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Ali Tayebi Meybodi, Sirin Gandhi, Mark C. Preul, and Michael T. Lawton

OBJECTIVE

Exposure of the vertebral artery (VA) between C-1 and C-2 vertebrae (atlantoaxial VA) may be necessary in a variety of pathologies of the craniovertebral junction. Current methods to expose this segment of the VA entail sharp dissection of muscles close to the internal jugular vein and the spinal accessory nerve. The present study assesses the technique of exposing the atlantoaxial VA through a newly defined muscular triangle at the craniovertebral junction.

METHODS

Five cadaveric heads were prepared for surgical simulation in prone position, turned 30°–45° toward the side of exposure. The atlantoaxial VA was exposed through the subatlantic triangle after reflecting the sternocleidomastoid and splenius capitis muscles inferiorly. The subatlantic triangle was formed by 3 groups of muscles: 1) the levator scapulae and splenius cervicis muscles inferiorly and laterally, 2) the longissimus capitis muscle inferiorly and medially, and 3) the inferior oblique capitis superiorly. The lengths of the VA exposed through the triangle before and after unroofing the C-2 transverse foramen were measured.

RESULTS

The subatlantic triangle consistently provided access to the whole length of atlantoaxial VA. The average length of the VA exposed via the subatlantic triangle was 19.5 mm. This average increased to 31.5 mm after the VA was released at the C-2 transverse foramen.

CONCLUSIONS

The subatlantic triangle provides a simple and straightforward pathway to expose the atlantoaxial VA. The proposed method may be useful during posterior approaches to the craniovertebral junction should early exposure and control of the atlantoaxial VA become necessary.

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Michael A. Mooney, Joseph Georges, Mohammedhassan Izady Yazdanabadi, Katherine Y. Goehring, William L. White, Andrew S. Little, Mark C. Preul, Stephen W. Coons, Peter Nakaji, and Jennifer M. Eschbacher

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of using confocal reflectance microscopy (CRM) ex vivo to differentiate adenoma from normal pituitary gland in surgical biopsy specimens. CRM allows for rapid, label-free evaluation of biopsy specimens with cellular resolution while avoiding some limitations of frozen section analysis.

METHODS

Biopsy specimens from 11 patients with suspected pituitary adenomas were transported directly to the pathology department. Samples were immediately positioned and visualized with CRM using a confocal microscope located in the same area of the pathology department where frozen sections are prepared. An H & E–stained slide was subsequently prepared from imaged tissue. A neuropathologist compared the histopathological characteristics of the H & E–stained slide and the matched CRM images. A second neuropathologist reviewed images in a blinded fashion and assigned diagnoses of adenoma or normal gland.

RESULTS

For all specimens, CRM contrasted cellularity, tissue architecture, nuclear pleomorphism, vascularity, and stroma. Pituitary adenomas demonstrated sheets and large lobules of cells, similar to the matched H & E–stained slides. CRM images of normal tissue showed scattered small lobules of pituitary epithelial cells, consistent with matched H & E–stained images of normal gland. Blinded review by a neuropathologist confirmed the diagnosis in 15 (94%) of 16 images of adenoma versus normal gland.

CONCLUSIONS

CRM is a simple, reliable approach for rapidly evaluating pituitary adenoma specimens ex vivo. This technique can be used to accurately differentiate between pituitary adenoma and normal gland while preserving biopsy tissue for future permanent analysis, immunohistochemical studies, and molecular studies.

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Eberval G. Figueiredo, Manoel J. Teixeira, and Leonardo C. Welling

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Feres Chaddad-Neto, Marcos Devanir Silva da Costa, Baran Bozkurt, Hugo Leonardo Doria-Netto, Daniel de Araujo Paz, Ricardo da Silva Centeno, Andrew W. Grande, Sergio Cavalheiro, Kaan Yağmurlu, Robert F. Spetzler, and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

The authors report a novel surgical route from a superior anatomical aspect—the contralateral anterior interhemispheric-transcallosal-transrostral approach—to a lesion located in the subcallosal region. The neurosurgical approach to the subcallosal region is challenging due to its deep location and close relationship with important vascular structures. Anterior and inferior routes to the subcallosal region have been described but risk damaging the branches of the anterior cerebral artery.

