Surgical management of large cerebellopontine angle meningiomas: long-term results of a less aggressive resection strategy

J Neurosurg 138:1630–1639, 2023

Cerebellopontine angle (CPA) meningiomas present many surgical challenges depending on their volume, site of dural attachment, and connection to surrounding neurovascular structures. Assuming that systematic radical resection of large CPA meningiomas carries a high risk of permanent morbidity, the authors adopted an alternative strategy of optimal resection followed by radiosurgery or careful observation of the residual tumor and assessed the efficiency and safety of this approach to meningioma treatment management.

METHODS This single-center retrospective cohort study included 50 consecutive patients who underwent surgery for meningioma between January 2003 and February 2020.

RESULTS The most common main dural attachments of the meningiomas were posterior (42%) and superior (26%) to the internal auditory meatus. The suboccipital retrosigmoid route was the most routinely used (92%). At the last follow-up examination, 93% of the patients with normal preoperative facial nerve (FN) function retained good House-Brackmann (HB) grades of I and II, whereas 3 patients (7%) displayed intermediate HB grade III FN function. Hearing preservation was achieved in 86% of the patients who presented with preoperative serviceable hearing, and recovery after surgery was achieved in 19% of the patients experiencing preoperative hearing loss. In order to preserve all cranial nerve function, gross-total resection was obtained in 26% of patients. Of the 35 patients who had undergone subtotal resection, 20 (57%) had been allocated into a wait-and-rescan treatment approach and 15 (43%) underwent upfront Gamma Knife surgery (GKS). The mean postoperative tumor volume was 1.20 cm 3 in the upfront GKS group and 0.73 cm 3 in the waitand-rescan group (p = 0.08). Tumor control was achieved in 87% and 55% of cases (p < 0.001), with a mean follow-up of 85 and 69 months in the GKS and wait-and-rescan groups, respectively. The 1-, 5-, and 7-year tumor progression-free survival rates were 100%, 100%, and 89% in the GKS group and 95%, 59%, and 47% in the wait-and-rescan group, respectively (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS Optimal nonradical resection of large CPA meningiomas provides favorable long-term tumor control and functional preservation. Adjuvant GKS does not carry additional morbidity and appears to be an efficient adjuvant treatment.

A system of anatomical triangles defining dissection routes to brainstem cavernous malformations

J Neurosurg 138:768–784, 2023

Anatomical triangles defined by intersecting neurovascular structures delineate surgical routes to pathological targets and guide neurosurgeons during dissection steps. Collections or systems of anatomical triangles have been integrated into skull base surgery to help surgeons navigate complex regions such as the cavernous sinus. The authors present a system of triangles specifically intended for resection of brainstem cavernous malformations (BSCMs). This system of triangles is complementary to the authors’ BSCM taxonomy that defines dissection routes to these lesions.

METHODS The anatomical triangle through which a BSCM was resected microsurgically was determined for the patients treated during a 23-year period who had both brain MRI and intraoperative photographs or videos available for review.

RESULTS Of 183 patients who met the inclusion criteria, 50 had midbrain lesions (27%), 102 had pontine lesions (56%), and 31 had medullary lesions (17%). The craniotomies used to resect these BSCMs included the extended retrosigmoid (66 [36.1%]), midline suboccipital (46 [25.1%]), far lateral (30 [16.4%]), pterional/orbitozygomatic (17 [9.3%]), torcular (8 [4.4%]), and lateral suboccipital (8 [4.4%]) approaches. The anatomical triangles through which the BSCMs were most frequently resected were the interlobular (37 [20.2%]), vallecular (32 [17.5%]), vagoaccessory (30 [16.4%]), supracerebellar-infratrochlear (16 [8.7%]), subtonsillar (14 [7.7%]), oculomotor-tentorial (11 [6.0%]), infragalenic (8 [4.4%]), and supracerebellar-supratrochlear (8 [4.4%]) triangles. New but infrequently used triangles included the vertebrobasilar junctional (1 [0.5%]), supratrigeminal (3 [1.6%]), and infratrigeminal (5 [2.7%]) triangles. Overall, 15 BSCM subtypes were exposed through 6 craniotomies, and the approach was redirected to the BSCM by one of the 14 triangles paired with the BSCM subtype.

