The learning curve for cavernous sinus surgery illustrated by symptomatic intracavernous aneurysm clipping through a pretemporal transcavernous approach

J Neurosurg 140:183–193, 2024

OBJECTIVE The anatomy of the cavernous sinus (CS) has been well studied in the laboratory for decades; however, performing surgery in and around the CS is still a challenge. To reveal the learning curve for CS surgery via the pretemporal transcavernous approach (PTTC), surgical procedures were examined. The authors proposed 4 levels of surgical difficulty in opening the walls of the CS through this approach. Details of the approach were illustrated by surgical videos of symptomatic intracavernous aneurysm clipping.

METHODS Four levels of surgical difficulty were proposed. The higher the level, the more the CS walls were opened. Pathologies corresponding to each level of difficulty in and around the CS were categorized in each level together with explanations. From 2015 to 2021, 5 patients with symptomatic intracavernous aneurysms (diplopia due to compressive cranial neuropathy) underwent the PTTC at the authors’ institute and served as representative cases in opening the walls of the CS. All CS cases from 2009 to 2021 were reviewed and categorized to demonstrate the learning curve.

RESULTS Four levels of surgical difficulty are as follows: level 1, a basic Dolenc extradural approach, which involves opening the anterior third of the superior and lateral walls of the CS; level 2, mobilizing the internal carotid artery (ICA) and opening the proximal dural ring to enter the roof of the CS and treat lesions around the clinoid and upper cavernous ICA; level 3, opening the entire aspect of the superior and lateral walls of the CS, which involves opening the oculomotor triangle and peeling the lateral wall of the CS to the tentorial incisura; and level 4, mobilizing cranial nerves III, IV, and V1 to gain access to the supra-/infratrochlear triangles to have proximal ICA control and opening the posterior wall as the last step to enter the posterior fossa. Surgical steps were described and illustrated with surgical videos of symptomatic intracavernous aneurysm clipping.

CONCLUSIONS The learning curve for CS surgery is long. The authors use 4 levels of surgical difficulty to describe applications of the PTTC in CS surgery. This approach serves as an effective workhorse in treating CS pathologies with low morbidity and high success rates when performed by experienced neurosurgeons.

Preemptive strategies and lessons learned from complications encountered with microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm

J Neurosurg 140:248–259, 2024

OBJECTIVE Microvascular decompression (MVD) is the only curative treatment modality for hemifacial spasm (HFS). Although generally considered to be safe, this surgical procedure is surrounded by many risks and possible complications. The authors present the spectrum of complications that they met in their case series, the possible causes, and the strategies recommended to minimize them.

METHODS The authors reviewed a prospectively maintained database for MVDs performed from 2005 until 2021 and extracted relevant data including patient demographics, offending vessel(s), operative technique, outcome, and different complications. Descriptive statistics with uni- and multivariable analyses for the factors that may influence the seventh, eighth, and lower cranial nerves were performed.

RESULTS Data from 420 patients were obtained. Three hundred seventeen of 344 patients (92.2%) with a minimum follow-up of 12 months had a favorable outcome. The mean follow-up (standard deviation) was 51.3 ± 38.7 months. Immediate complications reached 18.8% (79/420). Complications persisted in only 7.14% of patients (30/420) including persistent hearing deficits (5.95%) and residual facial palsy (0.95%). Temporary complications included CSF leakage (3.10%), lower cranial nerve deficits (3.57%), meningitis (0.71%), and brainstem ischemia (0.24%). One patient died because of herpes encephalitis. Statistical analyses showed that the immediate postoperative disappearance of spasms and male gender are correlated with postoperative facial palsy, whereas combined vessel compressions involving the vertebral artery (VA) and anterior inferior cerebellar artery can predict postoperative hearing deterioration. VA compressions could predict postoperative lower cranial nerve deficits.

CONCLUSIONS MVD is safe and effective for treating HFS with a low rate of permanent morbidity. Proper patient positioning, sharp arachnoid dissection, and endoscopic visualization under facial and auditory neurophysiological monitoring are the key points to minimize the rate of complications in MVD for HFS.

 

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

J Neurosurg 140:271–281, 2024

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

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

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

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

 

Preserving the cerebellar hemispheric tentorial bridging veins through a novel tentorial cut technique for supracerebellar approaches

J Neurosurg 140:260–270, 2024

OBJECTIVE The objective of this study was to describe the distribution pattern of cerebellar hemispheric tentorial bridging (CHTB) veins on the tentorial surface in a case series of perimedian or paramedian supracerebellar approaches and to describe a novel technique to preserve these veins.

METHODS A series of 141 patients with various pathological processes in different locations was operated on via perimedian or paramedian supracerebellar approaches by the senior author from July 2006 through October 2022 and was retrospectively evaluated. During surgery, the number and locations of all CHTB veins were recorded to establish a distribution map on the tentorial surface, divided into nine zones. Patients were classified into four groups according to the surgical technique used to manage CHTB veins: 1) group 1 consisted of CHTB veins preserved without intervention during surgery or no CHTB veins found in the surgical route; 2) group 2 included CHTB veins coagulated during surgery; 3) group 3 included CHTB veins preserved with arachnoid and/or tentorial dissection from the cerebellar or tentorial surface, respectively; and 4) group 4 comprised CHTB veins preserved using a novel tentorial cut technique.

