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Fredric B. Meyer, Michael J. Ebersold, and David F. Reese

✓ The authors reviewed 102 documented cases of benign extramedullary tumors of the foramen magnum treated at their institution between 1924 and 1982. There was 78 meningiomas, 23 neurofibromas, and one teratoma. Approximately 40% of the patients had a normal neurological examination upon first evaluation. The most frequent presenting complaints were suboccipital neck pain, dysesthesias, gait disturbances, weakness, and hand clumsiness. The average time from initial symptoms to diagnosis was 2¼ years. The most common findings included hyperreflexia, arm or hand weakness, Babinski sign, spastic gait, sensory loss, and 11th cranial nerve involvement. Based on these cases, an attempt is made to distinguish foramen magnum tumors from other disease entities by a grouping of signs and symptoms. There is no clinical finding that is pathognomonic. Metrizamide computerized tomography scanning and Pantopaque myelography have been the radiographic tests most commonly used to evaluate the foramen magnum. Recent experience suggests that nuclear magnetic resonance scanning will be a very useful noninvasive means of evaluating the foramen magnum region.

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Fredric B. Meyer, David G. Piepgras, Thoralf M. Sundt Jr., and Takehiko Yanagihara

✓ Twenty cases treated with emergency embolectomy for acute occlusion of the middle cerebral artery were reviewed. There were 10 males and 10 females, with an average age of 55 years. The left middle cerebral artery was involved in 17 patients and the right in three. Flow was restored in 16 patients (75%). The embolus originated in the heart in seven, the carotid artery in seven, the aorta in three, an aneurysm in one, and an indeterminate source in two. It was technically most difficult to achieve patency with atheromatous emboli from the aorta. Two patients (10%) had an excellent result with no neurological deficit, five (25%) were left with a minimal deficit but were employable, seven (35%) had a fair result but were still independent and employable, four (20%) did poorly, and two (10%) died. Patients with an associated ipsilateral carotid artery occlusion did poorly. Collateral flow, as judged from preoperative angiograms, was the best predictor of outcome.

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Fredric B. Meyer, Thoralf M. Sundt Jr., and Bruce W. Pearson

✓ Carotid body tumors are a rare but potentially difficult surgical entity. Their pathology, physiology, and natural history are reviewed along with surgical results reported in the literature. A surgical approach for removal of these tumors is presented which differs significantly from the recommended techniques in that emphasis is placed on intraoperative monitoring of cerebral blood flow, the selective use of shunts, a tumor-adventitial plane of dissection, preservation of the carotid artery complex, and mobilization of the parotid gland. Thirteen cases using these techniques are reviewed. The mortality rate and the incidence of cerebrovascular sequelae were both 0%. The major morbidity consisted of injury to the lower cranial nerves in five patients (39%) with tumors larger than 5 cm in length.

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Fredric B. Meyer, W. Richard Marsh, Edward R. Laws Jr., and Frank W. Sharbrough

✓ The results of temporal lobectomy for medically refractory seizures are analyzed in 29 boys and 21 girls with a mean age of 15.8 years. The average age at onset of seizures was 7.5 years, and the time between onset and surgery averaged 8.3 years. Postoperatively, 27 patients (54%) were seizure-free, 12 patients (24%) had only occasional auras without loss of consciousness, five patients (10%) had fewer seizures, and six (12%) were unchanged. Therefore, 78% were essentially seizure-free and 88% benefited significantly from the operation. There was no significant change in the Wechsler Intelligence Scale scores before and after surgery; however, the shorter the time between seizure onset and surgery, the greater the likelihood of improvement in verbal and perceptual intelligence quotient. Social outcome was significantly improved, and a large percentage of patients were either in school or actively employed. Early consideration of temporal lobectomy in children with medically refractory seizures is recommended.

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Fredric B. Meyer, Robert E. Anderson, Tony L. Yaksh, and Thoralf M. Sundt Jr.