CONCLUSIONS A system of BSCM triangles, including 9 newly defined triangles, was introduced to guide dissection to these lesions. The use of an anatomical triangle better defines the pathway taken through the craniotomy to the lesion and refines the conceptualization of surgical approaches. The triangle concept and the BSCM triangle system increase the precision of dissection through subarachnoid corridors, enhance microsurgical execution, and potentially improve patient outcomes.

The rhinopharyngeal flap for reconstruction of lower clival and craniovertebral junction defects

J Neurosurg 135:1319–1327, 2021

The endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) to the lower clivus and craniovertebral junction (CVJ) has been traditionally performed via resection of the nasopharyngeal soft tissues. Alternatively, an inferiorly based rhinopharyngeal (RP) flap (RPF) can be dissected to help reconstruct the postoperative defect and separate it from the oropharynx. To date, there is no evidence regarding the viability and potential clinical impact of the RPF. The aim of this study was to assess RPF viability and its impact on clinical outcome.

METHODS A retrospective cohort of 60 patients who underwent EEA to the lower clivus and CVJ was studied. The RPF was used in 30 patients (RPF group), and the nasopharyngeal soft tissues were resected in 30 patients (control group).

RESULTS Chordoma was the most common surgical indication in both groups (47% in the RPF group vs 63% in the control group, p = 0.313), followed by odontoid pannus (20% in the RPF group vs 10%, p = 0.313). The two groups did not significantly differ in terms of extent of tumor (p = 0.271), intraoperative CSF leak (p = 0.438), and skull base reconstruction techniques other than the RPF (nasoseptal flap, p = 0.301; fascia lata, p = 0.791; inlay graft, p = 0.793; and prophylactic lumbar drain, p = 0.781). Postoperative soft-tissue enhancement covering the lower clivus and CVJ observed on MRI was significantly higher in the RPF group (100% vs 26%, p < 0.001). The RPF group had a significantly lower rate of nasoseptal flap necrosis (3% vs 20%, p = 0.044) and surgical site infection (3% vs 27%, p = 0.026) while having similar rates of postoperative CSF leakage (17% in the RPF group vs 20%, p = 0.739) and meningitis (7% in the RPF group vs 17%, p = 0.424). Oropharyngeal bacterial flora dominated the infections in the control group but not those in the RPF group, suggesting that the RPF acted as a barrier between the nasopharynx and oropharynx.

CONCLUSIONS The RPF provides viable vascularized tissue coverage to the lower clivus and CVJ. Its use was associated with decreased rates of nasoseptal flap necrosis and local infection, likely due to separation from the oropharynx.

How I do it: endoscopic endonasal resection of tuberculum sellae meningioma

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:2193–2197

Tuberculum sellae meningiomas (TSMs) adherent to neurovascular structures are particularly challenging lesions requiring delicate and precise microneurosurgery. There is an ongoing debate about the optimal surgical approach.

Method We describe technical nuances and challenges in TSM resection using the endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) in two cases of fibrous tumors with adherence to neurovascular structures. The cases are illustrated with a video (case 1) and figures (cases 1 and 2).

Conclusion A dedicated team approach and precise microsurgical technique facilitate safe resection of complex TSMs through the EEA.

Differences in surgical outcome between petroclival meningioma and anterior petrous meningioma

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:1697–1704

Petroclival meningiomas (PC MNGs) and anterior petrous meningiomas (AP MNGs) have similar locations.
However, these are different tumors clearly divided by the trigeminal nerve. There has never been a study on the comparison
of the surgical outcomes of these two meningiomas. In this study, we compared and analyzed the surgical outcome of PCMNGs
and AP MNGs.

Methods The charts of 85 patients diagnosed with PC MNGs of AP MNGs who underwent surgical treatment were retrospectively
reviewed. And we analyzed the characteristics of 49 PC MNGs (57.6%) and compared them with those of 36 AP MNGs.

