Clival-Meckel’s Cave Angle: A Predictor of Glycerol Displacement in Percutaneous Glycerol Rhizotomy for Trigeminal Neuralgia

Operative Neurosurgery 26:141–148, 2024

Percutaneous glycerol rhizotomy successfully treats trigeminal neuralgia although failure rates and durability of the procedure are variable. Some of this variability in clinical outcome might be due to egress of glycerol from Meckel’s cave (MC) because of surgical positioning and individual patient anatomy. In this article, we quantitatively analyzed the anatomic variances that affect glycerol fluid dynamics to better predict patients more amenable for percutaneous glycerol injections.

METHODS: Computed tomography imaging of 11 cadaveric heads was used to calculate bilateral Clival-Meckel’s cave (CMC) and sella-temporal (ST) angles. Twenty-two cadaveric percutaneous injections of dyed glycerol into the Meckel’s cave were performed using H¨artel’s approach, and the fluid movement was documented at prespecified intervals over 1 hour. The relationship between the angles and glycerol migration was studied.

RESULTS: Specimens with basal cistern involvement by 60 minutes had significantly greater CMC angles (median [IQR]: basal cistern involvement = 74.5°[59.5°-89.5°] vs no basal cistern involvement = 58.0°[49.0°-67.0°]), U = 6.0, P < .001. This model may predict which patients will experience glycerol migration away from the Gasserian ganglion (area under the curve: 0.950, SE: 0.046, CI: 0.859-1.041, P < .001). Increased ST angle was associated with lateral flow of glycerol (r s = 0.639, P = .001), and CMC angle was associated with total area of dispersion (r s = À0.474, P = .026).

CONCLUSION: Anatomic variation in skull base angles affects glycerol migration. Specifically, a more obtuse CMC angle was associated with a higher risk of posterior migration away from the Gasserian ganglion. This may be a reason for differing rates of surgical success. These results suggest that anterior head flexion for 60 minutes may prevent percutaneous glycerol rhizotomy failures and some patients with large CMC angles are more likely to benefit from postinjection head positioning. However, this clinical effect needs validation in vivo.

International Tuberculum Sellae Meningioma Study: Surgical Outcomes and Management Trends

Neurosurgery 93:1259–1270, 2023

Tuberculum sellae meningiomas (TSMs) can be resected through transcranial (TCA) or expanded endonasal approach (EEA). The objective of this study was to report TSM management trends and outcomes in a large multicenter cohort.

METHODS: This is a 40-site retrospective study using standard statistical methods.

RESULTS: In 947 cases, TCA was used 66.4% and EEA 33.6%. The median maximum diameter was 2.5 cm for TCA and 2.1 cm for EEA (P < .0001). The median follow-up was 26 months. Gross total resection (GTR) was achieved in 70.2% and did not differ between EEA and TCA (P = .5395). Vision was the same or better in 87.5%. Vision improved in 73.0% of EEA patients with preoperative visual deficits compared with 57.1% of TCA patients (P < .0001). On multivariate analysis, a TCA (odds ratio [OR] 1.78, P = .0258) was associated with vision worsening, while GTR was protective (OR 0.37, P < .0001). GTR decreased with increased diameter (OR: 0.80 per cm, P = .0036) and preoperative visual deficits (OR 0.56, P = .0075). Mortality was 0.5%. Complications occurred in 23.9%. New unilateral or bilateral blindness occurred in 3.3% and 0.4%, respectively. The cerebrospinal fluid leak rate was 17.3% for EEA and 2.2% for TCA (OR 9.1, P < .0001). The recurrence rate was 10.9% (n= 103). Longer follow-up (OR 1.01 per month, P < .0001), World Health Organization II/III (OR 2.20, P = .0262), and GTR (OR: 0.33, P < .0001) were associated with recurrence. The recurrence rate after GTR was lower after EEA compared with TCA (OR 0.33, P = .0027).

CONCLUSION: EEA for appropriately selected TSM may lead to better visual outcomes and decreased recurrence rates after GTR, but cerebrospinal fluid leak rates are high, and longer follow-up is needed. Tumors were smaller in the EEA group, and follow-up was shorter, reflecting selection, and observation bias. Nevertheless, EEA may be superior to TCA for appropriately selected TSM.