✓ Intracellular brain pH, cortical blood flow, and electroencephalograms (EEG's) were recorded in severely and moderately ischemic regions in 10 control and 10 nimodipine-treated rabbits prior to and following major branch occlusion of the middle cerebral artery (MCA). Preocclusion cortical blood flow was 51 ml/100 gm/min and intracellular brain pH was 7.01 in both the control and the treated animals. After MCA occlusion, the severely ischemic regions in the control group showed initial and 4-hour postocclusion flows of 12.7 and 5.2 ml/100 gm/min with a brain pH of 6.64 and 6.08, respectively. In animals given nimodipine after MCA occlusion, blood flow increased from 10.5 to 18.8 ml/100 gm/min, with an associated elevation in intracellular brain pH from 6.57 to 6.91. Comparable findings were observed in areas of moderate ischemia. Improvements in cortical blood flow, intracellular brain pH, and EEG attenuations produced by nimodipine were all statistically significant. Inspection of the cortex revealed reversal of cortical pallor and small-vessel spasm following treatment with nimodipine. It is hypothesized that nimodipine exerts its effects through reversal of ischemia-induced secondary vasoconstriction, and that this drug may be an important adjunctive treatment for patients with focal cerebral ischemia.

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Treatment of experimental focal cerebral ischemia with mannitol

Assessment by intracellular brain pH, cortical blood flow, and electroencephalography

Fredric B. Meyer, Robert E. Anderson, Thoralf M. Sundt Jr., and Tony L. Yaksh

✓ Intracellular brain pH, cortical blood flow (CBF), and electrocorticograms were recorded in regions of severe and moderate ischemia in 10 control rabbits and 10 rabbits given mannitol, 1 gm/kg, after occlusion of a major branch of the middle cerebral artery. Pooling the data from all 20 animals, preocclusion CBF was 46.4 ±3.6 ml/100 gm/min and intracellular brain pH was 7.01 ± 0.04 (means ± standard error of the means). Although mannitol administration mildly improved CBF in regions of severe ischemia, this increase was not sufficient to prevent metabolic deterioration as assessed by brain pH. However, in regions of moderate ischemia, CBF improved significantly with mannitol and the gradual decline in brain pH observed in control animals was prevented. For example, in the treated moderate ischemia sites 4-hour postocclusion CBF and pH values were 31.8 ml/100 gm/min and 6.89 ± 0.09, respectively, as compared to control values of 14.3 ml/ 100 gm/min and 6.75 ± 0.06. These results suggest that mannitol may be of benefit in stabilizing regions of moderate, but not severe, ischemia after vessel occlusion.

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Fredric B. Meyer, Thoralf M. Sundt Jr., Nicolee C. Fode, Michael K. Morgan, Glen S. Forbes, and James F. Mellinger

✓ In this study, 24 aneurysms occurring in 23 patients under the age of 18 years (mean 12 years) are analyzed. The male:female ratio was 2.8:1, and the youngest patient was 3 months old. Mycotic lesions and those associated with other vascular malformations were excluded. Forty-two percent of the aneurysms were located in the posterior circulation, and 54% were giant aneurysms. Presenting symptoms included subarachnoid hemorrhage in 13 and mass effect in 11. Several of these aneurysms were documented to rapidly increase in size over a 3-month to 2-year period of observation. All aneurysms were surgically treated: direct clipping was performed in 14; trapping with bypass in four; trapping alone in four; and direct excision with end-to-end anastomosis in two. The postoperative results were excellent in 21 aneurysms (87%), good in two (8%), and poor in one. The pathogenesis of cerebral aneurysms is reviewed.

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Fredric B. Meyer, Daniela Lombardi, Bernd Scheithauer, and Douglas A. Nichols

✓ Extra-axial cavernous hemangiomas are rare lesions previously associated with unacceptable mortality and morbidity rates that precluded surgical resection. The authors analyze the clinical presentation, surgical results, and histology of eight intrasinus cavernous hemangiomas: six located in the cavernous sinus, one in the petrosal sinus, and one in the torcula. Magnetic resonance imaging is the best radiographic test for surgical planning. Successful tumor removal was achieved in six cases with no mortality and low morbidity. In the remaining two patients, only subtotal resection was achieved because of massive hemorrhage in one and the misdiagnosis of a pituitary adenoma leading to a transsphenoidal approach in the other. For hemangiomas arising within the cavernous sinus, extradural removal of the sphenoid bone facilitated preservation of the neurovascular structures. Since the clinical and histological characteristics of these lesions are distinct from intra-axial cavernous hemangiomas, a more appropriate term may be “sinus cavernoma” to indicate that these lesions are primarily intrasinus in origin.

