Data fusion and 3D visualization for optimized representation of neurovascular relationships in the posterior fossa

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:2141–2151

Reliable 3D visualization of neurovascular relationships in the posterior fossa at the surface of the brainstem is still critical due to artifacts of imaging. To assess neurovascular compression syndromes more reliably, a new approach of 3D visualization based on registration and fusion of high-resolution MR data is presented.

Methods A total of 80 patients received MRI data with 3D-CISS and 3D-TOF at 3.0 Tesla. After registration and subsequent segmentation, the vascular information of the TOF data was fused into the CISS data. Two 3D visualizations were created for each patient, one before and one after fusion, which were verified with the intraoperative situation during microvascular decompression (MVD). The reproduction quality of vessels was evaluated with a rating system.

Results In all cases, the presented approach compensated for typical limitations in the 3D visualization of neurovascular compression such as the partial or complete suppression of larger vessels, suppression of smaller vessels at the CSF margin, and artifacts from heart pulsation. In more than 95% of the cases of hemifacial spasm and glossopharyngeal neuralgia, accurate assessment of the compression was only possible after registration and fusion. In more than 50% of the cases with trigeminal neuralgia, the presented approach was crucial to finding the actually offending vessel.

Conclusions 3D visualization of fused image data allows for a more complete representation of the vessel-nerve situation. The results from this approach are reproducible and the assessment of neurovascular compression is safer. It is a powerful tool for planning MVD.

Syringomyelia Resolution Following Chiari Surgery: A Novel Scale for Communication and Research

Neurosurgery 88( 1) 2021: 131–139

The pathophysiological connection between Chiari malformation and syringomyelia is accepted. Debate remains, however, how can we best define changes in syringomyelia following surgery.

OBJECTIVE: To introduce a grading system focusing on syrinx reduction based on routinely and reproducible radiological information, and provide a suggestion of the application of this scale for prediction of patient’s prognoses.

METHODS: Data from 48 patients with Chiari malformation and syringomyelia were compiled. We calculated syrinx cross-sectional area by approximating an ellipse in the largest axial plane. We compared the percentage of reduction or enlargement following surgery. The percentage change was grouped into four grades: Grade 0 = Increasing size, grade I ≤ 50% reduction, grade II = 50% to 90% reduction, grade III ≥ 90% reduction.

RESULTS: A total of 89.6% of patients had syrinx improvement after surgery. A total of 5 patients were grade 0, 14 were grade I, 20 patients were grade II, and 9 patients met criteria for grade III. The mean postoperative syrinx area was 24.1 mm2 (0-169 mm2) with a mean syrinx reduction of 62.7%.

CONCLUSION: Radiological improvement of syringomyelia can be mathematically defined and standardized to assist in communication in outcome-based trials. Radiological resolution is expected most patients.

Sex-dependent posterior fossa anatomical differences in trigeminal neuralgia patients with and without neurovascular compression: a volumetric MRI age- and sex-matched case-control study

J Neurosurg 132:631–638, 2020

The pathophysiology of trigeminal neuralgia (TN) in patients without neurovascular compression (NVC) is not completely understood. The objective of this retrospective study was to evaluate the hypothesis that TN patients without NVC differ from TN patient with NVC with respect to brain anatomy and demographic characteristics.

METHODS Six anatomical brain measurements from high-resolution brain MR images were tabulated; anterior-posterior (AP) prepontine cistern length, cerebellopontine angle (CPA) cistern volume, nerve-to-nerve distance, symptomatic nerve length, pons volume, and posterior fossa volume were assessed on OsiriX. Brain MRI anatomical measurements from 232 patients with either TN type 1 or TN type 2 (TN group) were compared with measurements obtained in 100 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (control group). Two-way ANOVA tests were conducted on the 6 measurements relative to group and NVC status. Bonferroni adjustments were used to correct for multiple comparisons. A nonhierarchical k-means cluster analysis was performed on the TN group using age and posterior fossa volume as independent variables.