RESULTS Overall, 141 patients were included in the study. Of these 141 patients, 38 were in group 1 (27%), 32 in group 2 (22.7%), 47 in group 3 (33.3%), and 24 in group 4 (17%). The total number of CHTB veins encountered was 207 during surgeries on one side. According to the distribution zones of the tentorium, zone 5 had the highest density of CHTB veins, while zone 7 had the lowest. Of the patients in group 4, 6 underwent the perimedian supracerebellar approach and 18 had the paramedian supracerebellar approach. There were 39 CHTB veins on the surface of the 24 cerebellar hemispheres in group 4. The tentorial cut technique was performed for 27 of 39 CHTB veins. Twelve veins were not addressed because they did not present any obstacles during approaches. During surgery, no complications were observed due to the tentorial cut technique.

CONCLUSIONS Because there is no way to determine whether a CHTB vein can be sacrificed without complications, it is important to protect these veins in supracerebellar approaches. This new tentorial cut technique in perimedian or paramedian supracerebellar approaches makes it possible to preserve CHTB veins encountered during supracerebellar surgeries.

Prognostic significance of perihematomal edema in basal ganglia hemorrhage after minimally invasive endoscopic evacuation

J Neurosurg 139:1784–1791, 2023

Spontaneous basal ganglia hemorrhage is a common type of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) with no definitive treatment. Minimally invasive endoscopic evacuation is a promising therapeutic approach for ICH. In this study the authors examined prognostic factors associated with long-term functional dependence (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score ≥ 4) in patients who had undergone endoscopic evacuation of basal ganglia hemorrhage.

METHODS In total, 222 consecutive patients who underwent endoscopic evacuation between July 2019 and April 2022 at four neurosurgical centers were enrolled prospectively. Patients were dichotomized into functionally independent (mRS score ≤ 3) and functionally dependent (mRS score ≥ 4) groups. Hematoma and perihematomal edema (PHE) volumes were calculated using 3D Slicer software. Predictors of functional dependence were assessed using logistic regression models.

RESULTS Among the enrolled patients, the functional dependence rate was 45.50%. Factors independently associated with long-term functional dependence included female sex, older age (≥ 60 years), Glasgow Coma Scale score ≤ 8, larger preoperative hematoma volume (OR 1.02), and larger postoperative PHE volume (OR 1.03, 95% CI 1.01–1.05). A subsequent analysis evaluated the effect of stratified postoperative PHE volume on functional dependence. Specifically, patients with large (≥ 50 to < 75 ml) and extra-large (≥ 75 to 100 ml) postoperative PHE volumes had 4.61 (95% CI 0.99–21.53) and 6.75 (95% CI 1.20–37.85) times greater likelihood of long-term dependence, respectively, than patients with a small postoperative PHE volume (≥ 10 to < 25 ml).

CONCLUSIONS A large postoperative PHE volume is an independent risk factor for functional dependence among basal ganglia hemorrhage patients after endoscopic evacuation, especially with postoperative PHE volume ≥ 50 ml.

Endoscopic odontoidectomy for brainstem compression in association with posterior fossa decompression and occipitocervical fusion

J Neurosurg 139:1152–1159, 2023

Endonasal endoscopic odontoidectomy (EEO) is an alternative to transoral surgery for symptomatic ventral compression of the anterior cervicomedullary junction (CMJ), allowing for earlier extubation and feeding. Because the procedure destabilizes the C1–2 ligamentous complex, posterior cervical fusion is often performed concomitantly. The authors’ institutional experience was reviewed to describe the indications, outcomes, and complications in a large series of EEO surgical procedures in which EEO was combined with posterior decompression and fusion.

METHODS A consecutive, prospective series of patients who underwent EEO between 2011 and 2021 was studied. Demographic and outcome metrics, radiographic parameters, extent of ventral compression, extent of dens removal, and increase in CSF space ventral to the brainstem were measured on the preoperative and postoperative scans (first and most recent scans).

RESULTS Forty-two patients (26.2% pediatric) underwent EEO: 78.6% had basilar invagination, and 76.2% had Chiari type I malformation. The mean ± SD age was 33.6 ± 3.0 years, with a mean follow-up of 32.3 ± 4.0 months. The majority of patients (95.2%) underwent posterior decompression and fusion immediately before EEO. Two patients underwent prior fusion. There were 7 intraoperative CSF leaks but no postoperative CSF leaks. The inferior limit of decompression fell between the nasoaxial and rhinopalatine lines. The mean ± SD vertical height of dens resection was 11.98 ± 0.45 mm, equivalent to a mean ± SD resection of 74.18% ± 2.56%. The mean increase in ventral CSF space immediately postoperatively was 1.68 ± 0.17 mm (p < 0.0001), which increased to 2.75 ± 0.23 mm (p < 0.0001) at the most recent follow-up (p < 0.0001). The median (range) length of stay was 5 (2–33) days. The median time to extubation was 0 (0–3) days. The median time to oral feeding (defined as, at minimum, toleration of a clear liquid diet) was 1 (0–3) day. Symptoms improved in 97.6% of patients. Complications were rare and mostly associated with the cervical fusion portion of the combined surgical procedures.

