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Karol P. Budohoski, Robert C. Rennert, Steven A. Gordon, Amol Raheja, Cameron Brandon, J. Curran Henson, Mohammed A. Azab, Neil S. Patel, Michael Karsy, Richard K. Gurgel, Clough Shelton, and William T. Couldwell

OBJECTIVE

The middle fossa approach is an effective option for the treatment of small (Koos grade I and II) vestibular schwannomas (VSs) when the goal is hearing preservation. The authors evaluated the rates of hearing preservation and examined the factors associated with improved hearing outcomes after the middle fossa approach for VSs.

METHODS

In this retrospective, single-center cohort study evaluating the clinical outcomes after resection of small VSs using the middle fossa approach, consecutive adult patients (> 18 years) who underwent surgery between January 2000 and December 2021 were included. Clinical and imaging characteristics were analyzed, including baseline hearing status, duration of surgery, anesthetic parameters, and imaging characteristics of the surgically treated tumors.

RESULTS

Among the 131 included patients, 102 had valid and discoverable pre- and postoperative audiology assessments. The mean follow-up was 26 months (range 1–180 months). There were 85 patients with serviceable hearing preoperatively, defined as American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) class A or B, of whom 78% retained class A or B hearing at the last follow-up. Binary logistic regression demonstrated that preoperative hearing AAO-HNS class (OR 0.19, 95% CI 0.05–0.77; p = 0.02), overlap between fundus and cochlea (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.11–0.96; p = 0.04), and duration of anesthesia (OR 0.98, 95% CI 0.97–0.99; p = 0.03) were independent predictors of hearing outcomes. Additionally, 75% of patients with high diffusion-weighted imaging signal in the tumor (p = 0.009) and 67% of patients with the tumor originating at the modiolus of the cochlea (p = 0.004) had poor hearing outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS

The hearing preservation rates after microsurgical resection of small VSs using the middle fossa approach are high, with 78% of patients maintaining AAO-HNS class A or B hearing. Poor hearing status at baseline, longer duration of anesthesia, and large overlap between the fundus of the internal auditory canal and the cochlea were independently associated with unfavorable hearing outcomes. Imaging characteristics can be used to stratify patients’ risk of hearing loss.

Free access

Othman Bin-Alamer, Arka N. Mallela, Paolo Palmisciano, Zachary C. Gersey, Turki Elarjani, Mohamed A. Labib, Georgios A. Zenonos, Amir R. Dehdashti, Jason P. Sheehan, William T. Couldwell, L. Dade Lunsford, and Hussam Abou-Al-Shaar

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this retrospective study was to compare the survival of patients with biopsy-proven skull base chordoma who had undergone stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) with versus without prior fractionated radiation therapy (RT).

METHODS

Relevant articles from database inception to September 2021 were retrieved from the PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and Cochrane databases for a systematic review of treatment protocols. Studies were included if they 1) involved adult patients (age ≥ 18 years) with histologically and radiologically confirmed chordomas located within the clival skull base region and treated with SRS; 2) reported data on clinical features, SRS protocols, and outcomes; and 3) were written in the English language. Studies were excluded if they 1) were literature reviews, case reports, technical notes, abstracts, or autopsy reports; 2) did not clearly differentiate the data of patients with chordomas from the data of patients with different tumors or the data of patients with chordomas in locations other than the skull base; or 3) lacked histological confirmation or treatment and outcome data. Extracted data included the following: study author and publication year, patient age and sex, symptoms, cranial nerve involvement, invaded structures, lesion size, treatment modality, surgical details, histopathological type, RT modality, SRS parameters, complications, postradiosurgery outcomes, complications, and survival outcomes.

RESULTS

After the selection process, 15 articles describing 130 patients met the study eligibility criteria, including 94 patients who had undergone postresection SRS (NoRT group) and 36 who had undergone postresection fractionated RT and subsequent SRS (RT group). The NoRT and RT groups were comparable in age (51.3 vs 47.4 years, respectively), sex (57.1% vs 58.3% male), tumor volume (9.5 vs 11.2 cm3), SRS treatment parameters (maximum dose: 35.4 vs 42.2 Gy, marginal dose: 19.6 vs 20.6 Gy, treatment isodose line: 60.2% vs 65.2%), and SRS adverse effects (10.9% vs 17.6%). For the entire cohort, the 3-, 5-, and 10-year progression-free survival (PFS) rates were 23%, 9%, and 3%, respectively, and the overall survival (OS) rates were 94%, 82%, and 76%, respectively. In the NoRT group, SRS was adjuvant treatment after resection in 38 patients (40.4%), salvage treatment for recurrent tumor treated with resection alone in 10 (10.6%), and not specified in 46 (48.9%). In the RT group, SRS was boost treatment in 9 patients (25.0%), salvage treatment after recurrence in 22 (61.1%), and not specified in 5 (13.9%). There was no difference between the two groups in terms of median PFS (24.0 months [Q1 34.0, Q3 15.0] vs 23.8 months [34.0, 18.0], respectively; p = 0.8) or median OS (293.0 months [not reached, 137.4] vs not reached [not reached, 48.0], respectively; p = 0.36). The adverse radiation effect rates were comparable between the groups (10.9% vs 17.6%, respectively; p = 0.4).