Results Preoperative brainstemedema was observed in 11 patients (22.4%) of the PCMNG group and 1 patient (2.8%) of the AP
MNG group (p = 0.024). Total tumor removal was achieved in 21 patients (58.3%) of the AP MNG group, but only 17 patients
(34.7%) of the PC MNG group were able to completely (p = 0.047). In addition, sixth cranial nerve palsy occurred in 17 patients
(34.7%) of the PC MNG group and 4 patients (11.1%) of the AP MNG group (p = 0.025).

Conclusions In this study, we found that PC MNGs has a worse surgical outcome than AP MNGs, because PC MNGs were
difficult to completely remove and were more likely to damage abducens nerve.

The endoscope-assisted supraorbital “keyhole” approach for anterior skull base meningiomas: an updated meta-analysis

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:661–676

The gold-standard treatment for symptomatic anterior skull base meningiomas is surgical resection. The endoscope-assisted supraorbital “keyhole” approach (eSKA) is a promising technique for surgical resection of olfactory groove (OGM) and tuberculum sellae meningioma (TSM) but has yet to be compared with the microscopic transcranial (mTCA) and the expanded endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) in the context of existing literature.

Methods An updated study-level meta-analysis on surgical outcomes and complications of OGM and TSM operated with the eSKA, mTCA, and EEA was conducted using random-effect models.

Results A total of 2285 articles were screened, yielding 96 studies (2191 TSM and 1510 OGM patients). In terms of effective- ness, gross total resection incidence was highest in mTCA (89.6% TSM, 91.1% OGM), followed by eSKA (85.2% TSM, 84.9% OGM) and EEA (83.9% TSM, 82.8% OGM). Additionally, the EEA group had the highest incidence of visual improvement (81.9% TSM, 54.6% OGM), followed by eSKA (65.9% TSM, 52.9% OGM) and mTCA (63.9% TSM, 45.7% OGM). However, in terms of safety, the EEA possessed the highest cerebrospinal fluid leak incidence (9.2% TSM, 14.5% OGM), compared with eSKA (2.1% TSM, 1.6% OGM) and mTCA (1.6% TSM, 6.5% OGM). Finally, mortality and intraoperative arterial injury were 1% or lower across all subgroups.

Conclusions: In the context of diverse study populations, the eSKA appeared not to be associated with increased adverse outcomes when compared with mTCA and EEA and offered comparable effectiveness. Case-selection is paramount in establishing a role for the eSKA in anterior skull base tumours.


Access to Meckel’s cave for biopsies of indeterminate lesions

Neurosurgical Review (2021) 44:249–259

Accessing Meckel’s cave (MC) is surgically challenging. Open approaches are complex and often correlated with high morbidity. Endoscopic approaches emerged in the last decade as feasible alternatives to open approaches, especially for sampling indeterminate lesions.

This article first analyses available routes to approach Meckel’s cave and presents furthermore an illustrative case. We conducted a systematic review and reported according to the guidelines for preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA). Various surgical approaches identified through the search are evaluated and discussed in detail. Additionally, we report on a case of woman with a lesion in MC, which was accessed through an endoscopic transpterygoid approach subsequently diagnosed as a diffuse large B cell lymphoma. Our search delivered 75 articles that included case reports (n = 21), cadaveric studies (n = 32), clinical articles (n = 16), review of the literatures (n = 3), as well as technical notes (n = 2) and a radiological manuscript (n = 1).

Open routes included lateral approaches with many variations, mainly intra- and extradural pterional approaches and anterior petrosal, as well as a retrosigmoid intradural suprameatal and a lateral transorbital approach.

Endoscopically, MC was reached via approaches that included transpterygoid, transorbital or infraorbital fissure routes.

Percutaneous approaches, e.g. through the foramen ovale, were also described. Multiple surgical approaches to MC are currently available.

Their different characteristics as well as individual patient factors, such as clinical history and the localization of the disease, have to be considered when choosing a surgical corridor.

