Far lateral approach for dumbbell‑shaped C1 schwannomas

Acta Neurochirurgica (2024) 166:78

Dumbbell-shaped C1 schwannomas are rare lesions that involve both intra- and extradural compartments. Because of the intimate relationships these lesions develop with the third and fourth segments of the vertebral artery, surgical removal of these lesions remains a challenge.

Method We describe the key steps of the far lateral approach for dumbbell-shaped C1 schwannomas with a video illustration. The surgical anatomy is described along with the techniques for protecting the vertebral artery.

Conclusion Dumbbell-shaped C1 schwannomas can be safely removed by using the far lateral approach, surgical anatomy expertise, and intraoperative microvascular Doppler.

Microvascular decompression for trigeminal neuralgia attributable to the vertebrobasilar artery

Acta Neurochirurgica (2021) 163:1037–1043

Separation of the vertebrobasilar artery (VBA) from the trigeminal nerve root in microvascular decompression (MVD) is technically challenging. This study aimed to review the clinical features of VBA involvement in trigeminal neuralgia and evaluate surgical decompression techniques in the long term.

Methods We retrospectively reviewed the surgical outcomes of 26 patients (4.4%) with VBA involvement in 585 consecutive MVDs for TGN using a Teflon roll for repositioning the VBA. The final operative status of the nerve decompression was categorized into two groups: the separation group and the contact group. Separation of the VBA from the nerve root was completed in 13 patients in the separation group, and slight vascular contact remained in the remaining 13 patients of the contact group. The clinical features of VBA-related TGN were investigated and the operative results were analyzed.

Results Multiple arteries are involved in neurovascular compression (NVC) in most cases. The anterior inferior cerebellar artery was the most common concomitant artery (69%). The site of the NVC varies from the root entry zone to the distal portion of the root. All patients were pain-free immediately after surgery and maintained medication-free status during the follow-up period, except for one patient (3.8%) who had recurrent facial pain 8 years after surgery. Postoperative facial numbness was observed in six patients (23%). Of these, one patient showed improvement within 3 months and the other five patients had persistent facial numbness (19.2%). Other neurological deficits include one dry eye, one diplopia due to trochlear nerve palsy, two decreased hearing (< 50 db), two facial weaknesses, and two cerebellar ataxia. Although most of them were transient, one dry eye, two hearing impairments, and one cerebellar ataxia became persistent deficits. Statistical analyses revealed no difference in surgical efficacy or complications in the long term between the two groups.

Conclusions Slightly remaining vascular contact does not affect pain relief in the long term. Our study indicated that once the tense trigeminal nerve is loosened, further attempts to mobilize the VBA are not necessary.

C2 medial pedicle screw: a novel “in-out-in” technique as an alternative option for posterior C2 fixation in cases with a narrow C2 isthmus

J Neurosurg Spine 33:281–287, 2020

The authors describe a novel “in-out-in” technique as an alternative option for posterior C2 screw fixation in cases that involve narrow C2 isthmus. Here, they report the preliminary radiological and clinical outcomes in 12 patients who had a minimum 12-month follow-up period.

METHODS Twelve patients with basilar invagination and atlantoaxial dislocation underwent atlantoaxial reduction and fixation. All patients had unilateral hypoplasia of the C2 isthmus that prohibited insertion of pedicle screws. A new method, the C2 medial pedicle screw (C2MPS) fixation, was used as an alternative. In this technique, the inner cortex of the narrow C2 isthmus was drilled to obtain space for screw insertion, such that the lateral cortex could be well preserved and the risk of vertebral artery injury could be largely reduced. The C2MPS traveled along the drilled inner cortex into the anterior vertebral body, achieving a 3-column fixation of the axis with multicortical purchase.

RESULTS Satisfactory C2MPS placement and reduction were achieved in all 12 patients. No instance of C2MPS related vertebral artery injury or dural laceration was observed. There were no cases of implant failure, and solid fusion was demonstrated in all patients.

CONCLUSIONS This novel in-out-in technique can provide 3-column rigid fixation of the axis with multicortical purchase. Excellent clinical outcomes with low complication rates were achieved with this technique. When placement of a C2 pedicle screw is not possible due to anatomical constraints, the C2MPS can be considered as an efficient alternative.

Total uncinectomy of the cervical spine with an osteotome

J Neurosurg Spine 31:831–834, 2019

Total uncinate process resection or uncinectomy is often required in the setting of severe foraminal stenosis or cervical kyphosis correction. The proximity of the uncus to the vertebral artery, nerve root, and spinal cord makes this a challenging undertaking. Use of a high-speed burr or ultrasonic bone dissector can be associated with direct injury to the vertebral artery and thermal injury to the surrounding structures. The use of an osteotome is a safe and efficient method of uncinectomy.