RESULTS Within the TN group, females were found to be younger than males and less likely to have NVC. The odds ratio (OR) of females not having NVC compared to males was 2.7 (95% CI 1.3–5.5, p = 0.017). Patients younger than 30 years were much less likely to have NVC compared to older patients (OR 4.9, 95% CI 1.3–18.4, p = 0.017). The mean AP prepontine cistern length and symptomatic nerve length were smaller in the TN group than in the control group (5.3 vs 6.5 mm and 8.7 vs 9.7 mm, respectively; p < 0.001). The posterior fossa volume was significantly smaller in TN patients without NVC compared to those with NVC. A TN group cluster analysis suggested a sex-dependent difference that was not observed in those without NVC. Factorial ANOVA and post hoc testing found that findings in males without NVC were significantly different from those in controls or male TN patients with NVC and similar to those in females (female controls as well as female TN patients with or without NVC).

CONCLUSIONS Posterior fossa volume in males was larger than posterior fossa volume in females. This finding, along with the higher incidence of TN in females, suggests that smaller posterior fossa volume might be an independent factor in the pathophysiology of TN, which warrants further study.

Clinical implications and radiographic characteristics of the relation between giant intracranial aneurysms of the posterior circulation and the brainstem

Acta Neurochirurgica (2019) 161:1747–1753

Giant intracranial aneurysms of the posterior circulation (GPCirA) are rare entities compressing the brainstem and adjacent structures. Previous evidence has shown that the amount of brainstem shift away from the cranial base is not associated with neurological deficits. This raises the question whether other factors may be associated with neurological deficits.

Methods All data were extracted from the Giant Intracranial Aneurysm Registry, an international multicenter prospective study on giant intracranial aneurysms. We grouped GPCirA according to the mass effect on the brainstem (lateral versus medial). Brainstem compression was evaluated with two indices: (a) brainstem compression ratio (BCR) or diameter of the compressed brainstem to the assumed normal diameter of the brainstem and (b) aneurysm to brainstem ratio (ABR) or diameter of the aneurysm to the diameter of the compressed brainstem. We examined associations between neurological deficits and GPCirA characteristics using binary regression analysis.

Results Twenty-eight GPCirA were included. Twenty GPCirA showed medial (71.4%) and 8 lateral compression of the brainstem (28.6%). Baseline characteristics did not differ between the groups for patient age, aneurysm diameter, aneurysm volume, modified Rankin Scale (mRS), motor deficit (MD), or cranial nerve deficits (CND). Mean BCR was 53.0 in the medial and 54.0 in the lateral group (p = 0.92). The mean ABR was 2.9 in the medial and 2.3 in the lateral group (p = 0.96). In the entire cohort, neither BCR nor ABR nor GPCirA volumes were associated with the occurrence of CND or MD. In contrast, disability (mRS) was significantly associated with ABR (OR 1.94 (95% CI 1.01–3.70; p = 0.045) and GPCirAvolumes (OR 1.21 (95% CI 1.01–1.44); p = 0.035), but not with BCR.

Conclusion In this cohort of patients with GPCirA, neither the degree of lateral projection nor the amount of brainstem compression predicted neurological deficits. Disability was associated only with aneurysm volume. When designing treatment strategies for GPCirA, aneurysm laterality or the amount of brainstem compression should be viewed as less relevant while the high risk of rupture of such giant lesions should be emphasized

Peritumoral Edema/Tumor Volume Ratio: A Strong Survival Predictor for Posterior Fossa Metastases

Neurosurgery, Volume 85, Issue 1, July 2019, Pages 117–125

Twenty percent of all brain metastases (BM) occur in the posterior fossa (PF). Radiotherapy sometimes associated with surgical resection remains the therapeutic option, while Karnovsky performance status and graded prognostic assessment (GPA) are the best preoperative survival prognostic factors.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the prognostic role of peritumoral brain edema in the PF, which has never been explored though its role in supratentorial BM has been debated.

METHODS: A total of 120 patients diagnosed with PF metastasis who underwent surgical resection were included retrospectively in this analysis. Clinical data were retrieved from electronic patient medical files. The tumor volumes and their associated edema were calculated via manual delineation; subsequently the edema/tumor volume ratio was determined.