Studies included in this review highlight the endonasal endoscopic transpterygoidal technique as an excellent corridor for biopsies in the ventral MC.

Postoperative Hearing Preservation in Patients Undergoing Retrosigmoid Craniotomy for Resection of Vestibular Schwannomas: A Systematic Review of 2034 Patients

Neurosurgery 2019 DOI:10.1093/neuros/nyz147

Vestibular schwannomas (VS) are benign tumors derived from Schwann cells ensheathing the vestibulocochlear nerve. The retrosigmoid (RS) surgical approach is useful to resect tumors of multiple sizes while affording the possibility of preserving postoperative hearing.

OBJECTIVE: To conduct a systematic review of published literature investigating hearing preservation rates in patients who underwent the RS approach for VS treatment.

METHODS: The PubMed, Scopus, and Embase databases were surveyed for studies that reported preoperative and postoperative hearing grades on VS patients who underwent RS treatment. Hearing preservation rates were calculated, and additional patient demographic data were extracted. Tumor size data were stratified to compare hearing preservation rates after surgery for intracanalicular, small (0-20 mm), and large (>20 mm) tumors.

RESULTS: Of 383 deduplicated articles, 26 studies (6.8%) met eligibility criteria for a total of 2034 patients with serviceable preoperative hearing, for whom postoperative hearing status was evaluated. Aggregate hearing preservation was 31% and 35% under a fixed and random effects model, respectively. A mixed effects model was used to determine hearing preservation rates depending on tumor size, which were determined to be 57%, 37%, and 12% for intracanalicular, small, and large tumors, respectively. Significant crossstudy heterogeneity was found (I2 = 93%, τ 2 = .964, P < .01; Q = 287.80, P = < .001), with rates of hearing preservation ranging from 0% to 100%.

CONCLUSION: Tumor size may have an effect on hearing preservation rates, but multiple factors should be considered. Discussion of a patient’s expectations for hearing preservation is critical when deciding on VS treatment plans.

Hearing preservation in vestibular schwannoma surgery via retrosigmoid transmeatal approach

Acta Neurochirurgica (2019) 161:2265 –2269

Advances in various diagnostic and/or treatment modalities, including radiological imaging, neuromonitoring, and microsurgical techniques, have resulted in treatments of vestibular schwannomas being aimed at preserving facial and hearing functions while achieving optimal tumor control.

Method We describe our surgical technique for hearing preservation in vestibular schwannoma surgery.

Conclusion The retrosigmoid transmeatal approach under continuous neuromonitoring (auditory brainstem response, cochlear nerve action potentials, and continuous facial nerve monitoring) enables gross-total resection of vestibular schwannomas, while preserving hearing and facial functions. Radiological assessment and microsurgical techniques, such as meticulous tumor dissection, are also essential for functional preservation with sufficient tumor removal.

Comparing costs of microsurgical resection and stereotactic radiosurgery for vestibular schwannoma

J Neurosurg 131:1395–1404, 2019

Given rising scrutiny of healthcare expenditures, understanding intervention costs is increasingly important. This study aimed to compare and characterize costs for vestibular schwannoma (VS) management with microsurgery and radiosurgery to inform practice decisions and appraise cost reduction strategies.

METHODS In conjunction with medical records, internal hospital financial data were used to evaluate costs. Total cost was divided into index costs (costs from arrival through discharge for initial intervention) and follow-up costs (through 36 months) for 317 patients with unilateral VSs undergoing initial management between June 2011 and December 2015. A retrospective matched cohort based on tumor size with 176 patients (88 undergoing each intervention) was created to objectively compare costs between microsurgery and radiosurgery. The full sample of 203 patients treated with resection and 114 patients who underwent radiosurgery was used to evaluate a broad range of outcomes and identify cost contributors within each intervention group.