Here the authors describe their technique, which is illustrated with an intraoperative video.

Transdural Spinal Cord Herniation

World Neurosurg. (2018) 109:242-246.

Recognition of transdural spinal cord herniation has increased over the past decade. This condition remains little known, particularly outside the specialized fields of spinal surgery and neuroradiology, leading to a significant delay in clinical diagnosis and treatment. It should be considered among the differential diagnoses in patients with gradual-onset lower-limb weakness of presumed spinal origin. Reaching a diagnosis using magnetic resonance imaging is essential to refer patients for surgery before their myelopathy worsens.

We describe our surgical experience to untether the spinal cord by wrapping a dura graft around the spinal cord. Three case reports and a review of the literature are discussed.

Posterior Inferior Cerebellar Artery/Vertebral Artery Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: A Comparison of Saccular vs Dissecting Aneurysms

Neurosurgery 82:93–98, 2018

Two distinct categories of aneurysms are described in relation to the posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) and vertebral artery (VA): saccular (SA) and dissecting (DA) types. This distinction is often unrecognized because abnormalities here are uncommon and most studies are small.

OBJECTIVE: To determine if there are any differences in the clinical presentation, inhospital course, or outcomes in patients with DA vs SA of the PICA or VA.

METHODS: Thirty-eight patients with a VA or PICA aneurysm were identified from a departmental subarachnoid hemorrhage database and categorized into DA or SA types. Prospectively collecteddemographic and outcomedata (length of stay, discharge Glasgow Outcome Score) were supplemented by abstracting records for procedural data (extraventricular drain [EVD], ventriculoperitoneal [VP] shunt, tracheostomy, and nasogastric feeding). Univariate, binary logistic regression, and Cox regression analysis was used to compare patients with SA vs DA.

RESULTS: Three aneurysms related to arteriovenous malformation were excluded. Five patients were conservatively managed. Of the 30 treated cases, more patients with a DA presented in poor grade (6/13 vs 2/17 SA; P = .035).More DA patients required an EVD (85% vs 29%; P = .003), VP shunt (54% vs 6%; P = .003), tracheostomy (46% vs 6%; P < .01), and nasogastric feeding (85% vs 35%; P = .007). The median length of stay (41 vs 17 d, P < .001) was longer, and the age and injury severity adjusted odds of discharge home were significantly lower in the DA group (P=.008). Thirty-daymortality was not significantly different (23% of DA vs 24% of SA; P = .2).

CONCLUSION: The presentation, clinical course, and outcomes differ in patients with DA vs SA of the PICA and VA.

Vertebral artery variations and osseous anomaly at the C1-2 level diagnosed by 3D CT angiography in normal subjects

Vertebral artery variations and osseous anomaly at the C1-2 level diagnosed by 3D CT angiography in normal subjects

Neuroradiology (2014) 56:843–849

The craniovertebral junction is anatomically complicated. Representative vertebral artery (VA) variations include the persistent first intersegmental artery (FIA), fenestration of the VA above and below C1 (FEN), posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) from C1/2, and high-riding VA (HRVA). The ponticulus posticus (PP) is a well-known osseous anomaly at C1. Although those anomalies are frequent in patients with cervical deformity, the prevalence of these in subjects with normal cervical spines is still unknown. The aim of this study is to investigate the variations and prevalence of vascular and osseous anomalies based on three-dimensional computed tomographic (3D CT) angiography in patients without any cervical diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Klippel-Feil syndrome, or Down syndrome.

Methods Eligible subjects were patients who underwent 3D CT angiography by the Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Internal Medicine from January 2009 to October 2013 in our institution. The authors defined a HRVA as a C2 pedicle with a maximum diameter of 4 mm or less.

Results Among 480 subjects with a mean age of 63.1 years, 387 patients were eligible. One hundred and eighteen subjects were female, and 269 were male. HRVA was observed in 10.1 % of patients (39 out of 387 cases), FIA in 1.8 % (7 cases), FEN in 1.3 % (5 cases), and PICA in 1.3 % (5 cases). PP was observed in 6.2 % of patients (24 cases).

Conclusion According to past reports, many VA anomalies could be attributed to congenital or acquired conditions (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis). However, VA anomalies appear to exist even in patients without any such cervical diseases.