Utility of minimally invasive endoscopic skull base approaches for the treatment of drug-resistant mesial temporal lobe epilepsy

J Neurosurg 139:1604–1612, 2023

Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE) is an important cause of drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE) in adults and children. Traditionally, the surgical option of choice for mTLE includes a frontotemporal craniotomy and open resection of the anterior temporal cortex and mesial temporal structures. Although this technique is effective and durable, the neuropsychological morbidity resulting from temporal neocortical resections has resulted in the investigation of alternative approaches to resect the mesial temporal structures to achieve seizure freedom while minimizing postoperative cognitive deficits. Outcomes supporting the use of selective temporal resections have resulted in alternative approaches to directly access the mesial temporal structures via endoscopic approaches whose direct trajectory to the epileptogenic zone minimizes retraction, resection, and manipulation of surrounding cortex.

The authors reviewed the utility of the endoscopic transmaxillary, endoscopic endonasal, endoscopic transorbital, and endoscopic supracerebellar transtentorial approaches for the treatment of drug-resistant mesial temporal lobe epilepsy. First, a review of the literature demonstrated the anatomical feasibility of each approach, including the limits of exposure provided by each trajectory. Next, clinical data assessing the safety and effectiveness of these techniques in the treatment of DRE were analyzed. An outline of the surgical techniques is provided to highlight the technical nuances of each approach.

The direct access to mesial temporal structures and avoidance of lateral temporal manipulation makes endoscopic approaches promising alternatives to traditional methods for the treatment of DRE arising from the temporal pole and mesial temporal lobe. A dearth of literature outlining clinical outcomes, a need for qualified cosurgeons, and a lack of experience with endoscopic approaches remain major barriers to widespread application of the aforementioned techniques. Future studies are warranted to define the utility of these approaches moving forward.

International Tuberculum Sellae Meningioma Study: Preoperative Grading Scale to Predict Outcomes and Propensity-Matched Outcomes by Endonasal Versus Transcranial Approach

Neurosurgery 93:1271–1284, 2023

Tuberculum sellae meningiomas are resected via an expanded endonasal (EEA) or transcranial approach (TCA). Which approach provides superior outcomes is debated. The Magill–McDermott (M-M) grading scale evaluating tumor size, optic canal invasion, and arterial involvement remains to be validated for outcome prediction. The objective of this study was to validate the M-M scale for predicting visual outcome, extent of resection (EOR), and recurrence, and to use propensity matching by M-M scale to determine whether visual outcome, EOR, or recurrence differ between EEA and TCA.

METHODS: Forty-site retrospective study of 947 patients undergoing tuberculum sellae meningiomas resection. Standard statistical methods and propensity matching were used.

RESULTS: The M-M scale predicted visual worsening (odds ratio [OR]/point: 1.22, 95% CI: 1.02-1.46, P = .0271) and gross total resection (GTR) (OR/point: 0.71, 95% CI: 0.62-0.81, P < .0001), but not recurrence (P = .4695). The scale was simplified and validated in an independent cohort for predicting visual worsening (OR/point: 2.34, 95% CI: 1.33-4.14, P = .0032) and GTR (OR/point: 0.73, 95% CI: 0.57-0.93, P = .0127), but not recurrence (P = .2572). In propensity-matched samples, there was no difference in visual worsening (P = .8757) or recurrence (P = .5678) between TCA and EEA, but GTR was more likely with TCA (OR: 1.49, 95% CI: 1.02-2.18, P = .0409). Matched patients with preoperative visual deficits who had an EEA were more likely to have visual improvement than those undergoing TCA (72.9% vs 58.4%, P = .0010) with equal rates of visual worsening (EEA 8.0% vs TCA 8.6%, P = .8018).

CONCLUSION: The refined M-M scale predicts visual worsening and EOR preoperatively. Preoperative visual deficits are more likely to improve after EEA; however, individual tumor features must be considered during nuanced approach selection by experienced neurosurgeons.

Endoscopic Endonasal Transpterygoid Approach

Operative Neurosurgery 25:E272, 2023

INDICATIONS: CORRIDOR AND LIMITS OF EXPOSURE: The endoscopic endonasal transpterygoid approach (EETPA) provides direct access to the petrous apex, lateral clivus, inferior cavernous sinus compartment, jugular foramen, and infratemporal fossa. In the coronal plane, it provides exposure far beyond a traditional sphenoidotomy.

ANATOMIC ESSENTIALS: NEED FOR PREOPERATIVE PLANNING AND ASSESSMENT: The pterygoid process of the sphenoid bone forms the junction between the body and greater sphenoid wing before bifurcating because it descends into medial and lateral plates. The key to this exposure lies in the region’s bony foramina: the palatovaginal canal, vidian canal, and foramen rotundum.