RESULTS Within the matched cohort, average index costs were significantly higher for microsurgery (100% by definition, because costs are presented as a percentage of the average index cost for the matched microsurgery group; 95% CI 93–107) compared to radiosurgery (38%, 95% CI 38–39). Microsurgery had higher average follow-up costs (1.6% per month, 95% CI 0.8%–2.4%) compared to radiosurgery (0.5% per month, 95% CI 0.4%–0.7%), largely due to costs incurred in the initial months after resection. A major contributor to total cost and cost variability for both resection and radiosurgery was the need for additional interventions in the follow-up period, which were necessary due to complications or persistent functional deficits. Although tumor size was not associated with increased total costs for radiosurgery, linear regression analysis demonstrated that, for patients who underwent microsurgery, each centimeter increase in tumor maximum diameter resulted in an estimated increase in total cost of 50.2% of the average index cost of microsurgery (95% CI 34.6%–65.7%) (p < 0.001, R 2 = 0.17). There were no cost differences associated with the proportion of inpatient days in the ICU or with specific surgical approach for patients who underwent resection.

CONCLUSIONS This study is the largest assessment to date based on internal cost data comparing VS management with microsurgery and radiosurgery. Both index and follow-up costs are significantly higher when tumors were managed with resection compared to radiosurgery. Larger tumors were associated with increased resection costs, highlighting the incremental costs associated with observation as the initial management.

The modified retrosigmoid approach

Acta Neurochirurgica (2019) 161:417–423

The traditional retrosigmoid (RS) approach provides limited exposure of the inferior compartment of the CPA, while radical skull base approaches are demanding and associated with significant morbidity.

Methods This study outlines the relevant surgical anatomy and the different surgical steps of a modified retrosigmoid (MRS) approach. Results The MRS provides enhanced exposure of the CPA and deep vascular structures resulting from a modified RS craniotomy and limited exposure of the sigmoid sinus.

Conclusion In selected posterior fossa lesions, this cisternal approach is a straightforward corridor that can be routinely performed as a safe alternative to radical cranial base approaches.

Surgical clipping of vertebrobasilar junction aneurysms through a far-lateral transcondylar approach

Acta Neurochirurgica (2018) 160:1149–1153

Vertebrobasilar junction aneurysms occur rarely, but have a higher rupture rate than supratentoral aneurysms, and higher morbidity and mortality. Their location ventral to the neuroaxis makes them a challenging surgical lesion.

Methods In this paper, we share our experience with the surgical technique for the management of these complex aneurysms.

Conclusion An in-depth understanding of the anatomy of these aneurysms, careful preoperative planning, and a meticulous surgical technique, including knowledge of every detail of the procedure—positioning, an advanced skull base technique, and careful aneurysm dissection and clipping—is essential for a successful outcome of the surgery.

Risk factors associated with postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leak after endoscopic endonasal skull base surgery

J Neurosurg 128:1066–1071, 2018

The aim in this paper was to determine risk factors for the development of a postoperative CSF leak after an endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) for resection of skull base tumors.

METHODS A retrospective review of patients who underwent EEA for the resection of intradural pathology between January 1997 and June 2012 was performed. Basic demographic data were collected, along with patient body mass index (BMI), tumor pathology, reconstruction technique, lumbar drainage, and outcomes.

RESULTS Of the 615 patients studied, 103 developed a postoperative CSF leak (16.7%). Sex and perioperative lumbar drainage did not affect CSF leakage rates. Posterior fossa tumors had the highest rate of CSF leakage (32.6%), followed by anterior skull base lesions (21.0%) and sellar/suprasellar lesions (9.9%) (p < 0.0001). There was a higher leakage rate for overweight and obese patients (BMI > 25 kg/m2) than for those with a healthy-weight BMI (18.7% vs 11.5%; p = 0.04). Patients in whom a pedicled vascularized flap was used for reconstruction had a lower leakage rate than those in whom a free graft was used (13.5% vs 27.8%; p = 0.0015). In patients with a BMI > 25 kg/m2, the use of a pedicled flap reduced the rate of CSF leakage from 29.5% to 15.0% (p = 0.001); in patients of normal weight, this reduction did not reach statistical significance (21.9% [pedicled flap] vs 9.2% [free graft]; p = 0.09).