The V2 segment of the vertebral artery: anatomical considerations and surgical implications

J Neurosurg Spine 15:610–619, 2011. DOI: 10.3171/2011.7.SPINE1132
Iatrogenic injury of the V2 segment of the vertebral artery (VA) is a rare but serious complication and can be catastrophic. The purpose of this study was to characterize the relationship of the V2 segment of the VA to the surrounding anatomical structures and to highlight the potential site and mechanisms of injury that can occur during common neurosurgical procedures involving the subaxial cervical spine.
Methods. Ten adult cadaveric specimens (20 sides) were included in this study. Quantitative anatomical measurements between selected landmarks and the VA were obtained. In addition, lateral mass screws were placed bilaterally, from C-3 to C-7, reproducing either the Magerl technique or a modified technique. The safety angle, defined as the axial deviation from the screw trajectory needed to injure the VA, and the distance from the entry point to the VA were measured at each level for both techniques.
Results. The VA coursed closer to the midline at C3–4 and C4–5 (mean distance [SD] 14.9 ± 1.1 mm) than at C2–3 or C5–6. Within the intertransverse space it coursed closer to the uncinate processes of the vertebral bodies (1.8 ± 1.1 mm) than to the anterior tubercle of the transverse processes (3.4 ± 1.6 mm). The distance between the VA and the uncinate process was less at C3–6 (1.3 ± 0.7 mm) than at C2–3 (3.3 ± 0.8 mm). The VA coursed on average at a distance of 11.9 ± 1.7 mm from the anterior and 4.2 ± 2.6 mm from the posterior aspect of the intervertebral disc space. Lateral mass screw angles were 25° lateral and 39.1° cranial for the Magerl technique, and 36.6° lateral and 46.1° cranial for the modified technique. The safety angle was greater and screw length longer when using this modified technique.
Conclusions. The relation of the V2 segment of the VA to anterior procedures and lateral mass instrumentation at the subaxial cervical spine was reviewed in this study. A detailed anatomical knowledge of the V2 segment of the VA combined with careful preoperative imaging is mandatory for safe cervical spine surgery.

Management of Anterolateral Foramen Magnum Meningiomas: Surgical Vs Conservative Decision Making

Neurosurgery 67[ONS Suppl 1]:ons00-ons00, 2010. DOI: 10.1227/01.NEU.0000382971.63877.DD

Anterolateral meningiomas of the foramen magnum (FMMs) represent a neurosurgical challenge because they grow in close contact with osteoarticular, nervous, and vascular structures that cannot be sacrificed or retracted. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate our strategy and results in 26 patients with FMMs and analyze factors affecting the decision-making process, resection, and outcome. METHODS: Among 26 consecutive symptomatic FMM (10 anterior, 16 lateral) patients (16 women, 10 men, ages 28-82 years), 4 older than 70 years of age were untreated. Twentytwo were operated on using a posterolateral approach, with the vertebral artery transposed in 19 and the occipital condyle drilled in 10. We analyzed the characteristics and outcome of untreated cases, the utility of THE occipital condyle drilled, the difficulties of microdissection, morbidity and total removal rates, the outcome of tumor residues, and the literature on radiosurgery. RESULTS: Three of 4 untreated patients remained clinically stable at 2 to 5 years. After systematic vertebral artery medial transposition and occipital condyle drilled in 6 cases, our technique evolved with experience in the next 16 (vertebral artery transposed in 13 of 16; occipital condyle drilled in 4 of 13) for dissecting anteriorly beyond midline (anterior FMMs). Retrocondylar access was sufficient for lateral FMMs. Tumors were totally removed in 16 of 22 (73%). One patient died, and 4 had permanent deficits. Follow-up of more than 5 years in 12 patients showed no C0-1 instability, and slight increase of tumor residue size 7 years after surgery. In the literature, 15 FMMs treated with radiosurgery are reported, 13 at diagnosis and 2 at recurrence, with short-term clinical and radiological safety and efficacy. CONCLUSION:We currently recommend (1) aiming for subtotal removal in difficult cases, (2) remaining conservative in asymptomatic or elderly patients with mild symptoms, and (3) considering radiosurgery at diagnosis for small (<30 mm) symptomatic FMMs or as an adjunct for evolving residues/recurrences in poor candidates for resection.

Study of the Anatomical Variations of Vertebral Artery in C2 Vertebra With Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Its Application in the C1–C2 Transarticular Screw Fixation

