Anatomical step‑by‑step dissection of common approaches to the third ventricle for trainees

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:2421–2434

Purpose To create a high-quality, cadaver-based, operatively oriented resource documenting the anterior transcortical and interhemispheric transcallosal approaches as corridors to the third ventricle targeted towards neurosurgical trainees at all levels.

Methods Two formalin-fixed, latex-injected specimens were dissected under microscopic magnification and endoscopicassisted visualization. Dissections of the transcortical and transcallosal craniotomies with transforaminal, transchoroidal, and interforniceal transventricular approaches were performed. The dissections were documented in a stepwise fashion using three-dimensional photographic image acquisition techniques and supplemented with representative cases to highlight pertinent surgical principles.

Results The anterior transcortical and interhemispheric corridors afford excellent access to the anterior two-thirds of the third ventricle with varying risks associated with frontal lobe versus corpus callosum disruption, respectively. The transcortical approach offers a more direct, oblique view of the ipsilateral lateral ventricle, whereas the transcallosal approach readily establishes biventricular access through a paramedian corridor. Once inside the lateral ventricle, intraventricular angled endoscopy further enhances access to the extreme poles of the third ventricle from either open transcranial approach. Subsequent selection of either the transforaminal, transchoroidal, or interforniceal routes can be performed through either craniotomy and is ultimately dependent on individual deep venous anatomy, the epicenter of ventricular pathology, and the concomitant presence of hydrocephalus or embryologic cava. Key steps described include positioning and skin incision; scalp dissection; craniotomy flap elevation; durotomy; transcortical versus interhemispheric dissection with callosotomy; the aforementioned transventricular routes; and their relevant intraventricular landmarks.

Conclusions Approaches to the ventricular system for maximal safe resection of pediatric brain tumors are challenging to master yet represent foundational cranial surgical techniques. We present a comprehensive operatively oriented guide for neurosurgery residents that combines stepwise open and endoscopic cadaveric dissections with representative case studies to optimize familiarity with third ventricle approaches, mastery of relevant microsurgical anatomy, and preparation for operating room participation.

Surgical management of colloid cysts of the third ventricle: a single-institution comparison of endoscopic and microsurgical resection

J Neurosurg 137:905–913, 2022

Colloid cysts of the third ventricle are histologically benign lesions that can cause obstructive hydrocephalus and death. Historically, colloid cysts have been removed by open microsurgical approaches. More recently, minimally invasive endoscopic and port-based techniques have offered decreased complications and length of stay, with improved patient satisfaction.

METHODS A single-center retrospective analysis of patients with colloid cysts who underwent surgery at a large tertiary care hospital was performed. The cohort was assessed based on the surgical approach, comparing endoscopic resection to open microsurgical resection. The primary endpoint was rate of perioperative complications. Univariate analysis was used to assess several procedure-related variables and the cost of treatment. Multivariate analysis was used to assess predictors of perioperative complications. Total inpatient cost for each case was extracted from the health system financial database.

RESULTS The study included 78 patients with colloid cysts who underwent resection either via an endoscopic approach (n = 33) or through a craniotomy (n = 45) with an interhemispheric-transcallosal or transcortical-transventricular approach. Nearly all patients were symptomatic, and half had obstructive hydrocephalus. Endoscopic resection was associated with reduced operative time (3.2 vs 4.9 hours, p < 0.001); lower complication rate (6.1% vs 33.1%, p = 0.009); reduced length of stay (4.1 vs 8.9 days, p < 0.001); and improved discharge to home (100% vs 75.6%, p = 0.008) compared to microsurgical resection. Coagulated residual cyst wall remnants were more common after endoscopic resection (63.6% vs 19.0%, p < 0.001) although this was not associated with a significantly increased rate of reoperation for recurrence. The mean follow-up was longer in the microsurgical resection group (3.1 vs 4.9 years, p = 0.016). The total inpatient cost of endoscopic resection was, on average, one-half (47%) that of microsurgical resection. When complications were encountered, the total inpatient cost of microsurgical resection was 4 times greater than that of endoscopic resection where no major complications were observed. The increased cost-effectiveness of endoscopic resection remained during reoperation.