CONCLUSIONS Preoperative BMI > 25 kg/m2 and tumor location in the posterior fossa were associated with higher rates of postoperative CSF leak. Use of a pedicled vascularized flap may be associated with reduced risk of a CSF leak, particularly in overweight patients.

Fronto-orbitozygomatic approach: functional and cosmetic outcomes in a series of 169 patients

J Neurosurg 128:466–474, 2018

Advantages of the fronto-orbitozygomatic (FOZ) approach have been reported extensively in the literature; nevertheless, restoration of normal anatomy and the esthetic impact of surgery are increasingly important issues for patients and neurosurgeons. The aim of this study was to analyze functional and cosmetic outcomes in a series of 169 patients with different pathologies who underwent surgery in which the FOZ approach was used.

METHODS Between January 2000 and December 2014, 250 consecutive patients underwent surgery with an FOZ approach as the primary surgical treatment. Follow-up data were available for only 169 patients; 103 (60.9%) of these patients were female and 66 (39.1%) were male, and their ages ranged from 6 to 77 years (mean 46.9 years; SD 15.6 years). Mean follow-up time was 66 months (range 6–179 months; SD 49.5 months). Evaluation of clinical outcomes was performed with a focus on 4 main issues: surgical complications, functional outcome, cosmetic outcome, and patient satisfaction. The additional time needed to perform orbitotomy and orbital reconstruction was also evaluated.

RESULTS The permanent postoperative complications included forehead hypesthesia (41.4%) and dysesthesia (15.3%), frontal muscle weakness (10.3%), exophthalmos (1.4%), enophthalmos (4.1%), diplopia (6.6%; 2% were related to surgical approach), and persistent periorbital and eyelid swelling (3%). Approximately 90% of the patients reported subjectively that surgery did not affect their quality of life or complained of only minor problems that did not influence their quality of life significantly. The mean time needed for orbitotomy and orbital reconstruction was approximately half an hour.

CONCLUSIONS Comprehensive knowledge of the potential complications and overall clinical outcomes of the FOZ approach can be of great utility to neurosurgeons in balancing the well-known benefits of the approach with potential additional morbidities.


Safety and Efficacy of TachoSil in Patients Undergoing Skull Base Surgery: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Neurosurgery 80:847–853, 2017

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leakage associated with incomplete sealing of the dura mater is a major complication of intradural procedures.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the efficacy and safety of adjunctive TachoSil (Takeda Pharma A/S, Roskilde, Denmark) with current practice for the prevention of postoperative CSF leaks in patients undergoing elective skull base surgery involving dura mater closure.

METHODS: Patients were intraoperatively randomized to TachoSil or current practice immediately before primary dura closure by suturing ± duraplasty. Choice of adjunctive treatment in the current practice group was at the surgeon’s discretion. Primary efficacy endpoint was occurrence of clinically evident verified postoperative CSF leak or clinically evident pseudomeningocele within 7 weeks after surgery or treatment failure (third application of trial treatment or use of other treatment).

RESULTS: A total of 726 patients were randomized to TachoSil (n = 361) or current practice (n = 365). More current practice patients had sutures plus duraplasty for primary dura closure compared with TachoSil (49.6% vs 35.7%) and fewer had sutures only (45.5% vs 63.2%). The primary endpoint of estimated leak rate favored TachoSil with events in 25 (6.9%) patients vs 30 (8.2%) current practice patients; however, this was not statistically significant (odds ratio: 0.82; 95% confidence interval: 0.47, 1.43; P = .485). Both treatments were well tolerated with similar frequency of adverse events.

CONCLUSION: Very low rates of postoperative CSF leaks can be achieved in patients undergoing skull base surgery of various indications. Although the study did not meet its primary endpoint, TachoSil appears to be safe and effective for the prevention of CSF leaks and associated complications.