Spine 2010;35:1136–1143

Use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with Constructive Interference in Steady State (CISS) sequence and isometric voxels to demonstrate the anatomic variations of vertebral artery in C2 vertebra. Objectives. To determine the transarticular screw trajectory on CISS MRI and to identify patients with anatomic variations of vertebral artery in C2 vertebra. Summary of Background Data. Atlantoaxial transarticular screw fixation has been reported to be biomechanically superior to other posterior techniques for atlantoaxial arthrodesis. Vertebral artery injury can be associated with catastrophic sequelae. Anatomic variation of vertebral artery is well recognized and computed tomography scan is the traditional preoperative assessment. However, no report has evaluated the use of MRI in preoperative assessment for the screw trajectories and the anatomic variation of vertebral artery. Methods. The 3-dimensional (3D) CISS MRI with isometric voxels was performed in 30 local Chinese patients. The 3D reconstruction images were created to determine the proposed screw trajectories and their relationship with the vertebral arteries. Results. In 12 patients (40%), the vertebral arteries were lying within the screw trajectories prohibiting transarticular screw fixation on at least one side. Bilateral variations with high risk of vertebral artery injuries were found in 6 patients. The remaining 6 patients had unilateral variations prohibiting the insertion of transarticular screws on one side. Conclusion. The 3D CISS MRI with isometric voxels is a safe and simple imaging technique to outline the vertebral arteries in C2. Reconstruction images are easily created and undistorted. It is one of the useful imaging in preoperative planning of transarticular screw fixation and determination of anatomy of vertebral artery.

Preliminary Personal Experiences With the Application of Near-Infrared Indocyanine Green Videoangiography in Extracranial Vertebral Artery Surgery

INTRODUCTION:We evaluated the feasibility, usefulness, and limitations of near-infrared indocyanine green (ICG) videoangiography during procedures involving the extracranial vertebral artery (VA).

METHODS: Nine patients (2 women, 7 men; mean age, 55 years) were evaluated at 2 neurosurgical centers. Near-infrared ICG videoangiography was applied during transposition and rerouting of the first segment of VA (V1; n = 6) and during resection of neurinomas near the second (V2; n = 1) and third (V3; n = 2) segments of VA.

RESULTS: Early after ICG injection, V1 fluoresced homogenously. The fluorescence of V2 and V3 varied. Without extrinsic compression, these segments appeared as noncontiguous hot spots because the VA runs freely in a periosteal sheath surrounded by a venous plexus that attenuates the fluorescent light. Hot spots corresponded to areas where the artery neared the surface. With extrinsic compression, VA enhanced homogenously because it was pushed against the periosteal layer. During the late phase, the V1 signal was attenuated, whereas the venous plexus surrounding V2 and V3 enhanced homogeneously, thereby masking the VA itself. Near-infrared ICG videoangiography helped to confirm VA patency during transposition and rerouting but was not helpful during VA exposure because the periosteal sheath must already be exposed to detect the VA or its surrounding plexus. After exposure, videoangiography can help to determine the position of the VA within its periosteal sheath.

CONCLUSION: Videoangiography can be used to provide information about the patency of the VA and its location within the periosteal sheath to prevent injury during resection of tumor adherent to the periosteal sheath.

Removal of giant extraforaminal dumbbell tumors of cervical spine

The Spine Journal 9 (2009) 822–829. doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2009.06.023

Removal of cervical dumbbell tumors can be particularly challenging because of unique exposure requirements and proximity of the vertebral artery (VA). There are no reports describing the treatment of giant cervical spine dumbbell tumors (CSDTs).

PURPOSE: To introduce an extensive posterolateral approach to CSDTs involving total lateral mass resection and laminectomy.

STUDY DESIGN: Prospective study of all the patients with multilevel CSDTs treated by  this new procedure between December 2002 and March 2006.

PATIENT SAMPLE: Sixteen patients (3 men and 13 women) with CSDTs underwent the procedure we describe. The follow-up periods ranged from 9 to 51 months (average 9 months). Average age at surgery was 45 years (range 23–68 years).

OUTCOME MEASURES: Axial symptoms and Japanese Orthopedic Association scores were recorded. Pre- and postoperative ranges of neck motion were measured on lateral flexion and extension radiographs.

METHODS: After making a midline incision, we preferred exposing the extraforaminal component of the tumor before performing a semilaminectomy and lateral mass resection. Any lateral extensión of a tumor can be attained by detachment of the adjacent three or more segments of the lateral mass muscle insertion. The most lateral portion can be separated beneath the tumor’s superficial muscle flap, and then when the tumor is retracted medially, the whole portion of the lateral component can be totally exposed. We then performed total lateral mass resection and laminectomy to expose the tumor at the foramina and cervical canal.

RESULTS: We were able to completely resect the tumors in every patient. The average duration of surgery was 150 minutes. Blood loss was minimal (average 400 mL). All patients were monitores for a minimum of 9 months (range 9–51 months; mean 28 months). The follow-up period was uneventful, and no patients developed spinal instability.

CONCLUSIONS: Extensive posterolateral exposure enables surgeons to reach the lateralmost portion of CSDTs and also facilitates septation of the VA and resection of vertebral body encroachment of the tumor.