ESSENTIALS STEPS OF THE PROCEDURE: After performing a maxillary antrostomy, stepwise exposure of these foramina leads to the pterygopalatine fossa. The sphenopalatine artery is cauterized as it becomes the posterior septal artery at the sphenopalatine foramen, and the maxillary sinus’ posterior wall is opened to expose the pterygopalatine fossa. After mobilizing and retracting the contents of the pterygopalatine fossa, the pterygoid process is removed, improving access in the coronal plane.

PITFALLS/AVOIDANCE OF COMPLICATIONS: Vidian neurectomy causes decreased or absent lacrimation. Injury to the maxillary nerve or its branches results in facial, palatal, or odontogenic anesthesia or neuralgia. In addition, the EEPTA precludes the ability to raise an ipsilateral nasal septal flap, making it crucial to plan reconstruction preoperatively.

VARIANTS AND INDICATIONS FOR THEIR USE: There are 5 variants of the EEPTA: extended pterygopalatine fossa, lateral recess of the sphenoid sinus, petrous apex, infratemporal fossa and petrous carotid artery, and middle and posterior skull base. The patient consented to the procedure.


Combined subtarsal contralateral transmaxillary retroeustachian and endoscopic endonasal approaches to the infrapetrous region

J Neurosurg 139:992–1001, 2023

The eustachian tube (ET) limits endoscopic endonasal access to the infrapetrous region. Transecting or mobilizing the ET may result in morbidities. This study presents a novel approach in which a subtarsal contralateral transmaxillary (ST-CTM) corridor is coupled with the standard endonasal approach to facilitate access behind the intact ET.

METHODS Eight cadaveric head specimens were dissected. Endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs) (i.e., transpterygoid and inferior transclival) were performed on one side, followed by ST-CTM and sublabial contralateral transmaxillary (SL-CTM) approaches on the opposite side, along with different ET mobilization techniques on the original side. Seven comparative groups were generated. The length of the cranial nerves, areas of exposure, and volume of surgical freedom (VSF) in the infrapetrous regions were measured and compared.

RESULTS Without ET mobilization, the combined ST-CTM/EEA approach provided greater exposure than EEA alone (mean ± SD 288.9 ± 40.66 mm 2 vs 91.7 ± 49.9 mm 2 ; p = 0.001). The VSFs at the ventral jugular foramen (JF), entrance to the petrous internal carotid artery (ICA), and lateral to the parapharyngeal ICA were also greater in ST-CTM/EEA than in EEA alone (p = 0.002, p = 0.002, and p < 0.001, respectively). EEA alone, however, provided greater VSF at the hypoglossal canal (HGC) than did ST-CTM/EEA (p = 0.01). The SL-CTM approach did not increase the EEA exposure (p = 0.48). The ST-CTM/EEA approach provided greater exposure than EEA with extended inferolateral (EIL) or anterolateral (AL) ET mobilization (p = 0.001 and p = 0.02, respectively). The ST-CTM/EEA also increased the VSF lateral to the parapharyngeal ICA in comparison with EEA/EIL ET mobilization (p < 0.001) but not with EEA/AL ET mobilization (p = 0.36). Finally, the VSFs at the HGC and JF were greater in EEA/AL ET mobilization than in ST-CTM/EEA without ET mobilization (p = 0.002 and p = 0.004, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS Combining the EEA with the more laterally and superiorly originating ST-CTM approach allows greater exposure of the infrapetrous and ventral JF regions while obviating the need for mobilizing the ET. The surgical freedom afforded by the combined approaches is greater than that obtained by EEA alone.

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

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:2951–2956

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

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

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

Percutaneous Rhizotomy of the Gasserian Ganglion in Patients With Mass Lesion–Associated Trigeminal Neuralgia

Operative Neurosurgery 25:142–149, 2023

Patients with trigeminal neuralgia (TN) secondary to mass lesions are typically treated by directly addressing the underlying pathology. In cases of TN not alleviated by treatment of the pathology, percutaneous balloon compression (PBC) and glycerol rhizotomy (Gly) are simple and effective ways to alleviate pain. However, there is limited literature on the use of these techniques for patients with TN caused by mass lesions.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the use of PBC/Gly to treat mass lesion–related TN.

METHODS: We report a retrospective, single-institution, descriptive case series of patients who presented with TN secondary to tumor or mass-like inflammatory lesion from 1999 to 2021. Patients with primary, idiopathic, or multiple sclerosis–related TN were excluded. Outcomes included Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI) pain intensity and hypesthesia scores, pain persistence, and postoperative complications.