Utility of dynamic computed tomography angiography in the preoperative evaluation of skull base tumors

Utility of dynamic computed tomography angiography in the preoperative evaluation of skull base tumors

J Neurosurg 123:1–8, 2015

The anatomical complexity of skull base tumors mandates detailed preoperative planning for safe resection. In particular, the location of critical vascular and bony structures can influence the surgical approach. Traditional methods, such as MRI, MR angiography and/or venography (MRA/MRV), CT angiography and/or venography (CTA/CTV), and digital subtraction angiography, each have their limitations. One alternative that combines the benefits of both detailed anatomy compatible with intraoperative image guidance and visualization of the vascular flow is the 320–detector row dynamic volume CTA/CTV. The authors investigated this technique’s impact on the surgical approach used in a series of complex intracranial tumors.

Methods All patients with complex intracranial tumors who had undergone preoperative dynamic CTA/CTV as well as MRI in the period from July 2010 to June 2012 were retrospectively reviewed. Those in whom only routine CTA/CTV sequences had been obtained were excluded. Clinical records, including imaging studies, operative reports, and hospital course, were reviewed. Ease in detecting specific major arterial and venous tributaries using dynamic CTA/CTV was graded for each case. Furthermore, 2 skull base neurosurgeons projected a desired surgical approach for each tumor based on MRI studies, independent of the CTA/CTV sequences. The projected approach was then compared with the ultimately chosen surgical approach to determine whether preoperative awareness of vasculature patterns altered the actual operative approach.

Results Sixty-four patients were eligible for analysis. Dynamic CTA/CTV successfully demonstrated circle of Willis arteries, major draining sinuses, and deep internal venous drainage in all cases examined. The superior petrosal sinus, vein of Labbé, tentorial veins, and middle fossa veins were also identified in a majority of cases, which played an important role in preoperative planning. Visualization of critical vascular—especially venous—anatomy influenced the surgical approach in 39% (25 of 64) of the cases.

Conclusions Dynamic CTA/CTV has been applied to few neurosurgical disease pathologies to date. This noninvasive technology offers insight into vascular flow patterns as well as 3D anatomical relationships and provides thin-cut sequences for intraoperative navigation. The authors propose dynamic CTA as an addition to the preoperative planning for complex skull base tumors.

Utility of postmortem imaging system for anatomical education in skull base surgery

Utility of postmortem imaging system for anatomical education in skull base surgery

Neurosurg Rev (2015) 38:165–170

Although cadaver dissections are important for skull base surgeons to acquire anatomical knowledge and techniques, their opportunities are limited in Japan. The Autopsy Imaging Center of the University of Fukui Hospital has both a CT scanner and an MR unit solely for deceased patients.

The authors applied the postmortemimaging to cadaver dissections and evaluated its usefulness in surgical education. Ten sides of five formalin-fixed cadaver heads were dissected by ten neurosurgeons. Five neurosurgeons were young, three were moderately experienced, and two were experts in skull base surgery. They performed orbitozygomatic, anterior transpetrosal, posterior transpetrosal, and transcondylar approaches. CT bone images were taken before and after dissections, and MR images were taken before dissection to merge with the CT bone images. The usefulness of the images for each neurosurgeon and for each skull base approach was evaluated.

The postmortem imaging system was useful for all neurosurgeons, especially in anterior transpetrosal, posterior transpetrosal, and transcondylar approaches. They could find the insufficiency or excessiveness of their drilling of specific bony structures with the images. Even the experts in skull base surgery could identify regions in which they could add drilling safely to widen the surgical field more.

The postmortem imaging system was useful for skull base cadaver dissections. This system is expected to be utilized for education and research on surgical anatomy.

Endoscopic endonasal treatment of 103 craniopharyngiomas

Endoscopic endonasal treatment of 103 craniopharyngiomas

J Neurosurg 121:100–113, 2014

Despite their benign histological appearance, craniopharyngiomas can be considered a challenge for the neurosurgeon and a possible source of poor prognosis for the patient. With the widespread use of the endoscope in endonasal surgery, this route has been proposed over the past decade as an alternative technique for the removal of craniopharyngiomas.