RESULTS: In multivariate analysis with Cox multivariate proportional hazard model, the edema to tumor volumes ratio (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.727, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.427- 2.083; P < .0001) was identified as a new strong independent prognosis factor on overall survival (OS) whereas edema volume alone was not (P = .469). Moreover, BM complete resection (HR: 0.447, 95% CI 0.277-0.719; P < .001), low (0-1) World Health Organization status at diagnosis (HR: 2.109, 95% CI 1.481-3.015; P < .0001), high GPA class at diagnosis (HR: 1.77, 95% CI 0.9-2.9; P < .04), and postoperative brain irradiation (HR: 2.019, 95% CI 1.213-3.361; P < .007] were all confirmed as independent predictive factors for survival.

CONCLUSION: The edema/tumor ratio appears to greatly influence OS in patients suffering from PF metastases unlike the extent of edema alone. This easily determined as well as strong prognostic factor could be used as an interesting tool in clinical practice to help the management of these patients.

Posterior fossa meningiomas: perioperative predictors of extent of resection, overall survival and progression-free survival

Acta Neurochirurgica (2019) 161:1003–1011

Posterior fossa meningiomas (PFMs) often represent surgical challenges due to their proximity to neurovascular structures. Factors predicting the extent of resection (EOR), overall survival (OS), and progression-free survival (PFS) were identified and integrated in a prediction tool to offer evidence-based personalized therapeutic strategies.

Methods All meningiomas managed surgically from 1990 to 2010 from a single-center were reviewed. A classification tree was created using the classification and regression tree recursive partitioning analysis that incorporated patient and tumor data available before surgery in order to predict the rates of gross total resection (GTR).

Results A total of 198 patients were identified (female-to-male ratio, 2.7; mean age, 59.1 years) and compared with 1271 supratentorial meningiomas (STMs) operated in the same institution during the same time period. GTR was achieved less often (59.6% versus 81.9%; p < 0.01) in PFMs than STMs. Preoperative neurological symptoms were predictive of higher Simpson grades (OR, 2.19 [1.05; 4.58]; p = 0.04). Age was associated with reduced OS (OR, 1.08 [1.04;1.12]; p < 0.001). A KPS ≥ 70 was associated with higher survival rates (OR, 2.70 [2.19;2.92]; p = 0.02). Higher WHO grades were associated with reduced OS (OR, 3.56 [1.02;12.47]; p = 0.05). The GTR rate varies from 80% in patients without a preoperative deficit to 40% patients with a preoperative deficit, younger than 60 years old, and with adjacent bone invasion.

Conclusions This study provides a classification tree of the predictors of EOR in PFMs, based upon preoperative demographic, clinical, and radiological variables. An evidence-based management protocol with estimated EORs may guide the decision making process in PFMs.

Microsurgical anatomy and internal architecture of the brainstem

Microsurgical anatomy and internal architecture of the brainstem in 3D images

J Neurosurg 124:1377–1395, 2016

Brainstem surgery remains a challenge for the neurosurgeon despite recent improvements in neuroimaging, microsurgical techniques, and electrophysiological monitoring. A detailed knowledge of the microsurgical anatomy of the brainstem surface and its internal architecture is mandatory to plan appropriate approaches to the brainstem, to choose the safest point of entry, and to avoid potential surgical complications.

Methods: An extensive review of the literature was performed regarding the brainstem surgical approaches, and their correlations with the pertinent anatomy were studied and illustrated through dissection of human brainstems properly fixed with 10% formalin. The specimens were dissected using the fiber dissection technique, under ×6 to ×40 magnification. 3D stereoscopic photographs were obtained (anaglyphic 3D) for better illustration of this study.

Results: The main surgical landmarks and their relationship with the cerebellum and vascular structures were identified on the surface of the brainstem. The arrangements of the white matter (ascending and descending pathways as well as the cerebellar peduncles) were demonstrated on each part of the brainstem (midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata), with emphasis on their relationships with the surface. The gray matter, constituted mainly by nuclei of the cranial nerves, was also studied and illustrated.