RESULTS: A total of 459 procedures were identified, of which 16 patients met the inclusion criterion (14 PBC and 2 Gly). Of the 15 patients with tumors, 12 had TN pain despite prior tumor-targeted radiation. Short-term (<3 months) BNI pain intensity improvement occurred in 15 (93.8%) patients. The mean follow-up was 54.4 months. Thirteen (81.3%) patients were pain-free (Barrow Neurological Institute pain intensity scale: IIIa–50%; I–25.0%; II–6.3%) for a mean of 23.8 (range 1137) months. Ten patients (62.5%) had pain relief for ≥6 months from first procedure. New facial numbness developed immediately postprocedure in 8 (50%) patients. Transient, partial abducens nerve palsy occurred in 1 patient.

CONCLUSION: PBC/Gly is an effective option for medically refractory TN in patients with mass-associated TN and is a viable option for repeat treatment.

Transuncal Selective Amygdalohippocampectomy by an Inferolateral Preseptal Endoscopic Approach Through Inferior Eyelid Conjunctival Incision: An Anatomic Study

Operative Neurosurgery 25:199–208, 2023

Transorbital endoscopic approaches have been described for pathologies of anterior and middle fossae. Standard lateral orbitotomy gives access to mesial temporal lobe, but the axis of work is partially obscured by the temporal pole and working corridor is limited.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the usefulness of an inferolateral orbitotomy to provide a more direct corridor to perform a transuncal selective amygdalohippocampectomy.

METHODS: Three adult cadaveric specimens were used for a total of 6 dissections. A step-by-step description and illustration of the transuncal corridor for a selective amygdalohippocampectomy were performed using the inferolateral orbitotomy through an inferior eyelid conjunctival incision. The anatomic landmarks were demonstrated in detail. Orbitotomies and angles of work were measured from computed tomography scans, and the area of resection was illustrated by postdissection MRI.

RESULTS: Inferior eyelid conjunctival incision was made for exposure of the inferior orbital rim. Inferolateral transorbital approach was performed to access the transuncal corridor. Endoscopic selective amygdalohippocampectomy was performed through the entorhinal cortex without damage to the temporal neocortex or Meyer’s loop. The mean horizontal diameter of the osteotomy was 14.4 mm, and the vertical one was 13.6 mm. The mean angles of work were 65°and 35.5°in the axial and sagittal planes, respectively. Complete amygdalohippocampectomy was achieved in all 6 dissections.

CONCLUSION: Transuncal selective amygdalohippocampectomy was feasible in cadaveric specimens using the inferolateral transorbital endoscopic approach avoiding damage to the temporal neocortex and Meyer’s loop. The inferior eyelid conjunctival incision may result in an excellent cosmetic outcome.

Management strategies in clival and craniovertebral junction chordomas: a 29-year experience

J Neurosurg 138:1640–1652, 2023

Chordomas represent one of the most challenging subsets of skull base and craniovertebral junction (CVJ) tumors to treat. Despite extensive resection followed by proton-beam radiation therapy, the recurrence rate remains high, highlighting the importance of developing efficient treatment strategies. In this study, the authors present their experience in treating clival and CVJ chordomas over a 29-year period.

METHODS The authors conducted a retrospective study of clival and CVJ chordomas that were surgically treated at their institution from 1991 to 2020. This study focuses on three aspects of the management of these tumors: the factors influencing the extent of resection (EOR), the predictors of survival, and the outcomes of the endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs) compared with open approaches (OAs).

RESULTS A total of 265 surgical procedures were performed in 210 patients, including 123 OAs (46.4%) and 142 EEAs (53.6%). Tumors that had an intradural extension (p = 0.03), brainstem contact (p = 0.005), cavernous sinus extension (p = 0.004), major artery encasement (p = 0.01), petrous apex extension (p = 0.003), or high volume (p = 0.0003) were significantly associated with a lower EOR. The 5-year progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) rates were 52.1% and 75.1%, respectively. Gross-total resection and Ki-67 labeling index < 6% were considered to be independent prognostic factors of longer PFS (p = 0.0005 and p = 0.003, respectively) and OS (p = 0.02 and p = 0.03, respectively). Postoperative radiation therapy correlated independently with a longer PFS (p = 0.006). Previous surgical treatment was associated with a lower EOR (p = 0.01) and a higher rate of CSF leakage after EEAs (p = 0.02) but did not have significantly lower PFS and OS compared with primary surgery. Previously radiation therapy correlated with a worse outcome, with lower PFS and OS (p = 0.001 and p = 0.007, respectively). EEAs were more frequently used in patients with upper and middle clival tumors (p = 0.002 and p < 0.0001, respectively), had a better rate of EOR (p = 0.003), and had a lower risk of de novo neurological deficit (p < 0.0001) compared with OAs. The overall rate of postoperative CSF leakage after EEAs was 14.8%.