CONCLUSIONS EEO is safe and effective for achieving anterior CMJ decompression and is often accompanied by posterior cervical stabilization. Ventral decompression improves over time. EEO should be considered for patients with appropriate indications.

Surgical, functional, and oncological considerations regarding awake resection for giant diffuse lower-grade glioma of more than 100 cm3

J Neurosurg 139:934–943, 2023

Surgery for giant diffuse lower-grade gliomas (LGGs) is challenging, and very few data have been reported on this topic in the literature. In this article, the authors investigated surgical, functional, and oncological aspects in patients who underwent awake resection for large LGGs with a volume > 100 cm3.

METHODS The authors retrospectively reviewed a consecutive cohort of patients who underwent surgery in an awake condition for an LGG (WHO grade 2 with possible foci of grade 3 transformation) with a volume > 100 cm3.

RESULTS A total of 108 patients were included, with a mean age of 36.1 ± 8.5 years. The mean presurgical LGG volume was 136.7 ± 34.5 cm3. In all but 2 patients a disconnection resective surgery up to functional boundaries was possible thanks to active patient collaboration during the awake period. At 3 months of follow-up, all but 1 patient had a normal neurological examination, with a mean Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) score of 89.8 ± 10.36. In all patients with preoperative epilepsy, there was postoperative control or significant reduction of seizure events. Moreover, 85.1% of patients returned to work. The mean extent of resection (EOR) was 88.9% ± 7.0%, with a mean residual tumor volume (RTV) of 16.3 ± 12.0 cm3 (median RTV 15 cm3). Pathological examination revealed 73 grade 2 gliomas (67.6%; 26 oligodendrogliomas and 47 astrocytomas) and 35 gliomas with foci of grade 3 (32.4%; 19 oligodendrogliomas and 16 astrocytomas). During the postoperative period, 93.6% of patients underwent adjuvant chemotherapy with a median interval between surgery and first chemotherapy of 14 months (IQR 2–26 months), and 55% of patients had radiotherapy with a median interval of 38.5 months (IQR 18–59.8 months). At the last follow-up, 69.7% of patients were still alive with a median follow-up of 62 months (IQR 36–99 months). Overall survival (OS) rates at 1, 5, and 10 years were 100% (95% CI 0.99–1), 80% (95% CI 0.72–0.9), and 58% (95% CI 0.45–0.73), respectively. The median OS was 138 months. In multivariable Cox regression analysis, RTV was established as the only independent prognostic factor for survival.

CONCLUSIONS With the application of rigorous surgical methodology based on functional-guided resection, resection of giant LGGs (volume > 100 cm3) can be reproducibly achieved during surgery with patients under awake mapping with both favorable functional results (< 1% permanent neurological worsening) and favorable long-term oncological outcomes (median OS > 11 years, with a more significant benefit when the RTV is < 15 cm3).

Convergence of the arcuate fasciculus and third branch of the superior longitudinal fasciculus with direct cortical stimulation–induced speech arrest area in the anterior ventral precentral gyrus

J Neurosurg 139:1140–1151, 2023

The objective was to identify the correspondence between the anterior terminations of the arcuate fasciculus (AF) and third branch of the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF-III) and the intraoperative direct cortical electrical stimulation (DCS)–induced speech arrest area.

METHODS The authors retrospectively screened 75 glioma patients (group 1) who received intraoperative DCS mapping in the left dominant frontal cortex. To minimize the influence of tumors or edema, we subsequently selected 26 patients (group 2) with glioma or edema not affecting Broca’s area, the ventral precentral gyrus (vPCG), and the subcortical pathways to generate DCS functional maps and to construct the anterior terminations of AF and SLF-III with tractography. Next, a grid-by-grid pairwise comparison was performed between the fiber terminations and the DCS-induced speech arrest sites to calculate Cohen’s kappa coefficient (κ) in both groups 1 and 2. Finally, the authors also demonstrated the distribution of the AF/SLF-III anterior projection maps obtained in 192 healthy participants (group 3) and subsequently correlated these with the speech arrest sites in group 2 to examine their validity in predicting speech output area.

RESULTS The authors found that speech arrest sites were substantially consistent with SLF-III anterior terminations (group 1, κ = 0.64 ± 0.03; group 2, κ = 0.73 ± 0.05) and moderately consistent with AF (group 1, κ = 0.51 ± 0.03; group 2, κ = 0.49 ± 0.05) and AF/SLF-III complex (group 1, κ = 0.54 ± 0.03; group 2, κ = 0.56 ± 0.05) terminations (all p < 0.0001). The DCS speech arrest sites of the group 2 patients mainly (85.1%) emerged at the anterior bank of the vPCG (vPCGa). In group 3, both terminations of AF and SLF-III converged onto the vPCGa, and their terminations well predicted the DCS speech output area of group 2 (AF, area under the curve [AUC] 86.5%; SLF-III, AUC 79.0%; AF/SLF-III complex, AUC 86.7%).

CONCLUSIONS This study supports the key role of the left vPCGa as the speech output node by showing convergence between speech output mapping and anterior AF/SLF-III connectivity in the vPCGa. These findings may contribute to the understanding of speech networks and could have clinical implications in preoperative surgical planning.

