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Malte Ottenhausen, Kavelin Rumalla, Andrew F. Alalade, Prakash Nair, Emanuele La Corte, Iyan Younus, Jonathan A. Forbes, Atef Ben Nsir, Matei A. Banu, Apostolos John Tsiouris, and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

Anterior skull base meningiomas are benign lesions that cause neurological symptoms through mass effect on adjacent neurovascular structures. While traditional transcranial approaches have proven to be effective at removing these tumors, minimally invasive approaches that involve using an endoscope offer the possibility of reducing brain and nerve retraction, minimizing incision size, and speeding patient recovery; however, appropriate case selection and results in large series are lacking.

METHODS

The authors developed an algorithm for selecting a supraorbital keyhole minicraniotomy (SKM) for olfactory groove meningiomas or an expanded endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) for tuberculum sella (TS) or planum sphenoidale (PS) meningiomas based on the presence or absence of olfaction and the anatomical extent of the tumor. Where neither approach is appropriate, a standard transcranial approach is utilized. The authors describe rates of gross-total resection (GTR), olfactory outcomes, and visual outcomes, as well as complications, for 7 subgroups of patients. Exceptions to the algorithm are also discussed.

RESULTS

The series of 57 patients harbored 57 anterior skull base meningiomas; the mean tumor volume was 14.7 ± 15.4 cm3 (range 2.2–66.1 cm3), and the mean follow-up duration was 42.2 ± 37.1 months (range 2–144 months). Of 19 patients with olfactory groove meningiomas, 10 had preserved olfaction and underwent SKM, and preservation of olfaction in was seen in 60%. Of 9 patients who presented without olfaction, 8 had cribriform plate invasion and underwent combined SKM and EEA (n = 3), bifrontal craniotomy (n = 3), or EEA (n = 2), and one patient without both olfaction and cribriform plate invasion underwent SKM. GTR was achieved in 94.7%. Of 38 TS/PS meningiomas, 36 of the lesions were treated according to the algorithm. Of these 36 meningiomas, 30 were treated by EEA and 6 by craniotomy. GTR was achieved in 97.2%, with no visual deterioration and one CSF leak that resolved by placement of a lumbar drain. Two patients with tumors that, based on the algorithm, were not amenable to an EEA underwent EEA nonetheless: one had GTR and the other had a residual tumor that was followed and removed via craniotomy 9 years later.

CONCLUSIONS

Utilizing a simple algorithm aimed at preserving olfaction and vision and based on maximizing use of minimally invasive approaches and selective use of transcranial approaches, the authors found that excellent outcomes can be achieved for anterior skull base meningiomas.

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Nelson Moussazadeh, Vishaal Prabhu, Evan D. Bander, Ryan C. Cusic, Apostolos John Tsiouris, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

OBJECTIVE

The authors compared clinical and radiological outcomes after resection of midline craniopharyngiomas via an endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) versus an open transcranial approach (TCA) at a single institution in a series in which the tumors were selected to be equally amenable to gross-total resection (GTR) with either approach.

METHODS

A single-institution retrospective review of previously untreated adult midline craniopharyngiomas was performed. Lesions were evaluated by 4 neurosurgeons blinded to the actual approach used to identify cases that were equally amenable to GTR using either an EEA or TCA. Radiological and clinical outcome data were assessed.

RESULTS

Twenty-six cases amenable to either approach were identified, 21 EEA and 5 TCA. Cases involving tumors that were resected via a TCA had a trend toward larger diameter (p = 0.10) but were otherwise equivalent in preoperative clinical and radiological characteristics. GTR was achieved in a greater proportion of cases removed with an EEA than a TCA (90% vs 40%, respectively; p = 0.009). Endoscopic resection was associated with superior visual restoration (63% vs 0%; p < 0.05), a decreased incidence of recurrence (p < 0.001), lower increase in FLAIR signal postoperatively (−0.16 ± 4.6 cm3 vs 14.4 ± 14.0 cm3; p < 0.001), and fewer complications (20% vs 80% of patients; p < 0.001). Significantly more TCA patients suffered postoperative cognitive loss (80% vs 0; p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS

An EEA is a safe and effective approach to suprasellar craniopharyngiomas amenable to GTR. For this select group of cases, the EEA may provide higher rates of GTR and visual improvement with fewer complications compared with a TCA.

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Fred G. Barker II, Rudolf Fahlbusch, Theodore H. Schwartz, and Jeffrey H. Wisoff

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Osaama H. Khan, M.Sc., Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

Object

This paper describes a consecutive series of skull base meningiomas resected using an endoscopic endonasal approach through various corridors at a single institution over 7 years. The impact of case selection and experience, the presence of a cortical cuff between the tumor and surrounding vessels, and brain edema on morbidity and rates of gross-total resection (GTR) were examined.