CONCLUSIONS This large study showed that gross-total resection should be attempted in a multidisciplinary skull base center before providing radiation therapy. EEAs should be considered as the gold-standard approach for upper/middle clival lesions based on the satisfactory surgical outcome, but OAs remain important tools for large complex chordomas.

Indications and outcomes of endoscopic transorbital surgery for trigeminal schwannoma based on tumor classification: a multicenter study with 50 cases

J Neurosurg 138:1653–1661, 2023

Trigeminal schwannoma is a rare CNS tumor and involves the multicompartmental skull base. Recently, the endoscopic transorbital approach (ETOA) has emerged as a technique for minimally invasive surgery. The objective of this study was to evaluate the optimal indications and clinical outcomes of the ETOA for trigeminal schwannomas based on their tumor classification.

METHODS Between September 2016 and February 2022, the ETOA was performed in 50 patients with trigeminal schwannoma at four tertiary hospitals. There were 15 men and 35 women in the study, with a mean age of 46.9 years. All tumors were classified as type A (predominantly involving the middle cranial fossa), type B (predominantly involving the posterior cranial fossa), type C (dumbbell-shaped tumors involving the middle and posterior fossa), or type D (involvement of the extracranial compartment). Type D tumors were also subclassified by ophthalmic division (D1), maxillary division (D2), and mandibular division (D3). Clinical outcome was analyzed, including extent of resection and surgical morbidities.

RESULTS In this study, overall gross-total resection (GTR) was performed in 35 (70.0%) of 50 patients and near-total resection (NTR) in 9 patients (18.0%). The mean follow-up period was 21.9 (range 1–61.7) months. There was no tumor regrowth or recurrence during the follow-up period. Based on the classification, there were 17 type A tumors, 20 type C, and 13 type D. There were no type B tumors. Of the 13 type D tumors, 7 were D1, 1 D2, and 5 D3. For type A tumors, GTR or NTR was achieved using an ETOA in 16 (94.1%) of 17 patients. Eighteen (90.0%) of 20 patients with type C tumors attained GTR or NTR. Ten (76.9%) of 13 patients with type D tumors underwent GTR. Statistical analysis showed that there was no significant difference in the extent of resection among the tumor subtypes. Surgical complications included transient partial ptosis (n = 4), permanent ptosis (n = 1), transient diplopia (n = 7), permanent diplopia (n = 1), corneal keratopathy (n = 7), difficulties in mastication (n = 5), and neuralgic pain or paresthesia (n = 14). There were no postoperative CSF leaks or enophthalmos during follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS This study showed that trigeminal schwannomas can be effectively treated with a minimally invasive ETOA in all tumor types, except those predominantly involving the posterior fossa (type B). For the extracranial compartments, D2 or D3 tumor types often require an ETOA combined with the endoscopic endonasal approach, while D1 tumor types can be treated using an ETOA alone.

Invention of an Online Interactive Virtual Neurosurgery Simulator With Audiovisual Capture for Tactile Feedback

Operative Neurosurgery 24:194–200, 2023

BACKGROUND: Present neurosurgical simulators are not portable.

OBJECTIVE: To maximize portability of a virtual surgical simulator by providing online learning and to validate a unique psychometric method (“audiovisual capture”) to provide tactile information without force feedback probes.

METHODS: An online interactive neurosurgical simulator of a posterior petrosectomy was developed. The difference in the hardness of compact vs cancellous bone was presented with audiovisual effects as inclinations of the drilling speed and sound based on engineering perspectives. Three training methods (the developed simulator, lectures and review of slides, and dissection of a 3-dimensional printed temporal bone model [D3DPM]) were evaluated by 10 neurosurgical residents. They all first attended a lecture and were randomly allocated to 2 groups by the training D3DPM (A: simulator; B: review of slides, no simulator). In D3DPM, objective measures (required time, quality of completion, injury scores of important structures, and the number of instructions provided) were compared between groups. Finally, the residents answered questionnaires.

RESULTS: The objective measures were not significantly different between groups despite a younger tendency in group A (graduate year À2.4 years, 95% confidence interval À5.3 to 0.5, P = .081). The mean perceived hardness of cancellous bone on the simulator was 70% of that of compact bone, matching the intended profile. The simulator was superior to lectures and review of slides in feedback and repeated practices and to D3DPM in adaptability to multiple learning environments.