Retrospective single-surgeon study of prone versus lateral robotic pedicle screw placement: a CT-based assessment of accuracy

J Neurosurg Spine 39:490–497, 2023

Lateral lumbar interbody fusion including anterior-to-psoas oblique lumbar interbody fusion has conventionally relied on pedicle screw placement (PSP) for construct stabilization. Single-position surgery with lumbar interbody fusion in the lateral decubitus position with concomitant PSP has been associated with increased operative efficiency. What remains unclear is the accuracy of PSP with robotic guidance when compared with the more familiar prone patient positioning. The present study aimed to compare robot-assisted screw placement accuracy between patients with instrumentation placed in the prone and lateral positions.

METHODS The authors identified all consecutive patients treated with interbody fusion and PSP in the prone or lateral position by a single surgeon between January 2019 and October 2022. All pedicle screws placed were analyzed using CT scans to determine appropriate positioning according to the Gertzbein-Robbins classification grading system (grade C or worse was considered as a radiographically significant breach). Multivariate logistic regression models were constructed to identify risk factors for the occurrence of a radiographically significant breach.

RESULTS Eighty-nine consecutive patients (690 screws) were included, of whom 46 (477 screws) were treated in the prone position and 43 (213 screws) in the lateral decubitus position. There were fewer breaches in the prone (n = 13, 2.7%) than the lateral decubitus (n = 15, 7.0%) group (p = 0.012). Nine (1.9%) radiographically significant breaches occurred in the prone group compared with 10 (4.7%) in the lateral decubitus group (p = 0.019), for a prone versus lateral decubitus PSP accuracy rate of 98.1% versus 95.3%. There were no significant differences in BMI between prone versus lateral decubitus cohorts (30.1 vs 29.6) or patients with screw breach versus those without (31.2 vs 29.5). In multivariate models, the prone position was the only significant protective factor for screw accuracy; no other significant risk factors for screw breach were identified.

CONCLUSIONS The present data suggest that pedicle screws placed with robotic assistance have higher placement accuracy in the prone position. Further studies will be needed to validate the accuracy of PSP in the lateral position as single-position surgery becomes more commonplace in the treatment of spinal disorders.

Endoscopic odontoidectomy for brainstem compression in association with posterior fossa decompression and occipitocervical fusion

J Neurosurg 139:1152–1159, 2023

Endonasal endoscopic odontoidectomy (EEO) is an alternative to transoral surgery for symptomatic ventral compression of the anterior cervicomedullary junction (CMJ), allowing for earlier extubation and feeding. Because the procedure destabilizes the C1–2 ligamentous complex, posterior cervical fusion is often performed concomitantly. The authors’ institutional experience was reviewed to describe the indications, outcomes, and complications in a large series of EEO surgical procedures in which EEO was combined with posterior decompression and fusion.

METHODS A consecutive, prospective series of patients who underwent EEO between 2011 and 2021 was studied. Demographic and outcome metrics, radiographic parameters, extent of ventral compression, extent of dens removal, and increase in CSF space ventral to the brainstem were measured on the preoperative and postoperative scans (first and most recent scans).

RESULTS Forty-two patients (26.2% pediatric) underwent EEO: 78.6% had basilar invagination, and 76.2% had Chiari type I malformation. The mean ± SD age was 33.6 ± 3.0 years, with a mean follow-up of 32.3 ± 4.0 months. The majority of patients (95.2%) underwent posterior decompression and fusion immediately before EEO. Two patients underwent prior fusion. There were 7 intraoperative CSF leaks but no postoperative CSF leaks. The inferior limit of decompression fell between the nasoaxial and rhinopalatine lines. The mean ± SD vertical height of dens resection was 11.98 ± 0.45 mm, equivalent to a mean ± SD resection of 74.18% ± 2.56%. The mean increase in ventral CSF space immediately postoperatively was 1.68 ± 0.17 mm (p < 0.0001), which increased to 2.75 ± 0.23 mm (p < 0.0001) at the most recent follow-up (p < 0.0001). The median (range) length of stay was 5 (2–33) days. The median time to extubation was 0 (0–3) days. The median time to oral feeding (defined as, at minimum, toleration of a clear liquid diet) was 1 (0–3) day. Symptoms improved in 97.6% of patients. Complications were rare and mostly associated with the cervical fusion portion of the combined surgical procedures.

CONCLUSIONS EEO is safe and effective for achieving anterior CMJ decompression and is often accompanied by posterior cervical stabilization. Ventral decompression improves over time. EEO should be considered for patients with appropriate indications.

A proposed classification system for presigmoid approaches: a scoping review

J Neurosurg 139:965–971, 2023

The “presigmoid corridor” covers a spectrum of approaches using the petrous temporal bone either as a target in treating intracanalicular lesions or as a route to access the internal auditory canal (IAC), jugular foramen, or brainstem. Complex presigmoid approaches have been continuously developed and refined over the years, leading to great heterogeneity in their definitions and descriptions. Owing to the common use of the presigmoid corridor in lateral skull base surgery, a simple anatomy-based and self-explanatory classification is needed to delineate the operative perspective of the different variants of the presigmoid route. Herein, the authors conducted a scoping review of the literature with the aim of proposing a classification system for presigmoid approaches.

METHODS The PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, and Web of Science databases were searched from inception to December 9, 2022, following the PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews guidelines to include clinical studies reporting the use of “stand-alone” presigmoid approaches. Findings were summarized based on the anatomical corridor, trajectory, and target lesions to classify the different variants of the presigmoid approach.