Methods. The authors retrospectively analyzed data from a series of 103 patients who underwent the endoscopic endonasal approach at two institutions (Division of Neurosurgery of the Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Naples, Italy, and Division of Neurosurgery of the Bellaria Hospital, Bologna, Italy), between January 1997 and December 2012, for the removal of infra- and/or supradiaphragmatic craniopharyngiomas. Twenty-nine patients (28.2%) had previously been surgically treated.

Results. The authors achieved overall gross-total removal in 68.9% of the cases: 78.9% in purely infradiaphragmatic lesions and 66.3% in lesions involving the supradiaphragmatic space. Among lesions previously treated surgically, the gross-total removal rate was 62.1%. The overall improvement rate in visual disturbances was 74.7%, whereas worsening occurred in 2.5%. No new postoperative defect was noted. Worsening of the anterior pituitary function was reported in 46.2% of patients overall, and there were 38 new cases (48.1% of 79) of postoperative diabetes insipidus. The most common complication was postoperative CSF leakage; the overall rate was 14.6%, and it diminished to 4% in the last 25 procedures, thanks to improvement in reconstruction techniques. The mortality rate was 1.9%, with a mean follow-up duration of 48 months (range 3–246 months).

Conclusions. The endoscopic endonasal approach has become a valid surgical technique for the management of craniopharyngiomas. It provides an excellent corridor to infra- and supradiaphragmatic midline craniopharyngiomas, including the management of lesions extending into the third ventricle chamber. Even though indications for this approach are rigorously lesion based, the data in this study confirm its effectiveness in a large patient series.

The epidural approach to the Meckel’s cave

The epidural approach to the Meckel’s cave- a how I do it

Acta Neurochir (2014) 156:217–220

Meckel’s cave (MC) is a meningeal cleft lying in the middle fossa laterally to the cavernous sinus. Tumours that develop inside the MC may require a surgical resection. The authors describe the surgical technique of the intracranial epidural approach to the MC.

Methods Based upon anatomical dissection showing the relevant surgical anatomy, and illustrated by the video of an operated case, the authors detail the surgical procedure. The key point is to shave the floor of the middle fossa and skeletonize the superior orbital fissure, rotundum and ovale foramen in order to delineate the plane of dural elevation and expose the lateral wall of the MC. The rules of exposure and resection of the tumour are then shown. Variations and limitations of the approach are discussed.

Conclusion Conducted in a stepwise manner and following relevant landmarks, the epidural anterolateral approach offers a safe and reliable exposure to the diseases that develop within the MC.

The Naso-Axial Line: A New Method of Accurately Predicting the Inferior Limit of the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach to the Craniovertebral Junction

The Naso-Axial Line- A New Method of Accurately Predicting the Inferior Limit of the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach to the Craniovertebral Junction

Neurosurgery 71[ONS Suppl 2]:ons308–ons314, 2012

The endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) has developed as an emerging surgical corridor to the craniovertebral junction (CVJ). In addition to understanding its indications and surgical anatomy, the ability to predict its inferior limit is vital for optimal surgical planning.

OBJECTIVE: To develop a method that accurately predicts the inferior limit of the EEA on the CVJ radiologically and to compare this with other currently used methods.

METHODS: Predissection computerized tomographic scans of 9 cadaver heads were used to delineate a novel line, the naso-axial line (NAxL), to predict the inferior EEA limit on the upper cervical spine. A previously described method with the use of the nasopalatine line (NPL or Kassam line) was also used. On computerized tomographic scans obtained following dissection of the EEA, the predicted inferior limits were compared with the actual extent of dissection.

RESULTS: The postdissection inferior EEA limit ranged from the dens tip to the upper half of the C2 body, which matched the limit predicted by NAxL, with no statistically significant difference between them. In contrast to the NAxL, the NPL predicted a significantly lower EEA limit (P , .001), ranging from the lower half of the C2 body to the superior end plate of C3.

CONCLUSION: The novel NAxL more accurately predicts the inferior limit of the EEA than the NPL. This method, which can be easily used on preoperative sagittal scans, accounts for variations in patients’ anatomy and can aid surgeons in the assessment of the EEA to address caudal CVJ pathology.

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