CONCLUSION: A novel online interactive neurosurgical simulator was developed, and satisfactory validity was shown. Audiovisual capture successfully transmitted the tactile information.

Stereotactic radiosurgery for intracranial chordomas: an international multiinstitutional study

J Neurosurg 137:977–984, 2022

The object of this study was to evaluate the safety, efficacy, and long-term outcomes of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in the management of intracranial chordomas.

METHODS This retrospective multicenter study involved consecutive patients managed with single-session SRS for an intracranial chordoma at 10 participating centers. Radiological and neurological outcomes were assessed after SRS, and predictive factors were evaluated via statistical methodology.

RESULTS A total of 93 patients (56 males [60.2%], mean age 44.8 years [SD 16.6]) underwent single-session SRS for intracranial chordoma. SRS was utilized as adjuvant treatment in 77 (82.8%) cases, at recurrence in 13 (14.0%) cases, and as primary treatment in 3 (3.2%) cases. The mean tumor volume was 8 cm 3 (SD 7.3), and the mean prescription volume was 9.1 cm 3 (SD 8.7). The mean margin and maximum radiosurgical doses utilized were 17 Gy (SD 3.6) and 34.2 Gy (SD 6.4), respectively. On multivariate analysis, treatment failure due to tumor progression (p = 0.001) was associated with an increased risk for post-SRS neurological deterioration, and a maximum dose > 29 Gy (p = 0.006) was associated with a decreased risk. A maximum dose > 29 Gy was also associated with improved local tumor control (p = 0.02), whereas the presence of neurological deficits prior to SRS (p = 0.04) and an age > 65 years at SRS (p = 0.03) were associated with worse local tumor control. The 5- and 10-year tumor progression-free survival rates were 54.7% and 34.7%, respectively. An age > 65 years at SRS (p = 0.01) was associated with decreased overall survival. The 5and 10-year overall survival rates were 83% and 70%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS SRS appears to be a safe and relatively effective adjuvant management option for intracranial chordomas. The best outcomes were obtained in younger patients without significant neurological deficits. Further well-designed studies are necessary to define the best timing for the use of SRS in the multidisciplinary management of intracranial chordomas.

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

Neurosurgical Review (2022) 45:2087–2093

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

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

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

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

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

Anatomical relationship between the foramen ovale and the lateral plate of the pterygoid process: application to percutaneous treatments of trigeminal neuralgia

Neurosurgical Review (2022) 45:2193–2199

Our aim was to clarify the variations in the positional relationship between the base of the lateral plate of the pterygoid process and the foramen ovale (FO), which block inserted needles during percutaneous procedures to the FO usually used for the treatment of trigeminal neuralgia.

Ninety skulls were examined. The horizontal relationship between the FO and the posterior border of the base of the lateral plate of the pterygoid process was observed in an inferior view of the skull base. Skulls that showed injury to either the FO or the lateral plate of the pterygoid process on either side were excluded.

One hundred and sixty sides of eighty skulls were eligible. The relationship between the FO and the posterior border of the base of the lateral plate was classified into four types. Among the 160 sides, type III (direct type) was the most common (35%), followed by type I (lateral type, 29%) and type IV (removed type, 21%); type II (medial type) was the least common (15%). Of the 80 specimens, 53 showed the same type bilaterally.

In type IV, the posterior border of the base of the lateral plate is disconnected from the FO, so percutaneous procedures for treating trigeminal neuralgia could fail in patients with this type.

Retrolabyrinthine transsigmoid approach to complex parabrainstem tumors in the posterior fossa

J Neurosurg 136:1097–1102, 2022

The surgical management of large and complex tumors of the posterior fossa poses a formidable challenge in neurosurgery. The standard retrosigmoid craniotomy approach has been performed at most neurosurgical centers; however, the retrosigmoid approach may not provide enough working space without significant retraction of the cerebellum. The transsigmoid approach provides wider and shallower surgical fields; however, there have been few clinical and no cadaveric studies on its usefulness. In the present study, the authors describe the transsigmoid approach in clinical cases and cadaveric specimens.