RESULTS Ninety-nine clinical studies were included for analysis, and the most common target lesions were vestibular schwannomas (60/99, 60.6%) and petroclival meningiomas (12/99, 12.1%). All approaches had a common entry pathway (i.e., mastoidectomy) but were differentiated into two main categories based on their relationship to the labyrinth: translabyrinthine or anterior corridor (80/99, 80.8%) and retrolabyrinthine or posterior corridor (20/99, 20.2%). The anterior corridor comprised 5 variations based on the extent of bone resection: 1) partial translabyrinthine (5/99, 5.1%), 2) transcrusal (2/99, 2.0%), 3) translabyrinthine proper (61/99, 61.6%), 4) transotic (5/99, 5.1%), and 5) transcochlear (17/99, 17.2%). The posterior corridor consisted of 4 variations based on the target area and trajectory in relation to the IAC: 6) retrolabyrinthine inframeatal (6/99, 6.1%), 7) retrolabyrinthine transmeatal (19/99, 19.2%), 8) retrolabyrinthine suprameatal (1/99, 1.0%), and 9) retrolabyrinthine trans-Trautman’s triangle (2/99, 2.0%).

CONCLUSIONS Presigmoid approaches are becoming increasingly complex with the expansion of minimally invasive techniques. Descriptions of these approaches using the existing nomenclature can be imprecise or confusing. Therefore, the authors propose a comprehensive classification based on the operative anatomy that unequivocally describes presigmoid approaches simply, precisely, and efficiently.

Outcomes following anterior odontoid screw versus posterior arthrodesis for odontoid fractures

J Neurosurg Spine 39:196–205, 2023

Odontoid fractures can be managed surgically when indicated. The most common approaches are anterior dens screw (ADS) fixation and posterior C1–C2 arthrodesis (PA). Each approach has theoretical advantages, but the optimal surgical approach remains controversial. The goal in this study was to systematically review the literature and synthesize outcomes including fusion rates, technical failures, reoperation, and 30-day mortality associated with ADS versus PA for odontoid fractures.

METHODS A systematic literature review was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines by searching the PubMed, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases. A random-effects meta-analysis was performed and the I 2 statistic was used to assess heterogeneity.

RESULTS In total, 22 studies comprising 963 patients (ADS 527, PA 436) were included. The average age of the patients ranged from 28 to 81.2 years across the included studies. The majority of the odontoid fractures were type II based on the Anderson-D’Alonzo classification. The ADS group was associated with statistically significantly lower odds to achieve bony fusion at last follow-up compared to the PA group (ADS 84.1%; PA 92.3%; OR 0.46; 95% CI 0.23–0.91; I 2 42.6%). The ADS group was associated with statistically significantly higher odds of reoperation compared to the PA group (ADS 12.4%; PA 5.2%; OR 2.56; 95% CI 1.50–4.35; I 2 0%). The rates of technical failure (ADS 2.3%; PA 1.1%; OR 1.11; 95% CI 0.52–2.37; I 2 0%) and all-cause mortality (ADS 6%; PA 4.8%; OR 1.35; 95% CI 0.67–2.74; I 2 0%) were similar between the two groups. In the subgroup analysis of patients > 60 years old, the ADS was associated with statistically significantly lower odds of fusion compared to the PA group (ADS 72.4%; PA 89.9%; OR 0.24; 95% CI 0.06–0.91; I 2 58.7%).

CONCLUSIONS ADS fixation is associated with statistically significantly lower odds of fusion at last follow-up and higher odds of reoperation compared to PA. No differences were identified in the rates of technical failure and all-cause mortality. Patients receiving ADS fixation at > 60 years old had significantly higher and lower odds of reoperation and fusion, respectively, compared to the PA group. PA is preferred to ADS fixation for odontoid fractures, with a stronger effect size for patients > 60 years old.

Safety of brainstem safe entry zones: comparison of microsurgical outcomes associated with superficial, exophytic, and deep brainstem cavernous malformations

J Neurosurg 139:113–123, 2023

Safe entry zones (SEZs) enable safe tissue transgression to lesions beneath the brainstem surface. However, evidence for the safety of SEZs is scarce and is based on anatomical studies, case reports, and small series.

METHODS A cohort of 154 patients who underwent microsurgical brainstem cavernous malformation (BSCM) treatment during a 23-year period and who had preoperative MR images and intraoperative photographs or videos was retrospectively examined. This study assessed the safety of SEZs for access to deep BSCMs, preoperative MRI to predict BSCM surface proximity, and the relationships between BSCM subtype, surgical approach, and SEZs. Lesions were characterized as exophytic, superficial, or deep on the basis of preoperative MRI and intraoperative inspection. Outcomes were scored as good (modified Rankin Scale [mRS] score ≤ 2) or poor (mRS score > 2) and relative outcomes as stable/ improved or worse relative to baseline (± 1 point).