Methods

A retrospective review of a series of 46 skull base meningiomas from a prospective database was conducted. The series of cases were divided by location: olfactory groove (n = 15), tuberculum and planum (n = 20), sellar/cavernous (n = 9) and petroclival (n = 2). Gross-total resection was never intended in the sellar/cavernous tumors, which generally invaded the cavernous sinus. Clinical charts, volumetric imaging, and pathology were reviewed to assess the extent of resection and complications. Cases were divided based on a time point in which surgical technique and case selection improved into Group 1 (surgery prior to June 2008; n = 21) and Group 2 (surgery after June 2008; n = 25) and into those with and without a cortical cuff and with and without brain edema.

Results

Improved case selection had the greatest impact on extent of resection. For the entire cohort, rates of GTR went from 38% to 76% (p = 0.02), and for cases in which GTR was the intent, the rates went from 63% to 84% (not significant), which was mostly driven by the planum and tuberculum meningiomas, which went from 75% to 91.7 % (nonsignificant difference). The presence of a cortical cuff and brain edema had no impact on outcomes. There were 3 CSF leaks (6.5%) but all were in Group 1. Hence, CSF leak improved from 14.2% to 0% with surgical experience. Lessons learned for optimal case selection are discussed.

Conclusions

Surgical outcome for endonasal endoscopic resection of skull base meningiomas depends mostly on careful case selection and surgical experience. Imaging criteria such as the presence of a cortical cuff or brain edema are less important.

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Andrew R. Conger, M.S., Joshua Lucas, Gabriel Zada, Theodore H. Schwartz, and Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Endoscopic approaches to the midline ventral skull base have been extensively developed and refined for resection of cranial base tumors over the past several years. As these techniques have improved, both the degree of resection and complication rates have proven comparable to those for transcranial approaches, while visual outcomes may be better via endoscopic endonasal surgery and hospital stays and recovery times are often shorter. Yet for all of the progress made, the steep learning curve associated with these techniques has hampered more widespread implementation and adoption. The authors address this obstacle by coupling a thorough description of the technical nuances for endoscopic endonasal craniopharyngioma resection with detailed illustrations of the important steps in the operation. Traditionally, transsphendoidal approaches to craniopharyngiomas have been restricted to lesions mostly confined to the sella. However, recently, endoscopic endonasal resections are more frequently employed for extrasellar and purely third ventricle craniopharyngiomas, whose typical retrochiasmatic location makes them ideal candidates for endoscopic transnasal surgery.

The endonasal endoscopic approach offers many advantages, including direct access to the long axis of the tumor, early tumor debulking with minimal manipulation of the optic apparatus, more precise visualization of tumor planes, particularly along the undersurface of the chiasm and the roof of the third ventricle, and a minimal-access corridor that obviates the need for brain retraction. Although much emphasis has been placed on technical tenets of exposure and “how to get there,” this article focuses on nuances of tumor resection “when you are there.” Three operative videos illustrate our discussion of technical tenets.

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Paolo Cappabianca, Theodore H. Schwartz, John A. Jane Jr., M.D., and Gabriel Zada

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Shaan M. Raza, Angela M. Donaldson, Alpesh Mehta, Apostolos J. Tsiouris, Vijay K. Anand, and Theodore H. Schwartz

Object

Because multiple anatomical compartments are involved, the surgical management of trigeminal schwannomas requires a spectrum of cranial base approaches. The endoscopic endonasal approach to Meckel's cave provides a minimal access corridor for surgery, but few reports have assessed outcomes of the procedure or provided guidelines for case selection.

Methods

A prospectively acquired database of 680 endoscopic endonasal cases was queried for trigeminal schwannoma cases. Clinical charts, radiographic images, and long-term outcomes were reviewed to determine outcome and success in removing tumor from each compartment traversed by the trigeminal nerve.

Results

Four patients had undergone endoscopic resection of trigeminal schwannomas via the transpterygoid approach (mean follow-up 37 months). All patients had disease within Meckel's cave, and 1 patient had extension into the posterior fossa. Gross-total resection was achieved in 3 patients whose tumors were purely extracranial. One patient with combined Meckel's cave and posterior fossa tumor had complete resection of the extracranial disease and 52% resection of the posterior fossa disease. One patient with posterior fossa disease experienced a sixth cranial nerve palsy in addition to a corneal keratopathy from worsened trigeminal neuropathy. There were no CSF leaks. Over the course of the study, 1 patient with subtotal resection required subsequent stereotactic radiosurgery for disease progression within the posterior fossa.

Conclusions

Endoscopic endonasal approaches appear to be well suited for trigeminal schwannomas restricted to Meckel's cave and/or extracranial segments of the nerve. Lateral transcranial skull base approaches should be considered for patients with posterior fossa disease. Further multiinstitutional studies will be necessary for adequate power to help determine relative indications between endoscopic and transcranial skull base approaches.

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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.