METHODS For the clinical study, the authors retrospectively reviewed the medical records and operative charts of patients who had been surgically treated for parabrainstem tumors using the transsigmoid approach between 1997 and 2019. They analyzed patient demographic and clinical data, as well as surgical and clinical outcomes. In the cadaveric study, they compared the surgical views obtained in different approaches (retrosigmoid, presigmoid, retrolabyrinthine, and transsigmoid) and measured the sigmoid sinus width at the level of the endolymphatic sac and the distance between the anterior edge of the sigmoid sinus and the endolymphatic sac on 35 sides in 19 cadaveric specimens.

RESULTS A total of 21 patients (6 males and 15 females) with a mean age of 42.2 (range 15–67) years were included in the clinical study. Eleven patients had meningioma, 7 had vestibular schwannoma, 2 had hemangioblastoma, and 1 had epidermoid cyst. Gross-total, near-total, and subtotal removal were achieved in 7 (33.3%), 3 (14.3%), and 11 (52.4%) patients, respectively. In the cadaveric study, 19 cadaveric specimens were used. The sigmoid sinus was cut in the middle, and the incision was extended from the retrosigmoid to the presigmoid dura. The dura was then retracted upward and downward like opening a door. The results indicated that this technique can widen the operative field anteriorly by approximately 2 cm as compared to the retrosigmoid approach and provides a better view anterior to the brainstem.

CONCLUSIONS The transsigmoid approach is useful for complex parabrainstem tumors in the posterior fossa because it provides a wider and shallower operative view with less retraction of the cerebellum. This enables safer tumor removal with less damage to important structures in the posterior fossa, resulting in better operative and clinical outcomes.


Anterior transpetrosal approach: experiences in 274 cases over 33 years. Technical variations, operated patients, and approach-related complications

J Neurosurg 136:413–421, 2022

The anterior transpetrosal approach (ATPA) was initially reported in 1985. The authors’ institution has 274 case records of surgery performed with the ATPA during the period from 1984 to 2017. Although many technical advances and modifications in the ATPA have occurred over those 33 years, to the authors’ knowledge no articles to date have reported a detailed analysis of variations and complications of the ATPA. In this study, the authors analyzed their patient series to elucidate improvements over time in ATPA methodology while highlighting unresolved problems and evaluating how to avoid surgical complications.

METHODS All surgical cases (274 patients) using the ATPA at the authors’ institution during the period from 1984 to 2017 were analyzed retrospectively using charts, clinical summaries, operative records, and operative videos. Obtained parameters were patient age and sex, diagnosis, size of tumors, location of disease, operative date, neurological symptoms before and after surgery, radiographically identified brain injury, and other surgical complications. The most common diagnosis was petroclival meningioma (n = 158), followed by trigeminal schwannoma (n = 32), chordoma (n = 25), epidermoid tumor (n = 21), other tumor (n = 27), aneurysm (n = 6), and other (n = 5).

RESULTS The original ATPA was performed in 239 cases. In an additional 35 cases, a modified ATPA was performed. Zygomatic osteotomy with ATPA was a common modification that was used in 19 of the 35 cases to decrease retraction damage to the temporal lobe for high-positioned tumors. Brain injury by temporal lobe retraction without venous hemorrhage still occurred in 8 of the 19 cases (3.1%) with surgical death in 1 of these cases (0.4%) of reoperation with sacrifice of the petrosal vein. Symptomatic CSF leak was the most frequent complication noted and was observed in 35 cases (13.5%). In most of these cases the patients were cured by observation or lumbar drain, but in 6 cases (17.1%) reoperation was needed. Facial nerve damage related to surgical approach decreased from 6.2% to 3.5% after 2010; however, the incidence of CSF leaks (13.5%) has not improved.

CONCLUSIONS There have been several modifications and advancements made in the ATPA to increase tumor removal and decrease surgical complications. However, complications related to surgical approach occurred, such as venous occlusion–related brain injury and facial nerve damage at pyramid resection. CSF leak remained an unsolved problem related to the ATPA procedures. Preoperative assessment of venous variation of the middle fossa, pneumatization of the temporal bone, and intraoperative monitoring of cranial nerves are important procedures to decrease these complications.


Morphometric Study of the Posterior Fossa: Identification of Practical Parameters for Tailored Selection of Surgical Routes to the Petroclival Region

J Neurol Surg B Skull Base 2022;83:37–43

The petroclival region is an integral part of the skull base. It can harbor different pathologies and provides access to the petroclival junction and cerebellopontine angle. We present the results of the morphometric analysis of the posterior fossa and a prediction model to enable skull base surgeons to choose an optimal surgical corridor considering patient’s bony anatomy.