RESULTS Resections included 34 (22%) in the midbrain, 102 (66%) in the pons, and 18 (12%) in the medulla. Of those, 23 (15%) were exophytic, 57 (37%) were superficial, and 74 (48%) were deep. Established SEZs were used for 97% (n = 72) of deep lesions; the preferred SEZ associated with its subtype was used for 91% (n = 67). MR images accurately depicted exophytic BSCMs that did not require SEZ approaches (sensitivity, 96%) but overestimated the proximity of lesions superficial to brainstem surfaces (specificity, 67%), resulting in unanticipated SEZ use. Final neurological outcomes were good in 80% of patients with follow-up data (119/149), and relative outcomes were stable/improved in 93% (139/149). Outcomes for patients with brainstem transgression through an SEZ did not differ from outcomes for patients with superficial or exophytic lesions that did not require SEZ use (final mRS score ≤ 2 in 72% of all patients with deep lesions vs 82% of all patients with superficial or exophytic lesions [p = 0.10]). Among patients with follow-up, the rates of permanent new cranial nerve deficits in patients with deep BSCMs and superficial or exophytic BSCMs were 21% and 20%, respectively (p = 0.81), with no significant change in overall cranial nerve deficit (0 and −1, p = 0.65).

CONCLUSIONS Neurological outcomes for patients with deep BSCMs were equivalent to those for superficial or exophytic BSCMs, validating the safety of SEZs for deep BSCMs. Preoperative T1-weighted MR images overestimated the lesion’s surface proximity, necessitating detailed knowledge of SEZs and readiness to use them in cases of radiologicalmicrosurgical discordance. Most patients achieved favorable outcomes despite the transgression of eloquent brainstem tissue in and around SEZs.

The longitudinal volumetric response of vestibular schwannomas after Gamma Knife radiosurgery

J Neurosurg 138:1273–1280, 2023

Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) is an effective treatment for vestibular schwannomas (VSs) and has been used in > 100,000 cases worldwide. In the present study the authors sought to define the serial volumetric tumor response of Koos grade I–IV VS after radiosurgery.

METHODS A total of 201 consecutive VS patients underwent GKRS at a single institution between 2015 and 2019. All patients had a minimum follow-up of 18 months and at least 2 interval postprocedure MRI scans. The contrast-enhanced tumor volumes were contoured manually and compared between pre- and post-GKRS imaging. The percentages of tumor volume change at 18 months (short-term follow-up) and up to 5 years after GKRS (long-term follow-up) were compared with the baseline tumor volume. An increase of 20% was considered a significant increase of tumor volume. Trends of tumor volume over time were assessed with linear models using time as a continuous variable. A test for linear trend was evaluated according to the initial Koos tumor classification.

RESULTS Koos grade II VS was the most frequently occurring tumor (n = 74, 36.8%), followed by grade III (n = 57, 28.4%), grade I (n = 41, 20.4%), and grade IV (n = 29, 14.4%). The mean tumor volume at the time of GKRS was 2.12 ±2.82 cm 3 (range 0.12–18.77 cm 3 ) and the median margin dose was 12 Gy. Short-term follow-up revealed that tumor volumes transiently increased in 34.2% and 28.4% of patients at 6 and 18 months, respectively, regardless of Koos grade. Linear regression analysis of Koos grade II, III, and IV tumors showed a significant longitudinal volume decrease on long-term follow-up. At last follow-up (median 30 months, range 18–54 months), 19 patients (9.4%) showed a persistent increase of tumor volume. Five patients received additional management after GKRS.

CONCLUSIONS Although selected VS patients demonstrate an early and measurable transient volumetric increase after GKRS, > 90% have stable or reduced tumor volumes over an observed period of up to 5 years. Volumetric regression is most pronounced in Koos grade II, III, and IV tumors and may not be fully detectable until 3 years after GKRS.

Minimally invasive modification of the Goel-Harms atlantoaxial fusion technique

Neurosurg Focus 54(3):E14, 2023

The Goel-Harms atlantoaxial screw fixation technique for the treatment of atlantoaxial instability and unstable odontoid fractures is reliable and reproducible for a variety of anatomies. The drawbacks of the technique are the potential for significant bleeding from the C2 nerve root venous plexus and the risks associated with posterior midline exposure and retraction, such as pain and wound complications. The authors developed a minimally invasive surgical (MIS) modification of the Goel-Harms technique using intra-articular grafting to facilitate placement of percutaneous lateral mass and pars screws with extended tabs for minimally invasive subfascial rod placement. The objective of this study was to present the authors’ first series of 5 patients undergoing minimally invasive modification in comparison with 51 patients undergoing open atlantoaxial fusion.

METHODS A retrospective analysis of patient comorbid conditions, blood loss, length of surgery, and length of stay was performed on patients undergoing Goel-Harms instrumented fusion (GHIF) for unstable odontoid fractures performed between 2016 and 2021.

RESULTS Patients undergoing the minimally invasive procedure showed significantly less blood loss than those undergoing the open atlantoaxial fusion procedure, with a median blood loss of 30 ml compared with 150 ml using the open technique (p < 0.01). The patients showed no significant differences in length of stay (2 days for MIS vs 4 days for open atlantoaxial fusion, p = 0.25). There were no significant differences in length of surgery for MIS, but a possible trend toward increased operative duration (234 vs 151 minutes, p = 0.112).

CONCLUSIONS In this small pilot study, it was shown that MIS-GHIF can be performed with decreased blood loss in atlantoaxial instability and odontoid fractures. This technique may allow for greater and safer application of the procedure in the elderly and infirm.