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Daniela Lombardi, Bernd W. Scheithauer, David Piepgras, Fredric B. Meyer, and Glenn S. Forbes

✓ The term “angioglioma” denotes a highly vascular glioma, most of which are low-grade lesions associated with a favorable prognosis. The authors encountered an example of this pathology, a cystic oligodendroglioma associated with prominent vasculature which both clinically and histologically mimicked an occult arteriovenous malformation (AVM). This case and reports of the association of AVM and glioma prompted a histological review of 1034 surgically resected AVM's, both angiographically occult and visible, among which no oligodendroglial or astrocytic forms of “angioglioma” were found. Eight cases were observed, however, wherein oligodendroglial cells were increased in number within or about the malformation. Two basic histological patterns of oligodendroglial cell excess were seen; one appeared to be malformative in nature with abnormal disposition of oligodendroglial cells being an integral part of the AVM, whereas in the other an apparent increase in cellularity seemed the result of chronic ischemia with condensation of white matter. It appeared that the areas of increased oligodendrocyte content seen in association with AVM are non-neoplastic lesions that exhibit two rather distinct histological patterns of differing origin.

In an effort to determine the frequency of “angioglioma,” the authors examined Tissue Registry data for several glioma groups in which highly vascular examples are prone to occur. Tumors selected for study included 104 cerebellar-type (pilocytic) astrocytomas, 82 oligodendrogliomas, and 51 supratentorial pilocytic astrocytomas. Histological hypervascularity mimicking a vascular malformation (that is, an “angioglioma”) was encountered in 5%, 4%, and 12% of the cases, respectively. Based upon clinical, radiological, and pathological reviews of these cases, as well as a careful review of the literature, it was concluded that 1) “angiogliomas” are neither rare nor represent a distinct clinicopathological entity; 2) in histological but not necessarily angiographic surgical terms, they represent simply highly vascular gliomas, usually of low grade; and 3) the clinicopathological and angiographic features as well as the prognosis of such lesions do not differ from those of similar gliomas without angioma-like vasculature. Finally, “angiogliomas” must not be confused with gliomas of high-grade malignancy which, due to neovascularity, may be highly vascular at angiography and at surgery.

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Daniela Lombardi, Bernd W. Scheithauer, Fredric B. Meyer, Glenn S. Forbes, Edward G. Shaw, Donna J. Gibney, and Jerry A. Katzmann

✓ Twenty-one intracranial subependymomas were reviewed with regard to presentation, diagnosis, operative findings, and long-term follow-up data. The histopathological features were critically reviewed, and deoxyribunucleic acid analysis was performed by flow cytometry. The patients' mean age was 48.5 years (range 32 to 72 years). In 14 cases the tumor was located in the fourth ventricle, in six within a lateral ventricle, and in one in the third ventricle with extension into the lateral ventricle. Radiographic characteristics included isodensity with minimal enhancement on computerized tomography, frequent dystrophic calcification, and isointensity on T1-weighted or slight hyperintensity on T2-weighted magnetic resonance images. The predominant histological features in all cases were those of classic subependymoma. Nonetheless, pathological examination showed a minor (< 20%) ependymoma component in five cases, significant cytological atypia in seven, mitoses in 11, endothelial prominence in four, and focal hemorrhage-associated necrosis in two. Flow cytometry revealed a diploid pattern in 12 patients, tetraploidy in two, and aneuploidy in one.

Two patients died in the perioperative period. Of the remaining 19, 12 underwent gross total resection (two of whom received postoperative irradiation) and seven underwent subtotal resection (five of whom received irradiation). None of the 12 non-irradiated patients developed tumor progression or died of direct tumor-related causes. Of the seven irradiated patients, follow-up imaging studies demonstrated their tumors to be radioresponsive, particularly with doses of 5000 cGy or greater. Despite the presence of cytological atypia and mitotic activity in the majority of cases, the prognostic effects of such factors as tumor location and the extent of surgical resection outweighed those of the standard histopathological parameters. Routine postoperative irradiation is not recommended, but should be reserved for cases with a symptomatic residual or recurrent subependymomas following surgery.