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Graeme F. Woodworth, Kunal S. Patel, Benjamin Shin, Jan-Karl Burkhardt, Apostolos John Tsiouris, Edward D. McCoul, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

Object

This study details the extent of resection and complications associated with endonasal endoscopic surgery for pituitary tumors invading the cavernous sinus (CS) using a moderately aggressive approach to maximize extent of resection through the medial CS wall while minimizing the risk of cranial neuropathy and blood loss. Tumor in the medial CS was aggressively pursued while tumor in the lateral CS was debulked in preparation for radiosurgery.

Methods

A prospective surgical database of consecutive endonasal pituitary surgeries with verified CS invasion on intraoperative visual inspection was reviewed. The extent of resection as a whole and within the CS was assessed by an independent neuroradiologist using pre- and postoperative Knosp-Steiner (KS) categorization and volumetrics of the respective MR images. The extent of resection and clinical outcomes were compared for medial (KS 1–2) and lateral (KS 3–4) lesions.

Results

Thirty-six consecutive patients with pituitary adenomas involving the CS who had surgery via an endonasal endoscopic approach were identified. The extent of resection was 84.6% for KS 1–2 and 66.6% for KS 3–4 (p = 0.04). The rate of gross-total resection was 53.8% for KS 1–2 and 8.7% for KS 3–4 (p = 0.0006). Six patients (16.7%) had preoperative cranial neuropathies, and all 6 had subjective improvement after surgery. Surgical complications included 2 transient postoperative cranial neuropathies (5.6%), 1 postoperative CSF leak (2.8%), 1 reoperation for mucocele (2.8%), and 1 infection (2.8%).

Conclusions

The endoscopic endonasal “medial-to-lateral” approach permits safe debulking of tumors in the medial and lateral CS. Although rates of gross-total resection are moderate, particularly in the lateral CS, the risk of permanent cranial neuropathy is extremely low and there is a high chance of improvement of preexisting deficits. This approach can also facilitate targeting for postoperative radiosurgery.

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Matei A. Banu, Amancio Guerrero-Maldonado, Heather J. McCrea, Victor Garcia-Navarro, Mark M. Souweidane, Vijay K. Anand, Linda Heier, Theodore H. Schwartz, and Jeffrey P. Greenfield

Object

Scarce morphometric data exist on the developing skull base as a corridor for endonasal endoscopic approaches (EEAs). Furthermore, the impact of skull base lesions on its development has not been assessed. The authors describe a novel set of anatomical parameters characterizing the developmental process as well as the utility of these parameters in preoperative planning and a feasibility assessment of EEAs for neurosurgical treatment of skull base lesions in children.

Methods

Based on specific MRI sequences in 107 pediatric patients (2–16 years of age) without skull base lesions (referred to here as the normal population), 3 sets of anatomical parameters were analyzed according to age group and sex: drilling distance, restriction sites, and working distance parameters. A separate set of patients undergoing EEAs was analyzed in similar fashion to address the impact of skull base lesions on the developmental process.

Results

The volume of the sphenoid sinus significantly increases with age, reaching 6866.4 mm3 in the 14–16 years age group, and directly correlates with the pneumatization type (r = 0.533, p = 0.0001). The pneumatization process progresses slowly in a temporal-posterior direction, as demonstrated by the growth trend of the sellar width (r = 0.428, p = 0.0001). Nasal restriction sites do not change significantly with age, with little impact on EEAs. The intercarotid distance is significantly different only in the extreme age groups (3.9 mm, p = 0.038), and has an important impact on the transsphenoidal angle and the intracranial dissection limits (r = 0.443, p < 0.0001). The 14.9° transsphenoidal angle at 2–4 years has a 37.6% significant increase in the 11–13 years age group (p = 0.001) and is highly dependent on pneumatization type. Age-dependent differences between working parameters are mostly noted for the extreme age groups, such as the 8.6-mm increase in nare-vomer distance (p = 0.025). The nare-sellar distance is the only parameter with significant differences based on sex. Skull base lesions induce a high degree of variance in skull base measurements, delaying development and decreasing parameter values. Skull base parameters are interdependent. Nare-sellar distance can be used to assess global skull base development because it highly correlates with the intercarotid distance in both the normal population and in patients harboring skull base lesions.

Conclusions

Skull base development is a slow, gradual, age-dependent, sex-independent process significantly altering endonasal endoscopic corridors. Preoperative MRI measurements of the pediatric skull base are thus a useful adjunct in choosing the appropriate corridor and in assessing working angles and limits during dissection or reparative surgery. Skull base lesions can significantly impact normal skull base development and age-dependent growth patterns.