 

Dissociation of Broca’s area from Broca’s aphasia in patients undergoing neurosurgical resections

J Neurosurg 138:847–857, 2023

Broca’s aphasia is a syndrome of impaired fluency with retained comprehension. The authors used an unbiased algorithm to examine which neuroanatomical areas are most likely to result in Broca’s aphasia following surgical lesions.

METHODS Patients were prospectively evaluated with standardized language batteries before and after surgery. Broca’s area was defined anatomically as the pars opercularis and triangularis of the inferior frontal gyrus. Broca’s aphasia was defined by the Western Aphasia Battery language assessment. Resections were outlined from MRI scans to construct 3D volumes of interest. These were aligned using a nonlinear transformation to Montreal Neurological Institute brain space. A voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping (VLSM) algorithm was used to test for areas statistically associated with Broca’s aphasia when incorporated into a resection, as well as areas associated with deficits in fluency independent of Western Aphasia Battery classification. Postoperative MRI scans were reviewed in blinded fashion to estimate the percentage resection of Broca’s area compared to areas identified using the VLSM algorithm.

RESULTS A total of 289 patients had early language evaluations, of whom 19 had postoperative Broca’s aphasia. VLSM analysis revealed an area that was highly correlated (p < 0.001) with Broca’s aphasia, spanning ventral sensorimotor cortex and supramarginal gyri, as well as extending into subcortical white matter tracts. Reduced fluency scores were significantly associated with an overlapping region of interest. The fluency score was negatively correlated with fraction of resected precentral, postcentral, and supramarginal components of the VLSM area.

CONCLUSIONS Broca’s aphasia does not typically arise from neurosurgical resections in Broca’s area. When Broca’s aphasia does occur after surgery, it is typically in the early postoperative period, improves by 1 month, and is associated with resections of ventral sensorimotor cortex and supramarginal gyri.

 

Extra-axial endoscopic third ventriculostomy: preliminary experience with a technique to circumvent conventional endoscopic third ventriculostomy complications

J Neurosurg 138:503–513, 2023

Endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) is mostly safe but may have serious complications. Most of the complications are inherent to the procedure’s intra-axial nature. This study aimed to explore an alternative route to overcome inherent issues with conventional ETV. The authors performed supraorbital, subfrontal extra-axial ETV (EAETV) via the lamina terminalis.

METHODS This prospective study began in October 2021 and included patients with obstructive triventricular hydrocephalus with a Glasgow Coma Scale score of 8 or more and a minimum follow-up of 3 months. Patients with multiloculated hydrocephalus and those younger than 1 year of age were excluded. The preoperative parameters etiology, symptoms, Evans’ Index, frontal occipital horn ratio (FOHR), and third ventricle index were recorded. The surgical procedure is described. Postoperative evaluation included clinical (modified Rankin Scale [mRS]) and radiological assessment with CT and cine phase-contrast MRI. Preoperative and postoperative parameters were compared statistically.

RESULTS Ten patients were included in this study. Six patients had acute hydrocephalus, and 4 had chronic hydrocephalus. After EAETV, all patients showed clinical improvement. An mRS score of 0 or 1 was achieved in 9 patients, but the mRS score remained at 4 in a patient with tectal tuberculoma. There was a significant reduction in Evans’ Index, FOHR, and third ventricle index after EAETV (p < 0.05). The mean percent reduction in Evans’ Index was 20.80% ± 13.89%, the mean percent reduction in FOHR was 20.79% ± 12.98%, and the mean percent reduction in the third ventricle index was 37.45% ± 14.74%. CSF flow voids were seen in all cases. The results of CSF flow quantification parameters were as follows: mean peak velocity 3.82 ± 0.93 cm/sec, mean average velocity 0.10 ± 0.05 cm/sec, mean average flow rate 46.60 ± 28.58 μL/sec, mean forward volume 39.90 ± 23.29 μL, mean reverse volume 34.10 ± 15.98 μL, mean overall flow amplitude 74.00 ± 27.61 μL, and mean stroke volume 37.00 ± 13.80 μL. One patient developed a minor frontal lobe contusion. The frontal air sinus was breached in 5 patients, but none had CSF rhinorrhea. Transient supraorbital hypesthesia was seen in 3 patients. No patient had electrolyte disturbance or change in thirst or fluid intake habits.

CONCLUSIONS EAETV is a feasible, safe, and effective surgical alternative to conventional ETV.

Sacrifice or preserve the superior petrosal vein in microvascular decompression surgery

J Neurosurg 138:390–398, 2023

In microvascular decompression (MVD) surgery through the retrosigmoid approach, the surgeon may have to sacrifice the superior petrosal vein (SPV). However, this is a controversial maneuver. To date, high-level evidence comparing the operative outcomes of patients who underwent MVD with and without SPV sacrifice is lacking. Therefore, this study sought to bridge this gap.

METHODS The authors searched the Medline and PubMed databases with appropriate Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) terms and keywords. The primary outcome was vascular-related complications; secondary outcomes were new neurological deficit, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak, and neuralgia relief. The pooled proportions of outcomes and OR (95% CI) for categorical data were calculated by using the logit transformation and Mantel-Haenszel methods, respectively.