CONCLUSIONS

The role of SRS in the management of skull base chordomas is still evolving. This systematic literature review of biopsy-proven chordoma revealed that tumor control and survival rates for SRS alone after chordoma surgery were not inferior to those encountered after SRS plus fractionated RT.

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Philipp Taussky and William T. Couldwell

Open access

Karol P. Budohoski, Robert C. Rennert, Vance Mortimer, William T. Couldwell, and Ramesh Grandhi

Ruptured blister aneurysms have significant rates of morbidity and mortality, but evidence of positive results with use of flow-diverting stents such as the Pipeline embolization device (PED) is growing. The authors describe the staged endovascular treatment of a ruptured left internal carotid artery blister aneurysm in a patient with a Hunt and Hess grade IV subarachnoid hemorrhage. PED placement was done via the common femoral artery using a triaxial delivery system. The telescoping stent technique performed over 48–72 hours achieved sufficient coverage of the aneurysm neck while limiting treatment time during the acute presentation and allowing interim dual antiplatelet treatment. A staged approach allows the targeting of a second PED placement in patients whose aneurysm continues to fill on the first follow-up angiogram. The authors have not experienced increased thromboembolic complications with this approach. Complete occlusion was achieved by postbleed day 8.

The video can be found here: https://stream.cadmore.media/r10.3171/2022.7.FOCVID2264

Free access

Karol P. Budohoski, Raj Thakrar, Zoya Voronovich, Robert C. Rennert, Craig Kilburg, Ramesh Grandhi, William T. Couldwell, Douglas L. Brockmeyer, and Philipp Taussky

OBJECTIVE

Flow-diverting devices have been used successfully for the treatment of complex intracranial vascular injuries in adults, but the role of these devices in treating iatrogenic and traumatic intracranial vascular injuries in children remains unclear. The authors present their experience using the Pipeline embolization device (PED) for treating intracranial pseudoaneurysms in children.

METHODS

This single-center retrospective cohort study included pediatric patients with traumatic and iatrogenic injuries to the intracranial vasculature that were treated with the PED between 2015 and 2021. Demographic data, indications for treatment, the number and sizes of PEDs used, follow-up imaging, and clinical outcomes were analyzed.

RESULTS

Six patients with a median age of 12 years (range 7–16 years) underwent PED placement to treat intracranial pseudoaneurysms. There were 3 patients with hemorrhagic presentation, 2 with ischemia, and 1 in whom a growing pseudoaneurysm was found on angiography. Injured vessels included the anterior cerebral artery (n = 2), the supraclinoid internal carotid artery (ICA, n = 2), the cavernous ICA (n = 1), and the distal cervical ICA (n = 1). All 6 pseudoaneurysms were successfully treated with PED deployment. One patient required re-treatment with a second PED within a week because of concern for a growing pseudoaneurysm. One patient experienced parent vessel occlusion without neurological sequelae.

CONCLUSIONS

Use of the PED is feasible for the management of iatrogenic and traumatic pseudoaneurysms of the intracranial vasculature in children, even in the setting of hemorrhagic presentation.

Free access

Brandon A. Sherrod, Christopher G. Wilkerson, John D. Rolston, Erica F. Bisson, Marcus D. Mazur, William T. Couldwell, and Andrew T. Dailey

Ralph B. Cloward (1908–2000) was the sole neurosurgeon present during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Cloward operated on 42 patients in a span of 4 days during the attacks and was awarded a commendation signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945 for his wartime efforts. During the attacks, he primarily treated depressed skull fractures and penetrating shrapnel wounds, but he also treated peripheral nerve and spine injuries in the aftermath. His techniques included innovative advancements such as tantalum cranioplasty plates, electromagnets for intracranial metallic fragment removal, and the application of sulfonamide antibiotic powder within cranial wounds, which had been introduced by military medics for gangrene prevention in 1939 and described for penetrating cranial wounds in 1940. Despite the severity of injuries encountered, only 2 soldiers died in the course of Cloward’s interventions. As the sole neurosurgeon in the Pacific Theater until 1944, he remained in Honolulu through World War II’s duration and gained immense operative experience through his wartime service. Here, the authors review the history of Cloward’s remarkable efforts, techniques, injury patterns treated, and legacy.

Open access

Robert C. Rennert, Karol P. Budohoski, Richard K. Gurgel, and William T. Couldwell

A 69-year-old woman with refractory left facial pain and subtle left hearing decline had a 13.0 × 8.1–mm left petrous apex/Meckel’s cave meningioma and an 8.8 × 5.6–mm left intracanalicular vestibular schwannoma. She was otherwise neurologically intact. The anterior petrous and middle fossa approaches provide ideal access to these lesions individually, so an extended middle fossa approach was used to resect both in the same setting. She was neurologically stable postoperatively, except for a transient abducens palsy. Hearing was preserved on audiogram, and 4-month MRI displayed no tumors. The extended middle fossa approach provides excellent exposure of the petrous apex and internal auditory canal.