Conclusions: The objective of this article is to review the microsurgical anatomy and the surgical approaches pertinent to the brainstem, providing a framework of its external and internal architecture to guide the neurosurgeon during its related surgical procedures.

Prognostic Significance of Peritumoral Edema in Patients With Vestibular Schwannomas

Prognostic Significance of Peritumoral Edema in Patients With Vestibular Schwannomas

Neurosurgery 77:81–86, 2015

Peritumoral edema (PTE) in skull base meningiomas correlates to the absence of an arachnoid plane and difference in outcome. In vestibular schwannomas (VS), PTE and its significance for microsurgery and outcome have never been systematically evaluated.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate whether PTE correlates with tumor characteristics, the presence of an arachnoid plane, and outcome.

METHODS: A retrospective study of the institutional database. PTE was evaluated on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery magnetic resonance images. Preoperative patient data and intraoperative tumor features (presence of tumor pseudocapsule, vascularity, degree of adhesion/invasion of the arachnoid) were noted. Outcome measures were completeness of removal, neurological outcome, and complication rate. These parameters in patients with PTE (group A) were correlated to those in matched series without edema (group B).

RESULTS: Thirty patients presented with PTE (5%). The mean VS size was 3.4 cm. No major differences in the degree of adhesion or presence of an arachnoid plane were found. VS with PTE were more frequently hypervascular (26.7% in group A vs 6.7% in group B). The presence of PTE in VS was not related to surgical radicality. VS with PTE had worse early postoperative facial nerve function, but at 12 months, there was no major difference. VS with PTE were prone to cause postoperative hemorrhages in the tumor bed.

CONCLUSION: PTE in VS does not correlate with the degree of tumor adhesion and the presence of an arachnoid dissection plane. The radicality of tumor removal and longterm functional outcome in patients with and without PTE was similar. VS with PTE are more vascular and prone to cause postoperative hemorrhages. Therefore, meticulous hemostasis is advisable.

Stereotactic radiosurgery for arteriovenous malformations of the cerebellum

Bowden et al

J Neurosurg 120:583–590, 2014

Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) of the posterior fossa have an aggressive natural history and propensity for hemorrhage. Although the cerebellum accounts for the majority of the posterior fossa volume, there is a paucity of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) outcome data for AVMs of this region. The authors sought to evaluate the long-term outcomes and risks of cerebellar AVM radiosurgery.

Methods. This single-institution retrospective analysis reviewed the authors’ experience with Gamma Knife surgery during the period 1987–2007. During this time 64 patients (median age 47 years, range 8–75 years) underwent SRS for a cerebellar AVM. Forty-seven patients (73%) presented with an intracranial hemorrhage. The median target volume was 3.85 cm3 (range 0.2–12.5 cm3), and the median marginal dose was 21 Gy (range 15–25 Gy).

Results. Arteriovenous malformation obliteration was confirmed by MRI or angiography in 40 patients at a median follow-up of 73 months (range 4–255 months). The actuarial rates of total obliteration were 53% at 3 years, 69% at 4 years, and 76% at 5 and 10 years. Elevated obliteration rates were statistically higher in patients who underwent AVM SRS without prior embolization (p = 0.005). A smaller AVM volume was also associated with a higher rate of obliteration (p = 0.03). Four patients (6%) sustained a hemorrhage during the latency period and 3 died. The cumulative rates of AVM hemorrhage after SRS were 6% at 1, 5, and 10 years. This correlated with an overall annual hemorrhage rate of 2.0% during the latency interval. One patient experienced a hemorrhage 9 years after confirmed MRI and angiographic obliteration. A permanent neurological deficit due to adverse radiation effects developed in 1 patient (1.6%) and temporary complications were seen in 2 additional patients (3.1%).

Conclusions. Stereotactic radiosurgery proved to be most effective for patients with smaller and previously nonembolized cerebellar malformations. Hemorrhage during the latency period occurred at a rate of 2.0% per year until obliteration occurred.