RESULTS Six studies yielding 1143 patients were included, of which 618 patients had their SPV sacrificed. The pooled proportion (95% CI) values were 3.82 (0.87–15.17) for vascular-related complications, 3.64 (1.0–12.42) for new neurological deficits, 2.85 (1.21–6.58) for CSF leaks, and 88.90 (84.90–91.94) for neuralgia relief. The meta-analysis concluded that, whether the surgeon sacrificed or preserved the SPV, the odds were similar for vascular-related complications (2.5% vs 1.5%, OR [95% CI] 1.01 [0.33–3.09], p = 0.99), new neurological deficits (1.2% vs 2.8%, OR [95% CI] 0.55 [0.18–1.66], p = 0.29), CSF leak (3.1% vs 2.1%, OR [95% CI] 1.16 [0.46–2.94], p = 0.75), and neuralgia relief (86.6% vs 87%, OR [95% CI] 0.96 [0.62–1.49], p = 0.84).

CONCLUSIONS SPV sacrifice is as safe as SPV preservation. The authors recommend intentional SPV sacrifice when gentle retraction fails to enhance surgical field visualization and if the surgeon encounters SPV-related neurovascular conflict and/or anticipates impeding SPV-related bleeding.

 

Radiographic comparison of L5–S1 lateral anterior lumbar interbody fusion cage subsidence and displacement by fixation strategy: anterior plate versus integrated screws

J Neurosurg Spine 38:126–130, 2023

OBJECTIVE The aim of this study was to radiographically compare cage subsidence and displacement between L5–S1 lateral anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) cages secured with an anterior buttress plate and cages secured with integrated screws.

METHODS Consecutive patients who underwent L5–S1 lateral ALIF with supplemental posterior fixation by a single surgeon from June 2016 to January 2021 were reviewed. Radiographs were analyzed and compared between the two groups based on the type of fixation used to secure the L5–S1 lateral ALIF cage: 1) anterior buttress plate or 2) integrated screws. The following measurements at L5–S1 were analyzed on radiographs obtained preoperatively, before discharge, and at latest follow-up: 1) anterior disc height, 2) posterior disc height, and 3) segmental lordosis. Cage subsidence and anterior cage displacement were determined radiographically.

RESULTS One hundred thirty-nine patients (mean age 60.0 ± 14.3 years) were included for analysis. Sixty-eight patients were treated with an anterior buttress plate (mean follow-up 12 ± 5 months), and 71 were treated with integrated screws (mean follow-up 9 ± 3 months). Mean age, sex distribution, preoperative L5–S1 lordosis, preoperative L5–S1 anterior disc height, and preoperative L5–S1 posterior disc height were statistically similar between the two groups. After surgery, the segmental L5–S1 lordosis and L5–S1 anterior disc heights significantly improved for both groups, and each respective measurement was similar between the groups at final follow-up. Posterior disc heights significantly increased after surgery with integrated screws but not with the anterior buttress plate. As such, posterior disc heights were significantly greater at final follow-up for integrated screws. Compared with patients who received integrated screws, significantly more patients who received the anterior buttress plate had cage subsidence cranially through the L5 endplate (20.6% vs 2.8%, p < 0.01), cage subsidence caudally through the S1 endplate (27.9% vs 0%, p < 0.01), and anterior cage displacement (22.1% vs 0%, p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS In this radiographic analysis of 139 patients who underwent lateral L5–S1 ALIF supplemented by posterior fixation, L5–S1 cages secured with an anterior buttress plate demonstrated significantly higher rates of cage subsidence and anterior cage displacement compared with cages secured with integrated screws. While the more durable stability afforded by cages secured with integrated screws suggests that they may be a more viable fixation strategy for L5–S1 lateral ALIFs, there are multiple factors that can contribute to cage subsidence, and, thus, definitive presumption cannot be made that the findings of this study are directly related to the buttress plate.

Indication for a skull base approach in microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm

Acta Neurochirurgica (2022) 164:3235–3246

A thorough observation of the root exit zone (REZ) and secure transposition of the offending arteries is crucial for a successful microvascular decompression (MVD) for hemifacial spasm (HFS). Decompression procedures are not always feasible in a narrow operative field through a retrosigmoid approach. In such instances, extending the craniectomy laterally is useful in accomplishing the procedure safely. This study aims to introduce the benefits of a skull base approach in MVD for HFS.

Methods The skull base approach was performed in twenty-eight patients among 335 consecutive MVDs for HFS. The site of the neurovascular compression (NVC), the size of the flocculus, and the location of the sigmoid sinus are measured factors in the imaging studies. The indication for a skull base approach is evaluated and verified retrospectively in comparison with the conventional retrosigmoid approach. Operative outcomes and long-term results were analyzed retrospectively.

Results The extended retrosigmoid approach was used for 27 patients and the retrolabyrinthine presigmoid approach was used in one patient. The measurement value including the site of NVC, the size of the flocculus, and the location of the sigmoid sinus represents well the indication of the skull base approach, which is significantly different from the conventional retrosigmoid approach. The skull base approach is useful for patients with medially located NVC, a large flocculus, or repeat MVD cases. The long-term result demonstrated favorable outcomes in patients with the skull base approach applied. Conclusions Preoperative evaluation for lateral expansion of the craniectomy contributes to a safe and secure MVD.