Methods Ninety patients (14 to assess interobserver reliability) with temporal bone computed tomography were selected. Exclusion criteria included patients <18 years of age, radiographic evidence of trauma, infection, or previous surgery. The images were analyzed using OsiriX MD (Bernex, Switzerland). We recorded clival length, vertical angle, and surface area, and petroclival angle, petrous apex, and translabyrinthine corridors volume.

Results The average age was 49.5 years (55%) for males. The mean clival length and surface areas were 44.2mm (standard deviation [SD]   4.1) and 8.1 cm2 (SD   1.3). The mean petrous apex and translabyrinthine corridors volumes were 2.2 cm3 (SD   0.6) and 10.1 cm3 (SD   3.7). The mean petroclival angle at the internal auditory canal (IAC) was 154.9 degrees (SD   9). The clival length correlated positively with clival surface area (rho   0.6, p <0.05), petrous apex volume (rho   0.3, p < 0.05), and translabyrinthine volume (rho   0.3, p < 0.05).

Conclusion The petroclival region is complex and with high variability of surgical significance. The use of preoperative measurements of the clival length and petroclival angle as part of surgical planning that could help the surgeon to choose an optimal surgical corridor by overcoming the anatomical variability elements.

Surgery versus radiosurgery for facial nerve schwannoma

J Neurosurg 135:542–553, 2021

Intracranial facial nerve schwannomas (FNS) requiring treatment are frequently recommended for surgery or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). The objective of this study was to compare facial nerve function outcomes between these two interventions for FNS via a systematic review and meta-analysis.

METHODS A search of the Ovid EMBASE, PubMed, SCOPUS, and Cochrane databases from inception to July 2019 was conducted following PRISMA guidelines. Articles were screened against prespecified criteria. Facial nerve out- comes were classified as improved, stabilized, or worsened by last follow-up. Incidence was pooled by random-effects meta-analysis of proportions.

RESULTS Thirty-three articles with a pooled cohort of 519 patients with FNS satisfied all criteria. Twenty-five articles described operative outcomes in 407 (78%) patients; 10 articles reported SRS outcomes in 112 (22%). In the surgical cohort, facial nerve function improved in 23% (95% CI 15%–32%), stabilized in 41% (95% CI 32%–50%), and worsened in 30% (95% CI 21%–40%). In the SRS cohort, facial nerve function was improved in 20% (95% CI 9%–34%), stable in 66% (95% CI 54%–78%), and worsened in 9% (95% CI 3%–16%). Compared with SRS, microsurgery was associated with a significantly lower incidence of stable facial nerve function (p < 0.01) and a significantly higher incidence of wors- ened facial nerve function (p < 0.01). Tumor progression and complication rates were comparable. Outcome certainty assessments were very low to moderate for all parameters.

CONCLUSIONS Unfavorable facial nerve function outcomes are associated with surgical treatment of intracranial FNS, whereas stable facial nerve function outcomes are associated with SRS. Therefore, SRS should be recommended to patients with FNS who require treatment, and surgery should be reserved for patients with another indication, such as decompression of the brainstem. Further study is required to definitively optimize and validate management strategies for these rare skull base tumors.

Tumor Growth Rate as a New Predictor of Progression-Free Survival After Chordoma Surgery

Neurosurgery 89:291–299, 2021

Currently, different postoperative predictors of chordoma recurrence have been identified. Tumor growth rate (TGR) is an image-based calculation that provides quantitative information of tumor’s volume changing over time and has been shown to predict progression-free survival (PFS) in other tumor types.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the usefulness of TGR as a new preoperative radiological marker for chordoma recurrence.

METHODS: A retrospective single-institution study was carried out including patients reflecting these criteria: confirmed diagnosis of chordoma on pathological analysis, no history of previous radiation, and at least 2 preoperative thin-slice magnetic resonance images available to measure TGR. TGR was calculated for all patients, showing the percentage change in tumor size over 1 mo.

RESULTS: A total of 32 patients were retained for analysis. Patients with a TGR ≥ 10.12%/m had a statistically significantly lower mean PFS (P<.0001). TGR≥10.12%/m (odds ratio=26, P=.001) was observed more frequently in recurrent chordoma. In a subgroup analysis, we found that the association of Ki-67 labeling index≥6% and TGR≥10.12%/m was correlated with recurrence (P = .0008).

CONCLUSION: TGR may be considered as a preoperative radiological indicator of tumor proliferation and seems to preoperatively identify more aggressive tumors with a higher tendency to recur. Our findings suggest that the therapeutic strategy and clinical radiological follow-up of patients with chordoma can be adapted also according to this new parameter.