CONCLUSIONS Endoscopic resection of colloid cysts of the third ventricle offers a significant reduction in perioperative complications when compared to microsurgical resection. Endoscopic resection optimizes nearly all procedure-related variables compared to microsurgical resection, and reduces total inpatient cost by > 50%. However, endoscopic resection is associated with a significantly increased likelihood of residual coagulated cyst wall remnants that could increase the rate of reoperation for recurrence. Taken together, endoscopic resection represents a safe and effective minimally invasive approach for removal of colloid cysts.

Stereotactic Radiofrequency Thermocoagulation of Hypothalamic Hamartomas With Bilateral Attachments to the Hypothalamus

Neurosurgery 91:295–303, 2022

Disconnection surgery for the treatment of epileptic hypothalamic hamartomas (HHs) is strategically difficult in cases with complex-shaped HHs, especially with bilateral hypothalamic attachments, despite its effectiveness.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the feasibility of a new approach for stereotactic radiofrequency thermocoagulation (SRT) using penetration of the third ventricle (SRT-TT) aiming to disconnect bilateral hypothalamic attachments in a single-staged, unilateral procedure.

METHODS: Ninety patients (median age at surgery, 5.0 years) who had HHs with bilateral hypothalamic attachments and were followed for at least 1 year after their last SRT were retrospectively reviewed.

RESULTS: Thirty-three patients underwent SRT-TT as initial surgery. Of the 58 patients after mid-2013 when SRT-TT was introduced, 33 underwent SRT-TT and 12 (20.7%) required reoperation (ReSRT), whereas 20 of 57 patients (35.1%) without SRT-TT underwent reoperation. Reoperation was required in significantly fewer patients aftermid-2013 (n = 12 of 58, 20.7%) than before mid-2013 (n = 15 of 32, 46.9%) (P = .01). Final seizure freedoms were not different between before and aftermid-2013 (gelastic seizure freedom, n = 30 [93.8%] vs n = 49 [84.5%] and other types of seizure freedom, n = 21 of 31 [67.7%] vs n = 32 of 38 [84.2%]). Persistent complications were less in SRT-TT than in ReSRT using the bilateral approach, but not significantly. However, hormonal replacement was required significantly more often in ReSRT using the bilateral approach (4 of 9, 44.4%) than in SRT-TT (3 of 32, 9.4%) (P = .01).

CONCLUSION: SRT-TT enabled disconnection of bilateral attachments of HHs in a singlestaged procedure, which reduced the additional invasiveness of reoperation. Moreover, SRT-TT reduced damage to the contralateral hypothalamus, with fewer endocrinological complications than the bilateral approach.

Anterior third ventricular height and infundibulochiasmatic angle: two novel measurements to predict clinical success of endoscopic third ventriculostomy in the early postoperative period

J Neurosurg 132:1764–1772, 2020

The authors sought to develop a set of parameters that reliably predict the clinical success of endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) when assessed before and after the operation, and to establish a plan for MRI follow-up after this procedure.

METHODS This retrospective study involved 77 patients who had undergone 78 ETV procedures for obstructive hydrocephalus between 2010 and 2015. Constructive interference in steady-state (CISS) MRI evaluations before and after ETV were reviewed, and 4 parameters were measured. Two well-known standard parameters, fronto-occipital horn ratio (FOHR) and third ventricular index (TVI), and 2 newly defined parameters, infundibulochiasmatic (IC) angle and anterior third ventricular height (TVH), were measured in this study. Associations between preoperative measurements of and postoperative changes in the 4 variables and the clinical success of ETV were analyzed.

RESULTS Of the 78 ETV procedures, 70 (89.7%) were successful and 8 (10.3%) failed. On the preoperative MR images, the mean IC angle and anterior TVH were significantly larger in the successful procedures. On the 24-hour postoperative MR images of the successful procedures, the mean IC angle declined significantly from 114.2° to 94.6° (p < 0.05) and the mean anterior TVH declined significantly from 15 to 11.2 mm (p < 0.05). The mean percentage reduction of the IC angle was 17.1%, and that of the anterior TVH was 25.5% (both p < 0.05). On the 1-month MR images of the successful procedures, the mean IC angle declined significantly from 94.6° to 84.2° (p < 0.05) and the mean anterior TVH declined significantly from 11.2 to 9.3 mm (p < 0.05). The mean percentage reductions in IC angle (11%) and anterior TVH (16.9%) remained significant at this time point but were smaller than those observed at 24 hours. The 6-month and 1-year postoperative MR images of the successful group showed no significant changes in mean IC angle or mean anterior TVH. Regarding the unsuccessful procedures, there were no significant changes observed in IC angle or anterior TVH at any of the time points studied. Reduction of IC angle and reduction of anterior TVH on 24-hour postoperative MR images were significantly associated with successful ETV. However, no clinically significant association was found between FOHR, TVI, and ETV success.