Motor-evoked potentials (MEP) during brainstem surgery to preserve corticospinal function

Acta Neurochir (2011) 153:1753–1759. DOI 10.1007/s00701-011-1065-7

Brainstem surgery bears a risk of damage to the corticospinal tract (CST). Motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) are used intraoperatively to monitor CST function in order to detect CST damage at a reversible stage and thus impede permanent neurological deficits. While the method of MEP is generally accepted, warning criteria in the context of brainstem surgery still have to be agreed on.

Method We analyzed 104 consecutive patients who underwent microsurgical resection of lesions affecting the brainstem. Motor grade was documented prior to surgery, early postoperatively and at discharge. A baseline MEP stimulation intensity threshold was defined and intraoperative testing aimed to keep MEP response amplitude constant. MEPs were considered deteriorated and the surgical team was notified whenever the threshold was elevated by ≥20 mA or MEP response fell under 50%.

Findings On the first postoperative day, 18 patients experienced new paresis that resolved by discharge in 11. MEPs deteriorated in 39 patients, and 16 of these showed new postoperative paresis, indicating a 41% risk of new paresis. In the remaining 2/18 patients, intraoperative MEPs were stable, although new paresis appeared postoperatively. In one of these patients, intraoperative hemorrhage caused postoperative swelling, and the new motor deficit persisted until discharge. Of all 104 patients, 7 deteriorated in motor grade at discharge, 92 remained unchanged, and 5 patients have improved.

Conclusions Adjustment of surgical strategy contributed to good motor outcome in 33/39 patients. MEP monitoring may help significantly to prevent motor deficits during demanding neurosurgical procedures on the brainstem.

Lateral supracerebellar transtentorial approach for petroclival meningiomas: operative technique and outcome

J Neurosurg 115:49–54, 2011. DOI: 10.3171/2011.2.JNS101759

The retrosigmoid intradural suprameatal approach with the patient in a semisitting position is an effective alternative to transpetrosal approaches for the treatment of petroclival meningiomas. The authors have made a simple modification to the retrosigmoid intradural suprameatal approach by using the lateral oblique position and preferentially dividing the tentorium with limited drilling of the suprameatal bone, which is termed the “lateral su- pracerebellar transtentorial approach.”

Methods. Twenty-six patients with petroclival meningiomas surgically treated via the lateral supracerebellar transtentorial approach were analyzed. All tumors had most of their bulk in the posterior fossa with some degree of extension into the middle fossa and/or Meckel cave. The patient is placed in the lateral oblique position, and a standard retrosigmoid craniotomy is performed. The tentorium medial to the trigeminal nerve is incised toward the free edge, which improves exposure to the petroclival region without extensive resection of the suprameatal petrous bone.

Results. Gross-total resection was achieved in 11 patients (42%). Ten patients (38%) underwent subtotal resection, and 5 patients (19%) underwent partial resection. There was no incidence of operative death, and the postoperative permanent morbidity rate was 15%. All patients except one did well postoperatively and were independent at the time of their last follow-up examinations.

Conclusions. The lateral supracerebellar transtentorial approach provides the simplest and safest access to the petroclival region. It offers an advantageous approach to petroclival meningiomas exclusively located in the posterior fossa with minimal extension into the Meckel cave and middle fossa.

Gamma Knife surgery of meningiomas located in the posterior fossa: factors predictive of outcome and remission

J Neurosurg 114:1399–1409, 2011. DOI: 10.3171/2010.11.JNS101193

Although numerous studies have analyzed the role of stereotactic radiosurgery for intracranial meningiomas, few studies have assessed outcomes of posterior fossa meningiomas after stereotactic radiosurgery. In this study, the authors evaluate the outcomes of posterior fossa meningiomas treated with Gamma Knife surgery (GKS). The authors also assess factors predictive of new postoperative neurological deficits and tumor progression.