METHODS

Three formalin-fixed and silicone-injected adult cadaveric heads were studied to demonstrate the relationships between the transventricular surgical approach and the subcallosal region. The surgical, clinical, and radiological history of a 39-year-old man with a subcallosal cavernous malformation was retrospectively used to document the neurological examination and radiographic parameters of such a case.

RESULTS

The contralateral anterior interhemispheric-transcallosal-transrostral approach provides access to the subcallosal area that also includes the inferior portion of the pericallosal cistern, lamina terminalis cistern, the paraterminal and paraolfactory gyri, and the anterior surface of the optic chiasm. The approach avoids the neurocritical perforating branches of the anterior communicating artery.

CONCLUSIONS

The contralateral anterior interhemispheric-transcallosal-transrostral approach may be an alternative route to subcallosal area lesions, with less risk to the branches of the anterior cerebral artery, particularly the anterior communicating artery perforators.

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Mark C. Preul, T. Forcht Dagi, Charles J. Prestigiacomo, and Chris A. Sloffer

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Evgenii Belykh, Kaan Yağmurlu, Ting Lei, Sam Safavi-Abbasi, Mark E. Oppenlander, Nikolay L. Martirosyan, Vadim A. Byvaltsev, Robert F. Spetzler, Peter Nakaji, and Mark C. Preul

OBJECTIVE

The best approach to deep-seated lateral and third ventricle lesions is a function of lesion characteristics, location, and relationship to the ventricles. The authors sought to examine and compare angles of attack and surgical freedom of anterior ipsilateral and contralateral interhemispheric transcallosal approaches to the frontal horn of the lateral ventricle using human cadaveric head dissections. Illustrative clinical experiences with a contralateral interhemispheric transcallosal approach and an anterior interhemispheric transcallosal transchoroidal approach are also related.

METHODS

Five formalin-fixed human cadaveric heads (10 sides) were examined microsurgically. CT and MRI scans obtained before dissection were uploaded and fused into the navigation system. The authors performed contralateral and ipsilateral transcallosal approaches to the lateral ventricle. Using the navigation system, they measured areas of exposure, surgical freedom, angles of attack, and angle of view to the surgical surface. Two clinical cases are described.

RESULTS

The exposed areas of the ipsilateral (mean [± SD] 313.8 ± 85.0 mm2) and contralateral (344 ± 87.73 mm2) interhemispheric approaches were not significantly different (p = 0.12). Surgical freedom and vertical angles of attack were significantly larger for the contralateral approach to the most midsuperior reachable point (p = 0.02 and p = 0.01, respectively) and to the posterosuperior (p = 0.02 and p = 0.04) and central (p = 0.04 and p = 0.02) regions of the lateral wall of the lateral ventricle. Surgical freedom and vertical angles of attack to central and anterior points on the floor of the lateral ventricle did not differ significantly with approach. The angle to the surface of the caudate head region was less steep for the contralateral (135.6° ± 15.6°) than for the ipsilateral (152.0° ± 13.6°) approach (p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS

The anterior contralateral interhemispheric transcallosal approach provided a more expansive exposure to the lower two-thirds of the lateral ventricle and striothalamocapsular region. In normal-sized ventricles, the foramen of Monro and the choroidal fissure were better visualized through the lateral ventricle ipsilateral to the craniotomy than through the contralateral approach.

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Kaan Yağmurlu, Hasan A. Zaidi, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Albert L. Rhoton Jr., Mark C. Preul, and Robert F. Spetzler