CONCLUSIONS Assessing the IC angle and anterior TVH on preoperative and 24-hour postoperative MR images is useful for predicting the clinical success of ETV. These 2 measurements could also be valuable as radiological follow-up parameters.

Natural history of colloid cysts of the third ventricle

J Neurosurg 125:1420–1430, 2016

Colloid cysts are rare, histologically benign lesions that may result in obstructive hydrocephalus and death. Understanding the natural history of colloid cysts has been challenging given their low incidence and the small number of cases in most reported series. This has complicated efforts to establish reliable prognostic factors and surgical indications, particularly for asymptomatic patients with incidental lesions. Risk factors for obstructive hydrocephalus in the setting of colloid cysts remain poorly defined, and there are no grading scales on which to develop standard management strategies.

Methods The authors performed a single-center retrospective review of all cases of colloid cysts of the third ventricle treated over nearly 2 decades at Washington University. Univariate analysis was used to identify clinical, imaging, and anatomical factors associated with 2 outcome variables: symptomatic clinical status and presentation with obstructive hydrocephalus. A risk-prediction model was defined using bootstrapped logistic regression. Predictive factors were then combined into a simple 5-point clinical scale referred to as the Colloid Cyst Risk Score (CCRS), and this was evaluated with receiver-operator characteristics.

Results The study included 163 colloid cysts, more than half of which were discovered incidentally. More than half of the incidental cysts (58%) were followed with surveillance neuroimaging (mean follow-up 5.1 years). Five patients with incidental cysts (8.8%) progressed and underwent resection. No patient with an incidental, asymptomatic colloid cyst experienced acute obstructive hydrocephalus or sudden neurological deterioration in the absence of antecedent trauma. Nearly half (46.2%) of symptomatic patients presented with hydrocephalus. Eight patients (12.3%) presented acutely, and there were 2 deaths due to obstructive hydrocephalus and herniation. The authors identified several factors that were strongly correlated with the 2 outcome variables and defined third ventricle risk zones where colloid cysts can cause obstructive hydrocephalus. No patient with a lesion outside these risk zones presented with obstructive hydrocephalus. The CCRS had significant predictive capacity for symptomatic clinical status (area under the curve [AUC] 0.917) and obstructive hydrocephalus (AUC 0.845). A CCRS ≥ 4 was significantly associated with obstructive hydrocephalus (p < 0.0001, RR 19.4).

Conclusions Patients with incidentally discovered colloid cysts can experience both lesion enlargement and symptom progression or less commonly, contraction and symptom regression. Incidental lesions rarely cause acute obstructive hydrocephalus or sudden neurological deterioration in the absence of antecedent trauma. Nearly one-half of patients with symptomatic colloid cysts present with obstructive hydrocephalus, which has an associated 3.1% risk of death. The CCRS is a simple 5-point clinical tool that can be used to identify symptomatic lesions and stratify the risk of obstructive hydrocephalus. External validation of the CCRS will be necessary before objective surgical indications can be established. Surgical intervention should be considered for all patients with CCRS ≥ 4, as they represent the high-risk subgroup.

Endoscopic Removal of Third Ventricular Colloid Cyst: Experience of 90 Cases

Endoscopic Removal of Third Ventricular Colloid Cyst- Experience of 90 Cases-1

Neurosurg Q 2015;25:46–50

Third ventricular colloid cysts are benign lesions originating in the roof of the anterior third ventricle. They constitute around 1% of all intracranial tumors. The optimal surgical management of colloid cysts continues to be a matter of debate.

Objective: This study was perfomed to assess the efficacy and safety of the endoscopic technique in treatment of 90 patients with colloid cysts.