The video can be found here: https://stream.cadmore.media/r10.3171/2022.1.FOCVID21258

Restricted access

Serge Makarenko, Ibrahim Alzahrani, Michael Karsy, Chandrasekhar Deopujari, and William T. Couldwell

OBJECTIVE

Giant (maximum diameter ≥ 4 cm) pituitary macroadenomas are complex tumors that require resection for decompression of optic nerves, relief of mass effect, and symptom improvement. Given the lack of surgical accessibility, the lateral extent of the lesions, and the invasion of the cavernous sinus, management presents a significant challenge. Transsphenoidal, transcranial, and combined approaches have been viable options for resection. The authors present their findings from a large series of patients to characterize giant pituitary adenomas, document outcomes, and outline surgical nuances in resection of these tumors.

METHODS

The authors reviewed 887 consecutive patients who underwent resection of pituitary adenomas at a single institution. From this group, 108 patients with giant pituitary adenomas who underwent resection between January 1, 2002, and December 31, 2020, were identified for inclusion in the study. The patient demographics, clinical presentation, tumor imaging characteristics, surgical approaches, and postoperative outcomes were analyzed using descriptive statistics.

RESULTS

The mean preoperative tumor diameter in this cohort was 4.6 ± 0.8 cm, with a mean volume of 25.9 ± 19.2 cm3. Ninety-seven patients underwent transsphenoidal approaches only, 3 underwent transcranial resection, and 8 patients underwent a combined approach. Gross-total resection was achieved in 42 patients. Tumor stability without a need for additional therapy was achieved in 77 patients, with 26 patients undergoing subsequent adjuvant radiotherapy. Among 100 patients with sufficient follow-up, 14 underwent adjuvant therapy—repeat operation and/or adjuvant radiation therapy—because of recurrence or tumor progression. Six patients with recurrence were observed without additional treatment. Overall, the morbidity associated with removal of these lesions was 11.1%; the most common morbidities were cerebrospinal fluid leak (5 patients, 4.6%) and hydrocephalus (4 patients, 3.7%). One death due to postoperative pituitary apoplexy of the residual tumor and malignant cerebral edema occurred in this cohort.

CONCLUSIONS

Giant pituitary tumors still represent a surgical challenge, with significant morbidity. Gross-total resection occurs in a minority of patients. Surgical goals for removal of giant pituitary tumors should include attempts at removal of most tumor tissue to minimize the risk of residual tumor apoplexy by tailoring the approach along the major axis of the tumor. Experience with both transsphenoidal and multiple transcranial techniques is necessary for minimizing complications and improving outcomes.

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Eric J. Chalif, William T. Couldwell, and Manish K. Aghi

OBJECTIVE

Giant pituitary adenomas (PAs), defined as 4 cm or greater at their maximum diameter, are commonly treated with neurosurgical intervention as the first-line therapy. However, existing studies are from high-volume institutions whose outcomes may not be representative of many cancer centers. In the present study, the authors use a large cancer registry to evaluate demographics, national treatment trends, and outcomes by facility volume to address knowledge gaps for this uncommon tumor.

METHODS

The National Cancer Database was queried for adult patients with PAs who had undergone resection from 2004 to 2016. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression modeling was used to evaluate the prognostic impact of covariates on short-term outcomes including 30-day readmission (30R), 30-day mortality (30M), 90-day mortality (90M), and prolonged length of inpatient hospital stay (LOS). Propensity score matching was used for validation.

RESULTS

Among the 39,030 patients who met the study inclusion criteria, 3696 giant PAs were identified. These tumors had higher rates of subtotal resection (55% vs 24%, p < 0.001), adjunctive radiotherapy (15% vs 5%, p < 0.001), and hormonal therapy (8% vs 4%, p < 0.001) than nongiant PAs. The giant PAs also had worse 30M (0.6% vs 3.1%, p < 0.001), 90M (1.0% vs 5.0%, p < 0.001), 30R (4.0% vs 6.3%, p < 0.001), and LOS (22.2% vs 42.1%, p < 0.001). On multivariate analysis for giant PA, decreased tumor size, younger age, race other than African American, lower comorbidity score, and high-volume facility (HVF; defined as ≥ 2.5 giant PA cases per year) were statistically significant predictors of favorable outcomes. Specifically, 30M, 90M, 30R, and LOS were decreased by 50%, 43%, 55%, and 32%, respectively, when giant PAs were treated at HVFs (each p < 0.05). HVFs more often used the endoscopic approach (71% vs 46%, p < 0.001) and less adjuvant radiotherapy (11% vs 16%, p < 0.001). Propensity score matching validated 30M, 30R, and LOS outcome differences in a cohort of 1056 patients.

CONCLUSIONS

This study provides evidence of superior outcomes when giant PAs are treated at HVFs. These results likely reflect the relation between physician experience and outcomes for these uncommon tumors, which suggests the need for institutional collaboration as a potential goal in their surgical management.