Methods. A retrospective review was performed of a prospectively compiled database documenting the outcomes of 152 patients with posterior fossa meningiomas treated at the University of Virginia from 1990 to 2006. All patients had a minimum follow-up of 24 months. There were 30 males and 122 females, with a median age of 58 years (range 12–82 years). Seventy-five patients were treated with radiosurgery initially, and 77 patients were treated with GKS after resection. Patients were assessed clinically and radiographically at routine intervals following GKS. Factors predictive of new neurological deficit following GKS were assessed via univariate and multivariate analysis, and Kaplan-Meier analysis and Cox multivariate regression analysis were used to assess factors predictive of tumor progression.

Results. Patients had meningiomas centered over the tentorium (35 patients, 23%), cerebellopontine angle (43 patients, 28%), petroclival region (28 patients, 18%), petrous region (6 patients, 4%), and clivus (40 patients, 26%). The median follow-up was 7 years (range 2–16 years). The mean preradiosurgical tumor volume was 5.7 cm3 (range 0.3–33 cm3), and mean postradiosurgical tumor volume was 4.9 cm3 (range 0.1–33 cm3). At last follow-up, 55 patients (36%) displayed no change in tumor volume, 78 (51%) displayed a decrease in volume, and 19 (13%) displayed an increase in volume. Kaplan-Meier analysis demonstrated radiographic progression-free survival at 3, 5, and 10 years to be 98%, 96%, and 78%, respectively. In Cox multivariable analysis, pre-GKS covariates associated with tumor progression included age greater than 65 years (hazard ratio [HR] 3.24, 95% CI 1.12–9.37; p = 0.03) and a low dose to the tumor margin (HR 0.76, 95% CI 0.60–0.97; p = 0.03), and post-GKS covariates included shunt-dependent hydrocephalus (HR 25.0, 95% CI 3.72–100.0; p = 0.001). At last clinical follow-up, 139 patients (91%) demonstrated no change or improvement in their neurological condition, and 13 patients showed symptom deterioration (9%). In multivariate analysis, the only factors predictive of new or worsening symptoms were clival or petrous location (OR 4.0, 95% CI 1.1–13.7; p = 0.03).

Conclusions. Gamma Knife surgery offers an acceptable rate of tumor control for posterior fossa meningiomas and accomplishes this with a low incidence of neurological deficits. In patients selected for GKS, tumor progression is associated with age greater than 65 years and decreasing dose to the tumor margin. Clival- or petrous-based locations are predictive of an increased risk of new or worsening neurological deficit following GKS.

A modified far-lateral approach for large or giant meningiomas of the posterior fossa

J Neurosurg 112:907–912, 2010. DOI: 10.3171/2009.6.JNS09120

Resecting large meningiomas along the posterior fossa convexity or cerebellopontine angle (CPA) through a suboccipital approach can be challenging. Limitations include a restricted angle of view, high venous pressures, and suboptimal brain relaxation. While a far-lateral craniotomy is a viable alternative, the risks associated with condylar resection are undesirable.

Methods. The authors retrospectively evaluated a modified far-lateral approach in a consecutive series of 12 patients with large or giant posterior fossa convexity and CPA meningiomas. This approach incorporates transversesigmoid sinus exposure and C-1 laminectomy, but there is no condylar resection.

Results. Between January 2006 and February 2008, 12 patients (mean age 52 years) presented with large or giant meningiomas of the posterior fossa convexity or CPA. The mean tumor volume was 72.6 cm3 (range 8–131 cm3). Signs and symptoms at presentation included headache (in 8 patients), cranial neuropathy (in 4), and progressive hemiparesis (in 4). There were no operative complications, and the majority of patients (9) had Simpson Grade I or II resections. There were no new permanent neurological deficits following resection, although 2 patients (17%) had transient deficits. The mean modified Rankin score decreased from 2.2 preoperatively to 0.6 postoperatively.

Conclusions. A modified far-lateral approach to the posterior fossa and CPA allows for safe, and often total, resection of large meningiomas with minimal morbidity. While avoiding the risks of condylar resection, this microsurgical strategy allows for greater field of view, minimal venous bleeding, and immediate access to the spinal subarachnoid space.

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