Methods: During the period from June 2001 to October 2011, 90 patients with third ventricular colloid cyst were operated by the endoscopic single burr hole approach. The age ranged between 16 and 67 years (mean 40.3 years). Fifty-eight were females. The cyst size ranged between 8 and 35 mm. In computed tomography (CT) scan, the cyst was hyperdense in 74 cases and isodense in 16 cases. The standard Kocher burr hole was used in 63 and a more both anterior and lateral burr hole was used in 27 cases. Total cyst removal was achieved in 79 patients. Cyst content evacuation and capsule coagulation was done in 10 cases; whereas partial cyst excision was made in 1 case. All patients were followed by a CT scan at 1 and 6 months time from the surgery and then at 2-year interval. The follow-up period ranged from 6 to 120 months with a mean of 62 months.

Results: The operative time ranged between 60 and 175 minutes with a mean of 84 minutes. Ventriculostomy tube and prophylactic antiepileptics were not used for any of the cases. One patient needed ventricular shunting 5 months after the procedure. There was no reported mortality related to the endoscopic colloid cyst removal. The reported morbidities were hemiparesis in 2 cases, transient memory deficit in 7 patients, superficial wound infection in 5 patients, and CSF leakage from the wound in 3 cases. No recurrence was found in our series.

Conclusions: Being a burr hole technique, endoscopy offers a real safe and effective minimally invasive tool for treating third ventricular colloids. It offers superior illumination, greater magnification, and enhanced visualizations of the ventricular anatomy. There is no doubt that the mortality, morbidity, and operative costs are less with endoscopy when compared with other combating therapeutic modalities. In our opinion, if the endless argument considering the point of tumor recurrence is brought apart, endoscopy should be the first-line treatment for third ventricular colloid cysts.

Key Words: colloid cyst, third ventricle, endoscopic, surgical removal.

Frontobasal interhemispheric approach for large suprasellar craniopharyngiomas

Frontobasal interhemispheric approach for large superasellar craniopharyngiomas

Acta Neurochir (2014) 156:123–131

Large suprasellar craniopharyngiomas are surgically challenging. The aim of our study was to explore the therapeutic efficacy of the frontobasal interhemispheric approach for these lesions.

Methods Twenty-nine consecutive adult patients with large suprasellar craniopharyngiomas (diameter>4 cm) who underwent the frontobasal interhemispheric approach were retrospectively evaluated. Surgical and clinical outcomes were analyzed.

Results Gross total removal was achieved in 23 cases (79.3 %) and subtotal removal in 6 cases (20.7 %). The mean follow-up period was 76.5±33.2 months (range, 12-132 months). Twenty-four patients (82.7 %) had improvement of the visual impairment score (VIS) after surgery. VIS was unchanged in five patients (17.3 %), and no patients experienced visual deterioration. Among 23 patients who had preoperative hypopituitarism, 8 (34.8 %) had an improvement. Postoperative new or aggravated hypopituitarism was observed in four patients (13.8 %). Permanent diabetes insipidus was observed in ten patients (34.4 %). Postoperative anosmia occurred in two earlier cases (6.9 %). There was no intracranial infection or cerebrospinal fluid fistula. At last follow-up, >9 % BMI gain was observed in 34.5 % of patients, and 65.5 % of patients returned to work. Four patients (13.8 %) suffered recurrence.

Conclusion Although the frontobasal interhemispheric approach has some disadvantages, it provides ideal access to the suprasellar region and the third ventricle with limited brain retraction. The surgically visible angle is adequate; thus, vital structures can be better protected. For large suprasellar craniopharyngiomas, the benefits of this approach can outweigh its potential risks.

Displacement of mammillary bodies by craniopharyngiomas involving the third ventricle

Displacement of mammillary bodies by craniopharyngiomas involving the third ventricle- surgical-MRI correlation and use in topographical diagnosis

J Neurosurg 119:381–405, 2013

Accurate diagnosis of the topographical relationships of craniopharyngiomas (CPs) involving the third ventricle and/or hypothalamus remains a challenging issue that critically influences the prediction of risks associated with their radical surgical removal. This study evaluates the diagnostic accuracy of MRI to define the precise topographical relationships between intraventricular CPs, the third ventricle, and the hypothalamus.