Pineal region tumors are challenging to access because they are centrally located within the calvaria and surrounded by critical neurovascular structures. The goal of this work is to describe a new surgical trajectory, the anterior interhemispheric transsplenial approach, to the pineal region and falcotentorial junction area. To demonstrate this approach, the authors examined 7 adult formalin-fixed silicone-injected cadaveric heads and 2 fresh human brain specimens. One representative case of falcotentorial meningioma treated through an anterior interhemispheric transsplenial approach is also described. Among the interhemispheric approaches to the pineal region, the anterior interhemispheric transsplenial approach has several advantages. 1) There are few or no bridging veins at the level of the pericoronal suture. 2) The parietal and occipital lobes are not retracted, which reduces the chances of approach-related morbidity, especially in the dominant hemisphere. 3) The risk of damage to the deep venous structures is low because the tumor surface reached first is relatively vein free. 4) The internal cerebral veins can be manipulated and dissected away laterally through the anterior interhemispheric route but not via the posterior interhemispheric route. 5) Early control of medial posterior choroidal arteries is obtained. The anterior interhemispheric transsplenial approach provides a safe and effective surgical corridor for patients with supratentorial pineal region tumors that 1) extend superiorly, involve the splenium of the corpus callosum, and push the deep venous system in a posterosuperior or an anteroinferior direction; 2) are tentorial and displace the deep venous system inferiorly; or 3) originate from the splenium of the corpus callosum.

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Kaan Yagmurlu, M. Yashar S. Kalani, Mark C. Preul, and Robert F. Spetzler

The authors describe a safe entry zone, the superior fovea triangle, on the floor of the fourth ventricle for resection of deep dorsal pontine lesions at the level of the facial colliculus. Clinical data from a patient undergoing a suboccipital telovelar transsuperior fovea triangle approach to a deep pontine cavernous malformation were reviewed and supplemented with 6 formalin-fixed adult human brainstem and 2 silicone-injected adult human cadaveric heads using the fiber dissection technique to illustrate the utility of this novel safe entry zone. The superior fovea has a triangular shape that is an important landmark for the motor nucleus of the trigeminal, abducens, and facial nerves. The inferior half of the superior fovea triangle may be incised to remove deep dorsal pontine lesions through the floor of the fourth ventricle. The superior fovea triangle may be used as a safe entry zone for dorsally located lesions at the level of the facial colliculus.

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Ali M. Elhadi, Hasan A. Zaidi, Kaan Yagmurlu, Shah Ahmed, Albert L. Rhoton Jr., Peter Nakaji, Mark C. Preul, and Andrew S. Little

OBJECTIVE

Endoscopic transmaxillary approaches (ETMAs) address pathology of the anterolateral skull base, including the cavernous sinus, pterygopalatine fossa, and infratemporal fossa. This anatomically complex region contains branches of the trigeminal nerve and external carotid artery and is in proximity to the internal carotid artery. The authors postulated, on the basis of intraoperative observations, that the infraorbital nerve (ION) is a useful surgical landmark for navigating this region; therefore, they studied the anatomy of the ION and its relationships to critical neurovascular structures and the maxillary nerve (V2) encountered in ETMAs.

METHODS

Endoscopic anatomical dissections were performed bilaterally in 5 silicone-injected, formalin-fixed cadaveric heads (10 sides). Endonasal transmaxillary and direct transmaxillary (Caldwell-Luc) approaches were performed, and anatomical correlations were analyzed and documented. Stereotactic imaging of each specimen was performed to correlate landmarks and enable precise measurement of each segment.

RESULTS

The ION was readily identified in the roof of the maxillary sinus at the beginning of the surgical procedure in all specimens. Anatomical dissections of the ION and the maxillary branch of the trigeminal nerve (V2) to the cavernous sinus suggested that the ION/V2 complex has 4 distinct segments that may have implications in endoscopic approaches: 1) Segment I, the cutaneous segment of the ION and its terminal branches (5–11 branches) to the face, distal to the infraorbital foramen; 2) Segment II, the orbitomaxillary segment of the ION within the infraorbital canal from the infraorbital foramen along the infraorbital groove (length 12 ± 3.2 mm); 3) Segment III, the pterygopalatine segment within the pterygopalatine fossa, which starts at the infraorbital groove to the foramen rotundum (13 ± 2.5 mm); and 4) Segment IV, the cavernous segment from the foramen rotundum to the trigeminal ganglion (15 ± 4.1 mm), which passes in the lateral wall of the cavernous sinus. The relationship of the ION/V2 complex to the contents of the cavernous sinus, carotid artery, and pterygopalatine fossa is described in the text.

CONCLUSIONS

The ION/V2 complex is an easily identifiable and potentially useful surgical landmark to the foramen rotundum, cavernous sinus, carotid artery, pterygopalatine fossa, and anterolateral skull base during ETMAs.