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Charles Kulwin, Theodore H. Schwartz, and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Over the past decade, advances in endoscopic microsurgical techniques have resulted in an increasingly aggressive endonasal approach to tumors of the midline skull base. Meningiomas of the tuberculum sellae are often closely associated with cerebrovascular structures, and their removal has traditionally required a transcranial approach. An endonasal approach offers many advantages, including early tumor devascularization and tumor debulking (without manipulation of the optic apparatus), direct access to the medial optic canal, and a minimal-access corridor.

Although recent articles have focused on techniques for reaching and approaching the area of the pathology (how to get there), the authors of this report discuss the technical nuances of endoscopic microsurgery when the operator is already “there.” They describe their 6-step technique for endoscopic skull base bone removal, tumor dissection/resection, and closure. They also augment their description with elaborate illustrations.

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Prajwal Rajappa, Konstantinos Margetis, Dimitri Sigounas, Vijay Anand, Theodore H. Schwartz, and Jeffrey P. Greenfield

The authors report a case of a recurrent pediatric ventral pontine ependymoma that they resected through an endonasal endoscopic transclival approach. Regarding the options for a surgical approach to ventral pontine tumors, traditional far-lateral approaches are associated with considerable morbidity due to the required muscle mobilization, brain retraction, and in-line obstruction of cranial nerves before reaching the target. The endoscopic endonasal transclival approach was made appealing by eliminating all of these concerns. The patient's fully pneumatized sphenoid sinus, laterally displaced basilar artery, and the direct ventral location of the bulky disease all further supported this unconventional choice of surgical corridor to achieve a palliative brainstem decompression of an incurable recurrence.

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Kunal S. Patel, Ricardo J. Komotar, Oszkar Szentirmai, Nelson Moussazadeh, Daniel M. Raper, Robert M. Starke, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

Object

Endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery is expanding in acceptance, yet postoperative CSF leak rates remain a concern. This study presents the Cornell closure protocol, which has yielded significantly lower postoperative CSF leak rates compared with prior reports, as an algorithm that can be used by centers having difficulty with CSF leak.

Methods

A single closure algorithm for endoscopic surgery has been used since January 2010 at Weill Cornell Medical College. A prospective database noting intraoperative CSF leak, closure technique, and postoperative CSF leak was reviewed. The authors used a MEDLINE search to identify similar studies and compared CSF leak rates to those of patients treated using the Cornell algorithm.

Results

The retrospective study of a prospectively acquired database included 209 consecutive patients. In 84 patients (40%) there was no intraoperative CSF leak and no postoperative CSF leak. In the 125 patients (60%) with an intraoperative CSF leak, 35 of them with high-flow leaks, there were 0 (0%) postoperative CSF leaks.

Conclusions

It is possible to achieve a CSF leak rate of 0% by using this closure protocol. With proper experience, endoscopic skull base surgery should not be considered to have a higher CSF leak rate than open transcranial or microscopic transsphenoidal surgery.

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Kunal S. Patel, Nelson Moussazadeh, Werner K. Doyle, Douglas R. Labar, and Theodore H. Schwartz

Object

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a viable option for patients with medically intractable epilepsy. However, there are no studies examining its effect on individuals with brain tumor–associated intractable epilepsy. This study aims to evaluate the efficacy of VNS in patients with brain tumor–associated medically intractable epilepsy.

Methods

Epilepsy surgery databases at 2 separate epilepsy centers were reviewed to identify patients in whom a VNS device was placed for tumor-related intractable epilepsy between January 1999 and December 2011. Preoperative and postoperative seizure frequency and type as well as antiepileptic drug (AED) regimens and degree of tumor progression were evaluated. Statistical analysis was performed using odds ratios and t-tests to examine efficacy.

Results

Sixteen patients were included in the study. Eight patients (50%) had an improved outcome (Engel Class I, II, or III) with an average follow-up of 39.6 months. The mean reduction in seizure frequency was 41.7% (p = 0.002). There was no significant change in AED regimens. Seizure frequency decreased by 10.9% in patients with progressing tumors and by 65.6% in patients with stable tumors (p = 0.008).

Conclusions

Vagus nerve stimulation therapy in individuals with brain tumor–associated medically intractable epilepsy was shown to be comparably effective in regard to seizure reduction and response rates to the general population of VNS therapy patients. Outcomes were better in patients with stable as opposed to progressing tumors. The authors' findings support the recommendation of VNS therapy in patients with brain tumor–associated intractable epilepsy, especially in cases in which imminent tumor progression is not expected. Vagus nerve stimulation may not be indicated in more malignant tumors.