Methods. An extensive retrospective review of well-described CPs reported in the MRI era between 1990 and 2009 yielded 875 lesions largely or wholly involving the third ventricle. Craniopharyngiomas with midsagittal and coronal preoperative and postoperative MRI studies, in addition to detailed descriptions of clinical and surgical findings, were selected from this database (n = 130). The position of the CP and the morphological distortions caused by the tumor on the sella turcica, suprasellar cistern, optic chiasm, pituitary stalk, and third ventricle floor, including the infundibulum, tuber cinereum, and mammillary bodies (MBs), were analyzed on both preoperative and postoperative MRI studies. These changes were correlated with the definitive CP topography and type of third ventricle involvement by the lesion, as confirmed surgically.

Results. The mammillary body angle (MBA) is the angle formed by the intersection of a plane tangential to the base of the MBs and a plane parallel to the floor of the fourth ventricle in midsagittal MRI studies. Measurement of the MBA represented a reliable neuroradiological sign that could be used to discriminate the type of intraventricular involvement by the CP in 83% of cases in this series (n = 109). An acute MBA (< 60°) was indicative of a primary tuberal-intraventricular topography, whereas an obtuse MBA (> 90°) denoted a primary suprasellar CP position, causing either an invagination of the third ventricle (pseudointraventricular lesion) or its invasion (secondarily intraventricular lesion; p < 0.01). A multivariate model including a combination of 5 variables (the MBA, position of the hypothalamus, presence of hydrocephalus, psychiatric symptoms, and patient age) allowed an accurate definition of the CP topography preoperatively in 74%–90% of lesions, depending on the specific type of relationship between the tumor and third ventricle.

Conclusions. The type of mammillary body displacement caused by CPs represents a valuable clue for ascertaining the topographical relationships between these lesions and the third ventricle on preoperative MRI studies. The MBA provides a useful sign to preoperatively differentiate a primary intraventricular CP originating at the infundibulotuberal area from a primary suprasellar CP, which either invaginated or secondarily invaded the third ventricle.

Infundibulo-tuberal or not strictly intraventricular craniopharyngioma: evidence for a major topographical category

Acta Neurochir (2011) 153:2403–2426. DOI 10.1007/s00701-011-1149-4

This study investigates retrospectively the clinical, neuroradiological, pathological and surgical evidence verifying the infundibulo-tuberal topography for craniopharyngiomas (CPs). Infundibulo-tuberal CPs represent a surgical challenge due to their close anatomical relationships with the hypothalamus. An accurate definition of this topographical category is essential in order to prevent any undue injury to vital diencephalic centres.

Methods A systematic review of all scientific reports involving pathological, neuroradiological or surgical descriptions of either well-described individual cases or large series of CPs published in official journals and text books from 1892 to 2011 was carried out. A total of 1,232 documents providing pathological, surgical and/or neuroradiological evidence for the infundibulo-tuberal or hypothalamic location of CPs were finally analysed in this study.

Findings For a total of 3,571 CPs included in 67 pathological, surgical or neuroradiological series, 1,494 CPs (42%) were classified as infundibulo-tuberal lesions. This topography was proved in the autopsy of 122 nonoperated cases. The crucial morphological finding characterizing the tubero-infundibular topography was the replacement of the third ventricle floor by a lesion with a predominant intraventricular growth. This type of CP usually presents a circumferential band of tight adherence to the third ventricle floor remnants, formed by a functionless layer of rective gliosis of a variable thickness. After complete surgical removal of an infundibulo-tuberal CP, a wide defect or breach at the floor of the third ventricle is regularly observed both in the surgical field and on postoperative magnetic resonance imaging studies.

Conclusions Infundibulo-tuberal CPs represent a major topographical category of lesions with a primary subpial development at the floor of the third ventricle. These lesions expand within the hypothalamus itself and subsequently occupy the third ventricle; consequently, they can be classified as not strictly intraventricular CPs. A tight attachment to the hypothalamus and remnants of the third ventricle floor is the pathological landmark of infundibulotuberal CPs.

Supraorbital Endoscopic Approach to Colloid Cysts

Neurosurgery 69[ONS Suppl 2]:ons176–ons183, 2011 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e318219563c

Surgical approaches to colloid cysts of the third ventricle have evolved over time. In recent years, endoscopy has been recognized as an effective alternative to open surgery. The disadvantage of endoscopic treatment is the difficulty in controlling the adhesion of the cyst to the roof of the third ventricle and in obtaining complete removal of the cyst.

