and may improve visual outcome in meningiomas in and around the optic canal.

Safety of drilling for clinoidectomy and optic canal unroofing in anterior skull base surgery

Clinoidectomy and optic canal unroofing

Acta Neurochir (2013) 155:1017–1024

Skull base drilling is a necessary and important element of skull base surgery; however, drilling around vulnerable neurovascular structures has certain risks. We aimed to assess the frequency of complications related to drilling the anterior skull base in the area of the optic nerve (ON) and internal carotid artery (ICA), in a large series of patients.

Methods We included anterior skull base surgeries performed from 2000 to 2012 that demanded unroofing of the optic canal, with extra- or intradural clinoidectomy and/or drilling of the clinoidal process and lateral aspect of the tuberculum sella. Data was retrieved from a prospective database and supplementary retrospective file review. Our IRB waived the requirement for informed consent. The nature and location of pathology, clinical presentation, surgical techniques, surgical morbidity and mortality, pre- and postoperative vision, and neurological outcomes were reviewed.

Results There were 205 surgeries, including 22 procedures with bilateral optic canal unroofing (227 optic canals unroofed). There was no mortality, drilling-related vascular damage, or brain trauma. Complications possibly related to drilling included CSF leak (6 patients, 2.9 %), new ipsilateral blindness (3 patients, 1.5 %), visual deterioration (3 patients, 1.5 %), and transient oculomotor palsy (5 patients, 2.4 %). In all patients with new neuropathies, the optic and oculomotor nerves were manipulated during tumor removal; thus, new deficits could have resulted from drilling, or tumor dissection, or both.

Conclusion Drilling of the clinoid process and tuberculum sella, and optic canal unroofing are important surgical techniques, which may be performed relatively safely by a skilled neurosurgeon.

Microneurosurgical Management Of Ophthalmic Segment Aneurysms

Ophthalmic segment aneurysms

Acta Neurochir (2013) 155:1025–1029

Power drilling commonly used for anterior clinoidectomy and optic canal unroofing can result in thermal injury to the optic nerve.

Methods The authors describe an intradural “limited drill” technique of anterior clinoidectomy and optic canal unroofing for microneurosurgical management of ophthalmic segment aneurysms, where optic canal unroofing is done with 1 mm Kerrison punch and the use of the power drill is restricted to anterior clinoidectomy to avoid thermal injury to the optic nerve. The optic nerve, internal carotid artery (ICA), and aneurysm are covered with wet gelfoam pieces to prevent any inadvertent contact with the drill.

Conclusion “Limited drill technique” is a safe and effective technique of anterior clinoidectomy and optic canal unroofing. Key points • Anterior clinoidectomy and optic canal unroofing is an important skull base technique required for safe clipping of the majority of ophthalmic segment aneurysms • Power drilling commonly used for optic canal unroofing can cause thermal injury to optic nerve • More than 2 mm free space is available around the optic nerve in the optic canal • Foot plate of 1 mm Kerrison punch can be safely introduced within a normal optic canal without causing mechanical injury to the optic nerve • Reflection of posteriorly based dural flap acts as a dural barrier, preventing direct contact of drill bit to optic nerve, internal carotid artery and aneurysm during drilling • Entanglement of cottonoids to rotating drill bit is a major problem in intradural anterior clinoidectomy • Wet gelfoam pieces do not get entangled to the rotating drill bit • Structures surrounding the area of drilling can be covered with wet gel foam pieces to prevent direct contact of the drill to neurovascular structures • Opened cisterns can be covered with wet gelfoam pieces during drilling to prevent deposition of bone dust in the subarachnoid space • “Limited drill technique” of anterior clinoidectomy and optic canal unroofing is a safe and effective technique for the exposure of ophthalmic segment aneurysms.

Giant anterior clinoidal meningiomas: surgical technique and outcomes

J Neurosurg 117:654–665, 2012

Surgery for giant anterior clinoidal meningiomas that invade vital neurovascular structures surrounding the anterior clinoid process is challenging. The authors present their skull base technique for the treatment of giant anterior clinoidal meningiomas, defined here as globular tumors with a maximum diameter of 5 cm or larger, centered around the anterior clinoid process, which is usually hyperostotic.

Methods. Between 2000 and 2010, the authors performed 23 surgeries in 22 patients with giant anterior clinoidal meningiomas. They used a skull base approach with extradural unroofing of the optic canal, extradural clinoidectomy (Dolenc technique), transdural debulking of the tumor, early optic nerve decompression, and early identification and control of key neurovascular structures.

Results. The mean age at surgery was 53.8 years. The mean tumor diameter was 59.2 mm (range 50–85 mm) with cavernous sinus involvement in 59.1% (13 of 22 patients). The tumor involved the prechiasmatic segment of the optic nerve in all patients, invaded the optic canal in 77.3% (17 of 22 patients), and caused visual impairment in 86.4% (19 of 22 patients). Total resection (Simpson Grade I or II) was achieved in 30.4% of surgeries (7 of 23); subtotal and partial resections were each achieved in 34.8% of surgeries (8 of 23). The main factor precluding total removal was cavernous sinus involvement. There were no deaths. The mean Glasgow Outcome Scale score was 4.8 (median 5) at a mean of 56 months of follow-up. Vision improved in 66.7% (12 of 18 patients) with consecutive neuroophthalmological examinations, was stable in 22.2% (4 of 18), and deteriorated in 11.1% (2 of 18). New deficits in cranial nerve III or IV remained after 8.7% of surgeries (2 of 23).

Conclusions. This modified surgical protocol has provided both a good extent of resection and a good neurological and visual outcome in patients with giant anterior clinoidal meningiomas.


Extensions of the Sphenoid Sinus: A New Classification

Neurosurgery. 66(4):797-816, April 2010. doi: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000367619.24800.B1

The transsphenoidal approach has been extended in recent years from tumors of the sellar region to lesions involving other areas bordering the sphenoid sinus including the cavernous sinus, Meckel’s cave, middle cranial fossa, planum sphenoidal, suprasellar region, and clivus. The goal of this study was to examine various pneumatized extensions of the sphenoid sinus that may facilitate extended approaches directed through the sinus.

METHODS: The sphenoid sinus and its surrounding structures were examined in 18 cadaver heads, and the results were correlated with the findings from 100 computed tomography images of the sinus. The sellar type of the sphenoid sinus in which the pneumatization extended beyond the anterior sellar wall was further classified according to the various extensions of the sinus.

RESULTS: The sellar type of the sphenoid sinus was classified into the following 6 basic types based on the direction of pneumatization: sphenoid body, lateral, clival, lesser wing, anterior, and combined. The recesses and prominences, formed by pneumatization of the sinus, act as “windows” opening from the sinus in different areas of the cranial base and may facilitate minimally invasive access to lesions in the corresponding areas.

CONCLUSION: The variations in the extensions of pneumatization of the sphenoid sinus may facilitate entry into areas bordering the sphenoid sinus and play a role in the selection of a surgical approach to lesions bordering the sinus.