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Eliza H. Hersh, Michael S. Virk, Huibo Shao, A. John Tsiouris, Gregory A. Bonci, and Theodore H. Schwartz

Object

Subdural implantation of electrodes is commonly performed to localize an epileptic focus. Whether to temporarily explant the bone plate and whether to treat patients with perioperative steroid agents is unclear. The authors' aim was to evaluate the utility and risk of bone plate explantation and perioperative steroid use.

Methods

The authors reviewed the records of all patients who underwent unilateral craniotomy for electrode implantation performed between November 2001 and June 2011 at their institution. Patients were divided into 3 groups: Group 1 (n = 24), bone explanted, no perioperative steroid use; Group 2 (n = 42), bone left in place, no perioperative steroid use; Group 3 (n = 25), bone left in place, steroid agents administered perioperatively. Complications, mass effect, and seizure rates were examined by means of statistical analysis.

Results

Of 324 cranial epilepsy surgeries, 91 were unilateral subdural electrode implants that met our inclusion criteria. A total of 11 infections were reported, and there was a significantly higher rate of infection when the bone was explanted (8 cases [33.3%]) than when the bone was left in place (3 cases [4.5%], p < 0.01). Leaving the bone in place also increased the rate of asymptomatic subdural hematomas and frequency of seizures, although there was no increase in midline shift, severity of headache, or rate of emergency reoperation. The use of steroid agents did not appear to have an effect on any of the outcome measures.

Conclusions

Temporary bone flap explantation during craniotomy for implantation of subdural electrodes can result in high rates of infection, possibly due to the frequent change of hands in transferring the bone to the bone bank. Leaving the bone in place may increase the frequency of seizures and appearance of asymptomatic subdural hematomas but does not increase the rate of complications. These results may be institution dependent.

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Kunal S. Patel, Mingrui Zhao, Hongtao Ma, and Theodore H. Schwartz

Object

The ability to predict seizure occurrence is extremely important to trigger abortive therapies and to warn patients and their caregivers. Optical imaging of hemodynamic parameters such as blood flow, blood volume, and tissue and hemoglobin oxygenation has already been shown to successfully localize epileptic events with high spatial and temporal resolution. The ability to actually predict seizure occurrence using hemodynamic parameters is less well explored.

Methods

In this article, the authors critically review data from the literature on neocortical epilepsy and optical imaging, and they discuss the preictal hemodynamic changes and their application in neurosurgery.

Results

Recent optical mapping studies have demonstrated preictal hemodynamic changes in both human and animal neocortex.

Conclusions

Optical measurements of blood flow and oxygenation may become increasingly important for predicting and localizing epileptic events. The ability to successfully predict ictal onsets may be useful to trigger closed-loop abortive therapies.

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Alexander M. Stessin, Allie Schwartz, Grigorij Judanin, Susan C. Pannullo, John A. Boockvar, Theodore H. Schwartz, Philip E. Stieg, and A. Gabriella Wernicke

Object

The aim of this study was to examine the effect of postoperative external-beam radiation therapy (EBRT) on disease-specific survival in patients with nonbenign meningiomas.

Methods

The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database from 1988 to 2007 was queried for cases of resected Grades II (atypical) and III (malignant) meningioma. Disease-specific survival outcomes were determined using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and Cox proportional hazards models. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine the likelihood of receiving EBRT for Grade II versus Grade III. Because atypical and malignant meningiomas underwent WHO reclassification in 2000, the authors carried out an additional analysis of outcomes of these tumors from 2000 to 2008.

Results

There were 657 patients included in the analysis; of these, 244 received adjuvant radiation. Compared with patients with Grade II meningioma, patients with Grade III disease were 41.9% more likely to receive EBRT after gross-total resection and 36.7% more likely to receive it after subtotal resection (95% CI 0.58–3.26). Controlling for grade, extent of resection, size and anatomical location of the tumor, year of diagnosis, race, age, and sex, adjuvant EBRT did not impart a survival benefit (HR 1.492; 95% CI 0.827–2.692). There was also no survival advantage to EBRT in an analysis of cases diagnosed after the WHO 2000 reclassification of meningiomas (HR 0.828; 95% CI 0.350–1.961).

Conclusions

The results of this population-based retrospective analysis demonstrate that the role of radiation remains unclear. They underscore the need for randomized prospective clinical trials to assess the usefulness of adjuvant EBRT in Grades II and III meningioma so as to define more precisely the subset of patients who may benefit from the addition of adjuvant radiation.