OBJECTIVE: To design and carry out a supraorbital approach to obtain a better viewing angle of the cyst and better control of the adhesion of the cyst to the roof of the third ventricle.

METHODS: From September 2005 to February 2008, we operated on 7 consecutive patients with colloid cysts in the third ventricle. All procedures were performed with the endoscopic supraorbital approach. The endoscopic procedure was performed with a rigid STORZ endoscope with 3 working channels. In 4 patients, the surgical supraorbital trajectory was planned with the help of a navigator.

RESULTS: The procedures lasted between 60 and 110 minutes, including the registration on the navigation system. Near-total removal of the cyst was achieved in 6 patients. All patients were discharged within 6 days.

CONCLUSION: Endoscopic treatment may be an effective and safe alternative to open surgical craniotomy. Our series shows that the endoscopic supraorbital endoscopic resection is a valuable approach to colloid cysts of the third ventricle.

Long-term Results of the Neuroendoscopic Management of Colloid Cysts of the Third Ventricle: A Series of 90 Cases

Neurosurgery 68:179–187, 2011 DOI: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e3181ffae71

The endoscopic removal of third ventricular colloid cysts has been developed as an alternative to microsurgical transcortical-transventricular and transcallosal approaches.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the value of endoscopic technique by reviewing the large number of endoscopically treated patients with long-term follow-up in 2 neurosurgical centers.

METHODS: A retrospective chart review was conducted for all patients admitted for resection of a third ventricular colloid cyst to the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre (Nijmegen, the Netherlands) and the Hoˆ pital Henri Mondor (Paris, France) between 1994 and 2007. Both clinical and radiological symptoms and operative results were evaluated.

RESULTS: Postdischarge clinical follow-up was available for 85 patients over a mean period of 4 years 3 months. Permanent morbidity occurred in 1 patient (persisting preoperative memory deficit). Follow-up imaging of 80 evaluable patients showed that total or nearly total cyst removal was possible in 46 individuals (57.5%). Residual cyst was present in 34 patients (42.5%), and 6 required repeated endoscopic surgery for symptomatic regrowth. Recurrent cysts were mainly seen within the first 2 years after surgery.

CONCLUSION: It is debatable whether the higher numbers of recurrent or residual cysts can be justified by the slightly lower complication rates achieved with endoscopic removal. However, results have been improving over the years. Moreover, the modifications observed on control magnetic resonance images justify the need for regular control imaging for at least the first 2 years postoperatively.

Endoscopic treatment of third ventricular colloid cysts

Neurosurg Rev (2009) 32:395–402. DOI 10.1007/s10143-009-0208-2

The surgical treatment of colloid cysts has been traditionally difficult with high rate of postoperative complications. The variety of surgical options reflects the technical difficulty in removing these benign lesions with low morbidity. Microsurgical removal has for years been considered the “gold standard” of treatment, with the use of either a transcortical–transventricular or a transcallosal approach. Neuroendoscopic management is emerging as a safe, effective alternative to microsurgery. The present review discusses the role

of endoscopy in the surgical treatment of third ventricular colloid cysts focusing on some factors, which might influence the outcome. The results have been presented from the literature and supplemented by the results of treating ten personal cases of third ventricular colloid cysts who were operated endoscopically in the Neurosurgical Department, Cairo University. This study aims at evaluating the endoscopic approach as a surgical line of treatment in the management of third ventricular colloid cysts and to see if it has already become superior over microsurgery.

Conclusions: Endoscopic approach to third ventricular colloid cysts is a minimally invasive procedure, which achieves both total evacuation of the cyst and at least near-total resection of the cyst wall with a low surgical morbidity. The available results document less radical excisions as compared to microsurgical group; this is counterbalanced by the lower incidence of complications and shorter operative, hospitalization, and rehabilitation time in the endoscopic group. This conclusion makes endoscopy an alternative and not a better choice than microsurgery. Consequently, the ongoing debate between both procedures remains unresolved. This dispute will become resolved only when long-term studies (mean follow-up for 10 years or greater) are available for a substantial number of patients who have undergone endoscopic resection.